This past weekend was packed full of great events in Portland! I managed to attend two of them. On Saturday, my wife I and attended Cider Rite of Spring. The event has grown and festival organizers moved it to the Leftbank Annex, after holding it at the Tiffany Center for the last few years. The new venue was bright, airy, with loads of room. More on that in a bit...
This was the third time we attended Cider Rite of Spring, and this year was the best yet! Here's a rundown of some of my thoughts. In full disclosure, festival organizers provided us with free VIP tickets.
What I liked:
New Venue: The Leftbank Annex is a beautiful venue. There were lots of tables and plenty of room to spread out. The 1st floor even had a large lounge with big comfy couches (suitable for napping). The location is ultra convenient. It's just a ~5 minute walk from the Rose Quarter Transit Center. Yep, no need to drive! Leftbank Annex is a winner, and I hope Cider Rite of Spring returns to it next year. I'd love to see more beer events here as well.
The Leftbank Annex
The Great Room around 1pm
Comfy lounge in the Club Room
Event Layout: The festival was spread out over two floors, with the VIP Lounge on a 3rd level balcony. The event program contained a map, so it was very easy to find any given cider maker. The fact that they were arranged in alphabetical order made it event easier.
Delicious Snacks: Throughout the entire event, Whole Foods stocked a table with a delicious selection of cheese, dried fruits, nuts, crackers, and even a summer sausage from Olympia Provisions. This was available gratis to all attendees.
Great cider pairing snacks from Whole Foods!
Food Trucks: Pizza and taco trucks were onsite, directly within the back lot of the venue.
Meet the Makers / Short Serving Lines: At this festival, the ciders makers pour their own ciders. It's fair to say cider geeks attend this event, so most seemed to ask about the cider selections. Even so, lines were never more than 3-5 people deep, and wait times (if any) were very reasonable.
A rep from Wildcraft Cider chats it up
VIP Lounge: In the upstairs balcony, Square Mile offered free pours of three ciders during the entirety of the event. In addition, four other cider makers offered free samples during the course of the afternoon. Whole Foods stocked another snack table in the lounge. VIP ticket holders were allowed to enter and begin tasting at noon, an hour before normal entry.
The VIP Room free tasting schedule
View from the VIP Room at 1pm
Snacks from the VIP Room
Cider: 30ish cider makers served up over 100 ciders. Whether you like you cider syrupy sweet (not me), bone dry, or anything in between, there was something for everyone. I had two favorites for the day... Snowdrift Cider's Red Cider is made from red flesh apples. Carton Cyderworks' Summer Set, made with crab apples, heirloom apples, and Fresh bittersweets, is wild fermented and wonderfully balanced. Both were slightly acidic and delicious!
Quince cider from Art + Science
A few bottles from Woodbox Cider Co.
Strawberry & Pear ciders from 1859 Cider Co.
Improvements to Consider:
Water Stations: OK, I'm really stretching here, but I need to offer some constructive feedback. Water was provided, but the containers were small, and sometimes ran out. There were several, so it wasn't a big deal. There's always room to improve, right?
Did you attend Cider Rite of Spring? How was your experience? For details about more cider and beer events, check out the Oregon Beer Event Calendar.
This is post is six months late! Throughout last spring and summer, I dutifully blogged about my home hop garden. But I never wrote about the most exciting part—the harvest. Until now, anyway. Better late then never!
Overall, 2017 was a great hop growing season at my estate—sideyard, I should say. I planted several new varieties (Cascade, Columbus, Mt. Hood, Sterling, and Zeus). All of the first year rhizomes grew quite tall and even produced cones. My second year Chinook really came into its own this year! Here's my final output of dried hops:
Cascade: 4.6 oz.
Centennial: 3.6 oz.
Chinook: 9.8 oz.
Blend of Sterling, Mt. Hood, Columbus: 3.7 oz.
Zeus: 5.5 oz.
I'm extremely disappointed to report that my oldest plant, a three-year old Willamette produced one cone. Yes, one measly, well-formed cone. I'm hoping it's a late bloomer. If it doesn't produce in 2018, it's a goner.
Overall, it was a fun growing season! I even brewed my first wet hop IPA. I did have some leaf rot issues on 2-3 of my plants. I'll keep a close eye on that this year. Anyway, for a look back at my 2017 growing season, click the links below.
The word "farmhouse" has been used extensively during the last few years to describe beers and breweries. Agrarian Ales in Eugene is literally a farmhouse brewery. On their many acres, they brew beer, grow their own hops, and even grow much of the produce used in their food. If you've never visited, I highly recommend it. It's great for families.
On Friday, Agrarian received some troubling permit news from Lane County. You can read about the details in Agrarian's message below. Bottom line, the brewery isn't allowed to let the public sit under their roof overhang (see image below). In the summer, I expect this would pose less of a problem. But in the rainy Willamette Valley winter and summer, this spells disaster.
Anyway, if you're so inclined, please take a few minutes to contact the elected officials listed at the end of this post and ask them to support Agrarian Ales.
On Friday February 23 two Lane County officials arrived unannounced at our brewery. At the close of the official business week and the beginning of our busy weekend, these officials were delivering a message: after five years of operation the county had revised its interpretation of our business, and we were no longer permitted to allow the public under the overhang of our building. When advised of the impact that this action would have on our business the county officials offered no leniency or clear course of corrective action. Because of the timing of their visit, we had no recourse; all offices were closed, all officials who could work with us on solving this problem were off for their weekend. They were effectively shutting us down.
Their position supposes that we are operating a commercial enterprise that is not deemed agricultural and therefore requires a special permit to operate in agricultural zoned land. Because our farm based business is a business on a farm we need the approval of Lane County. They assert that the overhanging patio area that we have been utilizing for 30 years for various purposes is suddenly not suitable for the public. From the beginning we have allowed virtually no access to the interior of our building; for a brief moment folks step into a garage door to order and then proceed to sit and enjoy our dynamic offerings under an overhanging roof area. While other institutions define our building by its walls, Lane County suddenly defines the beams supporting the overhanging roof as walls. Despite having weathered the impact of scores of birthday parties, graduation celebrations, family get-togethers, even a wedding – despite having survived storms of laughter and enjoyment by a diverse group of patrons from places far and wide, somehow our seating area was deemed unsafe for you and your family.
No Flexibility For Adjustment
A similar situation has occurred in the past in the wine industry in Oregon. Years ago the 11 wineries in Lane County were told to halt their operations because they were deemed commercial operations in agricultural-use zones. They were operating tasting rooms much the same as we are with wine rather than beer. Somehow they were given a different treatment than we are being offered by Lane County. Wineries were allowed to continue operating as they took steps towards compliance; at least one of those steps was re-writing the county codes to accommodate their specific situations. We are not asking for special treatment; just the same willingness to allow us to operate as we make the investments needed to comply with the myriad of regulations imposed by Lane County.
A Call To Action
While we are willing to adjust and upgrade our facility; we need the flexibility to operate to finance these upgrades. After five years of building this beautiful experience so thoroughly enjoyed by the community, bringing friends and families out into the countryside to share the bounty and experience of agriculture, we cannot at a moment’s notice completely remodel our operation. We ask for your help as we fight for the opportunity to share that experience. Below is the contact information for the elected officials that represent our community. Please help by calling, or emailing them and asking for their support as Agrarian Ales seeks the approval of Lane County to operate. Thank you for your continued support of our family farm.
Snowmageddon '18 is almost over—just in time to start planning for the weekend It's a good thing because we've got many great beer events on the calendar!
On Friday, check out Lompoc's Hop Head Night, Little Beast's Coastal Launch in Astoria, or the Modern Times Showcase at Loyal Legion. On Saturday, choose from McMenamins' 25th Annual Hillsdale Brewfest, Stormbreaker's Brewstillery Fest, and of course—Zwickelmania (rest of Oregon edition)!
On Sunday, join Old Town Brewing and the awesome brewing community that supported Old Town in their long running trademark battle with the City of Portland. During the work week, check out special tastings at ABV Public House, Cascade Brewing, and World Foods. Finally, don't forget the Oregon Beer Awards, which will be held on Wednesday.
This calendar is being constantly updated, so please click on the Oregon Beer Event Calendar link or the image below to see the latest and greatest, as well as details about each event.
Stone Brewing just announced the launch of the Stone Mission Warehouse Sour Program. Although beer fans know Stone for its hop-forward IPA centric lineup, this new line is an extension of the barrel aging program Stone launched in 2012.
Stone's new sour program will focus on barrel-aged, blended, fruited beers. The releases will occur quarterly and will be relatively small (only 400 4-packs of the debut release will be available). In another departure from Stone's traditional model, these beers will be sold on a direct to consumer (DTC) basis.
The DTC model is growing in popularity across the industry for a few reasons. First, it's very profitable. When a beer is sold through a grocery store, bottle shop, or bar, both the distributor and the retailer keep a portion of the sale (part of the three-tier system). By selling directly to the consumer, the brewery essentially keeps the full selling price. Second, DTC allows the brewery to control the retail experience. Customers generally pick up their beer at their brewery. While there, they'll likely have a beer. Maybe they'll buy some brewery swag as well. It's good business—and it's profitable!
DTC works particularly well for limited volume and special releases. It's not efficient or effective for large volume releases. I think we'll see more and more of the DTC model in the future.
For more details about Stone Mission Warehouse Sour – Sauvignon Blanc and the new program, check out Stone's news release below.
Stone Brewing Announces the Stone Mission Warehouse Sour Program Online only, presales begin February 23 for Stone Mission Warehouse Sour – Sauvignon Blanc
ESCONDIDO, CA – Years in the making, Stone Brewing announces a new series of beers unlike any released in the brewery’s 21-year history. Known most commonly for its aggressive and hop-forward beers, Stone dives enthusiastically into the world of funk. The first of the year’s quarterly releases, Stone Mission Warehouse Sour – Sauvignon Blanc, launches with online presales February 23, 2018.
Steve Gonzalez, Stone Brewing small batch senior manager of brewing and innovation, has been managing Stone’s barrel aging program since 2012. All the while he’s been experimenting with sours at the nearby off-site barrel warehouse in Escondido. Stone’s base sour is true to the traditional European sour, brewed with malted wheat, un-malted wheat, malted barley, three strains of Brettanomyces yeast, Lactobacillus and aged hops. Fresh fruit and blends of other barrel-aged beers will make each release unique.
“We live in California, one of the bread baskets of the world, said Gonzalez. “Fruit has a traditional place in sour production so it feels good to use what’s local. This project is near and dear to my heart. It’s an ode to traditional sours, but with new-world elements and the same do-it-your-own-way mentality that Stone brings to its approach with every beer.”
Stone Mission Warehouse Sour - Sauvignon Blanc was brewed with California Sauvignon Blanc grapes alongside red wine barrel-aged Stone Cali-Belgique IPA. The base brew was fermented with juice of the Sauvignon Blanc grapes, Lactobacillus bacteria, Belgian yeast strains and wild yeast. This blend was then combined with the Stone Cali-Belgique IPA, which had been foudre-aged for two years with three strains of Brettanomyces yeast.
The traditional techniques alongside unique blending methods creates a complex sweetness and mild tartness with lots of soft oak complexity. The grape flavors come through powerfully. The funk was intentionally limited to make for a cleaner tasting beer. Flavors will evolve over time, with some mild funk increasing with age. This beer is appropriate to drink now, and to cellar for years.
The first Stone Mission Warehouse Sour released quietly in 2017, selling out its very limited-volume stash in a matter of days. Stone will release only 400 four-packs of its debut release of 2018. Fans can expect quarterly sour releases throughout the year. A distinct fresh fruit will be the highlight of each, with some seasonality at play. Four-packs of 330ml bottles are priced at $32, which includes all taxes, service fee and CRV (if applicable). Stone Mission Warehouse Sour – Sauvignon Blanc bottles can be picked up from March 11 – 25, 2018 at select Stone Brewing locations.
“I’ve been into sours for 25 years,” said Greg Koch, Stone Brewing executive chairman & co-founder. “I first visited the famed Cantillon in 1995, just before founding Stone Brewing. Since then I have been enjoying the trial beers that our brewers have been quietly experimenting with. A LOT of planning and experimentation has gone into this program and we think the outcome is something really interesting, authentic and pleasantly unexpected of Stone.”
It was sure starting to feel like spring in the Northwest, until winter decided to show up again! Anyway, spring will soon be here and the 5th Annual Cider Rite of Spring will be here to help us welcome the new season.
This year, the event is moving to the Left Bank Annex, a larger venue which will better accommodate the festival's growth. You can look forward to over 100 ciders from 30 producers. Many will be limited releases or made specially for the event. For more details, including ticket prices, check out the news release below.
5th Annual Cider Rite of Spring Celebrates Blossoming Northwest Cider Industry
PORTLAND, Ore. – A celebration of the blossoming Northwest cider industry, the 5th annual Cider Rite of Spring will take place on Saturday, March 10, from 1pm to 6pm at the Left Bank Annex, located at 101 N Weidler St. The event features more than 100 ciders served by more than 30 different cidermakers and cidery representatives from the Pacific Northwest.
“Much like the cider industry itself, this event has grown exponentially over the past five years,” explained Emily Ritchie, executive director of the Northwest Cider Assn. “We are excited to be moving to a much larger venue this year, with two levels and a VIP Lounge; this will allow attendees to enjoy their ciders with a bit of elbow room!"
Cider Rite of Spring showcases ciders that are either made for the event, aren’t available locally, or are limited run. The event provides attendees the chance to taste ciders they wouldn't normally be able to access. This year’s participating cidermakers include 12 Bridge Ciderworks, 1859 Cider Co., 2 Towns Ciderhouse, 7Bev Corp., Alter Ego Cider, Bad Granny, Bandon Rain, Bauman's Cider, Dragon's Head Cider, Finnriver Farm & Cidery, Locust Cider, McMenamins Edgefield, Moulton Falls Winery, New West Cider, Oregon Mead & Cider Co., Pear UP, Portland Cider Co., Red Tank Cider Co., Reveille Ciderworks, Runcible Cider Co., Seattle Cider Co., Spire Mountain Ciders/Fish Brewing, Square Mile Cider, Steelhead Cider, Stone Circle Cider, Tumalo Cider Co., and Woodbox Cider. Each cidermaker brings two to three ciders apiece.
General admission tickets purchased now through Feb. 28 cost $25, which includes a commemorative tasting glass and eight drink tickets; beginning March 1, GA ticket prices go up to $30. VIP tickets cost $50 and include a commemorative tasting glass, 12 drink tickets, one hour early admission (12pm to 1pm), specialty VIP only ciders, snacks, and access to the exclusive VIP Lounge presented by Square Mile Cider; VIP tickets are limited and must be purchased in advance. Tickets are available now at MercTickets.com (http://www.merctickets.com/events/50888130/cider-rite-of-spring-2018). This event is sponsored by Whole Foods Market.
Most ciders cost one ticket per three-ounce taste, although some may cost more. Additional tasting tickets are available onsite for $1 apiece. Two food carts will be selling food, and a pop-up retail store will allow attendees to buy bottles and cans of their favorite ciders to take home. The event is for ages 21 and up.
Cider Rite of Spring 2018 is presented by the Northwest Cider Assn., and also serves as a fundraiser for the organization, which aims to bring cideries and cider lovers together to share knowledge, experience, and live the Northwest cider culture. The event is sponsored by Square Mile Cider, FruitSmart, and Whole Foods Market. For more information, visit NWCider.com and follow @ciderriteofspring on social media, using hashtag #ciderriteofspring.
About Northwest Cider Association
Founded in 2010, the Northwest Cider Association (NWCA) brings cideries and cider lovers together to learn, experience and enjoy the Northwest cider culture. Representing more than 80 commercial cidermakers from throughout Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana and British Columbia, the group is dedicated to supporting, promoting and growing its thriving industry. NWCA hosts cider-themed events, including Cider Rite of Spring, Summer Cider Day, and Cider Weeks in Oregon, Washington and British Columbia. For more information, visit NWCider.com, or follow @nwcider on social media.
Want to help an awesome charity AND get free pints? You now have your chance! Brian Grant, an all-time Blazer favorite, was diagnosed with young-onset Parkinson’s in 2008--just two years after he retired from the NBA. As long-time Blazers fans know, Grant was always community and minded and was recognized by the league for his many charitable efforts.
The Brian Grant Foundation is holding a kick-off party on March 28 to launch its Pints for Parkinson's fundraiser. Purchase a "Pints Passport" for $25 and receive ten beers at a number of breweries and cideries in Portland and Bend during the month of April.
For more details about the kickoff party and participating locations, check out the news release below. Cheers to the Brian Grant Foundation and their efforts to help people with Parkinson's!
PINTS FOR PARKINSON’S LAUNCHES WITH A KICK OFF PARTY FEATURING BARS AND BREWERIES FROM PORTLAND AND BEND Event kicks off a month-long fundraiser for Parkinson’s Awareness Month in April to support the Brian Grant Foundation
WHAT: The Brian Grant Foundation (BGF) will host its third annual Pints for Parkinson’s kick off party, launching a month-long fundraiser that supports the Brian Grant Foundation’s efforts to provide tools to improve the well being of people with Parkinson’s. Throughout the month of April, nearly 30 bars and breweries in Portland and Bend will sell “Pints Passports” for $25 with proceeds benefitting BGF. Purchasers can use their passports to receive ten beers at any of the participating locations.
The kick off party will feature the bars and breweries participating in Pints for Parkinson’s. The party is also open to the general public to watch the Blazers game with Brian while enjoying appetizers and drinks. Attendees will also be able to pre-purchase their passports at the event. Tickets for the kick off party are available for purchase online at www.briangrant.org/pints.
WHEN: Wednesday, March 28, 2018 Doors open at 6:00pm. Event ends at 9:00pm
WHERE: Urban Studio, 935 NW Davis St., Portland, OR 97209
WHO: Established in 2010, the Brian Grant Foundation (BGF) provides proven tools to improve the well being of people with Parkinson’s. BGF’s programs focus on exercise and nutrition, to help people with Parkinson’s get moving, eat healthy and feel their best. For more information visit www.briangrant.org.
If you're already dreaming of summer weather, Full Sail Brewing has just released a new beer that will help you through the final months of winter! Session Tangerine Twist is the latest seasonal release from the brewery's Session line of easy-drinking, low alcohol beers. This lightly hopped ale, which showcases flavors of tangerine and lemon, will be available now though April. For more details, check out Full Sail's news release below.
New Session Tangerine Twist is a Bright Spot in Winter This super drinkable winter-time golden ale is as refreshing as it is juicy
Hood River, Oregon – Measuring a summer’s day is now possible regardless of season. Session Tangerine Twist – new to the Session Series – will help you get your Sesh on like you’ve just paddled in from the surf, even if there’s snow in the forecast.
“We wanted the tangerine to come through in this lightly hopped pale ale,” says Full Sail Brewmaster Greg Doss. “A hint of Cascade hops gives Session Tangerine Twist a natural citrus character and a twist of lemon rounds it out.” Tangy aromas of citrus zest and tangerine burst from this golden, refreshing ale.
The citrus fruits make this brew multi-dimensional while still being light and drinkable, in line with the rest of the Session Series. It’s everything you love about Session, with a twist!
When Full Sail launched the Session brand 12 years ago, it quickly became the hottest new craft-beer brand on the market, which has since brought home 100 medals, including 40 golds. Session’s not a micro, a macro, or an import, but in a way it’s a little bit of each. You see, virtually everyone who likes beer likes Session. It’s a brand that’s accessible without being ordinary. Totally drinkable, but never at the expense of character. And now, just for winter, there’s Session Tangerine Twist. Available January through April in the Session Series 12-pack, Session Mashup variety 12-pack and on draft. 5.2% ABV, 20 IBUs.
About Full Sail Brewing Company
Perched on a bluff in Hood River, Oregon, overlooking the mighty Columbia River’s epic wind and kite surfing and the snow-capped volcanic peak of Mt. Hood, Full Sail is a true craft-brewing pioneer. Since 1987, Full Sail has been pouring pure Mt. Hood water, local ingredients and responsible processes into each and every pint. Full Sail’s brews and sustainable practices have garnered more than 300 national and international awards, including more than 200 gold medals and Beverage World’s “Craft Brewer of the Year” distinction. From Full Sail Amber and IPA to Session Lager and bourbon barrel-aged beers, Full Sail consistently strives to brew complex, balanced and ridiculously tasty beers. Learn more at www.fullsailbrewing.com.
Zwickelmania '18 kicks off next weekend for its 10th year! As part of the celebration, breweries across the great state of Oregon will offer free tastings, meet-the-brewer events, and brewery tours. Saturday the 17th will focus on breweries in the Portland metro area. The following weekend, Saturday the 24th, will feature other major regions of Oregon.
Thee Mugs Brewing, Deep Space Breweing, Ambacht Brewing, and Orenco Taphouse have organized organized a Zwickelmania tour in Hillsboro, complete with free transportation between locations. Check out the news release below for all of the details. Happy Zwickeling!
WHAT: Hillsboro, Oregon—Zwickelmania, the annual event in Oregon when breweries open their
doors to the casual and hardcore beer fans. This year, come to the ‘burbs! Three Hillsboro breweries, a Hillsboro taproom and a Forest Grove brewery are participating with meet-the-brewer events and beer samples. Participating beer destinations include Ambacht Brewing, Deep Space Brewing, Orenco Taphouse, and Three Mugs Brewing. Ridgewalker Brewing from Forest Grove will have a beer on at Deep Space Brewing.
Ride the MAX & take the short walk to Orenco Taphouse to jump on the free shuttle bus that will take you on the loop to each brewery, and then back to the Taphouse where you can have a pint and catch the MAX home. Or begin your journey at any of the participating breweries. Brewers will be conducting tours at each brewery and providing special tasting off the "zwickel," right out of the fermenter.
WHEN: February 17, 2018, 11 am – 4 pm (bus to run until 5 pm)
Ambacht Brewing, 1060 N.E. 25th Ave. Suite B, Hillsboro, OR 97124, www.ambacht.us
Deep Space Brewing (inside Out of This World Pizza), 6255 NE Century Blvd., Hillsboro, OR 97124
Time to start planning! This weekend brings us the Woodsman Tavern Bourbon Beer Fest and Baerlic Brewing's Stout Bout V in Portland. In Eugene, check out the KLCC Brewfest and Alesong's February Bottle Release.
During the work week, check out special tastings at ABV Public House and Imperial Bottle Shop & Tavern. If case you didn't know, Valentine's Day is next week. Buy your sweetie a six-pack or nice bottle! You can also take her/him to Brewpublic's My Beery Valentine.
This calendar is being constantly updated, so please click on the Oregon Beer Event Calendar link or the image below to see the latest and greatest, as well as details about each event.