McMenamins Tropic Heat Returns in Cans

McMenamins' Tropic Heat has just returned in cans for the summer! I got my first taste of this kettle-soured beer at the 2017 Oregon Brewers Festival. This was a standout for me because all of the listed flavors (guava, habanero, and coconut) were not only were noticeable, but worked very well together.

The brewery recent sent me a sample. Based on my memory (and tasting notes), this canned version is very similar to what I experienced nearly two years ago. In aroma, juicy guava dominates. Upon tasting, guava is also the first note that registers on my palate. In the middle, the habanero kicks in. The pepper heat, while prominent, doesn't burn and nicely balances the light guava sweetness. Finally, the coconut rounds out the finish.

If you're a fan of fruit / pepper beers, definitely seek this out one! I need to get my hands on some more for the summer months! For more details, check out McMenamins' description below. 

Tropic Heat

Tropic Heat is a kettle soured ale brewed with pink guava puree, coconut and habanero peppers. The heat contribution from the peppers is very minimal and creates a pleasant background quality that lingers. This slight spiciness accentuates the fruity, full guava taste that is this beer's foundation. Coconut was also added to pleasantly blend all the fine flavors together.
Special Techniques: Kettle Soured
Special Ingredients: Habanero, Coconut
Fruit: Pink Guava
Malts: Superior Pilsen, Pale, Wheat, Acidulated
Hops: Meridian
OG: 1.052 TG: 1.012 ABV: 5.16 IBU: 8

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McMenamins' 20th Annual UFO Fest

This weekend, you can have a beer with ET. McMenamins is hosting its 20th Annual UFO Festival at Hotel Oregon in McMinville.

70 years ago, the tiny town of McMinnville was struck with UFO fever when a local family spotted a flying disc from their farm, making national news. 50 years later, in 1999, the fever descended again with the very first UFO Festival. Time warp to today: The 20th annual UFO Festival is back, bigger and better than ever.

The 3-day festival includes renowned speakers & experts, movie screenings, radio broadcasts, vendor booths, live music, alien trivia, the Alien Abduction Dash fun run, pet costume contest, beer tastings, dining with speakers and the Alien Costume Ball.  

To properly celebrate this event, McMenamins is releasing Alienator IPA--because we all know space aliens love the hops! Here are the details about this special release.

Alienator IPA

  • Malts: Pale, Vienna, Rolled Oat, Carastan 30/37
  • Hops: Citra, Chinook, Mosaic
  • ABV: 6.45%
  • IBU: 45
This beer is sure to make a believer out of any skeptic! Orbiting above the Alienator IPA are tropical, fruity aromas provided by a thorough dry-hopping using Mosaic and Citra Hops. This tasty recipe yielded a fascinating orange hue complete with luminous hop flavor. Alienator's lush aroma and distinct hop character is perfect for those who prefer their ales strong and hoppy.

For more information about UFO Fest, visit

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The End of BridgePort Brewing Co.: Parting Words from Jeff Edgerton

Like many in the Portland beer community, I was shocked by last month's news of the closure of BridgePort Brewing Co. As I processed the news and reflected on my own journey with BridgePort, the shock has turned to sadness. I started this blog nearly 10 years ago. The first event I covered was BridgePort's 2010 Hop Harvest Release Party. Here's what I said in one of my first blog posts:

"Their IPA was among the first craft beers I tried when I moved to Portland over 10 years ago.  They showed me that beer could be so much more than Miller or Bud Lite.  In fact, BridgePort IPA is still one of my all-time favorites"  --  September 10, 2010

I've written 47 posts about BridgePort during the life of my blog (you can see all of them here). I interviewed Jeff Edgerton, BridgePort Brewmaster, a number of times and wanted to reach out to him to discuss the closure. But dissecting and probing the reasons for the end of BridgePort didn't feel right to me. If you read my blog, you know that I'm not a hard core beer journalist. I'm just a guy that likes to write about beer and the people who brew it.

To my surprise, Jeff reached out to me today wanting to share his thoughts with the Portland Beer Community. I'm absolutely humbled and honored to share Jeff's words. The statement below was written by Jeff today.

To the Portland Craft Brew Community:

In my 30 years of brewing in Portland and 20 years with BridgePort I have never issued any statements via beer blogs or offered up my opinion because I didn’t see the point and didn’t care to get into online debates.  Everyone is entitled to their opinions and I respect that.  I decided to write this today, the day following the closure of our brewpub, to leave everyone with a few parting thoughts and to clarify a few things.  I know that not everyone will agree, but many of my points are simply facts from a timeline perspective and I think should be brought out in the spirit of full disclosure.  I have tried to keep my opinions to a minimum.

First off, I want to personally thank everyone for their patronage of BridgePort over our 35 year history.  The number of people that have contacted me since the announcement of our closure has been overwhelming.  It’s hard to grasp the extent that BridgePort has touched people’s lives in this community and beyond.  I’ve made so many great friends and been privileged to have been involved with so many great projects and causes that I cannot begin to name them all.  The brewing community and its customers is truly a special group and I don’t regret a minute of the time that I’ve spent with them.  I hope that I will be able to continue to work in this great industry for the rest of my career.  

Second, I have to thank all of the people that have worked for BridgePort over the years.  I have been so lucky to have extremely talented people working with me and for me.  My crew believed in BridgePort and stuck with me even when things were starting to look pretty bleak.  

I have read some of the articles that have been published lately about BridgePort’s closing that omit a number of important details and I think it is important for proper perspective that a few of these get filled in:

  1. BridgePort IPA, once considered the brewer’s standard, was created by Phil Sexton very soon after Bridgeport was purchased by the Gambrinus Company.  Phil is an Australian brewer, winemaker, and entrepreneur who is a good friend of Carlos Alvarez.  This beer launched an IPA revolution and was the driving force that started BridgePort on its biggest upward trajectory.  Yes, this style has evolved dramatically since its first release in the mid-nineties, but BridgePort IPA remained the same and is still a great beer. Until I run out, it will be my gold standard.
  2. The Gambrinus Company invested heavily within the brewery to modernize and update brewing equipment.  Following their purchase of the brewery a new bottling line was installed; added brewing capacity in the form of new fermenters, bright tanks, and physical plant equipment was purchased and installed.  The pub was remodeled completely twice and several smaller remodels were done as well.
  3. The Gambrinus Company has taken good care of its people by paying good wages and providing excellent benefit packages for their people.  As we close, all employees are being provided good notice and good severance packages.  
  4. Carlos Alvarez donated a million dollars to Oregon State University to build a state-of-the-art pilot brew system for their Fermentation Science program.  No strings attached.  Please go down and check it out:  it is really nice.

I hope that everyone will take a moment to realize that, while BridgePort is owned by this Texas based company, the people that worked here were all Portland-based people that have deep roots here. We were here because we love the NW and love making great beer.  No one person or factor was what made BridgePort great or caused its eventual demise. Its closing is the result of a complex set of issues and now, at the 11th hour, it doesn’t matter anyway.  I find it decidedly inconvenient that the timing of beginning of our slide began with my taking the helm in 2010.  I would hope that everyone remembers that we had many successes and failures of products before and after I took over.  It is the nature of the business.  We worked very hard to create unique and tasty products and I’m proud of our lineup and commitment to quality.

This was also the time when a huge number of breweries were being started in Portland and across the country so competition from hyper-local nano-breweries became a factor very quickly. The advent of the taphouse changed the beer scene dramatically by offering new beers constantly and effectively killing the concept of flagship beers.  I’m not saying that any of this is bad, but the playing field has changed and consumers expect new beer experiences at an alarming rate while legacy brands are suffering.  A lot of good breweries will struggle and may not succeed, but things will eventually settle out.  Unfortunately, my legacy here will be that I was at the wheel when the BridgePort closed.  Timing is a bitch sometimes.  

Anyway, thanks again to everyone for all of your kind words and thoughts. 


Jeff Edgerton
BridgePort Brewing Company

There you have it. I'd like to thank Jeff for allowing me to share his closing thoughts. I wish all the best to the entire BridgePort crew as they navigate this big transition in their lives.

As I write my final post about BridgePort, I'm reminiscing with bottle of their Ropewalk Amber Ale. I stashed this bottle away in my beer fridge about nine years ago. Today seemed like the right time to drink it. It has held up surprisingly well! They don't make 'em like that anymore. Cheers and goodbye to BridgePort Brewing Co.!

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Alesong to Release Four New Beers

Alesong Brewing & Blending just announced details for their first release of 2019. Mocha Rhino Suit and Maestro, originally released in 2017, are returning. Two new beers, Kriek and Friend in Commons will make their debut. The latter is one of the last collaborations made by The Commons Brewery.  For more details check, out the press release below.

Alesong Mocha Rhino Suit

Alesong Maestro

Alesong Kriek

Alesong Friend in Commons

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Alesong to Release Four New Beers in First Quarterly Release of 2019

EUGENE, OR:  On Sunday, February 17th from 12 p.m. – 6 p.m., Alesong Brewing and Blending will release four new beers at their wine country tasting room (80848 Territorial Hwy). This is Alesong’s first quarterly release of 2019 and features the reintroduction of classics they’ve created before as well as the addition of two new recipes.

“When we first released Mocha Rhino Suit and Maestro back in 2017, they got great responses” says cofounder, Brian Coombs. “we’re super excited to bring those fan favorites back alongside Kriek and Friend in Commons which will add some light, tart balance to counter those heavier beer styles.”

  • Mocha Rhino Suit — A blend of imperial stouts aged over 10 months in Heaven Hill bourbon barrels finished on hand-selected and freshly roasted coffee and cacao beans from the local artisans at Slightly Coffee Roasters and Chocolate Alchemy, Mocha Rhino Suit is the beer to keep on hand during these cold winter months. The Velvety layers of vanilla and coconut marry with dark cocoa and roasty coffee flavors for a decadent treat any time of day.
  • Maestro —Barley wine ales have often been considered the dean of beer styles, and our Maestro is no exception. Aged in freshly emptied Heaven Hill bourbon barrels, this oak-forward leader crescendos from first sip to last. Toffee, vanilla, and spice aromas lead the band and a balanced sweet, caramel-like malt flavor rounds out this full-bodied ale.
  • Kriek — Robed in bright vermillion and with an aroma reminiscent of fresh cherry pie, our Kriek is a humble nod to Belgian Lambic brewers who craft these tart, fruity and complex beers.  Ours was matured with a blend of two Oregon-grown cherry varietals that burst from the glass to give a luscious, sweet and sour experience.
  • Friend in Commons —  Our first of two collaborations with The Commons Brewery (look for the next one in May) resulted in this tart, mixed-culture farmhouse ale matured for nearly two years then dry hopped with Citra.  Friend in Commons is a ‘beetje’ tribute to the wonderful folks at The Commons.  If you know, you know.

In conjunction with the new release, Alesong will be hosting celebrations on 2/17  at its tasting room and 2/27 Imperial Bottle Shop NE (2006 NE Alberta St., Portland). Guests at both events will receive a complimentary tasting of the new beers and small-bite pairings to go with each. The release events are accessible to Blender’s Circle members (info and sign up at and to guests who preorder a minimum of 6 bottles.  The new beers will be available for the public in the tasting room and at select restaurants and bottle shops beginning the following week.

ABOUT ALESONG BREWING AND BLENDING: Alesong Brewing and Blending is a small artisan brewery based in the heart of Southern Willamette Valley wine country that crafts unique and small-batch beers with a focus on oak aging and Belgian-inspired techniques, brewing both wild and non-wild beers, using locally grown fruits, herbs and a host of special yeasts and other microbes.  Once the beer in the barrels has matured, the team samples and selects each barrel individually to blend. Paying homage to old-world Lambic blenders and artisan winemakers, Alesong believes that the final, balanced blend of a barrel-aged beer is much more satisfying than the sum of its parts or each individual barrel by itself. For more information, visit

Cider Riot! Launches New Refillable Bottles

Cider Riot! is the first cidery to use Oregon's new refillable multi-use bottles.  To celebrate, Cider Riot! will hold a bottle release event on Friday, January 11. For more details, check out news release below.

Burncider Bottle Release Event:
Friday, January 11,  5-7 pm
 Cider Riot Pub, 807 NE Couch St. Portland, Oregon 97232
Half-litre bottles of Burncider will be on sale for $4.90 plus deposit during the event, and BottleDrop Refill staff will be on hand to answer questions about the bottles and refilling program. 

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Cider Riot! First Cidery to Use Oregon’s New Refillable Bottles

Portland’s Cider Riot! rings in the New Year with the relaunch of its Burncider Pub Draught cider in Oregon’s new sustainable multi-use bottles. The locally made bottles are intended to be washed and refilled rather than crushed and recycled and craft breweries throughout the state have begun using them for beer. Cider Riot! is the first in the state to adopt them for cider, and celebrates the bottles with a party at its pub Friday January 11th from 5-7pm.

Cider Riot! founder and cidermaker Abram Goldman-Armstrong has been advocating the use of refillable bottles for over a decade, publishing an article on the subject in American Brewer magazine in 2008.

“As an Oregonian I grew up learning to reduce, reuse, and recycle from an very early age,” he says. “When I first started homebrewing in the 1990’s I always sought out refillable glass bottles as they were heavier and better quality than the one-way glass. When we launched Cider Riot! in 2013 we chose a bottle that was rated for multiple fills, but we did not have access to a washing facility. The Oregon Beverage Recycling Cooperative (OBRC) has cleared this hurdle for our cider, creating the BottleDrop Refill program so brewers and cidermakers can use bottles that are built to last over and over again.”

“The refillable bottles can be used as many as 25 times, and produce only 10% of the emissions of single use cans or bottles because they eliminate the energy required to melt down and recycle the glass or aluminum,” says Joel Schoening of the OBRC.

Burncider is Cider Riot!’s best selling Pub Draught Cider made with a blend of dessert apples from Yakima and Hood River and rare cider apples grown in Goldman-Armstrong’s native Yamhill County. A true heritage style cider, it boasts rich tannins from the cider fruit to support the fruity flavors of the dessert apples. Like all Cider Riot! ciders, Burncider is a natural product and contains no artificial preservatives.  

“The great thing about the BottleDrop refill program, is that it integrates seamlessly into Oregon’s existing bottle deposit and return program,” says Schoening. “So, unlike other brand specific refillable bottle programs, the BottleDrop bottle has the same 10 cent deposit the consumer would pay on any single-use bottle, and can return it conveniently.”

About Cider Riot!
An urban cidery and pub founded in 2013 focused on the production of refreshing dry ciders, Cider Riot! is located just off East Burnside street. The pub is open seven days a week offering ten ciders on draft and 2 guest beers as well as non-alcoholic options, darts, meeting rooms, and pinball. Cider Riot ciders are sold in Oregon, Washington, California, Norway and Japan.

About BottleDrop Refill
The BottleDrop Refill program is operated by the Oregon Beverage Recycling Cooperative. The Refill bottles are made in Portland at the Owens Illinois plant, from 70% recycled glass content. Bottles are washed and inspected and then returned to craft beverage makers for reuse.
The Oregon Beverage Recycling Cooperative is the industry steward of Oregon’s nationally recognized bottle deposit and return program. Through partnerships with beverage distributors and retailers, OBRC reduces litter and helps conserve Oregon’s pristine landscape by recovering, recycling or reusing 90% of the beverage containers sold at retail in Oregon.