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.
Blue Frog Grog & Grill
Ginger & Meyer Ann
Spicy and rich, with a creamy mouthfeel. A trace of hoppiness lingers, following on the bigger citrus and spice notes.
Bison Brewing Co
Bison Honey Basil Ale
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
Caldera Hop Hash
American Strong Pale Ale
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
Alaskan White Ale
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
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
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
Alpha Centauri Binary IPA
A nice bite, not overwhelming despite the high IBUs. Very flavorful. Lingering aftertaste on the back of the tongue. Did I mention outstanding flavor?
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
Black & Red
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
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
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
Belgian Golden Ale
Intense, rich flavor almost to the point of being cloying. I can only take the classic Belgian flavoring in small doses.
Upright Brewing Co
Very banana, very clove. I think I’ve just overdone it on these exotic flavors. Otherwise well balanced and bright.
Hazel Dell Brew Pub
A big IPA but a bit sweet. In fact, the aftertaste is quite sweet, more malty than I expect with an IPA.