My first day attending the Oregon Brewers Festival I went, as usual, with a fairly well outlined plan of attack. Cheat sheet in hand, I was determined to cover many of the fruit beers first so as not to muddle my palate with the delicious hops I was sure to find in the IPAs that I love. Of the 12 I'd identified wanting to try I made it through 10 of them with minimal "interruptions" - a few of the "here, try this" variety, two IPAs and a visit to the sour tent.
Of those 10 fruit beers there were a few I would politely refer to as, "refreshing, like a cold glass of water is refreshing." There are bound to be some of these in any offering of fruit beers, ones where the fruit flavor just didn't come through as strongly as I was hoping (and maybe not even as strongly as the brewer was hoping for...who knows though?). The one that easily topped my list was 10 Barrel's Raspberry Crush. The raspberry flavor was well rounded, not too sweet and of course, the beer was visually breathtaking. One of my drinking companions suggested that it would make a great sorbet. I think he's right however I'm not sure I could part with any of it to make sorbet.
Also high on my list was Old Market's Cherried Alive. This 7.8% beer could be a dangerous one as it drinks more like a 4%. If you like fruit beers this will probably provide the most bang for your buck.
My only trip into the combined Buzz/Sour Tent yielded utter happiness in the form of Deschutes' Blackberry Sour Ale. I'm generally hesitant every time I plunk down two tokens, wondering if what will be poured into my glass will really be worth the heftier price. This most certainly was!
I mentioned that I had deviated, briefly, from my fruit beers first plan, inserting two IPA on my list. Both Elysian's Space Dust IPA and Flying Fish's Exit 16 Wild Rice IPA were of the delicious, stanky IPA variety that is my most favorite. They were so good that after each one I was tempted to ditch my original plan and go after more hops.
By the end I hadn't made it all the way through my list, but I'd had my fill for the first round. So I guess that means there will have to be a round two. Stay tuned for more.