A serious beer aficionado would approach an event such as the Oregon Brewers’ Fest with a plan, perhaps focusing on beers of a particular style, or following a path from malt to hop.
Whatever plan I originally had went by the wayside as soon as we started on Saturday. My plan turned into what’s nearby and has an interesting name.
No beer in particular stood out this year, overall the field was a good representation of the craft. At least it wasn’t as crowded as last year.
I promise I did not drink a full 4oz of each beer tasted. I had some help from E and our friends Gene and Gary.
Terminal Gravity Brewing
British strong ale
First impression: it tastes brown, whatever that means. Pretty high IBUs for a winter beer. Nice body, a goodly amount of hops to avoid overly sweet maltiness typical of winter beers. Pleasantly bitter aftertaste.
Track Town Ales
If you want a break from overly hopped IPAs but don’t want to give up that hoppy taste, this is the ale for you. Rich golden color, plenty of hops without being overwhelming. Particularly refreshing.
Hibiscus Ginger Beer
Very fizzy, refreshing, and dry. Flavors are present but subtle. It doesn’t drink like beer, almost like a dry rose champagne. Ginger hits underneath the sides of the tongue.
Lost Coast Brewery
A very refreshing wit, not as strong on the orange and cardomon as other wits I’ve had. But plenty of fizz and balance. A good summer beer.
Fifty Fifty Brewing Co
Reddish in color, appropriate to the name. E likes it. I’m indifferent. Reminds E of a London- style ale, using, as it does, a London ale yeast. A decent all-around beer.
Double Mountain Brewery
Hood River OR
India Red Ale
Another nice all-around beer. E is not impressed. Hoppier than you usually get with red ale. Perhaps a bit on the sweet side but not overly so.
New Holland Brewing Co
Santa Rosa CA
Typical Belgian-style flavoring, well-balanced, but not so sweet as Belgian beers can often be. A nice light touch on the malt. Sour finish, refreshing.
Three Creeks Brewing Co
Another refreshing summer beer, with some body and flavor and balance.
Boulder Beer Co
Flashback Anniversary Ale
Good body, almost meaty, with a rich flavor. Nice malt and enough hops for balance. More of a autumn quaff than a summer libation.
Widmer Bros. Brewing Co
Inky black and rich with overtones of chocolate and espresso. There’s a little something else in aftertaste that I can’t quite put my finger on. Keeps it from being overly cloying.
Port Townsend Brewing Co
Port Townsend WA
Hop Digiddy IPA
Ah, the flowery aroma of hops. Milder than a lot of IPAs, with a more rounded flavor profile. A little sweet for an IPA.
Elysian Brewing Co
Loser Pale Ale
Pretty mild for a strong ale, so-called. In fact, it’s pretty malty after the initial hit of hops. Sweet, cloying malt flavor lingers on the side of the tongue long after each sip. Perhaps more appropriate for winter. Or maybe it’s just not to my taste.
Oregon Trail Brewery
Oregon Trail Wit
Bright and refreshing, as a good wit should be. Classic Belgian flavorings of orange and cardomon are subtle. Goes down easy on a summer’s day.
Chuckanut Brewery and Kitchen
A classic lager, familiar to the American palette, but with more flavor. An easy beer to to drink.
Bridgeport Brewing Co
Red cherries give this unusual version of a Belgian-style beer its rosy color. The flavor is distinctly bright and dry, definitely sour. An aftertaste of cherries predominates. A refreshing summer brew, but not one to drink in quantity.
Alaskan Brewing Co
Alaskan White Ale
The aroma is promising, but doesn’t deliver. It’s plenty fizzy, but the flavor profile is flat. Not a lot of interest here, not even much of aftertaste. A little too subtle for even a white beer.
Bear Republic Brewing
Flavorful and strong. Hops and malt went head to head in a cage match and the hops won, but just barely. The grudge match continues on the palate long after the last sip. Not a chugging beer.
Surprisingly moderate for a beer with such a high alcohol content. Typically sweet with classic Belgian spicing, easier to drink when chilled. But at 9% ABV, drinker be warned!
Ninkasi Brewing Co
Radiant Summer Ale
The name is deceptive: I expected this beer to be both lighter in color and flavor than it is. Can definitely taste the alcohol. The hops come on stronger than 40 IBU would suggest. Nonetheless, a well-balanced, complex beer, drinkable well into autumn.
Lompoc Brewing Co
Flower of the Gods
Lives up to its name with a good initial hit of flowery hops. The effect is ruined, however, by a lingering maltiness that grows in the mouth after the initial swallow. Tastes more like a Belgian than an IPA.
Sprecher Brewing Co
A nice break from strongly flavored beers. With more hop flavor than your typical lager, this would be good served chilled on a hot day.
Beer Valley Brewing Co
Imperial Pale Ale
The initial taste is not at all too bitter for such high IBUs. But just wait a moment for the hops to build up on the top of the tongue. Flowery aroma and flavor make this a very nice beer. Just watch out for the high alcohol content.