Thursday, June 7, 2018

Previewing the Portland Fruit Beer Festival

Now in its 8th year, the Portland Fruit Beer Festival returns to its original home at Burnside Brewing on the east side after a one-year excursion across the river. Pouring more than 50 interpretations of fruit beer/cider, the offerings will span a variety of styles from sours and lagers to IPAs and stouts, utilizing all manner of fruits from commonplace to obscure. We recently had the opportunity to try a sampling of the beers/ciders that will be poured at the festival and were impressed both by the brewers' creativity and their skills.

Cider Riot! Everyday Passionfruit - A back-sweetened, semi-dry cider, it is a less tart version than last year's and displays the mild flavor of passionfruit in an easy-drinking 6% cider.
Claim 52 Skrrrrrt - Using a mild Gose base, one could easily mistake this 4.2% pineapple and passionfruit beer for a glass of juice. A very tasty glass of juice.
Finnriver Berry & Bard - Combining heirloom, organic Washington apples with Olympic Peninsula rhubarb and aronia berries grown at Finnriver Farm the result is a fruity yet tanic/dry cider.
Hopworks Strawberry Milkshake IPA - Light-handed use of strawberries and lactose meld with berry-forward Australian hops and tropical Pacific NW hops in this 7.4% fruited IPA.
Reverend Nat's Blood Orange Viva La Pineapple - Taking things to another level, Nat put his festival-exclusive version of blended apple and pineapple juice into a slushy machine. So drinkable and fun, beware of a brain freeze!
Von Ebert Starcloud - Starting with their Sector 7 IPA made with Mosaic, Simcoe, Citra and Galaxy hops, tropical starfruit was added, resulting in a smooth and lovely 7.1% hazy IPA.

Hint of Fruit
Buoy Saison de Gewurtz - The buckwheat Saison base beer spent five months in Willamette Valley Pinot Noir barrels with house Brettanomyces cultures spiked with Oregon-grown Gewurztraminer juice. For the first mixed culture project released, Buoy is starting off with a bang. Make sure to have this delicate 4.9% offering early on.
Gigantic Brewing Gigantic & Juice - An updated version of the G&J made last year, the lightly juiced beer contains balanced amounts of pineapple, tangerine and grapefruit.
Widmer Strawbarbaric IRA - One doesn't see many India Red Ales in general and this version brings together strawberries and rhubarb with "red fruit nuanced hops" - Hull Melon, Mandarina Bavaria and more. 

2 Towns Easy Peasy - The first citrus cider from 2 Towns, it's a limited release offering that drinks like adult raspberry lemonade with a tartness coming from the Meyer lemons and Lactobacillus culture.
Allegory Sunshine Slammer - This POG (passionfruit, orange, guava) was crafted with a session outdoors in mind, deriving its sourness from a Lactobacillus pitch. One of the more [deliciously] sour offerings we tried!
Great Notion Blueberry Muffin - Known for their kettle-soured Berliner Weisses, it has a bright, blueberry tartness that if one has the chance, pairs well with an actual blueberry muffin.

Lompoc/Fruit Beer Fest/Repurposed Pod collaboration Cacao Cream Ale - Cacao pods are generally thought of as the starting point for chocolate but using the juice from the fleshy portion of the fruit and the cacao nibs from the seed portion this beer is a mind-expanding creation. Hazy apricot in color with an aroma that hints mildly of chocolate, this cream ale is perfectly fruity and drinkable. Representatives from Repurposed Pod were involved in the blending process and Lompoc is only the second brewery in the U.S. to use their Cacao Juice (Tired Hands in PA being the other). 
Migration Manhattan Transfer - If you're looking for a cocktail, Manhattan Transfer is the beer to have. The 7.9% cocktail beer was fermented on freshly emptied rye whiskey barrels with "heaps" of cherries and vermouth-infused oak and botanicals.

The festival starts on Friday with a five-hour preview session (20-ish beers/ciders) and goes into full festival mode Saturday and Sunday spanning Burnside Brewing's parking lot, a portion of NE 7th Street and the parking lot adjacent on the west side of the street. 30 core beers and ciders will be pouring throughout with three to four rotating rare and special tappings. Pours will range from one to three tickets in cost with additional tickets available for purchase.

Portland Fruit Beer Festival
Friday, June 8th 4 - 9pm
Saturday, June 9th 11am - 9pm
Sunday, June 10th 11am - 6pm
Tickets on sale in advance and at the door, $20 (BPA-free, non-breakable Govino branded plastic cup + 12 tickets) or $25 (collectible branded glass + 12 tickets)

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