Monday, February 22, 2010

Unexpected Surprise

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.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Meet the Brewer night - Ft. George

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.

Sunday, February 14, 2010


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.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

The Murky Pearl

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.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Deadlift Imperial IPA

Deadlift is a beer for hop lovers. Hard core hop lovers. The hoppy; the 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.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

The brew pub that never was..but says it is...but isn't

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 have a craving for triangle shaped fish, and one hell of a mystery.