February = Fort George Stout Month

Dear Lovers of Stout: Christmas comes in February.

February is rainy in these parts. Fortunately, stouts pair beautifully with crappy weather. Fort George comes to our rescue with Stout Month. They've brewed up a big treat for us. Actually, 24 treats. Throughout the month of February, Fort George will be tapping a variety of stouts at their public house, pizzeria, and Lovell taproom.

If you'd prefer a stout festival, they're hosting Festival of the Arts on February 17. If you don't already have tickets, check back next year. It's sold out. But consider their Traveling Carnival of Stouts as it meanders across the Pacific Northwest. If you can't attend any of those, check out their seasonal can release of From Astoria With Love

If you can't find that, head over to your local bottle shop and ask for a nice stout. It'll help you get though the crappy weather...

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Fort George Stout Month: Embrace the Darkness

To some the second month of the year is simply February, the shortest and at times dreariest month along the Oregon Coast. But at Fort George, February is twenty-eight delightful days of dark and delicious ales, more commonly known as Stout Month.

Created over twenty years ago by Fort George co-owner Jack Harris, Stout Month has taken on a life of its own in Astoria. Brewer creativity with the style expands every year, as do those stout tap lists (24 UNIQUE STOUTS THIS FEBRUARY!). The immensely popular Festival of Dark Arts continues to get darker and darker. And this year Fort George adds the largest barrel aged bottle release ever held on the block.

“Our Matryoshka series is always fun because of the possibilities,” explains David Coyne, Fort George brewer and barrel master. “The beer is very chocolaty from the roasted malts to begin with, so we decided to push the vanilla in one variation by sourcing a bunch of Madagascar vanilla beans. From there I like to add a fruit, this year marionberries, to give it a tart pie taste that pairs well with the breadiness of the grains.”

The Matryoshka series starts with a Russian Imperial Stout (From Astoria With Love), which is then barrel aged for several months with increasing layers of adjuncts. Matryoshka is the Russian name for wooden nesting dolls. It’s also the illustration on the label, which was drawn by David Coyne as well.

“This year we put some of the Matryoshka into different barrels, other than bourbon,” David continues. “There are two variations which feature a blend of Matryoshka aged in Willamette Valley Pinot Noir barrels. And we plan to do more barrel variations in the future.”

Matryoshka and all of the variations will be on tap during Stout Month. And the base beer, From Astoria With Love, will be available in 16-ounce four-pack cans starting in February. The Pacific Northwest will be awash in stout this February, which puts a dark, stout-soaked smile on Jack Harris’s face.

Festival of Dark Arts

Every year for one dark day, stout lovers converge on Fort George to enjoy craftspeople, roaming entertainers, art, and spectacle surrounded by over 60 rare stouts on tap. There’s live music throughout, including performances this year by Robert Sarazin Blake, Roselit Bone, and Slim Cessna’s Auto Club. The return of PORCUS! and an expanded footprint onto 14th Street will let festival goers stretch out it stout style. If you were lucky enough to get tickets, check festivalofdarkarts.com for lineups and stout lists. If you missed out on tickets this year, get ready for The Aftermath.

The Aftermath

On Sunday, February 18th, the day after Festival of Dark Arts, the Fort George campus will reopen to the public at noon. Of course there will be new stout releases in the pub and pizzeria (see list below), and the tap trailer will be filling growlers from the remaining Festival of Dark Arts kegs. But the barrel fans will be in the Lovell Brewery for the release of four new variations in this year’s Matryoshka series. Joined by Bourbon Barrel Matryoshka (2018) and cellared versions of the Matryoshka beers from 2017, the Lovell Taproom will be pouring all eight of these barrel aged stouts.

Wax-dipped bottles of the five 2018 Matryoshkas along with very limited cellared bottles from 2017 will be on sale. And to add a little light to the dark, a fresh Fields of Green will be released at the brewery. Get this evolutionary IPA on tap or in four-pack cans to go. No tickets, no reservations. Top your night with a live performance by The Builders and the Butchers at 8pm, never a cover.

The Stouts

As you arrive at Fort George public house, or pizzeria, or Lovell Taproom during Stout Month, you’ll be welcomed with an overflowing tap list of dark and deliciousness. Stout staff is here to help you with your selection or you may order up blind stout taster trays. At least eight stouts will be on tap in each location, with a new stout released every few days.

February 1st
Dear Prudence - oatmeal stout with Cabernet Sauvignon grapes 8.3%
Oregon Trail Mix - cocoa nibs, almonds, peanuts, and cranberries 6.4%
Matryoshka (2018) - Russian imperial stout aged in Four Roses Bourbon barrels 12.75%
Donnie Choco - dark chocolate stout 7.1%
Coffee Girl - imperial coffee stout brewed with Coava Coffee beans 8.6%
Donnybrook - traditional dry Irish stout 4.2%
1,000 Years of Silence - imperial Mexican chocolate stout 10.5%
Cavatica Stout - a bold American stout beauty and Fort George classic 8.8%

February 3rd
Girl Stout Cookie - chocolate, coconut, and caramel 6.4%

February 7th
Rare Gem - mint chocolate chip stout 9.2%
#BurgerWednesday pairing - ground lamb burger, olive mint pesto, aged Tillamook cheddar.

February 10th
From Astoria With Love - Russian imperial and the Mother of Matryoshka 9.4%

February 14th
Three Wise Men - imperial stout aged in tequila, rum, and bourbon barrels 13.1%
#BurgerWednesday pairing sliders - beef & blue cheese with aioli, elk & brie with blueberry ketchup, bison & gruyere with chimichurri.

February 18th (Public House & Pizzeria)
The White Witch - golden stout with cocoa nibs & coffee 8.45%
Dark Matter (2016) - imperial oatmeal stout aged in Pinot Noir & bourbon barrels 8.76%

February 18th (Lovell Taproom)
Bourbon Barrel Matryoshka with Vanilla Bean (2018)*
Bourbon Barrel Matryoshka with Vanilla Bean & Marionberries (2018)*
Bourbon & Pinot Noir Barrel Matryoshka (2018)*
Bourbon & Pinot Noir Barrel Matryoshka with Cocoa Nibs (2018)*
Bourbon Barrel Matryoshka (2017)**
Bourbon Barrel Matryoshka with Cocoa Nibs (2017)**
Bourbon Barrel Matryoshka with Cocoa Nibs & Raspberries (2017)**

*Sweet Virginia Series bottles available. One case limit per variation.
**Cellared bottles available. Two bottle limit per variation per customer.

February 21st
No Good Deed - bourbon barrel aged imperial stout with black walnuts & buckwheat 11.5%
#BurgerWednesday pairing - ground walnut & beef burger, fontina fondue, crispy leeks, Ras el hanout aioli.

February 24th
Reclusa - A blend of barrel aged stouts and English barleywine 13%*
*Sweet Virginia Series bottles available as well.

February 28th
The Deepest Darkest Fear - barrel aged collaboration with Our Mutual Friend Brewery 11.5%
#BurgerWednesday pairing - house-ground Oregon beef, cherry mustardo, lardo, pickled figs

The Traveling Carnival of Stouts

Select venues will feature specialty stouts from Fort George during February. Get a taste of Stout Month as it winds its way across the Pacific Northwest.

Thursday, February 8th - 6pm
b2 Taphouse
4336 Commercial St SE, STE 150, Salem, OR

Friday, February 9th - 6pm
The Bier Stein
1591 Willamette St, Eugene, OR

Saturday, February 10th - 5pm
8105 SE Stark St, Portland, OR

Thursday, February 15th - 6pm
Elizabeth Station
1400 W Holly St, Bellingham, WA

Friday, February 16th - 6pm
Chuck’s Hop Shop Greenwood
656 NW 85th St, Seattle, WA

Tuesday, February 20th - 6pm
Full Throttle Bottles
5909 Airport Way S, Seattle, WA

Thursday, February 22nd - 6pm
1210 Auburn Way N, STE E, Auburn, WA

Wednesday, February 28th - 6pm
Parkway Tavern
313 N I St #1, Tacoma, WA

Stout Month begins on Thursday, February 1st. Bring your loved ones, your beloved growlers, and your love of the dark. Fort George promises you won’t go away light-handed. For more information about Fort George Brewery and Stout Month events, go to fortgeorgebrewery.com.

Fort George Brewery
1483 Duane Street
Astoria, Oregon 97013
(503) 325-PINT

Evening at McMenamins Wassail Cider Fest

McMenamins Cornelius Pass Roadhouse recently hosted their 2nd Wassail Cider Fest. Twenty local cider makers attended and served 40 ciders. By the time we arrived at 4pm, the festival was in full swing. I was pleasantly surprised by the size of the large crowd. We've got a lot of cider drinkers around here!

This was my first visit to Wassail Cider Fest, and I enjoyed it. In full disclosure, event organizers gave me a pair of tickets to the fest. I've attended many beer and cider festivals, and it's the little things that add up to make an event great. For just a 2nd year event, Wassail Cider Fest if off to an excellent start!

Cornelius Pass Roadhouse itself is a great venue. The event was staged in a tent next to the Octagonal Barn. It was a cold evening, but the tent was warm and cozy with the aid of heated forced air. The tent got a bit crowded and navigating the cidery tables was challenging. It's a good problem to have though, and can be easily fixed with a bigger tent (or better weather). Although it was chilly and drizzling, several roaring campfires enabled intrepid visitors to comfortably enjoy their drinks outdoors. I was glad to see plenty of water stations at the center of the tent. More water equals more cider and no hangover!

As far as non-liquid entertainment, Falcon Heart and Bridgetown Morris Men performed in the Octagonal Barn. Of course, this was a cider festival. A wide variety of offerings, from dry to sweet  were available. My favorite taste of the day was Woodinville Ciderworks' Oaked Chipotle Cider. It had the perfect balance of heat, sweetness, and complexity. My wife fancied Riverwood 2016 New World Brut Cider from 2 Towns Ciderhouse.

Finally, while there was plenty of cider to enjoy, this family-friendly event was all about celebrating cider apple trees and the Wassail focus made this event truly unique. According to Wikipedia, Wassailing originated in the cider producing regions of South England. Wassail celebrations involve drinking and singing to the apple trees to awaken them and scare away evil spirits. In honor of that tradition, a Wassail parade led attendees to the on-site apple orchard for more mirth and merriment. Sorry to say, I missed that partI was in the tent drinking cider.

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Oregon Beer Events: 1/26 Update

After a short post-New Year's lull, the beer event calendar is filling up! On Saturday the 27th, events include the 3rd Annual Barrel Aged Beer Fest, Tualatin Winter Brewfest, 2018 Holiday Hangover, and the 5th NW Coffee Beer Invitational (click here to see my recap from last year's coffee-beer extravaganza).  

On Sunday, Ecliptic Brewing is hosting IPA for Eyes, a benefit in partnership with OHSU's Casey Eye Institute. If you're looking for something to get you though next week, check out the Salem Winter Brewfest which kicks off on Wednesday.

This calendar is being constantly updated, so please click on the Oregon Beer Event Calendar link or the image below to see the latest and greatest, as well as details about each event.

If you know of other events, please send details to info@notsoprofesionalbeer.com, and I'll do my best to add them. Have a great weekend. Cheers!

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Oregon Beer Events: 1/19 Update

It's a fairly slow beer weekend, but we've got a couple of great events planned for Saturday. Bailey's Taproom is holding their 9th Annual Cellar Fest. If you'd rather have a cider, head out to McMenamins' Cornelius Pass Roadhouse for the Wassail Cider Fest. 

This calendar is being constantly updated, so please click on the Oregon Beer Event Calendar link or the image below to see the latest and greatest, as well as details about each event.

If you know of other events, please send details to info@notsoprofesionalbeer.com, and I'll do my best to add them. Have a great weekend. Cheers!

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5th NW Coffee Beer Invitational

The 5th NW Coffee Beer Invitational returns to Goose Hollow Inn on Saturday, January 27th. Dave and Jean Fleming, event organizers have curated a selection of 19 beers, 1 cider, and 1 mead, all made with locally-roasted coffee. Of the 21 participating breweries, nine are new to the festival this year.

I attended last year's event and enjoyed it. You can see my recap here. If you glance though last year's beer descriptions (in my recap), you'll get a good idea of the array of coffee beers you might enjoy this year.

In addition, past festival-favorite brewers joined forces to create a special 5th anniversary collaboration Mocha Raspberry Brown Ale. This yet-to-be named elixir will feature coffee from Ristretto Roasters and 44 pounds of fresh raspberries! Sounds good to me...

For more details, check out the festival's news release below. To learn about more great beer events, check out the Oregon Beer Event Calendar

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5th NW Coffee Beer Invitational
DATE: Saturday, January 27th, 2018
TIME: 12:00 – 7:00pm
LOCATION: Goose Hollow Inn, 1927 SW Jefferson St, Portland 97201

This year is the 5th NW Coffee Beer Invitational, Portland’s intimate mid-winter beer festival where talented beverage-makers are asked to get creative with locally-roasted coffee. We have a cidery and a meadery in the line-up alongside 19 outstanding breweries. To celebrate our 5th year, we asked past festival-favorite brewers Alan Taylor (PINTS and Zoiglhaus Brewing), Ben Nehrling (Fire on the Mountain Brewing) and Kevin Shaw (Buoy Brewing) to collaborate with Din Johnson (Ristretto Roasters) and make a special anniversary beer. Brewed at Buoy in Astoria, it will be released at the festival.

All beverages are in competition and a best of show winner will be announced at the festival. Nicole Kasten (Beer Connections), Sarah Pederson (Saraveza), and John Foyston (long-time Oregon beer writer) will bring their expert palates to our judging table.

The cozy tent at the Goose Hollow Inn is our venue again, so join us for unique beverages in a “stimulating” atmosphere. Great food from the Goose will be available throughout the event and we will have live music from The Michael Shay Trio (12:00-3:00pm) and festival favorites Logger’s Daughter (3:30-6:30pm).

$20 admission includes a festival glass and 10 taster tickets. Family friendly. Tickets at the door only.

Participating in this year’s festival:
Allegory Brewing • Ancestry Brewing • Burnside Brewing • Chetco Brewing • Coalition Brewing • Deschutes Brewing • Fire on the Mountain Brewing • Fremont Brewing  Hopworks Urban Brewery • Labrewatory • McMenamins Brewery • Migration Brewing • Nectar Creek • Oregon City Brewing • PINTS Brewing • Portland Cider Company • StormBreaker Brewing • Sunriver Brewing • Three Creeks Brewing • Wayfinder Beer • Yachats Brewing

Event sponsors: Goose Hollow Inn, Ristretto Roasters and Practical Fusion
Event vendors: Imperfect Produce

For more information, contact:
Dave Fleming, Beer Curator, flemator@gmail.com
Jean Heffernan Fleming, Festival Organizer, nwcoffeebeerinvitational@gmail.com

Hopworks Launches New Win-Win Series with Walla Walla Wheatwine

Hopworks Urban Brewery just announced the launch of its new Win-Win Partnership Series. The limited release beers in this series will showcase ingredients from partners that share Hopworks' commitment to protect the environment.

The first release, Walla Walla Wheatwine, is brewed with 100% Salmon-Safe wheat and barley from Mainstem Malt. Look for new Win-Win releases each month during 2018. For more details, check out the brewery's news release below.

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Walla Walla Wheatwine Uses 100% Salmon-Safe Ingredients; It is the First of 12 Original HUB Beers in 2018 to Feature Ingredients from Eco-Champion Businesses

Portland, Ore., January 16, 2018 — Hopworks Urban Brewery (HUB), the first Certified B Corporation brewery in the Northwest and member of 1% for the Planet, today announces the new Win-Win Partnership Series of beers. The first in the series is Walla Walla Wheatwine, available now on draft and in 22-ounce bomber bottles, until it runs out at all HUB pubs.

The Win-Win Series is born from the goal to experiment with flavors while highlighting Hopworks’ strong relationships formed over the last decade with businesses focused on sustainability. Each beer in the series features ingredients from businesses that share HUB’s commitment to protecting the environment. Craft beer fans and eco stewards can take part in this win-win scenario by picking up a new limited-edition partner beer each month throughout 2018.

The partner business for Walla Walla Wheatwine is the nation’s first supplier of Salmon-Safe certified malt -- Mainstem Malt in Walla Walla, Washington. Brewed with 100% Salmon-Safe ingredients including wheat and barley from Mainstem, Mt. Hood and Crystal hops, and HUB’s fruity yeast strain, this full-bodied beer can be enjoyed now or cellar aged. At 10% ABV, this complex wheatwine-style ale has a smooth mouthfeel and rich, bready flavor.

Upcoming Win-Win beers will also feature tasty flavor profiles from sustainably sourced ingredients. Morning Vibes Imperial Latte Stout will be released on February 1. It features organic coffee from B Corp™ coffee roasters, Nossa Familia Coffee.

“It has always been our goal to make world-class beer, as sustainably as possible,” said HUB Brewmaster and Founder, Christian Ettinger. “The new Win-Win partnership helps us shine a spotlight on special ingredients and great companies who want to make a positive impact on the planet. As someone who spends time in the great outdoors where salmon depend on clean water and a healthy ecosystem to thrive, Walla Walla Wheatwine holds special meaning. It is great to make great beer and do good at the same time.”

“Mainstem Malt supports supply chain water conservation and rural development efforts with its high-quality, single-origin malt. It's an honor to see our products flow so beautifully into this Walla Walla Wheatwine," said Phil Neumann, Mainstem founder. "The dry-farmed grain bill boasts Walla Walla wheat from H.T. Rea Farms and Athena barley from Johns Ranch. When folks drink this beer, they support two family farms using Salmon-Safe water conservation practices for landscape-scale change. Cheers to HUB and the next 11 eco-champions!"

“We are thrilled that Hopworks is kicking off the Win-Win Series with this special cellar-worthy Salmon-Safe beer. Walla Walla Wheatwine is the first packaged beer brewed with 100% Salmon-Safe ingredients,” said Dan Kent, Salmon-Safe Co-Founder and Executive Director. “What makes it even more special is it is brewed in Portland, the first city in the world to achieve the third-party designation for its systematic approach to improving water quality and restoring salmon habitat.”

To learn more about 1% for the Planet and how to get involved, visit: http://www.onepercentfortheplanet.org/index.php. For more information about Salmon-Safe, visit: http://www.salmonsafe.org


About Hopworks Urban Brewery
Hopworks Urban Brewery strives to revolutionize and inspire the brewing industry with practices that drive quality, protect the environment and improve the community we live in. Utilizing organic malts and a combination of locally-sourced, organic and Salmon Safe hops, the company’s 20-barrel brewery in Portland produces 13,500 barrels of beer and cider a year for HUB’s brewpubs and for distribution throughout the West. Hopworks is a family-owned and operated business, the first Certified B Corporation brewery in the Pacific Northwest and a gold-level bike friendly business. More info at: hopworksbeer.com

New Belgium Launches Year-Round Hazy IPA

The Hazy IPA (a.k.a. NE IPA) was one of 2017's biggest crazes. New Belgium Brewing will continue the trend in 2018 with the launch of Juicy Haze IPA. This extension of the Voodoo Ranger family is unfiltered and features Citra, Cascade, Centennial, Simcoe, and Nugget hops. It's now available in bottles and on draft. 16 oz. cans will be released in March.

For more details, check out the brewery's news release below.

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New Belgium Brewing’s Voodoo Ranger Juicy Haze IPA 
Brightens New Year with Unfiltered Wave of Hoppiness
Year-round release is the brewery’s way of saying cheers to 2018

Fort Collins, Colo. – New Belgium Brewing is kicking off the new year with a new addition to the Voodoo Ranger family, Juicy Haze IPA. This medium bodied, unfiltered IPA is packed with tropical aromas and big citrus flavors from a delicious blend of Citra hops combined with Cascade, Centennial, Simcoe and Nugget. 

“It’s no secret that hazy IPAs are incredibly popular right now and New Belgium is the perfect brewery to roll this out on a national scale without compromising quality,” said New Belgium Brewer, Cody Reif. “With more than 10 years brewing unfiltered beers and the ongoing success of our hoppy portfolio, Juicy Haze continues our tradition of pushing boundaries while making creative and innovative beers.”

Voodoo Ranger Juicy Haze IPA pours pale orange with an opaque haze and bright white head. Vibrant lemon, orange, guava and pineapple notes are balanced with a light grassy and caramel-like malt aroma giving the beer a sweet start that transitions into a smooth, bitter flavor. The soft, velvety mouthfeel wraps up with a pleasantly clean finish. 

This is the fourth year-round member of the Voodoo Ranger family, which New Belgium launched last year. The Voodoo Ranger family of beers also features Voodoo Ranger IPA, Voodoo Ranger Imperial IPA and Voodoo Ranger 8 Hop Pale Ale. Three additional special releases are slated for 2018. 

Voodoo Ranger Juicy Haze IPA
Flavor: A little sweet initially becoming smoothly bitter
Mouthfeel: Clean finish
Body: Medium
Yeast: American Hefeweizen
Hops: Citra, Cascade, Centennial, Simcoe, Nugget
Malts: Pale, Wheat, C-80, Oats
ABV: 7.5%
IBUs: 42

Juicy Haze IPA is now available in 12oz. bottles and on draft. Four-pack 16oz. cans will be available beginning in March. To find Voodoo Ranger Juicy Haze IPA, along with others from New Belgium, visit the Beer Finder or download the Beer Mode app. For more information about the brewery, visit NewBelgium.com.