Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Fort George to release new Mother's Day Brew

Notes from Fort George Brewery + Public House co-owner Chris Nemlowill:

"The Fort George Brewery + Public House is pleased to announce the release of its new Bourbon Barrel-Aged Dopplebock this Mother’s Day, May 11th. This date coincides with the start of the Astoria Sunday Market, so moms who are out and about downtown are encouraged to stop by and try the Fort George’s latest creation.

Dopplebock is a strong German-style lager, traditionally brewed in the winter to be consumed in the springtime. The monks of St. Francis of Paula originally brewed this style of beer, calling it Salvator, which means savior. Other German brewers began making the beer, of which there are now about 120, all with the suffix, -ator.

Now, after months of fermenting and taking the extra step of aging their brew in Jim Beam bourbon barrels, Fort George brewers are calling their version of Dopplebock, Illuminator, which reflects the experience of drinking the beer. “Warm and inviting, the beautiful, dark brown color sparkles as it catches the light. Illuminator tastes rich and malty, with an intriguing hint of bourbon, and a nice dry slightly hoppy finish to balance it out,” said Chris Nemlowill, of the Fort George Brewery + Public House.

Fort George Brewery + Public House is located at: 1483 Duane Street Astoria, OR 97103. Call (503) 325-PINT or visit

*Photo: The Mothers of Fort George… (From Left) Tracey Erfling with Son Toveri and Zetty McKay with Daughter, Amelia.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Oregon goes down in Beer Brawl

The official results of the First Annual Beer Brawl at Concordia Ale House are in:

1a. Pike pale 1b. Double Moutain Pale

2a. Lazy Boy IPA 2b. TG IPA

3a. Elysian Dragontooth 3b. Deschutes Abyss

4a Hopworks El Diablo 4b. Big Time Trombipulator

5a. Rogue Old Crustacean 5b. Waterstreet Big Phatty

Final vote:
Oregon 590
Washington 825

Oregon took a beating, but don't expect the same results in the next beer brawl. What a selection of brews to have to choose from; I'll be honest, I had a really hard time but I refuse to disclose my check-off sheet. Visit concordia for pints of any of the beers listed above (though I won't promise there will be any Abyss left by the time you read this).

Friday, April 25, 2008

Concordia Hosts First Annual Beer Brawl!

Starting today, Concordia Ale House (33rd and Killingsworth) in Portland hosts the first annual Beer Brawl. The Beer Brawl is a competition of Oregon v. Washington craft beer. In two previous competitions, a WA brewer was chosen to represent WA beers (Shawn Loring of Lazy Boy Brewing in Everett) and an OR brewer was chosen to represent OR beers (Charlie Devereux of Double Mountain Brewery in OR will be representing, even though Matt Stinchfield is the Double Mountain brewer). Each brewer has chosen five different specified styles of beer from their state. These beers are arranged head-to-head in a blind tasting for anyone who wants to participate (there is a tasting fee). The best beer out of each style category will win a point and the state that wins the best three out of five beers wins the Brawl.

The Brawl lasts all weekend at Concordia, and the winner will be announced Sunday evening. Get your buns down there to taste and vote on the best of Oregon and Washington brew!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

2007 Was Banner Beer Year for Oregon

The Oregon Brewers Guild today put out 2007 information on Oregon beer production. Suffice to say it was a good year for the industry in this state as production grew at 8.1 percent over 2006. Putting it another way, there were about 860,000 barrels of beer made last year, compared to 796,000 the year prior. That's a lot of beer.

We here in Oregon are consuming a good amount of that. The Guild said 308,000 barrels was purchased and consumed somewhere in our borders. Draft beer was reportedly even higher, with 42 percent of what got consumed being produced locally. This is said to be the highest local craft draft beer consumption nationally.

It was noted Portland has 32 microbreweries in the city limits, said to be more than any other city in the world. 64 exist statewide - the largest being Widmer at 283,000 barrels and one of the smallest being Heater-Allen in McMinnville, producing just 36 barrels of the good stuff.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Big Brew--National Homebrew Day May 3

"Each year on the first Saturday in May, homebrewers unite non-brewing and brewing friends and family to celebrate National Homebrew Day, joining with thousands of homebrewers from around the world in brewing the same recipes and sharing a simultaneous toast at noon Central Time."

2007 Big Brew Stats: Over 9,000 gallons of homebrew brewed by more than 4,000 participants at 242 sites on four continents worldwide. There were sites in 42 states, as well as Israel, Australia, Argentina, and Russia.

For Northwest Big Brew sites where you can go to learn about homebrewing, and watch or participate in a homebrew demo, click here.

Northwest has good showing at World Beer Cup 2008

The Brewers Association's Craft Brewers Conference and announcement of the World Beer Cup awards took place this past weekend (April 16-19) in San Diego, CA.

2008 World Beer Cup Stats:
-2,864 beers entered in the competition
-644 breweries from 58 countries
-91 different beer styles judged by 129 judges
-32 was the average number of beers entered per category.

Congratulations to Tonya Cornett and Bend Brewing Company for winning the World Beer Cup Champion Brewery and Brewmaster in the Small Brewery category!

Also, there were a total of 24 other medals awarded to Oregon and Washington breweries:

Oregon Winners:
Bend Brewing Co.
BridgePort Brewing Co.
Deschutes Brewing
Hopworks Urban Brewery
Laurelwood Brewing
Pelican Pub & Brewery
Rogue Ales
Widmer Brothers Brewing

Washington Winners:
Boundary Bay
Elysian Brewing Co.
Flyers Restaurant and Brewery
Issaquah Brewhouse
Pyramid Breweries Inc.

For a complete list of winners, visit

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Homebrewers Brew to Impress

One of the perks of being a beer magazine editor is regional travel and beer dinners. Yesterday I spent the day in Astoria distributing magazines and was lucky enough to score tickets for Annalou (Beer Northwest's art director) and I to attend the last Fort George beer pairing dinner of the season. This month’s dinner featured local homebrew paired with cuisine by Fort George chefs Dana and Chris.

Fort George owners Chris Nemlowill and Jack Harris held a homebrew competition to decide the five beers to be served with dinner—a new and somewhat unusual concept for a beer dinner. To be honest, I was skeptical. All beers were products of local Clatsop County homebrewers, and all were surprisingly impressive.

The menu boasted a broad range of beer styles including:

-Chris Gustafson’s Still Finnish Sahti (traditional Finnish brew typically made with juniper instead of hops) paired with lemongrass leek and potato soup

-Dan Hamilton’s “Tillamook Head Red” ESB paired with house-smoked chicken fennel apple sausage (lots going on here, but it worked)

-James’ Sullivan’s Bourbon and Oak Aged Porter paired with smoked albacore tuna loin salad

-James Bunnell’s IPA (similar characteristics to Stone IPA) paired with habanero marinated lamb skewers, roasted garlic couscous, and a (smokin’ hot) roasted red pepper coulis

-Anthonly De Luz’s “Midnight Mistress”: Bourbon and Oak Blended Stout paired with chocolate dipped sparkling strawberries infused with Wild Turkey Bourbon

Each brewer was in attendance and spoke about his beer as it was being poured. Experience ranged from three years of homebrewing practice to 30+ years of malt madness. Overall, the dinner was a major success (Chris and Jack commented that it was one of the best beer dinners they’ve ever hosted), and I encourage other restaurants and brew pubs that host beer pairing dinners to reach out to local homebrewers. You might just be pleasantly surprised.

Fort George will begin hosting parking lot brewer’s barbecues once a month during the summer. Check out the website for details (coming soon).

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Pyramid Crystal Wheat Ale Heads to Stores

Pyramid Breweries recently decided to bring a taproom favorite to your local grocery stores and beer retail outlets, though there is one catch - you have to live in the Pacific Northwest to enjoy a six pack of Crystal Wheat Ale.

Pyramid said this beer was inspired by its first Wheaten Ale beer in 1984. Crystal Wheat Ale also took home three consecutive medals in some of the most recent Great American Beer Festivals (2005-2007).

This filtered wheat beer has an alcohol by volume of 5.3% and is made with Mt. Hood, US Tettnang, and US Spalt wheat hops and 2 Row Pale Barley. It has previously only been available at Pyramid's Alehouses.

Friday, April 11, 2008

New Deschutes Brews Looking Good

The most recent issue of the Deschutes Brewery newsletter The Bitter Truth reveals to us several new interesting beers already either available in stores or coming very soon. They include:

- Hop Hinge Imperial IPA - part of the Deschutes Bond Street Series and available in 22-ounce bottles over the next few months, this particular beer is an "amplified version of last year’s monument to hops." This new brew reportedly has characteristics similar to a fresh hop beer and includes at least three different hops, including one which is new and not named as of yet.

- Black Butte XX - This monster of a beer, like the long gone Abyss (though I've got a case stockpiled at home myself), will probably come and go quickly. It's being done to celebrate Deschutes' 20th anniversary in June and is part of the Reserve Series. The newsletter notes this original recipe includes ncludes Bellatazza coffee, Theo’s cocoa nibs and Stranahan’s whiskey barrels. We are guessing availability will be June as the beer will be out in 22-ounce hand-waxed bottles and on tap at select locations.

- 20th Anniversary Wit - Coming up after Hop Hinge in the Bond Street series is another 20th anniversary beer. 20th Anniversary Wit is a described "Belgian style wheat beer" brewed with zested Curacao orange peel and some spices. Like Blue Butte XX, it should be available in June in 22-ounce bottles.

And, of course, don't forget the Portland pub for Deschutes is opening May 2nd in the Pearl District.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Bridgeport Does Marionberry Beer...Yumm!

We got the word via the beer newswire that Bridgeport Brewing in Portland was getting ready to bottle its first fruit infused ale - Stumptown Tart. We, of course, had to swing by yesterday to take it for a test drink, err sip, and speak with brewmaster Karl Ockert about this lovely brew lady.

Stumptown Tart, we learned from Ockert and also the Bridgeport press release, is a Belgian-style ale infused with Oregon marionberries, that's right, marionberries. It's lightly hopped and aged in French oak pinot noir barrels. You get some Northwest Cascade Hops in the mix as well as some Northwest Pale Barley Malt - all combining for a surprisingly refreshing beer with a bit of a 8.3% ABV punch.

Ockert said Bridgeport brewed around 1,800 cases of this beer, using about a pound-and-a-half of frozen marionberries for each gallon of beer. He said they went "live from the first batch" - which is to say it was carefully thrown together without any prior experimentation. Not to worry though as Ockert is an amateur fruit wine maker so he has plenty of experience blending. Trust us - this was clearly evident to Megan and I as we both sipped mid-day while chatting with him about Stumptown Tart.

A couple of footnotes on this beer - its release party will be Thursday, April 24 from 5 to 8pm at the Bridgeport location in the Pearl (1313 NW Marshall) - free samples while supplies last. On hand at the release party will be Bernie Dexter, pin-up model and cover girl for Stumptown Tart. She'll be signing bottles. Besides being for sale at Bridgeport, you'll also find this brew for sale at local outlets in 22-ounce bottles only. You can also expect that the Bridgeport cooking and baking folks will be trying their hand at mixing Stumptown Tart into special dishes, perhaps as a syrup or baked into a cake.

Welcome to the Beer Northwest blog!

Hello and welcome to all. I'm Nino Marchetti, co-author of the new Beer Northwest blog and the wonderful lady above is Megan Flynn, Beer Northwest's intrepid editor and beer lover. We are on a quest here at Beer Northwest to bring you the best in beer news in the Pacific Northwest. This blog will serve to supplement our print publication by bringing you often updated news on new breweries, beers, beer festivals and much more. Make sure to add us to your RSS reader and/or check back often as we bring you all the news fit to brew!