Pacific Northwest Beer Chick

Breweries, Beers & Good Times

Give the gift on knowledge! November 21, 2012

With Black Friday just days away, I’m sure many of you are thinking “What do I get for the beer lover who has everything?”  How about something to read while enjoying his or her holiday pint? Over the last few years there have been many great books published about everything in the craft brew culture from what to drink, where to drink, and what exactly are you drinking.  There is a book out there for every level of beer enthusiast.

For the craft beer newbie there is The Naked Pint: An Unadulterated Guide to Craft Beer (2009). Written by the original “beer chicks”, Christina Perozzi and Hallie Beaune, The Naked Pint is a wonderfully comprehensive and humorous guide to the history of beer, various beer styles, flavors, characteristics, beer by regions, and even recipes to try your hand at making some home brew. This book is perfect for anyone just starting out in the craft brew scene or even the beer connoisseur who just wants to learn a bit more about the beer culture. Fantastic read!

Craft Beers of the Pacific Northwest: A Beer Lover’s Guide to Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia (2011) is a great book for the beer lover who has never been to the Pacific Northwest but would like to make the trek. Lisa Morrison (AKA the Beer Goddess) put together a wonderful book for the beer traveler. She discusses the PNW micro-brew culture that exploded into the craft brew culture the region is known for today. Lisa lists the breweries that are worth a looksy and what to have once you get there. She shares stories of her visits and what special pub crawl or bottle shop to hit along the way.  This book is a must have for your next road trip to the PNW!

For the beer historian in your life Brewing in Seattle (2012) offers a glimpse into the history of Seattle breweries and where the Seattle beer culture is today.  Beautiful, rare photos, vintage advertisements, and interviews from some of Seattle’s best-known brewers saturate this little paperback. From the earliest brewery established in 1864 through Prohibition and then on to the beer mecca Seattle is today, Brewing in Seattle is a must have for any beer historian near or far.

For the well learned beer enthusiast there is The Craft of Stone Brewing Co: Liquid Lore, Epic Recipes, and Unabashed Arrogance (2011). Stone Brewing Company shares the history of the company along with a behind-the-scenes look at what has made the company the fastest growing brewery in the USA. Homebrew and food recipes, beer & food pairings, and gorgeous photos are just some of the wonderful features in this hardcover.

Does your home brewer want to make a business out of it? Well, Sam Calagione, founder of Dogfish Head, has written the book on it. Brewing Up a Business: Adventures in Beer from the Founder of Dogfish Head Craft Brewery (2011) tells Sam’s story about taking his home brewing kit and turning it into one of the country’s best craft breweries.  He discusses his successes and failures, strategies in marketing, competing and keeping up with other companies, and what it takes to become a successful entrepreneur.   This is a must have for anyone starting a new business.

I own all 5 of these books and highly recommend them. There is more to beer than just drinking it. Knowledge truly is power and the gift of books will never go out of style. Feed your brain and always continue learning more about your hobby or craft.





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.




Info about Electric Brewing can be found on facebook:!/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!




My Beer Vacation – Part 1 March 18, 2012

A few weeks ago hubby and I took a nice week-long vacation. We hit various beer spots stretching from Seattle down to Centralia. I can’t include my favorite places in one article so I will write in parts.

Our vacation started off on a very elegant note. I have wanted to attend a beer pairing dinner for a while but due to my unpredictable work schedule (yes, I have a real job) and the fact that most of the dinners take place during a weeknight, I haven’t been able to go to any. Just so happens the first night of our vacation we were able to go to a great beer pairing dinner at Trellis; a lovely restaurant inside the Heathman Hotel in downtown Kirkland, WA.  This gorgeous hotel is chic and artsy. Beautifully decorated it would be easy to sit in front of the fireplace in the lobby and enjoy a book or good conversation. Our hotel room was very upscale and I felt like queen. As for the beer dinner….

Lord knows I am no food critic but I will do my best to describe the incredible meal we had. The Hub Brewery (AKA Hopworks Urban Brewing Company) from Portland was the guest brewer of the evening. We started with hors d’oeuvres in the lobby which consisted of popcorn shrimp, beef skewers, pulled pork sliders, homemade potato chips and pork rinds just to name a few. We sipped on tasters of The Hub’s Pale Ale and Lager. The Pale Ale is honey gold in color. The aroma is citrusy and floral. There is a nice hint of caramel in the flavor and it finishes crisp and clean. The Lager is light, smooth and malty. Soft honey flavor coats the palate and a sweet floral finish. Also crisp and clean both of these beers were a perfect teaser for what was to come.

As we sat down at our tables I was shocked and excited to discover that my husband and I would be sharing our table with Don Scheidt of Celebrator Beer News and his lovely wife. As we settled in we were handed what has to be the most creative menu I have ever seen. Drawn up like a blue print the menu contained hand drawn visuals of what we were going to be served for the duration of our dinner along with which beer was to be paired with it. Chef Brian Scheehser uses the freshest of ingredients from his own farm located just a few miles from the restaurant. And boy does it show!

First up was Bone Marrow with Prawns served with The Hub’s Galactic Imperial Red. I have never had bone marrow before but I must say it was surprising good! Served with small crackers this appetizer was rich with a smooth texture. The Imperial Red was toasty, crisp and malty. Medium to full-bodied this beer went very well with the richness of the marrow.

Next up was Stuffed Quail and the Deluxe Organic Ale. Another first for me, the quail was tender and flavorful. The Organic Ale was very clean, crisp and fresh. Nicely hopped this is a very well-balanced beer and paired well with the quail. For a palate cleanser we were served sorbet in a tall glass with a side of The Hub’s Ace of Spades. This double IPA was very hoppy and crisp. According to our blue print menu we were to pour the IPA into the sorbet glass. Following suit I did and wow what a great surprise. The IPA mellowed out the sorbet’s sweetness while the sorbet cut down on the bitter hoppiness. I’ve never had an IPA float before, but this one was delicious and different.

The next dish on the menu was also my favorite. Beer Braised Short Ribs serve with the Session Cascadian Dark Ale. The meet on the short rib sat in a rich broth and was incredibly tender and fell apart on first touch. I wish I had more of the short ribs. The Dark Ale was the perfect beer for this dish. It’s dark and smoky with a toasted malty finish. Hints of chocolate and coffee complimented this dark ale.

For dessert we were served Sandra’s Creation. A dark chocolate, hazelnut, flourless cake. Rich, decadent deliciousness. And the beer? The Hub’s Dark Helmet Schwarzbeer. This malty beer had notes of dark chocolate and was like drinking an iced mocha. Chocolate and chocolate. Just when I thought we couldn’t end a meal any better we were served the Final Nail. In other words; dark chocolate truffles. Absolute rich decadence at its finest.

So, we slowly waddled our way to our gorgeous hotel room and crashed. We are still talking about what a great experience we had at Trellis. The staff was very friendly and accommodating. The hotel was beautiful. The food; incredible. And the beer, well I have to say, the beer was great and paired perfectly with the meal. I enjoyed my dinner companions, the food, the beer and the atmosphere. My thanks to the Heathman Hotel, Trellis, and the Hub for an incredible evening.

Part 2 of my beer vacation coming soon!




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