Cold, windy, rainy weather has descended on Portland. On the bright side, that means Holiday Ale Festival is near! Details about the 19th installment of the biggest baddest holiday beer festival were just released. To whet your appetite, here's the beer list:
10 Barrel Brewing Co., TBA, Double Black Ale with Black Licorice
13 Virtues Brewing Co., Barrel-Aged MAX Stout, Imperial Stout
2 Towns Ciderhouse, Bourbon Barrel Nice & Naughty, Cider
Alameda Brewing Co., Admiration IPA, American IPA
Baerlic Brewing Company, The Great Bear, NW Red Ale aged on Beechwood
Base Camp Brewing Company, Dunkelrauch Weizenbock, Imperial Grätzer
Bear Republic Brewing, Do You Want to Build A Snowman?, Golden Barrel Aged Blend
Burnside Brewing, Jingleberry, Imperial Stout aged on Fresh Cranberries
Cascade Brewing, Gingersnaps, NW Style Sour Strong Ale
Coalition Brewing, Big Maple, Imperial Maple Porter
Deluxe Brewing Company, Dunkel the Halls...With Beer & Jolly, Dunkel Bock
Deschutes Brewery, Scarlet Flame IRA, India Red Ale
Dick's Brewing Company, Black Friday Stout, Imperial Stout
Dogfish Head Craft Brewery, Dogfish Head Raison d'Etre, Belgian-style Brown Ale
Drake's Brewing Co., Jolly Rodger 2014, Imperial Coffee Stout
Eel River Brewing, Gargantua II, Whiskey Barrel Vanilla Imperial Strong Ale Blend
Elysian Brewing Company, Knock on Nelson, IPA with Nelson Sauvin
Ex Novo Brewing Co., TBD, Mexican Chocolate Baltic Porter
Fearless Brewing Company, Ichabod, Pumpkin Ale, Spice/Herb/Vegetable
Feckin Brewery, Top O' The Feckin' Mornin', Imperial Espresso Milk Porter
Finnriver Farm & Cidery, Finnriver Stone & Pome Cider, Barrel Aged Plum and Peach Cider
Fort George Brewery and Public House, Santa's Dinner Jacket, Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Red Ale
Gigantic Brewing, Red Rider BB Gun, Saison with Cranberries
Gilgamesh Brewing, Eastside Bandit, Bourbon Barrel Aged Porter
Golden Valley Brewery, Pinot Noir Barrel-Aged Tannen Boom, Barrel-Aged Belgian-Style Strong Ale
Hopworks Urban Brewery, The Incredible Abominable of the Enchanted Barrel Forest, Barrel Aged Ale
Kells Brew Pub, MIC Stout AKA Boom Roaster, Milk Imperial Coffee Stout
Lagunitas Brewing Company, Scare City, Wheatwine
Lompoc Brewing, Pinot Noir Barrel Aged Cheval de Trait Belge, Belgian Strong Ale
Mazama Brewing Co., Noel Rouge, Imperial Wit
McMenamins Edgefield Brewery, Lord of Misrule, Rum Barrel Aged Habanero
Migration Brewing, Frankie Claus, Belgian Imperial Stout
Natian Brewery, Irish Water, Imperial Golden Ale
Nectar Creek Mead, Triple Brett, Barrel Aged Sour Session Mead
New Belgium Brewing Company, La Folie, Sour Brown Ale
Ninkasi Brewing Co, Doppelbock, Doppelbock
No-Li Brewhouse, Whiskey Barrel Aged Winter Warmer, Winter Warmer
Oakshire Brewing, Prestidigitation, White Chocolate Milk Stout
Old Town Brewing Co., Bluth's Original Chocolate Banana Hefeweizen, Chocolate Bavarian-style Hefeweizen
Payette Brewing Co., Bandito, IPA with Agave and Tequila Soaked Oak Chips
Portland Brewing, 2014 Bourbon Barrel-aged Imperial Stout, Bourbon Barrel Aged Cherry Stout with Coffee
Rock Bottom, Yul Brynner, Santo Poco style Strong Ale
Rogue Ales, BIG ASS BARREL Maple Doppelbock, German Style Doppelbock
Rusty Truck Brewing Co, Santaweizen, Weizenbock
Santiam Brewing, Golden Sultan, Belgian Golden Strong
Seven Brides Brewing, The 503, Barleywine
Sixpoint Brewery, Lump of Coal Porter, Robust Porter
Slanted Rock Brewing Company, Cordial Tease, Spiced Winter Ale
Stickmen Brewery & Skewery, Big Chocolate Banana, Dunkelweizen
Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens – Liberty Station, New Desecrator, Black Barley Wine
Vertigo Brewery and Taproom, Busted Head Red, Imperial Red Ale
Viking Braggot Company, Aurora, NW Amber Braggot
Widmer Brothers Brewing, Frosty The Munchieman, Porter
I'll be sure to share the detailed beer descriptions as soon as they are released. For festival dates, hours, and prices, check out the news release below.
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Brewers announced, tickets on sale for Holiday Ale Festival
19th annual event offers one of the nation’s finest gatherings of winter beers
PORTLAND, Ore. – Oct. 28, 2014 – Tickets are now on sale for the 19th annual Holiday Ale Festival, taking place Dec. 3 through Dec. 7 at Pioneer Courthouse Square in the heart of downtown Portland. The popular event will feature 53 big, bold ales in the main festival, plus another two dozen rare, vintage and specialty beers that will be tapped at various times throughout the event — including a vintage draft J. W. Lees 2009 Harvest Ale barleywine to be tapped at the start of the event.
This year’s participating breweries are 10 Barrel, 13 Virtues, 2 Towns, Alameda, Baerlic, Base Camp, Bear Republic, Burnside, Cascade, Coalition, Deluxe, Deschutes, Dick's, Dogfish Head, Drakes, Eel River, Elysian, Ex Novo, Fearless, Feckin, Finnriver, Fort George, Gigantic, Gilgamesh, Golden Valley, Hopworks, Kells, Lagunitas, Lompoc, Mazama, McMenamins Edgefield, Migration, Natian, Nectar Creek Honeywine, New Belgium, Ninkasi, No-Li, Oakshire, Old Town, Payette, Portland, Rock Bottom, Rogue, Rusty Truck, Santiam, Seven Brides, Sixpoint, Slanted Rock, Stickmen, Stone, Vertigo, Viking Braggot and Widmer.
What makes this festival standout from other similar events is the beer selection: the festival works with every brewery involved to make sure they send a beer that has either been made or blended specifically for the event, or is a rare or vintage beer that isn't commonly tapped in the state, underscoring the event's reputation as one of finest gathering of winter beers anywhere in the nation. These top tier breweries are supported by some of the nation’s most passionate beer appreciators who have the good fortune to be able to celebrate all their favorite breweries in one location.
A small sample of the lineup includes Cascade Brewing’s Gingersnaps, a NW style sour blend of red, spiced red and spiced quad ales aged in Bourbon and rum barrels for up to two years on spices; Eel River’s Gargantua II, an imperial strong ale aged on Bourbon vanilla beans and blended with a strong ale aged in Jack Daniels barrels for six months; Dogfish Head’s Rasion d’Etre, a Belgian-style brown ale brewed with beet sugar, raisins and Belgian-style yeast that is rarely seen in the Northwest; and Stone Brewing Liberty Station’s New Desecrator, a black barleywine with nearly the same profile as Stone Old Guardian, but surrounded by de-husked darkness.
Beer alternatives include two ciders: 2 Towns Bourbon Barrel Aged Nice & Naughty, a specialty cider fermented with dark meadowfoam honey and aged in Bourbon barrels with spices; and Finnriver Stone & Pome Cider, a Bourbon barrel aged plum and peach cider. There is also a Triple Brett barrel aged sour session mead from Nectar Creek Honeywine, and Aurora Amber Braggot from Viking Braggot Co, with juniper berries, spruce tips and local blackberry honey.
To enter and consume beer, the purchase of an entry package is required. Advance ticket packages are available now through 11:00am PST on Dec. 3 at http://holidayale.com/advance-tickets.php advance general admission tickets cost $35 and include the tasting mug, 14 taster tickets and express entry all five days. Advance VIP tickets cost $80 and include the tasting mug, 30 taster tickets, bottled water, access to VIP lines (including special tappings), VIP only vintage bottles and/or draft, and express entry all five days. (Express re-entry requires a wristband and the 2014 mug, and is subject to the festival's capacity.) Door prices are the same, but do not allow for expedited entry.
A full mug of beer costs four taster tickets, and a taster costs one ticket. Certain limited release and special tappings may not be available in full mug pours, or may cost double tickets. Additional beer tickets can be purchased for $1 apiece. Previous years’ mugs will not be filled.
Designated drivers in a party of two or more may purchase a designated driver wristband for $10, which includes Crater Lake Root Beer or bottled water for the duration of the stay (DDs are not allowed to consume alcohol).
Holiday Festival hours are 11am to 10pm Wednesday through Saturday, and 11am to 5pm Sunday. To avoid the lengthy lines that often accompany beer festivals, the recommended days for attendance are Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday. The Holiday Ale Festival is for ages 21 and over.
Attendees stay warm and dry under clear-topped tents that cover the venue. Gas heaters create a cozy ambiance beneath the boughs of the region's largest decorated Christmas tree. In addition to beer tasting, the festival also features meet the brewer events, a root beer garden, food vendors, beer pairings with cheese, event merchandise and a coat and bag check that raises funds for the Children's Cancer Association. For more information, visit www.holidayale.com.
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Last week, I received an early Halloween treat on my doorstep. Black Widow Porter, McMenamins’ fall seasonal was unleashed on October 15. Here are a few details about the release:
Originally created at the McMenamins Thompson brewery (Salem, Oregon) on October 15, 1991 and brewed once a year for just Thompson's taps, Black Widow's web now spans the entire company and is available on tap and in 22-oz. bottles at all McMenamins from October 15 through Halloween. Each deep-black goblet is full of the robust notes afforded by generous amounts of black and roasted malts and further spirited with ethereal wisps of licorice. Nourish your inner ghoul with a brew steeped in tradition and mystery. A good howl at the Cheshire moon couldn't hurt, either.
- Malts: Bairds Pale Malt, Great Western Munich, Great Western Flaked Barley, Great Western Wheat, Bairds 135/165L Crystal, Bairds Roast Material, Bairds Black Malt
- Hops: Horizon (Bittering & Flavor)
- Special Ingredient: Licorice Root
- ABV: 7.35%
- IBU: 41
- SRM: 38
You can find Black Widow though Halloween at all McMenamins locations.
Love 'em or hate 'em, pumpkin beers are here. A few weeks ago, I conducted an informal poll on my Facebook page and asked my readers to share their thoughts on pumpkin beers. Apparently, the majority dislike the style. While I'm not a huge fan myself, I still find myself tasting and writing out them each year. Ironically, pumpkin has little flavor in beer. These beers are all about the spice, in my humble opinion.
If you're looking to try a traditional pumpkin ale, I suggest you consider Elysian Night Owl, Smuttynose Pumpkin Ale, or one of my absolute favorites—Schlafly Pumpkin Ale. This year, I'm highlighting four gourd brews that each feature a unique twist:
- The Dapper Skeleton (Ale with Chiles), Burnside Brewing Co., Portland, OR
- He Said (Belgian-Style Triple), 21st Amendment Brewery, San Francisco, CA
- He Said (Baltic-Style Porter), 21st Amendment Brewery, San Francisco, CA
- Pumpkin Porter, Alaskan Brewing Co., Juneau, AK
I'll post detailed reviews for each of these in the upcoming weeks. In the meantime, what do you think about pumpkin beers?
Back in July, Stone Brewing Co. announced plans to open a brewery in Berlin. Less than three months later, they're at it again. This time, they're opening shop in Richmond, Virginia. I'm happy that our friends on the east coast will now have the pleasure of enjoying some local west coast beer! Congratulations to Stone and the city of Richmond, Virginia!
Stone Brewing Co. Names Richmond, Virginia, as Future Home for New Brewery and Destination Restaurant
ESCONDIDO, CA (Oct. 9, 2014) – Today, San Diego-based Stone Brewing Co. announced it has signed a formal letter of intent with the City of Richmond, Virginia, signifying the company’s interest in building its East Coast facility in the city’s Greater Fulton Community. Subject to local approvals, Stone plans to invest $74 million to construct a production brewery, packaging hall, destination restaurant, retail store and its administrative offices. Construction of the facilities will occur in phases. The brewery is anticipated to be operational in late 2015 or early 2016, with Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens opening a year or two after that. Ultimately, the company will employ more than 288 people.
“The search for our location east of the Mississippi River was no easy endeavor,” said Stone President and Co-founder Steve Wagner. “We received and reviewed hundreds of proposals, visited more than 40 sites, and received quite a bit of attention from communities and craft beer fans. The three finalist cities each provided diverse offerings, however, we decided to begin next-step negotiations with Richmond because of their ability to meet our extensive site requirements, subject to the city’s approval. We also feel that Richmond’s vibrant energy and impressive craft beer culture, along with the uniqueness of the property, will allow us to create a truly memorable Stone experience for our fans. We are honored by the amount of time and effort all the communities that submitted proposals put forth, and we want to specifically thank Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe and Richmond Mayor Dwight C. Jones for welcoming us.”
Adds Stone CEO and Co-founder Greg Koch, “A facility on the East Coast will allow us to meet demand for our beer, ensure we are providing our fans with the freshest beer possible and also serve as a distribution hub for states located east of the Mississippi. We look forward to becoming an integral part of the lively craft beer community in Richmond, the state of Virginia and the entire eastern U.S.”
Stone anticipates building a 200,000 square-foot production brewery and distribution facility on 14 acres of land. Equipped with a 250-barrel brewhouse, the brewery will produce year-round and special-release beers to be bottled, kegged and distributed, as well as enjoyed on-site. The company also plans to renovate a two-story, 30,000 square-foot building, transforming it into a destination restaurant spanning four acres and highlighting locally grown organic food, complementing the harmonious nature and seasonality of the location’s surroundings. The restaurant will feature beautifully landscaped gardens where visitors will be able to enjoy craft beer, dine and relax in an inviting atmosphere.
“Today’s announcement marks the fruition of months of partnership and aggressive efforts to show Stone Brewing Co. that Virginia is the best state for its new craft beer production and hospitality facility,” said Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe. “The company received submissions from more than 20 states, and the Commonwealth of Virginia was selected. This competitive, high-profile project really puts Virginia on the map and cements our standing as a serious player in the craft beer industry. In addition to Stone’s significant investment and more than 288 new jobs, the far-reaching economic benefits of this operation are innumerable. The City of Richmond offers the infrastructure, available site and building, and natural resources that will allow the company to thrive and grow, and we are confident that Stone will benefit from the Commonwealth’s excellent business environment for years to come. Today is an achievement of great magnitude, and we are excited to welcome Stone Brewing Co. to Virginia.”
“We are thrilled about Stone's decision to choose Richmond as its East Coast production and distribution facility location,” said Richmond Mayor Dwight C. Jones. “After competing with 20 other states, we are so pleased that Stone has discovered those attributes that make Richmond a great place to do business. The fact that they have chosen a site in the Greater Fulton Community underscores their understanding of the rich history and natural assets that we have to offer. As they bring their unique craft beer and visionary business model here, I look forward to the many opportunities that lay ahead with Stone.”
This is the second expansion announcement Stone has made this year. In July, the company unveiled it will become the first American craft brewer to independently own and operate a brewery in Europe with the opening of Stone Brewing Co. – Berlin.
On September 27, I attended Hopworks' Handmade Bike & Beer Festival. It had all the elements of Biketobeerfest from years past, but with the addition of a custom-made bike expo. If you know Hopworks, then you know this combination is a match made in heaven.
While the beer was great (as it is at most beer festivals around here), I enjoyed the vibe and atmosphere the most. It's family-friendly and my kids were entertained for hours by the bouncy house, Huffy Toss, Frisbee stations, and break-dancers. This gave me time to relax and enjoy some beer (and a cider)! Check out the short video below to get a taste of the event.
Overall, it was a great afternoon! Dad and kids both had fun! If you're looking for a family-friendly beer fest, I suggest you keep Hopworks' Handmade Bike & Beer Festival on your radar for next fall!
The 28th annual Great American Beer Festival just wrapped up in Denver. A total of 268 medals were awarded for 90 categories of beer. Oregon breweries pulled in 22 medals (or 8.2% of total). That's an impressive haul! Below is list of the medal-winning Oregon beers.
10 Barrel Brewing Co, Bend
P2P, Bronze, American-Style Stout
Amber Waves, Bronze, American-Style Wheat Beer
Cucumber Crush, Gold, Field Beer
13 Virtues Brewing Co., Portland
Weizenbock, Silver, German-Style Wheat Ale
Arch Rock Brewing Co., Gold Beach
Gold Beach Lager, Gold, Kellerbier or Zwickelbier
Barley Brown’s Brew Pub, Baker City
Turmoil, Bronze, American-Style Black Ale
Disorder, Silver, American-Style Stout
Fresh Hop Pallet Jack IPA, Gold, Fresh or Wet Hop Ale
Hand-Truck Pale Ale, Gold, International-Style Pale Ale
Bend Brewing Co., Bend
Salmonberry Sour, Gold, Indigenous/Regional Beer
Breakside Brewery, Milwaukee
Breakside IPA, Gold, American-Style India Pale Ale
Wanderlust IPA, Silver, American-Style Strong Pale Ale
Buoy Beer Co., Astoria
Buoy Dunkel, Silver, English-Style Dunkel
Caldera Brewing Co., Ashland
Caldera Ashland Amber, Silver, Classic English-Style Pale Ale
The Commons Brewery, Portland
Myrtle, Silver, American-Style Sour Beer
Deschutes Brewery, Bend
Sage Fight IPA, Bronze, Indigenous/Regional Beer
Groundbreaker Brewing (formally known as Harvester), Portland
Dark Ale, Gold, Gluten-Free Beer
Logsdon Organic Farm Brewery
Peche ‘n Brett, Silver, American-Style Brett Beer
Old Town Brewing Co.
I’d Like to Buy the World a Kölsch, Silver, German-Style Kölsch
Pelican Pub & Brewery, Pacific City
Poire du Pelican, Bronze, Belgian-Style Fruit Beer
Surfer’s Summer Ale, Bronze, English-Style Pale Ale
Widmer Brothers Brewing, Portland
Hefeweizen, Silver, American-Style Wheat Beer with Yeast
Congrats to all the hard working brewers! We appreciate and enjoy your work! Click here for a complete list of all award winners. Cheers!
|The Commons' Myrtle Silver medal. Courtesy of Sean Burke.|
|Brady Romtvedt next to his 7 Barrel Brewhouse|
Brady Romtvedt loves his job. For the last six years, he has shared brewing duties with Chris Oslin at McMenamins Cornelius Pass Roadhouse & Imbrie Hall in Hillsboro.
McMenamins has a unique brewing model. It doesn’t have a main brewery that produces beer from a central location for distribution to its 65 brewpubs, historic hotels, and theater pubs across Oregon and Washington. Instead, it brews beer locally across a network of 24 breweries. Each of the local breweries produce McMenamins’ core lineup of 4 beers: Hammerhead, Terminator Stout, Ruby, and a rotating seasonal.
Outside of the core lineup, brewers are given free rein to innovate and experiment. In the case of Cornelius Pass Roadhouse, Brady and Chris brew the beer needed to supply 12 tap handles. Four taps are dedicated to core brews, and eight handles feature local creations. It’s the ability to experiment that Brady loves.
During fresh hop season, McMenamins releases Thundercone Fresh Hop Ale as a core seasonal. This year, Thundercone showcased Brewers Gold as the fresh hop. In addition to Thundercone, Brady recently made two of his own small batch fresh hop beers for the first time:
- 15 Fresh IPA: 7.2% ABV, ~75 IBUs. 15 pounds of fresh (or wet) Centennial hops went into each barrel. Typically, crystal malts are used in IPAs to add color and sweetness (to balance the bitterness). In this beer, Brady avoided crystal malts, which allowed the citrus and lemon hop flavors to shine. It still finished with a light sweetness.
- Barrel Hopped IPA: 6.4% ABV, ~100 IBUs. 10 pounds of wet Centennial hops were added to a 2nd use Hogs Head whiskey barrel. Squeeze Play IPA was racked onto the hops and aged for two weeks. The mild whiskey flavor nicely complemented the hops. The oak from the barrel added a pleasant softness to the mouth feel.
Both of these beers were served exclusively at Cornelius Pass Roadhouse. If you hurry, you still might be able to get a taste!
On the final Wednesday of each month, the Roadhouse holds a special beer tasting that showcases new small batch beers. Spooky Ales is the theme of the upcoming October 29th event. Scheduled to be served are:
- The Widow Jäger: This black, roasty beer is made with licorice root and aged on Jägermeister-soaked oak spirals.
- Ghost Lager: This beer was infused six ghost peppers and a dozen habaneros. Yikes!
- Pole-Axe Strong Ale: Not spooky, but a fan favorite from Chris Oslin’s days at the Thompson brewery in Salem.
For more details about Spooky Ales, click here. These beers will be offered at happy hour pricing all night on October 29. In the meantime, be sure to check out the small batch brews at your local McMenamins.
I can't believe it's already October! That means I can finally allow myself to taste, touch, or even look at pumpkin beers. It's a good thing because Burnside Brewing Co. just announced the release of The Dapper Skeleton. This limited release beer features three pepper varieties, cocoa nibs, cherrywood smoked malt, a secret spice blend, and of course—everyone's favorite autumnal gourd.
I don't recall ever tasting a pumpkin beer made with peppers. Burnside's Sweet Heat is one of my favorite pepper-infused ales, so I have high hopes for The Dapper Skeleton. I'll be including it my upcoming annual Pumpkin Beer Roundup. Thanks to the the brewery for the sample. For more details, check out Burnside's beer release info below. Are you ready for pumpkin beers?
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The Dapper Skeleton
Portland, OR - Burnside Brewing Co. has just introduced a new fall seasonal in bottles - The Dapper Skeleton - a traditionally un-traditional take on the popular pumpkin beer trend. Available now on draft and in 22oz bottles only in Oregon, The Dapper Skeleton is a spicy pepper infused pumpkin ale from the GABF gold medal winner of pepper beers.
Known for taking un-traditional approaches with classic styles like Burnside's Lime Kolsch as well as for his ingenious pepper beers like Sweet Heat (GABF Gold winning Apricot and Scotch Bonnet Pepper Wheat), Brewmaster/Co-Owner Jason Mcadam added a trio of chili's, cocoa nibs, a secret blend of spices and a touch of Cherrywood Smoked Malt. The Dapper Skeleton will leave pumpkin beer fans clamoring for more and skeptics rethinking the style.
The Dapper Skeleton is available NOW in 22oz bottles and 50L kegs through Maletis Beverage.