Saturday, July 30

2011 Puckerfest Recap

Puckerfest is an event held annually at Belmont Station in SE Portland, OR. This was my first opportunity to attend the event, and I am glad I did for at least three nights of it. Each night for the first 5 week days, a different brewer and flight of sours were available as well as other rare and sour beers.

The first night I attended which I think was Monday, Flat Tail Brewing was represented. Their line-up of sours were fantastic and I especially loved their 1st Anniversary sour (which is actually again on tap now as I write this). It was a wonderful 100% barrel fermented blonde which was then again rested over oak spirals. I didn't have the full Flat Tail flight of tasters. but I did manage to try two of them. The light and refreshing "Corvaller Weiss" was fantastic. A blended beer which wasn't over-the-top sour and perfect for a hot day.

I went back Tuesday and met the brewer and barrel man from Block 15 Brewing and did get a chance to enjoy their entire flight of sours. I will say that I was most impressed with this brewer out of the lot that I had tried.

The entire flight was nothing short of fantastic. I especially liked the 'Enchanted'.

"Inspired by Belgian Oud Bruins, though uniquely an American Wild. A deep silky brown ale Barrel aged in bourbon casks with Lactobacillus & Brettanomyces for 6-15 months"

The Golden Canary was another favorite of mine too. But the Ferme de la Ville, and Wonka's Wit was freakin' delicious too.. was very hard to pick a favorite. The flight was spread out just right too as most were very different from one another.

The brewer Nick Arzner was a very cool and dedicated guy. I loved the passion he had for his art, and of course had to let him know how much of a fanboy I had become since the entire flight of sours were the first beers I have had a chance to try from Block 15. I also met brewer/lead cellarman Matt Williams who also shared the love for the art, and was a very nice dude to talk with about beer.

I missed Wednesday which was Upright Brewing's night for their flight and 'meet the brewer' event. I had to work that night, but was fortunate enough to have talked to Alex Ganum. We pretty much discussed his beer and plans, as well as the other beer offerings at the fest. We discussed a little about his changes in yeast over the recent past. He was a gentleman and a man of great character. I was fortunate enough to still try a few Upright Brews throughout the Puckerfest since they were mixed in the list throughout the weeks event. Alex brewed up a special 14th Anniversary Belmont Station brew which I really liked and thought had the perfect dry gin touch.

"This is a special blend of four Upright beers, including three aged in Ransom Old Tom Gin barrels, two with brett and lacto and one with apricot puree!"

Also the following Thursday on the last day I made it (That was Double Mountain night), Upright's cellared 1st Anniversary beer was still on tap from the night before.

"This intense beer started out as Upright #4 before being poured into an Old Tom Gin barrel with apricots and wild yeast. There it transformed into a magical elixir that's full of skin fruit, wood, and herbal notes from the gin. This is a truly rare treat that we're overjoyed to have."

I loved them both. I had another from Upright, which I know I loved, but can't remember what it was. I know it wasn't a very sour brew, but was an aged Farmhouse as well. Maybe it was one of the above beers.. it's tough for me to remember at this point.

Friday, I enjoyed some Double Mountain Rainier Kriek. I loved the beer, and it was very different from their Devil's Kriek which is also a very stellar beer. I thought it was very cool to see the brewmaster, Matt Swihart, bring in some nice cherries as well and handed them out among those there to enjoy his fine creations. The beer is great, and I noticed that among all the other sours there, Double Mountains seemed to be up there much more in price. Heard the kegs were quite the pretty penny. They are worth it, but there comes a point where the hype machine needs to be shut down for maintenance.

One of my favorite, if not my favorite beer, was the last keg and tapping ever of BJ Pizza's 2007 Enfant Terrible, which was one of Laurelwood's current brewmaster Vasilios Gletsos beers from when he was a brewer there. It aged very well, and was the perfect sour for the fest.

"Returning for the fifth and most likely final time, Enfant Terrible is a golden-hued Belgian-style strong ale which was aged in freshly emptied Bourbon barrels and dosed with blend of lambic yeasts and other microorganisms. Vinegar, "skin fruit", and tart berry flavors wash over the palate on the way to a long, dry finish."

I loved the setup for flights, glasses, and pints. I also didn't mind that the bar was cash only. Belmont Station owner Carl Singmaster was out and about talking with most everybody, and being very courteous. It was a pleasure to be there for such a great event.. which for me I think puts most every other event to shame. Maybe that is because I really love sour beers.

I am sad that I hadn't been there for the other nights to try sours from other great brewers such as Big Horse Brewing and some of the imports. I'm also very sad that I didn't bring my regular camera, and talk more with the brewers. I was too busy drinking.


  1. Thanks for the write up Perry, Really enjoyed it. So many good beers to pucker up to!- Holly

  2. You're very welcome! Thank you! Can't wait til the next!