Pacific Northwest Beer Chick

Breweries, Beers & Good Times

2012 Oregon Brewers Festival…revisited! August 6, 2012

For 25 years Portland, OR has been the home of the Oregon Brewers Festival, or “OBF.” The festival is one of the longest running craft beer festivals in the country, and also one of the favorites. I have attended the OBF for a few years and it just doesn’t get old! Drinking beers from all over the country, meeting people from all walks of life, and spending the weekend in one of the prettiest “big” cities I have ever been to; it doesn’t get much better than that.

Held each year on Portland’s Waterfront Park, this four-day event hosts brewers from all parts of the U.S. and features live music, food, and even some souvenir vendors. Large tents and long tables provide plenty of shade and mimics the beer fests held in Germany. Imagine, being surrounded by thousands of beer enthusiasts that want nothing more than to hang out and enjoy the newest creations that you can’t get every day! It’s great fun but now to the important part: the beer!

So many beers, so little time! There were over 80 beers being served. I tried many of them but because I didn’t want to be hauled away in an ambulance, I could not try them all. So many of the beers I tried were incredible, but for the sake of time I will give you my top five favorites.

#1) Double Dry Hopped Delta Pale Ale – Boundary Bay Brewing – Bellingham, WA (5.6%ABV, 45 IBU) – My favorite of the day! Boundary Bay uses and the newer Delta hop to create a lovely, spicy note. Munich and 2-Rows malts along with Northwest ale yeast give this pale ale a dry and crisp body with a nice citrus finish. Perfect for the hot day!

#2) Kili Wit – Logsdon Farmhouse Ales – Hood River, OR (5.5%ABV, N/A IBU) – On a hot day there’s sometimes nothing better than a nice Wit beer. This traditional farmhouse ale if brewed with organic African coriander this tasty wit is rich with spice and clove. Malty, smooth body and rich, spicy finish.  Good stuff.

#3) Electric Beer – Electric Brewing – Bisbee, AZ (5%ABV, 35 IBU) – One of my favorite beer styles is German Kölsch. And Electric Brewing really impressed me with their version. Castle Cara 8, Castle Pils and Weyermann Pils malts create a full flavored, but light bodied beer. Notes of honey are present in the nose and taste and the finish is wonderfully spiced. I mean this in the best possible way; the flavor was reminiscent of Golden Grahams cereal. Another great summer beer!

#4) Saison the Beach – Lompoc Brewing Co. – Portland, OR (5.5%ABV, 25IBU) – If you like sour fruit and spices, then this beer is for you! The aroma is floral and spicy. The body is peppery and spicy with a dry, sour fruit finish. Lompoc used a potpourri of ingredients to create this little beauty: Perle and Crystal hops, Pale, Weyermann Pils, wheat, biscuit and rye malts. They have outdone themselves.

#5) Dirty Blonde – Paradise Creek Brewery – Pullman, WA (6.3%ABV, 22 IBU) – On a day as hot as the one on the day of the festival, this beer sure did hit the spot. Living up to its name, Dirty Blonde is a very well-balanced, medium-bodied beer. Spicy and malty with a touch of flowers. A little higher in alcohol, but quite refreshing.

Kudos to all of the brewers for showing us how much fun can be had creating something a little different! And kudos to the organizers for making every festival as fun and safe as possible. I always have a great time at the brewers festival and will continue to attend every year until my taste buds dry up.

 

Cheers!

Liz

http://bbaybrewery.com/

http://farmhousebeer.com/

http://www.lompocbrewing.com/

http://paradisecreekbrewery.com/

Info about Electric Brewing can be found on facebook: http://www.facebook.com/#!/DavesElectricBrewpub

 

25th Annual Oregon Brewers Festival July 17, 2012

 

WHEN: July , 2012

TIME: Thurs through Sat, taps are open from Noon to 9:00pm. Sun, taps are open from Noon to 7:00pm.

WHERE: Tom McCall Waterfront Park, Portland, OR

HOW MUCH: Free! You heard correctly. Admission into the festival grounds is free. BUT, in order to partake in the beer drinking fun you must purchase a 2012 festival mug for $6.00 and tokens for the tastings are $1.00 each.

This year Eighty-Two craft breweries from all over the country will be offering more than 30 styles of handcrafted brews. A Buzz Tent will offer more than 50 rare and specialty beers, and this year will feature the debut of a Sour Tent.

The festival takes place right on the waterfront and the light rail is only a block away. There will also be plenty of bicycle parking. I will be there with bells and maybe I will see you there too!

Cheers!

Liz

www.oregonbrewfest.com

 

An afternoon in t-town June 21, 2012

Since I couldn’t make the Washington Brewers Festival last weekend I decided to hit a couple of Tacoma’s breweries for some much-needed liquid sunshine. Wingman Brewing Company and Engine House 9 Brewery have a few new (and interesting) releases. First stop: Wingman Brewing.  Wingman has brewed something a bit lower in alcohol but not on flavor. Pomegranate Weizen is a very different beer for this brewery. A light pomegranate aroma hits the nose as soon as you raise your glass. A lighter bodied beer, there is a hint of hops and sour fruit. The finish is crisp and snappy. And the alcohol? A nice 5.2% ABV is a little more manageable than the bigger beers Wingman is known for. I loved this beer so much I filled my growler!

Another interesting beer from Wingman is a triple IPA specially brewed for the Über Tavern’s anniversary celebration at the end of this month in Seattle. Operation Cross Roads Triple IPA is one highly hopped beer. One might think the 100 IBU’s would be enough to cause even the biggest “hop head” to lose his faculties. Surprisingly, Operation Cross Roads is very malty for an IPA. The aroma is floral with grapefruit acidity. The body is thick and syrupy. The taste is very sweet, I mean REALLY sweet but the hops mellows it out a bit. Definitely a sipper this beer is not for the faint of heart; it’s also not for anyone driving. 16.8% ABV to be exact, so pleeeaaassseee proceed with caution!!

Moseying over to my usual hang out, Engine House 9 Brewery, I decided to try one of their newest creations. E9 is trying out a program where they select a recipe from one of the Tacoma’s many homebrewers and brew it on the big tanks. This month’s creation is a fun and quirky Pale Ale. So what makes this pale ale so quirky? They threw in Hot Tamale candy, and named it Parky. Yes, you read correctly…Hot Tamales! Hot cinnamon spice in the aroma and flavor and the color is unusual shade of red. Sweet and light Parky is a fun beer that brings back childhood memories. The candy part, not the beer part.

A guest beer currently making an appearance at E9 is Double Mountain Brewing’s Clusterfuck. Again, you read that correctly. Not only is this beer fun to order (cover your ears Grandma) but it is a great beer to drink. This single IPA is a true “hop monster” that packs a hoppy punch. Grapefruit aroma and strong citrus finish. This beer has been very aptly named and hubby loved it!

Grab these beers while you have the chance as they are only on tap for a limited time.

Cheers!

Liz

 

Silver City strikes gold! June 7, 2012

Just when you though Silver City Brewing couldn’t get any better they go and open a taproom! And not just any run of the mill taproom; probably one of the nicest tap rooms I have been to (and I’ve been to a lot!). The outside of the building is beautifully designed and the inside is very casual, open, and inviting. The bar area opens up into a 2nd room to sit back at a high table and enjoy your beverage. A flat screen TV hangs high on the wall along with vintage posters of drinking days gone by.

But the “magic” happens next door in the brewery itself. Windows in the bar area give the patron a chance to view where the brewing process happens. To be honest, there is nothing prettier than large, shiny, mash tons and kettles!

What did I drink on this day? I’m glad you asked. For my first pint I enjoyed a lovely pint of Silver City’s Deluxe Spring Lager (6.2% ABV).  One of my favorite seasonal beers from Silver City, the Spring Lager is crisp, sweet, and very flavorful yet the body is light to medium.  Light hop/floral aroma and finish really make this baby something special. My next pint is a crowd favorite among Silver City fans: Ziggy Zoggy Summer Lager (5% ABV). I get excited every year when this gem is released. Unfiltered, sweet, spicy and elegant, this German-style “Zwickelbier” is sure to make you smile. Honey Malt and Pilsner Malt give Ziggy Zoggy the pretty sweetness I love and the finish is smooth with a touch of honey.

Food is not served at the taproom but they do offer pretty darn tasty peanuts but you are welcome to bring your own food. Brewery tours are available Wednesday through Saturday at 4:00pm but they also offer private parties and tours on Mondays and Tuesdays so check with the taproom for available times. The taproom itself is open Wednesday through Sunday and is a perfect way to spend an afternoon!

 

Cheers!

Liz

www.silvercitybrewery.com

 

 

Tacoma finds his Wingman! May 31, 2012

The micro-brew family in Tacoma, WA just got a little larger. Wingman Brewing has been making and distributing their creations to local pubs and markets since April of 2011 but, alas, had no tasting room of their own. Flash forward one year to April 21st, 2012 to the opening of Wingman Brewing’s very own tasting room. Original brick walls surround the room and vintage-style Wingman posters are plastered on the walls. But the best part is the beer!

Falconer’s Flight Single Hop IPA (6.8% ABV) – Dark peach color. Belgian yeasty aroma. Great hop, nicely balanced. Crisp with smooth finish.

Ace IPA (7.4% ABV) – This one was my favorite. Mellow with aroma of grapefruit and flowers. Hoppy, but not too hoppy, with hints of caramel. Clean finish.

P-51 Porter (8.0% ABV) – Dark brown (almost black) color with a tan head. Rich chocolate and coffee aroma. Malty, creamy, and full of chocolate flavors. This is a nice sipping beer.

Belgian Double (8.4% ABV) – Thinner mouth feel than the others yet very sickening sweet. Dark brown color. Spice notes in the aroma and flavor with a slightly sour finish. This was an interesting beer, but too not one of my favorites.

Stratofortress (11.4% ABV) – Wingman took the Belgian Double and aged it in oak. Though much higher in alcohol than the Double, in this form it was much more drinkable. Slightly medicinal aroma. Sweet and sour taste with a malty balance. It’s amazing what a little oak can do!

As you can see Wingman is really into “big” beers. The alcohol does not go below 6% ABV. It’s my hope they will look to brew something lower in ABV that won’t cause the casual drinker to lose their faculties after one pint.  A nice wheat, pale ale or pilsner perhaps (hint, hint).

The tasting room is huge! There is a lot of seating around the bar but a lot of open space that could be utilized for more seating. But hey, they just opened. They may have more great plans for the tasting room in the works. Wingman does not prepare food but the New Frontier Lounge down the street will be more than happy to deliver pizza right to the taproom door. The taproom is open Thursday through Saturday from 2:00pm-11:00pm.

 

Cheers!

Liz

www.wingmanbrewers.com

 

 

2012 Gig Harbor Beer Festival May 21, 2012

Last weekend the beer Gods truly smiled on me. The sky was blue, the temperature was perfect, and the first annual Gig Harbor Beer Festival was held less than a block from my home! Who could ask for anything more? As usual, for the sake of length I will share my top favorites of the day.

Local Logger Lager (Everybody’s Brewing, White Salmon, WA) – 4.8% ABV The best beer of the event! Clean and crisp with a honey sweetness. Saaz and Golden hops create a light hoppiness that does not overpower the sweetness. Golden Grahams cereal came to mind immediately. A truly delicious beer!

Hulaweizen (7 Seas Brewery, Gig Harbor, WA) – 5.6% ABV A very different beer for this brewery. A lovely wheat beer brewed with coconut water and lemon grass. The pungent sourness of the lemongrass really comes through balancing out the sweetness of the coconut. I really hope 7 Seas makes this beauty one of their permanent beers!

Dog Zebra (Valholl Brewing, Poulsbo, WA) – Wonderfully hoppy beer! This lovely IPA had a lot of great citrus flavors and bite. The aroma was like walking through a grapefruit orchard. Wish I had more!

Agate Pass Amber (Hood Canal Brewery, Kingston, WA) – 5.5% ABV Fruity and hoppy, this well-balanced beer had notes of honey and pears. Not too sweet, not too hoppy. Great beer for a hot summer day.

Autumn Scotch (Der Blokken Brewery, Bremerton, WA) – 7% ABV I love scotch ales, but this one takes the cake! Thick, malty and sweet, Autumn Scotch has an unusual butterscotch aroma and flavor. The body is more on the fuller side and the finish has a “candy-like” sweetness. This is a great beer for kicking back and relaxing.

The festival, for the most part, was very well-organized. Unfortunately, the organizers seem to have made the same mistake most first time festival organizers make and misjudged the expected attendance. Most of the brewers were out of beer by 4:00 and the festival still had three hours to go! The use of available space for the festival goers was another issue. The festival surrounded a huge gazebo that had tons of shade. This area was blocked off and not assessable to the festival goers and instead used to store boxes of t-shirts and the token booth (1 guy, 1 table). We were forced to squeeze into what little shade we could find and had to stand as there we no chairs or tables anywhere. I also feel this would have been a great opportunity for the surrounding restaurants to have a small food cart or something in the area. Instead festival goers had to leave the festival, walk to the restaurants, and wait for over an hour for food.

I had a great time and, of course, the beer was the best part. With a few tweaks, Gig Harbor should have a heck of a festival next year!

Cheers!

Liz

www.7seasbrewing.com

www.everybodysbrewing.com

www.hoodcanalbrewery.com

www.valhollbrewing.com

www.derblokken.com

 

 

 

Coming Soon: Wingman Brewing’s new tasting room, Gig Harbor Beer Festival, and some new summer beer releases! May 16, 2012

 

Upcoming event… April 25, 2012

 

WHEN: Saturday, May 12th, 2012.

TIME:  Noon-7:00pm

WHERE: Uptown Gig Harbor Pavilion (4701 Pt. Fosdick Dr.)

ATTENDING BREWERIES:

  • 7 Seas Brewery
  • American Brewing Company
  • Der Blokken Brewery
  • Dicks Brewing Company
  • Everybody’s Brewing
  • Harmon  Brewing Co.
  • Hood Canal Brewery
  • Port Townsend Brewing Co.
  • Silver City  Brewery
  • Sound Brewery
  • Valholl Brewing Company

Pre-sale tickets are $20 or $25 the day of the event. Admission includes a 2012 commemorative taster cup and eight taster tokens. 21+ up only. You can purchase tickets through the festival website, www.gigharborbeerfestival.com or from www.brownpapertickets.com.

I will definitely be there!

Cheers!

Liz

 

Texas summer in the PNW! April 22, 2012

Filed under: beer,breweries,Craft Beer Trade,Micro brew,Seasonal beers,Summer Beers — pnwbeerchick @ 7:59 pm

Summer in the PNW cannot come soon enough! Luckily the summer seasonals are already churning out. And apparently a little brewery in Texas knows what summer should taste like. I have been a huge fan of Spoetzl Brewery’s Shiner Bock for years. Well, I happened upon a new concoction released for summer. Shiner Ruby Redbird is a wonderful citrus seasonal brewed with Texas Ruby Red grapefruit juice and fresh ginger. The grapefruit flavor is not the hoppy kind, but the sweet, juicy kind. The ginger sweetens ups the tart of the grapefruit by adding a light pungent character creating a very well-balanced, flavorful beer. Mt. Hood, Citra and Cascade hops along with Munich malt give a little extra kick and texture to this lovely crisp beer. The finish is clean and sweet and at 4% ABV it is perfect for the hot summer days.

So next time you’re sitting in your fold up chair with your feet in the kids wading pool, don’t forget to grab one of Shiner’s finest. It’s a great start to a lovely, hot summer.

Cheers!

Liz

www.shiner.com

 

 

My Beer Vacation – Part 3 April 12, 2012

A lovely drive north on the Olympic Peninsula will take you to the gorgeous seaside town of Port Townsend, WA. Port Townsend is the perfect getaway for lovers of Victorian architecture and all things nautical. It’s also a fantastic spot for some tasty beer.  But first, a short history lesson.

Port Townsend is a step back into time. Founded in 1851, the town’s physical appearance has changed very little over the last 120 years. Gorgeous Victorian buildings line the

Manresa Castle

Manresa Castle

downtown area and amazing Victorian homes (AKA “painted ladies”) peer down from the cliffs just behind the main street. You can stay in one of the historic hotels located on the main street or you can do what hubby and I did and stay just a few blocks away at Manresa Castle. Yes, there is a castle in Port Townsend! Built in 1892, it was the hill-top home of Port Townsend’s first mayor and his wife: Charles and Kate Eisenbeis.  Jesuit priests bought the home in 1927 and used it as a training college. Today it is a hotel lovingly restored and   gorgeously decorated in period antiques and photos of Port Townsend’s past. One can’t help but want to explore every nook and cranny of the grand old house. As with most old structures, Manresa Castle is rumored to be haunted. I was so looking forward to encountering a spirit. Alas, not this time.

Just down the hill in the ship yard sits Port Townsend Brewing Company. Opened in 1997, the brewery has become the pride of the town. And it’s no wonder why! The tasting room is very large and quite elegant. And boy do they have a lot of beer. I enjoyed the taster tray but was a bit overwhelmed by the amount of beer served; twelve tasters on the tray! Instead of describing every one of them I will pick out my favorites.

Port Townsend Brewing

Chet’s Gold (4.3% ABV) – the lightest beer in the joint. Very crisp, light hops, slightly sweet and finishes clean. Great for a hot day.

Bitter End IPA (6% ABV) – Gold color. Hoppy aroma and full body hop character. Grapefruit notes all the way through. Very tasty.

Hop Diggity IPA (6% ABV) – For an IPA this popular beer has a malty body. Hoppy but easy for the beginning  IPA drinker to enjoy. Lovely grapefruit finish.

Planet Zythos Pale (6.8% ABV) – Unfiltered, hoppy, and well-balanced. Another great beer for the beginner to give a try, but the enthusiast will enjoy as well.

Straight Stout (6% ABV) – For the chocolate fans, this one’s for you! Ink black color and light tan head. Chocolate aroma with smooth, chocolate, malty body and finish.

It was very hard to choose just a few of Port Townsend Brewing’s beers to talk about because they were all great. The tasting room is open Tuesday through Saturday. During warmer weather they open the grassy beer garden and feature live music.

Sirens

Making a right onto Hwy 20 will take you to the middle of the town’s main drag. Located on the second floor of one of the Victorian buildings is Sirens: A Pub of Distinction. I would

describe Sirens as a mix of gypsy den and antique store. There is outside seating and a gorgeous view of the Puget Sound. Sirens has a great beer selection (11 brews on tap and various bottled beers) and the food in incredible. The staff is very friendly and there is live music on occasion so be sure and check their schedule.

Port Townsend is a town full of maritime and Victorian history. Great for an overnight stay or a romantic weekend getaway, I would suggest anyone to stop through at least once. There aren’t too many towns like this left!

Cheers!

Liz

www.porttownsendbrewing.com

www.manresacastle.com

www.sirenspub.com

 

 
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