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. 



Tax Reform for Brewers


I avoid politics with a ten foot pole on this blog. While I'm always happy to discuss my personal political views while sharing a beer with others, I won't do it here. The exception is when beer and politics intersect.

By now, you've probably heard of the Tax Cut and Jobs Act, which is expected to be signed into law by President Trump. Most people seem to have strong opinions about it. I guess that's to be expected given our current political climate. Anyway, within the voluminous act is the Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act. Simply stated, for breweries that produce less than 60,000 barrels per year, the act will reduce the federal excise taxes to $3.50 per barrel from $7.00 per barrel. 

Bob Pease, president of The Brewers Association, issued this statement on the passage of the Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act:

“This is a monumental day for small and independent craft brewers. America’s small, Main Street brewers—6,000 strong and located in every state and virtually every congressional district in the country—are incredibly pleased Congress has recognized that they have great growth potential. Our expectation is that small brewers will use their savings related to the recalibration of the federal excise tax on beer to invest in their breweries, expand their operations, create more jobs and hire more American workers. We are very appreciative that Congress has enacted these bipartisan, strongly supported measures.

“For the better part of a decade, the Brewers Association has played a central role advocating for tax relief for small brewers. We appreciate all the support and hard work from every corner of the country that brought this to fruition. This is a significant step forward representing over $142 million in annual savings for small brewers. We will continue to build on today’s success to bring even greater economic growth for craft brewers and the communities they serve.”


This piece published by CNBC explains more of the details. There's been plenty of discussion about this subject on Twitter and the blogosphere. Strangely enough, the predominate view seems to be that the benefits are temporary, inconsequential, or bad policy. Fair enough. However, if I managed the P&L of a small brewery, I'd be thrilled for any tax relief that allowed me to make additional investments in my business or even take home a bit of extra profit. 

Cheers to the Brewers Association for their support of this tax reform for small brewers!


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Ninkasi Brewing Installs New Canning Line


If you drink craft beer, you’ve probably noticed that the market is rapidly moving towards cans as a preferred packaging format. Ninkasi Brewing will dive into the canned beer market in 2018 with the launch of three year-round canned beers: 

  • Pacific Rain Northwest Pale was originally launched February 2017 in 12 oz. bottles. It will now also be packaged in 12 packs of 12 oz. cans. 
  • Prismatic Juicy IPA uses Mosaic and Simcoe CRYO HOPS® and will showcase citrus and tropical flavors, without being overly bitter.
  • Yours Truly Easy-Drinking Ale is a session ale that weighs in at 4.3% ABV and 20 IBUs. The description doesn’t mention a specific style, but Ali AAsum, Ninkasi Communications Director, told me it should satisfy those looking for Wheat, Golden, Blonde, or Cream ales.

The two new releases, Prismatic Juicy IPA and Yours Truly, will be released in cans and draft. No bottles here!

To fill their shiny new cans, Ninkasi purchased a canning line, which is being installed as I post. It's expected to be fully operational in the coming days and the first can shipments are planned for early January.  

Ninkasi shared some of the canning line's technical details with me. It utilizes a Comac 14 head filler and two head seamer. It can fill 100 cans per minute (12 oz. size). It's also capable of filling 16 and 19 oz. cans, so I think we can expect to see some even larger cans from Ninkasi in the future!

For more details, check out the brewery’s new release below. Congrats to Ninkasi on their new cans!


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NINKASI BREWING TO LAUNCH TWO NEW BEERS, JOINING PACIFIC RAIN TO OFFER LIGHTER, FLAVORFUL BREWS FOR EVOLVING TASTES

Prismatic, Yours Truly, and Pacific Rain Mark Ninkasi’s First Foray Into the Canned Craft Beer Market

EUGENE, Ore, In the latest evolution from Ninkasi Brewing—an independent craft brewery based in Eugene, Ore.—craft beer lovers will have three fresh reasons to cheer with the release of two new beers joining Pacific Rain Northwest Pale in a series of lighter, flavorful brews for evolving tastes. Prismatic Juicy IPA, Yours Truly Easy-Drinking Ale, and Pacific Rain will reach beer taps and market shelves this January throughout Ninkasi’s distribution footprint.

The trio of beers represents a shift for Ninkasi, which was founded in 2006. Long known for its bold, hoppy beers, such as its flagship Total Domination IPA, Ninkasi set out to bring craft beer drinkers three creations perfectly suited for whatever adventure they are on. Prismatic, Yours Truly, and Pacific Rain are all lower in alcohol and IBUs than many of Ninkasi’s core brands.

In addition, all three beers represent another milestone in the evolution of Ninkasi: each will hit store shelves in gorgeous new cans, perfect for beer drinkers on the move.

“These beers were developed and brewed with the same quality that fans of craft beer have come to expect from Ninkasi, and the result is a series of fresh and flavorful new offerings conveniently packaged in cans,” says Cheryl Collins, Ninkasi CEO. “As trends, tastes, and preferences evolve, and as new craft beer drinkers enter the market, Ninkasi is committed to evolving alongside them.”

Ninkasi’s new year-round releases include:

Prismatic Juicy IPA – 5.9% ABV, 36 IBU
Introduced for the first time, Prismatic Juicy IPA offers an irresistibly colorful hop experience. This beer is all about playing up the juicy hop notes. To do so, Ninkasi brewers added Mosaic and Simcoe CRYO HOPS®, creating an IPA that is citrusy, tropical and bright with notes of pineapple, passionfruit and guava. The can design depicts a playful color palette that speaks to the tropical flavors and aroma of the beer.
  • Description: Juicy hops burst with notes of pineapple, passionfruit and guava in this irresistibly flavorful IPA. Dry hopped with Mosaic and Simcoe CRYO HOPS®, Prismatic offers a deliciously colorful hop experience.
  • Tasting Notes: Full of juicy hop aroma and flavor, Prismatic’s colorful hop experience is citrusy, tropical and fruity with subtly sweet malt and a balanced finish. Notes of pineapple, passionfruit and guava linger on the palate.
  • Hops: El Dorado, Centennial, Simcoe, Citra, Mosaic CRYO HOPS®, Simcoe CRYO HOPS®
  • Malt: 2-Row Pale, Vienna, Flaked Barley, White Wheat
  • Packaging: 12oz. 6-pack cans, draft
  • Available: Year-round

Yours Truly Easy-Drinking Ale – 4.3% ABV, 20 IBU
Also making its first debut is Yours Truly Easy-Drinking Ale. Crafted as an ode to Ninkasi’s beer drinkers, Yours Truly is crisp and refreshingly effervescent. Its delicate hop bouquet offers a lightly floral, herbal and fruity flavor profile. With a smooth finish, Yours Truly leaves one ready for the next sip.
  • Description: Crafted with sincerity, Yours Truly offers a sweetly-toasted malt profile and a delicate hop bouquet. With a satisfying, crisp finish, this beer is brewed for your easy-drinking.
  • Tasting Notes: Brilliant in color, Yours Truly is crisp and refreshingly effervescent. A dash of hops gives this beer a lightly floral, herbal, and fruity hop profile. Its sweetly-toasted malt profile carries notes of cracker, cereal, biscuit, and honey.
  • Hops: Glacier, Santiam, Crystal, Liberty
  • Malt: 2-Row Pale, Vienna, Flaked Barley, Crystal
  • Packaging: 12oz. 6-pack cans, 12oz. 15-pack cans, draft
  • Available: Year-round

Pacific Rain Northwest Pale – 5.4% ABV, 50 IBU
First released in February 2017, Pacific Rain Northwest Pale quickly grew in popularity as Ninkasi’s newest year-round beer. Refreshingly crisp, Pacific Rain celebrates all the Northwest has to offer including stellar water from Oregon’s McKenzie River. Brewed with a band of four distinguished hops, this beer is citrusy and tropical with a satisfying finish. Pacific Rain is tailor-made to be enjoyed wherever the next adventure may lead.
  • Description: Fiercely flavorful and refreshingly drinkable, Pacific Rain is your call to experience the Pacific Northwest. 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.
  • Tasting Notes: This flavorful Northwest Pale Ale starts with a balanced, malty sweetness that lays the groundwork to profile some of the most alluring hops around. Citra, Mosaic, Simcoe and Nugget hop varieties offer a captivating experience with flavor and aroma notes that are citrusy, tropical, floral, and piney. The residual sweetness rounds out the hop flavor making each sip as smooth and refreshing as the last.
  • Hops: Citra, Simcoe, Mosaic, Nugget
  • Malt: 2-Row Pale, Munich, Oats
  • Packaging: 12oz. 12-pack cans, 12oz. 6-pack bottles, draft
  • Available: Year-round

About Ninkasi Brewing Company
Founded in 2006 by Jamie Floyd and Nikos Ridge, Ninkasi Brewing Company has continued 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, British Columbia, California, Colorado, Idaho, Maryland, Nevada, New York, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Virginia. Committed to community support and giving, Ninkasi’s Beer is Love program offers donations to 501(c)(3) organizations throughout its footprint.

CRYO HOPS® is a registered trademark of Yakima Chief - Hopunion, LLC, Yakima WA.

# # #

Apple Pressing at Cider Riot!


The vast majority of commercial hard ciders are made from the juice of dessert apples. These are the varieties you'll typically find in grocery stores. They're crisp, sweet, tart, and look picture perfect. While they're great for eating, these apples are not the best for making cider because they lack tanninswhich provide depth and complexity to cider.

Cider makers often add fruit, spices, hops, or other adjuncts to add layers of flavor when using juice from dessert apples. On the plus side, dessert apple juice is relatively inexpensive and widely available in bulk year-round.

The best apples for making traditional or "proper" cider are bittersweet or bittersharp apples. Bitter is the key word here. These apples are packed with tannins are are mouth puckeringly bitter. While not great for eating, they're ideal for making cider. These apples are grown specifically for the cider market and can be difficult to procure due to limited supply.

Each fall, Abram Goldman-Armstrong and his crew at Cider Riot! purchase bittersweets and bittersharps from Willamette Valley apple growers. They press the fruit and use the juice as the base for Burncider Dry Draught Cider, their limited release 1763, and other single varietal ciders.

I stopped by the brewery a few weeks ago, along with a band of intrepid volunteers, to lend a hand with the apple sorting and pressing process. Take a look at my video below to view the rack & cloth pressing process from start to finish.


The final yield was 1,000 gallons of juice pressed from many varieties including Dabinett, Yarlington Mill, Harry Master's Jersey, Porter's Perfection, Brown's Apple, Eliss Bitter, Sweet Coppin, Muscadet de Bernay, Muscadet de Dieppe, Muscadet de Lens, Champagne Reinette, Hereford Redstreak, Kingston Black.

It was a lot of work, but the end result is definitely worth it!

Never tasted a proper cider? You'll soon get your chance. On November 18th, Cider Riot! will host Pressing Matters: Proper Cider & Real Ale Festival. For more details, check out the event Facebook page.


A few of Cider Riot!'s single varietal ciders


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Homebrew #35: Obscuration Wet Hop IPA


Back in September, in the midst of hop harvest season, I decided to brew my first wet (or fresh) hop beer. My home hop garden produced a decent crop and a friend gave me big box of beautiful wet Cascade hops.

Wet Cascade Hops!

Since my goal was to showcase the hops, I opted to brew an IPA. I modified a recipe to use my wet hops and named the beer in commemoration of the total eclipse that captured the hearts of Oregonians this summer.


Obscuration Wet Hop IPA
Recipe Specifications (click for PDF recipe)
--------------------------
Boil Size: 6.32 gal
Post Boil Volume: 5.42 gal
Batch Size (fermenter): 5.00 gal 
Bottling Volume: 4.90 gal
Estimated OG: 1.074 SG
Estimated Color: 6.6 SRM
Estimated IBU: 62.8 IBUs
Brewhouse Efficiency: 70.00 %
Est Mash Efficiency: 72.8 %
Mash Time & Temp: 60 min @ 150°F 
Boil Time: 60 Minutes


Ingredients
--------------------------
6 lbs, 2-Row Malt (41.9%)     
6 lbs, Pale Ale (41.9% )     
1 lb, White Wheat Malt (7.0%)       
8.0 oz, Caramel/Crystal Malt - 20L (3.5%)       
7.0 oz, Munich Malt (3.1%)       
6.0 oz, Wheat Malt, German (2.6%)       
0.50 oz, Zeus (dried) – 60 min   
10.00 g, Gypsum (Calcium Sulfate) – 60 min           
0.50 oz, Zeus (dried) – 30 min
6.00 oz, Cascade (wet) – 10 min     
6.00 oz, Centennial (wet) – 10 min     
1.00 tsp, Yeast Nutrient – 10 min
6.00 oz, Cascade (wet) – 5.0 min
6.00 oz, Centennial (wet) – 5.0 min           
5.00 oz, Cascade (wet) – Steep/Whirlpool   
5.00 oz, Centennial (wet) – Steep/Whirlpool     
1.0 pkg, Joystick (Imperial Organic Yeast #A18)


Taking the 33 Brews Homebrewing Log for a spin


9/2/17 (Brew Day):  I used the BIAG (brew in a bag) method and my brew session went along without any issues. I hit my mash temperature and target OG. Since this was my first wet hop ale, I used a large volume of hops. Nearly 2.2 pounds went into this 5 gallon batch! Since the water content of wet hops is very high, a lot of hops are needed. The aromas produce during the brew session were incredible—juicy grapefruit, pine, and tropical fruit!



I hit my target gravity, and pitched a can of Imperial Organic Yeast’s Joystick strain. I never used an Imperial yeast, so I decided to give it a try. Eight hours after pitching, I saw initial fermentation activity, and after 20 hours, it was bubbling along quite rapidly and a nice krausen had formed (picture below).



9/24/17 (Bottling):  Final gravity = 1.01. Primed and bottled with 3.85 oz. corn sugar to achieve 3.2 volumes. I took a quick taste and was pleased with the citrus and pine flavors. Can't wait to try it when it's carbonated!


11/1/17 (First Taste):  I finally opened a bottle and had my first taste! I was glad to see it carbonated nicely. Head retention was good, and lasted for the entire drink. The color and body were exactly what I was looking for.

The overall bitterness was lighter than I expected. The challenge with brewing with homegrown hops is that you don't know the precise alpha acid data content of the hops. Due to the lack of this data, I used averages, which can be misleading. That said, if I brew this again (and I likely will next fall), I would double the 60 and 30 minute additions that utilized dry hops.

In terms of flavory, grassy is the the dominate hop aroma / flavor that I smell and taste. It has a bit of spice and grapefruit, but grassy notes dominate. I was hoping for more citrus and pine in this beer. I tasted those flavors at bottling, and am surprised they're no longer dominant. I expect most of the volatile hop aromas were lost during the five weeks I let the beer carbonate. I should have sampled a bottle a few weeks sooner.

Next time I brew this beer, I'll also augment the late additions and whirlpool with dried hops. I wouldn't change the malt bill.

Overall, I'm happy with it and think this was a decent first attempt at a fresh hop beer. With a few tweaks to my hopping strategy, I think I can do better next fall!


Have you brewed a fresh hop IPA?  Do you have any tips, tricks, or recommendations you can share?


First carbonated taste!

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Level Beer Grand Opening!


Level Beer is hosting their grand opening this Saturday, November 4! The day will be filled with brewery tours, live music, and special beer releases. In addition, BREWVANA Brewery Tours will provide shuttle services from Bailey's Taproom and NEPO 42. The event is family friendly!

For more details about this and other Portland beer events, check out the Oregon Beer Event Calendar.


Grand Opening Party 

5211 NE 148th Ave
Saturday, November 4th 11 am-10 pm


SHUTTLE by BREWVANA!
Brewvana is doing us a super solid and will be running a kick-ass party shuttle to and from our event. Check back for a schedule and pick up/ drop off sites.

LIVE MUSIC! 
We will have various local bands throughout the day and DJ DynoMike from 8-close. Bring your party pants.

BREWERY TOURS!

From noon-3pm we’re opening up the brewery to the public for the first time ever! Come see where the magic happens and meet the brewers. They like beer. You like beer. Talk to them about beer. And other stuff too, they’re pretty cool guys. 

RAFFLE!

We’re raffling some special prizes:
Brew day with the Level crew! Collaborate and develop a recipe with the brewers then make your beer in our facility. #homebrewdreamscometrue
Various swag: T shirts, gift cards, a logo Stanley Growler, and many other prizes. You’re all winners!

FUN FOR THE KIDS!
We’ll have a bouncy house shaped like a pony, face painting starting at noon, toys, a coloring contest, and more.

SPECIAL BEER RELEASES!
Hazy IPA - Hazing is Socially Unacceptable - On draft and cask conditioned pin 
English Dark Mild - And the Crowd Goes Mild
Imperial Hazy IPA - Six to Midnight

SOME OTHER COOL STUFF YOU SHOULD KNOW!
-Wear your Level gear and get a 15% discount
-Photo booth by @MotoFotoPDX
-Hazy Bar! We will have an additional bar for Hazy IPA's: Draft and pin of Hazing is Socially Unacceptable, and draft Six to Midnight, our Imperial Hazy IPA. 



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Oregon Beer Events: 10/27 Update


The upcoming week in beer brings us several Halloween themed beer celebrations, the climatic conclusion of Brewpublic's Killer Beer Week, the Horse Brass Pub's 41st Anniversary, and a slew of other festivities!

This calendar is being constantly updated, so please click on my 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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Lindemans Strawberry Lambic


Lindemans recently released a Strawberry Lambic. Before we go much further, what the heck is a lambic? In simple terms, it's a spontaneously fermented beer that comes from a specific region in Belgium. The ultra-vast majority of beers are fermented with a cultured dose or "pitch" of a specific yeast strain, purposely selected by the brewer. Lambics are fermented with whatever wild yeast or bacteria happens to land in the wort. Nature, variation, and time (via long fermentations) make lambics special.

While Lambic-inspired ales can be produced in America, lambics cannot. Jeff over at Beervana wrote several informative pieces about lambic over the years. You can educate yourself here and here.

I'm a big fan of American wild ales, so I was excited to taste Lindemans Strawberry Lambic (sample provided by Lindemans). Here are my tasting notes:

Packaged in a 12 oz. corked and capped bottle. The strong essence of strawberry punches through the air after the bottle is opened. It pours hazy garnet in color with a light pink head that dissipates slowly. In addition to strawberry, I noticed some hay and mild funk in aroma. Juicy strawberry dominates the taste. In the middle, a moderate level of tartness emerges. It finishes with strawberry and a light taste of umami. The strawberries provide a moderate level of sweetness that is not overdone or cloying.  

Strawberry is very delicate in beer, and usually doesn't come through very well in the finished product. When tasting strawberry beer, I'm usually left wanting for more. Not the case with this beer. Lindemans delivers strawberry in spades!

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






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Lindemans Strawberry Lambic: When the most noble of fruits meets the most magical of beers

Vlezenbeek, Belgium, and Seattle WA, USA --  Family-owned Lindemans Brewery, Belgium’s largest independent lambic brewery, is proud to introduce its latest addition to their fruit beer line, Lindemans Strawberry Lambic. It is the brewery’s first new fruited lambic in over a decade.

Choosing strawberry, one of the most noble of fruits, was easy: the complex sweetness of the fruit matches perfectly with the sourness of lambic, resulting in a unique balanced marriage of sweet and sour. Furthermore, strawberries were once widely grown in the Senne Valley, the only region where lambic can be brewed.

“We have been thinking of a strawberry lambic for a long time,” says Geert Lindemans, Managing Director of Brewery Lindemans and sixth generation in his brewing family.

“It took us several attempts to get the absolute perfect balance in this new beer,” adds Dirk Lindemans, cousin of Geert and Co-Managing Director of the brewery.  “Our huge expertise in blending fruit lambics unfortunately doesn’t guarantee we get it right from the first attempt.  Finding the perfect balance took us countless batches and a lot of patience. But, we are very proud of the result of this process.”

Available now in 12 oz., & 25.4 oz. bottles, and 25L (6.6 gal) kegs, Lindemans Strawberry Lambic is an exciting new variety for the Lindemans brewery that was developed specifically for the ever-developing demands of the US market. First imported to the US in 1979 by Merchant du Vin, Lindemans beers are the top-selling lambics in America and have helped build the fruit beer category in the United States.



Oregon Beer Events: 10/13 Update


We've got a bunch of great beer events planned for the rest of October! This weekend brings us  release parties from Lompoc and McMenamins, Oktoberfests, Portland's first Kölsch Fest at GABF award-winning Zoiglhaus Brewing, and even a Local Love Fest at Everybody's Brewing! One of my favorite events, The Willamette Week's Cider and Beer Pro/Am, will also be held tomorrow. The snapshot below gives you a summary view of what's in store.

This calendar is being constantly updated, so please click on the NW Beer Festival link or 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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McMenamins Releases Thundercone Fresh Hop Pale & Black Widow Porter in Cans


For the first time, McMenamins is releasing Thundercone Fresh Hop Pale Ale and Black Widow Porter in 16 oz cans.


Thundercone Fresh Hop Pale Ale

This year's Thundercone was brewed with fresh (or wet) Cascade hops. Five pounds were added to each barrel in three separate additions. Fresh hop beers are are unique because the hops must be used within hours of being picked from the bine. Here's more of the story from McMenamins...

"Fresh, or wet, Cascade Hops were frantically delivered straight from the hop fields to over 20 McMenamins Breweries and each batch of Thundercone was brewed within hours of the hops being picked off of the vine. This beer starts with a smooth foundation and just a slight maltiness. The real star of this show is the fresh hops that’re used for both flavoring and aroma."

The brewery sent me a sample, which I quickly opened (these beers don't improve with age). Immediately after cracking open the can, I could smell the fragrant hops. In taste and aroma, grapefruit and pine are plentiful, and are layered atop a simple biscuity malt base which allows the hop flavors to shine. It finishes with light grassy notes. While Thundercone oozes hop goodness, it's not overly bitter.

If you haven't had a fresh hop beer this season, or are looking to try another, check out Thundercone Fresh Hop Pale Ale. It's available now for a limited time, until it runs out.




Black Widow Porter

If the cool, crisp weather has you craving a dark roasty beer, you'll be glad to know that Black Widow Porter is on the way.

"Originally created at the Thompson Brewery on October 15th in 1991, Black Widow’s web now envelops the entire company every year. Each sublime deep-black goblet is packed with the robust notes afforded by generous amounts of Black and Roast Malts, and further spirited with ethereal wisps of caramel and licorice."

Black Widow Porter will be available October 15 through Halloween. The 23rd Ave. Bottle Shop is holding a release party on 10/15 where you can sample 2016 and 2017 Black Widows side by side, as well as a coffee variant.


Image courtesy of McMenamins


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