On Saturday StormBreaker Brewing will host the third edition of their Brewstillery Festival which will feature 21 total pairings from 19 breweries and 19 distilleries. The beers range from sessionable 4% offerings all the way to big boys approaching nearly 12%. We attended a preview of the event last week, sampling six of the 21 pairings and have some suggestions.
#1 Start off with the Coalition/New Basin pairing. Take a sip of each - the Loving Cup Maple Porter and the "Strong" American light whiskey - if you'd like but then combine the two. The result is a very drinkable "beer cocktail" with the vanilla, caramel and oak flavors of the whiskey fortifying the maple notes of the beer.
#2 Follow that pairing up with Great Notion/Bull Run. One whiff of Great Notion's Double Stack and you'll think you've walked into a diner that specializes in pancakes drenched in syrup. Add to that the warmth of the straight bourbon whiskey and you've got a dream adult breakfast drink.
#3 Try some other pairings, then towards the end make sure to have Migration/House Spirits. The pairing features 2015 Frankie Claus aged in a House Spirits' Westward single malt cask and Straight Malt Whiskey finished for 8 months in the same cask once the beer was emptied out. The French cocoa powder used in the beer pairs superbly with the whiskey and if we were to decide to get into whiskey, a pairing like this would definitely be our gateway.
While the event is designed for the pairings to be consumed together, it's completely up to attendees to decide if that's what they want to do. The beer and spirit samples are purchased separately (most being 1 ticket each) so if spirits just aren't your thing, go and drink only beer. Or if there's one of the pairings where the beer or spirit doesn't speak to you, just order the one that does. Choose Your Own Adventure.
Tickets to the festival are $20 for regular admission in advance/$25 at the door and include the beer tasting glass pictured on the left and 10 tickets. For the VIP experience it's $40 in advance/$45 at the door and include the whiskey snifter seen on the right, early entry (11am) and 15 tickets. As is standard with ticketed festivals, additional drink tickets will be available for purchase, $1 each.
In a town where beer festivals abound this is perhaps the most unique, the Most Portland Festival. Not only do we have laws that allow such a festival but we have a culture of collaboration among crafters, especially those who craft lovely libations.