Opening Day at Portland Fresh Hops Beer Fest

The Portland Fresh Hops Beer Fest opened yesterday at Oaks Park. This was the first time I attended in 7 years. When I last attended in 2010, the event was known as the Oregon Bounty Fresh Hop Beer Tastival. Besides dumping the word Tastival, the event has changed little over the years.

Prior to the fest, I downloaded and studied the detailed beer list. My intent was to cover a range of styles and different varieties of fresh hops. Here's what I sampled, in the order I tasted them:

Baerlic "Pioneer Fresh Hop ESB" featuring Mt. Hood

Montaville Brew Works "Pocketful of Goschies" (Red Ale) featuring Strata

Yachats "Fresh Hop Amarillo Sour" (Lacto Sour) featuring Amarillo 

Great Notion "Fresh Hop Juice Jr." (Hazy IPA)  featuring Mosaic

Hopworks "Total Blackout" (Imperial CDA) featuring Centennial

Little Beast "Hop Smakken" (Belgian Pale Ale) featuring Liberty

Breakside "Fresh Hop Cascade Wanderlust" (IPA) featuring Cascade, Summit, Mosaic, and Amarillo

Crux "Dr. Jack" (IPA) featuring Cascade

In total, I enjoyed the beers I selected. Great Notion's Fresh Hop Juice Jr. and Little Beast's Hop Smakken were the most memorable to me. The former because it's just chock full of juicy hops. The latter for the distinctive flavors produced by Little Beast's house blend of yeasts. While I love sour beers, I found the aroma of Yachat's to a bit off putting.

So, what makes fresh hop beer truly different? Some will argue that there are subtle differences in aroma or flavor. While I love these beers, I'm fairly confident that I would not be able to identify fresh hop from regular beersand I'm really into hops! I grow my own, and I just brewed a fresh hop IPA a few weeks ago.

For me, community is what makes these beers special. Staring with the family farmers that lovingly grow the hops, to the brewers that take care and effort to use them at their optimal freshness, to the event organizers to curate these unique beers. All of these things bring beer geeks together in anticipation to gush all over these beers! That's what makes fresh hop beers special to me.

If you haven't tasted any fresh hop beers, get yourself down to Oaks Park today and experience them for yourself. The festival opens at noon and ends at 8pm!

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Aaron Trotter Releases The Oregon Beer Trail Playing Cards

Aaron Trotter, Portland artist and creator of Illustrated Playing Cards, is releasing The Oregon Beer Trail, a new deck of playing cards that celebrates Oregon breweries. Each of the 52 playing cards features a unique hand-drawn scene from breweries in the Columbia River Gorge, Central Oregon, Oregon Coast, and Willamette Valley. The new deck joins the Portland Brewery cards that Trotter released in 2013. 

The Oregon Beer Trail cards will be released at the Portland Fresh Hops Beer Fest on September 29-30. The artwork on these cards is incredible! So be sure to check them out if you're attending the festival next weekend. The holidays are coming up and these are likely to please the beer geek in your life. For more details, check out the news release below or Aaron's website.  

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Public Coast Brewing, a scene from Aaron' Trotter's Oregon Beer Trail Deck

Acclaimed Portland artist Aaron Trotter releases new Oregon Breweries deck in Illustrated Playing Cards series

PORTLAND, Ore. – Local artist Aaron Trotter has announced the release of a new deck of Illustrated Playing Cards featuring Oregon breweries from Central Oregon, the Columbia River Gorge, the Oregon Coast, and the Willamette Valley. The first printing of 100 decks will debut at the Portland Fresh Hops Fest at Oaks Amusement Park, Sept. 29 from 5pm to 9pm and Sept. 30 from 12pm to 8pm.

Marking his seventh anniversary in the playing card business, Trotter's new deck expands on his original Portland Brewery Cards, reaching far beyond legendary Beervana to document the craft beer community and connect the dots of the Oregon Ale Trail. The 52 drawings span Central Oregon from Redmond to Bend; the Columbia River Gorge from Cascade Locks to Hood River; the Oregon Coast from Astoria to Newport; and the Willamette Valley from Hillsboro to Eugene.

Meant to inspire exploration – the deck includes a map, checklist, and Oregon beer facts – each card illustrates a different brewery, hand drawn by Trotter on site while tasting the beer. 

"Illustrated Playing Cards are made to be played, displayed, and used as a guidebook,” explained Trotter. He added, “The deck serves as a guide to discovery of the unknown, as well as a beer tour souvenir. And don’t worry: no beer was wasted in the making of these cards!"

The drawings were sketched with pen and ink on location in a succession of road trips over the last two years, then finished at Trotter's studio at 1627 NE Alberta St. The cards are digitally printed on cardstock in Portland; each box is signed and numbered by the artist. 

About Illustrated Playing Cards
First released in November 2010, Illustrated Playing Cards debuted with Landmarks of Portland, featuring famous signs and downtown icons. Other Portland-centric decks followed: Portland Breweries (2013), Secrets of Portland and Oregon Wineries (2014), and Old Portland (2016). Trotter hasn't drawn all the cities of the world yet, but that's his goal. In the last seven years he has sketched over 30 different cities (each collecting 52 drawings) from Los Angeles to New York, Paris, Tokyo and beyond. The Portland cards are available at Powell's or Made in Oregon. Other decks are available at select museums around the country including the Seattle Art Museum, Griffith Observatory (Los Angeles), Mob Museum (Las Vegas), Denver Art Museum, Guggenheim (NYC), and National Building Museum (DC). Trotter and his decks can be found at Portland Saturday Market every weekend near Skidmore Fountain or by chance at his cavernous art studio on Alberta St. Learn more at

# # #

Contact the artist directly:
Aaron Voronoff Trotter

Featured Oregon Breweries
Central Oregon: Bend Brewing,  Boneyard, Bridge 99, Cascade Lakes, Craft Kitchen, Crux, Deschutes, Good Life, Immersion, McMenamins, Monkless, Wild Ride, Worthy
Columbia River Gorge: Big Horse, Double Mountain, Full Sail, Mt. Hood, Pfriem, Solera, Thunder Island
Oregon Coast: Astoria, Buoy, Fort George, Pelican, Public Coast, Reach Break, Rogue, Rusty Truck, Seaside
Willamette Valley: Ambacht, Block 15, Claim 52, Coldfire, Elk Horn, Falling Sky, Flat Tail, Gilgamesh, Golden Valley, Grain Station, Kaiser, Ninkasi, Oakshire, Plank Town, Salem Ale Works, Santiam, Seven Brides, Silver Falls, Sky High, Two Kilts, Vagabond, Vertigo, Waltz

Full Sail's 8 Pound Pale Fresh Hop Ale Showcases Centennial in '17

Fresh hop beer season is here! Full Sail Brewing Co. is celebrating this wonderful seasonal event with the second release of 8 Pound Pale Fresh Hop Ale. Last year, the brewery showcased Magnum hops. This year, it's all about Centennial!

This is a limited Brewmaster Reserve release, and will be available from late September until it's gone. It didn't last long last year, so don't wait too long. For more details, check out Full Sail's news release below.

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Oregon’s Hop Harvest Shines in Full Sail’s 8 Pound Pale Fresh Hop Ale
Farm to tank in three hours, 8 Pound Pale explodes with bright tropical notes

Hood River, Oregon – Full Sail Brewing Co. is excited to release this year’s Brewmaster Reserve 8 Pound Pale Fresh Hop Ale, brewed with eight pounds of local, freshly harvested Centennial hops per barrel. Full Sail brewers Chris Davis and Greg Doss drove to B&D Farms in Saint Paul, Oregon on harvest day last month to procure fresh, wet hops from the field, immediately heading back to the brewery to work their magic on this small-batch brew that goes from farm to tank in three hours.

“This year’s 8 Pound Pale Fresh Hop Ale explodes with bright tropical notes,” says Full Sail brewer Greg Doss. “A blend of pale and wheat malts created a light golden base which we packed with Willamette Valley-grown Centennial Hops, only hours off the vine. Beautiful fresh-hop aromas of tropical fruit and citrus are complemented nicely with subtle malt notes. This refreshing beer is high on hop aromatics yet well balanced.”

Brewmaster Reserve 8 Pound Pale is a hop lover’s delight. Each fall, Full Sail brewers look forward to brewing a fresh hop beer to celebrate the hop harvest, using eight pounds of fresh hops per barrel. Each hop variety reaches peak maturity at a different time during harvest, so each year’s brew is unique. Be sure to try this batch of 8 Pound Pale before it’s too late!

Full Sail’s Brewmaster Reserve series allows the brewmasters to put their creativity, innovation and passion into small, limited-release beers. These craft brews highlight the direct connection with Full Sail’s farmers, celebrate the art of barrel aging, and explore the effects of time. Over the years, Full Sail’s Brewmaster Reserve series has earned 26 gold medals. Some of our beers, like our fresh hop brews, are meant to be enjoyed just after harvest, intensely fresh from our farmers’ fields. Brewed in small batches, Brewmaster Reserve 8 Pound Pale Fresh Hop Ale is available in limited quantities from late September until it’s gone - in Brewmaster Reserve 6-packs, 12 oz. bottles and draft. 5.6% ABV, 54 IBUs.

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 peak 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 more than 200 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

Altabira's Craft Beer Dinner with Ninkasi

Altabira City Tavern is teaming up with Ninkasi Brewing Company to bring us a seasonal craft beer dinner on Wednesday, September 20th. Last fall, I had the opportunity to attend a similar beer dinner at Altabira, created by Chef Luis Escorcia. You can read about it and see pictures of the beautiful (and delicious) dishes here!

There are only 25 seats available for the dinner, so take a look at the tantalizing menu below and make your reservations!

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PORTLAND, Ore. Altabira City Tavern welcomes Ninkasi Brewing Company from Eugene, Oregon, to its first seasonal craft beer dinner on Wednesday, September 20th. Guests will enjoy a four-course menu paired with craft beers from Ninkasi and prepared by chef de cuisine Luis Escorcia and pastry chef Natalie Harkness.

Reception at 6:30 PM
Four-course dinner 7:00-9:00 PM
25 seats available
$50 per person includes beer and food. Gratuity not included.

Reservations available by calling Altabira at (503) 963-3600.

Craft Beer Dinner Menu with Pairings from Ninkasi Brewing Company

Passed Appetizers
Andouille deviled eggs
Sour cream and onion chicharones
Explorateur cheese tarts with blackberries
Paired with Helles Belles Lager, a light, flavorful lager that strikes a balance between satisfyingly crisp and deliciously crafted.

Starter Course
Corn and summer squash, Aleppo chili, cheddar and beer biscuit
Paired with Dawn of the Red, bursting with tropical notes with the bright complexity of El Dorado and Mosaic hops. An assertive hop presence is carried by a subtle caramel backbone, creating a flavorful, juicy beer.

Second Course
Soft shell crab French toast, tomatoes, basil oil and microgreens
Paired with Pacific Rain, a fiercely flavorful and refreshingly drinkable beer crafted with water from Oregon’s McKenzie River and a band of four distinguished hops. This Northwest Pale is citrusy, crisp and tailor-made for easy drinking.

Main Course
Beer-braised short rib, purple potatoes, roasted cherry tomatoes, Maitake mushrooms
Paired with Oktoberfest, crafted with Oregon-grown hops married to Northwest ingredients with a traditional German style. This light-bodied beer celebrates the harvest with a toasty malt bouquet and a touch of hop bitterness. Prost!

Peach tarte tatin with vanilla oatmeal stout ice cream and huckleberry syrup
Paired with Vanilla Oatis, a divine blend of vanilla, coffee, chocolate and roasted malt notes swirled together to create a crisp finish. The true signature of this beer comes from adding whole vanilla beans to the final stage of conditioning – the process used to dry hop a beer. This oatmeal stout is slightly sweet with a rich complexity and is decadent and delicious.

Luis Escorcia, Chef de Cuisine
Natalie Harkness, Pastry Chef

About Altabira City Tavern
Altabira City Tavern offers regional American cuisine focused on updated classic dishes with 16 taps of local craft beers, select Northwest wines and locally distilled spirits. The restaurant and bar is open for lunch and dinner in a modern setting with large floor-to-ceiling windows with sweeping views of Portland’s downtown skyline and inner eastside. For more information and menu, please visit

About Ninkasi Brewing Company
Founded in 2006 by Jamie Floyd and Nikos Ridge, Ninkasi Brewing Company continues to grow from its first batch of Total Domination IPA to the 33rd largest craft brewery in the United States. Independently owned and operated in Eugene, Ore., Ninkasi’s Flagship beers include Total Domination IPA, Tricerahops Double IPA, Dawn of the Red IPA, Hop Cooler Citrus IPA, Pacific Rain Northwest Pale, Helles Belles Helles Lager, and Vanilla Oatis Oatmeal Stout. Ninkasi beers are sold throughout Alaska; Alberta; Arizona; California; Colorado; Idaho; Maryland; Nevada; New York; Oregon; Utah; Washington; Virginia; and Vancouver, British Columbia. Committed to community support and giving, Ninkasi’s Beer Is Love program offers donations to 501(c)(3) organizations throughout its footprint. For more information, call 541.344.2739 or visit