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Two Kilts Peach Cobbler
Cheers to Belgian Beers opened yesterday at The North Warehouse. I took the afternoon off and attended with some friends. Each year, event organizers showcase a different yeast strain. This year, Imperial Yeast Precious was the primary strain used for fermentation. As a twist, an optional secondary strain, Suburban Brett, was used by a handful of brewers to produce some exceptional offerings.

I only sampled about 11 beers, so I can't provide a comprehensive overview, but here's what I liked:

  • Suburban Kriek, Logsdon Farmhouse Ales: Tart cherry, mild funk, rounded out by light oak. Delicious! 
  • Bullseye, Yachats Brewing:  When used in primary fermentation, Brettanomyces can produce juicy tropical flavors. That's exactly what it did in this hazy IPA. A nice change of pace from the other beers!
  • Raison D'un Petit Verre, Stickmen Brewing:  My favorite taste of the day! Aged in Rex Hill pinot noir barrels, Suburban Brett was used to produce many layers of flavor including cherry and plum. This Belgian Dark Strong weighed in at 11.8% ABV, but you'd never know it. Don't miss this one! I wish I had a second pour.  

My not so favorites:
  • Lotion in the Basket, Solera Brewing: As a fan of kettle sours and Silence of of Lambs (the greatest movie ever made), choosing this beer was a no brainer. Sadly, it left a very unpleasant aftertaste. Hannibal would not have been pleased.


  • Starry Night Glitter, Second Profession Brewing:  So glitter beer is now a thing.  This had glitter, but you had to look hard to see it. When combined its garish color, this seemed to be in the glasses of many attendees. I didn't like it. My friend said it smelled like farts. With the power of suggestion, I couldn't entirely disagree. But in all fairness, several people I talked to enjoyed it. 



The festival runs through 8PM tonight (Saturday, June 2). It's going to be a beautiful day, so don't miss it!









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We've got tons of beer fests in Portland, as well as many cider fests. But here's a festival that literally combines both! A snakebite is 50/50 blend of beer and cider.  Portland Cider's 2nd Annual Snakebite Showdown will feature 14 snakesbites, lovingly blended by 14 local breweries and 14 cideries.

The event will take place on Saturday, June 16th at the Widmer Brothers Beer Garden. For more details, check out the news release below and visit Mercury Tickets for ticket packages (including discounted pre-event pricing)


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Get Bit at the 2nd Annual Snakebite Showdown
Blended Beer and Cider Event to take place during Portland Beer Week

PORTLAND, Ore. – Portland Cider Co. has announced details for its second annual Snakebite Showdown, the region’s only festival to focus solely on Snakebites, a popular English refreshment that blends equal parts beer and cider. This year’s showdown will take place Saturday, June 16, from 1pm to 7pm at the Widmer Brothers Beer Garden at 955 N Russell St. The showdown is an official Portland Beer Week highlight event.

The Snakebite Showdown partners together 14 Northwest breweries with 14 regional ciderhouses to create smooth and fruity beverages that pack a punch. The participants will go head-to-head in an epic showdown to win the title for Best Snakebite. The event is designed to raise awareness of a Snakebite, which is ever-growing in popularity, while emphasizing the collaborative nature of the craft beverage industry in Portland.

“Snakebites originally hail from the United Kingdom, where a crisp lager and cider are blended in a 50/50 ratio in a pint glass,” explained Jeff Parrish, co-owner of Portland Cider Co. “The traditional drink has gained a following here in the Northwest where we pride ourselves on all things craft and new in the beverage world.”

All 14 snakebites at the festival will be a custom blend crafted by the cider makers and brewers from each company. Highly anticipated collaborations include Portland Cider Co. + Widmer Bros. Brewing, 2 Towns Ciderhouse + Flat Tail Brewing, Cider Riot! + Kells Brewery, Reverend Nat’s Hard Cider + Modern Times Beer, Bauman’s Cider Co. + Culmination Brewing, HUB Cider + Hopworks Urban Brewery, New West Cider + Sasquatch Brewery, Reveille Ciderworks + Reach Break Brewing, Wandering Aengus Ciderworks + Santiam Brewing, Square Mile Cider + Ecliptic Brewing, Swift Cider + Wild Ride Brewing, 12 Bridge Ciderworks + Shattered Oak Brewing, Double Mountain Brewery + Double Mountain Brewery, and Finnriver Farm & Cidery + Ground Breaker Brewing.

Advance admission cost $20 ($25 at the gate), which includes a commemorative glass and six drink tickets; additional tasting tickets will be available for $2 each. All snakebite blends will be one ticket per four-ounce sample. Tickets are available now through Mercury Tickets.

The 21 and over event, which will have food available for purchase, is a benefit for the Oregon Brewshed Alliance, a coalition of Oregon brewers, brewing community partners, and conservationists who understand the value of clean water and protected forest watersheds. 

For more information, visit PortlandCider.com/events and follow @PortlandCider on social media.

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I'm thrilled by the progress my hop garden has achieved in the last month!  I already have three plants that have grown a few feet past the length of the trellis (which goes up to my 2nd floor). This growth pace is well beyond where I was this time last year. Even my perennially underachieving Willamette is looking like a champ this season!





I believe a few factors are driving this growth. First, the plants are more mature. Second, I improved the soil in fall. Finally, I left the bines up for quite a while in the fall before I cut them down. This was intended to give the plants an opportunity to produce and send more energy down to the roots. I think it worked. Weather is surely a factor, but last May was actually sunnier (according to my solar array's output, anyway). I think I could all of these factors would make an informative Design of Experiments. I'll ponder this a bit more.

I recently learned about "bull shoots." These are the first sprouting bines. They're purplish in color, grow aggressively, are hollow, and are said to produce fewer sidearms and hops. Strangely enough, this is the first I've heard of them. They should be cut down as they sprout, in favor of the secondary shoots. I followed this advice for one of my plants. I'll see how that works out.

In an other interesting note, the bine thickness of the Zeus I planted in the ground (all of my other plants are in containers) dwarfs my other plants. In the shot below you can see the thin twine thats supporting the bines to the far right. Next, you can see the purple-ish Zeus bine, next to two other thinner bines. All three are first growth bull shoots.

Finally, it looks like two of my plants (last picture) have some sort of malady. If anyone knows what it is, or thoughts on how to resolve, I would appreciate some advice! Happy hop growing!


Variation in bine thickness


Leaf disease?



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In preparation for summer, Full Sail Brewing just announced Summa' Time Lime Lager as its latest Pub Series release. Weighing in at a svelte 4.5% ABV and lightly hopped at 15 IBUs, it's designed to be a crushable companion for your summer adventures.

Summa' Time is available now through August in six-packs, on draft, and in the Full Sail Trophy Case mixed pack. Full Sail has recently ramped up the release of canned beers. As a light summer beer option, I think cans would have been a great package format for this beer. Maybe next year...

For more details, check out Full Sail's news release below.




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Make Every Day a Beach Day with Summa’ Time Lime
Full Sail’s new refreshing lager will be your go-to summer beer

Hood River, Oregon – Summertime along the Columbia River Gorge in Hood River has a no-shirt, no-shoes, no-problem kind of vibe, and Full Sail Brewing Co.’s latest Pub Series offering brings that on-the-beach attitude to you wherever your summer finds you.

“I’m super happy with how this beer turned out,” says Full Sail Brewmaster Greg Doss. “We designed Summa’ Time Lime around the idea of adding a slice of lime to my favorite summer lager and the result is a light, refreshing, crushable lager with a hint of lime for enjoying at the beach or on the river.”

Celeia and Northern Brewer hops, pilsner malt and flaked yellow corn, and a hint of lime work seamlessly together in this thirst-quenching, fresh and zesty, easy-drinking lager. Full Sail Summa’ Time Lime Lager is available May to August in 6-packs, on draft and in the Full Sail Trophy Case variety pack. 4.5% ABV, 15 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.

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The hop growing season is in full swing! There's been quite a bit of progress since my March hop garden update. I finally got around to rigging up my trellises last weekend. The pictures below show the "before" state.  The bines had grown long and intertwined with each other. Unlocking them required a delicate and patient touch. Unfortunately, I broke several long bines in the process. Next year, I'll get the trellises up sooner and avoid this problem.



Below is the "after" shot. It looks more orderly and the bines are dutifully climbing upward! We had a three-day stretch in the 80°s last week  It's amazing how growth kicks in during the heat.  I think each plant put on at least 4-8" in height in just a few days!


In a surprising turn of events, my laggard Willamette plant is currently the tallest at around 86". I was (and still am) considering trashing it after last year's abysmal performance (it produced just 1 hop cone). Maybe it developed a sense of urgency.  Next tallest is my Chinook at around 77".

Soil drainage is very poor in my sideyard, so I plant all of my hops in pots. I did experiment by planting one Zeus in the ground last spring. I didn't think it would survive the winter, but it did. It's hard to tell, but you can see it in the picture on the lower left. The width of the bine is unusual--it's probably 3x as thick as all of the others (including my other Zeus plants). Maybe it gets more nourishment from the ground? I'll keep a close eye on on this plant throughout the season.

Finally, in the picture on the lower right, you can see may small bines emerging. During the past week, I've been busy pulling these out. The reason behind this is we want the plant's energy to nourish fewer bines (we're hoping for a few tall bines, rather than many short bushy bines).

So far, so good. There's no sign of mildew or rot. We'll see you in a month!  How's your hop garden progressing?


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Cheers to Belgian Beers is back for its 12th season! Each year, a single yeast strain is selected by event organizers (this year it's Imperial Yeast Precious) and is used by brewers to ferment all of the beers served at the festival. In a new twist, brewers can make use of an additional yeast strain (Imperial Yeast Suburban Brett) to provide added flavors and complexity via a secondary fermentation.

As a homebrewer, this festival has become one of my favorites because it showcases the wide variety of styles and flavors that can be produced with a unique strain. Last year, Imperial Yeast's Gnome was the featured strain and it produced many delicious beers!

For more details about the yeasts to be showcased this year as well as event details, and pricing, please check out the news release below.

Scenes from Cheers to Belgian Beers '17


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The beer festival that’s determined by a dart throw: Portland’s 
Cheers to Belgian Beers festival announces details for 12th annual event

PORTLAND, Ore. (April 19, 2018) – The Cheers to Belgian Beers festival, which showcases around 75 Belgian-style beers brewed by Oregon craft brewers, has announced details for this year’s event. The 12th annual festival will take place June 1 and 2 at The North Warehouse at 723 N. Tillamook St. Hours are 1pm to 9pm on Friday and 12pm to 8pm on Saturday.

Advance discount tickets are on sale now at GetMyPerks, which is offering two tasting glasses and 16 drink tickets for $28 (a $40 value), while supplies last. Drink packages at the door will cost $20 for a souvenir beer goblet and eight drink tickets (only one glass and eight tickets will be sold to any one person at any one time).

The festival is donating $1 from every ticket package sold to House That Beer Built, a partnership between Habitat for Humanity Portland/Metro East and the local craft beer industry. This exciting new collaboration celebrates the strength and creativity of Oregon’s craft beer industry, along with its passion for community involvement. Participating breweries and businesses pledge to raise funds with the goal of collectively raising $75,000 to fully sponsor a home for a Portland family.  Learn more about Habitat’s work at Habitatportlandmetro.org.

What makes this festival stand out is the fact that every beer is potentially made using the same primary yeast strain: Precious. Precious is a classic Belgian yeast that features a very mild phenolic character balanced with moderate fruitiness. This year, brewers were also given the option to add a secondary aging strain, Suburban Brett, a brettanomyces yeast that shines when used in wood barrels, producing complex and balanced aromas of sour cherry and dried fruit.

To ensure diversity among the beers submitted—as well as show off the creativity of Oregon's craft brewers— the color and strength of each brewery’s beer is determined by a dart throw. Depending on where the dart lands on the board determines whether that brewery will brew a Belgian-style beer that is light or dark in color, with amber as the midpoint; and low or high in alcohol, with six percent being the midpoint. Breweries that hit a bullseye get a wild card and can select their own color and strength. The dart throw is held in January, giving the breweries plenty of time to determine their submission.

Portland’s Cheers to Belgian Beers takes place inside The North Warehouse as well as outside in the tented parking lot. Food is available from Urban German Grill and Monk’s Deli; Brewed Oregon will be selling Oregon craft beer gear and apparel. Street parking is available, but limited. Attendees are encouraged to take public transportation — the TriMet Bus Line 35 stops one block away and the Yellow Max Line stops two blocks away — or ride their bike, with complimentary bike parking available.

The festival is seeking volunteers, which receive a festival goblet, eight drink tickets, a t-shirt and free admission after their shift (an OLCC servers permit is not required to participate as a volunteer server at this event). To sign up, visit https://www.events-connect.com/ctbb/volunteer.

Cheers to Belgian Beers is produced by the Oregon Brewers Guild and sponsored by Boelter, Imperial Yeast, Country Malt Group, Great Western Malting, and the Portland Mercury  The event is for ages 21 and over. Follow @OregonCraftBeer on social media on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, #ctbb18.


About the Oregon Brewers Guild
The Oregon Brewers Guild is a non-profit organization whose mission is to promote the state’s craft brewing industry and the common interests of its members. Founded in 1992, the Oregon Brewers Guild is one of the nation’s oldest craft brewers associations. The Guild comprises 175 brewing companies, 125 associate/supplier members and more than 4,000 enthusiast members known as S.N.O.B.s (Supporters of Native Oregon Beer). To learn more, visit OregonCraftBeer.org.



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Ever since their first can launch back in August 2016, McMenamins has been routinely releasing both new beers and old favorites in 16 oz. cans.

Last month, the brewery launched Foggy Dew Irish-Style Lager and Terminator Stout in cans. Detailed descriptions of each beer below were provided by McMenamins.





Foggy Dew Irish-Style Lager

A few McMenamins Brewers found themselves working away to a traditional Irish tune, dreaming of black and tans. Inspired by the sounds of fiddle and fife, they crafted Foggy Dew - a crisp, straw-colored lager that's balanced, but low in hop bitterness. Whether this beer finds you for St. Patrick's Day or any day, we hope the wind is always at your back and may the sun shine warm upon your face.
  • Malts: Baird's Pilsen, Best Acidulated, Best Light Munich
  • Hops: Nugget, US Golding, Sterling



Terminator Stout

Black as the darkest night, rich as the most decadent dessert, Terminator is for the true stout lover. This is a full bodied and flavor packed ale which draws its robust complexity from kiln-baked specialty grains. Look for a wide array of toasted, chocolate, nutty and coffee-like flavors in every pint! The devoted swear by it, and it remains one of our top selling ales year after year.
  • Malts: Premium 2-row Malt, Munich Malt, 40L Crystal, and Black Barley 
  • Hops: Chinook and Cascade 



McMenamins sent me samples of the cans pictured above. They taste as good as they look!


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Fort George Brewery recently received label approval from the TTB (Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau) for the 2018 installment of their popular 3-Way IPA. What can we learn from this label? 

First, it's a collaboration between Fort George, Holy Mountain, and Modern Times. Second, it's an an unfiltered IPA that weighs in at 7.2% ABV.  While the label doesn't indicate, I expect it's a Hazy IPA. Last year's 3-Way (pictured below) was the first Hazy IPA I tasted, and I loved it! I expect this is more of a good thing.

If Fort George follows its typical release schedule for 3-Way, it should be available during the summer (June - September). I'll be looking forward to this one!

Fort George 2018 3-Way IPA Label


Fort George 2017 3-Way IPA


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Last year, The Bruery launched Offshoot Beer Co. The Bruery was never known for producing hoppy beers. That situation was finally resolved with Offshoot, which focuses solely on IPAs and its permutations.

While brewing hoppy beers is not unique, Offshoot's business model is. Until now, Offshoot's beers have been sold exclusively through the brewery, the Bruery's beer societies, and a direct to consumer interest list.

With the release of Relax [it’s just a hazy IPA]™, a new year-round release, Offshoot will make its beers available through craft beer stores throughout Southern California, Northern California, Washington, D.C., and Virginia. This small distribution footprint will enable the brewery to ship its beers cold and maximize their hoppy freshness.

Offshoot sent me a sample of Relax [it’s just a hazy IPA]™.  As you can see from the picture below, it's opaque. It looks like a glass of orange juice. Preferences vary, but this is what I want to see in a hazy IPA. The aroma is full of fragrant tropical fruit—I noticed guava and pineapple. In taste, citrus notes of grapefruit and mandarin orange are dominant. It’s light bodied and has a creamy smooth mouth feel. Overall bitterness is moderate and it finishes with lingering citrus notes.

If you like hazy IPAs or are looking to explore the style, this is one to try. For more details about Relax [it’s just a hazy IPA]™ or Offshoot’s other limited release IPAs, check out Offshoot's website.



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Relax - it’s just the first canned hazy IPA released from Offshoot Beer Co. outside of the brewery EVER!

ORANGE COUNTY, CA - Relax - it’s just a hazy IPA. But not just any IPA. This is the first year-round release from Offshoot™ Beer Co.

Starting this February, fresh 4-packs of Relax [it’s just a hazy IPA]™ will be rolling off the canning line and into craft beer stores throughout Southern California, Northern California, Washington, D.C., and Virginia. For the first time ever, cans from Offshoot Beer Co. will be available beyond the brewery.

Relax [it’s just a hazy IPA] embraces the new way to enjoy IPA - unfiltered, fresh and full of hop flavor and aromatics... without the bitterness to stand in the way of kicking back with a juicy beer. It features a combination of Citra, Centennial, Simcoe and Amarillo hops, imparting fruity, tropical and citrusy notes to complement the round, soft mouthfeel of a hazy IPA.

“Offshoot Beer Co. has allowed us to branch off in new directions, continue our passion for experimentation and explore the art of  developing hop-forward beers,” said Patrick Rue, founder of The Bruery and its hoppy offshoot, and one of just 16 individuals to earn the title of Master Cicerone®. “Now such a pursuit will be within arm’s reach for fans of independent craft beer from coast-to-coast looking to relax with a fresh can of hazy IPA any day of the week.”

Experimental and barrel-aged beers from The Bruery and sour and wild ales from Bruery Terreux are distributed in nearly 30 states. Relax [it’s just a hazy IPA] will cover a much smaller footprint to ensure cans are shipped cold and arrive in peak condition at fine purveyors of craft beer in select markets. 

Since the launch of Offshoot Beer Co. in April 2017, cans have been sold directly from the brewery and exclusively to members on its Interest List. The most exclusive members, those in the company’s Reserve Society and Hoarders Society, enjoy an ongoing discount and priority access to every can release from Offshoot Beer Co. To date, Offshoot Beer Co. has canned 20 different limited release hoppy beers - including hazy IPAs, double IPAs, triple IPAs and a cream IPA with fruit. One of the brewery’s first releases, Fashionably Late, was named the #2 IPA in America by Draft Magazine in 2017.

“After nearly a year of developing special releases, we couldn’t be more excited to dial in a fresh new beer that’s available year-round to even more fans,” added Rue. “If you’ve been wondering what it would taste like if The Bruery made a hazy IPA, this is it. You won’t find a more approachable and accessible 4-pack on the market.”

BEER DETAILS
Hops: Citra, Centennial, Simcoe, Amarillo
Malts: 2-row, oats
Yeast: London III
ABV: 6.8%
Availability: year-round (4-packs of 16-oz. cans and draft) in select markets

FIND FRESH BEER
Looking for fresh 4-packs of Relax [it’s just a hazy IPA]? Use the Beer Locator to find beers from The Bruery, Bruery Terreux and Offshoot Beer Co. Cans of this latest release will premiere at the Tasting Rooms at The Bruery and Bruery Terreux on Friday, February 2. It will also be offered to List members via offshootbeer.com for shipping within California through February 4. Relax [it’s just a hazy IPA] will begin its voyage to Northern California, Southern California and Washington, D.C. markets the week of February 5.

Join the Offshoot Beer Co. Interest List for additional information and access to the brewery’s limited release beers. New limited release beers from Offshoot Beer Co. will continue to be released monthly via offshootbeer.com to List members, and available to pick up in California and Washington, D.C., or ship within California.

Find @OffshootBeerCo on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.


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My home hop garden is off and running for the 2018 season! I'm always amazed by how quickly hop bines grow. The top row of the collage below shows how my Chinook plant progressed during the month of March. From left to right, you can see how it has grown. The last two pictures on my the bottom row show one of my Cascade plant's growth during late March. While most of my other varieties are doing well, I was surprised to see the Chinook (my champion of 2017), is off to a slow start this year.

Hop Plant growth during March

Although I'm happy with my results from the 2017 growing season, I did a fair amount of preparation last fall, which will hopefully lead to a better yield this year.

The first thing I did was let the bines dry out before cutting them down last fall. I read that this practice allows the plant to transfer additional energy to the root system. It seemed reasonable to me, so I cut down my bines in late October. As you can see in the picture below, they had turned yellow by that time.

Dried Hop Bines in October

The second thing I did was transplant most of my plants into bigger pots. Since I was going through the trouble, I decided to improve the soil at the same time. I purchased a yard of Super Grow Topsoil, which is a blend of sandy loam, garden compost, cow manure, mushroom compost, and horticultural pumice (pictured in my truck below).

Getting the plants out of their old pots was quite a challenge as the root systems had breached the drainage holes (also pictured below). With the help of tin snips and some careful maneuvering, I managed to get the roots out intact. I've read that during the plant's first year of grown, much of the growth is focused on root development. After transplanting, and seeing the roots, I can attest to this fact.

Time will tell if this work was worth the effort. In the meantime, I'm looking forward to another season of hop growing!

Top: Root systems of 1st year hop plants. 
Bottom: One yard of soil blend 


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