Naturally, the guy (me) who puts on a coffee beer festival (Baker’s Dozen) is into putting coffee in beer. And the style(s) that make the most sense is/are stouts and porters because of their innate coffee-ness. But we’ve come a long way, baby. For over a decade, ever since the Brewers Association introduced what was then called the “Coffee Flavored Beer” category at the 2002 Great American Beer Festival, the winners have been exclusively stouts or porters infused with coffee. It wasn’t until 2014 that Milwaukee’s MobCraft Beer broke the streak with a beer I’m not sure I’m allowed to name on CraftBeer.com where I wrote this story…but its “PG-name” would be “Guano” Crazy built on a brown ale base. Suffice it to say, I’m guano-crazy about coffee beers.
It’s terribly easy to write about Portland’s breweries and beer culture. Another easy sell on my part is Bend. Rounding out the top 3 is Hood River and the breweries along the Columbia River Gorge. 1) There’s a great handful of them. 2) Their beers are truly world class. 3) It’s insanely beautiful. 4) It’s an easy drive from Portland and whenever we get devoted beercationers at Inn Beervana, we always recommend the day trip.
Illustration by Brandon Loscar
As Ben Dobler, a brewer at Widmer Bros, elucidated: “Some (collaboration beers) play on the strengths of one partner, some play on the strength of both partners, sometimes we take a big leap of faith and try something completely out of our wheelhouses.”
Another round up of Merc beer blogs, capped by a cider blog.
- Ménage à trois and circle jerk jokes aside, this one’s about a pair of IPA collaborations from two separate brewery trios involving Fort George & Pfriem Family Brewery and another involving Portland’s Ecliptic Brewing.
- The beacon of the state capital’s emerging brewing scene, Santiam Brewing, released their first sour ale, Gin Peche, at the Upper Lip
- A recent Live from the Barrel tapping—Cascade Barrel House’s weekly series—blanches palates once again with Napoleon Cherry, a blend of blonde and wheat ales aged in white wine barrels with local Napoleon cherries
- Meadmaker Brooks Cooper is crazy enough to turn an NE industrial space into Stung Fermented. It is Portland’s only dedicated meadery.
- It was apparently National Ketchup Day, and the third annual one at that. Enter a malty homage to tomato paste and vinegar: two collaboration beers from Portland’s Coalition Brewing (who are gearing up for their fifth anniversary) and Portland-via-Eugene’s Red Duck Ketchup.
- Perhaps Portland has more breweries than any city in the world because it has more diehard craft-beer drinkers who live to let their livers process as much new, unique beer as possible. But along with in that scenario comes the “problem” that folks will always want to try something they haven’t tasted before. For one day only, one taphouse provided a solution by accumulating a baker’s dozen kegs from Oregon’s remotest breweries. Full disclosure: I’m the guy who organized The Rural Brewer.
- Oh, is it beer fest season? It certainly feels as if they occur at a rate of more than one a week. Having said that, only a handful feel like cornerstones of the yearlong sudsy celebration, and the upcoming fifth annual Portland Fruit Beer Festival is deservedly one of them.
That’s enough for now.
This isn’t really a Portland Monthly story, but when I was contacted by the same publishing company to write a story about beer weddings, I had to accept if only to say I’ve been published in Portland Bride & Broom. It ended up being a fun story to think about and organize, even though I was given tons of direction on that end. What can I say? I love love. And beer.
Working on “Oregon Breweries,” themes and patterns started emerging in the way I think about all the wonderful breweries in my home state. Hood River‘s simply an awesome place. All the more so because of handful of amazing breweries in such a small town. And for that, we all have Full Sail to thank!
This Drink Portland review coincided with the debut of pFriem Family Brewers in Hood River. If you’ve ever tasted this or any of their other Belgian-style beers and/or IPAs, you’re glad they did (debut).