PDX Beer Week starts today and one of the events I'm looking forward to the most is the Fruit Beer Festival. We went the first two years but were out of town for it last year (in our defense, we were on a beer trip in Colorado). I recently had the opportunity to sample nine of the beers that will be at this year's festival and while I enjoyed all of them there were three that really made me smile.
Deschutes Peach Slap
This sour ale goes beyond just fruity, venturing into the land of spice with the addition of one pound each of juniper berries and pink peppercorns during brewing and habanero syrup at the end. The small group of us that were chatting as we sampled each beer agreed that the first sip is like Squirt soda. Not a bad thing, especially considering it's a 3.2% beer. Assistant brewer Jason Barbie used lactobacillus to sour it and while I don't know if I've had any of his creations before I'll certainly be on the lookout after the bang up job he did on this.
Laurelwood Orange You Glad I Didn't Say Banana?
I have to admit that the name had me a little scared with the mere mention of banana. Boy was I wrong! Starting off with a great aroma, this is a tart wheat that uses a Belgian wit yeast strain and required 600 lbs of citrus fruits to be processed for their zest and juice that were added post fermentation. As for the name, Brewmaster Vasili Gletos, said that they had been making hefeweizens for a few months and he has a five year old son with which Knock, Knock jokes are very popular.
The Commons Citrus Royale
I wasn't surprised to find that one of my favorite beers of the tasting came from one of my favorite breweries. Citrus Royale is a take on Biere Royale (another delicious beer), using the same base with spelt and flaked wheat and soured with Nancy's yogurt. It's tart, fruity and overall delightful!
If you haven't been to the Fruit Beer Festival before it's well worth going, even if you don't think you're a fruit beer fan. Fruit doesn't = sweet and isn't bound by the use of typical base beers. In the tasting alone there was a Belgian Dark Golden and a Grapefruit White IPA; I expect that our talented and creative brewers will surprise you with all kinds of creations at this festival.
4th Annual Portland Fruit Beer Festival
June 7th 11 am - 9 pm
June 8th 11 am - 6 pm
701 E Burnside, Portland, OR
Tickets: $20 (includes 16 oz glass + 12 drink tickets) available in advance and at the door
Beers: Standard line up + rare & rotating beers