Monday, August 27

Widmer Brothers Brewing Oktoberfest

"This year marks our 8th annual Oktoberfest block party, an event that draws more than 5,000 beer enthusiasts and is the largest Oktoberfest celebration in Portland. This year, we’re extending the festivities over two days! The festival features a variety of craft beers, German-style food, accordion players, and live music throughout the day.

A souvenir stein is required for consuming beer. Attendees can also bring steins from previous years to the event. All beer and food is purchased with tokens, which cost $1 each. Patrons pay six tokens for a souvenir stein, five tokens for a full stein of beer and food items are $1-$6.

Widmer Brothers Oktoberfest will be held at the brewery: 929 N. Russell Street in Portland"

September 7th - September 8th

Gates Open: 9/7 07:00 pm  9/8 1:00 pm

Widmer Brothers Resurrects Okto Festive Ale

PORTLAND, Ore. – With summertime winding down, Widmer Brothers Brewing is bringing back its salute to Bavaria’s Oktoberfest. OKTO Festival Ale, available now through October, is an ideal brew to enjoy as the lingering hot days of summer give way to a slight autumn chill creeping into the air.

We’ve been brewing OKTO Festival Ale for 26 years, and there is a reason that it’s a seasonal favorite: it’s the perfect beer for the transition from summer to fall,” said Rob Widmer, co-founder of Widmer Brothers Brewing, “Inspired by the festivities and brews of Bavaria’s Oktoberfest, OKTO is an easy-drinking, full-bodied beer with distinctive flavors and a crisp, clean finish.

OKTO Festival Ale has a sweet, malty flavor, and Alchemy and Willamette hops add mild bitterness. The brew’s subtle, floral and spicy hop tones are complemented by a mild fruity ester character, and the beer finishes crisp and clean on the palate. Considered one of the brewery’s favorite seasonal ales, OKTO Festival Ale is brewed for a short time each year and is available in limited quantities on draught and in six-packs at select retailers.

Ingredients and Profile:
• Malts: Pale, Carapils, Crystal 77-L, Caramunich II
• Hops: Alchemy, Willamette
• Original Gravity: 13.5
• Apparent Gravity: 3.75
• IBU: 28
• ABV: 5.3%
• Color: 25 SRM

MashFest Summer 2012 ReCap

I was blessed to receive this invitation only event which was held at Mint Tea in Uptown Vancouver. Bader Beer & Wine supply sponsored the event and many of the proceeds went to Share which is a group that helps the hungry and homeless.

Mint Tea ended up being the perfect spot for the event, and was just about at capacity. Tables with the beers, snacks, and homebrewer's were set up outside as well as inside upstairs in various rooms of the establishment. (For those that haven't been to Mint Tea, it is a house converted into a wonderful dining experience).

The event started at 4 pm and I didn't show until about 6 pm. It ran until 8 and then some. There were over 15 brews to sample, and wonderful inexpensive plates of food for the crowd. The ticket price was $16 and that covered everything beer related. A small glass sample glass was provided along with a wrist band. There were no tokens for the beer, it was a "drink-it-all-up" kind of event. I for one don't think tokens should need to be purchased on top of an already existing admission price for any beer festival. Kudos for that!

The pamphlet that was provided listed all the homebrewer's and their beers, and the spots were numbered. This event was a vote to see who topped the rest as favorites. A favorite, Natalie Metzger seemed to have overwhelmingly won the crowd over with her Shanghaied Summer Ale. Patrick Edenfield showed with a light drinking Summer Mead that was a hit as well. Justin Ford arrived with a Dopplebock that was as well a crowd favorite. A favorite of mine as well was the Shanghaied Summer Ale, which was a Lemongrass-Ginger Pale. Right next to her at the table was another favorite of mine, the Trois Wanton Women of Wheat Lemongrass Wit from Janet Honeychurch Blair. It was a pleasantly balanced with made with orange zests, coriander, lemongrass, and other specialty ingredients. The best IPA in the group I feel was Matt Malone's Sleeper Lifter IPA, a Citra hopped robust IPA. Worthy of mentioning was a nice whiskey and woody Irish red ale which was smooth, tasty, and unique from Steve Howard.

The votes were cast, and I was enjoying my dinner of a nice chicken sausage stuffed with herbs and cheese, fried potatoes, and cole slaw. Prizes were provided by Bader Beer & Wine Supply, By the Bottle, Mint Tea, Vancouver Pizza, and Mt. Tabor Brewing. The grand prize was a nice hydro-flask growler from Mt. Tabor brewing that would be filled w/ any Mt. Tabor beer upon their arrival to the taproom. Following were fantastic tasting and pint giveaway's coupled with pizza for 2 from By the Bottle and so on.

If other local Vancouver Homebrewer's were interested in such an event, one should contact Bader Beer & Wine Supply for information. A Spring MashFest for 2013 is planned for late February or Early March.

Saturday, August 25

Vancouver, WA Is Booming With Wine & Beer

My wonderful lady friend and I discovered some fantastic spots in Up Town Vancouver recently. Well, we have known of them for awhile, and they are some favorites, but maybe others don't know of them.

North of downtown Vancouver (Known as Uptown) is home to many small businesses which focus on local goods and services. All are very connected with their local community and business network.

We first hit up Fouresse, a local small business that specializes in infused balsamics, olive oils, and also has wonderful varieties of sea salts, loose leaf teas, and soup mixes. I am one for some fancy cooking and wine/beer pairing, and this is a great place to start. I use only olive oil primarily when cooking with oils and/or butters...  and this place was like a candy store to a young sugar-hungry kid to me. Seriously quality stuff, and you can taste just about everything in there.

After that, we hit up Mint Tea, which is a wonderful coffee/tea/food/atmosphere kind of joint for an art show and free wine tasting. The art was that of Abby Harris, and some wonderful new talent was present for music. An angel of a girl just graduating High School soon sang like a classic soul artist and blew everyone away in the place. Mint Tea's food is amazing and of the best local, pure, organic quality and is prepared with great care. The art displayed was wonderful, and I believe it was liked so much that more than a couple were sold. It was a lovely evening, and the wine tasting from Columbia Gorge Winery/ Klickitat was stellar. This wine is all organic, and actually fermented in oak barrels. I will go into the oaks and spears later with the tasting at Gouger Cellars Winery. The wine was delicious and Hanna was very friendly in explaining the processes and knew very well what was up. I like that in someone who is serving a product. I look forward to the Mash Fest Homebrew event tomorrow at Mint Tea.

Then came a Winery that I have heard many great things about, and learned previously that Gary Gouger is one of the better wine makers around. He knows his science, and achieved a degree in wine making from Australia, and he as well holds many other achievements. A smart, intuitive, and gracious man for sure. He kept the tasting room open an hour longer than planned for our stay along with other patrons. He was happy to share his education, his art, passion, and science in the art of wine making. The wine I had there was among the best I have ever had, and I immediately became a club member and plan on obtaining a lot of wine from Gouger' Cellars Winery.

Gary Gouger plans on moving his production facility to Ridgefield, WA and move the tasting room to Uptown Vancouver on Main St. This is a brilliant move and his wine is so amazing that I think he can do whatever he wants really. A true master at his craft...  I can't explain enough and am certainly no master myself, but as I have taken a dive into reds and other wines lately...  I have found his to be just my taste as it is his. Get there and seriously try the wine. Talk to Gary. You will not experience such a thing, and the current site won't be around for much longer as the expansion will take place.

Also be sure to check out another fantastic new winery and cellar, Burnt Bridge Cellars in Vancouver as well. Vancouver is popping with new breweries and wineries with the likes of Mt. Tabor Brewing, Loowit Brewing, Heathen Brewing and more. Salmon Creek Brewery and Pub has re-opened right next door to the famous By The Bottle, and Washougal and Camas are home now to new breweries and bottle shops. A Beer At A Time is a fantastic bottle shop and taproom in Washougal with near future plans to open Beacon Rock Brewery. Washougal Brewing is in the works as well while Amnesia Brewing completes the finishing touches to their production facility and tasting room in Washougal. Things are happening around here, and I think it is wonderful. I really love being in the heart of an up and coming community of small business owners working so hard, wearing their fingers down to the bone to create such an amazing culture of creativity, friendliness, and craft. All you have to do is Google the names to get more info. A lot of establishments are using Facebook now to promote.

I am just loving the experiences and people here in Vancouver since I have moved up here from Portland a couple of years ago. The great people and hard working business owners have taught me a lot, and I want to continue learning and experiencing the business, hardships, and great fun Vancouver/Camas/Washougal has to offer.

I would like to reassure people that this blog is strictly a non-monetary venture. It's a hobby of mine, and I thoroughly enjoy the art, the craft, the people, and the beer. That's it! I want to help promote local business and good people. That in itself is fulfilling and makes me happy. I will continue to spread the good word. This has all been very educational for me, and a big part of this blog has been the experiences for me. Thanks to all those that play fair, and are kind to their neighbor. That's where it's at.

Come to Vancouver, and experience this entirely new variety of brews and wines. You won't meet better people anywhere else.

Wednesday, August 22

Elysian Brewings Pumpkin Madness

Elysian to Release Pumpkin Variety Packs 

Long known as the most maniacal of the brewers of the Pumpkin Revolution, Elysian Brewing of Seattle plans to release variety four-packs of 22-oz bottles of four different pumpkin beers. Beers that have only seen limited release before will be available in scary abundance in stores throughout the Northwest, as well as in Elysian's East Coast markets. Release date is set for mid-September.

Leading the group will be Night Owl, Elysian's flagship pumpkin ale, orangey-copper and lightly hopped, with over seven pounds of pumpkin per barrel and a spice mix of ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and allspice. A duo of GABF and World Beer Cup winners accompanies: Dark o' the Moon, a sturdy pumpkin stout spiced with cinnamon (GABF® Silver 2010, Field Beer), and The Great Pumpkin, the world's first Imperial Pumpkin Ale, weighing in at 8% abv and spiced with nutmeg, cinnamon, allspice and cloves (GABF® Silver 2007, Fruit and Vegetable Beer, and World Beer Cup Bronze 2012, Field Beer). Never before seen in bottles will be Hansel & Gretel Ginger Pumpkin Pilsner, a crisp and zesty offering bearing a label reminiscent of Fin de Siecle Vienna. 

First brewed in colonial America as an alternative to beers made with expensive imported English malt, pumpkin beers have become an autumn mainstay among craft brewers. Each October Elysian hosts The Great Pumpkin Beer Festival at its South Seattle brewery, offering over fifty different pumpkin beers from across the country and overseas, and tapping The Great Pumpkin itself, beer re-fermented and conditioned in a giant pumpkin. The brewers of Elysian have, over the years, brewed over two dozen different pumpkin beers. This fall brings another first-the first all-pumpkin variety pack.


  -Dick Cantwell

NIGHT OWL PUMPKIN ALE - Our Flagship Pumpkin Beer 

Now Available in SIX PACKS

Night Owl was first brewed at our small Gameworks system in 1998.  It all started with a single four-barrel batch, which proved enough to supply the Capitol Hill pub for about a week.  We decided to brew another couple of batches the following year to meet what we thought demand to be.  This year we'll brew more than three thousand barrels of Nightowl and use a total of around 27,000 pounds of pumpkin and 1200 pounds of pumpkin seeds!

Night Owl is brewed with over 7 lbs. of pumpkin per barrel and includes seven different malt varieties, green and roasted pumpkin seeds, and pumpkin in the mash, boil and fermenter. Bittered with Magnum hops and spiced in conditioning with nutmeg, clove, cinnamon, ginger and allspice. 
5.9% ABV.

Draft, 22oz bottles and 12oz - Six Packs



The Great Pumpkin was the silver medalist at the 2007 Great American Beer Festival® in the Fruit and Vegetable category and was also the world's first Imperial pumpkin ale. Brewed with Pale, Munich, Cara-Hell, Cara-Vienne, Cara-Munich and Crisp 45° L Crystal malts. Roasted pumpkin seeds in the mash, and extra pumpkin added in the mash, kettle and fermenter. Spiced with cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and allspice. 8% ABV.

Limited Draft and 22oz Bottles
Available :: SEPT - NOV 2012




A perennial favorite, Dark o' the Moon is brewed with Great Western pale, Crisp 77° Crystal, Munich, Cara-Vienne, roasted, chocolate and Special B malts with roasted pumpkin seeds in the mash.  Pumpkin in the mash, kettle and fermenter. Bittered with Magnum and finished with Saaz and crushed cinnamon. 6.5% ABV

GABF® Silver 2010, Field Beer
Limited Draft and 22oz Bottles
Available :: SEPT-NOV 2012



Brewed with organic pale, Weyermann Munich and Cara-Hell malts, with pumpkin added in the mash, kettle and fermenter. Spiced with fresh ginger and hopped with lots of Czech Saaz hops 4.5% ABV
Exclusively available in Pumpkin Patch Four Pack

Available :: Mid SEPT - NOV 2012


For the first time ever, Elysian is offering a Specialty Four Pack of our most acclaimed autumn pumpkin beers!

Each Pumpkin Patch contains:

1-22oz Night Owl Pumpkin Ale
1-22oz Great Pumpkin Imperial Pumpkin Ale
1-22oz Dark o' the Moon Pumpkin Stout
1-22oz Hansel & Gretel Ginger Pumpkin Pilsner 

Very Limited Availability 
Available :: Mid SEPT - NOV 2012

Saturday, August 18

Beer Review: Southern Oregon Brewing Big Rack Imperial IPA

I don't have a lot of information on this brew other than the fact that I saw it, and bought it tonight. My favorite beer from this brewer to date is a barrel aged barleywine which has been hard to find ever since I had it some years ago. Let's give this Big Rack a snuggle...

Appearance: (3.0)
- Pours a very dark molasses brown and is rather clear. It's pretty darn dark for a pale. I think a pale usually means it's pale in color. It has a nice finger of off-white head and settles to a thin layer covering most all of the beer, and leaves a nice bit of lace and ring in the glass. Dark though..

Smell: (3.0)
- To me this must be an English style brew. The aroma is light, masked, and really consists of some bready and wheat-like malts. I get a lot of aromas that are much like a German dark malt as well. The hops are not really in the ticket as far as aroma other than maybe some bitter grassy earth. Interesting.

Taste: (3.5)
- Sweet bready dark malts with a flare of esters and tobacco. It's actually rather darn tasty, but to call this an imperial IPA is blasphemy. It's high in esters, fruit notes, and a bitter grassy hop. It's the farthest thing from a west coast style IPA, but more a German or English malt forward representation. It's good, solid, and a nice international strong ale. Brewed here of course...

Mouth Feel: (3.5)
- It creates a nice full body with a chewy and cloying feel. Overall the bittering hops do dry it up a bit, and truly balances the sweet stickiness that could exist. The flavors left behind of the malts are very nice, and there is nothing to say this beer doesn't feel very good.

Overall: (3.5)
- If they called this beer an imperial ESB, it would have achieved a much higher score. I was expecting an IPA, and got a nice strong bitter malt-forward ale which does in fact have a wonderful flavor, it is clean, and drinks very well. I like to judge on style though. If an imperial ESB or strong ale, this might just get a near 4/5 from me. But as a double IPA?

3.38/5  rDev 0%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5
( Rating Scale)

Friday, August 17

Beer Review MacTarnahan's Noble Scot (Fall Seasonal)

"A limited edition Scottish ale with notes of toast and caramel, Noble Scot is full-bodied and sweet with a subtle smokiness."

Malts: Pale, Smoked Malt, Carapils, Roast Barley, Melanoidin
Hops: Northern Brewer, East Kent Goldings, Willamette
Bitternes: 25 IBU
Alcohol By Volume: 6.5%
Availability: August - September


Appearance: (3.0)
- Nice clear dark tea-colored brew. Minimal off-white head which quickly settles to a scattered trace above the brew, and a small ring stuck to the glass. Quite simple really, and nothing spectacular.

Smell: (3.5)
- Certainly a good amount of esters in the aroma. Tart esters with a touch of cherry, fig, and sweet tangy malts. A little more fruit-like than I like, but expected from a Scottish style which isn't a Wee Heavy. Not much in the hop department other than maybe an earthy and grassy touch to balance.

Taste: (3.0)
- Nice smooth malts, light sweetness, a touch of brown sugar and/or molasses, little bit of a biscuit touch with a light crisp taste of early boil bitter grassy hop. Overall a well balanced and simple dark beer. Hits the style, but not much about it stands out in flavor.

Mouth Feel: (3.0)
- This is where it gets a bit tricky for me. I don't much care for a beer of a different style or origin being brewed with a simple house ale yeast. This just has the feel of a pale ale. It's rather light to medium bodied, bubble like a soda pop pale, but does have a nice hop induced chewiness to it that is favorable. I would prefer a thick head and perhaps some more aroma coming from it.

Overall: (3.0)
- Can't say I am too impressed. This beer has "played safe" all over it. I would like more robust flavors and aromas..  perhaps a little smoke and roast. Carbonation should be a little more above the usual house pale ale yeast, and i want some lingering flavors in my mouth. This is just a bit too simple and safe.

3.1/5  rDev 0%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3
( Rating Scale)

Tuesday, August 14

Announcing The 2012 Great Pumpkin Beer Festival

As ridiculous as pumpkin beers can sometimes seem, the folks at Elysian Brewing Co. take them very seriously. This year's Great Pumpkin Beer Festival, on October 19 and 20, will showcase around 60 different beers made with pumpkin by local brewers, brewers from around the country, and this year from Canada and Norway as well.  Elysian alone will contribute 13 different pumpkin beers, some of them of multiple vintage.  The 8th annual GPBF will also feature the tapping of the giant pumpkin cask, which in itself has become a Seattle autumn tradition.

Elysian's seriousness about the pumpkin has made the papers, both in the mainstream and in beer publications such as Beer Advocate, which placed three Elysian offerings in its top 20 Pumpkin Beers.  Leading the way was The Great Pumpkin.  This year Elysian will bring back such favorites as Hansel & Gretel Ginger Pumpkin Pilsner, Dark o' the Moon Pumpkin Stout and Coche de Medianoche, made with pumpkin seeds, cinnamon, cumin and chilies.  In addition, new pumpkin beers will be unveiled, such as Gourdfather, a pumpkin barley wine, an Indian-spice-themed beer yet to be named, and "something with plums," according to Dick Cantwell, Elysian's Head Brewer.
A theme of pumpkin brewing collaboration has emerged over the past few years, bringing brewers from elsewhere forward with ideas for beers they'd like to brew for GPBF, as well as joint projects between Elysian's brewers and New Belgium, Stone, The Bruery, Lost Abbey, Beau's All Natural and Ninkasi breweries.  All of these beers will be available at this year's fest, along with Sour Pumpkin from Russian River, La Parcela from Michigan's Jolly Pumpkin, Punk Rauchen smoked pumpkin beer from Silver City Brewing, and Ghoulschip from Allagash Brewing in Portland, Maine, spontaneously fermented on Halloween Night 2008 in their famous coolship.

This year's fest will mark the second year being held at Elysian's new production brewery on Airport Way in Seattle's Georgetown neighborhood.  Crowds will be able to stretch out as they sample beers from several serving areas, and then to convene in the center of everything as the 200-pound-plus Great Pumpkin is tapped and this year's offering flows until it's gone.  If precedent is any help in determining how long that is, it should last about ten minutes.  Tickets to GPBF will be available in Elysian pubs and Full Throttle Bottles beginning Friday, August 17, and online at Brown Paper Tickets beginning August 24.  -TICKET DETAILS BELOW-

-Dick Cantwell 

Questions: Contact


The 8th Annual Great Pumpkin Beer Festival pfest2011tapping3
Session 1 :: Friday OCT. 19, 4pm-10pm
Session 2 :: Saturday OCT. 20, 11am-4pm
Session 3 :: Saturday OCT. 20, 5pm-10pm
Tickets $25 - Souvenir Glass + 6 Drink Tickets
Additional Drink Tickets for purchase at Event
21+ Event // Check ID 

ON SALE PUBS 8/17 at all Elysian pubs (Elysian Capitol Hill, Tangletown and Fields) as well as a limited number at Full Throttle Bottles
ON SALE ONLINE 8/24 at Brown Paper Tickets


We will continue to update festival information on our website :
Questions: Contact

MacTarnahan's Scottish Ale Festival Benefitting Friendly House

Sep. 8th

2730 NW 21st Ave. Portland, OR

Widmer Brothers Brewing Releases Old Embalmer '12

Barleywine Ale Is Third Release in Alchemy Project Series of Craft Beers Brewed for Cellaring

PORTLAND, Ore. – August 14, 2012 Widmer Brothers Brewing has released Old Embalmer ’12, a barleywine style ale, the third offering in the brewery’s Alchemy Project. The Alchemy Project is a series of three bold, vintage-dated beers that can be enjoyed immediately or cellared to improve with age. Widmer Brothers will release limited quantities of each Alchemy Project beer every year.

Like all Alchemy Project beers, Widmer Brothers will brew Old Embalmer each year; however for this beer, the brewery will feature a different hop varietal in each vintage. Old Embalmer ‘12 features Bravo hops, a varietal is from Oregon’s Willamette Valley. The Bravo hop was chosen for its fruit forward flavors that will balance the beer’s strong malt bill.

“Old Embalmer Barleywine Ale is great upon release, but – true to its name – we found that it will also cellar exceptionally well,” said brewer Doug Rehberg. “This year’s beer was brewed with copious amounts of malts, and features Bravo hops, which provide earthy, fruity and floral qualities for a brilliant balance and velvety finish. We are excited to be bottling and labeling it as part of our Alchemy Project series and hope other beer lovers enjoy it too.”

Widmer Brothers first brewed Old Embalmer in 1999. At that time, Widmer Brothers’ brewer Doug Rehberg, who was interested in crafting a unique iteration of the style for the brewery, spearheaded the project to create Old Embalmer. Throughout the years, the brewery has offered the Old Embalmer barleywine at its Gasthaus pub in Portland, Ore. and discovered its age-worthy potential.

Old Embalmer ’12 will be available in 22-ounce bottles and 1/6 barrels beginning July 30.

About Old Embalmer ’12

Tasting Notes
·         Big, malty character
·         Notes of toffee, vanilla and sweet caramel
·         Robust body
·         Pleasant floral and herbal Bravo hop quality

·         Malts: 2 Row Pale, Caramel 60L
·         Hops: Alchemy for bittering, Bravo for aroma

·         Original Gravity: 21.5 P
·         Apparent Extract: 4 P
·         IBU: 75
·         ABV: 10.2%
·         Color: 23 SRM

About the Alchemy Project
In late 2011, Widmer Brothers Brewing launched the Alchemy Project, a new series of high-end, bold, vintage-dated beers that are brewed for cellaring. Like fine wine, Alchemy Project beers can be enjoyed immediately, but the process of cellaring and aging these beers contributes to enhanced flavor profiles and complexities as the beers evolve with time. This series showcases that evolution. 

The Alchemy Project will include three specialty craft beers each year. Each will be released in limited quantities, and the same three beers will be released every year. The series was launched with the release of Barrel Aged Brrrbon ’11 last year, a follow-up to Barrel Aged Brrrbon ’10, which was initially released as part of the Widmer Brothers Brothers’ Reserve Series. Raspberry Russian Imperial Stout was the second Alchemy Project release, and Old Embalmer ’12 is the third.

Beer Review: Bridgeport Brewing Witch Hunt Spiced Harvest Ale

"A spiced harvest ale with rich caramel color, unique dry-hop character and subtle hints of caramel and nutmeg."


The first this year of my Fall ale reviews...  Bridgeport will be releasing some new brews and I especially look forward to one that will be out in about a month following this.

Appearance: (3.0)
- Dark molasses brown, very clear, and very low carbonation. A quick fizzling head of off-white leaves but a trace over the brew, and a tiny ring in the glass. Fitting though for the style..  to a point.

Smell: (4.0)
- Nice sweet caramel and molasses notes with a nice earthy and grassy hop character. The cinnamon and nutmeg shine through just perfectly. Seems like a drinker to me.

Taste: (3.5)
- Nice caramel and light toffee flavors and certainly a grassy and earthy hop flare with a nice zesty little bite. The cinnamon and nutmeg play very well with the rest of the ingredients, creating a very nicely balanced, and tasty brew. Certainly worth the try.

Mouth Feel: (3.5)
- Medium to light bodied, bubbly carbonation, and a little chewy and drying..  a touch cloying really. Not bad, and the hops certainly do dry this number up a little.

Overall: (3.5)
- This is a solid above average Fall seasonal. It doesn't really bang in any particular category, it just is what it is...  a solid tasty drinkable seasonal brew.

3.58/5  rDev 0%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5
( Rating Scale)

Sunday, August 12

Why Yes, Salmon Creek Brewpub Has Re-Opened

Many may know that Salmon Creek Brewpub here in downtown Vancouver had closed its doors a couple of months ago or so. That was because it has been taken over with an entire re-decorating, new menu, and new house beer selection with a well known local brewer who is a master at what he does.

There was a soft opening last week, and if you had attended the Vancouver Brew Fest recently, you may have very likely tried either their Extra Pale Ale, or latest Red Ale (IRA). Both beers are great, and I especially love the Porter and Saison as well at the pub.

The place overall looks wonderful. The floor, paint, and bar look amazing, and there will be a continual selection of beer added with many guest taps, and house brews. A cask engine is evident, and many more beers are on the horizon.

The food is wonderful pub grub, and the joint is deep-fryer free. Great salads, appetizers, and burgers all made with fresh local ingredients. I am working my way down the menu, and haven't hit anything yet that made me even think the word average.

Many may know Salmon Creeks wonderful Vancouver history. It has been a tradition, a mark, a place everyone knew about and enjoyed. Pop in and enjoy its refreshed atmosphere, brews and menu, and look forward to what they will be offering. It is truly one of the best beer hotspots right next door to an already hit of a beer joint By The Bottle.

Also check out the killer metal art work and fabrication done with the lighting and coat rack. Amazing stuff. The staff is great, the food is great, and the beers just keep flowing! Get in there!

Salmon Creek Brewpub (Right Next Door To By The Bottle)
108 W Evergreen Blvd, Vancouver, WA 98660

Thursday, August 9

Beer Review: Left Coast Brewing Trestles IPA

"Trestles is in the style of an American IPA. 2-row malt and imported light crystal malt create the nice color and clean finish.  We use CTZ and Chinook hops in this beer following it up with a dry hop of Chinook and Centennial in the fermenter bringing out a citrus aroma.  Trestles IPA is light bodied, clean and pleasantly hoppy." 6.8% abv 92 i.b.u.


I have had this already once before and loved it, but was not in a situation where I could sit down and do a review. Here it goes. I already know it is a must have...

Appearance: (4.0)
- Pours a rather clear straw yellow to very light copper color. Foamy fingers of white fluffy head settle quickly to a thin pillow with foamy lace about the glass. Certainly a solid looking IPA.

Smell: (4.0)
- Wonderful grassy, citrus, and fruity hops with a wonderful pine resin aroma. A subtle and yet smooth smelling bready malt with light sweetness. Just what I like. Little bit of a grainy caramel backbone.

Taste: (4.0)
- Bready and biscuit-like malt with just a touch of caramel and light esters with a great fruity and grassy hop. Certainly some pine and earthy hops going on, and all very well balanced without being overly big on caramel malt.

Mouth Feel: (4.5)
- Great chewy attributes with a nice drying touch from the big bitterness. It's a medium bodied brew with almost the perfect consistency and carbonation. Certainly a winner.

Overall: (4.0)
- This IPA fits my taste almost to the "T". It's not one of those big grainy caramel bombs, but yet a well balanced, bready west-coast style IPA's that I love. The bitterness is high, and has just the right aroma hops to compliment. Go get it, you will not be disappointed.

4.05/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4
( Rating Scale)

Tuesday, August 7

Beer Review: Ice Harbor IPA

"This strong IPA is a hop lover's dream. The smooth but intense bitterness comes mostly from Columbus and Northern Brewer hops. Late addition Cascade hops and dry hopping with Cascade and Amarillo hops help give this beer a complex character and aroma. This IPA is delicately balanced with a medium maltiness that compliments without detracting from your hoppy experience."

Color: Golden
Aroma: Malty, hoppy
Body: Medium
Taste: Malty with assertive bitterness
Style: American India Pale Ale
Malts: 2-Row, 15L crystal, carapils
Hops: Columubs, Northern Brewer, Cascade, Carapils
Bitterness: 65 IBUs
Alcohol: 7.5%
Original Gravity: 1.073


Appearance: (4.0)
-  Pours a very lightly cloudy straw yellow and copper zesty orange..  like a west coast number. Not much head, but sits nicely with scattered foam and a bit of a ring of lace. Overall simple, and not a lively overcarbonated drinking bomb.

Smell: (3.0)
- Lovely grain aroma, slight roasty touch with a caramel back, and more bready malt and biscuit. The hops fair well, but don't show any face in the aroma. Slight grassy and herbal aromas maybe. 

Taste: (3.5)
-  Lovely biscuit and fruity yeast/malt base with a grassy and herbal bitter flare. Lovely malt notes without being overly sweet and sugar-like. Lots of bready base malt, and a lot of balance. Taste is quite good.

Mouth Feel: (4.0)
-  This is a nicely carbonated brew with a chewy medium body. It is only a touch dry, but makes the tongue work a little, and demands another taste. Really well put together feel. The balance makes it creamy, and just right. 

Overall: (3.5)
-  The beer is brewed super well, it looks perfect almost, and has just that. The hop profile is just a tad short for me...  maybe not the bittering hops, but the aroma. This should be dry-hopped with a dose of Amarillo... or what they used in the boil. Solid feel, very nice to drink, and balanced...  just a little more bready malt-forward for me..  and I like bready malt!

3.48/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5
( Rating Scale) 

Sunday, August 5

Beer Review: Burnside Brewing Oatmeal Pale Ale

"Burnside Oatmeal Pale Ale is brewed using copious amounts of Crystal, Galena, & Fuggle hop varietals. This is a clean dry Pale Ale with low bitterness and lots of hop flavor. We have chosen to add 75 pounds of locally rolled oats to increase body and give our Pale a sweet creamy finish"
 abv:5.6% ibu:44

Appearance: (4.0)
-  Pours a nice copper clear ale with a robust beige light white head...  big retention and thick head settles to yet a thin solid pillow of creamy foam and lace about the glass. Certainly pretty, and shows signs of excellent yeast activity.

Smell: (4.5)
- Wonderful fresh herbal and grassy bitter hop aromas with a balancing bready character from the oats, and a zesty hop pine essence. Balanced caramel sweetness compliments the perfect hop additions..  truly a nice smelling beer.

Taste: (3.0)
- Good enough to bottle. That is what I say anyway. The caramel and pine and bitter hop represents well, and this is truly a nice pale...  though a touch robust in flavor, and it seems perhaps pulled a touch early. It does show some aceto-like traits of high esters and cider-like tartness. However, it is tasty yet, and to be had fresh as possible. Balance is king, and it's early boil bitterness is unmatched.

Mouth Feel: (3.5)
- Solid medium body and is very well carbonated, almost too much so...  though it makes the beer look stellar. Bit drying from the bitter hops which is wonderful, and only a touch chewy and cloying.

Overall: (3.0)
- This beer is pretty, and is made with what seems like great ingredients. It is balanced, nicely bittered, and sits in a glass perfectly for a nice amount of time. There are some off flavors however that equate to tartness from an early pull, or ester-like aceto in the mix. If that wasn't present, this would be up there with the likes of Fort George's Sunrise..  though for me, that is a hard oatmeal pale to beat.

3.4/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3
( Rating Scale)


Saturday, August 4

Beer Review: Elysian Brewing Wasteland Elderflower Saison

Part of the "12 Beers Of The Apocalypse" Series.. #6 to be exact. I have loved the releases of so many different beers which have also just started to be distributed to areas up here in Vancouver, WA.

Not much to find about this one, but I will put up a live review as I am tasting it right now! (1:44 am 8/4/2012)

Appearance: (2.5)
- Pours a clear copper with a quick fizzling off-white head. Light white ring sitting with scattered dust over the brew. This just doesn't look like a Saison, or a wasteland for that matter....  but a brew that tried to hit the style with a house yeast. Don't mean to slam it, but it is what it is.

Smell: (3.0)
- Nice clean herbal aroma. Floral, grassy, and rather bready with the clove-like yeast of a Belgian. Though a Saison is a French strain... the smell isn't even close to what I have come to expect from the style. Odd...

Taste: (3.0)
- Lovely herbal and floral flavors with a nice grassy and earthy hop touch. A light touch. But it isn't a Saison by any means. To me this is an herb infused floral American Amber with some American hops, and some stuff thrown in. It tasted very good, and is crisp and lemon-like... but why call it a Saison?

Mouth Feel: (3.5)
- Bubble typical British Ale yeast-like pale...  it's a tad cloying, and even has hints of chewiness...  but the flavors leave a little film over the palate. Quite drinkable, and goes down well...  but the flavors make it a nurser.

Overall: (2.5)
- Seems the series has continually gone downhill. I might even get disrespect for being so critical, but in that I find a grassroots beer-blog is most beneficial. If one is to call a beer a Saison...  make it a Saison! Simple. This beer is an amber-forward Pale Ale infused with herbs and floral essences..  and I am not impressed. Perhaps thrown in just to make the numbers? Don't get me wrong, I am a huge fan of Elysian, and have been drinking their beers as long as it has been distributed to Portland..  but for the series..  this has hit the bottom. Not a Saison.

2.93/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5
( Rating Scale)

Friday, August 3

Beer Review: Full Sail Brewing Berliner Weiss (Brewers Share)

Beer information here:


I have learned to really dig this classic and light wheat-style beer in the last couple of years or so. I especially like the really funky and slightly tart ones. Let's see if this Full Sail Brew hit a home run with this one. It took me a while to finally sit down and review this one.

Appearance: (3.5)
- Pours a light clear straw yellow brew with a very light finger of white head that has quickly settled to a medium sized sticky ring of lace, and a light dusting sitting over the brew. Overall a bit average. Not cloudy at all.

Smell: (3.0)
- This brew has a big Full Sail signature grainy brew aroma. Very bready, light cinnamon, biscuit, light grassy hop, and overall smells kind of like their pale ale. Perhaps brewed with the house yeast?

Taste: (4.0)
- At least the taste makes up for the aroma. This is actually a nice light drinking, light bittered, and rather perfectly 'tarted' Berliner Weisse. The aroma is reminiscent of their pale ale, but the flavor kind of turns the other way. A nice drinker for sure, and a nice hit for the summer. Wish I could get a 12-pack of cans like this for about $12. That's me just dreaming though.

Mouth Feel: (3.5)
- It's a bubbly light bodied drinker, and perhaps just a touch too bubbly for my taste and for my favorites of this style. It's a tiny bit drying because it seems to be a little more hopped than the like, and a little chewy even. Not bad.

Overall: (3.5)
- It's a solid beer for sure, and I like the tartness to it. It's not soured by any means, but contains that nice lemon-like zingy flare with a nice grainy wheat edge. Good representation of the style, though I would love to see it unfiltered and ready for a dash of syrup perhaps?

3.63/5  rDev +4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5
( Rating Scale)

Lagunitas Brewing Presents Skunk Train

This just overall looks wicked and awesome all rolled up in a....

Outside Magazine Names Full Sail Brewing As One Of America's Best Places To Work In 2012

Hood River, Oregon, August 2, 2012: Full Sail Brewing Company today was named to Outside Magazine’s fifth annual “Best Places to Work” list. Full Sail Brewing Company was ranked No. 55 out of 100 selected companies. Profiles of the top-thirty-performing small, medium, and large companies will be published in the September issue of Outside magazine, available on newsstands August 14, 2012. The full list of 100 will be available on August 2nd here.

Outside’s “Best Places to Work” project celebrates the innovative companies setting a new standard for a healthy work-life balance. The list was compiled with the help of the Outdoor Industry Association and Best Companies Group. The yearlong selection process began with an outreach effort that identified a wide range of non-profit and for-profit organizations with at least 15 employees working in an office in the United States. Participating companies were sent confidential employee-satisfaction surveys and employer-questionnaires to collect information about benefits, compensation, policies, job satisfaction, environmental initiatives, and community outreach programs. The experts at the Best Companies Group then analyzed the results and selected the companies that best enable employees to pursue active lifestyles while also supporting their social and environmental contributions.

In past years, Outside has highlighted 50 outstanding companies. This year, Best Companies Group determined that there were so many top-quality applicants that the list needed to be expanded. Outside editors agreed, and doubled the size of the list.

“We know we are incredibly fortunate to live and work in a place as amazing as Hood River. The mountains surround us and the Columbia River is just right next to our brewery. We are always grateful for the spectacular views that frame our days. We live in one of nature’s most amazing playgrounds, with sailing, biking, snowboarding, hiking everywhere you look. On top of all this we are actually lucky enough to be making some world class beers for a living. Thank you Outside Magazine for acknowledging what all of us employee owners know – Full Sail is a great place to work,” said Irene Firmat, Full Sail’s Founder and CEO.

“We’re thrilled to celebrate all 100 of these forward-thinking companies,” says Michael Roberts, Senior Executive Editor of Outside. “They believe success depends on helping their employees live more active and fulfilling lives. The kinds of benefits they’re providing—free fitness classes, flexible hours, subsidized healthy meals, lots of time out of the office—result in a more productive and engaged staff.”