Cider Rite of Spring '15 Recap

This past Saturday, my wife and I attended the 2nd Annual Cider Rite of Spring. This single-day festival, in just its 2nd year, was held at the Tiffany Center in SW Portland.

While I'm fairly new to ciders, it's amazing to see how quickly ciders have grown in popularity in the Northwest. For several years, Cider Summit Portland was the only cider-exclusive festival. Now Cider Rite of Spring and several other cider-only events have popped up. It's a great time to be a fan of fermented apple juice! Back to Cider Rite of Spring...

First, the venue was great. Tiffany Center is close to the MAX. Indoors is always a great idea for this time of year. There was a good-sized crowd in attendance, but the event space wasn't overly crowded. There were plenty of standing bar tables, and people took advantage of them to take notes and savor their samples.

I enjoyed the wide diversity of ciders that were offered. Thirty producers served up nearly 120 offerings! There were plenty of traditional and non-traditional options. I tend to favor the latter. Here were some of our favorite tastes:

  • Alpenfire, Smoke:  Made with Kingston Black, Dabinett, and Vilberie apples, this cider was triple fermented in whiskey and mead barrels. The flavors of smoke and bourbon complemented the sweetness. Definitely a sipper, Smoke weighs in at a whopping 16% ABVbut you'd never know it!  
  • Cider Riot!,  Never Given an Inch:  Lots of juicy blackberry flavor, but without the sweetness. Most makers back sweeten fruit ciders to provide extra sweetness. Cider Riot avoids this technique which results in great fruit flavor, but without being cloying. (Full disclosure: I am an investor in Cider Riot!)
  • Sea Cider Farm & Ciderhouse, Wild English:  Fermented with wild yeast that is naturally present on the apple skins, this cider is quite tart, very dry, and delicious.
  • Seattle Cider Co., Gin Botanical:  Fermented with spent gin botanicals, this had amazing floral and herbal flavors.
  • Finnriver Farm & Cidery, Habanero Cider:  The prominent heat nicely balances the sweetness. I should have tasted this last, but didn't.
  • Swift Cider, Dank Hop:  Dry hopped with CTZ (Columbia, Tomahawk, and Zeus), this has oodles of piney, citrus, tropical, and yes—dank, hop flavors.  

It was a great afternoon of cider tasting! I expect the event will return next year, and hope the organizers offer longer hours (it was held from noon - 5pm) or add an extra day. Regardless, keep it on your radar and make this cider festival one of your rites of spring.

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Craft Brewers Conference visits Portland!

In mid-April, our nation's craft beer industry leaders will descend on Portland for the Craft Brewers Conference (CBC) & Brew Expo America. This industry-only event is geared towards brewpubs and packaging brewers.  

I was thrilled to recently learn that I was granted a CBC media pass! So I will have the pleasure of attending and blogging about the entire event. Several conference tracks are being offered including Brewery Operations, Brewpubs, Quality, Selling Craft Beer, Start-ups, and more. I'll have a hard time selecting from the choices, but I'm sure I'll learn a lot!

CBC is presented by the Brewers Association, who also sponsors the National Homebrewers Conference (NHC). I attended the NHC when it was held in Seattle a few years ago, and wrote about it. The seminars were excellent, and great beer was plentiful. I expect Portland CBC will be no different.

If you love great beer, but can't attend the conference, fear not! Keep your eyes peeled for special brewery events, sponsored by local and visiting breweries, that will be open to the public during the week of the conference. 

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Craft Brewers Conference & BrewExpo America®
Brewers Trail to Oregon’s Beervana for Largest Industry Gathering

WHAT:  Portland, Oregon—one the craft-beeriest cities in the nation—will welcome the 32nd edition of the Craft Brewers Conference & BrewExpo America® (CBC) from April 14-17. Presented by the Brewers Association, CBC is the leading industry event, and the only one that serves both brewpubs and packaging breweries.

BrewExpo America is the premier trade show for craft brewers, offering the perfect platform to meet leaders in the national and international brewing arena and connect with current and future customers. Exhibitors and buyers develop profitable business relationships, while brewing and brewery restaurant professionals find products and solutions that best fit their needs. For the 2015 conference, the trade show will be extended to two and a half days.

WHO: An estimated 11,000 attendees will have the opportunity to visit with over 575 exhibiting companies and hear from more than 160 presenters on a wide range of topics in the educational tracks of brewery operations, brewpubs, export development, government affairs, packaging breweries, quality, safety, selling craft beer, start-ups, sustainability and technical brewing.

WHY: Bringing together new and veteran brewers, CBC allows the craft brewing community to exchange ideas and get educated on one of the most thriving and innovative industries in one of the most pioneering cities for craft beer. Portland provides the perfect beer backdrop with nearly 60 breweries in the city and ranking number one in percent of dollars spent on craft beer. Beyond Portland, the state of Oregon is home to nearly 200 breweries and consistently ranks among the top states in breweries per capita, leading the nation in 2013.

WHEN: Craft Brewers Conference,  Tuesday, April 14 - Friday, April 17, 2015. For a full schedule of events, visit the CBC conference schedule.

WHERE: Oregon Convention Center,  777 Northeast Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, Portland, OR 97232

SPONSORS:  The 2015 Craft Brewers Conference & BrewExpo America is made possible by the generous support of its sponsors.


About the Brewers Association
The Brewers Association is the not-for-profit trade association dedicated to small and independent American brewers, their beers and the community of brewing enthusiasts. The Brewers Association (BA) represents more than 70 percent of the brewing industry, and its members make more than 99 percent of the beer brewed in the U.S. The BA organizes events including the World Beer Cup®Great American Beer Festival®Craft Brewers Conference & BrewExpo America®,SAVOR℠: An American Craft Beer & Food Experience and American Craft Beer Week®. The BA publishes The New Brewer magazine and its Brewers Publications division is the largest publisher of contemporary and relevant brewing literature for today's craft brewers and homebrewers. 

Beer lovers are invited to learn more about the dynamic world of craft beer at CraftBeer.comand about homebrewing via the BA's American Homebrewers Association. Follow us on Twitter.

Hayseed: A New Summer Seasonal from Smuttynose

Smuttynose Brewing Co. recently announced that Hayseed, a grisette, will replace Summer Weizen as the brewery's summer seasonal.

"Thirst-slakingly low (just 3.8%), we brew Hayseed as a country table beer in the grisette-style with a rustic blend of oats, barley and wheat and fermented with a spicy saison yeast strain from France. Hayseed brings a lot to the table in a package that'll only seem small because you didn't bring enough to the cook-out."  Smuttynose Brewing Co.    

  • ABV:  3.8%
  • IBU:  10
  • Starting Extract: 8° Plato
  • Malts:  North American 2-Row, Pilsner, Wheat, Acidulated Malt, Oat Malt
  • Hops:  Sterling
  • Yeast:  French Saison
  • Disclosure:  Samples provided by brewery

Session IPAs have been all the rage recently. While I love session beers, the seemingly endless run of low alcohol IPAs has grown tiresome. I'm glad to see a less common style featured as a session option.

Tasting Notes:  Golden straw in color, hazy, with a white head that dissipates slowly. Aroma of grass and lemon along with mild notes of pepper and clove. Taste starts with mild lemon. In the middle, grainy and bready malt flavors are prominent. Alcohol is not present in aroma or flavor. Hayseed is light bodied, dry, and finishes with light herbal notes and a mild funkiness.

I really enjoyed this beer! It's a great option for summer drinkingor anytime, for that matter. The good news is that Hayseed is available now through the end of August. The bad news is it's not available in Oregon. I guess I'll have to try and make a homebrew version.

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Free Beer Style Guide from The Brewers Association

Whether you're new to beer or a seasoned pro, here's an excellent new resource that you should check out!  The Brewers Association has developed a comprehensive online style guide. Here are some of the details, provided by the BA.

"Each beer style is showcased in a variety of ways. A photo-rich quick hit overview offers a visual representation of all the styles. Turning the Beer Style Finder ‘on’ lets users sort styles by color, bitterness, alcohol and flavor. The interactive beer glass images launch a dedicated page for each style, offering and overview of color, appearance, aroma and sensations, along with recommended food pairings, proper glassware, suggested serving temperature and commercial brand examples. The guide is accompanied by an introduction video and the most concise and systematic tasting sheet ever published.

For those who want to dive even deeper, an extensive text guide uses an alphabetical list of triggers—from alcohol to yeast variety—to help describe possible characteristics of a specific beer style."

I checked it out, and think it's a great tool to explore and learn about various styles. Check it out and let me know what you think.

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Cider Rite of Spring — March 21

The Cider Rite of Spring is returning for the second year on Saturday, March 21. Here's your chance to sample the offerings of 30 cidermakers from Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia!  For all the details, including ticket pricing and participating cideries, see the news release below.

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Even more to taste! 30 cidermakers now on tap for 
Portland's Cider Rite of Spring, March 21

Portland, Ore. The second annual Cider Rite of Spring, Portland's largest hometown cider festival, will take place on March 21, 2015, from 12pm- 5pm. The festival will once again be held at The Tiffany Center, located at 1410 SW Morrison Street in Portland, Oregon. Thirty Northwest cidermakers will be represented at the Cider Rite of Spring.

Hard cider is the fastest growing segment of the beverage industry. At the Cider Rite of Spring, the Northwest Cider Association's official cider tasting festival, consumers will be able to learn first hand from local cidermakers about their ciders.

Confirmed cideries from Oregon, Washington and British Columbia include: 2 Towns Ciderhouse, Apple Outlaw, Atlas Cider Company, Alpenfire, Alter Ego, Blue Mountain, Bull Run Cider, Carlton Cyderworks, Cider Riot!, D’s Wicked Hard Cider, Dragon’s Head, E.Z. Orchards, Far Afield Cider, Finnriver Farm & Cidery, Hedgerow Cidery, McMenamins, New West, Portland Cider Company, Red Tank Cider, Reverend Nat's Hard Cider, Rogue, Schilling Cider, Sea Cider, Seattle Cider Company, Square Mile, Spire Mountain Cider, Swift Cider, Tieton Cider Works, Wandering Aengus, and Whitewood Cider Company. 

Tickets may be purchased in advance for $25 at Brown Paper Tickets.  Reverend Nat's Cidery and Public Tap Room, 1813 N. E. 2nd Ave. in Portland, and Portland Cider’s tasting room, 275 Beavercreek Road, in Oregon City. Tickets are $30 at the door. 

Attendees must be 21 years old. Admissions includes a tasting glass and 10 tasting tickets. Food will be available for purchase. Live musical entertainment by bluegrass band Buckwheat is planned. An on-site pop-up retail store will give attendees the chance to buy their favorite ciders from the event to take home.  Current sponsors include: 33 Books, Atlas Cider, Cider Riot!, Edible Portland Magazine, FruitSmart, Saxco International, Portland Cider Company, Finnriver Cidery and Reverend Nat's Hard Cider. Proceeds benefit the Northwest Cider Association. To learn more visit

Samuel Adams' Growing Rebel IPA Family

Last year, Samuel Adams launched Rebel IPA, their take on a West Coast IPA. In a departure from their typical branding, the Boston-based brewery gave Rebel a fresh label design (sans the picture of Samuel Adams).  I profiled Rebel IPA last summer and enjoyed it. Less than a year later, Rebel IPA has been blessed with a pair of siblings!

Capitalizing on session IPA-mania, Rebel Rider IPA weighs in at 4.5% ABC and 45 IBUs. For those that want an extra heaping helping of hops and alcohol, Rebel Rouser Double IPA is at your service. This bad boy is 8.5% ABV and a hefty 85 IBUs.

The folks at Samuel Adams sent me a sample of each complete with a fancy taster tray. I cracked open the three bottles for a side-by-side tasting. Here are my tasting notes:

Rebel Rider IPA:  Citrusy aroma with tangerine and grapefruit. Taste of cereal and grainy malt in addition to a grapefruit and herbal hop bitterness, which lingers in the finish. A touch of alcohol is present in taste, which surprised me given its low 4.5% ABV content. Overall hop bitterness is prominent, but not overwhelming.

Rebel IPA:  Grapefruit and tangerine are also present in the aroma and taste, but with more dominant piney notes. The malt base is bready, with a mild dose of caramel. It's medium bodied, has a resinous mouthfeel, and finishes with a lingering piney bitterness.

Rebel Rouser Double IPA:  While citrus and pine are again present in aroma and taste, caramel sweetness, tropical fruit, and mild alcohol also present. Rouser is more dank than the others. It's full bodied, with a high level of grapefruit and piney hop bitterness that are balanced by a sweet malt backbone.

As you might expect (and can see in the picture below), the beer's golden color intensifies as you move from Rebel Rider (left) to Rebel Rouser (right). In terms of body and mouthfeel, Rebel Rouser was far more full and chewy than its little siblings.

I think it was a great idea to expand the Rebel IPA line. I love IPAs, but prefer different "weights" at different times. Sometimes I want a sessionable option, and on other occasions I prefer a more heavy duty offering. I think these three beers would make an excellent variety case or 12-pack.

It was fun tasting the three Rebels side-by-side. If all three are available to you, try a similar tasting and compare / contrast them yourself. 

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Samuel Adams Rebel Rouser Double IPA and Samuel Adams Rebel Rider Session IPA

BOSTON – The Samuel Adams brewers are proud to finally release two new brews to the Rebel IPA family: Rebel Rouser Double IPA and Rebel Rider Session IPA. These two new brews are inspired by the West Coast hops found in Rebel IPA, a West Coast-style IPA released for the first time in 2014. All brews in the Rebel IPA family are brewed to maximize the aromatics and flavors of the brewers’ favorite American hop varieties from the Pacific Northwest. In particular, these new brews follow Rebel IPA in emphasizing the fruity/juicy characteristics of the newer West Coast hop varieties like Amarillo and Simcoe.

Samuel Adams Rebel Rouser is a Double IPA, a style brewed to showcase the hop character of West Coast hops at 85 IBUs and a higher alcohol content. Samuel Adams Rebel Rider is a Session IPA, a brew with intense hop flavors and aromas but with lower alcohol content and 45 IBUs for session drinking.

To create a Double IPA and a Session IPA that showcase the unique flavors of West Coast hop varietals, the brewers didn’t simply double Rebel IPA’s hops to create Rebel Rouser Double IPA, or cut them in half to brew Rebel Rider Session IPA. Both of these new brews were developed after dozens of test batches to perfect the addition of different hop varieties to the kettle, which contribute hop flavor and bitterness, and different hopping techniques during the dry-hopping process, which contributes hop aroma to the brews.

Rebel Rouser Double IPA
Rebel Rouser, at 8.4% ABV and 85 IBUs, is brewed with more than five pounds of hops per barrel and showcases bright hop flavors of pine, citrus, floral and spice, and is accented by a pale malt blend and a higher alcohol content to create a big, flavorful brew. To impart the bold, unapologetically hoppy notes characteristic of a Double IPA, several hop varieties were carefully chosen and added to the kettle including Bravo, Galaxy, Simcoe®, and Centennial.

To balance hop bitterness and showcase hop aroma, five American hop varieties from the Pacific Northwest are used during the dry-hopping process to impart specific aromatics to the final Rebel Rouser recipe including:
  • Amarillo Hops: Orange, grapefruit, and notes of tangerine with sweetness from the fruit character
  • Cascade Hops: Piney, resinous, floral, spicy, citrus and grapefruit notes
  • Centennial Hops: Medium citrus, intense floral and woody aromas
  • Simcoe® Hops: Grapefruit, juicy character
  • Zeus Hops: Earthy, spicy and citrus overtones

Rebel Rider Session IPA
At the other end of the IPA spectrum, Rebel Rider is a bold yet mellow Session IPA with all the hop character of a classic West Coast-style IPA but with a lighter body at 45 IBUs and 4.5% ABV.

Like with Rebel Rouser, each hop variety lends a unique character to Rebel Rider’s flavor profile. Rebel Rider is brewed with Citra, Topaz and Cascade and dry-hopped with a variety of West Coast hops. Dry-hopping highlights the flavor and aroma of the hops rather than boiling them off or increasing bitterness. When used in dry-hopping, the hop varieties in Rebel Rider express notes including:
  • Centennial Hops: Medium citrus notes, intensely floral with hints of wood
  • Cascade Hops: Varying degrees of piney, resinous, floral, spicy, citrus and grapefruit notes
  • Simcoe® Hops: Grapefruit, juicy character

What Seth Adams, Brewer at the Samuel Adams nano-brewery, has to say about these additions to the Rebel family: “We worked hard and had a lot of fun experimenting and developing Rebel Rider and Rebel Rouser IPA in our nano-brewery. Working on a small system, we’re able to tweak the recipes and create lots of test batches with different hop varieties, quantities of hops and recipes for dry-hopping. We offered early batches on draft at our Boston Brewery so that visitors could try them, until we perfected the recipe. These two brews use some of my favorite West Coast hop varieties and both feature robust hop flavor and aroma without palate-scorching bitterness. In fact, all three Rebel beers – Rebel IPA, Rebel Rouser Double IPA and Rebel Rider Session IPA – use Cascade, Centennial and Simcoe hops as part of their recipe, which is a cool thread that ties all three brews together.”

How to get your hands on these brews:

  • Samuel Adams Rebel Rider Session IPA is currently available on draft, in six-packs nationwide for a suggested retail price of $7.99-$9.99, and in 12-packs for a suggested retail price of $14.99-$17.99 (prices vary by market).
  • Samuel Adams Rebel Rouser Double IPA is currently available on draft and in six-packs nationwide for a suggested retail price of $8.99-$10.00 (prices vary by market).
  • To find where Samuel Adams brews are sold near you, visit:

Behold the New Oregon Brewers Festival Tasting Glass!

We had an amazing early preview of summer during the last few weeks in the great Northwest. Since the real summer is just a few short months away, it's time to start thinking about our premier summer beer extravaganza.

The 28th installment of Oregon Brewers Festival will be held July 22 though July 26 at Tom McCall Waterfront Park. In addition to 90 beers from breweries across the U.S. and Canada, 5 brewers from New Zealand will bring their beer to the festivities.

Switching to glassware, I'm sad to report the festival is no longer allowed to use glass tasting vessels. Apparently, the police don't like them. But, fear not, the hazy plastic mugs of yore will not return. Instead, 14 oz. polycarbonate glasses (pictured below) from Finland will be used. While nothing beats glass, I think this will be a nice alternative.

For more details about the 28th Annual Oregon Brewers Festival, check out all the details below.

Images courtesy of OBF Facebook page

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Oregon Brewers Festival toasts 28th year, features 90 
North American breweries plus a Kiwi contingent from New Zealand

PORTLAND, Ore. — There’s been turmoil brewing in the craft beer world recently with acquisitions and ad punches, but one thing has stayed constant: the Oregon Brewers Festival will return this summer for its annual five-day celebration of craft beer. The 28th annual Oregon Brewers Festival will take place July 22 through July 26 at Tom McCall Waterfront Park in downtown Portland. Event hours are Noon to 9pm Wed. through Sat., and Noon to 7pm Sunday.

One of the nation's longest-running and best-loved craft beer festivals, the Oregon Brewers Festival annually draws 85,000 beer lovers from around the world. In the two main tents, the Oregon Brewers Festival will serve beers from 90 craft breweries from the U.S. and Canada; each brewery sends one beer to the event. 

From Belgians to braggots, pales to Pilsners, radlers to reds, and saisons to stouts, there’s a style for nearly every palate; two gluten-free products are offered as well (for a complete list of participating breweries and beers, visit The festival also features five days of live music, food booths, craft vendors, homebrew demonstrations and industry displays.

Continuing its foray into featuring international craft brewers, the Oregon Brewers Festival has also invited five brewers from New Zealand to come to the event along with their beer. The Kiwi contingent includes Tuatara, Yeastie Boys, Garage Project, Panhead and ParrotDog. Select styles from these breweries will be featured in the festival’s International Tent along with daily meet-the-brewer sessions. The International Tent encourages a long-term cultural exchange with brewers around the world as part of a collective celebration of great craft beer.

The Oregon Brewers Festival is not a ticketed event, and there is no admission charge to enter the festival grounds. In order to consume beer, the purchase of a 2015 souvenir tasting glass is required and costs $7. Beer is purchased with wooden tokens, which cost $1 apiece. Patrons pay four tokens for a full glass of beer, or one token for a taste. The purchase of glasses and tokens is made on-site, although there are a handful of local businesses that sell them up to two weeks prior to the event.

Although the festival has utilized a glass tasting vessel the past two years, the Portland Police Bureau has required the festival to return to plastic for safety reasons; attendees should be satisfied with this year’s alternative, which is a high-quality, 14-ounce polycarbonate glass made in Finland.

The Oregon Brewers Festival encourages responsible drinking and urges patrons to take the Tri-Met MAX Light Rail, which has a station just one block away from the main entrance. Attendees can also take advantage of the Hopworks Bike Corral, where volunteers from the #BC2Baja Bicycle Tour will watch over bikes for free. 

The Crater Lake Soda Garden provides complimentary handcrafted root beer and soda to minors and designated drivers; minors are allowed into the event all hours when accompanied by a parent.

The Oregon Brewers Festival was founded in 1988 as an opportunity to expose the public to microbrews at a time when the craft brewing industry was just getting off the ground. Today, that industry has flourished, especially in Oregon, which currently has 185 brewing companies, operating 226 brewing facilities in 71 cities in Oregon. Portland alone has 58 breweries (84 in the Portland Metropolitan area) — more than any other city in the world. A study conducted at the 2014 Oregon Brewer Festival estimated the economic impact of the festival on the local economy to be $32.5 Million; it also showed that out-of-state and international visitors accounted for 56.8 percent of attendees. For more information about the Oregon Brewers Festival, visit or follow and

Widmer's Replay Session IPA Launched in Oregon

Another day, another session IPA. Widmer is the latest to capitalize on the new found love for session IPAs with the aptly named Replay IPA. This 4.5% ABV beer is being released only in the state of Oregon.  I asked Brady Walen, Widmer Brothers Brand Manager, why this beer is being limited to Oregon. Here's what he told me...

"While Widmer Brothers beers are distributed nationally – namely our core beers and more established brands like Hefe, we don’t distribute all beers to all markets. Replay IPA is brand new and we chose to launch it in Oregon first because we wanted to build a fan base locally before expanding it to other markets."

Sounds like a plan to me.  I'll look forward to tasting this one! For more details, check out the news release below.

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New Session-Style IPA Released in Oregon

PORTLAND, Ore. – March 12, 2015 – Widmer Brothers Brewing is introducing a new beer for the people of Oregon. Today the brewery launched Replay IPA, a low-alcohol by volume (ABV) – or session-style – India Pale Ale that will be available exclusively in the Oregon market. Replay IPA has the big hop character of a Northwest Style IPA packed into a lower alcohol content and lighter bodied beer, making it a great choice to drink while enjoying all that Oregon has to offer.

Replay features tropical, piney and citrus notes from the generous use of Chinook, Citra, Alchemy and the experimental X-431 hop varieties. The beer also utilizes wheat in the malt bill, true to Widmer Brothers’ form and a subtle nod to the brewery’s flagship Hefe, giving the beer balance and a velvety smoothness. Replay IPA is 4.5 percent ABV, allowing for extended enjoyment during long Oregon days and nights.

"There are a lot of ‘session’ beers on the market that are well above five percent ABV,” said Ben Dobler, innovation brewer at Widmer Brothers Brewing. "With Replay IPA, we wanted a true session-style IPA with a ton of character and fairly low alcohol content. By using wheat and a pretty interesting mix of hops, our brewing team created a beer that’s ready to go all day."

Replay IPA will be available year-round, in 6- and 12-packs, and on draught, in Oregon only.

For more information on Widmer Brothers Brewing, please visit or see what the brewery is up to on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

About Replay IPA
Replay IPA balances complex hoppiness and an easy-drinking nature to create the perfect session-style IPA. Enjoy bold hop aroma and flavor in a beer that’s ready to play all day. Seize the day. Replay.

Malts: 2-Row Pale, Wheat, Caramel
Hops: Alchemy, X-431, Citra, Chinook
Original Gravity: 10.5
Color: 6 SRM
IBU: 40
ABV: 4.5%

About Widmer Brothers Brewing
Widmer Brothers Brewing was founded in 1984 in Portland, Ore. Brothers Kurt and Rob Widmer, with help from their dad, Ray, helped lead the Pacific Northwest craft beer movement when they began brewing unique interpretations of traditional German beer styles. In 1986, Widmer Brothers Brewing introduced the original American-style Hefeweizen, which elevated the brewery to national acclaim. Since then, Hefe has grown to become Oregon’s favorite craft beer and the brewery has continued to push the boundaries, developing beers with an unapologetic, uncompromised commitment to innovation.

The brewery currently brews a variety of award-winning beers including Hefe, Upheaval IPA, Alchemy Pale Ale, Drop Top Amber Ale, a full seasonal lineup, and a series of limited edition beers. For more information about Widmer Brothers Brewing, visit

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Imperial Bottle Shop's Heart of Darkness Imperial Stout Day

Are you in the mood for an Imperial Stout?  But, which one? On February 21, Imperial Bottleshop & Taproom will make the choice easy by hosting a festival where you can sample from 13 of Oregon's best! For more details about Heart of Darkness Imperial Stout Day, check out the details below.

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Heart of Darkness
Imperial Stout Day

Portland, OR – On February 21st, Imperial Bottle Shop & Taproom (3090 SE Division St) is hosting Portland’s first exclusively imperial stout beer fest, featuring a variety of 13 rotating local imperial stouts on tap all day long from noon until midnight.

Imperial stouts have been one of the most coveted beer styles dating back to the 1800s, when extremely heavy stouts to the Russian empire, which loved the viscous, highly-alcoholic brews perfect for cold weather. Fast-forward a few hundred years, and the burgeoning American craft beer scene sees breweries brewing up stouts with massive grain bills and carefully aging them in choice bourbon barrels, and the very best imperials stouts are hunted like white whales and traded like vintage baseball cards by beer geeks across the country.

To honor the deepest, darkest beers around, Imperial Bottle Shop & Taproom has collected an amazing lineup of the most sought after imperial stouts brewed in Oregon, including:

• Base Camp Jack Daniels Aged S'more Stout
• Block 15 Super Nebula
• Boneyard Suge knight
• Chetco Brewing Block & Tackle 
• Commons 3rd Anniversary Imperial Stout 
• Crux Tough Love
• Deschutes Abyss
• Ecliptic Oort
• Fort George Coffee Girl
• Full Sail Bourbon Barrel Imperial Stout 2013
• Gigantic Most Premium Russian Imperial Stout
• Hopworks Bourbon Motherland 2013
• Laurelwood Pinot-Aged Moose and Squirrel
• And more!

Tickets are $15 in advance and $20 at the door, and attendees will get a commemorative glass snifter and five drink tickets, each good for a 4 oz pour. Additional drink tickets will be offered for $2 each. Information on tickets and the full draft lineup is available on Imperial’s website,

Imperial Bottle Shop & Taproom
3090 SE Division St

Crux FREAKCAKE: 2014 Release & 2013 Revisited

No one can accuse me of not being patient. 

About 14 months ago, Crux sent me a few samples in a unique package. I drank one of the beers, Half Hitch, immediately. The other two, FREAKCAKE and DOUBLECROSS are part of Crux's [BANISHED] series of barrel-aged beers. It was a difficult decision, but I decided to banish the pair to my crawlspace for come quality cellar time.

Since Crux is preparing to release the 2014 installment of FREAKCAKE, I decided I would wait no longer. So after a over a year in the bottle, here are my tasting notes for 2013 [BANISHED] FREAKCAKE:

375ml corked & capped bottle. Deep reddish brown in color, with a tan head that dissipates very slowly. Aroma of plum, spice, a touch of funk, and mild alcohol. On the first sip, a rush of many flavors comes throughcherry, raisin, fig, and spicy clove. While this is a hefty 10.5% ABV beer, alcohol is noticeable, but not boozy. FREAKCAKE is medium bodied and has an almost creamy mouth feel. It's not sour, but mildly tart. It finishes with lingering notes of cherry, brett funk and warming alcohol. 

My patience was rewarded! If you refrigerate this beer (I did not), make sure you let it warm to room temperature before drinking. 

If FREAKCAKE sounds tasty, I suggest you keep an eye out for the new 2014 release, which will soon be available. Better yet, head down to the release party at Belmont Station on February 19.  All of the details are listed below.  

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Join us for a toast and tap takeover as we celebrate the release of the 2014 [BANISHED] FREAKCAKE BARREL-AGED OUD BRUIN ALE. We’ll have Freakcake available on draught and in bottles—limit four bottles per person; pick up a few for cellaring. Freakcake is our take on the Flanders-style old brown ale, brewed with roasted Belgian aromatic malts and lemon and orange zest. We then induce a secondary fermentation in the barrel with Brettanomyces plus sour cherries, raisins, cranberries, and figs, for a mildly acidic ale. 

 2014 [BANISHED] FREAKCAKE Barrel-Aged Oud Bruin Ale
Plus Toast & Tap Takeover
Thursday, February 19, 5- 7 pm
Belmont Station, 4500 SE Stark Street, Portland, Oregon 97215

WHAT IS [BANISHED]? Banished Series beers are hidden away for months in oak barrels, allowing flavors to mature, meld and mellow. Some beers in this series also contain live yeast, making them good candidates for cellaring at home. 

WHY THIS BEER? As you may know, we designed our 11,000-hectolitre brewery to allow for non-traditional brewing methods like oak barrel aging, wild yeast strains and experimental hops. This beer is an example of the long-awaited fruits of those labors.

Crux Fermentation Project is located at the epicenter of Bend and at the crucial core of the brewing process. We’ve designed our 11,000-hectolitre brewery to allow for non-traditional brewing methods like decoction mashing, open fermentation, oak barrel aging, wild yeast strains and experimental hops. All our beer is bottled and labeled by hand in small batches right at the brewery. Brewmaster Larry Sidor is always in pursuit of the next great beer, whether by reinterpreting a classic style or abandoning it altogether.

50 SW Division, Bend, Oregon 97702
Twitter: @CruxBrew