Review: Upheaval IPA, Widmer Brothers Brewing

Upheaval IPA
Widmer Brothers Brewing Co. — Portland, OR

  • Style:  IPA
  • Bitterness:  85 IBU
  • ABV:  7.0%
  • Malts:  2-Row Pale, Wheat, Caramel
  • Hops:  Alchemy, Simcoe, Chinook, Willamette, Brewer's Gold, Nelson Sauvin
  • Sampled:  12 oz. bottle (and glass provided by brewery)

Description:  Upheaval IPA is the result of our brewers’ relentless pursuit of the perfect IPA. With more than two pounds of hops per barrel, Upheaval IPA unleashes huge hop flavor and aroma with serious bitterness and a balanced finish. Brewed with wheat, the result is a hazy, bold IPA that’s Unfiltered. Unexpected. Unapologetic. Uncompromised. — Widmer Brothers Brewing Co.

Random thoughts:  Upheaval IPA is Widmer's new year-round IPA. I first learned about Upheaval back in November after listening to the Craft Brew Alliance 3rd quarter earnings call. Based on management's comments, I hypothesized the end of the Rotator IPA Series. When Widmer formally announced the launch of Upheaval last month, they confirmed the end of Rotator. 

The tasting:  Golden in color, hazy, with a white head that dissipates slowly. Aroma is full of tropical fruit (mango and guava), in addition to grapefruit and a bit of pine. Taste starts with grapefruit. In the middle, a light biscuit malt flavor pokes through the hop bitterness. Overall bitterness is fairly high, but does not dominate. Upheaval IPAs just light to medium bodied, moderately carbonated and finishes with lingering grapefruit hop bitterness and a touch of alcohol.

4 star.  Really Good! I want this again!  I enjoyed Upheaval. It's a solid IPA, and I expect it will do well as Widmer's flagship IPA. The challenge is that craft beer drinkers are fickle. While this is a fine beer, I wonder how long it will live. The beauty of the Rotator Series was that it frequently offered sometime new. I imagine Rotator was a costly proposition for Widmer Brothers given the frequent changeovers and SKU management. However, it made a very appealing offering. Time will tell how long Upheaval lasts. I hope it's a long time...

What do you think of Widmer's Upheaval IPA?  Will you miss the Rotator Series?   

Follow this blog on Twitter or Facebook

Oregon Garden Brewfest '14: The Taplist

The Oregon Garden Brewfest just released the taplist for their 10th annual event. The festival will be held April 25-27, at The Oregon Garden in Silverton, Oregon. This will be a great opportunity for you to sample from 130 different beers, ciders, and meads. Many of Portland's beer festivals tend to feature limited release beers. Most of OBG's selections are widely available. So if you try something you like, it should be easy to find it after the fest is over.

On the evening before the festival starts (April 24), a six-course Brewers Tasting Dinner will be held. To get an idea of what to expect, take a look at my recap of the 2012 Brewers Tasting Dinnner. A few tickets to this year's tasting dinner are still available.

For the full taplist and all the details, including hotel packages, check out the press release below.

Follow this blog on Twitter or Facebook

Oregon Garden Brewfest Announces Beer Lineup
for 10th Annual Spring Event
Northwest’s most scenic beer festival features beers & ciders from 65 breweries

SILVERTON, Ore. — The Oregon Garden Brewfest presented by Growl Movement – the Northwest’s most scenic beer festival – has released the lineup for its 10th annual event, taking place April 25 through 27 at The Oregon Garden in historic Silverton. A record 65 breweries will each feature two products, for a total of 130 beers, ciders and mead. Event hours are Noon to 11pm Friday & Saturday, and Noon to 5pm Sunday. The festival also features live music from regional bands and food vendors, as well as a Brewers Tasting Dinner and a Brewfest Brunch Buffet.

Advance admission includes a one-day ticket for $15 that features a tasting glass and five tasting tickets; a three-day ticket for $35 that includes a tasting glass and 10 tasting tickets; and a VIP ticket for $50 that includes three-day admission, a tasting glass, 35 tasting tickets, a souvenir T-shirt and a food voucher. Designated drivers pay a cover charge of $5 and receive a bottled water. The Oregon Garden Brewfest is for ages 21 and over on Friday and Saturday; minors are welcome all hours on Sunday, cost is $5 for minors ages 5 to 20. Advance tickets are available at

Once inside, a full glass of beer costs four tickets, and a taster costs one ticket. Additional tasting tickets may be purchased for $1 apiece. The event is cash only, with an ATM on-site. Parking at The Oregon Garden is $5 per car; free shuttles will be available to various locations in town.  A shuttle is also available from AleWays Brewery Tours, leaving from The Grand Hotel in Salem for $15 per round-trip. There is limited availability on the shuttle, and advance tickets can be purchased online at

This year’s participating breweries & beers include:
  • 10 Barrel Brewing Co: Project Failed Red & Pub Beer
  • 2 Towns Ciderhouse: Cherry Bl'awesome & Serious Scrump
  • 21st Amendment Brewery: Hell or High Watermelon Wheat & Brew Free or Die IPA
  • 7 Devils Brewing Co: Blacklock Oat Porter & Lighthouse Session Ale
  • Alameda Brewing Co: Yellow Wolf & P-Town Pilsner
  • Amnesia Brewing: Damnesia IPA & Crystal Red
  • Ballast Point Brewing and Spirits: Sculpin IPA & Calico Amber
  • Base Camp Brewing Co: Ripstop Rye Pils & Lost Meridian Wit
  • Blue Moon Brewing Co: Blue Moon Belgian-Style White Ale & Blue Moon Valencia Amber Ale
  • Boring Brewing Co: Big Yawn IPA & Hot Scotch
  • BridgePort Brewing Co: Trilogy 1 & Mettle and Mash Series
  • Cascade Brewing: Oblique Black and White Coffee Stout & Raspberry Wheat
  • Coronado Brewing Co: Islander IPA & Orange Avenue Wit
  • Crispin Cider: Crispin Cider & Fox Barrel Blackberry Pear
  • Crux Fermentation Project: Outcast IPA & Half Hitch Mosaic Imperial IPA
  • Deluxe Brewing Co: Deluxe Resurrection & Pure Sin
  • Double Mountain Brewery: Kolsch & Hop Lava
  • Eel River Brewing Co: California Blonde & Organic IPA
  • Elysian Brewing Co: Super Fuzz Blood Orange Pale Ale & Immortal IPA
  • Falling Sky Brewing: TBA
  • Feckin Irish Brewing Co: Feckin Stoned & Irish Oatmeal Porter
  • Firestone Walker Brewing Co: TBA
  • Fish Brewing Co: Organic Amber Ale & Hodgson's Bitter End IPA
  • Flat Tail Brewing: Tailgater  & 6 am Stout
  • Fort George Brewery: Suicide Squeeze IPA & Divinity
  • Georgetown Brewing Co: Manny's Pale Ale & Lucille IPA
  • Gigantic Brewing: Gigantic IPA & Firebird
  • Gilgamesh Brewing: Mamba & Oedipus
  • Golden Valley Brewery: Geist Bock & Bald Peak IPA
  • GoodLife Brewing Co: Comatose Imperial IPA & Sweet As Pacific Ale
  • Goose Island: Goose Island 312 & Goose Island India Pale Ale
  • Hop Valley Brewing Co: Citrus Mistress IPA & Hop Valley Pale Ale
  • Hopworks Urban Brewery: TBA
  • Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Co: Leinenkugel's Summer Shandy & Leinenkugel's Big Eddy Imperial IPA
  • Kells Brew Pub: Kells Irish Style Red & Miley Citrus India Session Lager
  • Lagunitas Brewing Co: IPA & Undercover Investigation Shutdown Ale
  • Laurelwood Brewing Co: Laurelweizen & Free Range Red
  • Logsdon Organic Farm Brewery: TBA
  • Mazama Brewing: TBA
  • Nectar Creek Honeywine: Ginger Session Mead & Raspberry Session Mead
  • New Belgium Brewing: Snap Shot & Spring Blond
  • Ninkasi Brewing: Spring Reign & Pravda Pils
  • Oakshire Brewing: Watershed IPA & Smokin Hell
  • Old Town Brewing Co: TBA
  • Oskar Blues Brewery: Dale's Pale Ale & G'Knight
  • Pelican Brewing Co: The Governor & TBA
  • Plank Town Brewing Co: Reggie English IPA & Odd Fellow Wit
  • Portland Cider Co: Kinda Dry & Sorta Sweet
  • RAM Brewery: Jimmy Hoppa's IPA & Big Horn Hefeweizen
  • Reverend Nat's Hard Cider: Hallelujah Hopricot & Revelation Newtown Pippin
  • Rusty Truck Brewing Co: TBA
  • Salem Ale Works: Misery Whip IPA & Hootenanny Honey Basil
  • Santiam Brewing: Pirate Stout & Spitfire
  • Sasquatch Brewery: Oregon Session Ale & Celilo CDA
  • Seven Brides Brewing: TBA
  • Shock Top: Shock Top Belgian White & Shock Top honey bourbon Cask Wheat
  • Sierra Nevada Brewing Co: Hoptimum & Ovila Saison with Mandarins and peppercorns
  • Silver Moon Brewing: Voodoo Dog ISR & Nelson The Spacefish IPA
  • Stella Artois: Stella Artois & Stella Artois Cidre
  • Stone Brewing Co: TBA
  • Twisted Snout Brewery: Razorback RyePA & Raspberry Truffle
  • Uptown Market Brewery: Uptown Session Ale & Stop Work Stout
  • Vagabond Brewing: Wild Ride & Down and Out Stout
  • Wandering Aengus Ciderworks: Anthem hops & Anthem Cherry
  • Woodchuck Hard Cider Co: Woodchuck Hard Cider & Woodchuck Hard Cider

A Brewers Tasting Dinner takes place on Thursday, April 24 at 7 pm in the Oregon Garden Resort and features a six-course dinner paired with beer tastings from selected participating brewers, including BridgePort Brewing, Cascade Brewing, Golden Valley Brewing, Rusty Truck Brewing, Salem Ale Works and Stone Brewing. Tickets cost $45 and are extremely limited; they are available at

New this year is a Brewfest Brunch Buffet, hosted by Seven Brides Brewing, that will take place at the brewery at 990 N 1st St in Silverton on Friday, April 25 from 9am to 1pm. Tickets are $20 and available at

Overnight packages are available at the Oregon Garden Resort and The Grand Hotel in Salem. Sponsors of the Oregon Garden Brewfest include Growl Movement, Venti’s Café + Basement Bar, The Gallon House, Wave Broadband, Portland General Electric, Pepsi, Renewal by Andersen, The Oregonian and Oregon Beer Growler. Follow the festival on Facebook and Twitter (#ogbf) for the latest updates. For more information, visit

Oregon Garden Brewfest '14: April 25-27, Save the Date

The 10th Annual Oregon Garden Brewfest will be held April 25-27 in Silverton, OR.  While Oregon's got plenty of brewfests, OGB has the most incredible venue! The festival grounds are held on an 80 acre botanical garden that is home to the only Frank Lloyd house in Oregon. For those who aren't into beer, OGB also features a nice selection of hard ciders.

I attended for the first time two years ago. Check out my '12 OGB recap to get a glimpse of The Oregon Garden and the Brewfest. I'll share more details of the event as they become available. But for now, consider saving the date on your beer calendar...

Follow this blog on Twitter or Facebook

Stone Wants To Be Your Go To IPA

Stone Brewing Co. is well known for big, hoppy beersespecially their IPAs. In the past, I've written about Stone IPA, Stone Ruination IPA, and most recently the ultra-fresh Stone Enjoy By IPA. Since there's no such thing as too many IPAs, they've just released Go To IPA.

A few interesting tidbits about Go To IPA.  First, it's a new year-round release that will be available in 12 oz. six-packs, cases, and on draft. It's not replacing any beers in the Stone lineup. Second, this is a session beer. A session beer is low in alcohol, typically less than 5% ABV. Third, Stone uses the "hop-bursting" technique to provide loads of hop flavor and aromatics without adding intense bitterness. Finally, this beer is meant to drink fresh. Within 90 days is ideal, but the sooner the better!

Recently, session beers have been increasingly popular in the craft beer world. I think it's a great trend, and am glad to see Stone participating with Go To IPA. Now I just need to taste it...

Follow this blog on Twitter or Facebook

Stone Brewing Co. Introduces Stone Go To IPA
A New Addition to the Stone Year-Round Release Lineup

ESCONDIDO, CA (March 3, 2014) – Intensely hopped and big-flavor brews are known to be quite the passion for Stone Brewing Co. Taking another step in their lupulin obsession, the craft beer company is pleased to introduce Stone Go To IPA. This vibrant hop-bursted session IPA is the tenth addition to Stone’s year-round lineup and, starting today, fans will be able to find the new release in 12-ounce bottle six-packs and on draft at retailers in all of the states where Stone beer is distributed.

Stone Go To IPA is 4.5 percent alcohol by volume (ABV) and, therefore, considered a “session” beer. Session beers are defined as ales or lagers below five percent ABV, which allows for greater drinkability within a reasonable stretch of time. Stone Go To IPA is a very refreshing beer, loaded with intense peach, citrus and melon aromas and all the complex hop flavor that Stone IPAs are known for…meaning, it’s a hop bomb.

To achieve these glorious hop qualities and still maintain a low ABV, a technique called “hop bursting” was implemented. This contemporary approach involves infusion of a massive amount of hops during the final phase of the brewing process to coax out the robust flavors and aromas of the hops. Stone Go To IPA achieved its fruity, citrus notes by dry-hopping with mostly Mosaic and Citra, plus a complimentary addition of Cascade hops.

“Hop bursting really helped us overcome the challenge of making a lower alcohol full-flavored brew that doesn’t taste thin or watery,” explained Stone Brewmaster Mitch Steele. “By using this method, we created an intense hop aroma and flavor along with a smoother bitterness. We’re thrilled to add this to our regular lineup, especially since most of us at Stone are ready to call this our own personal ‘go-to’ beer.”

Stone Go To IPA is brewed with nine different hop varietals and meant to be consumed fresh or within 90 days, before the bountiful hop characteristics fade. The session IPA will be available all year long, so IPA enthusiasts and curious craft beer novices alike will be able to satisfy their appetite for the almighty hop with this everyday go-to ale.

Stone Go To IPA Quick Facts
Name: Stone Go To IPA
Stats: 4.5% ABV, 65 IBUs
Availability: 12-ounce bottles in six-packs, beginning March 3
Hops Bill: Mosaic, Citra, Ahtanum, Cascade, Crystal, El Dorado, Magnum, Sterling and 06300
Distribution: AK, AL, AZ, CA, CO, CT, DC, DE, FL, GA, IA, ID, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, MT, NC, NE, NH, NJ, NM, NV, NY, OH, OR, PA, RI, SC, TN, TX, VA, VT and WA

About Stone Brewing Co.
Known for its bold, flavorful and largely hop-centric beers, Stone Brewing Co. has been brewing in North County San Diego since 1996. Founded by Greg Koch and Steve Wagner, Stone is the 10th largest craft brewer in the United States—a position it achieved without paid advertising, discounting or compromising standards. In addition to brewing, Stone owns two eclectic farm-to-table restaurants—Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens – Escondido and Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens – Liberty Station—and Stone Farms, an organic farm located near the brewery which grows produce for the restaurants. Stone also operates Stone Distributing Co., which distributes more than 30 craft beer brands throughout Southern California. For more information on Stone Brewing Co., please visit or the company’s social media sites: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Google+, YouTube and The Stone Blog.

Kells Irish Festival '14

Is it March already? That means it's time to start planning for St. Patrick's Day! Kells is hosting a four day bash that runs from Friday, March 14 to Monday. March 17.  A wide variety of events will be held at each of their Portland locations. For a complete list of events, click here to see the detailed schedule. The kiddies are welcome at certain times at each location, so check the schedule.

Follow this blog on Twitter or Facebook

Kells Irish Festival, the Northwest’s largest St Patrick’s Day event,
celebrates Irish heritage with live music, dancing, food and kids activities

PORTLAND, Ore. – Thousands of locals and expats will partake in live music, traditional dancing and Irish food and libations at the 23rd annual Kells St. Patrick’s Day Festival, the Northwest’s largest St. Patrick’s Day event. This year’s festival will take place March 14 through 17 at four venues: inside the venerable Kells Irish Pub at 112 SW 2nd Ave; in a festival tent in Kells’ back parking lot; at the new Kells Brew Pub at 210 NW 21st Ave; and in a festival tent in the Brew Pub parking lot.

The festivities will kick off Friday night with live music in the pubs and a black tie smoker – a boxing event that pits Golden Glove boxers from Ireland against the best amateur pugilists of the Northwest – in the festival tent. Over the weekend, a number of family friendly activities will also be offered in the festival tent, including face painting, Irish Wolfhounds, cheese sampling and family tree research. Throughout the festival, attendees can enter a raffle for a trip to the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin.

Live entertainment ranges from the traditional – with Irish dancing, bagpipers, and Celtic bands playing the fiddle, harmonica, guitar and Bodhran – to the popular, with the Neil Diamond tribute band Super Diamond headlining the Saturday night event. International sensation Shana Morrison, daughter of Van Morrison, will also play throughout the weekend. Shana is known for her unique and wide-ranging voice and genre bending style that blends pop, blues, rock, country, R&B and jazz.

Festival admission varies by day and location. See the schedule (PDF) for a complete breakdown of activities, hours, and costs per day.

Gerard and Lucille McAleese established Kells’ Portland location in 1990. In 1991, they began the tradition of a St. Patrick’s Day Festival that has grown into the largest Irish celebration in the Northwest. The McAleeses are some of Portland’s most respected philanthropists, and the festival is an official fundraiser for Providence Child Center.

In advance of the festival, the McAleeses “sweep the ceiling,” collecting folded dollars and quarters that have been hurled to the restaurant ceiling by the wait staff throughout the year. The amount of money collected is matched by the McAleeses and donated to Providence Child Center, which offers the only pediatric residential facility in the Northwest providing 24-hour skilled nursing care for children with profound disabilities and complex medical needs. Since its inception, the event has raised nearly $225,000 for Providence Child Center.

Serving the Northwest since 1983, Kells Irish Restaurant is a local family-run establishment that is consistently voted and ranked among the top Irish pubs in the United States; it has been named the number one Irish establishment in the U.S. every year since 2007 by noted food and restaurant critic Tom Horan. With locations in Seattle, Portland and San Francisco, it is a touchstone of each community that stays true to its roots. For more information, visit 

# # #