3rd Annual Portland Fruit Beer Festival Preview

Have a hankering for a cucumber beer? Perhaps you're craving a rhubarb cider. Or maybe a strawberry pie beer (complete with pie crust thrown into the brew kettle) would hit spot. If so, you must visit the 3rd Annual Portland Fruit Beer Fest this weekend at Burnside Brewing. Information about the festival as well as the complete taplist is included at the end of this post.

Freakish oddities aside, beers with fruit often get a bad wrap. At times, it's understandable. I've had my share of cloying industrial swill sweetened with fruit goo. It's unfortunate because, in the hands of a talented brewer, fruit can elevate an already great beer to a higher plain.

Last Friday, I attended a festival media preview where I sampled 8 of of the taplist offerings. As we tasted, the brewers who created the beers, gave us the back stories about each. Here's a bit about the 7 beers (and 1 cider) we sampled:

  • Ivill Krushu, Burnside Brewing:  Brewed with a California Common yeast strain and aged in Pacific Rum Barrels (from Bull Run Distillery), the mission figs and dates are wonderful complements to the roasted malt flavors.
  • Tiger Tonic, Hopworks Urban Brewery:  This IPA is oozing with tropical fruit aroma! Passionfruit, mango, and pineapple puree provide much of the flavor. However, a Belgian yeast strain and the hops also contribute to the fruit melee.

Christian Ettinger, Hopworks Owner & Brewmaster, talks Tiger Tonic

  • Alamosa, Alameda Brewing:  Light bodied with a bright orange aroma. Perfect for summer--or breakfast!
  • Pure Wit, Upright Brewing:  Brewed with the finicky French Saison yeast, this barrel aged beer was brewed with Blood orange, grapefruit, and Seville orange. It has a nice dry finish.
  • Rhubarbian Cider, 2 Towns Cidery:  2.5 tons of rhubarb were used to make 100 barrels of this cider! The rhubarb flavor is unmistakable and provides a wonderful tartness to this hard cider.
  • Cherry Wheat, Lompoc Brewing:  Cherry and port wine flavors play together nicely!
  • Berliner Weiss with Pomegranate, Widmer Brothers Brewing:  This 3.5% ABV beer was soured with lactobacillus in the mash
  • Bier Royale, Commons Brewery:  Inspired by a Kir Royale (a cocktail that combines champagne and Chambord), this beer was also soured with lactobacillus. Instead of using a lacto brewing strain, Sean Burke opened his fridge and used a dollop of Nancy's Yogurt to culture the lactobacillus used in this beer! Sporting a bright pink color from the black currant puree, this is one tart and tasty beer! If you like sour beers, don't miss this. Don't worry, no yogurt floaties were seen!  

Yogurt makes the Commons Brewery crew happy--very happy.

Most of the beers were brewed especially for the festival or are rare releases. As an added plus, many are low in alcohol and perfect for festival sampling. Don't miss this opportunity to try these unique beers! Feel free to bring your own cucumber for garnish.

For a glimpse of what to expect, here's my summary of the 1st Annual Portland Fruit Beer Festival.

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Portland Fruit Beer Festival

Saturday June 8th 11am - 9pm
Sunday June 9th 11am-9pm
General Admission package: $20, VIP tickets: $28
7th & E. Burnside, Portland, OR 97214

Portland Fruit Beer Festival organizers are proud to announce the taplist for the 3rd annual festival taking place June 8th and 9th at 7th and East Burnside. This years beer list may be the most diverse yet which reflects the fests attempts to diversify beer styles and varieties of fruit, brewers willingness to experiment with fruit and the public's embracing the comeback of the style.

The Main Stage Taplist
(These beers should be available on tap for the majority of the 2-day festival)


Alameda Brewing: Alamosa
The Alamosa is a pilsner with orange juice added. Just think about the early morning Mimosa. At 4.8% this will be the perfect beer to drink on a hot summer day, with the added bonus of some Vitamin C

Beer Valley Brewing: Oregonberry Wheat
A light, refreshing, tart fruitbeer brewed with 2-row barley, organic wheat malt, cherries, blueberries, and plums.  4% ABV.  4 IBU.

Block 15 Brewing: Psidium
Rustic farmhouse ale matured with guava fruit.  Blended with 33% barrel matured  wheat & farmhouse ales from our wild cellar. Brewed with Belgian Pilsner, French Pale & Wheat malts; Saaz & Citra hops; French farmhouse yeast. 6.2%alc/vol, 17BU

Breakside Brewery: Strawberry Rhubarb Pie
A berliner-weisse style beer brewed with whole baked strawberry rhubarb pies. Watch the video!

Burnside Brewing Co.
A Baltic Porter aged in Pacific Rum barrels with blueberries, golden figs, mission figs and dates.

Bushwhacker Cidery/Upright Brewing: Collaboration Blend
A blend starting off with Upright Brewing's Six a dark farmhouse rye beer that was then aged in wine barrels with Brett (wild yeast) and currants. It was then mixed 50/50 with Bushwhacker Cidery's Hazelnut Rum barrel Rose Hip cider. The blend was then added to a Big Bottom whiskey barrel, where it will only sit for about a week before kegging.

The Commons Brewery: Bier Royale
Sour spelt beer with black currents. ~6% abv. The name is derived from Kir Royale (cocktail)

Deschutes Brewery: Currant Event
Sour Baltic Porter. First we kettle soured a small batch of our Imperial Porter with our house lactic culture. Then we added Black Currants and blended it with a Baltic Porter conditioned with pureed raspberries  The result is a dark, fruited, tart glass of something eventful! ABV:  7.7%  IBU’s: 21

Falling Sky Brewing: Strobilus Berry Wheat Bitter                        
Looking for a summer pink drink? Overlapping berry character from a blend of raspberries and boysenberries provides a refreshing tartness and brilliant color balanced by a touch of malt and wheat sweetness.  ABV: 4.5%  IBU's: 18

Fort George Brewing: Forbidden Wonder Fruit Ale
For this year’s Fruit Ale Festival, Fort George decided to make a kiwi caramel beer.  Kiwis are known around the world by many names, but our favorite is the Chinese translation - ""Wonder Fruit.""  We made this caramel ale with Wyeast’s ""Forbidden Fruit"" yeast, infusing a sublte raspberry flavor. The Forbidden Wonder Fruit Ale has a lighter body that won’t distract the pallet from the layers of flavor that glide over the tongue.  Even with all of these great ingredients and flavors mixing together, the Forbidden Wonder Fruit Ale is not overly sweet, making it a beer that everyone can enjoy on a hot summer day.  6.7% ABV

Gigantic Brewing: Hey there Fruitcake!
Style: Fruitcake Beer. Fruit: Cherry, Apricot, Orange Peel (maybe cranberry too). Description:  Cherry, Apricot, Orange Peel and Ginger combine with this malty, caramelly beer to make Fruitcake in liquid form (not your aunts rock of a cake..).

Hopworks Urban Brewery: Tiger Tonic
Hopworks collaborated with Automatic Brewing Company of San Diego to create this stylistic hybrid of a Belgian IPA, Wit and fruitbeer. It’s a tropical cocktail of Passionfruit, Mango, and Pineapple and hopped with Nelson Sauvin, Galaxy and Citra hops.

Laurelwood Brewing: Fruition Wheat
A Berliner-Weisse brewed with Pear and Blackberries.

Lompoc Brewing: Cherry Wheat
A wheat ale brewed in August 2011 with 200 pounds of sour cherries and then aged in Maryhill Winery Port barrels for 2 months.  It has a slight oak aroma with a crisp cherry flavor, finishing slightly tart. 5.0% ABV

Lucky Lab Brewing: Blue Raspberry Lager
Inspired by the popular candy flavor. Brewed with Raspberries and Blackberries. 4.2%"

Oakshire Brewing: Elderberry Gose
A traditional gose style beer with coriander and salt, with the addition of elderberry. 4% abv.

Stone Brewing Co.: Ruination IPA - Tropical Heat Edition
A special version of Stone's Double IPA brewed with Mangos and Habaneros brewed just for the FruitBeer Fest and PortlandBeer Week.

10 Barrel Brewing: Cucumber Crush
Once again 10 Barrel gets fresh! Tonya took her award winning Berliner Weisse and added loads of cucumbers. The aroma is undeniably cucumber. The flavor is like biting into a crisp baby cucumber fresh from the garden. Just when you have had enough the tartness acts as a pallet cleanser leaving you ready for the next sip. Eat Beer! 4% ABV 17 IBU

2 Towns Ciderhouse: Made Marion
The sunrise of summer, the Made Marion is a blend of Oregon grown Marionberries and hard apple cider. Ripe berry flavors and a crisp apple bite combine with a rich ruby color to make this delicious cider. 6.9% abv.

Upright Brewing: Barrel-Aged Citrus Wit
Pure Wit aged with blood orange, seville orange, and grapefruit peels, 4.5%

Rare & Rotating Taplist
(only 2-4 of these beers on tap at once. Tastes 2-4 tickets each)

Crooked Stave Artisan Beer Project: Wild Wild Brett Violet
100% Brettanomyces fermented with Passionfruit and Experimental Hops

Crooked Stave Artisan Beer Project: St. Bretta
100% Brettanomyces (Whitebier) Brewed with Citrus

Crooked Stave Artisan Beer Project: Surette Provision
Barrel-aged Provision Saison with Raspberries

De Garde Brewing: Gin barrel Berliner with oregon coast cranberries

De Garde Brewing: Barrel fermented wild Saison with Abacella estate vineyard Tempranillo grapes

De Garde Brewing: Gin barrel double India wild ale with Horse Heaven Hills Chenin Blanc grapes

Double Mountain: Bloody Beer

Flat Tail Brewing: Cucumber Cuvée
A year old cucumber Berliner with Brett f/c

Flat Tail Brewing: Persicus
A year+ old hibiscus blonde soured in Pinot barrels and refermented with peach purée and saison yeast.

Flat Tail Brewing: Seanberry Saison
A Blueberry-strawberry saison with biscuit malt ( strawberry shortcake kinda thing goin on)

Hopworks Urban Brewery: Valentine Stout
Brouwers 6th Anniversary Imperial Stout aged on Heaven Hills bourbon barrels with Organic Raspberries.

Logsdon Farmhouse Ales: Cerasus
Oak Aged Flanders Red with tart Cherry.

Lompoc Brewing: Scarlet Red
Our Proletariat Red has turned a rich shade of scarlet after fermenting in Heaven Hill Bourbon barrels with 45 pounds of sour cherries.  This beer puts a new twist on our classic, balanced NW Red ale.  Now a slightly tart, oaky red, it is complimented nicely by the aroma of a quality Kentucky Bourbon.  6.2% ABV  

Lompoc Brewing: Peach Wheat
Brewed in September 2012 and fermented in Heaven Hill Bourbon barrels with 200 pounds of peaches for a strong peach aroma and hints of oak that finishes slightly tart. 5.8% ABV

New Belgium Brewing: Love with Cherry and Nectarines

New Belgium Brewing: Pluot
Hook up a plum with an apricot and they’ll make you a pluot. This sweet hybrid fruit is as refreshing as it is strange, and it’s the perfect starting point for our new Lips of Faith beer. Pluot Ale pours a bright, light golden. The aroma is full of fruit tones and distinct esters from blending the funky brettanomyces and our house Belgian ale yeast. The flavor carries the same weight, adding a spicy, vinous subtlety to stand up against the malt backbone. To build a beer around this worldly fruit is purely Belgian in imagination. Pour some Pluot and enjoy!

New Belgium Brewing: Heavenly Feijoa Tripel
Heavenly Feijoa Tripel combines Dieu du Ciel!’s love of hibiscus flowers with New Belgium’s passion for strange and worldly fruit. Feijoa, also known as pineapple guava, has a sweet, aromatic flavor, which makes the aroma of Heavenly Feijoa Tripel luscious and tropical. The beer has Belgian yeast and Nelson Sauvin hops, combining to make a sweet fruit taste, mild spicy tones and a sharp bite. Hibiscus adds a cranberry tartness and an ambrosial quality to the color.

Oakshire Brewing: TBD
Blonde ale with Muller Thurgau grapes aged on Brett in Pinot Noir barrels

Old Market Pub and Brewery: Sour Wheat Plum Lambic
Three year old sour mashed Gueuze refermented with hand picked plums. Pours purplish-opaque with the aroma of plum and a nice dry tart finish.

Solera Brewery: Apricot

Solera Brewery: Peche

Solera Brewery: Lapin Lover Kriek

Schooner Exact Brewing: Apricot Sour

Schooner Exact Brewing: Cherry Sour

10 Barrel: Raspberry Crush
Award winning Berliner-Weisse with Raspberries.

10 Barrel: Apricot Crush
Award winning Berliner-Weisse with Apricots

2 Towns Ciderhouse: Rhubarbarian
Like a barbarian horde, the crew at 2 Towns Ciderhouse raided a local rhubarb patch to create this fearsome hard cider. Tangy, wild, and not for the faint of heart, the Rhubarbarian will bring out the barbarian in you. Give your taste buds +5 sour ability!

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