Thursday, November 8, 2012

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Beer tastings

So a couple of beers that I've tried recently.

Desschutes - Chasin Freshies (fresh hop ipa).  A good fresh hop beer that you probably won't find anymore as it's a limited release but if you find it, drink it right away as the fresh hop smell/flavor will dissipate the longer it sits in the bottle.  7.4% abv
Bridgeport Brewing - Hop Harvest (fresh hop) Pilsner. Another fresh hop beer but this is a Pilsner with a hint of fresh hops....oh and be careful its 8% abv....this one will sneak up on you.
 Heater Allen Brewing - Coastal. The brewery description is that its an Northwest Amber lager. Whatever, its a really great lager. 5% abv
 Deschutes - Hop Trip. Another fresh hop beer from Deschutes but this is a pale ale not an IPA. Excellent beer and I usually pick up a sixer or two of this every year. This is a seasonal release but you should be able to find this eveywhere unlike Chasing Freshies. 5.7% abv
 10 Barrel brewing - Pray For Snow. A strong ale, perfect beer for the coming colder, rainy nights. 7.6% abv

ST Helens Brewing - Fire Dog Red (Irish Ale). Ths is from a new nano brewery based out of Toledo, Wa. This was given to me by a friend that I crossfit with. 
 The famous Jubelale (stong ale) from Deschutes. What else can you say about one of the most anticipated seasonal releases of the year for the artwork and the change's in flavor from year to year. Well this year it doesn't disappoint. Its such a great beer and I plan to drink a bunch of it. 6.7% abv. 

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Bend Ale Trail trip

Bend Ale Silipint

Three Creeks Brewing
Long overdue post from a Labor Day weekend trip to Bend,OR.  First off I want to thank our good friends Corey and Heather for letting us crash at their house for the weekend. We had a great time with you. Second I'm not going to blog about each brewery as I've been to most of the breweries in Bend so really this will be about the new breweries that I hadn't had a chance to visit yet.
So once we decided to go to Bend for the weekend I knew that I wanted to complete the Bend Ale Trail and go to the Old Woody Brewfest and hang out with our friends Corey and Heather. So after we dropped the kids off at the in-laws' we headed out and drove through the Mackenzie pass and eventually turned off into Sisters and hit our first brewery of the day, Three Creeks Brewing . They are the 10th brewery location on the Bend Ale Trail and if you go out of your way to get your pass stamped from them then you get a secret prize along with your Silipint. Three Creeks is a cool place and its a nice stopping point on the way to Bend. The old west/saloon atmosphere is really cool and the beer is really good, stop in if you get the chance. We had lunch,  a taster tray, and scanned our Bend Ale trail app for our stamp and then hit the road towards Bend. So when we finally made it to Bend we didn't waste any time and hit the road in search of breweries.  The first brewery that we hit even though it wasn't part of the Bend Ale Trail was Crux Fermentation Project  run by former Deschutes brewing brewmaster Larry Sidor and a couple of partners. You can tell as soon as you walk in that this is a serious brewery setup. It really is a unique and beautiful setup with big windows behind the bar showcasing the serving tanks and off to far side the copper kettles, fermentation tanks and a glassed in area containing open fermentation vessels.  We ordered the taster tray and it came with 6 of the 8 beers, and our friends ordered 2 pints of beer, so we were able to try all the beers. All of the beers were good and I especially liked the Sugar Daddy and Sugar Mama beers which on the beer info card were called sweet pale ales. Definitely a must-hit in Bend. We then hit Cascade Lakes Brewing , well actually the Cascade Lakes Lodge (no brewery at this location) for a taster tray. They have quite a few establishments around the Bend Area and Redmond, and are one of the original Bend breweries having started back in 1994. This was one of the first breweries I visited in Bend with my friend Corey back in 1995 or 1996, it was really cool, just a small brewery in a warehouse with a taster area. They are much bigger now and the beer is still really good but I miss that basic their old basic brewery/taster area.
Cascade lake
After that it was off  to GoodLife Brewing for a taster tray. This is one of the new breweries in Bend and it's a huge space. It has a 30 barrel brewery with tons of room to grow, a Bier Hall with room for many to sit and drink beer and order food, then they also have an outdoor Biergarten. Its a really cool place and I will definitely go back. The beer is really good, of course when I find their beers in bottles or on tap around Portland I usually make sure to either buy a bottle or get a pint. I really like the Mountain Rescue Dry Hop Pale and Descender IPA.
Goodlife Brewing
 Next up we we continued on to another very new brewery Oldmill Brew Werks and this one was a hard one to find as it's basically in a normal office building - you wouldn't even notice there is a pub/brewery in the building.  Cool little space but unfortunately for us they were basically out of all their beer as they were upgrading to a bigger system (10 Barrel Brewing's old system), they had one beer of theirs on tap which was the Blond Ale and then a bunch of really good guest taps. Their food menu had some great options and we had the Scotch egg which was really good.  Next time we go back I hope to be able to try all the beers. After that we just went around to a bunch of the breweries to continue to get our stamps for the Bend Ale Trail: Deschutes, Bend Brewing, McMenamins. From Mcmenamins we just kept walking until we hit the Little Woody Barrel Aged Beer and Whiskey Fest. This was my first time attending this fest and I can tell you that this was one of the best beer fests I've been to. It's small so even though it got crowded later in the evening I never felt like it was too crowded, also you get an actual glass, not one of those plastic cups, so that was nice. Of course all the beers were barrel aged so that was really great as I love barrel aged beers. Breweries that attended were 10 Barrel, Block 15, Boneyard, Bend Brewing, Brew Werks, Cascade Lake, Deschutes, Hopworks, GoodLife, McMenamins, Ninkasi, Silver Moon, Three Creeks, Oakshire and one cider company Carlton Cyderworks. Beers that stood out for me were, Boneyard's Suge Knight, Deschutes Pinot Twilight and Plum Line Sour (wife loved this one), Goodlife's Jam & Oak aged pale Ale, and Oakshire Bourbon Nutcracker. I plan to make this one every year  its a great fest with great barrel aged beers and it's for a charity...oh but these were all big beers so if you go be careful they add up really quick...hahaha. 
Me, Corey, Heather and Emily at the Little Woody Barrel Fest.

 After the Fest we hit 10 Barrel Brewing for some late night food and a couple of beers. Didn't take any pics of 10 Barrel as I been numerous times and well its a great place with great food and beer just like Bend Brewing, Deschutes both of which I've also been to numerous times but figured these were the ones that I would skip over this time.
Sunriver Brewing taster tray
The next day we decided to get over to Sunriver and the new Sunriver Brewing Company for an early lunch. We must have been the first people in as it was a bit early but that was nice as we got a chance to take in the space and order a taster tray. They had 3 of 4 beers on tap, stout, pale, amber, with the  IPA being out (we subbed a guest beer for that one). The beers from what I've heard are actually being brewed by Phatt Matt's brewing in Redmond. The beers were good, not excellent but good, they did have some other good guest taps as well . The food was good, the space is really cool and really its just what Sunriver needs, now you can just walk or ride your bike down from your house/condo to the brewery and get a pint. After a nice lunch at Sunriver Brewing we drove back to Bend and stopped in at Silver Moon Brewing which we had been to once before. Had a quick taster tray and then drove over to Boneyard Brewing which was my first time
1/2 of the taster tray at Silver Moon
visiting the brewery/tap room.
 What's cool about Boneyard is that its just a production brewery and tasting room and nothing else. It's kinda of nice after hitting all these brewery/pubs to go to a brewery who just wants to brew awesome beer and nothing else. We had a chance to have 3 tasters ($1 each) of RPM (Which I drink any time I find it on tap), Girl Beer (which the wife really liked), and Diablo Rojo (got a couple of growlers to go.) We were bummed they didn't have more on tap, since recently I checked and they had like 6 beers on tap in the tasting room, but during the summer months they were getting slammed and basically all their beer were gone....not a bad thing if you're a brewery....haha but bad for the tasters. But they had just installed a bunch of new tanks and started around the clock shifts, so that's awesome... Boneyard beer is excellent and I have seen in various beer sites/blogs that they are planning on moving into a new 15,000 sf facility in 2013 with a bigger brewhouse (50 bbl brewhouse) and we should be seeing even more Boneyard beer in the future. 

Boneyard Tasting room
  So had a great Labor day weekend, weather was perfect, the beer adventures were fun. A big thanks to our friends Corey and Heather for hosting and for the laughs!

Goodlife Brewery

Bar at Crux


Saturday, October 6, 2012

My wife and I had the day off from the kids last month and it was a beautiful day so we decided to head into Portland.  First stop was Burnside Brewing. I have been a few times but my wife hadn't so I figured it would be a fun place to stop. I ended up getting the Fresh Hop Sterling Pub draught and then Emily got a taster tray...well I pretty much got that one as well as I helped her drink it - it's a pretty big taster tray.  No food this time as it was the first stop of the day. I really like the beers at Burnside. They really make some great standards and always have some good but interesting seasonals, and the food is really good when I've had food.
Next is Emily's favorite, Cascade Brewing Barrel House. We stopped in and Emily ordered her favorite sour beer, Honey Ginger Lime. I ordered a bunch of tasters. Two that were just unreal were the 2012 Diesel Stout and the 2012 Diesel #2. Both beers were aged in whiskey barrels and the #2 version is the Chocolate version. Both just unreal, probably some of the best barrel aged stouts I've ever had.  I also had samplers of the blueberry sour, Raspberry Wheat, Pink Bellini.

 Next up and last on our stop was The Commons Brewery. This was my first trip to the Commons Brewing facility and I've really wanted to go for a long time and I wasn't disappointed.  This is a small brewing facility and is bit hard to find if you're not from the area, so use navigation if you have it.  We did a taster tray which is four beers for $4, but they had eight beers on tap so of course I had to get all eight beers....Wow that's a lot of beer and for $8 is a really good deal. We probably could have used a helper to finish the beer. Basically they have a small bar where you get the beer and then they have a couple of barrels you can put the taster trays on and then you're basically just drinking right next to the brewery and barrels.   It's just really cool. These are the breweries I really love, just production breweries where you can try the beer, walk around and see the entire brew house, fermenters, kegs/barrels and that's it.


Thursday, October 4, 2012

Heater Allen IsarWeizen and Speakeasy Vendetta IPA

Had a couple of new beers the other day.

Heater Allen's IsarWeizen, which is a bavarian style wheat beer. I picked this 22oz bottle up at the brewery in McMinnville. This is a great summer beer and one that they only make as a summer seasonal beer and its available in late July/August. Good beer, if you find it pick one up.

My parents picked up this 22oz bottle of  Speakeasy Ales & Lagers Vendetta IPA in California down in the Carmel/Monterey area. This is from their bootlegger limited series. This beer is almost a double/imperial IPA.  Not sure if you will find this beer in Oregon or Washington? But if you do pick it up and try it out.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Everybody's brewing pint glass and Bend Ale Trail silipint

I have a pretty big collection of pint glasses from years of visiting breweries. Over the last five years I have pretty much stopped buying glassware as I just don't have the room anymore.  But I picked up two recently.  When we stopped in at Everybody's brewing I decided to pick up two of theirs. They have an interesting shape, they are shaped like a typical glass not a pint glass with a little lip, they look like they are pretty small but actually hold a 16 oz bottle of beer.  I really like them and they feel good in the hand.
Note the test beer is a 12oz bottle of beer, but it fits a 16oz of beer.
The next pint glass was from the Bend Ale Trail.  Emily and I went down to visit our friends in Bend and we had a great time visiting the various breweries. In order to get the free commemorative Bend Ale silipint pint glass you had to visit 9 Bend breweries and either get a stamp on a map or get the Bend Ale Trail app and then scan a little barcode and you get a virtual stamp.  After you visit them all you go down to the Bend visitor center and show them your stamped map or app with the virtual stamps and they give you the silipint.  Silipint is a company based out of Bend and is the first pint glass made from silicone. The silipint is a traditional style pint glass shape and holds 16 oz of beer, it had no weird smell from the silicone.  It takes a bit to get use to holding it as its firm but if you had a full pint and grabbed it fast or even squeezed it a bit the beer is going to come out, but otherwise its just like a normal glass pint. I think its a pretty cool product and it has its place in the beer world as its light, not breakable, 100% food could bake in it if you wanted to. If you have a chance to do the Bend Ale trail you should take a couple of days and enjoy the trek around Bend and enjoy all the great breweries and get yourself a silipint.

very flexible, so you need to be careful when the holding the silipint if its full.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Everybody's Brewing

So a couple of weeks ago the family and I went out to hike Beacon Rock. This was our first time hiking up to the top of Beacon Rock. It was a nice hike and was a great one to do with the kids as it's a pretty easy hike.

But with a nice hike comes a thirst for a beer, so we headed on down to one of my favorite breweries/pubs...Everybody's Brewing in White Salmon. This is a great pub with great food and great beer and really friendly service. The pub is very comfortable with a long bar and lots of seating inside and an excellent patio that on a clear day looks out to Mt Hood.  The food/menu is pretty diverse with lots of options that should satisfy everyone. The beer is great with usually 7 to 9 beers on. It had been awhile since we had been their so I ordered up the sample tray and it came with 7 of 9 tasters...they were out of 2 of the beers as they has just had their 4 year anniversary big deal... also had a pint of Daily Bread/common Ale. All the Beers were great, and around Camas or PDX I usually only see Country Boy IPA and Local Lager (which are both excellent beers). So it's nice to get over to the brewery and try out all the other beers they have and with 9 beers on tap usually, you will find something to like.  It's a bit of a drive to get out to White Salmon but it's beautiful drive. And if you really want to make it a nice little brew tour from SR-14, you could stop in Stevenson and hit Walking Man Brewing then drive onto White Salmon and hit Everybody's Brewing, then cross over into Hood River and hit my other favorite brewery/pub, Double Mountain Brewing, then Full Sail Brewing, Pfreim Brewing, and Big Horse Brewing. If you live on the Oregon side coming from I-84 then hit the Hood River breweries and then crossover into White Salmon and hit Everybody's brewing and then head on down SR-14 to Stevenson and Walking Man brewing.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Fresh Hop Beers.

So last weekend had my first two fresh hop beers of the season. For those of you who don't know, fresh hop beers are made with wet, undried hops, they are usually picked and then brewed with all in the same day. 
The first beer was a fresh hop hop Sterling Pub draught from Burnside Brewing. The 4% abv beer was a nitro pour and was an English Style pub draught (hence the nitro pour) beer with 130lbs of sterling hops. Was really tasty. 

The next day the family and I met up with my brother and his girlfriend at Breakside Brewing. I had the "Wet Hop Simcoe IPA, one of the best fresh hop beers I have ever had. The beer was 5.9 abv and they used Simcoe hops fresh from Yakima. Hope to get back and have more of it..

Hopefully I can get out quickly to more breweries and get some more Fresh Hop beers as you really want to try the beer at as soon as its tapped as the fresh hop beers are meant to be consumed asap....either way I'm planning on hitting the 2012 Hood River hops fest next weekend on Sept 29th and will get plenty of fresh hop beer tastes....Check out the New School Beer blog as he put  together an amazing beer list for the festival.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Double Mountain bottled beer

Here are some pics of the Double Mountain beers, Kolsch, Vaporizer (Dry Hopped Pale Ale), IRA (India Red Ale), and Hop Lava (IPA). All excellent beers and nice that I can have them without trekking all the way out to Hood River. They are 16.9oz bottles that are commonly used in Europe, Canada, and other parts of the world. They are made to be extra strong/durable so they are perfect for reuse which is what Double Mountain plans to do with them, you can return your bottles to them and then at some point they will be reused...pretty cool.  Right Now they are selling them only at the brewery/tap house but I expect that you will see them soon in Portland at the various bottles shops, New Seasons, etc.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Hood River trip

So a while back the family and I went out to Hood River and hit one of my favorite breweries/pubs...Double Mountain. If you haven't been yet you really need to get over to Hood River and check it out. Double Mountain has taken over the space next door so there's much more room now for eating and drinking.  This makes the experience better as they used to have pretty long wait times to get in. We walked right in and got a table and ordered a pint of the Dapper Dan Nitro Ale with an ABV was only 3.5%...really great beer and it was pretty early in the day so the low ABV was great. Emily had her favorite, the seasonal Devil's Kriek 2012, which she gets every time we go to the pub (if it's on tap.)  Now besides the awesome beer I think that Double Mountain puts out the best pizza anywhere- seriously it's awesome.  It always has this great char from being cooked at 650/700 degrees, its thin crust is always light chewy, simple ingredients, always fresh...the BEST! We ordered up to pizzas: one pepperoni for the kids and one of the seasonals for us, heirloom tomato, which was amazing.

Also on the way out I picked up a case of their newly bottled 16oz beers, Kolsch, IRA, Vaporizer, and Hop Lava. Its nice to now have Double Mountain beers in my beer fridge.
Stop number 2 for the day was out to the Hood River Fruit loop. We stopped in at one of the local farms and picked up some fruit and the kids ran around in a hay maze, another one of those great things to do with the family.

Stop number #3 was at the newly opened Pfreim Brewing which is right on the waterfront on the Columbia River. Since I had the family with me what made this stop really nice is that there is a huge park right across the street with stuff for the kids to play on and a sandy beach for playing/swimming in the water. So we let the kids go over and play while I tasted the beer.
Most of the styles that they had on at the current time were Belgian-inspired beers which looks to be the type of beers they will be focusing on, but they had a couple of NW styles as well. I had the taster tray that had 6 tasters in a wood taster box which was a neat way to present the beers. The 6 beers were the Wit, Belgian Strong, Blond IPA, IPA, Belgian Strong Dark, and Belgian IPA. All the beers were really good, the space is small but nice and clean with the brewery in the back and open for view and they do have food but I was in a hurry so didn't order any food. It was really busy so if you get a chance to check it out don't be surprised that you might have to wait. I will definitely visit Pfreim again soon and stay a bit longer.