So as I continue with my endless searching for gainful employment here in Portland, I must take a break. It's 104 degrees. I have no A/C, no fan, no job. To keep my spirits up, I must reflect on all the wonderful beer that I had tasted last Thursday afternoon at the 22nd annual Oregon Brewers Festival.
My rules at a beer festival are simple; don't drink anything that you have tasted before, start light and end big and drink as much water as beer. It being my first time at the OBF, I was excited to say the least especially because it was the first day and it wasn't the weekend. I was be able to try anything that I wanted and without a shit load of people ("it's not the heat, it's the stupidity"). What is to follow will be very brief and personal interpretations of the 13 beers I tasted.
Amnesia Brewing's "GoldyHops": One of Portland's best brewpubs in my opinion, brews a very drinkable English-style IPA at 5.2% and not overly hopped. I was so refreshed by the complete balance of this ale. The only aspect that I didn't care for was the "bubble-gum" yeast character.
Caldera Brewing Company's "Hibiscus Ginger Beer": Brewed specifically for the OBF this year, Oregon's first brewery to distribute in cans brought a nice, "dry-flowered" ale to the table. At 4.2% it is a perfect session drinker. My only complaint is that the ginger didn't pop for me. I could only find it in the first initial touch on the palate. A very light, refreshing and interesting beer.
Chuckanut Brewery & Kitchen's "Dortmunder Lager": This Bellingham, WA brewery had me at "Dortmunder". A very historically accurate representation of my favorite lager. This beer is all about the malt with it's almost amber color and balance that would make Shawn Johnson envious, wishing that she had as clean of a finish. At 5.5%, this one is definitely worth seeking out.
Deschutes Brewery's "Miss Spelt": In all honesty this was my first spelt brew and I am defiantly a fan. This 4.8%, light amber ale reminded me of a wheat-nut cereal breakfast with a side of marmalade toast. Damn tasty!
Dogfish Head Craft Brewery's "Festina Peche": I have to be honest, this ale reminded my of bile after drinking too muck white wine sangria to the point that you could feel the acidity eating away at the enamel of your teeth after one vomits. So if you are into all things extreme, Sam never disappoints.
Eel River Brewing's "Organic Acai Berry Wheat": I am not into fruit beers. I like the idea of fruit in my esters. With that said, I would actually buy this beer for my home. With a huge berry nose, the taste of the acai never got in the way of the wheat and the finish was perfect.
Elysian Brewing Company's "Loser Pale Ale":This beer was originally brewed for the celebration of Sub-Pop's 20 anniversary. As a musician, I get it; 7% with just a hint of ganja. Sorachi Ace hops, a Japanese hybrid grown in Yakina Valley, gives it that quality and I know a lot of people who would live this pale ale.
Fifty-Fifty Brewing Company's "Manifesto Pale Ale": Hands down, the best beer I had all day. The kind of beer that you drink and you swear it was designed just for you. This 5.5%, dark amber pale ale is all about showcasing the 6 different malts. Caramel and bread with just enough hop bitterness for balance and a beautiful whirlpool hop edition for aroma! I'm salivating just thinking about it.
Great Northern Brewing Company's "Wheatfish Wheat Lager": My guess is that this is a lagered ale, or more accurately, a lagered American wheat ale. Very drinkable with a "banana bread" aroma that was rather nice.
Lagunitas Brewing Company's "New Dogtown Pale Ale": One of my favorite California breweries has "updated" their pale ale and I love what they are doing. I have been noticing recently a trent in hop aroma that lends itself to the "peachy" side of things. Im not one to describe beer in very colorful, fruity or even slightly imaginative ways but when I say "peach" I mean peach. Keep it up brewers, I like where you are going.
Laurelwood Brewing Company's "Double Oregon Hefeweizen": I'm not very big on the wheat beers myself and when I do drink one, I prefer it to be wit, but finally, a brewery has produced the best American wheat beer that I have ever had. Probably because it's a "double" and it clocks in at 6.9%. It is substantially better than the average Pacific-Northwest wheat.
Mt Shasta Brewing Company's "Mountain High IPA": I admit, that sometimes, my initial expectations of a beer can be off. I was way off with this one. I was expecting a 7% glass of bong water but what I got was a wonderful pine and citrus aroma with a nice caramel malt center. I love nice surprises.
Sprecher Brewing Company's "Mai Bock": Ahhh yes, the driest sibling in the bock family. I admit that I had this too late in the game to really appreciate it BUT... this was the driest lager I have ever had. My only complaint is that I felt that the malt profile could have been bigger and might have balanced out the dry finish.
So, this has been MY experience of this years OBF. I hope that you got to make it but if not, maybe this helps. Cheers!