PDX Beer Week runs June 8 - 18 and in addition to the multitude of events listed currently, and will surely be added as we get closer to it, the official beer has been brewed. Hop Berry IPA from Culmination Brewing was brewed during a media preview that we had the pleasure of attending. Using marionberry and blackberry purees from Oregon Fruit Products, the premiere choice of brewers using fruit in their beers, it was dry hopped with Vic Secret and Galaxy hops and should clock in at a drinkable 7% ABV.
As a part of the preview we had the opportunity to taste six fruit purees from Oregon Fruit Products and talk to Chris Hodge, Director of Sales Brewing. The 85-year-old family owned company located in Salem processes fresh fruit into sterile, 18-month shelf stable packages. It's a straightforward process in which the fresh fruit undergoes a short heating period to kill any "bugs," then the skins and seeds are removed, all in a sealed system to eliminate contamination.
While they produce over 20 purees, Chris brought a selection that included their number one selling puree, raspberry. That beauty in the middle of the picture uses berries from Washington and was the first puree that they made. Oregon grown blackberry (far left), pineapple, grapefruit , blood orange and mango rounded out the selection. The flavor of all of them were of perfectly ripe, just harvested fruit, a seemingly amazing feat for something that could (but why would you?) sit on your shelf for over a year. We're not generally fruit juice drinkers but if we had bags of any of these, especially the mango, on hand we might change our mind about drinking fruit.
In addition to the Week's official beer, Hotlips Pizza has once again created an official pizza. Featuring pork belly and kimchi, an idea from Tomas, owner/brewer of Culmination, the pizza's flavors are balanced and should be delicious with the forthcoming Hop Berry IPA.
Those familiar with Hotlips know that they don't just make pizza, they also make a line of sodas. Using Oregon Fruit Products puree as well, their blackberry soda will be available for drinking side-by-side with the official beer. Beer, pizza, soda...win!