|Matt Radtke explains Mamba|
The 17th Annual Spring Beer & Wine Fest kicked off yesterday at the Oregon Convention Center. Today is your last chance to attend! It starts at noon and ends at 11pm.
While beer is prominent, this fest also focuses on wine, spirits, and food. So there's something for everyone. My plan was to sample beer that isn't widely available. I present a few for your consideration:
|Henry Gorgas, Fire Mountain|
Fire Mountain Brewery: Owner and Brewmaster Henry Gorgas makes beer...and airplanes. Talk about one stop shop! Check out the smooth Steam Fired Stout.
Gilgamesh Brewing: Not a fan of IPAs? Can't stand bitter beer? Then try Mamba. It's a 0 IBU brew that made with Earl Grey Tea and rye.
Ninkaski Brewing: Check out the Vanilla Bean Oatis. This is NOT being served at the Ninkasi booth. Look for it at the MDA Charity Table.
|Ninkasi's Jamie Floyd|
Firestone Walker: If you don't know FW, it's time to get acquainted. Pale 31 is fermented (not just aged) in oak barrels. They won Gold and Silver medals for their Pale Ales at the 2010 Great American Beer Fest.
Fort George Brewery: Quick Wit is a Belgian-styled wheat beer full of pepper, citrus, and spice.
10 Barrel Brewing: You've had IPAs, but an ISA? India Summer Ale has the aroma of an IPA, but less bitterness.
In between your beer, grab a few bites of food—and vodka...
Brownies From Heaven: Rich and chocolaty! The raspberry and blue cheese (yes, in the brownie) varieties are amazing. Pair them with a stout for a match made in heaven.
Cheese Galore: You'll find plenty of booths serving amazing artisan cheese. I tried several.
Dry Fly Distilling: I'm not a big vodka drinker, but they make it smooooth!
So check out the Spring Beer & Wine Fest. It ends tonight at 11pm. Ride the MAX, it will take you to the doorsteps of the Convention Center!
The idea of Firkin Fest was compelling. How often can you chose from 30 firkin beers in a single day? GermanFest had its own charms—14 Teutonic styles from 20 Oregon breweries. Tough choice!
In the end, my decision was easy. I didn't want to pay $30 to Firken. Bailey's $15 fee was right up my alley. Turns out I made a good choice. For more on Firkin Fest, check out the coverage from my colleagues at Beervana and The New School.
I sampled 8 different brews at Bailey's GermanFest. Here they are in the order I tasted them. I didn't take detailed notes, so comments in italics were those provided on the beer menu.
|Block 15 Berlinerweiss|
- Block 15 Berlinerweiss (3% ABV): I'd been looking forward to tasting this style and Block 15 did not dissapoint. It had the most amazing pale color. Tart, low in alcohol, and very refreshing!
- Flat Tail Corvaller Weisse (3.5% ABV): Another Berlinerweiss, but on steroids (in a good way). It didn't have the same vibrant color as Block 15's, but had a higher level of tartness and funky flavors. I liked it a lot! In Germany, this style is served with a choice of flavored syrups. I tried a syrup, but preferred it plain.
- Breakside Kellerbier (5.1% ABV): Yeast flavor and aroma are low to medium. Balance of malts and hops.
- Cascade '10 Autumn Gose (5% ABV). Another tart beer from the local masters of sour. Acidic/tart. Golden in color. Citrus flavors present. Salt added. I tasted salt in the finish, but probably wouldn't have noticed it had I not read the description.
- Alameda Rye Not? (4.9% ABV). I love the spicy and sour flavor of rye in beer. This Roggenbier started sweet and finished tart. I actually brewed my own Rye beer on Sunday. More on that later.
- Bend Doppelbock (7.5% ABV). Sweet malt, chocolate, and a creamy mouth feel.
- Vertigo Zen Dunkelweizen (5.5% ABV). Sweet maltiness. Brown in color. Very low hop bitterness.
- Upright Engelberg Pils (5.5% ABV). I didn't sample this at Baileys, but at Upright the next day. I'm learning that I actually might like pilsners! I've come a long way...
My favorite was Flat Tail's Corvaller Weisse—and I went back for a second pour. This was the first Flat Tail beer I ever tasted and I want to learn more about this brewery.
Anyway, excellent job by Bailey's in pulling off a great event! The crowd was a nice size, wait times were low, the prices were great, and the beer selection was incredible. I'll be back next year.
|GermanFest Beer Menu|
"Deep within the recesses of the alcoves & antechambers of Oakshire Brewing lies another realm. It's a place where carefully fermented beers are laid to rest in oaken sarcophagi. They slumber for aeons and emerge as wholly new & unique entities, fueling the malformed creatures that populate the blasted & eldritch wastes. That place is....Hellshire I: Barleywine Aged in Bourbon Barrels" — Oakshire Brewing.
I love the use of the word sarcophagi. I'll try to work into more of my posts.
Barrel aging has become the rage in craft beer. Oakshire Brewing is getting into the game with their new Hellshire Series. Matt Van Wyk, Oakshire Brewmaster, recently revealed the details about this mysterious beer:
- Style: Barleywine
- ABV: 10%
- Bitterness: 100 IBU
- Malts: 2-Row, Marris Otter, Wheat, Munich, Honey Malt, CaraMunich, Aromatic, Special Roast, Special B, C-120, C-60
- Hops: Chinook, Citra, Cascade
- Yeast: California Ale
- Special: 100% aged in Heaven Hill Bourbon Barrels for 10 months.
- Price: $15 (22 oz. bottle)
Hellshire I will be released on May 7 at the brewery in Eugene. Quantities will be very limited—only 120 cases will be sold (no draft). Distribution will be limited to Oregon and Vancouver, WA.
Now to the best part—the tasting. Hellshire I has a big aroma—full of stone fruit, oak, a hint of citrus, and the boozy alcohol you'd expect from the style. Flavor of plum, dates, vanilla, and bourbon. It's lightly carbonated and finishes with malty sweetness and warming alcohol. I expect Hellshire I will age beautifully!
|Matt Van Wyk, Oakshire Brewmaster|
If you want a bottle of Hellshire I, your best bet is to go the May 7 release party, which starts at 8am. Click here for details.
Oakshire plans to eventually release new Hellshire beers on a quarterly basis as part of their barrel aging program. You can expect quite a bit of diversity from this series. In addition to bourbon barrels, Oakshire will age beer in cabernet, pinot, whiskey, and gin barrels. Although not official, it sounds like Hellshire II will be a wild (sour) beer. I'm already looking forward to it!
In the meantime, I'll entomb my bottle of Hellshire I into a cardboard sarcophagus and inter it into the netherworld of my crawlspace. I'll exhume it in a year or two and see how it matures. I'm sure it will be great...