Four of the best things we drank this week come from a PDX Beer Week event that we hadn't even planned to attend. Big thanks to Larry and Kate for inviting us to join them at Imperial Bottle Shop & Taproom's 4th Annual Weird Beer Bonanza!
54º 40' Vita-Beer Shandy - Who remembers Sunny-D? Yes, you can still buy it but for those of similar age to us you may remember when it came on the market. Around our house that was considered a treat so there are good memories linked to it. This beer brought back those memories right from the start with its aroma. The flavor continued to take us down memory lane, although it is lighter and less sweet than the juice drink. And while its 4.8% is a sessionable ABV it drinks like there's no alcohol in it at all and we suspect it would make great beermosa.
Baerlic Fancy Umbrella Drink - In addition to making an appearance at Imperial, this was also Baerlic's entry for the Portland Fruit Beer Festival and available in their taproom starting last weekend. With a great guava aroma and nice tartness (although minimal/no salt) it certainly lives up to its tagline: "Toes in the water, ass in the sand, a smile on your face and a Fancy Umbrella Drink in your hand."
Trinity Sour Cherry Threads - Tied with the Wolf Tree entry for highest ABV of the fest at 12% and similar in the use of cherries, this one hit much higher notes for us. Both have tons of cherry on the nose, but where that one goes down the Belgian road, this oak barrel aged lactic beer displays the lovely horse blanket funk that we love along with cherries. It was most certainly worth the additional tasting ticket!
Nectar Creek Raspberry Chocolate Mole Mead - This mead definitely lives up to its "weird" billing when one considers the gorgeous, rich berry color that the eyes behold but the disconnect as one takes in the aroma of mole. But it works. It's super fun and tasty, with the smoke and spice from the ancho and chipotle peppers being balanced by the chocolate, raspberries and wildflower honey. Being the other two ticket offering at the event, it, too was worthy.
As our time at Imperial wound down Larry and Kate mentioned that they would be heading over to The Commons as they had heard that Biere Royale was on tap. A beer we enjoyed multiple times in 2013, we were just as pleased with it now as we were back then. And the color...can't get enough of its beauty!
The remaining three to make this week's list all came our visits to The BeerMongers, shared by and with our frequent drinking buddy, Chris.
Alesong Touch of Brett: Mosaic - A dry, French-style Saison, the Brett it was fermented with is just slightly more prevelant than the Mosaic hops that provide ripe pineapple, mango and grapefruit flavors. Both components are favorites and this one masterfully blends the two.
Modern Times Monsters' Park Aged in Bourbon Barrels (Mexican Hot Chocolate 2017) - Modern Times has been a frequent flyer on our list and this 14.6% barrel-aged imperial stout is simply fabulous, especially after it sits for an hour and the full flavor profile - cinnamon, cocoa nibs, chilies and vanilla - blooms.
Fremont The Rusty Nail - Fremont makes good beers but where they really shine are with their aged, high ABV beers. This one begins with an oatmeal stout base, brewer's licorice, smoked barley and pale malt aged on cinnamon bark. That beer, called The First Nail, begins its second life after spending 15 months in 12-year old bourbon barrels, the result of which is an amazing dark, sour and smooth creation whose 13.2% is an afterthought.
PDX Beer Week continues through Sunday, offering plenty of options for great, unique beers and events. And even if one isn't attending "something special" there always seems to be special things waiting on the shelves and taps of our favorite places. Here's hoping you're finding some gems!