Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Wild Ride Brewing

After a great Labor Day weekend in Bend hanging with our awesome friends Corey and Heather, imbibing at The Little Woody , and visiting some of our favorite breweries and pubs, we decided to hit one last stop on our way back home: the brand new Redmond,OR Wild Ride Brewing which has only been open since May 10, 2014.

Getting to Wild Ride Brewing is very easy if you're in the Bend/Redmond area, since it's a quick jaunt right off US-97.  As you drive through Redmond, you can't miss Wild Ride's aggressive facade which just pops and pulls you in.

There's plenty of patio seating and a couple food trucks parked outside. When sitting outside, be careful setting your beers down on the tables - there are a few holes in the tabletops that (we found out the hard way) are the exact same size as their taster glasses.  Oops!

Walking inside through huge open garage doors you'll find inside seating either looking towards the bar or towards the 20 barrel brewery.

I've see quite a few breweries and I must say Wild Ride Brewing is impressive. They did it right from the start, rehabbing an old Parr Lumber building with plenty of room to grow, spending the money to buy a good-size 20-barrel brewhouse & 40-barrel fermenters.  They also made the good choice to bring on an experienced, professional brewer ( Paul Bergeman brewed for Kona & Laurelwood).

We opted to get three taster trays so we could try all the beers, minus the Bourbon Barrel Aged Bitch Stout which wasn't available for taster trays.  Since we already tried that (on nitro) at the Little Woody Brewfest, we weren't too sad.  (It was excellent.)

Trying to sort through 12 large samples of beer is a challenge but the four of us made it happen, so we got a good introduction to what Wild Ride is doing currently with their beer. Current Beer Styles run the gamut from Cole's Trickle Lager all the way to the Stand Up Stout.  We were impressed with all the beers, especially since they've only been open 4 months - there don't seem to be many kinks that need to be worked out, and typically there are at this phase of operations.

Standouts for the four of us were, Lager (clean & easy drinker), Float On Saison (addition of the Kaffir Limes was excellent), Hopper Head IPA, Fly P.A., and the Big Booty Golden Ale with the addition of Huckelberries. But all beers were solid and clean and with 12 beers on tap Wild Ride has a beer style for everyone to drink. 

Wild Ride did a great job bringing a quality brewery to Redmond. I'm sure they will have great success. Make sure to visit them if you get the chance.

Wild Ride Brewing Co.
Wild Ride Twitter
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Wild Ride Facebook
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Monday, September 1, 2014

Tales from the Trip: Beer Bloggers Conference 2014 - Part 2

We love San Diego

As promised, we're sharing more of our epic beer adventure to San Diego with you all. Last time we told you about the crazy fun pre-conference tour of the up-and-coming LA beer scene; this time we'll tell you about what we learned at the conference proper.

Yes, we actually learned stuff while consuming unfathomably large quantities of excellent craft beer.  We swear that we actually remember (most of) what we learned in conference sessions.

No, we won't bore you senseless (or at least we'll try not to.)  But we figure some of you might be beer bloggers yourselves or might have interest in beer blogging.  And we're nice people, we believe in sharing, so here you go:

Lesson 1: BYOB

While you will be served seemingly never-ending streams of awesome beer, there will be unfortunately-timed beer gaps you'll need to cover.  Bring some of your own favorites and enough to share.  The "dry" periods are during the educational sessions, which we'll talk about below.  Don't get a good buzz going at lunch only to find yourself unprepared and stranded in a 2-hour lecture block with nary a beer in sight.  This is a recipe for disaster.  We're endlessly thankful for our buddy BrewDad who learned this important lesson long ago, and like a Good Samaritan, offered us liquid-aid at our most dire moments.  Bless you BrewDad!
Someone else planned ahead and filled this growler at Societe

Adam and I divided and conquered the sessions, so here are the highlights:

Lesson 2: Ethics for Bloggers are Highly Subjective

Have some.  Ethics, that is.  The guy next to you might have a wildly different take on what's ok and not ok, but that's to be expected. Those differences fueled some fun discussion.

One of the most discussed topics was disclosure of compensation. There's a consideration for norms and scale that plays in here.  For example: Want to accept a paid beer-trip across America from some purveyor of mass-produced American adjunct lager?  Fine, just please disclose it so everyone who's reading your posts can be appropriately skeptical of your claims of quality.  Do you accept free beer-mail from a local craft brewer, or free admission to a brewer's dinner?  Most folks seem cool with this, and agree you don't need to explicitly disclose that you got a freebie because that's kinda the norm.  This is because everyone assumes you got free beer, much like movie critics get free movie admission. 

But bloggers have various policies on this - some do a blanket disclosure, others handle case by case, and others go the assumptive route of "everyone knows I get this stuff free" and don't disclose at all.  We're fans of disclosure, so you'll see us note when we get goodies for free.

We got this delicious beer free from the good folks at Ninkasi - see, disclosure!
The hottest debate centered around whether bloggers should be critically journalistic, or whether it's ok to be nice and "cheerleaders" of the industry.  We heard from experts who said, essentially, don't post if you aren't bettering the beverage with your commentary, with the implication that criticism should be constructive and informed. We heard from others who said they only post about stuff they really like and want to promote, and if they don't like a particular producer they won't give them the free publicity a blog post provides.   Where do we stand? We're all about supporting the craft.  So pretty much, we write about what we like and promote what we love. But we respect that other people have a different approach to their blogging, no worries.

Conclusion: if you're blogging, have some kind of an ethical policy and hold yourself accountable. Do your best to be forthright and transparent, and most of the time you'll be ok.

The ethics panel in progress... where's the beer?
Lesson 3: No Crappy Photography or Blair-Witchy Videography

In today's world, there's no excuse for crappy cell-phone pictures.  With all the tools, equipment, and even apps out there to help improve your image quality, pasting a crap picture is unforgivable and lazy.  We were feeling a little sheepish about this because hey, let's face it, we're not the Ansel Adams of beer.  But, they educated us on what is and isn't good use of images, how to actually take good photos, and even what equipment we might want to (eventually) invest in.  We got some ideas for how we could step it up a notch and post more compelling images with the wordy stuff.  So hopefully you all notice some changes as we get better at this whole photography thing.

This is a crappy photo, and we are ashamed we took it
(but tasting Sour in the Rye from the barrel
was an unparalleled experience) 

This is not a crappy photo (and the beer was amazing)
Lesson 4: Keep the Blog Theme Updated Please

The nice folks giving this talk were from Automattic, the peeps who bring us Wordpress.  We don't use Wordpress (evidently most of the internet does, placing us solidly in the minority) but we still took away some good tidbits.

Most importantly, bloggers need a modern theme so if it hasn't been updated in a couple of years, it might need a replacement.  Sprucing up should include eliminating annoying things like content carousels which almost everyone hates, or including cool plugins that run your twitter feed or a calendar of events, etc.  Our theme's a couple of years old so we may take their advice and do some remodeling soon.  Thanks for the tips, Automattic guys!

Lesson 5: Take Social Media, SEO, and Marketing More Seriously

Evidently, we have a lot to learn to figure out SEO, and click through behaviors, and the importance of links.  We write this blog because we really love drinking beer.  And we were driving our friends nutty group-texting them pictures and descriptions of endless taster trays.  But yes, we would love it if we could reach more people to spread the gospel of delicious craft beer, so there are some technical things we need to learn to do.  On the plus side, we're not hopelessly unprepared.  One of us has an MBA with a marketing focus (though social media didn't exist back when we earned it - damn we're getting old) - so we have a ton to learn on this but figure we can put those marketing smarts to some use here!

This photo's a little crappy, but here we are learning about
brewing industry marketing, with Aubrey Cole from Warsteiner USA and Ben Weiss from The Bruery

So yeah, we learned a lot and think our blog will be shinier and more awesome after we implement some of the tips and tricks we picked up.  We certainly hope you guys will like the upcoming changes!

Next post will be way more beer-y, we promise.

Cheers all!

Gratuitous beer porn from our trip to The Yard House

 Related Links:

Friday, August 29, 2014


Fresh Hop season is my favorite time of the year. Fresh hop beers will be hitting the shelves and taps soon, and fresh hop Festival's will be taking place. Here is one announced from Sierra Nevada, happening on October 18th.
Press Release:
Chico, CA—August 28, 2014—Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. will host its second annual Single, Fresh, Wet & Wild® Harvest Festival on Saturday, October 18, at its brewery in Chico, Calif. The acclaim from hop heads after the inaugural 2013 event inspired the beer festival’s return as a yearly fixture. Single, Fresh, Wet & Wild celebrates the fall US hop harvest, and Sierra Nevada anticipates more than 50 breweries from across the country will together provide a beer lineup that showcases:
  • Single hop beers: Features only one hop variety
  • Fresh hop beers: Uses dried hops that are picked, shipped and added to the brew kettle within weeks of hop harvest
  • Wet hop beers: Uses un-dried hops that are picked, shipped and added to the brew kettle within days of hop harvest
  • Wild hop beers: Features hops found untamed in nature. At the inaugural Single, Fresh, Wet & Wild, Sierra Nevada poured a beer made using wild hops from nearby Whitmore.  

“Our excitement for this beer festival starts right now,” said Ken Grossman, Sierra Nevada’s founder. “We’re watching our estate hops reach their peak, and we head to the Yakima Valley in a few short weeks to get our hands on the first hops of the season. We’ll run into our brewing friends there, and we’ll have fun imagining the great beers to come, some of them folks will be able to try at Single, Fresh, Wet & Wild.”

With great anticipation American craft brewers await hop harvest season, with their hauls from the fields helping them design and plan beers for the year ahead. The more than 3,000 US craft breweries are an inspired bunch, using more hops in more ways than ever before—an ambition that helps steer the exciting evolution of beer ingredients. Single, Fresh, Wet & Wild is a snapshot of and a salute to the brewer ingenuity that’s shaping the tastes of drinkers nationwide.

Ticket sales for Single, Fresh, Wet & Wild begin Tuesday, September 2, at 10 a.m. PDT and are exclusively online at SierraNevada.com/SFWW. A general admission ticket includes a 6-ounce commemorative taster glass and unlimited samples, a one-time stroll through tasty pub fare prepared by the Sierra Nevada Taproom and Restaurant, and an energetic performance from the San Francisco-based band Monophonics who blend psychedelic soul and heavy funk. All ticket proceeds benefit the California Craft Brewers Association, which champions the success of the more than 450 craft breweries in the state.  
Sierra Nevada is currently finalizing its featured breweries and aims to share the list in late-September at SierraNevada.com/SFWW where festivalgoers can find all of the event details.

Single, Fresh, Wet & Wild Harvest Festival overview: 
  • WHEN: Saturday, October 18, from 1–6 p.m.
  • WHERE: Sierra Nevada Brewing Co., 1075 E. 20th St., Chico, CA 95928
  • TICKETS: $75 general admission (includes commemorative glass, unlimited samples, and food prepared by the Sierra Nevada Taproom). $30 designated driver. On sale Tuesday, September 2, at 10 a.m. online at SierraNevada.com/SFWW. Must be 21 years or older to attend.

Sierra Nevada Brewing
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Sierra Nevada YouTube

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Final Beer In Bridgeport's Trilogy Series Ships This Week.

 Trilogy 3 Brewers’ Class, a Collaboration with Oregon State University, Premieres this week

Press Release:
PORTLAND, Ore.August 28, 2014 — The third and final beer in BridgePort’s anniversary series, Trilogy 3 Brewers’ Class, starts shipping this week in all markets where BridgePort is sold.

Designed as a collaboration with students enrolled in the Fermentation Science Program at Oregon State University, Trilogy 3 Brewers’ Class looks to the future of craft brewing in Oregon and nationwide. Conceptualizing the liquid started over three months ago when the students, alongside program director Thomas Shellhammer, joined brewmaster Jeff Edgerton at the brewpub for a beer and some great conversation.

“We weren’t given many parameters, aside from that it needed to be a beer that the students would want to drink,” commented Shellhammer. “Knowing that BridgePort’s end goal was to sell this beer in all of their markets, we also tried to avoid anything too ‘out there’ that wouldn’t scale well.”

After a productive brainstorming session and review of Bridgeport’s current lineup, the Oregon State students dreamt up an easy-to-drink brown ale with a blend of dry hops that lend a unique aroma. Over the following months, there were multiple rounds of test brews at the OSU lab before landing on the final product: a sessionable dry-hopped Brown ale with an ABV below 5-percent.

“We used several classic Willamette and Yakima Valley hop varieties for this one” commented Edgerton. “Centennial, Sterling, Cascade. The unique hop flavors present themselves on the finish of this smooth, mellow beer and blend very well with the delicious flavors from the dark Caramel and Chocolate malt.”

It is now up to BridgePort fans to determine which Trilogy release will return as a year-round beer in 2015. Fans can compare each of the Trilogy beers, all available in the upcoming Voter’s Box Variety Pack, and then cast their vote on BridgePortTrilogy.com, on Instagram, or on Twitter.  The BridgePort Voter’s Box will start to hit shelves in early September.

About Trilogy 3 Dry-Hopped Session Brown Ale or Brewers’ Class
IBUs:      30            ABV:        5.0%       OG:          13.0        Color:  Brown
Ingredients: Centennial, Sterling, and Cascade hops, dark caramel malt
Description: Easy-to-drink brown ale with a blend of dry hops give this beer a unique aroma character. Dark caramel malt is used to give this beer a decidedly brown color. Low alcohol but still retains a malty backbone.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

6th Annual Little Woody this weekend in Bend.

One of our favorite brew festivals, The Little Woody Barrel-Aged Beer & Whiskey Festival starts this Friday. Is you are into barrel or wood aged beers this is the festival you should be attending....and don't forget you also have the bourbon/whiskey to taste as well.

Note:The Little Woody is a 21 and over event.

The Little Woody Celebrates Barrel-Aged Brews During 6th Annual Bend Festival August 29-30
2014 event features craft breweries from across the Northwest, whiskey tastings and brewer’s invitational golf tournament

Photo Credit Brian Becker

Press Release:
The Little Woody Barrel Aged Beer and Whiskey Festival will celebrate craft wood-aged beers from across the Northwest, along with small-batch American rye whiskeys and bourbons, during the sixth annual festival August 29 and 30, 2014. The Little Woody takes place next to the Des Chutes Historical Museum, 129 Northwest Idaho Avenue in downtown Bend, Ore.

To commemorate one of Central Oregon’s hallmarks—craft beer—and lend a nod to the historic techniques used by brewers with oaken casks, The Little Woody features small-batch beers aged in wood barrels by top Northwest breweries including Deschutes Brewery, Ninkasi Brewing, GoodLife Brewing, 10 Barrel Brewing, New Belgium Brewing and more. For a full line-up of featured brews visit www.woodybeer.com/little/breweries-and-brews

Ben Shirley, brewer at 10 Barrel Brewing in Bend, said, “The Little Woody has the
most rare and exclusive barrel-aged beers under one umbrella.”

Photo Credit Brian Becker

The 2014 Little Woody will also feature a tasting of small-batch American ryewhiskeys and bourbons, live music, local food vendors and the Little Woody Brewer’s
Invitational golf tournament on Sunday, August 31.

Entry to the festival is $8 with a commemorative tasting glass. A tasting package is $16
and includes a glass and ten tasting tokens. When purchased individually, tokens are $1 each and tastes cost 2-5 tokens each. To purchase tickets, visit www.woodybeer.com/little

 The Little Woody is a 21 and over event.

Photo Credit Brian Becker

The Little Woody Brewer's Invitational
Don't miss out on the second Little Woody Brewer's Invitational golf tournament celebrating Bend's love of golf and beer! After a demanding two days at the Little Woody Barrel-Aged Brew and Whiskey Festival, brewmasters, beer-industry professionals and the public will relax on the links at Widgi Creek Golf Course with a light-hearted format, unique prizes and, of course, beer. Mixing business with pleasure is a perfect way to end this Labor Day weekend event.

All proceeds from the invitational benefit the Deschutes Historical Society. Be part of
the fun on Sunday, August 31! Complete information about the tourney can be
found at www.woodybeer.com/little. Individuals and foursomes welcome.

Photo Credit Brian Becker

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Tales from the Trip: Beer Bloggers Conference 14 - Part 1

What an amazing weekend we just had!  We spent four days with some of the greatest people you'd ever want to meet, drinking fantastic craft brew, and generally geeking out over our shared love of fermented libations. The Beer Bloggers Conference in San Diego exceeded our expectations on all levels.

We had so many good times we can't fathom cramming them into one post, so we'll break this out into at least a couple parts.

Cigar City Invasion Pale
The Magic Bus: Thursday

After hanging out in the LAX baggage claim for a few hours, we were seriously ready for some beers.  Fortunately we met blogger Carol Dekkers from MicroBrews USA who hooked us up with some Cigar City Brewing Invasion pale Ale as we boarded the Beer Bus bound for LA (thanks Carol, we really needed that).

We're really glad we met our new BFFs pretty much right away: Jeff and Chris from Bottle Makes Three, Dave from All the Brews Fit to Pint, and Mike from BrewDad.  Visit their blogs - these guys are hilarious and know their beers.

 Co-owner Meg Gill
First we rolled into Golden Road Brewing where Co-Founder Meg Gill told us her story about starting Golden Road Brewing in 2011. An impressive fact about Golden Road is they have been in business only three years yet expect to brew about 30,000 barrels this year - wow! After hearing from Meg, we were off for a tour where we were lucky enough to try a brand new India Pale Lager, Might As Well IPL, ice-cold off the shiny new canning line. We ended our time with a sampling of Golden Road Beers.

Entrance to Angel City Brewing
Next up, we hit Angel City Brewery, which is in East LA and coming from the
'burbs this one was kinda far out of our usual element (barbed wire and graffiti!) They served up some interesting brews including an Avocado ale which paired nicely with our turkey sandwich.  We loved the interior space, which featured a loft, a spiral slide they wouldn't let us use, and games like table tennis and cornhole.

 Bruery Barrel Warehouse
Next was  The Bruery's barrel warehouse, or Heaven on Earth, as I (Emily) like to refer to it. The aroma is incredible, not kidding, one of the finer scents known to humanity.  And there are hundreds of barrels in there, stacked to the ceiling, a really beautiful sight to a sour-beer fanatic like myself.  We got to sample an impressive variety of their beers including a sour straight out of the barrel!!  Standouts were the Oude Tart, the Tart of Darkness Sour Stout, and the Sour in the Rye with Coconut and Pineapple.  But literally everything The Bruery produces is awesome; we're looking forward to their new sour and wild ale brand, Bruery Terreux, coming out later this year.

Smog City 15 bbl brewhouse
After they forced me out of The Bruery (kidding of course), we went Smog City Brewing, which is a cool production facility and tap room that reminded us of Portland.  The Coffee Porter actually tasted just like a fine espresso - we were super impressed with the intense, yet not bitter, coffee flavor.  Plus Laurie Porter, the co-founder, was friendly and engaging - we enjoyed hearing their story. 

Monkish 15bbl Brewhouse
Monkish Tasting room
Last, but certainly not least, was Monkish Brewing.  Let me tell you, when I muse about my own future beer line it contains a lavender Belgian and I was pretty darn sure until this weekend that was a unique idea.  Well, Monkish not only beat me to it,  I think they perfected that one.  The Saison De Lilah wowed me - it's a farmhouse ale featuring lavender and lemon peel.  We also enjoyed Matrimonium, a Belgian-style Imperial Stout brewed with coffee.

Who knew LA had such an interesting craft beer scene?  We're glad to have experienced it first hand in such great company.

A looooong bus ride delivered us safely to San Diego, where we'll pick up for Part 2 of Tales from the Trip.

Golden Road's Pub entrance.

Golden Road brewing up some beer.
Mural at Angel City evoking TJ Eckleburg

Slide at Angel City...but no sliding allowed

Indoor cornhole at Angel City
The Bruery beer waiting to be sampled

A barrel at The Bruery filled with beer
Laurie porter and Chris Walowski talking about Smog City

Smog City beers on tap when we visited
Just a few of the many beers to be sampled at Monkish Brewing
One of the Foudres at Monkish Brewing

Monday, August 25, 2014

Harvest Ale Release Party and Ales For ALS Party at Fremont Brewing this week

A couple great events coming up this week at Fremont Brewing

Thursday, 8/28, 5-9pmHarvest Ale Release PartyAAle. We will feature five Harvest Ale infusions as well as a casual tasting with one of our brewers at 7pm.
  • Infusions: In celebration of our Harvest Ale release, Fremont’s Brewers have developed five infusions.
    • Dandelion & Cranberry
    • Huckleberry
    • Mint, Lime, & Ginger
    • Chamomile & Lemon
    • Cucumber & Thyme

Saturday, 8/30, 11am-3pmAles for ALS Party
  • We’ll have a keg of beer on tap from all participating Ales for ALS breweries in Washington. All proceeds will be donated to the cause.
    • Bale Breaker: Bubba’s Brew, Session IPA
    • Pike: No. 4 Session IPA, Session IPA
    • Mt. Tabor: Little Dutch Boy ISA, India Session Ale
    • Triplehorn: “4” Ales for ALS, Cascadian Dark Ale
    • Two Beers: Fresh Hop Ale, Fresh Hop IPA
    • Fremont Brewing: Ales for ALS Kolsch-Style Ale, Kolsch Style-Ale