I definitely overdid it last year, so this year I resolved to take it easy, not set any personal records for number of beers tasted. This year I only tasted 27 beers compared to last year’s 29 beers. Plus a couple repeats.
The novelty feature of the festival was not a beer, but the mugs. They featured color change mugs that changed to blue or pink when filled with cold beer. I got a blue one, but it made the beer look green, which creeped me out. I switched to a clear mug in short order.
This year paid more attention to the pilsners and was duly rewarded. I missed out on a few beers I wanted to taste. There’s always next year.
Beers I tasted, over the course of three days (I’m worn out):
El Torero Organic IPA
Beautiful amber color with a flowery hoppy aroma. Lightly carbonated with complex flavors. Hoppy but not bitter, lingers gently on the underside (surprising!) of the tongue.
Butte Creek Brewing
My first taster of the festival. Lightly fizzy, bright, more hoppy than I expected from a pilsner. Bitterness lingers on the top palate and side of tongue, gradually dropping off.
Klamath Basin Brewing
Klamath Falls OR
Crater Lake Golden Ale
Extra Golden Ale
Malty, dropping off quickly to leave a lingering hoppiness. Rounded mouth feel. Okay, but not my fave.
A dangerous beer at 8%. Initial fizz segues to a smooth creamy mouth feel. Hops dance in the middle. This pils is entertaining and goes down easy, but can mess you up in a hurry – like your ex-girlfriend.
Double Red Ale
Deep brown color, flavorful and malty, blended with a generous handful of hops. Has a barnyard aroma – in a good way.
Old Market Pub & Brewing
A Midsummers White
Less body and flavor than other wits I’ve had. Pleasant carbonation fills the mouth then fades quickly to a long lingering ghost of an aftertaste. Citrus and spice are very subtle.
Snipes Mountain Brewery
India Pale Ale
Good fizz and gentle hops at the front of the mouth slowly expand to fill the oral cavity. More hoppy bitterness than the IBUs would indicate.
Hoptastic aroma and a gorgeous reddish amber color. The first mouthful of hops goes straight to the back of the tongue where it remains for a good long time. Mildly carbonated and full of hoppy flavor without being overly bitter.
Organic Chocolate Stout
Dry Foreign Style Stout
Even carbonation takes hold of the tongue. Judicious blending of hops keeps this rich dark stout from being too heavy. Malty chocolate lingers in the back of the mouth.
C’est Bon Blonde
Sweet to my taste, a little cloying, in fact. Didn’t much care for it.
Initial mouthful is a good balance of hops and malt. Malty finish without being cloying. Beautiful reddish amber in color.
Diamond Knot Brewing Co
Tasty, hoppy with a touch of malt, not overly bitter. Strong but not too strong. Well balanced. Distinct from other IPAs at the festival. Drops off to a subtle finish.
Flying Fish Brewing
Cherry Hill NJ
Bourbon Barrel Abbey Dubbel
Belgian Style Dubbel
Extraordinarily sweet, this is a sipping beer, not a chugging beer. So infused with bourbon flavor, it needs its own chaser. A novelty beer I really couldn’t drink by itself, I think it could pair well with a rare steak. And a cigar.
Golden Valley Brewing
Red Thistle Quercus
Grapey, winey flavor right off the bat. A little sweet, gentled by a hint of hops. Complex. Probably would go well with a pasta-marinara dish.
Green Flash Brewing Co
West Coast IPA
Happy hoppy beer to please any Oregon hophead. Strong, fragrant and flowery. Good carbonation. Well balanced with just a touch of malt to keep it from being too bitter. Perfectly balanced, say Gene and Gary. Right up there with the best of the IPAs.
Michigan Brewing Co
This is a wit I can get behind. Citrusy notes over spicy undertones. Best served chilled.
Oregon Trail Brewery
Oregon Trail Wit
Meatier than a witbier, fades off quickly to a long lingering hoppy finish. Not quite what I was looking for in my quest for Belgian witbiers.
Russian River Brewing
Santa Rosa CA
Pliny the Elder
A perennial favorite. This year’s offering has a lower IBUs than in previous years, but still comes through with a flowery aroma. A strong initial hit of carbonation. Dry but not arid, hoppy but not overly bitter.
07/07/07 Vertical Epic
This is a beer with a lot going on. Malt and coriander citrus intertwine. Good initial carbonation. A little too sweet for my taste. Lingering malty finish. A beer for the fireside. Or the cloisters.
Alaskan Brewing Co
Fragrant, flowery aroma. Mildly hopped, a pleasant alternative to the big-hopped IPAs. Good carbonation with an unexpected hint of fruitiness. Subtle, unobtrusive aftertaste on the underside of the tongue.
Four + Brewing Co
Salt Lake City UT
Organic Extra Pale Ale
Beautiful golden color. Dry, thin hops at the start, finishes almost like an IPA. Takes hold of the underside of the tongue and doesn’t let go.
Ever drink a spruce tree? Many parts are potable. A palate cleansing novelty beer with a mild curious bitterness overlaying malty sweetness . Not as “piney” as I remember from brewfests past.
Simultaneously bitter and malty. Complex flavors concentrate under the sides of the tongue, dropping off to maltiness.
Standing Stone Brewing
Standing Stone Double IPA
Surprisingly malty for an IPA. Persistent sweetness overlays the hops even through a lingering finish. Eventually leaves the expected hoppy aftertaste.
A solid IPA with its own distinct hoppy flavor. Dry lingering finish on the sides of the tongue.
Victory Brewing Co
Bright and fizzy. Fills the mouth with just enough hops to be interesting. Hops linger on the middle of the tongue for a long timc after swallowing. A great refreshing beer for a hot summer’s day.
Widmer Brothers Brewing
Darker, sweeter and bigger than the ordinary witbier. Sweetness is the overwhelming impression, in fact. Almost meaty in body. Better suited to winter drinking.