Wednesday, February 22

My Stop To The Festival Of Dark Arts

Fort George Brewery and Public House held the event on Saturday, the 18th right smack in Stout Month February.

"30+ stout beers, and... dark art show, tarot, psychic, music, pirates, tattoo, blacksmith forge, stout art, belly dancing, fire breathing, dark cuisine, exquisite corpses, fire dancing."

Astoria is a beautiful small town with a ton of history. Fort George Brewing has recently expanded and ramped up production, and opened a taproom in a building right next to the brewery building. Also some nice new tanks sat in the space.

The admission was free, and the nice glass tasting mug was $8 to purchase. Each tasting ticket was $1, and all the stouts took only one ticket.

I didn't get a chance to see all of the special events and entertainment, but I had a blast either way. My Sister and Brother In-Law live out there, so I always have a place to stay when I take the trip out which takes me only a little over an hour and a half from Vancouver, WA. I hope to perhaps move out there at some point as well depending on my work situations.

I would have to say that most all of the stouts were very good. I will go into my favorites a little bit here:

Lompoc Brewing's Black Dawn III had to be my favorite. It gets best of show from me. It's a coffee stout with a wonderful full flavor and perfect bitter balance. It ranks in at 7.2% ABV. More than 3 lbs. of coffee was used per barrel.

Brewers Union Local 180 out of Oakridge had a wonderful flagship cask stout. As with all of their beers, the stout wasn't super cold, and didn't come from anything but a cask. It had wonderful flavors, was smooth, creamy, and just all around tasty and unique. High marks. 6.2% ABV.

Natian Brewing brought Lumberjane which was a nice medium bodied tasty drinker. I had no idea until now that it is an 8.6% Imperial. To me it tasted lighter, and was very drinkable.

Hopworks of course brought Army Of Darkness, a bourbon-barrel aged stout that sat in the barrels for 9 months. This beer stole the show, and I am sure would take 1st place if there was a contest among all the drinkers there. Not for me. I prefer a stout that isn't bourbon-barrel aged. But, that doesn't mean that I didn't think this beer was still fantastic. It is way up there in a class of its own vs. what else there was for competition.

McMenamins Marlow's Heart whiskey barrel aged stout was quite nice. It was light on the whiskey and barrel flavors, but it complimented the stout very well. I am a fan of seeing standard ABV beers being aged in barrels. 6.7%

Fort George offered a Kentucky Tart Stout which isn't listed on the flyer. It is a Makers Mark barrel aged stout that picked up some tart flavors and what I think must have been some bugs. It wasn't mega-sour, but the tartness complimented the brew very well, and I actually liked it quite a bit. ABV unknown.

Silver Moon Brewing busted out Darkside Stout. Nice roasted chocolate notes, and a very solid stout. I really liked this one as I usually do with most beers from this brewer.

Deschutes Brewing brought their End Of The World Stout. It was a very good stout which I thought was a nice change from their flagship Obsidian. 6.4% ABV.

Good Life Brewing displayed their Pass Stout. It was solid, stood out above many others, but still has a little more work to hit the big dogs.

The rest kind of fell short for me, and are not really worthy of a mention. I take that back... any brewer showcasing something for a pretty killer fest is worth noting, but I am discussing my taste here, and letting you all know my favorites of the festival. Fort George had some Cavatica with different fruits added.. but it wasn't enough fruit in each. I hardly got any of the fruit flavors which was kind of upsetting.

Stouts have never been my favorite style of beer, but this festival certainly had me drinking a lot of stouts. After the festival, we went back to the pad, and I drank some Rogue John John Dead Guy, Rogue Imperial Red Ale, and some Sake'. Still woke up the next day feeling great. I wonder if working up to the fest a few days prior.. drinking each night.. had anything to do with it?

The entertainment was a little odd at times for me, but wasn't anything very unusual from what can normally be seen in Portland, or even on the streets of downtown Portland.

One of the pouring few, Kendra, gave me a little information on a new brewery which she is a part of in Seaside which will be called Seaside Brewing. A couple of brewers have left Rogue Brewing on good terms, and Rogue is even helping them out with the new setup, and are also using their own tanks to get some beers going for them. That is pretty stand-up of Rogue to be so kind. It will only be about 20 minutes away from Astoria.

I highly recommend a trip out to Astoria. It is a fantastic town. Read a little bit about her history, our wars, and the people of the land. It is truly wonderful. Lots of great people, and small businesses there that would love to see you. Rogue has a wonderful joint out there, Astoria Brewing with their Wet Dog Cafe, and of course Fort George Brewing.


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