McMenamins 24th Annual Hillsdale Brewfest – Battle For The Belt

A taster tray from the 2016 Battle For The Belt at the annual Hillsdale Brewfest.

One of our favorite beer events during the winter is the annual Hillsdale Brewfest, aka Battle For The Belt, held each year at McMenamins Hillsdale Brewery & Public House in Southwest Portland. Yes, the original brewpub in modern day Oregon hosts this annual event where 22 one-off beers are produced from each of McMenamins 22 breweries within Oregon and Washington.

The 24th Annual Hillsdale Brewfest will take place on Saturday, February 25, 2017, from 11:00am until 1:00am. This annual event pits McMenamins head brewers against each other for a chance to win the coveted Hillsdale Brewfest Belt. Entry is free but each of the two sampler trays, each filled with eleven 4oz. samples costs $11.00 each.

At last year’s Battle For The Belt where 789 taster trays were served, Brewer Jesse Grover from McMenamins On The Columbia in Vancouver, Washington gathered the most points for a total of 406 points to win the 2016 Belt for its Cowabunga Radler. For each first place vote the beer received 3 points, 2 points for second place and 1 point for third place. Gover made history as the first Washington based McMenamins brewer that has won the Belt.

Jesse Grover of McMenamins On The Columbia (right), winner of the 2016 Battle For The Belt pictured alongside Matt Carver (center) and Dave Kosanke (left) from Kennedy School Concordia Brewery at 23rd Avenue Bottle Shop.

Want to find out who comes out on top during the 2017 Battle For the Belt? For the second consecutive year, the winner of the Brewfest will be announced Wednesday, March 1 at the McMenamins Bottle Shop on NW 23rd Ave from 3:00 to 5:00pm.

So who will win from this year’s beer offerings? Here’s a list of each of the 11 beers on each of the two taster trays that will be served on Saturday.


Panhard Bar Oatmeal Pale Ale
Oak Hills Brewery
Dan Black
Panhard Bar Oatmeal Pale Ale will keep you going straight down the road to flavor town. This is a light, easy- drinking pale with a nice oatmeal finish that’s complemented by the whole leaf Mosaic Hops, which provide floral and citrus flavors and aromas. Panhard is a light, golden brew with a white lacy head that will leave a trail in
your journey to emptiness.
Special: Dry-Hopped
Malts: Premium 2-Row, Northwest Pale, Rolled Oats
Hops: Mosaic
OG: 1.039 TG: 1.005 ABV: 4.39 IBU: 40 SRM: 3
“Where the pavement ends the fun begins.”

Baja Gold
Monroe Brewery
Gary Nance
South of the border where the temperature rarely drops below 70 degrees, a nice, crisp, flavorful beer hits the spot. Baja Gold is a great example of the beer I like to drink while visiting Baja. Golden in color with a moderate dose of hops, the jalapeno is placed in the keg and left to age for several weeks to provide additional spice character. Drink good beer my friends.
Special Ingredient: Fire-Roasted Jalapeno Pepper
Malts: 2-Row, Crystal 40
Hops: Chinook, Cascade
OG: 1.042 TG: 1.009 ABV: 4.34 IBU: 20 SRM: 4
“The sun can’t shine on one dog all the time.”

We Got So Much Belgian Yeast Belgian Pale Ale
Anderson School Brewery
Mark Harris, Mike Green
We’re not going to sugarcoat it. We got Belgian Yeast and we’re gonna use it… a lot. That’s how this works. Our production schedule is dictated by the yeast we choose to make the beer. So, let’s make a big ol’ beer to make this yeast happy, huh? “We Got So Much Belgian Yeast” is a big, strong Golden Belgian, made with light Pilsen Malts, a touch of bready Vienna, and Belgian candi sugar. This beer is balanced with by a bouquet of berry-like Mosaic, lemony Meridian and Citra Hops. Finally, our big, bad Belgian Yeast kicks out tons of banana and spicy clove to round it all out. You’ll like it. We promise.
Special Ingredient: Belgian Candi Sugar
Malts: Pilsen, Vienna
Hops: Meridian, Mosaic, Citra
OG: 1.063 TG: 1.010 ABV: 6.96 IBU: 40 SRM: 5
“How satisfying it is to mark on a blank surface. To make a map of my movement – No matter how temporary. “ –Craig Thompson

The Panichkul Herbal Pilsner
Thompson Brewery
Jen Kent
On occasion, we sit in the depth of our winters, searching for the inspiration of Spring. Blended over the body of a Lagered Pilsner, The Panichkul features fresh notes of ginger root and lemongrass. The palate is greeted by the snap of ginger, then moves on to crisp herbal notes. You won’t find many complex notes playing on the tongue, as this is a Pilsner afterall. Rather, you’ll find a crisp herbal beer. Delight in the sneak peek of springtime flavors.
Special Ingredients: Ginger Root and Lemongrass soaked in Lemon Vodka
Malts: Pros Pilsen, Canadian Malting Pils, Crystal 10
Hops: Chinook, Tettnanger
OG: 1.062 TG: 1.012 ABV: 6.46 IBU: 12 SRM: 5
“Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to get through this thing call life.” –Prince

Hillsdale IPA
Hillsdale Brewery
Tyler Newton
The Hillsdale IPA is hop forward, greeting your nose with the pungent, grassy aromas of Mosaic and Citra Hops. A simple grain bill keeps the beer light in color and body, as sweet malts were excluded to avoid overshadowing any hop flavors. Named to pay homage to the very first McMenamins Brewery, opened more than thirty years ago, this classic West Coast Style IPA is a nod to the gods of posterity. So, order a pint and raise a glass to both the best of what’s been and what will be!
Malts: Pilsen, Munich
Hops: Eukanot, Mosaic, Citra
OG: 1.062 TG: 1.010 ABV: 6.80 IBU: 75 SRM: 5
“The universe is transformation, life is opinion.” –Marcus Aurelius

Down The Line Double IPA
Crystal Brewery
Drew Phillips, Stephen Harper
This features piney and citrusy aromas that give way to flavors of tropical fruit, ripe orange, lemon and lime. We hope you enjoy it at the “Battle for the Belt” or any of our other historic locations.
Special Techniques: Dry-Hopped
Malts: Pilsen, Bonlander Munich, Flaked Barley, Crystal 60, Dextrapils
Hops: Simcoe, Mosaic, Citra, Cascade, Centennial
OG: 1.085 TG: 1.014 ABV: 9.16 IBU: 95 SRM: 8
“Guitars, Cadillacs, hillbilly music…the only things that keep me hangin’ on.” –Dwight Yoakam

Devils Lock Helles Bock
High Street Brewery
Hanns Anderson
The Helles Bock style has always been the misfit of the Bock family. After years of being confused with its twin brother Maibock, it’s now strong, bitter and angry. Malty and slightly hoppy aromas attack the nose, much like the perfect two-note power chord that assaults the ears and infects the mind with its frantic rhythm. High carbonation levels pop off the tongue in a vocal rage. A bittersweet taste with an alcohol-induced warmth lingers after ingestion, like the ringing in your ears post punk!
Malts: Pilsen, Vienna, Munich
Hops: Sterling, Citra, Meridian
OG: 1.067 TG: 1.017 ABV: 6.60 IBU: 32 SRM: 8
“Gonna have to get back to you, all my favorite phrases contain multiple F-Bombs.”

Speak Up IRA
Old St. Francis School Brewery
Mike “Curly” White
If you want change, the best thing to do is Speak Up! If you want something other than that run-of-the-mill IPA for your next beer experience, use your voice and ask for a Speak Up IRA! This India Red Ale has a deep red hue with a semisweet malty back bone that resides at the finish. The hops come in talking a big game. A floral aroma remnant of passionfruit is provided by dry-hopping and gets your tongue thinking good things. A balance of citrusy lemon and spicy, fruity hop character gives you a reason to talk. This brew will convince you to speak your mind and be merry. So speak up for yourself and make your next pint a Speak Up IRA!
Special Ingredients: Dry-Hopped with Simcoe, HBC 291
Malts: Baird’s Marris Otter Pale, Pilsen, Crystal Rye 70/80, Melanoidin, Caramel Munich 40
Hops: Simcoe, Citra, Brewer’s Gold, Centennial, HBC 291
OG: 1.069 TG: 1.016 ABV: 6.80 IBU: 82 SRM: 11
“Speak up or forever hold your pint!” –Curly, circa 2017

The Brown Wizard
Highland Brewery
Ryan Lund
This brew was a collaboration with local psych rockers Máscaras for the McMenamins Sabertooth Micro Fest. Highland Brewer Ryan spoke with drummer Papi about the band’s favorite Mexican Lagers (historically derived from traditional Vienna Lagers), and it was decided that a “Mexican Session Ale” would be a fitting complement to the high energy type of show that the band is known for. Amber in color, with a hint of malt sweetness and a gently spicy hop character, this thirst-quencher is named after guitarist Carlos’ showtime alter ego. As bassist Theo lays down the foundation, raise a glass and celebrate the confluence of beer and music!
Malts: Best Vienna, Flaked Corn, Caramel Vienna, Midnight Wheat
Hops: Tettnanger
OG: 1.044 TG: 1.005 ABV: 5.03 IBU: 20 SRM: 11
“Never let the bass drop.”

Holy Mole Brown Ale
West Linn Brewery
Jacob Willson
Chocolate? Chili peppers? Cinnamon? Hey, don’t you threaten me with a good time! This stuff is so good, you’ll want to eat it with a spoon…or just drink it. I would recommend you just drink it.
Special Ingredients: Chocolate, Cinnamon Sticks, Chili Peppers
Malts: Pale, Munich, Chocolate Malt, Roast, Crystal 120, Crystal 15
Hops: Chinook, US Goldings
OG: 1.051 TG: 1.014 ABV: 4.77 IBU: 14 SRM: 18
“I owe it all to little chocolate donuts.” –John Belushi

Chocolate Guayzelnut Imperial Porter
Wilsonville Brewery
Justin Azevedo
The inspiration for this beer is that heavenly nutty, chocolate delight: Nutella. The base beer is an Imperial Porter with just the right amount of sweetness and flavor. Guay Farms in Wilsonville graciously donated 40 pounds of hazelnuts, which we roasted for 20 minutes before adding to the kettle, along with a good amount of cocoa powder. The result is a wonderfully delicious liquid confection you’ll not be able to get enough of. It’s the tasty way to start your day and you don’t even need a knife or a spoon!
Special Ingredients: Guay Farms Hazelnut, Cocoa Powder
Malts: 2-Row, Pale, Flaked Barley, Victory, Crystal 40, Crystal 120, Chocolate Malt
Hops: Horizon, US Golding
OG: 1.085 TG: 1.017 ABV: 8.77 IBU: 20 SRM: 33
“You know an odd feeling? Sitting on the toilet eating a chocolate candy bar.” –George Carlin


Post Punk India Session Lager
John Barleycorns Brewery
Tim Proctor
If punk rock is the India Pale Ale of beers, this India Session Lager would be the post-punk genre of the early ‘80s. It has less raw edginess and is a little experimental. A light malt body, along with a clean lager yeast profile, is the perfect base for this hoppy treat. A full range of hop flavors from earthy citrus to tropical fruitiness combine with a lower alcohol percentage, making this the perfect beer for jamming to your favorite post-punk bands.
Malts: Best Pilsner, Best Munich, Best Acidulated
Hops: Cascade, Chinook, Mosaic
OG: 1.052 TG: 1.009 ABV: 5.50 IBU: 57 SRM: 3
“Disco’s Dead.”

Pomelo Gold
Fulton Brewery
Ryan Mott
The pomelo is a large citrus fruit that’s also known as Citrus Maxima. It’s the difficulty in getting at the flesh and juice of the Citrus Maxima that became the inspiration behind this uniquely refreshing Golden Ale. The natural tartness of this unusual fruit blends nicely with the subtle barley malt sweetness. The result is a citrusy, light- bodied libation that’s sure to please!
Fruit: Pomelo
Malts: 2-Row, Crystal 40
Hops: Cascade
OG: 1.044 TG: 1.009 ABV: 4.52 IBU: 20 SRM: 4
“Hey man, you’re probably over thinking the whole thing. Maybe just pom-mello out a bit and just let it be.” –Some Guy

Buy The Bushel
Lighthouse Brewery
Gary Stallings
This smooth-bodied Crème Ale pours a nice light color with a thick, creamy head. It’s well-balanced with delicious malt flavors and subtle hints of vanilla that enhance the creamy notes. The addition of apricots and Lactose give this ale a sweet, fruity cream flavor that will have you feeling like you’re sitting in the orchard.
Special Ingredients: Pure Vanilla, Lactose
Fruit: Apricot
Malts: Golden Promise, Wheat, Crystal 15, Rolled Oats
Hops: Cascade, US Golding
OG: 1.048 TG: 1.010 ABV: 4.90 IBU: 12 SRM: 4
“Drink now or forever hold your peace.”

SuperSonic Pale Ale
Queen Anne Brewery
Tom Furey
The SuperSonic is super special. It uses a blend of hops, but showcases the Idaho 7 Hop, which is new to the market. Once an experimental variety, this is hitting the brew world by storm. It sports subtle tropical flavors and aromas like guava and mango. This beer utilizes those flavors with light malts and a clean ferment to let the hops do the talking and slam dunking.
Malts: 2-Row, Vienna
Hops: Nugget, Idaho 7, Falconer’s Flight, Mosaic
OG: 1.056 TG: 1.010 ABV: 5.93 IBU: 48 SRM: 4
“Might as well, once you think about it.”

Sun Beacon Hefeweizen
McMenamins on the Columbia Brewery
Jesse Grover
The sun is a true beacon of hope and mindfulness. The Golden Promise and Munich Malts create a bready and full mouthfeel while keeping the beer light and crisp. The ginger adds a slight spiciness while the orange highlights the floral, sweet notes from the honey. Remember to follow the sun’s rays and good things will happen!
Special Ingredients: Ginger, Honey
Fruit: Orange
Malts: Golden Promise, White Wheat, Munich, Honey Malt, Acidulated
Hops: Tettnanger
OG: 1.048 TG: 1.008 ABV: 5.16 IBU: 28 SRM: 5
“Fear nothing but to waste the present moment.”

Last Exit IPA
Mill Creek Brewery
Brian Lawrence
Over the last few months, we’ve been exclusively making IPA batches at McMenamins’ northernmost outpost, Mill Creek. The goal has been to create the perfect house palate-pleaser for the regular customers! We believe this is the one. Amarillo and Citra Hops impart aromas of grapefruit, orange and tropical fruit that balances well with the medium body of this traditional Northwest IPA.
Malts: 2-Row, Vienna, Acidulated, Carastan 30/37
Hops: Chinook, Amarillo, Citra
OG: 1.060 TG: 1.007 ABV: 6.84 IBU: 72 SRM: 6
“One should always consider the prevailing weather conditions outdoors when deciding whether or not to wear a coat.” –Unknown

Whiskey Peach IPA
Cornelius Pass Roadhouse Brewery
Brady Romtvedt, Chris Oslin
We celebrated the latest bottling of Billy Whiskey by taking freshly emptied barrels and filling them with a dry- hopped IPA and 84 pounds of peach puree. Sweet Whiskey and ripe peach are present in the nose of this hazy brew. Sip and revel in the three-way dance of fruit, wood and hops. Finally, savor the long, refreshingly bitter finish that begs another taste.
Special Techniques: Aged in Fresh Billy Whiskey Barrels, Dry-Hopped
Fruit: Peach
Malts: 2-Row, Superior Pilsen
Hops: Centennial, Citra, Idaho 7
OG: 1.063 TG: 1.010 ABV: 6.84 IBU: 72 SRM: 6
“The democratic youth lives along day by day, gratifying the desire that occurs to him, at one time drinking and listening to the flute, at another downing water and reducing, now practicing gymnastic, and again idling and neglecting everything; and sometimes spending his time as though he were occupied in philosophy.” –Plato

Redrum Ale
East Vancouver Brewery
Tega Chijavadze
This brew is a delicious Red Ale with a malty palate up front and a nice light body. You’ll experience a hint of winter spice that’s balanced with a dry mouthfeel and a smooth finish. This beer spent some time with oak chips that were soaked in an herbal rum, which adds another layer of complexity.
Special Ingredients: Rum Soaked Oak
Malts: 2-Row, Crystal, Honey Malt, Blackprinz
Hops: Chinook, Amarillo
OG: 1.057 TG: 1.006 ABV: 6.60 IBU: 32 SRM: 15
“Enjoy the moment.”

Hibernator Doppelbock
Concordia Brewery
Dave Kosanke, Matt Carter
Just in time for cold weather and rainy days, we’re presenting you with our latest offering: Hibernator. Massive malt flavor and aroma shine throughout this dark, crisp Winter Lager. We used a German Lager Yeast strain and treated our water to capture the essence of Munich. Prost!
Malts: Best Pilsen, Special Aromatic, Light Munich, Dark Munich, Caramel Munich 60
Hops: Horizon, Tettnanger
OG: 1.076 TG: 1.022 ABV: 6.97 IBU: 25 SRM: 20
“24 hours in a day, 24 beers in a case. Coincidence?” — Steven Wright

Gimme Shelter Baltic Porter
Roseburg Station Brewery
Tom Johnson
“Oh, a storm is threatening
My very life today
If I don’t get some shelter
Oh yeah, I’m going to fade away.” – Keith Richards
Gimme Shelter is a Baltic Porter brewed in tribute to those who donate their time and efforts to help provide housing for those in need. Featuring a solid foundation of Munich Malts, a sturdy framework of Vienna Malt and trimmed with Blackprinz and Crystal Malts. It’s painted with Mosaic, Sterling and Ultra Hops and has full- bodied warmth to keep the cold and rain away. This smooth, dark, strong lager will satisfy your soul.
Malts: Best Vienna, Light Munich, Dark Munich, Bairds Crystal 135-165, Briess Blackprinz
Hops: Ultra, Sterling, Mosaic
OG: 1.079 TG: 1.020 ABV: 7.61 IBU: 25 SRM: 32
“Don’t believe the fake news!”

Lord of Misrule 2016
Edgefield Brewery
Nathan Whitney, Will Gaither, Mike Brady, Shane Kono
Appointing a Lord of Misrule, the official in charge of Christmas revelries and the Feast of Fools, is a holiday peasant tradition that can be traced back to Roman times. A new lord is elected every year, so must a new beer be brewed! This Imperial Stout, styled after Irish coffee, was brewed with lactose, dark sugar, cocoa nibs, aged in whiskey barrels eight months, and finished with vanilla beans and cold-brew coffee.
Special Techniques: Barrel-Aged
Special Ingredients: Lactose, Dark Sugar, Cocoa Nibs, Vanilla Bean, Cold-Brew Coffee
Malts: Optic, Flaked Barley, Kilned Coffee, Brown, Chocolate Malt, Roast
Hops: Chinook, Golding
OG: 1.092 TG: 1.022 ABV: 9.5 IBU: 30 SRM: 33
“The greatest lesson in life is to know that even fools are right sometimes.” –Horace

McMenamins Battle for the Belt at Hillsdale Brewpub & Public House.

May the best brewer come out on top and take home the coveted “Belt”!

Hillsdale Brewery & Public House
1505 S.W. Sunset Blvd.
Portland, OR 97239