Oregon Garden Brewfest '16: June 17-19

Oregon Garden Brewfest returns on Father's Day Weekend (June 17 - 19). While we've got plenty of brewfests, the venue sets OGB apart. This year, the event organizers are taking it to a new level. In the past, the event was held in a tent and their Pavilion. This year, they'll locate the brewfest within the forest itself! This change will enable attendees to truly experience the beauty of The Oregon Garden.

Also for the first time, children will be allowed from Noon-5pm on Saturday and all-day Sunday. A craft area in the Children's Garden will keep the kids busy, yet will be close enough to the forest for Mom and Dad to to grab a beer while keeping an eye on the young ones.

While I've mentioned the many positives of OGB, I would be remiss if I didn't mention the one thing that I was less than excited about—pour sizes. Last year, a $1 tasting ticket bought a 2 oz. sample. In prior years, it was a 3 oz. pour. In my humble opinion, the extra ounce makes a difference. I don't think 2 ounces is enough to get a sense for what the beer is. However, in the grand scheme of things, it's not a deal breaker when you consider everything else OGB has to offer.

For more details, see the full press release below.  To purchase ticket packages, click here.

Follow this blog on Twitter or Facebook

Oregon Garden Brewfest celebrates 12th year on Father’s Day weekend
Scenic festival announces a number of changes, including relocating into the forest

SILVERTON, Ore. — The 12th annual Oregon Garden Brewfest presented by Venti’s Café will take place June 17 through 19 – Father’s Day weekend – at The Oregon Garden, located at 879 W Main St. in Silverton. The popular Willamette Valley festival will feature 120 handcrafted beers, ciders and mead from 60 different breweries from across the nation. Event hours are 3pm to 11pm Friday, Noon to 11pm Saturday, and Noon to 6pm Sunday.

New this year, the Oregon Garden Brewfest will relocate from its traditional indoor setting out into the forest, where the participating breweries will be set up in booths dotted throughout the woods underneath the warm glow of bistro lights. There will be a number of cozy fire pits and covered areas available for people to gather with family and friends.

“We are so excited to bring Brewfest into the heart of the Garden,” exclaimed Brittney Hatteberg, regional marketing manager for The Oregon Garden. “Guests can take better advantage of the summer weather and explore more of the Garden from this location. It will be a charming experience, and unlike any other beer festival in Oregon.”

Guests are encouraged to take their beer and explore the 80-acres of botanical gardens, which will be in full bloom in June. There will also be live music on one stage under a tent in the forest, allowing guests to hear the music comfortably from a variety of locations. Local act Deadwood Standing will headline the stage Friday night; additional acts will be announced online.

Also new this year, minors will be welcome on Saturday from Noon to 5pm and during all hours on Sunday; on Father's Day, there will be a kid's craft area as well. The new location is closer to the Children's Garden, allowing families to be near the festivities as well as close to entertainment for kids.

Advance admission ranges from $15 for a one-day ticket to $30 for a three-day ticket to $55 for a VIP ticket; door prices increase by $5. All admission packages include a souvenir pint glass and a varying number of tasting tickets. In most instances, a full glass of beer costs four tickets, and a taster costs one; additional tasting tickets may be purchased for $1 apiece. Designated drivers pay $5, which includes a bottle of water, and minors pay $5; children ages four and under are free. Silverton residents receive a discount on Friday with proof of residency. Parking at The Oregon Garden is $5 per car; free shuttles are available from various locations in Silverton. See all ticket pricing information and purchase advance tickets at www.ogbf2016.eventbrite.com.

The ideal way to enjoy the Brewfest is to book a room at the Oregon Garden Resort, a Moonstone Hotel Property located just steps away from the festival. Brewfest Packages starts at $269 and include accommodation, two three-day admission passes to Brewfest with a tasting glass and five tasting tickets, a continental buffet breakfast and admission to The Oregon Garden. Packages can be booked at www.oregongardenresort.com/special-pkg or by calling 503-874-2500. 

The Oregon Garden Brewfest is presented by Venti’s Café and sponsored by Country Financial, Goschie Farms Imperial Bottle Shop, Oregon Beer Growler and Portland General Electric. For more information, visit www.oregongarden.org/events/brewfest

Hashtag #OGBF

 # # #

Full Sail Announces New Look and New Beers

Full Sail is getting a makeover. The brewery just announced that its packaging is getting an update. In addition, they're adding a few new beers to the lineup. First up is Hop Pursuit IPA. This new year-round brew is dry-hopped with Cascade, Mosaic, Equinox, and Simcoe. Next up is Blood Orange Wheat. Part of Full Sail's Pub Series, this limited release will be available from April through August. This sounds like it could be a great summer quaffer. These new releases join Amber, Classic IPA, and Pilsner.

In my opinion, the release of Blood Orange Wheat is a bit of a departure for Full Sail. In the past, they tended to avoid fruit and "exotic" ingredients in their year-round and Pub Series lineups. Their releases focused on solid, tried and true styles. But experimentation and evolution are a necessity in this market. I'll look forward to tasting both of these beers. For more details, check out the news release below.

What do you think of Full Sail's new look? I like it!

Follow this blog on Twitter or Facebook

Full Sail Rebrands its Ridiculously Tasty Beer
Science and art unite in Full Sail’s new packaging designs

Hood River, Oregon – March 21, 2016 – Full Sail Brewing Company, Hood River’s award-winning craft brewery since 1987, has announced a stunning new package design, signaling a brand evolution.

“In an increasingly competitive craft-beer marketplace, we knew Full Sail’s packaging needed to be as notable and attention getting as the award-winning brews inside the bottle,” says Full Sail Executive Brewmaster Jamie Emmerson. The color palette, hand-drawn artwork and contrasting design elements that vary from package to package together tell a story about Full Sail’s environment, ingredients, geography, heritage, and taste.

A good brew starts with great water, and the new packaging’s water imagery honors this magnificent resource. “A layer of spot varnish that evokes flicker and catches the attention of your peripheral vision and hand-drawn, wavy lines in a moiré illustration style are the guiding visual elements,” says MiQ Willmott of TWEEQiM creativeLab, who penned the artwork. The revitalized Full Sail logo and coat of arms also breathe new life into the story behind the brand, highlighting Full Sail’s Oregon heritage and connection to the winds that blow through the Gorge, Mt. Hood’s majestic beauty, the mighty waters of the Columbia and the abundant agriculture that supplies the brewery.

Subtle design elements on each package serve as a nod to Full Sail’s principles and priorities. A topographical map and GPS coordinates pinpoint the brewery’s location in Hood River and the Columbia Gorge, whose natural beauty and resources have always provided Full Sail’s inspiration. Artistic renderings pay homage to Hood River’s water sources, bounty of fresh ingredients, the brewery’s commitment to environmentally sustainable practices, and of course, the award-winning taste in each and every bottle.

“There’s never been a more exciting time to be a part of Full Sail,” says Full Sail Brewmaster Jim Kelter. “This rebranding reflects our pride and heritage as one of the original craft brewers as well as our vision for the future, which - more than anything - entails continuing to make delicious beer that we know our customers love.”

The newly rebranded packages are being rolled out in Full Sail’s award-winning Amber, Pilsner, Classic IPA, and the new Hop Pursuit IPA and Blood Orange Wheat Ale

About Full Sail Brewing Company
Perched on a bluff in Hood River, Oregon, overlooking the mighty Columbia River’s epic wind and kite surfing and the snow-capped volcanic peaks of Mt. Hood, Full Sail is a true craft-brewing pioneer. Since 1987, Full Sail has been pouring pure Mt. Hood water, local ingredients and responsible processes into each and every pint. Full Sail’s brews and sustainable practices have garnered more than 300 national and international awards, including 150 gold medals and Beverage World ‘s “Craft Brewer of the Year” distinction. From Full Sail Amber and IPA to Session Lager and Bourbon barrel-aged beers, Full Sail consistently strives to brew complex, balanced and ridiculously tasty beers. Learn more at www.fullsailbrewing.com.

Tasting Notes: Steel Bridge Porter, Widmer Brothers

Widmer Brothers Brewing recently announced that Steel Bridge Porter is being added to its year-round lineup in the Pacific Northwest. While it may be new in six-packs, it has a history that spans over 15 years. Steel Bridge Porter was originally conceived in 2000, as part of a collaboration with the Oregon Brew Crew homebrewers club. In 2013, it was released in fairly limited distribution in 22 oz bottles. Now, it's big time...

With the exception of Widmer Hefeweizen, the Widmer Brothers year-round lineup veers heavily to towards the hoppy side of the spectrum. So I'm thrilled to see Widmer add a porter to the mix! While I enjoy IPAs, I'm frankly starting to tire of the seemingly infinite treadmill of IPA iterations that are unleashed upon us. I believe the IPA fad of the moment is Tropical (it was Session). But, I digress...

I found the six-pack pictured below on my doorstep last week. I assume it was from the brewery. Thanks guys!! The bottles had a nice chill, so I wasted no time in cracking one open. Here are my tasting notes:

Near black in color, with a frothy tan head that dissipates very slowly, leaving lots of lacing on the glass. Aroma is full of roasted malt. The taste starts with flavors of slightly smokey and roasted malt. In the middle, coffee, chocolate, and even some piney notes come through.  While the pine might sound strange, it worked for me. Overall hop bitterness is moderate and alcohol isn't noticeable. Steel Bridge Porter is medium bodied, and finishes with smokey malt.  

This is a welcome addition to the Widmer year-round lineup! I even hope it finds its way into the brewery's Brothers' Best Variety 12-pack. For more information about Steel Bridge Porter, check out the news release below. Prost to Porters!

Follow this blog on Twitter or Facebook

Winning Oregon Brew Crew Homebrew Recipe Officially Joins Widmer Brothers’ Year-Round Line-Up in the Pacific Northwest

PORTLAND, Ore. – Steel Bridge Porter has a long history in the Widmer Brothers brewhouse, and the dark beer favorite is receiving yet another “promotion” at the brewery. Today, Steel Bridge Porter will be introduced in six packs for the first time to beer drinkers in Oregon and Washington.

Steel Bridge Porter was born out of an Oregon Brew Crew (OBC) annual homebrew competition in 2000, when it was selected as the winner of the Widmer Brothers Collaborator Project; the beer is based on longtime Brew Crew homebrewer Noel Blake’s original recipe.

Since it was selected as a Collaborator beer more than 15 years ago, Widmer Brothers has occasionally brewed small draught-only batches of Steel Bridge Porter, and then expanded the beer’s availability to 22-ounce bottles in 2013. In what was supposed to be a one-time run exclusively for the Portland market, the hoppy, robust porter proved it had staying power and continued to be bottled for the Oregon market for two years. Based on increasing demand, the beer is now part of Widmer Brothers’ year-round, regional lineup in six packs. 

“What I love about Steel Bridge Porter is that, using traditional beer ingredients only, we have been able to create a beverage with all the intensity and palate-involvement of high-gravity, high-hop beers, yet with moderate alcohol and a focus on malt flavors,” said Blake. “I am very appreciative of Widmer Brothers for allowing me to participate in bringing my vision of a robust, full-flavored dark ale to their lineup. Widmer Brothers was very attentive to all the details of this beer, and I believe the resulting beer shows the integrity of this process.”

The Collaborator Project began in 1998 with Kurt and Rob Widmer and fellow Oregon Brew Crew members uniting to hold an annual homebrewing competition where the winning beers would be brewed and served by Widmer Brothers Brewing.

For every barrel of Collaborator beer sold, Widmer Brothers makes a donation to the Bob McCracken Scholarship Fund, which supports aspiring brewers in Oregon State University’s Fermentation Science program.

“The Collaborator Project and the Oregon Brew Crew are very special to us at Widmer Brothers,” said Rob Widmer, co-founder of Widmer Brothers Brewing. “My brother, Kurt, and I started as homebrewers, and joined the OBC in the early 80s. The Collaborator Project is our way to continue supporting the great local homebrewing community. We are very proud of Steel Bridge Porter’s evolution from the Collaborator Project, to 22s in our lineup, to now being a year-round release in six-packs. It speaks to the quality of Noel Blake’s original homebrew recipe, and the strength of the Collaborator Project and the entire Oregon Brew Crew.”

Steel Bridge Porter is available now in six-packs and on draught year round across Oregon and Washington. For more information on Widmer Brothers Brewing, visit widmerbrothers.com or see what the brewery is up to on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

About Steel Bridge Porter
Steel Bridge Porter, like the Steel Bridge itself, is a Portland original and carries more than its share of weight. A robust dark ale, rich flavors of mocha, chocolate and toffee are well balanced and complemented by a refreshing body, a hint of citrus and a dry finish.

Flavor Points: Mocha, chocolate, and toffee flavors. Rich mouthfeel with a dry finish

Malts:  Pale, Caramel, Chocolate, and coffee malt

Hops: Alchemy and Amarillo

OG:                 15 °P
AE:                  4.4 °P
Alc. by Vol.:   5.6%
IBU:                48
Color:              60 SRM

About Widmer Brothers Brewing
Widmer Brothers Brewing helped create the Pacific Northwest craft beer movement in 1984 when founders Kurt and Rob Widmer, then in their 20s, 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, the brewery’s iconic Hefe, which celebrates its 30th anniversary in 2016, has grown to become Oregon’s favorite craft beer. For more than three decades, Widmer Brothers has continued to push the boundaries of craft beer, developing a variety of beers with an unapologetic, uncompromised commitment to innovation. Based in Portland, Oregon, the brewery currently brews a variety of beers including Hefeweizen, Upheaval IPA, Steel Bridge Porter, Drop Top Amber Ale, and a full seasonal lineup. Additionally, the brewery continues to make a series of limited edition, small-batch beers available in Oregon and at the Widmer Brothers pub in North Portland.

# # #

Angry Orchard Introduces Orchard's Edge Series

Angry Orchard has just announced the launch of Orchard's Edge, a new line of hard ciders that are enhanced by special ingredients and extended aging processes. The first two releases are intriguing. Knotty Pear is made with cardamom and aged on American oak.  The Old Fashioned is aged on charred oak bourbon barrel staves with tart cherries and navel orange peel.

The Orchard's Edge ciders will be available year-round in six-packs, and on draft. I'll be sure to share my tasting notes after I try these. For more details, check out Angry Orchard's news release below.

Follow this blog on Twitter or Facebook

Angry Orchard Introduces Orchard’s Edge Series with Two New Hard Cider Styles
Ciders feature unexpected fruits, spices and aging processes, pushing the boundaries
of what American hard cider can be

WALDEN, NEW YORK – The cider makers at Angry Orchard today announced national availability of their latest project, the Orchard’s Edge series. The first two hard ciders in the series – Knotty Pear and The Old Fashioned – hit shelves this month. This new series is inspired by unexpected ingredients and aging processes the cider makers have been working on at Angry Orchard’s new Innovation Cider House on its orchard in Walden, New York.

The hard cider industry has seen incredible growth over the past several years, and drinkers are embracing it as a refreshing alternative to beer or wine. As drinkers continue to rediscover the American cider tradition, they are interested in trying ciders with more complexity. Craft brewers have been experimenting with ingredients and processes for the past thirty years, and now that the cider drinker’s palate is also maturing, cider makers have the opportunity to push the limits and develop more complex ciders, like Orchard’s Edge.

The ciders in the Orchard’s Edge series are aged on American oak and feature non-apple fruits like pears and oranges along with exotic spices like cardamom, all meant to work with and enhance cider’s most important ingredient: the apple.

Cider maker’s notes on each style:
  • Orchard’s Edge Knotty Pear (6.5% ABV): While not a perry, Knotty Pear is made with a blend of domestic culinary pears, including Bartlett, Doyenne de Comice, Bosc and D’Anjou, and apples grown in the United States. The cider leads with ripe apple, baked pear aromas and spicy, herbal hints from the cardamom. The pears also give the cider a subtle spiced essence along with notes of citrus and mint. Aged on American oak, this cider has a pleasant, dry finish.
  • Orchard’s Edge The Old Fashioned (6.5% ABV): Developed from a blend of American apples like Gala and Fuji, The Old Fashioned is aged on charred oak bourbon barrel staves with dried tart cherries and California grown navel orange peel. The cider has a delicate citrus aroma with hints of vanilla and bourbon flavor from the wood aging process. The Old Fashioned has lasting tannins and a full, round mouthfeel.

“American cider has come a long way in the past few years, and we think it can be pushed even further. With Orchard’s Edge, we took our two decades of experience to create styles that represent what is next for cider” said Ryan Burk, Head Cider Maker at Angry Orchard. “We had a lot of fun exploring different ingredients and techniques for these ciders at our Innovation Cider House, and ultimately found two combinations we hope will give drinkers a taste of all that craft cider can be.”

With Angry Orchard’s new home for research and development on the Angry Orchard, its 60-acre orchard in New York’s Hudson River Valley, the cider makers at America’s leading cidery are committed to furthering drinker education and broadening awareness of cider here in the U.S. Additional ciders will be added to the Angry Orchard and Orchard’s Edge lineup as the cider makers tinker with new ingredients and techniques at the orchard, and find recipes they love and want to share with drinkers.

Orchard’s Edge is available year-round in 6-packs beginning February 2016 for a suggested retail price of $10.99 (price varies per market). Both varieties will also be available on rotating draft in select bars and restaurants beginning spring 2016.

About Angry Orchard Cider Company: 
The cider makers at Angry Orchard have been experimenting with apple varieties, ingredients and processes to develop hard cider recipes for more than 20 years. The cider makers have travelled the world to find the best apples for cider making and chose specific varieties – like French bittersweet apples from Normandy, culinary apples from Italy and the Pacific Northwest U.S. based on each cider's desired flavor profile. In fall 2015, Angry Orchard opened a new home for research and development on a historic 60-acre apple orchard in the Walden, NY. There, the cider makers will continue to drive experimentation at the Innovation Cider House, and drinkers are welcome to visit for samples of exclusive ciders made on-site. Despite the recent growth of hard cider in the US, the category is still small and relatively unknown. Angry Orchard is committed to drinker education and awareness-building to help grow the category for all craft cider makers.

Angry Orchard makes a variety of year-round craft cider styles, including Angry Orchard Crisp Apple, a crisp and refreshing fruit-forward cider that blends the sweetness of culinary apples with dryness and bright acidity from bittersweet apples for a balanced flavor profile. Angry Orchard also makes The Cider House Collection specialty ciders, as well as a variety of seasonal ciders.

Tasting Notes: Raise the Roost, Portland Brewing

Spring seasonal beers are here and Portland Brewing Co. is jumping into the mix with Raise the Roost, a new Belgian-Style Red Ale. I just tasted it (sample sent by the brewery), enjoyed it, and wanted to highlight it for a few reasons.

First, if you're not familiar with Belgian-style ales, this is a very approachable entry. Belgian-style beers tend to have fruity and spicy characteristics, which are produced by the yeast. The aromas and flavors are distinctive and unique to Beligan-style ales.

Second, this beer is quite a value. In the Portland area, you can find bombers for the low price of $2 - $3. It's also available in six packs of 12 oz. bottles. That said, here are my tasting notes:

Amber in color, with an off-white head that dissipates slowly. The trademark spicy notes of clove and pepper (typical in Belgian style ales) immediately pop in the aroma. The taste starts with caramel and nutty notes. The spices revisit again in both the middle and finish. While much of the spice is produced by the Belgian yeast strain, I also expect the hops are contributing some of the spicy characteristics. It's crisp, dry, and light bodied, and has a touch of alcohol present in the middle. 

If you like Belgian-style ales, or are new to them, I highly recommend you give Raise the Roost a try. It's a solid beer, and a great change of pace from the plethora of pedestrian IPAs that we've seen of late.

Follow this blog on Twitter or Facebook

Raise a Glass with Portland Brewing's New Raise the Roost
Brewery Debuts Belgian-style Red Ale that Defies Convention

PORTLAND, Ore. — For Portland Brewing, a new year means a new beer, and if Raise the Roost is any indication, 2016 is sure to excite. Brewed with a special strain of Belgian yeast, this Belgian-style Red Ale is a unique take on the traditionally popular springtime beer. You don’t have to wait until spring to enjoy the new brew — Raise the Roost debuts mid-January.

Head brewer, Ryan Pappe is no stranger to brewing Belgian ales, and while he and his team continue to use the same Belgian yeast strain that results in strong notes of fruit and spice, the brewery’s newest creation offers a distinct take on this classic style. “We love how vigorous that yeast is and the intense fruity taste it brings to any beer it ferments. To take a new direction, we focused on trying to bring a full maltiness to Raise the Roost,” says Pappe. “Knowing there are some great malts that really emphasize sweetness and body, that also bring hues of red, we chose to craft our own version of a Belgian Red Ale.” 

Brewed using Liberty, Nugget and East Kent Golding hops, along with malts 2-Row Pale, CaraRed, Melanoidin, C-120 and Roast Barley, Raise the Roost Belgian-style Red Ale awakens the palate with a call of spicy, fruity yeast notes and a roasted malt character.  ABV: 6.2%  |  IBU: 30  |  OG: 15  |  SRM: 15

Look for Raise the Roost Belgian-style Red Ale in Oregon and Washington stores and bottle shops between January and March. You’ll find it in 22oz. bombers, 12oz. 6-packs, and of course, on draft at Portland Brewing’s taproom and select Portland-area bars and restaurants. Raise a glass and rule the roost!

About Portland Brewing Company
Celebrating thirty years of passionate brewing in the Rose City, Portland Brewing looks ahead to a future of unwavering obsession over what our civilized world simply can’t live without: great beer. Founded in 1986, the brewery is one of Portland’s craft brewing pioneers and remains committed to the city for which it is named. Portland Brewing is located at 2730 NW 31st Ave., Portland, OR 97210.

#     #     #