Two Stouts and a Triple IPA from Ecliptic Brewing Co.

Ecliptic Brewing Co. continues its steady release of seasonal beers. This month looks especially tasty with the unveiling of three limited-release beers (descriptions provided by Ecliptic).

Oort Imperial Stout:  Oort is named after the mysterious region of our solar system that breeds comets. Massive amounts of roasted barley and chocolate malts combined with three types of caramel malts for a rich, full, mouth feel. Chinook, Cascade and Sterling hops lends a balanced bitterness and subtle hop flavor to this brew that’s as black as the vacuum of space.

Bourbon Barrel-Aged Oort Imperial Stout:  Barrel-aged version slumbered for fifteen months in 12-year-old bourbon barrels, imparting flavors of bitter chocolate, vanilla, and oak. It drinks especially chocolatey, with some heat from the barrel.

Hypernova Triple IPA:  Like its cataclysmic namesake, Hypernova Triple India Pale Ale explodes with flavor. Boasting a full malt backbone, Hypernova is layered with tons of hop bitterness and character. Two separate dry hop additions with loads of Simcoe, Amarillo, Motueka, Azacca, Calypso, Cascade, Chinook, and Columbus hops amplify Hypernova’s aroma to stellar proportions.

The two versions of Oort and Hypernova are making their way onto their shelves now.

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CiderCON '16: Day 1 Recap

CiderCON 2016, the nation's largest cider industry gathering kicked off today. Portland was chosen to host this year's event, which is typically held in Chicago. Over 1,000 people from 44 states and 5 countries travelled to Rose City for this rapidly growing event. Over 30 different sessions, covering a vast range of topics, were held in just the first day. Here's a brief overview of the sessions that I attended.

Cider Market Review & Outlook:  The cider industry continues to grow at a rapid rate, and experienced 15% growth in 2015.
  • If cider was a craft beer style, it would be the #2 selling style behind IPA.
  • Six-packs (of bottles) are the most widely used form of packaging in the cider industry, representing 55% of sales. Cans, currently 17% of sales, are growing in popularity. 
  • As the cider category has emerged, three distinct consumer segments have emerged: Occasional, Regular, and Core cider drinkers.
  • Plenty of long-term upside remains in the cider category. In 2015, cider represented just 1.1% of beer volume.

Perry with Tom Oliver:  Tom Oliver is an award-winning cider maker and owner of Oliver's Cider and Perry from Hereford, Herefordshire, England.
  • Perry is a cider made with pears, and dates back to 1629.
  • Oliver makes his perry in small batches, ferments with naturally occurring yeast, and practices minimum intervention as part of his process.
  • The perry pears used to produce his cider are very limited in number. Growing them to maturity takes nearly 30 years! On the plus side, they can produce for 100-130 years.
  • We were lucky enough to taste two of Oliver's perrys.  Both were tart, semi-dry, and had some light funky notesdelicious!  

2015 Apple Crop Update & 2016 Outlook
  • 93% of US apple production comes from 7 states (Washington is the largest).
  • 7.5% of the US apple crop was used to produce 54 million gallons of cider in 2014. 
  • Apples are the largest fruit export from the US, representing $1B of sales.
  • Most domestic apple production is for the "fresh" market. These are the apples you see in the grocery store. They're also known "dessert" fruit. 
  • High-end ciders are typically not made with dessert fruit.  Instead, ciders use apples that are high in tannins, which add complexity.
  • Apple juice concentrate is a by-product of the fresh segment. 
  • U.S. demand for apples and apple juice is so high that we must import product. Much of our supply comes from China, which produces over half of the world's apple supply.

Distributor Views of Cider:  Three distributors focused on craft beverages shared their views.
  • While cider is the fastest growing segment of their portfolios, it's still relatively small and has much room to grow.
  • Craft cider is growing faster and is taking share from macro cider.
  • Macro cider played a key role in the industry, as it established relevance for the category as a whole and created space for craft cider to grow. Macro cider first attracts consumers to the segment. Once they enjoy cider, they begin to explore the craft space.
  • Quote of the day...  "Millennials who live in their parents' basements have no issues with paying $12 for a six-pack (of cider)."

Rapid Expansion:  In this session, Brent Miles of Seattle Cider and Lee Larson of Two Towns Ciderhouse shared the lessons they learned as part of their journeys in building successful cideries. They covered a wide variety of topics including types of packaging, equipment, and even pros and cons of different types of filtration systems.

Hops & Cider:  Joe Casey of Square Mile Cider and Nat West of Reverend Nat's shared their tips and tricks of using hops in cider. Generally, ciders add hop flavors through the dry-hopping technique used commonly in craft beer. We tasted a unique "brewed" cider from Reverend Nat's that was brewed (like a beer) with three hop additions.  

In addition to all of the educational sessions, an industry trade show was held.  Vendors showcased a variety of wares from bottles to fermentersall the good stuff needed for a cidery. It was a great opening day!  I expect the final day of CiderCon 2016 will be even better!

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Inaugural Blasphemous Brewfest, February 6-7

I can't say that I've ever been to a psychedelic and stoner music festival. I may finally get my long-awaited chance this weekend at Sabertooth "Psychedelicstonerrockmicrofest" at McMenamins' Crystal Ballroom. As appealing as this mind altering experience may sound, I'm far more intrigued by the Blasphemous Brewfest that will occur as part of the event. Here are some details about the beer portion of the event. 

Blasphemous is a curated tasting experience comprised of unique products from seven innovative fermentation houses, showcasing their wild and weird small batch beer styles custom made for the festival by McMenamins and other local breweries.

Blasphemous offers patrons a unique, immersive, five-sense experience that complements the similarly unique, and blasphemous offerings. As these products are extremely small batch and rare, offerings will rotate based on availability. This unpredictability is our way of introducing a bit of chaos to the typical “brew fest” formula. Also, in keeping with this idea, we will strive to eliminate the inertia of line-waiting as well, and add a bit of stylized atmosphere for good measure.

Beers are available for purchase in Lola’s Room on Saturday and Sunday for ages 21 and over starting at 5 p.m. Sabertooth ticket holders can bring beers directly from the brew fest up to the Crystal Ballroom to watch music.

I'm a big fan of experimental small batch beers.  Here's the taplist:

  • Date Night 2015, Cascade Brewing Co., Bourbon barrel blend, with dates and mulling spices
  • Oaken Tower, McMenamins Crystal Brewery, Wild fermented raspberry ginger beer
  • The Pathfinder, Breakside Brewery, Gin-barrel double IPA, dry hopped
  • Carpe Diem Mañana, Ale Apothecary, Wild fermented hoppy ale
  • Ralph, Ale Apothecary, Wild white fir ale, aged in pinot barrels
  • Barrel Blend of Rose / Four Play, Upright Brewing, Barrel blend
  • Black Rose, McMenamins Edgefield Brewery, Sour Terminator fermented in bourbon barrels for 1 year.  

There's nothing ordinary about any of these beers. They all sound amazing!

Entry to the Blasphemous Brewfest is included with a Sabertooth Micro Fest ticket. Beers are $2.50/4 oz. sample. All beers (except Ale Apothecary and Cascade Brewing) are available in pint and half pint pours with variable pricing. For more details, check out the press release below.

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– McMenamins’ Sophomore MicroFest Celebrates Crystal Ballroom’s Past –

WHAT:  McMenamins presents the second annual Sabertooth MicroFest, a psychedelic and stoner music packed weekend, taking place Feb. 5-7, 2016 in downtown Portland. Drawing on the counterculture history of the Crystal Ballroom, Sabertooth celebrates the mind-altering experiences that started in mid-'60s folk, rock and blues. From the Peace Rites of Allen Ginsburg and historic performances by the Grateful Dead through the Flaming Lips Boom Box Experiment, the Crystal has always been the place to experience psychedelic music in all its forms. The bands featured this year, including Super Furry Animals, Red Fang and Built to Spill, represent a wide range of psychedelic music styles and interpretations of the art form.

In addition to a full music line-up, MicroFest goers and craft brew aficionados can enjoy the Blasphemous Brew Fest – a showcase of seven wild and weird small batch beer styles custom made for the MicroFest by McMenamins and other local breweries. Beers are available for purchase in Lola’s Room on Saturday and Sunday for ages 21 and over. Sabertooth ticket holders can bring beers from the brew fest up to the Crystal Ballroom to watch the show.

In the spirit of the event, Al’s Den (at Crystal Hotel) features its own psychedelic stylings all weekend from 7-10 p.m. by two of Portland’s homegrown artists: World’s Finest on Friday and Saturday, Feb. 5-6 and Quick and Easy Boys on Sunday, Feb. 7.

Sabertooth music line-up at Crystal Ballroom


  • World’s Finest, 7 p.m. (Al’s Den)
  • King Black Acid, 8 p.m.
  • Earth, 9 p.m.
  • Super Furry Animals, 10:15 p.m.


  • Beer Fest, 5 p.m. (Lola’s Room)
  • Eternal Tapestry, 6:30 p.m.
  • World’s Finest, 7 p.m. (Al’s Den)
  • Witch Mountain, 7:20 p.m.
  • OB, 8:25 p.m.
  • Red Fang, 9:30 p.m.


  • Blasphemous Beer Fest, 5 p.m. (Lola’s Room)
  • Brett Netson & Snakes, 6:30 p.m.
  • Quick and Easy Boys, 7 p.m. (Al’s Den)
  • The Fresh & Onlys, 7:20 p.m.
  • Mikal Cronin, 8:25 p.m.
  • Built to Spill, 9:30 p.m. 

* Showtimes subject to change, check the website for updates

Blasphemous Brews at Sabertooth provided by:

  • Ale Apothecary
  • Breakside Brewery
  • Cascade Brewing
  • McMenamins Crystal Brewery
  • McMenamins Edgefield Brewery
  • McMenamins Thompson Brewery
  • Upright Brewing

February 5-7, 2016
Friday: Doors at 6 p.m., Music at 7 p.m.
Saturday: Doors and Brew Fest at 5 p.m., Music at 6:30 p.m.
Sunday: Doors and Brew Fest at 5 p.m., Music at 6:30 p.m.

3-day pass: $85 advance, $90 day of show
VIP Viewing Area* (21 and Over) - $140 advance, $145 day of show
Individual day passes: $30 advance, $35 day of show
VIP Viewing Area* (21 and Over) - $50 advance, $55 day of show

* Limited amount of VIP tickets available

McMenamins Crystal Ballroom and Lola’s Room
1332 W. Burnside
Portland, OR 97209

Al’s Den at Crystal Hotel
303 S.W. 12th Ave.
Portland, OR 97209

SPONSORS: Presenting sponsors are McMenamins, Portland Mercury and XRAY.FM. Additional support from Jackpot Records, Sizzle Pie and Voodoo Doughnuts.


About Crystal Ballroom
McMenamins Crystal Ballroom is a historic dance hall that has been a part of downtown Portland, Ore. for 102 years. The hall has seen countless first loves unfold, police raids, visits by silent screen idols and Beat poets, psychedelic light shows, narrow escapes from fire, demolition, and neglect, and a listing in the National Register of Historic Places. Today the music palace hosts everything from rock ’n’ roll and country, to hip-hop and big band swing and is well-known for its original floating dance floor.

About McMenamins
McMenamins operates 54 distinctive pubs, restaurants and historic hotels in the Pacific Northwest. Founded by brothers Mike and Brian McMenamin with a single Portland neighborhood pub in 1983, McMenamins today includes eight Washington locations and 45 Oregon properties, 18 on the National Register of Historic Places. McMenamins handcrafts its own beer, wine, spirits, cider and coffee and offers an eclectic mix of pubs, hotels, movie theaters, concert venues, spas and events for guests to enjoy.

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Zwickelmania Returns on February 13

Mark your calendars! Oregon’s largest and most unique beer event will be held in a few weeks. On Saturday, February 13, breweries across the great state of Oregon will open their doors and zwickels for curious and thirsty beer fans.

Why should you attend? First, a local brewery is brewery is likely participating.  Second, many of events are free. Third, you’ll get a behind the scenes peak (and taste) into how your favorite beers are made!

Did you know some beers tastes great with chocolate? Christian DeBenedetti and Andrea Slonecker, authors of Beer Bites, a new beer pairing cookbook, will be providing beer and chocolate pairing tips at participating breweries. For more details, check out the Zwickelmania site.

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Oregon's 8th Annual Zwickelmania Arrives Feb. 13
Celebrate the Holiday Weekend with Brewery Open House Events and Chocolate Pop-ups

PORTLAND, Ore. — What is Zwickelmania? Discover for yourself, and go behind the scenes at your favorite breweries, during Zwickelmania on Saturday, February 13th from 11a.m. to 4p.m.  It’s the one day every year when breweries throughout Oregon open their doors to beer novices and aficionados alike for this annual Presidents’ Day weekend tradition. This year, Valentine’s Day happens to fall on the same weekend, giving even more reason to celebrate. More than 120 breweries, both big and small, participate with meet-the-brewer events, tours and beer tastings. 

Zwickelmania guests can also experience Oregon beers paired with another Oregon favorite — chocolate! For the first time, look for special chocolate pop-ups with members of the Portland Chocolate Mob at select breweries in the Portland metro area. The Oregon Brewers Guild is partnering with Christian DeBenedetti and Andrea Slonecker, the experts and authors behind the new cookbook, Beer Bites (Chronicle, 2015), to provide exclusive beer and chocolate pairing tip cards — available at participating breweries. 

Oregon Brewers Guild executive director Brian Butenschoen says, “With more than 120 breweries open across nearly 30 cities, it is the best time to visit Oregon and check out your favorite brewery this Valentine's Day Weekend.”

For those planning a special holiday weekend getaway, be sure to check out the Zwickelmania event page for participating breweries in one of Oregon’s seven brewing regions. The Oregon Brewers Guild lays out maps, brewery listings and itineraries that you can view online or print out for Bend, Eugene, the Portland metro area, Salem and Southern Oregon.

Last year, more than 32,500 people toured 115 participating breweries statewide and the Oregon Brewers Guild expects that number to increase in 2016 with many beer fans enjoying a long holiday weekend. 

For more information, head to, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter using the hashtag #Zwickel16.

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About The Oregon Brewers Guild
The Oregon Brewers Guild is Oregon’s non-profit trade association for the state’s independent breweries. The Guild, which receives no state funding, comprises 147 brewing companies, 117 associate or supplier members and more than 3,500 enthusiast members or S.N.O.B.s (Supporters of Native Oregon Beer). For more information, see

About Zwickelmania
Zwickelmania, created by the Oregon Brewers Guild, celebrated its inaugural year in 2009. It takes its name from the zwickel, or sample port which mounts on the outside of fermentation or conditioning tanks and allows brewers to sample for quality assurance and control. Similarly, Zwickelmania offers a unique opportunity to taste beers where they were produced and interact with the brewers who created them.

About the Portland Chocolate Mob
The Portland Chocolate Mob is a passionate group of Chocolate Makers and Chocolatiers on a collective mission to share quality chocolate with the world. They are excited to work with local brewers to spread cocoa awareness and celebrate their love for chocolate. To learn more, check out

2nd Annual Collabofest at Base Camp Brewing

The craft beer industry is well known for camaraderie among brewers. There's a strong spirit of partnership and collaboration. Tomorrow, #PDXNOW and Base Camp Brewing Co. are hosting a beer festival dedicated to limited release collaboration beers. Sixteen beers and 1 cider will be featured.

$25 general admission tickets include a tasting cup and samples of all beers. $45 VIP tickets add a Kleen Kanteen pint glass and early admission. Click here to purchase tickets.

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#PDXNOW Presents Base Camp's Collabofest
Saturday, January 24, 2015 at 12:00pm
at Base Camp Brewing Company

Collabofest showcases the authenticity and creativity of the Portland beer scene. This year will feature 16 breweries plus two amazing cideries as they collaborate to create new innovative brews and ciders. 

The event will kick off on January 30th at 1 pm for our VIP guests and a special brewers meet and greet. Doors open to the public at 2 pm and the party continues until 8 pm. This is more than just a beer festival, there will also be live music, human fussball, food trucks and the event is open to all ages! 

We look forward to celebrating with you all! 

This years pairings include:
  • Ex Novo and Ecliptic Brewing
  • Burnside Brewing and Common's Brewery
  • Gigantic Brewing and Stormbreaker Brewing
  • Breakside Brewing and BTU Brewery
  • Base Camp Brewing Company and Culmination Brewing
  • Occidental Brewing and Hopworks Urban Brewery
  • Laurelwood Public House and Baerlic Brewing 
  • Widmer Brothers and Fat Heads Brewing
  • Reverend Nat's Cider and Cider Riot

Local Nonprofit Sponsors
This year we are really excited to announce that we will be working with two non-profits; the Oregon Natural Desert Association and Oregon Brewshed Alliance. We will be focusing on sending funds and support to help protect the Oywhee Canyonlands and Oregon watersheds, keeping our lands protected and our beer clean!

2016 CiderCon Opens Next Week in Portland

Last spring, Portland hosted the Craft Brewers Conference (CBC) & Brew Expo America. Next week, we play host to CiderCON '16, the annual meeting and conference for the cider industry. While not nearly as large as CBC, CiderCON will draw over 800 cider industry folks from across the country.

I was lucky enough to get media credentials to CiderCON. So I'll attend and write about the two-day event. They have an amazing lineup of seminars and events, so I expect to learn a lot! Maybe I'll get to sample a cider or two...

Cider Industry, welcome to Portland! Be sure to check out the beer while you're here.

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Cider Experts Gather in Portland
Cider makers large and small meet to network and share information

Portland, OR – Members of the United States Association of Cider Makers (USACM) will convene in Portland on February 2 - 5 for CiderCON 2016, the annual meeting and conference for the nation's cider industry.

Conference sessions will focus on production, distribution, marketing and research, apple growing and sensory analysis. Over 800 attendees will represent the most widely recognized cider brands, as well as smaller cider makers, enthusiasts and growers. The newly expanded Trade Show will feature exhibits from a wide variety of cider industry support companies.

Attendees will also have the option of signing up for one of three different bus tours on Tuesday, February 2nd . Locations include Hood River, Willamette Valley and Portland. A complete schedule of events may be found at Registration is open now.

New for 2016 is the Advanced Cider Orchard Production Workshop. This in-depth session is designed for commercial apple producers who are interested in growing cider apples for fermentation. The workshop will be held on Wednesday, February 3rd and is open to the public, with advanced registration. Cost is $65 per person.

On Saturday, February 6th, the USACM presents The Cider Certification Program. This first ever cider accreditation program is designed for distributors, servers and others who are interested in becoming trained experts on all things cider. The Level One course will explore the history of cider, cider making, cider styles, pairings and how to serve cider. Other levels will look at sensory evaluation, keeping and serving cider, orchard basics, federal definitions of cider and more. Pre-registration is required. More information can be found at


The USACM is an organization of cider and perry producers in the United States. It gathers and shares information about cider production, regulations and cider apple growing to help members improve their operations, raise awareness and advance cider in the market. The organization was founded in February, 2013 at "CiderCon," the third annual gathering of Cider Makers from across the US.

Inaugural Pacific Northwest Homebrewers Conference

Homebrewers of the Pacific Northwest, you're in for a treat! The inaugural Pacific Northwest Homebrewers Conference is kicking off on March 4 in Vancouver, Washington. This two-day event will feature seminars, networking, and plenty of beer tasting!

The event is endorsed by the American Homebrewers Association (AHA), and seems to follow the general format for its large annual National Homebrewers Conference. I attended the Seattle AHA Conference in 2012, and absolutely loved it. This appears to be a smaller version and more intimate version.

The $150 registration seems like a great value to me. For more details, check out the conference website, or the news release below. Happy Homebrewing!

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Education, Celebration and Libation: Inaugural Pacific Northwest Homebrewers Conference to Showcase Region’s Brewing Community

Registration is open for the inaugural Pacific Northwest Homebrewers Conference (PNWHC) March
4-5 in Vancouver, WA. The regional conference welcomes homebrewers from British Columbia,
Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington and beyond to expand their brewing skills through two days of
educational seminars, networking opportunities and evening tasting events.

"The inaugural PNWHC will bring together homebrewers and cider makers of all skill levels to share
information, discover new ideas and enjoy great brew, all while having an unforgettable time," says
Conference Chair Jill Marilley. “We’re fortunate to have some of the nation’s leading homebrew
speakers right here in our own backyard and they’re excited to share their wealth of knowledge with
conference attendees.”

The conference’s 24 educational seminars facilitated by brewing experts will cover a range of
subjects including high ABV brewing, cask-conditioning, cider and mead making, hop growing, beer
judging, specialty malts and how to go professional. There are seminars for every level, from the
novice homebrewer to the veteran zymurgist alike.

Conference registration also includes the opening night toast and dinner, keynote speaker lunch,
closing night dinner, exhibit hall access and two incredible evening tasting parties. At Friday’s
“Brewers Night”, registrants will mingle in the exhibit hall and enjoy beers from the region’s top
breweries. The conference culminates Saturday night with the highly anticipated “Club Brews” tasting event at which regional homebrew clubs will be serving their best beers from fun themed booths. Costumes are encouraged!

“The PNWHC is endorsed by the American Homebrewers Association and complements the National Homebrewers Conference by providing access to expert educational opportunities and camaraderie a bit closer to home,” adds Marilley. “Though it is a regional conference, we welcome homebrewers from across the US, Canada and world!”

The conference’s $150 registration fee includes two days of educational seminars, three meals,
exhibit hall access, two evening tasting events, goodie bag and commemorative glass, and can be
purchased online.


Attendees arriving early can choose to join fellow beer lovers on three bus tours that visit some of
Portland and Hood River’s most respected breweries. Bus tour prices range from $55-$65 per person
and include transportation, beer, lunch and goodie bag.

The conference will be held at the Vancouver Hilton. Reserve your room at the conference rate of
$125 per night (+ taxes/fees) by calling 360-993-4500.

PNWHC is made possible through the generous support of Larry’s Brewing Supply, Bader Beer and
Wine Supply, F.H. Steinbart Company and Yakima Valley Hops.

Newsletter signup:


Samuel Adams Launches The Nitro Project

January always brings us plenty of new beer releases, but here's a trio that I've been anxiously awaiting. Samuel Adams just launched The Nitro Project, a new line of nitrogenated beers. They're kicking off the series with a White Ale, a Coffee Stout, and an IPA.

Most beer is carbonated with carbon dioxide. Nitrogenated beers are carbonated with, guess whatnitrogen (and some carbon dioxide). Why does it matter? It creates an entirely different drinking experience. Nitrogenated beers have a smooth and creamy mouthfeel. Most craft beer bars have a dedicated nitro tap that is capable of delivering nitrogen into the beer as it's served. Now thanks to Sam Adams and a widget (a piece of plastic in the can that delivers the nitrogen), you can experience the creamy goodness of nitro beers at home!

For more details about this unique line of beers, including videos about how the widget works, check out Sam Adams' Nitro Project website, or the press release below. The Nitro Project beers will be making their way onto shelves in February. I have not yet tasted these, but will be sure to share my tasting notes as soon as I do.

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Nitro White Ale, IPA and Coffee Stout Hitting Shelves

BOSTON, January 25, 2016 – Water. Malt. Hops. Yeast. These are the four traditional ingredients in beer. With the new Samuel Adams Nitro Project, the brewers want you to experience a fifth ingredient: nitrogen, in place of carbonation. After experimenting with countless iterations and test batches in the nanobrewery at the Sam Adams Boston Brewery, the brewers are excited to announce the release of the first three brews from the Samuel Adams Nitro Project – Nitro White Ale, Nitro IPA, and Nitro Coffee Stout. Nitro beers are most commonly associated with stouts, but the brewers stretched the boundaries and started nitrogenating a variety of styles. There are very few breweries that offer nitro beers to drinkers at all, and virtually none that offer a variety of nitro beers in cans on an everyday basis. Nitro beers seemed, to the brewers at Sam Adams, like the perfect way to fundamentally transform the flavor profiles of a variety of beer styles. To fill you in on what makes this project different, the brewers share everything you need to know about the Nitro Project:

What is a nitro beer?

The ‘nitro’, of course, is short for nitrogen gas. All beers contain a significant amount of carbon dioxide (CO₂) when the beer is carbonated as part of the brewing process, but nitro beers use a combination of both nitrogen and carbon dioxide. Nitrogen is mostly insoluble in beer, so the resulting bubbles are smaller and create the rich, creamy texture familiar to nitro beers. On the flip side, beers that use CO₂ generally have larger bubbles and a more pronounced acidity and carbonated texture. Think of the difference between carbonated water and still water.  Both are water but the taste experience is radically different.  When a nitro beer is poured, it creates a beautiful cascade down the side of the glass, a thick, creamy head and a smooth mouthfeel.

What beers are debuting in the Samuel Adams Nitro Project?

The first three of more beers to come!

Nitro White Ale is a smooth, velvety, medium-bodied brew. Orange peel, coriander and Grains of Paradise lend hints of orange and peppery spice, and the first sip reveals these flavors alongside a light wheat character. When poured, Nitro White Ale shows off a billowing white head and a pillowy body that softly cascades into bright gold. (5.5% ABV)

Nitro IPA is boldly bitter yet smooth. The brew has an initial cap of creaminess, which gives way to hop intensity gathered from Amarillo, Centennial, Galaxy, Polaris, Simcoe, and Zeus hops. The hop varieties lend resinous pine, citrus and floral notes to the amber-bodied brew. (7.5% ABV)

Nitro Coffee Stout is a jet black brew with a rich, robust character. Dark roasted malts create notes of bittersweet chocolate with hints of dark fruit. Sumatran Mandheling and Indian Monsoon Malabar coffee add a deep roast dimension to the brew. (5.8% ABV)

How does nitro work on tap and in cans?

When a nitro beer is poured on tap, it requires a specially-designed nitro faucet. These special faucets have internal plates or “sparklers” with small holes drilled in them, and when the beer is forced through the holes at high pressure, it produces tiny bubbles which create the trademark nitro cascade. The tight bubbles create a creamy, uniform, thick head on the beer. To produce the high pressure, nitro beer is forced out by a nitro gas blend, which is typically 75% nitrogen and 25% CO₂.  Because the pour is so important, the brewers stress that nitro beers require a perfect marriage between brewer and bartender. The brewer perfects the recipe in order to gain the desired flavor profile, and the bartender must have the proper draft line and equipment in order to create the cascade and the best possible drinker experience.

In cans, a hollow, cylindrical plastic widget, which the brewers refer to as the nitrogenator, is used to replicate this distinctive nitro delivery. Once the can is popped open, the pressure from the nitro is so intense, the brewers recommend pouring immediately into a glass and pouring straight down the center of the glass for the best possible experience. The result is a mixture of the small bubbles and the liquid in the glass.

What does Samuel Adams founder and brewer Jim Koch have to say about the Nitro Project?

“We started experimenting with nitro beers in the mid 1990’s when we brewed a Boston Cream Ale and over the years, I’d estimate we brewed more than 50 beer styles and worked with 200 recipes to ultimately create these three unique beers. We quickly discovered that you can’t just put any beer on nitro.  We needed to develop recipes where nitrogen was the unexpected fifth ingredient and brought out the desired flavor profile of the brew.  For example, with the IPA, the lack of carbonation reduces the perceived bitterness by cutting the acidity (carbonation produces carbonic acid on the tongue, nitrogen doesn’t) so without the carbonation we really had to amp up the amount of hops we used.  We’re excited for drinkers to finally get a chance to try our Nitro beers and experience the cascade – which is like a science experiment in a glass.”

Where can drinkers find the Sam Adams Nitro Project brews?

Nitro White Ale is available nationwide on draft. Nitro White Ale, Nitro IPA and Nitro Coffee Stout will be available in 4-packs of 15 oz. cans beginning in February for a suggested retail price of $8.99-$10.99 (all prices vary by market).

The Boston Beer Company began in 1984 with a generations-old family recipe that Founder and Brewer Jim Koch uncovered in his father’s attic. Inspired and unafraid to challenge conventional thinking about beer, Jim brought the recipe to life in his kitchen. Pleased with the results of his work, Jim decided to sample his beer with bars in Boston in the hopes that drinkers would appreciate the complex, full-flavored beer he brewed fresh in America. That beer was aptly named Samuel Adams Boston Lager, in recognition of one of our nation's great founding fathers, a man of independent mind and spirit. Little did Jim know at the time, Samuel Adams Boston Lager would soon become a catalyst of the American craft beer revolution.

Today, The Boston Beer Company brews more than 60 styles of beer. It relentlessly pursues the development of new styles and the perfection of classic beers by searching the world for the finest ingredients. Using the traditional four vessel brewing process, the Company often takes extra steps like dry-hopping, barrel-aging and a secondary fermentation known as krausening. The Company has also pioneered another revolution, the 'extreme beer' movement, where it seeks to challenge drinker's perceptions of what beer can be. The Boston Beer Company has been committed to elevating the image of American craft beer by entering festivals and competitions around the globe, and is one of world’s most awarded breweries at international beer competitions. As an independent company, brewing quality beer remains its primary focus. Although Samuel Adams beer is America's leading craft beer, it accounts for only one percent of the U.S. beer market. The Boston Beer Company will continue its independently-minded quest to brew great beer and to advocate for the growth of craft beer across America. For more information, please visit


February: Stout Month at Fort George Brewery

If you're into stouts, you'll love February at Fort George Brewery in Astoria, Oregon! The entire month is devoted to the rich, dark, luscious style.

Each week, the brewery will unleash a variety of different stouts. It gets even better on Saturday, February 13, the date of The Festival of the Dark Artsa day-long stout celebration. For more details, including a list of some of the beers that will be served, check out the brewery's full news release below.

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The Pacific Northwest is About to Get Dark

February is forever Stout Month at Fort George Brewery. The shortest and darkest month is the perfect time to showcase the immense variety within this style. For lovers of rich, dark beer there is no better place than Fort George in February, pint glass in hand.

The Stouts
Every Monday starting February 1st, new Fort George specialty stouts will be released at the pub. Grab a pint, fill a growler, or sample a blind stout taster tray. At least eight unique stouts will be on tap in every location at the brewery.

February 1st 
Coffee Girl - Imperial Coffee Stout
Viva La Stout - Mexican Chocolate Stout
From Astoria with Love - Russian Imperial Stout
Murky Pearl – Oyster Stout
Blonde Stout
Long Dark Winter Milk Stout
Granola Bar Stout – Honey, Almonds, and Raspberries

February 8th 
Polish’s Black Walnut Stout
Kentucky Girl - Coffee Girl Aged in Bourbon Barrels
Voluptas Stout - Oatmeal and Fig Stout

February 15th
Tuesday’s Lunch - Roasted Peanut and Blackberry Imperial Stout
Almond Milk Stout

February 22nd
North VIII - 1yr Aged Russian Imperial Stout
Dirty Chai Stout

The Music
Enjoy live music every Sunday at 8pm during Stout Month. The upstairs at Fort George hosts a wide range of artists - never a cover.

January 31st - Wilkinson Blades - American Rock - Portland, OR
February 7th - The Lowest Pair - Sultry Country Duo - Minneapolis, MN & Olympia, WA
February 14th - The Donkey’s - Music for the Independent Soul - San Diego, CA
February 21st - Cedar Teeth - Northwest Roots Rock - Colton, OR
February 28th - Redwood Son - West Coast Americana - Redwood City, CA

The Festival of Dark Arts – Saturday, February 13th – Noon to 10pm
Fill your senses and satiate your darkest stout desires. Yes, it is a stout fest with barrel-aged and specialty one-offs from 45 breweries including Barley Brown’s, Block 15, Boneyard, Breakside, The Bruery, Deschutes, Ecliptic, Evil Twin, Firestone Walker, Fremont, Gigantic, Perennial Artisan Ales, pFriem, The Commons, Trinity, Upright and many, many more. But, it’s also a magical menagerie of art and music, craft and creation spread out over an entire city block.

Main Stage – Upstairs Live Music
Noon - The Resolectrics - Rhythm & Blues - Portland, OR
2pm - Skamokawa Swamp Opera - Historical Rock Opera - Skamokawa, WA
4pm - Jackson Boone and the Ocean Ghosts - Cosmic Rock - Portland, OR
6pm - The Builders and the Butchers - Awesome Rock - Portland, OR
8pm - The Thermals - Power-Pop - Portland, OR

Make way for wandering minstrels, belly dancers, and burlesque shows. View demonstrations from ice sculptors, tattoo artists, and wood carvers. Warm yourself by the iron forge and glassblowing furnace, or watch fire dancing in the courtyard. Vendors and craftspeople will be located throughout the block, and everywhere you go the stouts will follow.

Check the website at for updates and tickets. Hurry, the event is almost sold out.

The Traveling Carnival of Stouts
Fort George wants to share the stout love. Experience a taste of Stout Month on these nights around the Pacific Northwest. And check the event page at for new and updated Stout Month happenings.

Wednesday, February 3rd – 6pm to 9pm
10th Annual Ground Hogs Day Festival
Brooklyn Park Pub
3400 SE Milwaukie Ave.
Portland, Oregon
Fort George Stouts paired with whiskey

Tuesday, February 9th – 8pm to 11pm
Fat & Stout Tuesday Celebration
Twilight Cafe and Bar
1420 SE Powell Blvd.
Portland, Oregon

Wednesday, February 17th – 5pm to 8pm
Traveling Carnival of Stouts
Chuck’s Hop Shop Greenwood
656 NW 85th St.
Seattle, Washington
Several Fort George specialty stouts on tap

Thursday, February 25th – 5pm to 9pm
Traveling Carnival of Stouts
Parkway Tavern
313 N. I Street
Tacoma, Washington
A variety of Fort George specialty stouts on tap

February Stout Month
Fort George Brewery
1483 Duane Street
Astoria, Oregon 97103

Gnarly Pellicle on Peach Weisse

It's been a while since I've written about my homebrews. Back in August, I brewed a lactobacillus kettle soured-Rhubarb Weiss. It didn't take on as much of the rhubarb flavor that I had expected, so I decided to experiment. I added a few ripe peaches to the carboy and let it slumber. I finally got around to checking it a few days ago and this is what I saw...

What the heck?!?! Is that mold? What on earth happened? Actually, this is exactly what I was hoping would happen. In addition to adding the peaches, I also pitched the dregs from a bottle of Maybelle from The Commons Brewery, which was aged with Brettanomyces (a wild yeast stain). What you're seeing is called a pellicle. It's a membrane that often forms in beer made with lactobacillus and brettanomyces.

In the wine world, these wild yeasts and bacteria are the bane of the vintner's existence. If this curse befalls wine, it needs to be dumped. But brewers of funky and wild beers are far more accepting because we tend to like the tart, funky, fruity flavors that result from these organisms.

Anyway, I didn't get a chance to taste it yet, but just wanted to share this picturewhich I think is pretty cool! For more on pellicles, check out this excellent article written by a fellow homebrewer and microbiologist.

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