Thursday, July 26, 2018

Picks for OBF 2018

The 31st Annual Oregon Brewers Festival kicks off on Thursday at Tom McCall Waterfront Park. For those paying close attention, you'll notice that it's one day later than in recent years. The festival has scaled back from a five-day event to a four-day event for multiple reasons but has added a couple wine and cider options. 

A perusal of the beer list shows plenty of IPAs and a fair number of fruited beers that are made with guava. It's going to be a warm OBF so those lighter beers took on a particular shine as we compiled our hit list. Taking into consideration the number of beers we anticipate being able to consume during one visit, we divided our list of 45 beers (of the total 80+) into Tier 1 and Tier 2 (and further divided them by South and North tents). Our plan is to make it through as many of the Tier 1 beers we can and count ourselves lucky if we are able to return for a second day to take on Tier 2.

Tier 1 - South Tent
Backwoods Brewing Dreamsicle Kolsch - beer debuts at OBF, oranges and vanilla, 5%
Breakside Brewery Limon Pepino - lager conditioned on lime zest and 225lbs of cucumber, 4.9%
Heathen Brewing Raspberry Rhubarb Sour Ale - the description is all in the name, 5.7%
Zoiglhaus Brewing Company Elderberry Berliner Weisse - again, the description is all in the name, 2.8%
Caldera Brewing Company Coco-Nutty Blonde - golden ale brewed with toasted coconut chips and rolled oats for body, 5.6% 
Boneyard Beer Pinot Pulp - pale ale inoculated with Brettanomyces and aged six months in Oregon Pinot Noir barrels, 7%
Oregon City Brewing Company Guavador Dali IPA - NE-style IPA with pink guava, 7%
RiverBend Brewing We Found Barb in the Strawberry Field - imperial milkshake IPA with lactose, vanilla and strawberry and rhubarb purees, 8% 
Crooked Stave Artisan Beer Project Do You Even Zest?! - limited release imperial IPA with freshly zested citrus, 7.5%
Gigantic Brewing Magnificent 527 - IPA with Experimental Hop 527 that displays pineapple, mango, lemon and subtle strawberry aromas and flavors, 6.3%
Fort George Brewery It Takes Two to Mango - NE-style mango IPA, 7.5%
Everybody's Brewing Guango Deep - imperial hazy IPA with guava, mango and fruity hop flavors, 9.3%

Tier 1 - North Tent
Boundary Bay Brewery and Bistro Currantly Hip Sour - American-style kettle-soured ale with a house blend of Lactobacillus and flavor of black currants and other forest fruit, 4.9%
Freebridge Brewing Summertime Radness - kettle-soured Berliner Weisse infused with rose of Merlot grapes, 4.3%
Fremont Brewing Limeshine - Pilsner with German malts, Yakima hops and lime, 5.5%
Fortside Brewing Company The Real Slim Hazy - hazy IPA, 5.5%
Natian Brewery 1306 - milkshake IPA with citrus backbone and juicy hop profile, made specifically for OBF, 6.8%

Tier 2 - South Tent
Insurgente Juan Cordero - Baja Calfornia, Mexico brewery made Pale Ale, 5.5%
Ecliptic Brewing Flamingo Planet Guava Blonde Ale - 100% pale malt, lightly hopped Blonde brewed with guava, 4.7%
Pelican Brewing Company To Peach Their Own! - lager infused with 500lbs of Oregon peach puree, 6%
Upright Brewing Berliner Weisse - soured with Lactobacillus in the fermenter and finished with Brettanomycs, brewed in February to allow the beer to develop, 3.6%
Portland Brewing Tart Me Up! - Berliner Weisse with grapefruit, mango and pineapple purees, 4.4%
Kells Brewery Mezcal-a-Gose - fruity, salty and smoky kettle-soured Gose inspired by the Mezcal cocktail, 5.5%
Ninkasi Brewing Company Fruited Gose - traditional unfiltered wheat ale with raspberries and lime, 4.2%
Widmer Brothers Brewing Lemonic Possession - imperial IPA brewed with lemon-nuanced hops and lemon zest, 8.8%
GoodLife Brewing Company Long Acronym - dry-hopped wine barrel-aged mixed fermentation blended Brettanomyces India Pale Lager, 7.8% 
Old Market Pub & Brewery Punchy Peach - imperial wheat ale aged for seven months in French oak Pinot barrels topped off with 250lbs of Oregon tart peaches, 7.8%
Cascade Brewing Belmont Street Bramble - blended Northwest-style sour ale aged in oak wine barrels with red raspberries and tangerine peel, 6.5%

Tier 2 - North Tent
Perennial Artisan Ales Bridge of the Gods - dry-hopped Grisette, 4.7%
Rogue Ales Pinch - imperial Gose, brewed specifically for OBF, 7%
Sasquatch Brewing Company American Aquarium Drinker - Gose brewed with squid ink and seaweed, 4.5%
Agua Mala Sirena - Baja California, Mexico brewery made Pilsner, 5.2%
Great Northern Brewing Company Big Mountain Tea - Pale Ale with subtle notes of Earl Grey tea, 5.2%
Silver Falls Brewery Wisp - raspberry wheat beer with raspberries added to the end of fermentation, 5.5%
Thunder Island Brewing Company Fuzzy Wit - Wit with generous mid-fermentation additions of Oregon peaches, 5.5%
Gilgamesh Brewing CBD Pale Ale - generously hoped Pale Ale with 5mg CBDs per 12oz serving, 5.6%
Transpeninsular Cerveceria Playitas Cali Pale Ale - Baja California, Mexico brewery made "double session IPA," 5.4%
Wendlandt Cerveceria Perro del Mar - Baja California, Mexico brewery made West Coast-style IPA, 7% 
Deschutes Brewery Fruit Fight - NE-style IPA brewed with six hop varieties, 6.7%
pFriem Family Brewers Mango Milkshake IPA - hazy and juicy IPA base with lactose, vanilla beans and mango puree, 7.9%
Oproer Refuse//Resist - Netherlands brewery made fruity double IPA, 8.5%
Border Psycho Brewery Pervesa - Baja California, Mexico brewery made imperial IPA, 9.3%
McMenamins Edgefield Brewery The Jester's Nightcap - imperial stout, 9%
New Holland Brewing Company I Like Pretzel Day - stout made with soft pretzels in the mash, bourbon barrel-aged for three months and balanced with extra salt and caramel, 8%
Heretic Brewing Company Goo - imperial milk stout, 12%

For ease of checking in when we're at the festival we've created a wish list in Untappd. Following our check ins and comments there will be the quickest way to see what rings our bell. We will also try to get a quick post up here or on Facebook after our first visit. No promises though because, well, you know how attending a beer festival can reduce one's motivation. 

Oregon Brewers Festival
Tom McCall Waterfront Park
Thursday, July 26 - Sunday, July 29
Opens at Noon daily, closes at 9 pm Thursday - Saturday, 7 pm Sunday

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

West Coast Grocery Company Opens

Nope, we haven't started covering the opening of new places to do your grocery shopping. West Coast Grocery Company is in fact a brewery located in the heart of inner SE across Stark Street from Beer and Meat Cheese Bread and kitty corner from Revolution Hall. The name speaks to times past when the heart of the neighborhood was the corner grocery and in fact the owners' family has a history in the Northwest wholesale grocery business dating back to 1891.

Occupying the corner space of the building, the brewery features a sunken brewing floor that is open to the main level of seating, accessed by entering from street level. The bright space is made up by a combination of tables and bar rails on the perimeter. Go up a short flight of stairs from there and one reaches the second seating area where the bar is located. In addition to more tables there is a cozy living room like seating space as well as a shuffle board table.

WCGco has brewed a handful of beers with local breweries - Laurelwood, Breakside, Level, Baerlic and Victor 23 - that they will be pouring with guest beers from their 12 taps. As it turned out we had already tried the collaboration with Level, a Norwegian take on a Grisette, while at Level. An easy drinking 4.3% and exactly what we would expect from the style, it's great for warm weather drinking or the start of any session. As good as that was, we opted to try a couple of others that we had not yet tasted, starting with the hazy IPA collaboration with Victor 23. Fuzzy Balls Hazy IPA clocks in at a moderate 6% and features a pleasant hop presence. The other IPA available during our visit was Bo-De-Ga, a collaboration with Breakside. As expected from such an IPA powerhouse, this is a solid IPA that fans of Breakside's beers should enjoy. While they were out of the Laurelwood collaboration (a pale ale) and we didn't get around to the Baerlic (a pilsner), this initial line up offers a well rounded representation of styles.

To accompany the liquid libations their kitchen offers a small but something-for-everyone menu of snacks, salads, sandwiches, wings and burgers. At the preview we attended we were able to try a slider sized version of their burger, wings (both garlic soy and sweet & spicy), fries with Portland ketchup and spicy feta dip, potato salad, won ton chips, pork cracklings and jalapeno nacho cheese. All were well made with our favorites being the burgers and anything coated with the addictive jalapeno nacho cheese.

The soft opening takes place today, July 24 5 - 10 pm, with the grand opening scheduled for Thursday, July 26. Follow them on Instagram or Facebook for the latest updates on both events.

West Coast Grocery Company
1403 SE Stark Street

Monday, July 16, 2018

Von Ebert Opens Second Location

Today is the grand opening for Von Ebert's second location, located next to the Pro Shop of the Glendoveer Golf Course at NE 140th and Glisan. The space housed the RingSide Grill up until last August and has been re-imagined by Von Ebert with lodge-style decor. The large bar dominates the main room inside, with additional seating in a second room and on two patios for a total of nearly 250 seats.

We had a chance to check it out over the weekend and even with as warm at it was, sitting on the covered patio with a view of the 10th hole the golf course was very pleasant. For those that have been to the downtown location the food menu will look very similar, with a couple of location-exclusive additions. The beer menu is currently similar as well, but will become more distinctive once brewing starts on the JVNW built 3.5bbl system this fall. The plan is to focus on German lagers, Saisons, Belgian-inspired beers and spontaneous, mixed culture and sour beers. Utilizing space that isn't available at the downtown location they will be able to have multiple foudres, wine puncheons, a coolship and barrels also.

Having enjoyed the food downtown previously, this time we made sure to choose items we hadn't tried before. In an effort not to avoid over order, we went with the sausage and peppers pizza and an order of onion rings. As it turned out we would have had plenty if we had only ordered the onion rings, a huge basket containing some of the largest onion rings we've seen. Perfectly cooked with a breading that didn't flake off, accompanied by a chipotle BBQ sauce and ranch, and in no way greasy, this is the standard all future onion rings will be judged against. The thin crust pizza popped with color from the peppers and got a hearty flavor from the sausage. Enough for two people to split, or one hungry person on their own, it makes for a great combo with the beer.

On the beer side, we also tried to order new-to-us beers although we did end up with one we'd tried before. The 12 beers available ranged from Pilsner to IPAs, all the way to an imperial barrel aged stout. Das Dom, the "repeat beer," is a Kolsch-style, session beer that starts with a bit of a sweet aroma but drinks less so and tasted particularly fine on the patio. We were split on which beer was our favorite with the tie being between Sabrage and Chapter 3. Sabrage is a Brut IPA, a style that seems to be popping up all over as a bit of a correction from the [over] abundance of hazy IPAs that have recently come into favor. The light aroma was followed by a juicy and refreshing flavor and clocked in at a moderate 6.1% ABV. Chapter 3, a West Coast IPA, showcased the deliciousness of Simcoe, Mosaic and Azacca hops, again with a moderate ABV of 6.4%. Had we not been so full from the food we may well have enjoyed an extended patio session alternating between these two.

While this new location is a bit further out, for those who tend to focus on inner Portland, the trade off is a relaxed golf course setting that can be enjoyed year round with ample, free parking. Plus, once the brewing system cranks up later this year, they'll be putting out sour and mixed culture beers. With head brewer Sean Burke's background at The Commons we expect to see some outstanding beers being produced and are excited for many return visits.

Von Ebert Brewing (East)
14021 NE Glisan
11 am - 11 pm Monday - Thursday
11 am - midnight Friday & Saturday
11 am - 1o pm Sunday
Family friendly