Wednesday, March 29, 2017

The Best Things We Drank: March 20 - 26

This week's list is short and topped by local, fast rising star Great Notion. We met a couple friends there last weekend and ran into a couple more...go figure...and also chatted with two of the owners. In addition to completely turning around the former Mash Tun Paul, James and Andy are great guys who I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing for a piece in the Oregon Beer Growler this time last year.

Great Notion Super Ripe - The brewery has done a few iterations of Ripe and this double dry hopped one is absolutely delicious. Starting with a zesty-juicy aroma, the flavor is more juicy than zesty and very drinkable for 9.5%.

Great Notion Heart of Gold - Once again showing their command of sour beers, this barrel aged Saison made with peaches and sour bacteria has a smooth peach aroma, golden color and lovely sour bracingness.

Omnipollo Bianca Mango Lassi Gose - Omnipollo is essentially a gypsy brewery with the recipes conceived at their home base in Sweden but brewed at breweries around the globe. This beer, a 6% gose brewed with rock salt, lactose and mango puree, was brewed at Buxton Brewery in the UK. While we didn't find much in the way of fruit character it was a nice gose that had the pronounced salt profile one would expect from the style.

Cider Riot! Everyday Semi-Dry - We find ourselves adding cider into the mix more often and this one is exactly what the name says, something we'd be happy to drink every day. We had it on tap, while checking out a Portland institution we've driven by hundreds of times - Sandy Hut, but it is also the first canned offering from the cidery. Six packs will start popping up next week and to celebrate this next step in the young cidery's life there is a can release/dance party on April 12th at Mississippi Studios.

In putting together this week's list it seems clear our taste buds are more than ready for spring, which will hopefully finally settle in as we put March behind us and welcome in April this weekend. With any luck we'll be getting out and about more soon, perhaps toting some cans, possibly the 12oz variety from Cider Riot! or the large format crowlers from Great Notion.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

The Best Things We Drank: March 13-19

This edition of Best Things runs the gamut from light, spring-is-just-around-the-corner beers to dark, event/holiday-driven beers.

Since at this time of year, no matter where you live, you're probably itching for Spring to spring we'll start with the springy-ist of the Best...two goses.
  • Anderson Valley GT Gose - Anderson Valley has really done of great job of remaining relevant with their line of goses. This version, "reminiscent of a classic cocktail, our GT Gose showcases botanical flavors and aromas of lemon peel, juniper, lemongrass, and grains of paradise, with a juicy lemon-lime tartness and a slightly peppery finish" was great when we first tried it last year, on draft then. This year it's joined the others in cans and we're thrilled to have a portable, lower ABV gin and tonic in beer form.
  • Modern Times Fruitlands (Passion Fruit & Guava) - Modern Times has entered this market with guns ablazin' and this crushable beer adds to the track record of delicious beers we've had from them. Starting with a pleasant fruit aroma, followed by a moderate saltiness, we hope that it is available all summer.
Then a couple of beers showcasing those hops that we love...
  • Burnside Isomer IPA - Last week we bopped on down to Burnside for the official rebranding celebration and were able to try this super drinkable for 8% beer. Ekuanot is a newer hop we're not familiar with the new name for Equinox hops (thanks, Corrie!) and we can't say for sure yea or nay on Meridians but in this combo Burnside has created, we're happy with both.
  • The Commons Mr. Irrelevant - Anyone familiar with The Commons knows that in their six years in business they have never commercially made an IPA. When we heard that we had, we were eager to try it. It came as no surprise that the talented brewing team had created a superbly balanced IPA.

And finally, the darkest beers...
  • Bell's Kalamazoo Stout - Last week was, of course, the first amateur drinking day of the year and while green beer and Guinness may have been sold in unfathomable quantities we were more concerned about drinking something we actually enjoy. Thus, when we went out, to a location we knew would not be overrun by said amateurs, we fully enjoyed the roasty yum of this Midwest favorite that is better than Guinness by miles in our book.
  • Alaskan Brewing Barley Wine Ale (2013) - Barley Wines can be a tough cookie if they're young and still hot but they can also be great. This one, drank during part II of our Girl Scout cookies and beer pairing, was a bit hot yet after 4 years but it was great enough with Toffee-tastic Girl Scout cookies that we couldn't leave it off the list.

There you have it. Now the only questions are what will you be drinking this weekend, where and with who? Because beer is just better with friends, ones you already know or ones you might find during the shared enjoyment of a delicious drink.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Beer & Girl Scout Cookies Pairing Year IV, Part II

Last week, on Pi Day, we dove in to part II of this year's Girl Scout cookies and beer pairing. On the docket were:
- Thin Mints
- Caramel de-Lites/Samoas
- Do-Si-Dos/Peanut Butter Sandwich
- Tagalongs/Peanut Butter Patties
- Toffee-tastic (gluten-free)

Since our venue happened to have 2013 Alaskan Brewing Barleywine on tap and previous years had taught us that chocolate cookies, which were most of what we had in front of us that day, went well with darker beers like this Chris had to go for it. Although four years old, the beer retained a boozy profile that ended up working well with the Thin Mints, the mint negating that booziness and the beer amping up the mintiness of the cookies. Another big boy - the 18% Dogfish Head World Wide Stout - also found a companion in the Thin Mints. Mag, not one for big beers like these, found Half Acre Daisy Cutter pale ale to be a nice complement to this staple of the cookie line up.

Samoas, a cookie some of our pairing group love and others really don't, can be challenging to pair both because of the overt sweetness and the coconut. Here we found Cascadia Ciderworkers Berry's combination of blackberry, blueberry and cranberry to be quite complimentary to the coconut, to such an extent that the caramel and chocolate flavors nearly vanished. The big Dogfish Head stout also paired well with the overt sweetness of the cookie and the 18% ABV balancing one another.

Switching from chocolate to peanut butter, the Cascadia cider also went nicely with the Tagalongs to provide a peanut butter and jelly sandwich flavor combination. Working off of our love of coffee and coffee beers we opened a beer from a new-to-this-market brewery, Modern Times, their Black House coffee beer. Presenting a strong roasty aroma and flavor it enhanced the peanut butter qualities of this cookie, muscling the chocolate component to the back seat. Once again, diverging from a similar flavor profile and towards a complimentary one, the Half Acre Daisy Cutter hit the mark.

The other peanut butter cookie, Do-Si-Dos, went best with Modern Times Black House, the combination being reminiscent of a cup of coffee and a slice of toast topped with peanut butter. Sounds like a good way to start the day, right? Chris happened to have a Golden Road 329 (lager) open and while the beer itself was sweeter on its own than he would prefer it actually worked with this cookie, confirming Craft Beer & Brewing's recommendation of a malty lager.

Finally, the sole gluten-free cookie of the bunch, Toffee-tastic. It's a cookie that we unanimously like on its own, in large part because of its strong butteriness. It was due to that butter profile (similar to Trefoils) that it worked with and was balanced by the Alaskan Barleywine. With the Modern Times coffee beer it was similar to enjoying an iced coffee and a butter biscotti. And for the an all around gluten-free experience we recommend Magner's Original Irish Cider. The apple-toffee combo played off one another, each enhancing the flavors of the other.

Huge thanks to Chris for procuring the cookies, especially the out of market ones, and being an eager participant along with Mag and the many friends who helped consume All. These. Cookies.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Bomb Shelter Beer

Bomb shelters aren't something many under 40 have much of a frame of reference for except perhaps being akin to preparing for a zombie apocalypse. They are a real thing, the majority of which are probably only known to a small number of people. One in Portland was "discovered" by a friend who showed up at an estate sale and kindly shared a couple pictures he snapped while there.

This particular bomb shelter is located in SW and belonged to a prominent, local radiologist. It contained, among other things, some bottles of Widmer beer in brown paper bags. My friend was able to acquire those bottles and over the weekend invited some folks over for the opening of one of them.

A Festbier at a mere 5.2% ABV wouldn't be an obvious choice to age and might be regarded with some suspicion but I've had 20-year-old beers before that turned to be quite good. This one was coming on 28 years old and we figured as long as this didn't foam over upon opening it was probably fine. Not only did it not foam over, there was a pleasant "fsssss" as it was uncapped letting us know that some carbonation remained.

Poured into glasses, it gave off a raisin aroma reminiscent of a fairly sweet beer, sweeter than it actually was and it wasn't unpleasant to drink. Overall, quite impressive for a low ABV beer to have aged so well for such a long time. Nice job, Widmer! And big thanks to Paul for the invitation to try this rare beer.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

The Best Things We Drank: March 6-12

This week's Best Things is a short list and one of the weirdest mixes we've had in a while - sour, citrus, coffee and horse blanket. Go figure, some weeks we fall into a pretty tight profile, some weeks we're here, there and everywhere.

Citrus Myrtle enjoyed at our usual
The Commons Citrus Myrtle - This is one of the beers recently we've been most excited about because we love The Commons. Plus Myrtle is a great beer on its own and it seemed like the addition of citrus would only make it better. Such was the case with a mix of citrus flavors present with lime gently muscling its way to the forefront, especially on the nose. 

R. Zabala R. Zabala - We generally dig on Spanish ciders and this continues the trend, giving us that lovely leather and horse blanket profile we get giddy about. Once again big thank to Chris for knowing us so well and sharing this.

Ecliptic Carina Peach Sour - Ecliptic's beer naming theme is celestial and we appreciate that they provide us with some education each time we drink their beer. Carina is a constellation in the southern sky, the keel of the ship Argo, and is also a bright, fresh, peach sour ale that uses lactobacillus to give it a tart finish.

Orpheus Coffee Minotaur - A bottle shared by some beer friends, at first take one would probably not think that a sour ale made with coffee, Java Lords Coffee in this case, would work, especially when the nose is of maple syrup. Turns out the Orpheus folks know what they're doing and should we have a chance to try more of this Georgia brewery's beers in the future, we'll be excited to do so.

Both the Ecliptic and The Commons beers shouldn't be too hard to find around town and the cider available at better bottle shops. Whatever you're drinking this week, let's at least agree that it won't be green, eh?

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Beer & Girl Scout Cookies Pairing Year IV

It's hard to believe we've been playing this annual game which is part helping the Girl Scouts out and part adult play. But here we are and once again we've stepped up the game, taking what we've learned to make the pairings more successful, more fun and since we're not kids, more adult-gut friendly.

This year there are some two vegan cookies being made that through our network we were able to get our hands on. That's cool but that also means more cookies to try so in order to avoid total sugar shock we split the pairing into two sessions, the first of which recently happened and the second of which will take place later today. Because what else would you eat on Pi Day but cookies?

Part I Cookies
- S'Mores regular
- S'Mores vegan
- Savannah Smiles
- Lemonades (vegan)
- Shortbreads aka Trefoils
- Thanks-A-Lot

Both versions of the S'Mores cookies are new to the GS cookie line up this year and while both are s'mores-y they are very different cookies. The non-vegan version is a graham cracker sandwich cookie with chocolate and marshmallow filling that has almost an almond flavor. Perhaps one of the best as a stand alone, we found that it paired exceptionally with Alaskan Smoked Porter (which we had opened to pair with another cookie). The beer's smokiness completed the campfire package that the cookie started.

The vegan S'mores also starts with a graham cracker cookie but diverges from there, being twice dipped in crème icing before being covered in chocolate. One of the Craft Beer & Brewing Magazine suggestions (the base that we chose to work from this year) was Cascade Kriek Ale and while that is a local option, it's a 750ml bottle and knowing how many beers we were going to be opening, even with our group, we tried to steer our selections to smaller 12-16oz options. Ommegang Rosetta (thanks, Robby!) fit the size preference and its flavor profile is similar, if perhaps with a bit less tart bite than the Kriek. This may have been a blessing in disguise as the cherry-juice like profile combined with these cookies to taste just like chocolate covered cherries - outstanding!!

The next most chocolaty cookie of this group is Thanks-A-Lot which isn't listed as being new but we don't recall having before (maybe it wasn't in our market last year). A fairly large, thin shortbread cookie with one side dunked in chocolate fudge, the chocolate component allowed it to pair well with Alaskan Smoked Porter, Ommegang Rosetta and Founders Dirty Bastard (again, an bottle opened with another cookie in mind). We also chose one of the CBBM suggestions - Sixpoint Resin - which at least a couple in our group have little love for on its own. But, hey, we've had plenty of beers that we didn't particularly enjoy on their own be great when paired with the right thing so we were hopeful this would be the case. IT. WAS. NOT. The incredible bitterness of the beer was increased by the cookie to the point where it was like chewing on an aspirin. Ick. Perhaps an imperial IPA - the overall suggestion - with a sweeter profile would work better but if you want to play it safe, go with beers that work with the chocolaty-ness.

Since we've now mentioned two beers that we opened with another cookie in mind, let's talk about it - the Shortbread/Trefoil. This cookie has probably been around as long as Thin Mints so no doubt you've tried its buttery goodness. Both the Alaskan and a barrel-aged version of the Founders were suggested for this cookie and we'll agree that they both work. The maltiness of Founder Dirty Bastard compliments and is complimented by the heavy butteryness of the cookie and the Alaskan's strong smoky flavor easily stands up to the cookie's richness.

Moving to the lighter, lemony cookies - the Savannah Smiles that we found a great pairing with last year (thanks, Chris!) and the new-to-us, vegan Lemonades. That great beer is Saison DuPont and although we still enjoyed it with the powdered sugar covered Savannah Smiles, it paired even better with the lemon iced shortbread Lemonades. Another beer that worked well with both was Culmination Peche, especially if you enjoy a bright tartness. Those looking for a sweeter fruit pairing might prefer Founders Rubaeus, a beer that was all around yummy with the Smiles and one whose slight tartness served to balance the Lemonades' icing sweetness. Going in a completely different direction, but taking the CBBM suggestion for the Lemonades, we cracked open Lagunitas Citrusinesis Pale Ale. Its citrus components, the zestiness complimented the Lemonades but really shined bright with the Smiles where witbiers and mieres de miel had been suggested.

With six cookies tackled in that session, that leaves five more - Thin Mints, Toffee-tastic, Do-Si-Dos, Samoas and Tagalongs - for part two which is going to happen later today. So while you enjoy your pie, we'll be slaving away on the cookies. Check back to see, for better or worse, what we discover.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

3rd Annual Baker's Dozen This Saturday

Coffee and doughnuts are delicious. Coffee BEERS and doughnuts are more delicious. This Saturday 13 coffee beers, made with coffee from independent local roasters, and 13 doughnuts from local shops will be available in a mix 'n match format at Culmination Brewing for the 3rd Annual Baker's Dozen. Due to the popularity of the event this year their will be two sessions, the first from 10am to 1pm and the second 2pm to 5pm, with 350 tickets available per session.

We had a chance to try a few of the offerings (a full list of the beers, including a honey mead from Oregon Mead & Cider, and the doughnuts is below) earlier this week and what we had was outstanding! Block 15 makes amazing beer, often amazing hoppy beer, but their Cosmic Cold Brew is no less amazing. This complex beer drinks like a creamy, coffee milk stout and paired exceptionally with the equally complex Bourbon Bacon Breakfast Fritter from Blue Star. No fluffy doughnut, it has a hearty backbone from the shredded Yukon potatoes and just-right mix of flavors from the sage, black pepper, bacon and bourbon maple glaze. We also tried A Beer Called Death, which if this is what death is like we're happy to skip to the front of the line. Prominent local beer guru John Lovegrove teamed up with McMenamins Thompson Brewery in Salem to make an imperial stout that uses 7 cups of Kenyan single origin cold brew per 1/2bbl keg. It's good enough to drive to Salem for but why when you can have it at this event WITH doughnuts?

Tickets are $27 (plus fees) online/$30 at the door (IF they haven't sold out) and include samples of each beer and doughnut. In order to be able to power through and not go into a diabetic coma, most of the doughnuts will be quartered. The Culmination kitchen, led by chef CJ Mueller, will be cooking up savory breakfast proteins for purchase.

Alameda "Coffee & Donutella" pale ale with Kainos Coffee
Block 15 "Cosmic Cold Brew: Double Ristretto" stout with Bespoken coffee
The Commons "Coffee Schwarzbier" black lager with Stumptown Coffee
Culmination "Velvet Elvis" nitro stout with Ole Latte Coffee
Georgetown "Gusto Crema" cream ale with Caffe Umbria
Gigantic "Mons Meg" coffee Scotch ale with Coava Coffee
Great Notion "Blueberry Pancakes" stout with Clutch Coffee
Kona "Pipeline Porter Reserve" porter
Labrewatory "Dirty Hippie" milk stout with Ristretto Roasters
McMenamins/John Lovegrove "A Beer Called Death" imperial stout with McMenamins Roasters
Modern Times "Bourbon-aged Monster Park with Coffee" imperial porter with Modern Times Coffee
Montavilla Brew Works "Bipartisan Porter" porter with Water Avenue Coffee and Bipartisan Cafe
Oregon Mead & Cider TBD

Annie's, Devi's Foodcake
Blue Star, Bourbon Bacon Breakfast Fritter
Bowery, Apricot Hamantaschen ("Kosher as f*#$" in honor of Saturday being Purim)
Coco Donuts, Vermont-style cider
Churros Locos, churros (making them fresh, onsite during the festival)
Delicious Donuts, TBD
Donut Byte Labs, Whiskey Creme Brulee
Joe's Donuts, cherry fritter
Namu, malasada (Hawaiian-style)
NOLA, apple fritter
Rocking Frog Café, cinnamon cake
Stacatto, Prince of Darkness (triple chocolate donut hole with Coalition Loving Cup maple cream filling & Vietnamese iced coffee glaze)
Tonalli's, powdered

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

The Best Things We Drank: Goodbye February, Hello March

After a couple weeks with a ton of amazing beers last week was more typical (and honestly a refreshing change) where most of the beers we had were simply, solidly good. The theme that ran through the best of these beers was "events." Early in the week we attended a fundraiser for the Friends of the Library at McMenamins Market Street Pub, a media preview at the new Slabtown location of Breakside in NW that we talked about yesterday and then on the weekend the SheBrew Beer Festival (also a fundraiser).

Mexican Coffee Stout - middle, Something Wicked to the left,
Tropical Gose behind the stout
Not surprisingly two of the hits were IPAs...
McMenamins Hops in Harmony - This IPA utilizes some of our favorite hops - Mosaic, Simcoe and Perle - so it's not surprising that it was a hit. And for those who want to poo-poo McMenamins, this beer solidly beat down the guest IPA.

Breakside Something Wicked - One of those NE-style IPAs that are hitting taps heavily and loaded with Mosaic and Citra hops it was glass of hazy, citrusy-juicy yum.

But there were also two tasty darker beers...
McMenamins Nightswimming Baltic Porter - Dark and delicious without being heavy even at 8.5% ABV.

Breakside Mexican Coffee Stout - An entirely different version of dark, the roasty aroma alone was a joy to take in. That was followed by a bittersweet chocolate sweetness with just a touch of cinnamon and was easy drinking as well.

And the remaining three...
Finn River Sparkling Black Currant Cider - We enjoy ciders, but not a much as beer in general so it takes a pretty special one to make the list. This one did it with its wine-like aroma, great color and deep berry flavor.

Breakside Tropical Gose - We like our goses to prominently feature salt and this one fit the bill starting with it in the aroma, following through the flavor and into the aftertaste. The components were well balanced and bonus points noted for the velvety mouthfeel.

Breakside Wilsner - If there can be a NE-style IPA, why not a West Coast Pilsner? This beer makes a solid case for it by being a drink-all-day beer that combines a creamy mouthfeel and pleasant Pilsner aftertaste.

So while we might generally be predictable, you just never know when something like Wilsner is going to please us. Has anything unexpected pleased you lately?

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Breakside's Newest Location Opens in Happening Slabtown Area

Owner Scott Lawrence and brewer Ben Edmunds talk about the new space.
Last week we got a preview of Breakside's third location, in the very happening part of NW known as Slabtown, that opened to the public yesterday. It takes up residence in the same block as New Seasons and Besaws, which is bordered by NW 21st and 22nd, Quimby and Raleigh. As with the other two locations, it houses a brewery, this one a 10bbl JVNW system that will produce hop-focused beers. While beers brewed on the system have yet to hit the taps, six Slabtown-specific recipes have been developed and are on tap (brewed at the other locations to begin) along with 10 other beers, plus two wine taps. We had an opportunity to try those six beers, sample some appetizer items and take a look around the space.

Since the beers are obviously the most important thing that's where we'll start.
Wilsner - A West Coast Pilsner, it is lemony yellow in color with a creamy mouthfeel and a moderate Pilsner aftertaste. Quite pleasant, this is a drink-all-day beer that was awesome with the cheesy chorizo jalapeno poppers.

Oro - A blonde that appears somewhat hazy, it is sweeter than one might expect for the style. In our opinion could use more hops to balance that sweetness and increase the drinkability but we're hop heads so take that with a grain of salt.

Tropical Gose - A take on their plum gose, it starts with an incredible salty aroma which follows through the flavor and into the aftertaste. At first the coriander popped out heavily but with subsequent sips the many flavors of the beer become more balanced. The velvety mouthfeel adds to the overall loveliness of it.

Ginormous tator tots and jalapeno poppers
Mexican Coffee Stout - Starting with a roasty/burnt toasty aroma that brought an immediate smile, the flavor comes in with more bittersweet chocolate notes and a touch of cinnamon. Its smooth drinking is reminiscent of their Salted Caramel Stout but with greater heartiness. On any but hottest of days this could be enjoyed pint after pint. It also is a great pairing with the ginormous tator tots that contain pork belly, brie and Swiss.

Something Wicked - This NE style IPA presents hazy as expected with a bold, citrusy-juicy aroma. While the Mosaic and Citra hops are pronounced they are also nicely balanced by the malt profile. A part of Breakside's Seeker series, this is another great pairing with the poppers.

Precious Snowflake DIPA - A bit of restrained aroma for a DIPA, albeit one on the lower end of the ABV range for the style at 8%, the flavor is spot on with obvious sweetness but enough hop bitterness late on the palate and into the finish to make one want to keep drinking it.

A couple of the appetizers sampled have already been mentioned above with the beers they nicely complimented. The other two - nachos and hummus plate - are brewpub standards, each here shining due to particular components. The nachos start with fresh fried corn tortillas and come topped, in part, with really good guacamole. We're pretty harsh on any guacamole that doesn't come out of our own kitchen so this if a big compliment. The hummus, with pitas and roasted vegetables, gets a boost from the just-right-salty tapenade it's topped with.

Moving on to the space itself, there's two levels of indoor seating (including a private room with floor to ceiling windows on the second floor above the brewery), rooftop seating and a street level patio which combine to accommodate 350 people. The brewery, while appearing larger than just 10bbls, takes up every last inch of space that was allocated for it. That tightness, however, allows the brewer to control it all from the brewing deck (which is accessed by ladder-like steps). Production capacity is 2,000bbls and although there are no barrels to age beer on at this facility, it isn't out of the question that some of it will be brewed and kegged here, destined to find a woody home at the Milwaukie location.

Finally, you may have noticed that Breakside has started rolling out a new logo. It is slowly replacing the "cost us $300 logo from" they started with when money was much tighter. Designed by local brand agency Sockeye, a year long market research study was done in preparation and it is meant to represent the desire to seek and, food, vacations, So get on over to NW and seek out what Breakside has created for you to enjoy.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

SheBrew - a Beer Festival for All

This Saturday, March 4th the SheBrew Beer Festival takes place for the third year and in doing so expands on what they built the previous two years. The all ages, all genders festival is a co-production of the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) and the Oregon Brew Crew and has added an AHA-sanctioned home brew competition and offers beer and cider from 20 local breweries.

The home brew entries from women locally and nationally were judged last weekend at Zoiglhaus and some of the entered beers will be available for sampling at the festival. A list of the winners...perhaps a name or two will be familiar to you...selected by the judges is available and attendees will have the opportunity to vote for a People's Choice winner during the event. The Best of Show winner, who will have the opportunity to brew with Natalie Baldwin at Breakside Brewery, will also be revealed.

Things kick off at noon and go until 8pm, plenty of time to stop in after Saturday chores, between other Saturday happenings or as a place to park it for the day and enjoy all the beer/cider, food and entertainment the festival has to offer.

12pm Festival opens
12-3pm Homebrews available for sampling and voting
12-4pm Musical acts
4-8pm Comedians
8pm Festival ends ( don't have to go home but you can't stay here...)

Tickets are currently available for those 21+ with the $20 including a tasting glass (the commemorative one to the right for the first 250 attendees) and 10 tasting tickets. Per the usual run of festivals in these parts, additional tasting tickets will be available for $1 each. And per the inclusive nature of the festival, non-drinkers and those under 21 are welcome to attend.

SheBrew Beer Festival
Saturday, March 4 12-8pm
Buckman Coffee Factory
1105 SE Main St, Portland

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

The Best Things We Drank: Those Below a Four Need Not Apply

The beer bar was definitely raised this week as none of the following beers scored less than a 4 out of 5. And we don't give out 4s lightly.

Les Trois Mousquetaries (LTM) Dixieme - Shared by one of the many generous patrons of Mongers, this imperial black kriek had a beautiful, tart, dark fruit aroma with a less tart, infinitely delicious flavor that was a combination of chocolate and a touch of fruit. According to the kind patron that shared it, when he had a bottle a few months ago, there was more fruit flavor present. Either way, delicious and 10%, really?!? No way does it taste like it.

Founders Brewing Porter - Seeing this in the cooler I was shocked to see that at least according to Untappd I'd never had it before. Rectifying that I found a beer with a beautiful chocolate colored head and an even better chocolately flavor. Nice job, Michigan.

Founders Brewing Azacca IPA - Although I'd had this beer before I was determined for a re-test after hearing from a couple people that it didn't hit high notes for them. For me, it was as good as I remember and Azacca hops are definitely my hops.

Logsdon ZuurPruim - This beer is a mouthful of delicious sour fruit flavor and a fantastic, soft mouthfeel likely coming from the four months it spent on Yummy Beaut plums in Cabernet Sauvignon 

Three Magnets 2nd Anniversary Ale - The aroma of this wine barrel-aged sour red ale makes us happy and the flavor - tart but not sour, fruity but not sweet - even happier.

Three Magnets Chef's Choice No. 1 Rye Porter - Undoubtedly a most bizarre set of ingredients to combine - a rye porter with vanilla and black garlic - it turned out to be incredible and reminiscent of a complex chocolate porter.

Firestone Walker Firestone 20 (XX) Anniversary Ale - Big thanks go out to Chris for sharing this Strong Ale from FW's vintage barrel program (and the pic)! Clocking in at 13.5% one might think a few ounces would be plenty. One would be wrong. Perhaps a few bottles and then we'd reach the "plenty" level.

Thanks for your patience. We're well aware that the list got a little out of hand this week but there was no way to exclude any of these amazing beers. Should the Logsdon or Three Magnets beers intrigue you, head on over to Beer Belly where you might be lucky enough to still find them on tap (and if you go 3-6pm you'd be super lucky as HH prices are $3). While the supply of Founder's is dwindling, Tuesday afternoon both were available in the McMenamin's 23rd Ave Bottle Shop coolers. The Firestone Walker and the LTM? Well, those are going to take some harder searching but if you find them, you'll be a good beer buddy and share with us, right?