Full Sail's Shortest Day Winter Ale Returns

Back in the olden days, before Hazy IPAs were a thing, there was the Cascadian Dark Ale (also known as Black IPA). This unusual style melded roasted malt flavors with a hoppy bite. It may sound odd, but it worked. The CDA was even recognized as a style at the Great American Beer Festival back in 2010. I enjoyed the style and remember seeing many in wide release between 2010-2013. Styles ebb and flow in popularity, and CDAs haven't been as widely available in recent years. 

Full Sail released a CDA in 2016 called Shortest Day Cascadian Dark Ale. And it's back!  Except now it has been re-christened as a Winter Ale. No matter what they're calling it, it's available for a limited time as part of Full Sail's Pub Series. I wrote about it two years ago, and you can check out my tasting notes here. So this winter, take a stroll down memory lane and (re)discover a unique style!

Photo courtesy of Full Sail Brewing Co.

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Celebrate the Winter Solstice with the Return of Full Sail’s Shortest Day
Dark malts and bright hops balance this award-winning, medium-bodied winter ale

Hood River, Oregon – October 29, 2018 – The shortest day of the year means the longest night, with more time to drink Full Sail’s perfectly balanced Shortest Day Winter Ale.

“First released in 2016, Shortest Day was so well-loved we’re bringing it back as part of our rotating Pub Series,” says Full Sail Brewmaster Greg Doss. “It offers bold flavor with excellent balance and is the perfect beer for the season.” De-husked chocolate malt imparts dark chocolate flavor while crystal adds depth and complexity. Generous additions of Mosaic, Simcoe and Citra hops lend flavors of ­­fruit and sweet floral notes. “Enjoy this Pub Series selection on the shortest day of the year and any other day this season, while it lasts,” says Doss.

Shortest Day’s hand-drawn artwork by Portland-based TWEEQiM creativeLab’s MiQ Willmott pays homage to Hood River’s water sources, bounty of fresh ingredients, and of course, the award-winning taste in each and every bottle. The design features the Green Man—known in lore as the mascot of the winter solstice—fashioned from hops, celebrating the darkness of night and rebirth, as days begin getting longer again. “The Green Man’s crescent-moon smile reflects on the river,” says Willmott, “and the white stars represent the ‘winter circle,’ the phenomenon of stars that appear only on the winter solstice. Even the Big Dipper gets a cameo.”

Shortest Day is the latest release in Full Sail’s Pub Series. Like a portal to our pub, seasonal brews only available for a limited time (get ’em while they’re cold) give you a taste of the pints and people that celebrate the Pacific Northwest. Shortest Day is available October to December in 6-packs, in the Full Sail Trophy Case and on draft. 6.6% ABV, 57 IBUs. From our pub to your place – cheers!

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 www.fullsailbrewing.com.

McMenamins Oktoberfest Celebrations

Autumn is a great season for beer! Between Fresh Hop beers and Oktoberfest, there's plenty of beer events to keep us busy.

McMenamins has SEVEN Oktoberfest events planned throughout late September and early October at its many locations.  All are family friendly, will have live music, food, and guest beers. Check out the dates and links below for specific details about each event.

photo courtesy of McMenamins /  Kathleen Nyberg

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BridgePort Brewing's 2nd Annual Hoptoberfest PDX Block Party

BridgePort Brewing Co. just announced their Second Annual HoptoberFest PDX Block Party! A few weeks ago, I joined BridgePort Brewmaster Jeff Edgerton on a trip to pickup a batch of Centennial Hops to be used in their Hoptoberfest Fresh Hop IPA. You can read about our visit to Crosby Hop Farm here. I'm looking forward to finally tasting that beer, and you can taste it too! Check out the details below for event hours and ticket information.

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What:  BridgePort Brewing's 2nd Annual Hoptoberfest PDX Block Party

When: Saturday, October 6th, 2018

Time: 12pm-6pm

Where: On NW 13th Ave between Marshall and Northrup (adjacent to BridgePort)

What: An Oktoberfest-inspired party featuring sausages from Olympia Provisions, German-style pretzels from Fressen Artisan Bakery, music, a photo booth, and more! Silver Julep, Portland’s award-winning bar caterer in a classic Airstream trailer will be on-site serving up a variety of BridgePort beers!

Ticket price: $13 in advance; $18 at the door. $1 from every ticket and every beer purchased will be donated to Oregon Food Bank!

Ticket includes: Commemorative stainless steel cup; three 10oz pours of featured beers; entertainment, photo booth and more!

Tickets can be purchased here. Additional beers can be purchased during the event for $4 each.

This year’s celebration will honor BridgePort’s 2018 HoptoberFest IPA Fresh Hop Beer:

Featured Beer Details:  This year we are changing gears and making a malty Marzen beer base first. We use Pilsner and Munich malts to create a rich, malty, Marzen-style base. We ferment this with our German lager yeast. We allow this to ferment for a few days then we dry-hop generously with fresh Centennial, Amarillo, and Mt. Hood hops to create a unique fresh hop flavor like no other.  ABV: 7.0%, BU’s: 40

33 Books Launches 33 Bottles of Beer: Fresh Hop Special Edition

Dave Selden first released 33 Bottles of Beer, a pocket tasting journal, nearly a decade ago. Since that time, he's produced about 40 different journals spanning a wide variety of beverage and food categories.  Check 'em all out here!

In anticipation of fresh hop season, Selden has just released 33 Bottles of Beer: Fresh Hop Special Edition. While this new release shares much in common with the original 33 Bottles of Beer, the flavor wheel has been modified to include flavor descriptors that are unique to hop-forward beer styles. In the picture below, you can see the differences.

The fresh hop beer season is short and will soon descend in full force. Prepare yourself with the newest tasting journal from 33 Books Co.! For more details, see the news release below.

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33 Books Co. Debuts New Hop-Focused Beer Journal
New Edition of Popular Pocket Journal Arrives Just in Time for Hop Harvest

PORTLAND, OREGON— 33 Books Co. today announced a brand new edition of its popular beer-tasting journal.

33 Bottles of Beer: Fresh Hop Special Edition is a new take on the popular series of "33 Beers" pocket beer-tasting notebooks. This edition is specially-designed for sampling hop-forward styles such as India Pale Ale (IPA), "Milkshake" IPA, New England IPA (NEIPA) aka "Hazy IPA," and seasonal "Fresh Hop" beers, examples of which are just coming into the market now as the Pacific Northwest begins its annual hop harvest. 

“I love all beer styles,” says Selden, creator of the distinctive green books, "But it should be obvious if you've ever met me – I have a hop vine tattoo covering  most of my right arm – I tend to gravitate towards hoppy beers."

As with Selden's flagship beer journal, 33 Beers: Fresh Hop Edition contains 33 pages of note-taking space, made simple with a page format designed to help tasters quickly capture relevant beer stats and flavors, including his signature flavor wheel. 

“The flavor wheel in this book is all about appreciating hop flavor and aroma,“ says Selden. “The adjective 'dank' isn't one you often use to describe stouts or pilsners, but if you've ever had a hoppy beer with lots of Columbus hops in it, you know how useful that note can be.” 

Other adjectives on the wheel in this edition include 'herbal/grassy,' 'citrus,' 'floral,' and even 'vegetal,' which sometimes occurs in fresh hop beers, just now coming into season in the Pacific Northwest, where the books are  designed, tested and printed. 

The hop-focused beer logs are available now for $5 each at 33Books.com and at finer bottleshops and bookstores around the world. Volume pricing for interested retailers can be obtained by e-mailing orders@33books.com.

About 33 Books Co. 
Dave Selden started 33 Books Co. as a side project to his side project. A weekend beer blogger, he developed his first pocket tasting notebook in 2009 to help with notes on the beers he was writing about. After just a few years, the books became his full-time job. Today, 33 Books Co. produces more than a dozen flavors of pocket tasting notebooks and other tasting tools in Portland, Oregon.

15th Annual Portland Fresh Hops Fest: Sept. 28-29

The hop harvest is underway! Brewers across the state are racing to quickly transport fresh hops from farms to their kettles to brew their once-a-year fresh hop beers. Earlier this week, I toured Crosby Hop Farm as part of the creation of BridgePort's 2019 Hop Harvest Ale

In about a month, The Oregon Brewers Guild will host the 15th Annual Portland Fresh Hops Fest. This will be an excellent opportunity for you to taste from over 60 fresh hop beers in a single location! Check out my recap of the last year's Portland Fresh Hops Fest to get an idea of what you will experience. For more details, including hours and prices, check out the news release below.

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Portland Fresh Hops Fest celebrates Oregon’s annual hop harvest with dozens of fresh-hop beers
15th annual event returns to Oaks Amusement Park Sept. 28 and 29

PORTLAND, Ore. – The Portland Fresh Hops Fest is the state's largest celebration of Oregon's annual hop harvest. The 15th annual Portland Fresh Hops Fest will present more than 60 fresh-hop Oregon beers, each made with hops picked off the bine and used within hours of harvesting. The event will take place Sept. 28 and Sept. 29 at Oaks Amusement Park, 7805 SE Oaks Park Way. Hours are 5pm to 9pm on Friday and 12pm to 8pm on Saturday. 

“This festival offers beer lovers in the Pacific Northwest a once-a-year opportunity to taste more than five-dozen Oregon made fresh-hop beers in one location,” explained Brian Butenschoen, Executive Director of the Oregon Brewers Guild. “Fresh hop beers are a celebration of the local hop harvest that runs from mid-August to mid-September in Oregon, and many breweries make multiple beers during the fresh-hop season.”

Admission to the Portland Fresh Hops Fest is free. Drinking packages cost $20 for a souvenir tasting glass and nine drink tickets in advance, or six drink tickets at the door. Discount ticket packages are currently available via MercPerks, offering two tasting glasses and 18 drink tickets for $30; the discount is valid through August 31 or for the first 100 tickets sold, whichever occurs first. General advance admission tickets are on sale now at www.oregoncraftbeer.org/freshhopsfest; enter the code “freshnotwet” for $2.50 off each ticket through Sept. 27. Additional tasting tickets are sold onsite for $2 each or three for $5. Event parking is free.

The final beer list will be released in mid-September, but an early list with beer names, styles and descriptions is available now at Google Drive. Each brewery provides only one beer, so attendees are encouraged to arrive on Friday or early on Saturday for the greatest selection. The festival will also feature homebrew demonstrations from Portland U-Brew on Saturday from Noon to 5pm; a number of commercial vendors; and on-site food from Urban German Grill.

Minors are not allowed on Friday but are permitted on Saturday until 5pm (Oaks Amusement Park is closed that day, but the train will be running from 12pm to 5pm for kids accompanied by adults). Well-behaved dogs on leashes are welcome.

Hops are one of the four main ingredients used to make beer, along with grain, yeast and water. The hop plant’s flower, called a cone, is what gives beer its pleasant bitter flavor and aroma. Most of the United States' hop production takes place in the Pacific Northwest, thanks to  its rich soil, rainfall and mild air. Oregon is the second largest hop producing state in the United States, with most hops grown in the Willamette Valley. 

The Portland Fresh Hops Fest is organized by the Oregon Brewers Guild. Learn more at www.oregoncraftbeer.org and follow @OregonCraftBeer on social media, #freshhops. RSVP at the Facebook event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/286752405476344/

About the Oregon Brewers Guild
The Oregon Brewers Guild is a non-profit organization whose mission is to promote the state’s craft brewing industry and the common interests of its members. Founded in 1992, the Oregon Brewers Guild is one of the nation’s oldest craft brewers associations. The Guild, which receives no state funding, comprises 160 brewing companies, 130 associate or supplier members and more than 4,000 enthusiast members or S.N.O.B.s (Supporters of Native Oregon Beer).

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Harvesting BridgePort's 2018 Hop Harvest Ale

It's hop harvest time! During the next 3-4 weeks, hop farmers will be busy harvesting, drying and packaging hops. Since there is much to do in a short time window, hop farms typically operate in  24x7 mode for nearly a month to harvest hops at their prime. It's an amazing process!

Hop harvest also brings a unique opportunitythe ability to make wet (or fresh) hop beers. Since wet hop beers are not kiln dried, they must be used within hours of harvest. The allure of beers made with these mystical hops is that they have unique flavors not found in beers made with typical dried hops. Brewers have a short window to procure and use these hopsand most take advantage of this.

BridgePort Brewing Co. has released Hop Harvest, a wet hop ale for many years. In fact, one of the first beer events I ever covered was the launch party for BridgePort's 2010 Hop Harvest Ale.  In preparation for their 2018 release, BridgePort invited me to visit Crosby Hop Farm yesterday to pick up 280 pounds of Centennials hops, the first of three batches of wet hops that will be used in this year's Hop Harvest Ale.

When you think of Centennial, you'd probably expect an IPA. But this year, BridgePort will release a Märzen, aka Oktoberfest-style lager as their seasonal Hop Harvest wet hop beer. While this style is malt-forward with a light hop profile, BridgePort will take a few liberties and accentuate the hop flavors by using a blend of wet Centennial, Amarillo, and Mt. Hood hops.

After returning from Crosby Hop farm, Jeff Edgerton, BridgePort Brewmaster, promptly dumped 280 pounds of freshly picked Centennial hops into the tank. Edgerton prefers to add the fresh hops to the beer a few days after the start of primary fermentation. This gives the hops exposure to higher temperatures (which occur during active fermentation) to aid extraction of flavor and helps to reduce the loss of volatile aromas from the active production of carbon dioxide, which peaks early in fermentation.

I enjoyed seeing the origin of this beer, and look forward to tasting it soon! Look for Hop Harvest on draft, and in 12 oz. cans when it is released in mid-September.

A truck full of Centennial hops

Centennial hops

Crosby's new conveyer moves stems and leaves from the picking facility into trucks

Hops being dried

Wet hops being used in BridgePort's Hop Harvest Fresh Hop Ale

It's true...

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Public Coast Brewing Hosts 2nd Annual HAYDAY! on August 25th

Summer may be winding down, but there are still plenty of beer festivals to enjoy. If you're looking to attend a fest outside of Portland this weekend, you're in luck! Those east of Portland should check out Boring Beer Fest. If you're in the mood for the coast, Public Coast Brewing is hosting its 2nd annual HAYDAY! festival in Cannon Beach. The event will feature 40 Oregon craft beers, many from coastal breweries.

For more details, please visit the event's Facebook page, or visit here to purchase tickets.

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Second Annual HAYDAY!, Coastal Celebration of Oregon Beer

What: Public Coast Brewing Co. hosts its second annual HAYDAY! in Cannon Beach, Ore., a coastal celebration of Oregon beer. Taking place on Saturday, Aug. 25 at Haystack Gardens, the event will feature 40 Oregon craft beers, including coastal breweries and beyond. Varying acts will perform live music, and Chef Josh Archibald from the Wayfarer Restaurant will enlist his mobile steakhouse for fantastic eats with desserts provided by Ruby Jewel Ice Cream.

When: August 25, 2018

Where: Haystack Gardens, 148 E. Gower, Cannon Beach, Ore. 97110

Tickets Info: Doors Open for General Admission at: 3:00 p.m.

Hayday Complete (last beer poured) at: 7:00 p.m.

Inaugural Boring Beer Fest

We all know Portland is overloaded with beer fests, but it's nice to see the 'burbs getting in on the action! The Inaugural Boring Beer Fest will feature breweries from the eastern region of the metro area, as well a smattering of Portland breweries. This is a great opportunity to sample from breweries not usually seen at the larger Portland beer fests.

The festival kicks off next weekend, so check out the Boring Beer Fest website or news release below for more details.

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Announcing the Inaugural Boring Beer Fest

August 24th - 26th 2018
Friday, August 24th 12pm – 8pm 
Saturday, August 25th 12pm – 8pm
FAMILY DAY - Sunday, August 26th 12pm – 6pm

Boring Brewing and Winery
29300 SE Haley Rd, Boring, OR 97009 

Boring Beer Fest was created as an annual event to showcase regional brewers and cider makers of all sizes in beautiful Boring, Oregon. The creators of the event felt the communities of Gresham, Sandy and Boring were thirsty for an event in which they didn’t have to travel to Portland and deal with the hustle and bustle of the city. Equally, Portland residents can get out to the country and enjoy an eclectic mix of well-known and smaller breweries.

Inspired by the Mt. Hood “Fruit Loop,” as well as the Clackamas County “Tap Trail,” breweries from these areas were the first be invited and represent the bulk of the breweries and cideries being featured. The addition of the “City Slickers” tent will bring some excellent selections from Portland.

The event will be set up in several unique spaces on the Boring Brewing and Winery property, so festival attendees can walk the grounds and enjoy separate areas. There will be live music in the manicured back yard, a water oasis to beat the heat, a covered country patio and several other setups - all with exciting beer options. Regional food as well as vendors and summer yard games will be found throughout the grounds. Boring Brewing has created a flagship beer for the event that will be available as a 16oz option, so music lovers can enjoy a pint in the live music area. Sunday will be family day with special entertainment for the kids!

We are proud to be raising money for two 501(c)(3) non-profits organizations: The Kyla McCullough Gift Fund http://kmgf.org/welcome.php and the Boring Oregon Foundation http://www.boringoregonfoundation.org

Individual participation cost is $20 for a keepsake logo glass and 10 beer tickets.  1 ticket will yield one 4oz pour, with the exception of the Boring Brewing pints that will be available for 4 tickets. Additional tickets will be available for purchase at $1.00 each.

There are advance ticket packages available through www.boringbeerfest.com that will get attendees more for their money: $20 for inaugural keepsake glass, and 15 tickets! Also, on our website is the most up to date list of participating breweries and information, as well as volunteer sign up for those wishing to trade their time for free beer!

For more information contact Brandon Mikel (info@boringbeerfest.com)

Zupan's Market Releases Farm to Market IPA

Zupan's Market recently announced the latest (sixth) installment in its Farm-To-Market line of beers. In this limited release series, Zupan's partners with a different brewery to produce a beer available only at locations. The sixth release was brewed in partnership with The Commons Brewery. The fifth release was a team-up with Coalition Brewing.

Now, Zupan's and pFriem Family Brewers have teamed up to produce Farm To Market IPA. For more details, check out the news release below. Only 125 cases were produced, so head over to Zupan's to check it out!

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PORTLAND, Ore. – Zupan’s Markets has partnered with Hood River’s pFriem Family Brewers to release the sixth Farm-to-Market beer in its private label line. This Northwest style IPA is inspired by the summer season and packed with notes of papaya, ripe melon, and honey. Perfect to pair with casual summer fare such as fish tacos, burgers, and fries. 

“Zupan’s Markets is excited to continue to bring our customers exclusive beer creations in partnership with the best local craft breweries,” said Zupan’s Markets’ President and CEO Mike Zupan. “pFriem continues to be a leader in craft beer innovation and together we have created the perfect summer IPA.”  

This IPA is currently on shelves at all three Zupan’s Markets locations in 16.9ml bottles for $5.99. With only 125 cases produced, it will be on shelves only for a limited time. 

“Zupan’s is a quality and flavor driven grocer,” said Josh Pfriem, Founder of pFriem Family Brewers. “We value their continued partnership, along with their dedication to bring customers exciting food and beverage choices.”
  • Profile: ABV 6.5%, IBU 45
  • Malts: Rahr Pale Malt Thomas Fawcett Malted Oats, Flaked Oats 
  • Hops: Citra, Denali, El Dorado, Oregon Amarillo
  • Yeast: American Ale
  • Tasting Notes: Illuminating gold body topped with fluffy white foam. Fruity aromas of Marionberries, watermelon, citrus, papaya, lychee fruit, and pineapple. Jammy flavors of cantaloupe, honeydew melon, blueberries, raspberries, and honey. Finishes tropical and jammy with a citrus zing.

About pFriem Family Brewers 
pFriem Family Brewers (pronounced “freem”) is a Northwest and Belgian inspired 15-barrel brewery and tasting room in Hood River, OR. Founded in 2012 by Josh pFriem, Ken Whiteman and Rudy Kellner. Best known for artisanal beers influenced by the great brewers of Belgium while staying true to homegrown roots in the Pacific Northwest, pFriem craft brews are unmistakably unique in both flavor and balance. For more information visit www.pfriembeer.com, or onsite daily at 707 Portway Ave., Suite 101, Hood River, OR 97031.

About Zupan’s Markets 
Founded by John Zupan in 1975, Zupan’s Markets is a local and family-owned gourmet market that has served Portland’s food-loving community for more than 40 years. Zupan’s Markets has three locations that focus on quality, selling everything from the best meats and wines to the freshest produce, baked goods, gourmet deli products, specialty foods, flowers and more, always emphasizing locally-sourced, artisan products when possible. For more information, visit www.zupans.com.


Afternoon at Cheers to Belgian Beers '18

Two Kilts Peach Cobbler
Cheers to Belgian Beers opened yesterday at The North Warehouse. I took the afternoon off and attended with some friends. Each year, event organizers showcase a different yeast strain. This year, Imperial Yeast Precious was the primary strain used for fermentation. As a twist, an optional secondary strain, Suburban Brett, was used by a handful of brewers to produce some exceptional offerings.

I only sampled about 11 beers, so I can't provide a comprehensive overview, but here's what I liked:

  • Suburban Kriek, Logsdon Farmhouse Ales: Tart cherry, mild funk, rounded out by light oak. Delicious! 
  • Bullseye, Yachats Brewing:  When used in primary fermentation, Brettanomyces can produce juicy tropical flavors. That's exactly what it did in this hazy IPA. A nice change of pace from the other beers!
  • Raison D'un Petit Verre, Stickmen Brewing:  My favorite taste of the day! Aged in Rex Hill pinot noir barrels, Suburban Brett was used to produce many layers of flavor including cherry and plum. This Belgian Dark Strong weighed in at 11.8% ABV, but you'd never know it. Don't miss this one! I wish I had a second pour.  

My not so favorites:
  • Lotion in the Basket, Solera Brewing: As a fan of kettle sours and Silence of of Lambs (the greatest movie ever made), choosing this beer was a no brainer. Sadly, it left a very unpleasant aftertaste. Hannibal would not have been pleased.

  • Starry Night Glitter, Second Profession Brewing:  So glitter beer is now a thing.  This had glitter, but you had to look hard to see it. When combined its garish color, this seemed to be in the glasses of many attendees. I didn't like it. My friend said it smelled like farts. With the power of suggestion, I couldn't entirely disagree. But in all fairness, several people I talked to enjoyed it. 

The festival runs through 8PM tonight (Saturday, June 2). It's going to be a beautiful day, so don't miss it!

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2nd Annual Snakebite Showdown

We've got tons of beer fests in Portland, as well as many cider fests. But here's a festival that literally combines both! A snakebite is 50/50 blend of beer and cider.  Portland Cider's 2nd Annual Snakebite Showdown will feature 14 snakesbites, lovingly blended by 14 local breweries and 14 cideries.

The event will take place on Saturday, June 16th at the Widmer Brothers Beer Garden. For more details, check out the news release below and visit Mercury Tickets for ticket packages (including discounted pre-event pricing)

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Get Bit at the 2nd Annual Snakebite Showdown
Blended Beer and Cider Event to take place during Portland Beer Week

PORTLAND, Ore. – Portland Cider Co. has announced details for its second annual Snakebite Showdown, the region’s only festival to focus solely on Snakebites, a popular English refreshment that blends equal parts beer and cider. This year’s showdown will take place Saturday, June 16, from 1pm to 7pm at the Widmer Brothers Beer Garden at 955 N Russell St. The showdown is an official Portland Beer Week highlight event.

The Snakebite Showdown partners together 14 Northwest breweries with 14 regional ciderhouses to create smooth and fruity beverages that pack a punch. The participants will go head-to-head in an epic showdown to win the title for Best Snakebite. The event is designed to raise awareness of a Snakebite, which is ever-growing in popularity, while emphasizing the collaborative nature of the craft beverage industry in Portland.

“Snakebites originally hail from the United Kingdom, where a crisp lager and cider are blended in a 50/50 ratio in a pint glass,” explained Jeff Parrish, co-owner of Portland Cider Co. “The traditional drink has gained a following here in the Northwest where we pride ourselves on all things craft and new in the beverage world.”

All 14 snakebites at the festival will be a custom blend crafted by the cider makers and brewers from each company. Highly anticipated collaborations include Portland Cider Co. + Widmer Bros. Brewing, 2 Towns Ciderhouse + Flat Tail Brewing, Cider Riot! + Kells Brewery, Reverend Nat’s Hard Cider + Modern Times Beer, Bauman’s Cider Co. + Culmination Brewing, HUB Cider + Hopworks Urban Brewery, New West Cider + Sasquatch Brewery, Reveille Ciderworks + Reach Break Brewing, Wandering Aengus Ciderworks + Santiam Brewing, Square Mile Cider + Ecliptic Brewing, Swift Cider + Wild Ride Brewing, 12 Bridge Ciderworks + Shattered Oak Brewing, Double Mountain Brewery + Double Mountain Brewery, and Finnriver Farm & Cidery + Ground Breaker Brewing.

Advance admission cost $20 ($25 at the gate), which includes a commemorative glass and six drink tickets; additional tasting tickets will be available for $2 each. All snakebite blends will be one ticket per four-ounce sample. Tickets are available now through Mercury Tickets.

The 21 and over event, which will have food available for purchase, is a benefit for the Oregon Brewshed Alliance, a coalition of Oregon brewers, brewing community partners, and conservationists who understand the value of clean water and protected forest watersheds. 

For more information, visit PortlandCider.com/events and follow @PortlandCider on social media.

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Home Hop Garden '18: May Update

I'm thrilled by the progress my hop garden has achieved in the last month!  I already have three plants that have grown a few feet past the length of the trellis (which goes up to my 2nd floor). This growth pace is well beyond where I was this time last year. Even my perennially underachieving Willamette is looking like a champ this season!

I believe a few factors are driving this growth. First, the plants are more mature. Second, I improved the soil in fall. Finally, I left the bines up for quite a while in the fall before I cut them down. This was intended to give the plants an opportunity to produce and send more energy down to the roots. I think it worked. Weather is surely a factor, but last May was actually sunnier (according to my solar array's output, anyway). I think I could all of these factors would make an informative Design of Experiments. I'll ponder this a bit more.

I recently learned about "bull shoots." These are the first sprouting bines. They're purplish in color, grow aggressively, are hollow, and are said to produce fewer sidearms and hops. Strangely enough, this is the first I've heard of them. They should be cut down as they sprout, in favor of the secondary shoots. I followed this advice for one of my plants. I'll see how that works out.

In an other interesting note, the bine thickness of the Zeus I planted in the ground (all of my other plants are in containers) dwarfs my other plants. In the shot below you can see the thin twine thats supporting the bines to the far right. Next, you can see the purple-ish Zeus bine, next to two other thinner bines. All three are first growth bull shoots.

Finally, it looks like two of my plants (last picture) have some sort of malady. If anyone knows what it is, or thoughts on how to resolve, I would appreciate some advice! Happy hop growing!

Variation in bine thickness

Leaf disease?

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Full Sail Releases Summa' Time Lime Lager

In preparation for summer, Full Sail Brewing just announced Summa' Time Lime Lager as its latest Pub Series release. Weighing in at a svelte 4.5% ABV and lightly hopped at 15 IBUs, it's designed to be a crushable companion for your summer adventures.

Summa' Time is available now through August in six-packs, on draft, and in the Full Sail Trophy Case mixed pack. Full Sail has recently ramped up the release of canned beers. As a light summer beer option, I think cans would have been a great package format for this beer. Maybe next year...

For more details, check out Full Sail's news release below.

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Make Every Day a Beach Day with Summa’ Time Lime
Full Sail’s new refreshing lager will be your go-to summer beer

Hood River, Oregon – Summertime along the Columbia River Gorge in Hood River has a no-shirt, no-shoes, no-problem kind of vibe, and Full Sail Brewing Co.’s latest Pub Series offering brings that on-the-beach attitude to you wherever your summer finds you.

“I’m super happy with how this beer turned out,” says Full Sail Brewmaster Greg Doss. “We designed Summa’ Time Lime around the idea of adding a slice of lime to my favorite summer lager and the result is a light, refreshing, crushable lager with a hint of lime for enjoying at the beach or on the river.”

Celeia and Northern Brewer hops, pilsner malt and flaked yellow corn, and a hint of lime work seamlessly together in this thirst-quenching, fresh and zesty, easy-drinking lager. Full Sail Summa’ Time Lime Lager is available May to August in 6-packs, on draft and in the Full Sail Trophy Case variety pack. 4.5% ABV, 15 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 www.fullsailbrewing.com.


Home Hop Garden '18: April Update

The hop growing season is in full swing! There's been quite a bit of progress since my March hop garden update. I finally got around to rigging up my trellises last weekend. The pictures below show the "before" state.  The bines had grown long and intertwined with each other. Unlocking them required a delicate and patient touch. Unfortunately, I broke several long bines in the process. Next year, I'll get the trellises up sooner and avoid this problem.

Below is the "after" shot. It looks more orderly and the bines are dutifully climbing upward! We had a three-day stretch in the 80°s last week  It's amazing how growth kicks in during the heat.  I think each plant put on at least 4-8" in height in just a few days!

In a surprising turn of events, my laggard Willamette plant is currently the tallest at around 86". I was (and still am) considering trashing it after last year's abysmal performance (it produced just 1 hop cone). Maybe it developed a sense of urgency.  Next tallest is my Chinook at around 77".

Soil drainage is very poor in my sideyard, so I plant all of my hops in pots. I did experiment by planting one Zeus in the ground last spring. I didn't think it would survive the winter, but it did. It's hard to tell, but you can see it in the picture on the lower left. The width of the bine is unusual--it's probably 3x as thick as all of the others (including my other Zeus plants). Maybe it gets more nourishment from the ground? I'll keep a close eye on on this plant throughout the season.

Finally, in the picture on the lower right, you can see may small bines emerging. During the past week, I've been busy pulling these out. The reason behind this is we want the plant's energy to nourish fewer bines (we're hoping for a few tall bines, rather than many short bushy bines).

So far, so good. There's no sign of mildew or rot. We'll see you in a month!  How's your hop garden progressing?

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12th Annual Cheers to Belgian Beers, June 1-2

Cheers to Belgian Beers is back for its 12th season! Each year, a single yeast strain is selected by event organizers (this year it's Imperial Yeast Precious) and is used by brewers to ferment all of the beers served at the festival. In a new twist, brewers can make use of an additional yeast strain (Imperial Yeast Suburban Brett) to provide added flavors and complexity via a secondary fermentation.

As a homebrewer, this festival has become one of my favorites because it showcases the wide variety of styles and flavors that can be produced with a unique strain. Last year, Imperial Yeast's Gnome was the featured strain and it produced many delicious beers!

For more details about the yeasts to be showcased this year as well as event details, and pricing, please check out the news release below.

Scenes from Cheers to Belgian Beers '17

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The beer festival that’s determined by a dart throw: Portland’s 
Cheers to Belgian Beers festival announces details for 12th annual event

PORTLAND, Ore. (April 19, 2018) – The Cheers to Belgian Beers festival, which showcases around 75 Belgian-style beers brewed by Oregon craft brewers, has announced details for this year’s event. The 12th annual festival will take place June 1 and 2 at The North Warehouse at 723 N. Tillamook St. Hours are 1pm to 9pm on Friday and 12pm to 8pm on Saturday.

Advance discount tickets are on sale now at GetMyPerks, which is offering two tasting glasses and 16 drink tickets for $28 (a $40 value), while supplies last. Drink packages at the door will cost $20 for a souvenir beer goblet and eight drink tickets (only one glass and eight tickets will be sold to any one person at any one time).

The festival is donating $1 from every ticket package sold to House That Beer Built, a partnership between Habitat for Humanity Portland/Metro East and the local craft beer industry. This exciting new collaboration celebrates the strength and creativity of Oregon’s craft beer industry, along with its passion for community involvement. Participating breweries and businesses pledge to raise funds with the goal of collectively raising $75,000 to fully sponsor a home for a Portland family.  Learn more about Habitat’s work at Habitatportlandmetro.org.

What makes this festival stand out is the fact that every beer is potentially made using the same primary yeast strain: Precious. Precious is a classic Belgian yeast that features a very mild phenolic character balanced with moderate fruitiness. This year, brewers were also given the option to add a secondary aging strain, Suburban Brett, a brettanomyces yeast that shines when used in wood barrels, producing complex and balanced aromas of sour cherry and dried fruit.

To ensure diversity among the beers submitted—as well as show off the creativity of Oregon's craft brewers— the color and strength of each brewery’s beer is determined by a dart throw. Depending on where the dart lands on the board determines whether that brewery will brew a Belgian-style beer that is light or dark in color, with amber as the midpoint; and low or high in alcohol, with six percent being the midpoint. Breweries that hit a bullseye get a wild card and can select their own color and strength. The dart throw is held in January, giving the breweries plenty of time to determine their submission.

Portland’s Cheers to Belgian Beers takes place inside The North Warehouse as well as outside in the tented parking lot. Food is available from Urban German Grill and Monk’s Deli; Brewed Oregon will be selling Oregon craft beer gear and apparel. Street parking is available, but limited. Attendees are encouraged to take public transportation — the TriMet Bus Line 35 stops one block away and the Yellow Max Line stops two blocks away — or ride their bike, with complimentary bike parking available.

The festival is seeking volunteers, which receive a festival goblet, eight drink tickets, a t-shirt and free admission after their shift (an OLCC servers permit is not required to participate as a volunteer server at this event). To sign up, visit https://www.events-connect.com/ctbb/volunteer.

Cheers to Belgian Beers is produced by the Oregon Brewers Guild and sponsored by Boelter, Imperial Yeast, Country Malt Group, Great Western Malting, and the Portland Mercury  The event is for ages 21 and over. Follow @OregonCraftBeer on social media on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, #ctbb18.

About the Oregon Brewers Guild
The Oregon Brewers Guild is a non-profit organization whose mission is to promote the state’s craft brewing industry and the common interests of its members. Founded in 1992, the Oregon Brewers Guild is one of the nation’s oldest craft brewers associations. The Guild comprises 175 brewing companies, 125 associate/supplier members and more than 4,000 enthusiast members known as S.N.O.B.s (Supporters of Native Oregon Beer). To learn more, visit OregonCraftBeer.org.

McMenamins Releases Foggy Dew + Terminator in Cans

Ever since their first can launch back in August 2016, McMenamins has been routinely releasing both new beers and old favorites in 16 oz. cans.

Last month, the brewery launched Foggy Dew Irish-Style Lager and Terminator Stout in cans. Detailed descriptions of each beer below were provided by McMenamins.

Foggy Dew Irish-Style Lager

A few McMenamins Brewers found themselves working away to a traditional Irish tune, dreaming of black and tans. Inspired by the sounds of fiddle and fife, they crafted Foggy Dew - a crisp, straw-colored lager that's balanced, but low in hop bitterness. Whether this beer finds you for St. Patrick's Day or any day, we hope the wind is always at your back and may the sun shine warm upon your face.
  • Malts: Baird's Pilsen, Best Acidulated, Best Light Munich
  • Hops: Nugget, US Golding, Sterling

Terminator Stout

Black as the darkest night, rich as the most decadent dessert, Terminator is for the true stout lover. This is a full bodied and flavor packed ale which draws its robust complexity from kiln-baked specialty grains. Look for a wide array of toasted, chocolate, nutty and coffee-like flavors in every pint! The devoted swear by it, and it remains one of our top selling ales year after year.
  • Malts: Premium 2-row Malt, Munich Malt, 40L Crystal, and Black Barley 
  • Hops: Chinook and Cascade 

McMenamins sent me samples of the cans pictured above. They taste as good as they look!

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