Notes of a jaded beer taster.

Posted Sun Jul 31, 2011, 16:02 PM by Tracy | |

I didn’t get into the Oregon Brewer’s Festival beer tasting as much this year as previous years. It seems the novelty beers are pushing out the classics. But I have to admit that I spent as much time as anybody tasting the unusual one-off brews. I have gotten to where if I don’t like a beer, I will toss the taster. It’s just a token.

I was disappointed with the selection of witbiers this year. On top of that, I lost my credit card. It’s probably ground into the dirt of Waterfront Park, crushed under the flipflops of a bajillion semi-drunk people.

Only made it to the festival for two days, tasting a total of 14 beers with no plan, rhythm or goal other than to try unusual beer.

Beer 2011/07/29

Blue Frog Grog & Grill
Fairfield CA
Ginger & Meyer Ann
Belgian Blonde
6% alcohol
25 IBUs
Spicy and rich, with a creamy mouthfeel. A trace of hoppiness lingers, following on the bigger citrus and spice notes.

Bison Brewing Co
Berkeley CA
Bison Honey Basil Ale
Summer ale
6% alcohol
20 IBUs
A distinct aroma of basil, almost peppery. Basil hits the back of the palette while everything else gives the tongue a good working over. Savor, don’t chug. Might go well with pasta.

Caldera Brewing Co
Ashland OR
Caldera Hop Hash
American Strong Pale Ale
7% alcohol
95 IBUs
The description in the festival program sounds like the brewing equivalent of scraping the bong for pot resin and smoking it. Or so I’ve heard. The result is a very hoppy ale, big and bold.

Alaskan Brewing Co
Juneau AK
Alaskan White Ale
5.3% alcohol
15 IBUs
Sorry to say I was disappointed. Didn’t have the brightness I expect in a Witbier. There was a kind of a dullness that made it heavier than I would have liked. The flavor profile was alright though.

Kona Brewing Co
Kailua Kona HI
Lemongrass Luau
5% alcohol
17 IBUs
That is so not a beer style. Who comes up with these things? Never mind, it was refreshing and citrusy as promised, along the lines of a Witbier.

Klamath Basin Brewing
Klamath Falls OR
Crystal Springs IPA
7.1% alcohol
70 IBUs
A good strong IPA with a bit more malt than I would like. Still, it’s a well-crafted ale, solidly constructed.


Hop Valley Brewing Co
Springfield OR
Alpha Centauri Binary IPA
Imperial IPA
8.6% alcohol
100 IBUs
A nice bite, not overwhelming despite the high IBUs. Very flavorful. Lingering aftertaste on the back of the tongue. Did I mention outstanding flavor?

Ale Industries
Concord CA
Orange Kush
4.5% alcohol
22 IBUs
A tad heavier than I look for in a Witbier. Orange pushes the spice out of focus. Carbonation and overall mouthfeel is right, though.

Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
Milton DE
Black & Red
Imperial Stout
10.3% alcohol
20 IBUs
The talked-about beer of the festival. Glad I got to try it before they ran out. With an overwhelming aroma of chocolate coffee mint, it’s like drinking candy. Would make a good dessert served in a cordial glass. The fruit is subtle, serving as a solid chorus member instead of being a diva. Has a mouthfeel like Swiss chocolate.

Burnside Brewing Co
Portland OR
_ Grätzer_
5.7% alcohol
9 IBUs
A smoked aroma reminiscent of bacon. Light in color and slightly cloudy. An intriguing smoky flavor. Good carbonation keeps it light.

Ram Restaurant & Brewery
Happy Valley OR
Raspberry Wit
4.8% alcohol
16 IBUs
This is more like what I look for in a wit, but the raspberry gives it a soapy taste and mouthfeel. It sounded like a good idea.

Golden Valley Brewing
McMinnville OR
Cote d’Or
Belgian Golden Ale
7% alcohol
20 IBUs
Intense, rich flavor almost to the point of being cloying. I can only take the classic Belgian flavoring in small doses.

Upright Brewing Co
Portland OR
Offen Weiss
Bavarian Hefeweizen
4.5% alcohol
12 IBUs
Very banana, very clove. I think I’ve just overdone it on these exotic flavors. Otherwise well balanced and bright.

Hazel Dell Brew Pub
Vancouver WA
Imperial IPA
Imperial IPA
6.8% alcohol
75 IBUs
A big IPA but a bit sweet. In fact, the aftertaste is quite sweet, more malty than I expect with an IPA.


Links & Lists


Seek & Find



More Magpie

Kung Fu Diary
Magpie Knits
Magpie Writes
Photo Gallery

Sections and pages still in the "old" look, still accessible:


RSS / Atom


Graphics produced with Photoshop CS
Page layouts and CSS hand-coded with HTML Kit

Looks good in Firefox on PC, looks mostly okay in IE 6.0 on PC. I don’t know how it looks on Mac.