The maverick brewery has brought out The End of History, a 55% ABV beer priced at £500 for a 330ml bottle.
The brewer says the beer’s high alcohol content “can cure the binge drinking culture, not fuel it”, and that the beer should be served in a small glass to be enjoyed like a fine whiskey.
The blond Belgian ale is served from bottles made with stuffed animals dressed in eccentric outfits. BrewDog says this “intentionally eye-brow raising statement” aims to “lift the veil on the mass market beer industry”.
The company says The End of History is the last high abv beer it is going to brew. “It’s the end point of our research into how far we can push the boundaries of extreme brewing, the end of beer”.
Only 12 bottles have been produced, using seven dead stoats, four squirrels and one hare. The packaging was created by a talented taxidermist, according to BrewDog, and all the animals used were road kill.
The brewer has been fighting a running battle with drinks industry watchdog Portman Group and health lobbyists over the strength and packaging of its beers.
Last year, Brewdog launched a 41% abv quadruple IPA called Sink the Bismarck!, priced at £40 for a 330ml bottle.
I admit to walking or driving right past this place several times. For no apparent reason really. I suppose I always had the "I'll try it next time" mentality towards it. Well, since Bushwhacker is in the Brooklyn neighborhood, we decided to check out our unknown neighbor. Opening the windowless door, you can not know what to expect. A room of regulars glaring at you for adding an unwelcome beam of sunlight in?? Twenty different baseball games on a wall orgy of flat screens? Or my favorite, a room with more lottery machines than patrons, and golf on the tele. Alas, none of these were the case as we braved the door, and became the first guests of the day. Soccer was on, and Fort George was on tap. A bigger surprise was the two dart boards on the north wall, above a well stocked book shelf with board games, trivia books, and Playboys. The one thing they have, that frankly I have never seen before is a very..descriptive beer menu. They list their drafts as "Malty, hoppy, light," etc. Brilliant. I can imagine the bartender answering those questions a thousand times, and finally saying "Piss on it, I'm going write it up, and let everyone have a read on their own." The big bonus that I liked that I mentioned before was the Fort George on tap, and not the typical (though still hard to find) Vortex IPA. They had the Nut Red, which of course was listed under "Malty." Yes, for throwing a few games, this spot in the Brooklyn neighborhood is pretty cool. Beer, darts, and Playboys. Hello flashback to Jeff's basement in 1996.
I have found that staring at the floor does not fill the cracks any faster, or make the magic goop we are using dry any faster. Still working on the cidery floor. Today, officially ordered my tanks. We do have all of the paper work done, we are waiting for one piece of the puzzle before we send it all in. All in all, for only signing the lease shy of a week ago, things are going well.
I have been crazy busy. Why? I am trying to give this town a much deserved cidery. I have finally found a worthy space, and am now in the finishing stages of the Mt. Everest tall stack of paperwork needed to put my dream together. Hopefully, we can be open by September 1st, with our own product being available by Thanksgiving. The name of the cidery is Bushwhacker Cider. It will be a cidery, cider themed bottle shop, and, hopefully, a mecca to play darts in. We will have cider on draft, and not just our own. Cider is awesome, plain and simple. So, tell me your thoughts, please.
Last night was a great night at Beer Mongers, but then again, aren't they all. The event was Sean's B-Day, the "8 year anniversary of his 30th". The boys at Beer Mongers know how to bring in a crowd. The shoulder to shoulder mass was treated to live music, Hammy's pizza (the best in the city), and free beer samples. The crowning event though had to be the drinking from the yard. I won a groovy old school beer mongers T-Shirt, though I was hoping to snag the grand prize which was a three liter bottle of Duvel. Oh well, maybe next yard day. I have tons of pics here.
There is a new reason to head up to upper Belmont, Cheese Bar. Cheese Bar..mmm..unless someone creates a peanut bar I can not imagine a better premise for a pub. The selection of cheese is staggering, and thankfully dished out by people that know far more than myself about cheese. The staff all seem to know the perfect pairing to go with whatever you enjoy there, or have at home. The tap selections are small but seem well thought out. During my last visit, I enjoyed a Wandering Aengus Pear Cider, while Erin had a Hale's Supergoose. Both paired brilliantly with the daily Euro cheese board, which during our visit features three Italian selections. They also have sandwiches, and other nibbles. The only bummer is I wish they would write somewhere what the daily cheeses are. They do tell you when they serve it, but they are such foreign names to me, I'd like to have something written down. That's a small bummer. With outside seating to enjoy the weather, and a nice array of gourmet gifts items, Cheese Bar is ..well..it is pretty fucking awesome.
I have been taking a short break from blogging. Just, really, haven't felt like it. I have needed to step back, and think. Something recently has renewed my fingers to the keyboard. I had one of my best friends from Illinois come in and spend a couple days with me. Much like spending the fourth of July with small children, seeing Portland, and Oregon through a set of new eyes is truly a worthwhile experience. He comes from a far off world where the only Oregon beer is Widmer Hef, and asking for an IPA gets you not a beer, but a confused look. Showing him around, from brewery to brewery, was a lot of fun. From the mighty Widmer, to the basement of Upright. I was getting bored, depressed, and could not get in touch with why I had originally moved here many years ago. The stress of a job you hate, and other problems in life seem a little more trivial once you realize you could have a job you hate....in..say..Oklahoma.
During one of these hit and miss lovely spring days, we took a long walk to down town, and stopped by Deschutes in the Pearl. With all of the recent media surrounding the new CDA style, we decided to do a side by side tasting of their Hop in the Dark CDA, and the Bourbon Barrel Hop in the Dark The Hop in the Dark, at 6.7ABV,was a very nice beer. It was crisp, and fitting in the style with a ying and yang balance of malt and hops. For my money, it may be one the of best offerings of this emerging style I have tried. It really tasted like it’s own self, meaning, not simply a Black IPA. Unfortunately I cant say the same for the Bourbon Barrel version. At 7.5%, it is served in a goblet, which is fine since any more would probably be damn hard to finish. The initial taste is sharp cherry, no doubt from the barrel aging. It then transforms into an overwhelming bourbon taste, with a Jim Beam type finish. I personally do not think this is a style that lends well to barrel aging. A trip to the family friendly Deschutes is always a fun time, a loud time, but a funtime none the less. The food is always good, and we all know what to expect from the consistent quality of most Deschutes brews. Be warned, if you are thinking of trying the Bourbon Barrel, ask for a sample first.
Calling the Fearless Scotch Ale, now available in a can, the worst tasting beer would not be fair. That statement would imply that it had a taste at all. While they have been successful at jumping on the band wagon of putting craft micro-brew into a can, they missed the part about having beer of quality go into aluminum. The 2.50 16oz will lose any taste test against a .90 PBR (Beer Mongers price), and get spanked by the cheaper Oskar Blues Scottish Ale. For $10 a FOUR pack, this ale, coming from the self proclaimed “grand exalted” brewer, should be more than good, it should be great. Sadly, like most other Fearless offerings, it is...blah. Blah isn’t bad necessarily. If your buddy starts home brewing, and his first ale tastes like this, you should be happy. If your buddy asks you to pay 2.50 a pint for it, you should laugh, then punch him in the face, and then tell him to keep his day job. Unfortunately, the brewer at Fearless never had such a friend. Even for Fearless this beer is lackluster, a poor representation of the style, and hardly worth the gas money to go get it, never mind the $10 four pack price tag once your there.
As a side, I “enjoyed” this beer at Beer Mongers on their beautiful new bar.
I found this cool video on you tube, and had to share it. Apparently, it is the video they used to show people before taking the tour of the old Weinhard Brewery on Burnside. Enjoy. This is part one...
Ugh, the thought of fest season pains me. Sure, the beer is awesome and it is fun to talk with brewers and beer fans, but... No, I will not go. The lines, the crowds, the..the everything. I would love to go and report back to readers of this here blog about said fests, I would. Unfortunately my idea of a crowd is myself, my wife, and the bartender. I just got back from Beer Mongers, I loved it. I could talk to Sean, maybe even talk with fellow customers, not feel rushed, shoved, or annoyed. I could go to the bathroom without a line in front and behind me. I know festivals are important and support the industry while showcasing new brews. I just can't do it. My mind transports back to the first fresh hop festival at Hopworks. The beer was great, but the crowd was insane. For me it sucked the fun right out of the event. Yes, I know, I am mental. My perfect fest would be the beer, brewers, and...well...me (ok, my wife too). But that is me. So new reviews or updates from the SB&WF. Nope. Anyone else feeling along these lines, or am I a crazy bugger?
Last night was the very generous media party at Upright. The occasion was created to release Upright’s newest seasonal, Four Play. I am sure you can read many reviews of it on any PDX blog. It was super tasty, and another feather in Alex’s cap. But, the beer I want to talk about is one that is going to be rare and gone fast, their Anniversary Apricot Ale. As a general rule I do not like fruit beers. Most I have had have the complexity of a fart and the flavor to match. Pyramid’s Apricot Ale, to me , is an ale made solely to encourage one to stop drinking or possibly commit suicide. That being said, Upright’s Apricot Ale is something that is hard to put into words. As I was taking notes last night, the word I came up with was “sincere.” The taste was..sincere. Fruity, not artificial, bold but not pretentious. Sincere. Upright’s Apricot Ale was aged in Gin Barrels. Barrel aged beer can go horribly wrong, or even worse, horribly boring. This went neither. [note: what we had was not aged in Gin barrels, but a future release of this brew will be, the Four Play however was aged in Pinot barrels] This 6% beer was intensely cloudy and had an amazing nose of natural apricot. I tasted not apricot flavor, but apricot. Of course, this was all balanced out with the house yeast, picked to suit the taste buds of the brewer. It is one of the best beers that will never touch a bottle, and one that you would be remiss not to scurry off to try. It is so good, in fact, it makes me forgive Upright for the truly..umm... unique Eucalyptus beer. After an exciting year in operation, Upright continues to produce beer that is made with skill, passion, and honesty. We should all count ourselves lucky to be able to watch with thirsty eyes Upright’s next experiment gone...perfect. For more pics, please visit my Flickr page. Also, do not forget, April 9th is Upright's one year anniversary party. Yes, there will be a lot of people there, but join the crowd.
It was time to explore an area outside of my usual two block radius last night. I was hoping to play some darts at a few new spots, The Trap and Slingshot Lounge. The Trap is a funny looking building at 52nd and Foster. While the front part advertises family friendly dining, the back holds what is the epitome of a neighborhood bar. At about 4:30, the place was nearly packed with customers that may very well have been there long enough to enjoy the advertised breakfast special. We had everyone beat by at least a decade or so, but they couldn't have been friendlier. If you don't mind a modest tap selection (PBR, Bud, Coors Light) and a bar maid that serves you only between smoke breaks, it's not a bad spot to catch funny car racing or waste an afternoon playing video lottery. The Trap is also known as a major dart playing location. The walls are completely covered with plaques and trophies from decades of play. The problem? They only have soft tip, pay machines. They do have an ATM for the currency disabled, like myself, but it was at the opposite end of the bar, and after two stiff gin and tonics, I wasn't making the trip. Down the road on 55th is the Slingshot Lounge. Overlooked and easy to drive by, it deserves a stop. Now, I went to play darts since their My Space page listed it as a game. Alas, no darts. The board was taken out, but may be returning according to the bartender. We instead entertained ourselves with pool and air hockey. If you have never treated yourself to drunken Air Hockey, your missing out on one of the true joys in life. The walls are lined with really cool artwork, and the lack of TV is a welcome change from other bars. The tap list was pretty good, we each had Ninkasi Spring Reign. The also have Lindeman's on tap, and Oly. Slingshot has been open for three years, but only had a proper kitchen for six months. It may be a young kitchen, but the food coming out is really amazing. We tried the deep fried cauliflower, calamari, and Fava Bean hummus. It was all good, and it is all made in house. It was all but empty when we were there, which is a shame. I hope they do well enough to stay open, it's a pretty cool spot, even if it is on Foster.
So, I did not go to any of the SE pub crawl events last night. Truth be told, I drove home past Bar Avignon and the crowd outside scared me. I decided to go to the much more low key Clinton St. Pub. I am glad that it was obviously a success, but large groups of people are not my thing. I do not really have much to write about, but I did see something on a walk downtown today that caught my eye. In a for lease building on Hawthorne, was what seemed to be a full pallet of Sterling beer. Every heard of Sterling? I sure as hell haven't. It was a brewery that started in the 1800's in Louisville, KY. I could retype the whole history for you, or I could just suggest you check this out. Or this. How this building on Hawthorne has a pallet of this beer is beyond me. Anyone out there have any input on this?
Does anyone really give a shit? In the town I grew up in, there was no micro brews, and every bar was a liquor license away from being the quality of a buddy's basement. Twice a year, the... umm, ok I'll call it a town, had two reasons to gather and drink. One was an unbelievably lame Oktoberfest, complete with Coors Light and Warsteiner for choices. The other was St. Patrick's Day. In hog country Illinois that meant the yearly tradition of green beer, and corned beef and cabbage. Let me tell you, green food coloring added to Keystone Light is something that only the most cross eyed of rednecks looks forward to year after year. Now, here in Beervana, do we really need a holiday, that 90% of people have no idea what it means, in order to drink. It's fun to turn focus to Irish beer, sure. But does wearing green and acting like an asshole go hand in hand? Apparently yes. I hate holidays that are celebrated by the masses for the wrong reason, and celebrated by people that have no clue why we are celebrating it. In Illinois, we got off every year for Casimir Pulaski day. Think any of us kids gave a shit why? No, that was an extra day to sneak into our parents barn and smoke swisher sweets and drink the stolen can of Old Milwaukee from the old man. I guess the point of my rant is, do we really need an excuse to drink? No, we don't. I drink for the taste, local offerings, and also in hopes that I will get so bombed that I will forget that I work for Shit Inc. with Satan as CEO. So, if you must get extra drunk tonight, take a moment to think about good ol' St. Patrick. I myself will get normal drunk, because that's how Patrick would have liked it, right?
About a week or so ago, we headed up to Seattle to catch a live show from the Trailer Park Boys. Before that though, we had a great time checking out a few watering holes, and playing some darts. The Owl and Thistle was our first stop. I found this place thanks to the Emerald City Dart Association’s website. They have three dart boards in the back room, which we were lucky enough to have entirely to ourselves. The beer selection is limited to what you may expect at an Irish themed bar, but the food was outstanding. Who knew you could beer batter Brie. The bar is hidden enough so that the typical crowds of tourists probably won’t find it. We did stop at Pike Brewing, but this being my second trip, I enjoyed it much less. For me, it is just too busy, both in people and in atmosphere. The take the Applebee’s route in decorating, covering every square inch in some kind of memorabilia. Located right in Pike Market, it does attract every stray thirsty tourist. I prefer to grab a 22 at my favorite bottle shop back here in P-town. Our last stop before the show was recommended to us by the most excellent bartender at Clinton St Pub, Wade. Shorty’s is not just a bar, it is an experience. Located north of the hubbub, it had a really great beer selection, full bar, and more creepy pics of clown’s than really should be allowed by law. It felt like Portland in Seattle. It is the location of several pinball tournaments, and rightly so. The entire back room is all dark, save the warming glow of the pinball lights. The front room has several classic games, including half pinball, half video Baby Pac Man. Knowing what I know now, I would have skipped the first two places, and spent a lot more time at Shorty’s. Trailer Park Boys were funny as hell, and I encourage everyone to see their new movie, Countdown to Liquor Day. Also, a trip every now and then to Seattle is worth while, though, I must say, I think we here won the best city to drink in award in my eyes.
My day off, I was looking for something different to try as I fixed our sink. I did not want anything too complex, heavy, or truthfully that interesting. Just something cold, non-skunky, and alcoholic. My hunting was helped by the fact that I had snuck into Beer Mongers before they got their beer shipment. That being said, their selection was self admitted by Craig, one of the owners, slim. Well, that forced me to search out for something new. My eyes were caught by a bottle, a bottle that did not fit within my usually rules for beer. One of my biggest rules is thou shall not drink beer from a green bottle. In my experience, the true mark of ghetto goodness. This bottle was different, a brew with a long tradition, and one that I honestly have never tried. Enter Lowenbrau. A staple at Oktoberfest since 1810, Lowenbrau can trace it's beginnings all the way back to 1383. Unfortunately, it got brewed by Miller from the mid 70's until about 2002. This period of time, roughly my entire life, gave the beer a bit of a tarnished image. I assumed it tasted like shit, even though I had never once tried it. Until today. Now it is once again being brewed in Munich. And it is really good, really good. I did not notice any skunkiness as described by other online forums, only a clean tasting, cheap beer. Cheap in price only (at Beer Mongers anyway). I thought the nose was very nice, and I poured it into a glass to let it open up a bit. The taste was fresh, clean, crisp, and made me bummed that I only bought one. The bad news? The distributor that services beer mongers has said that they do not plan on carrying it anymore. I would encourage everyone looking for something truly different, to go grab a six pack of Lowenbrau. Even if you have tried it years ago, give it another try. Come on, it's been made since 1383, that is 627 years of trial and error leading to what is one hell of a beer today.
Last night it was a packed house at Green Dragon. It was only second time I had been since the Rogue takeover. We were not there to play darts or pinball of course, since they ripped them out, we were there to see Chris from Ft. George brewery and have some tasty Murky Pearl. The whole crowd was definitely George friendly. Everyone listened intently as Chris talked about his brewery, and the romantic origins of his Coffee Girl Stout. After his speech Chris roamed the room, patiently talking to everyone wanting time with him, including this half drunk idiot. I appreciated talking with him, and will constantly promote Ft. George to anyone that will listen.
After a shift at my shit job, we only had time to visit one brewery during yesterday’s Zwickelmania. I love the idea of the one day festival, I only wish it could have gone on a little longer, for my own selfish reasons of course. So, we had to pick the closest brewery, and one I had not toured before, Hopworks. The crowd was great, and everyone working there was super friendly, and eager to answer every question thrown at them. I didn’t learn any great truths, or anything shocking or amazing, but it is always nice to see the inner workings of any brewery. The highlight was tasting a new Bock straight from the tank, “For those about to Bock.” Also being highlighted was HUB’s Cascadian Dark Ale, a black IPA that was very good. I am bummed we didn’t get to see more breweries, but there is always next year I guess. Just remember, everyday can be Zwickelmania here in P-town. Most breweries have scheduled tours, and others are usually always willing to give one with some notice. By the way, in case you did not know, as I did not, a “zwickel” is a sanitary sampling valve.
February is stout month at Ft. George. Instead of just promoting their own fine brews, they also have some hand selected offerings from Oskar Blues, North Coast Brewing, and Deschutes. For a measly $12, you can enjoy a taster tray with a Bourbon Barrel Cavatica Stout, aged in Wild Turkey Barrels; Coffee Girl Stout, the regular Cavatica Stout; a cherry flavored stout that goes by Bada Bing Stout, and their take on an oyster stout with Murky Pearl. Outside the George offerings are Deschutes Abyss, North Coast's Old Rasputin, and Oskar Blues Ten Fidy. The beer I want to focus on for this post is the 7.8% Murky Pearl. I will admit, before I heard that Upright and Ft. George were making oyster stout, I was totally unaware of the style. I am sure like anyone else unfamiliar with it, it sounds..well..disgusting. Long ago, oyster shells were used as a fining agent in beer. Oysters were also, and still are, considered to go very well with beer. Well, some adventurous brewer obviously put the two together, and mollusk flavored beer was invented. One has to wonder, was there ever a crab beer? Clam beer? History is full of failed beer experiments I am sure. But as we all know even bad beer will get you drunk, so is it ever really a failure? Back to the Murky Pearl. In the words of Ft. George..”we ran the wort through 3 buckets of Willapa Bay Oysters. We let the oysters sit in the wort until they started to pop open infusing the beer with the briny oyster juice.” Of course, I have to wonder what those oysters tasted like after being infused. The beer, for the uninitiated, does not taste like oysters. The only hint of this fusion is a slightly, pleasant salt aftertaste. The body is slightly sweet, a little oaky, with hints of licorice and cherry. It is heavy, full, and complex. It was my favorite out of the eight we tried. It eclipsed my former selection of stellar stout from the boys on Duane street, Coffee Girl. Last years was monumental, and worth the drive to Astoria. This years, unfortunately, had a over powering coffee taste making it bitter, and difficult to enjoy. So, oyster stout..what the hell. We have smoked beers, chili beers, mango beers, and seaweed beer. If it’s good, and not deadly, why not? It tasted great, and I am eager to try Uprights Oyster Stout. Kudos to Ft. George. For more info on oyster stouts, and especially Upright's Release, check out this link to the New School.
Deadlift is a beer for hop lovers. Hard core hop lovers. The nose..is hoppy; the body..is hoppy. Not that it is a bad beer, but there really isn't much else going on with it than what you could also get from eating hop pellets. Interestingly enough, it doesn't come off as too bitter, or at it's 8.6% too strong. Erin and I split a 12oz bottle, and honestly do not think I could have wanted much more. It comes close to the beer that turned me off from IPA's for a very long time. For me, after the interest of the Cherry Dopplebock, and the release of Drifter, a boring overly hopped IPA seems like a lackluster step backward for Widmer. Maybe my tastes have changed since the days I craved C-Note and other etreme IPA's, but I find most imperial IPA's to be kind of boring, and more of a science expereiment than an enjoyable, drinkable brew.
Have you ever have noticed an odd sign on highway 26 near North Plains? Listed on the food sign, along with Mc Donald’s, is a advertisement for Rogue Brew Pub. What!?! Well, I did not think Rogue had an outpost in North Plains, but I had to see. The font, and style of the sign is identical to that of a Rogue pub. Well, standing outside the establishment there it said, Rogue Pub. After entering it was still a tad unclear what the situation was. The place is covered with Rogue posters, and the menu has not only 4 or 5 Rogue’s on tap, they also sell Rogue 22’s. First off, this brew pub does not brew at all. Or ever has. I am fairly sure the place does not have any association with Rogue, but it is a crazy coincidence. Does any one know about this place, and why it is like this? If you see the sign, pass on by. Unless that is..you have a craving for triangle shaped fish, and one hell of a mystery.
I am sure many of you have seen a Pelican 22oz at your favourite bottle shop, or tried it on tap at some point. Until last Sunday however, I had never actually been to the brewery and pub, located in Pacific City. So we decided to pack up, leave rainy Portland, and got to rainy Pacific City instead. Pacific City is one of those little coast towns that you swear you have been through before, but you might not have been. South of Tillamook, you have to drive a ways off of 101 to get to it. Once your there, coming from the North, Pelican Pub is the first thing you see as you enter town. Immediately you realize that Pelican Pub may have the best view of any brew pub in all of Oregon. The place was hopping last Sunday, we grabbed one of the few last remaining tables. As you first walk in you walk through the gift shop, selling everything form t-shirts and hoodies to little surfboard key chains. Ashamed of hawking anything that can fit a logo they are not. We decided to grab the tasting tray for the low price of $6. It included all of the regular brews, plus their seasonal offerings of Bridal Ale, Anglers Amber, and Paddlers Pale Ale. Using a scale from one to ten, I can rank the beers: Kiwanda Cream Ale - 3 MacPelicans Scottish - 4 India Pelican Ale - 3 (had some hard, overwhelming citrus flavors) Doryman’s Dark - 5 (nice and smoky) Tsunami Stout - 3 (weak body, watery, odd aftertaste) Bridal Ale - 6 (smooth, low carbonation, and slightly sweet) Paddlers Pale Ale - 4 (IPA-ish, bitter, watery finish) Anglers Amber - 5 (clean, easy drinking, nicely balanced)
So, my favourite was the Bridal Ale. Though not a Belgian, it is claimed to be inspired by the country ales of France, and a Belgian lover would find something of interest here. It was sweet, but not malty sweet, more fruity. It was smooth at 6.5%, and could get you into trouble fast. On the mouth feel, I picked up notes of malt, banana, and possibly berries way back there. This was the best by far. The food we had was very good, and I like that they try to use fish caught by the local Dory fleet when they can. The meals are in the 15-20 dollar range, but well worth it. Overall, except for the food, I was let down. I guess I may just be off, since they obviously have won a lot of awards, a fact you are hammered over the head with when your there. And good for them. They have won the large brewpub of the year award at the World Beer Cup, and have taken gold in Australia for their India Pelican Ale. I didn’t have any beer that I had to spit out or anything, but nothing, aside from the Bridal, stood out as anything great. I wouldn’t go there just to go there again, but who knows, if your in the area, you have a long drive to anything else, and hell, the view is good.
It’s always nice to find a surprise. I have passed Morrison Hotel Bar numerous times zooming down the one way Morrison St. on my way to down town. It always looked a little corny to me to be honest. I mean, as a Doors fan, to name a bar that and to make the logo look like that seemed like an amazing display of copy cat-ism. I was wrong. I hate when I am wrong. The bar does not have many taps, four or five, but they boat an impressive collection of bottle choices that number well over 100. Everything form Strongbow cider, to the limited release of Widmer Brothers Cherry Oak Doppelbock. Why this place is not known as a bigger hot spot escapes me. The food is also fantastic. We had a house made veggie pizza that come out piping hot and tasty. They even have a proper, steel tip dart board. Located in no ones way, and complete with a handy shelf for your drinks and food. As I was admiring this, my wife skunked me two out of three games. That hurt. My wounds were softened only by the pints of Alaskan White I was enjoying. We can not wait to go back, and turn Morrison Hotel into a sexy dart playing Ménage à trois with nearby neighbor’s Root’s and Lucky Lab.
For my money, Oregon is blessed to be the holy ground of three great breweries, breweries that stand high on a hill to be praised and respected. Is every beer they make perfect? No. Is every beer they make good? No. Is every beer they make unique, special, and make with a gifted creative vision? Yes. Now to say this is cause for battle, I am sure. Oregon has a few breweries to choose from in case you haven't heard. So many in fact, I think a lot get lost in mediocracy. Then we have our mega-micro brews. They release consistently drinkable and enjoyable beer. We know what to expect from them, and we are pleased by their seasonal releases that show a little boost of interest from season to season. The Holy Trinity is Ft. George Brewery in Astoria, Upright Brewing in Portland, and Double Mountain in Hood River. The beers flowing from these sacred tanks, for me, stand apart. The best beers I have had in the past few years come from all three of these. They make amazing beer, and they have made some, well, less good beers too. But even Gordon Ramsay dropped a steak here and there. Upright’s Billy the Mountain is a big, brave, bold brew that causes instant silence, then contemplation, and finally an overwhelming thirst for more. But the Kiwi Cask Four, however, was hard to finish. But you have to respect the attempt. Ft. George’s Illuminator may be the finest beer I have ever had. It was an accident that went right, and last year’s release causes me to count the minutes until the 2010 version. The beer they make with rhubarb?? Not so good. The cause for this post, my recent trip to Double Mountain. A pint or four after a hike in the Gorge. A great mezza platter and darts. A beer that poured as sexy as a naked super model holding a pint in one hand, and a piece of smoked Coho in the other. The Imperial Chaos, an amazing stout that pours with a cappuccino colored full head, and has a slight oak and coffee nose. The body is heavy, smooth, and every taste should be lovingly enjoyed. You can taste coffee, oak, the candi sugar used, and the subtle use of Summit, Challenger, and Warrior hops. I can think of no better 9.5% ABV beer to wrap up a day of January hiking. So that is the good, now the bad. New to the brew list is a short offering of Jumping Jack Flash hard cider. Without going on some long rant of it’s faults, I will say it is cool they tried, but a great cider it is not. Another bummer, the most excellent Devil’s Kriek seems to have lost something. It was a delight when it came out, as anyone that waited in line at Belmont Station’s sour fest can attest to. There is only about a month's supply left, and it has lost the charm it had. The cherry flavor has morphed into raspberry, and the sourness is all but gone. It still looks beautiful, but the taste is gone. I have never gone to any of these three breweries without boyish anticipation, and I have never left without complete satisfaction and an experience that, well, causes me to write on my little blog.
A big brew has rolled out of Bridgeport. Aged 33% in Bourbon barrels, Highland Ambush is a tasty scotch ale available now in 22oz bottles. I found mine at a surprisingly well stocked Fred Meyer. The nose was strong, giving up a sweet, malty and molasses odor. It poured dark and brown, with little head. The taste is what really pushed this Scotch ale past other offerings I have had. It was malty with a brown sugar and molasses flavor, which was to be expected both form the style and the nose. But there was clearly more going on. I, or maybe my imagination, tasted some grassy and hay notes in a pleasant Belgian style way. The feel was strong, crisp and had some intense bursts of flavor. All of this carried through the after taste, and made for a very satisfying experience. The beer is 6.8% ABV, and available at better stocked Fred Meyers, and also at Belmont Station.
Situation: You find yourself stuck in Beaverton. Either you are there returning some present from a friend at one of the hundreds of strip malls, or you died and you have, for your sins, been sent to hell. For what ever reason a place to find a decent, non McMenamins, place to hang out has up to now been hard to find. Enter Loan Oak Public House, and coming soon, brewery. It is a bit hidden on the back side of the Cedar Hills shopping center, just behind Powell’s books, and within sight of Century Theaters. Perfectly situated in the vortex of consumerism, Lone Oak has just recently celebrated its sixth week of operation. As of now they have an impressive bottle list, as well as a well selected three tap lineup that rotates often. During my visit the taps were Widmer Sled Crasher, Ninkasi, and the 10 Barrel Apocalypse IPA. The beer was served in a nice, frosty cold mug. Charming as that was, it was not a true pint. Lone Oak also has a full bar, and a 3-6pm happy hour. In March, they plan on starting up a small scale brewery on premises. Right now they are still looking for equipment, and going through the fun filled licensing process. I could not get much info on the styles, but they do have a passion for quality Oregon brews, so hopefully the product will be good. Yet another brewery coming into town. It is getting harder and harder to keep track. I hope this one takes off, giving the west ‘burbs a place to enjoy some local made brew.
Well, I do not know what Alex and the boys thought, but I would say that the bottle release party yesterday was a complete success. Upright was filled to the walls with people thirsty for the release of their Gose, and Billy the Mountain. We had an amazing time, and I was more than happy to spend a half an hour in line to get a bottle of Gose and Billy and a glass of each. I will talk about those of course, but there was also some hidden gems yesterday, one of which was my personal fav of the day. The Gose was pale in colour, but not in taste. It is a little spicy, light, and has a gorgeous Belgian flavor. The night before I had a Damnation from Russian River at Horse Brass. The Gose reminded me of it, but exceeded it in complexity and taste. Billy the Mountain. What a beer. It spent five months in Pinot Barrels, four months in the bottle, and tastes of it. They refer to it as an "English-style Old Ale." I will not disagree with that, but I will add to it. It was lightly sour, sweet, and had a wonderful delicate nose. Billy was one of the best Upright beers I have had, and possibly in the top ten for Portland brews in general. I am going to let the bottle I bought sit for awhile, as it will be interesting to see see how it evolves. According to the Upright Blog, "The finished beer is ready but will surely continue to evolve for some time to come as the brettanomyces continues to transform the existing aromas and flavors." Ok, the big ones covered. But, as is my nature, I prefer the more unknown and hidden. My favorite of the day was the Congo Pale Ale. Described to me as a Belgian IPA, it did not fail. Alex had three "experimental" beers off to the side of the main taps. I hope this beer comes out of the experimental stage to the bottled stage at some point. It was light, crisp, and had a underlying hoppiness that was embraced and enhanced by the Belgian flavors. Combining the Belgian flavor and the IPA bite is like some kind of dream world where beer cans would be made from potato chips. I know, it's crazy, but I spend my days thinking of these things. Cheers to the boys at Upright. I had a great time, and was happy to see so many people supporting a fine brewery.
There are two upcoming beer fests that I am thinking of going to, and I was wondering if anyone had been before. The Belgianfest in Seattle, and the Strange Brewfest up in Port Townsend. Obviously, I would like to go to both, but my money tree in back has but a few leaves left. I like the sound of the Belgianfest. It is located in a very cool part of Seattle called Georgetown. This southern section of Seattle also hosts Full Throttle Bottle, Georgetown Brewing, and the old Rainier Brewery. Add all of that to a Belgianfest, well, I would be as happy as a dog with two dicks. Now, the Port Townsend trip sounds good too. I can not find any line up of breweries, or styles, so I would be in for some surprises. That trip would also give me a chance to check out Water Street Brewing and Port Townsend Brewing. Although a bit further, it may prove to be very interesting. So, has anyone been to either one, or both?
I'm as happy as a 32 year old with a kegerator..oh wait..that's because I now AM the proud new owner of a Kegerator. It is empty now, but I am staring at it with a loving glaze that frankly creeps out my wife a little. I can not wait to get it going. I just had to share this.
Two beers I have had recently have really grabbed my attention. Ft. George's North III Triple, and Captured by Porches' Invasive Species IPA are brews that are so good, they make you stop, take note, and be very thankful we all live where we do. To Dylan and Chris, thank you! I had the Triple at Bar Avignon, a stone's throw from my apartment. Bar Avignon may not be everyone's cup of tea, but I will say, they have a fantastic, although small, tap list. I will admit, I was there during our little snow storm, and didn't have my trusty notebook with me, so I can't make specific notes. But...it was one of the finest beers I have ever had. This Tripple, god dammit, was so amazing. I do not know where else in town it is, but I would suggest you run over here and try it. It was dark, strong, and one of the best Triples I have ever had. Captured by Porches finally has room to grow since fleeing the miniscule brewery they had at Clinton St. Brewing and moving the operation to St. Helens. This beer is by no means new, but it is new to a bottle. Now, not only is this beer a beautiful IPA, the bottle they selected is bold, and sets them apart. It is a flip top bottle, adorned with a striking label, and contains 25.4 oz of some of the most unique IPA you will ever have. It does not blow your head off with a field's worth of hops. It pours with a nice head, and has little nose, but makes it up with a dark, intense red/brown color. The taste is what makes it truly special. It has a bouquet of floral hops, and has very low bitterness. It is slightly, and I mean slightly, sweet. Invasive Species does not taste like most NW IPA's. No. It tastes better. It tastes different. It is not some crazy IBU pushing science experiment. Dylan actually considered taste, mouth feel, and pleasure. What does this cost you ask?? It must be 8 or 9 bucks. Fancy bottle, 6.9% ABV, 100% Vegan, etc. No. At Beer Mongers, when it isn't sold out, the cost is a mere $3.80 plus a $1 deposit. You bring the bottle back, you get your dollar back. It is worth every penny, and the best beer you may ever have for under $4.