Friday, June 1, 2012

Vanilla Done Right

Short Snout Brewing, owned by head brewer Brian VanOrnum, is getting ready to make their commercial debut next Friday at Spirit of 77's Rye Fest with Rye-teous Dude. I had a chance to try the rye stout brewed with rye malt, flaked rye and chocolate rye and found it to be a solid beer. I'd encourage you to hit the fest if you can to give it, and a variety of rye beers, a try for yourself. However, it was another of their beers I tasted that blindsided me with its amazingness.

Vanilla is an ingredient I've found generally to be used rather poorly in the making of beer. Usually it has been in a stout or porter and maybe it's the type of vanilla used or the amount used to stand up to the beer style, but either way it seems to come across fake or cloying. Brian's version, Vanilla Jasmine Blonde, stands head and shoulders above any other I've had.

From my first sip a new world opened to me, a world in which vanilla could be used in a beer to produce a delicious product. The vanilla coated my tongue (in the right way) but the beer finished dry and clean. The jasmine is very subtle and the aroma is that of freshly baked vanilla wafers. Brian was hoping for the jasmine to be more pronounced is considering recipe tweaking to achieve that. Selfishly, I hope he doesn't change this beer a bit.

He's also working on an IPA and a red but right now I can't tell you where to find them. What I can tell you is that his one-off Blueberry Hibiscus Wheat will be on tap at the Portland Fruit Beer Festival next weekend in the rare/rotating tap tent. I attended the fest last year and am looking forward to being there again this year. If you go, make sure you keep your eyes and ears open as the rare beers rotate and catch this one if you can.

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