On June 3rd I attended the 2nd Annual Pints in the Pearl on an overcast day in Portland’s Pearl District. This festival pays tribute to Portland’s original brewery blocks showcasing only breweries that are located in the Pearl District. Participating breweries included BridgePort Brewing, 10 Barrel Brewing, Back Pedal Brewing, Deschutes Brewery, and Fat Head’s Brewery.
In addition to beer, there were a number of foods vendors with staples like HotLips Pizza to Portland newcomer Holsteins Shakes and Buns.
The festival actually took place between NW Hoyt St and NW Davis St on NW 13th Ave. My friends and I decided to start at the Glisan Street Block with BridgePort Brewing being our first stop. Bridgeport Brewing’s beers included:
BRIDGEPORT MINT JULEP ALE – ABV: 9.5% • IBU’s: 15
This year’s Pints in the Pearl special brew from Bridgeport will be a brewer’s take on the classic Mint Julep. Traditionally a drink made with Bourbon, Mint and a little sugar, this brew aims to take the best of those three ingredients and present as a beer. We make a high-alcohol base (~9.5% ABV) with light hopping to create a malty, slightly sweet background beer. We then “dry-hop” the beer with a little oak to give some traditional vanilla/caramel flavors. We then finish the beer with some natural mint to make a bracing yet refreshing brewer’s version.
TINY HORSE PILSNER – ABV: 5.6% • IBU’s: 30
An ale brewery makes a classic Czech-Style Pilsner. We start with Great Western Malting’s Superior Pilsen malt. Then we add some Vienna malt for added biscuit-like malt character and finish with Carapils malt for some added mouthfeel. We then balance Sterling, Crystal, and Cascade hops carefully in the kettle for a solid yet very drinkable 30 BU’s. We finish with a healthy addition of Czech Saaz hops in the whirlpool and a light addition of Crystals in the hopjack. A smooth European Style pils using classic Pacific NW hops and malt.
MULTI-BALL DOUBLE IPA – ABV: 8.25% • IBU’s: 85-90
Designed as a “classic” west coast style monster hop double IPA, this beer starts with a malt base of 2-row Pale with about 7% Cara-Crystal Malt (a Crystal Wheat malt) for some caramel notes and a rich amber color. We will then add about 5% Honey Malt for some extra body and smooth mouthfeel. Then we get to go nuts with hops: In the kettle we will use Bravos, Citra, Cascades, and Sterling for big blast of the veterans of the west coast brewing scene. We will follow with more hops in the Hopjack: Centennial, Chinook, Crystal and Cascade. Then we finish with a huge dose of Cascade hops for a ton of aroma.
I went for a pint of the Tiny Horse Pilsner, a beer that I have wanted to try for a while. This hopped up pilsner was a good way to start the day.
Across from Bridgeport a handcrafted Smores cart called Nineteen27 S’mores called my friend and his daughter’s attention. The messy, but delicious treat is artfully crafted with flavorful handmade grahams, marshmallows, and spreads.
Each block is like its own separate, but related party. Expect food, beer, and merchants at each block. Unfortunately, only prints are sold and you cannot leave your block with any beer.
The next block to check out was Flanders Street to see what Deschutes Brewery had to offer.
Their tap list included:
PEARL’S PLACE KOLSCH – ABV: 5% • IBU’s: 40
If you’re looking for light, crisp and refreshing…you found it. Citrus notes from Mandarina Bavaria hops effervesce through the pilsner and wheat malt of this traditional german style ale.
PASSION FRUIT IPA – ABV: 6.8% • IBU’s: 65
We bring you an IPA brewed with love, heart and PASSION…fruit. Juicy citrus aroma and flavor highlighted by tropical hop character and background caramel malt notes.
AMERICAN WHEAT ALE – ABV: 5.0% • IBU’s: 25
Originally brewed in small batches at our pubs, this crowd-pleasing American-style ale delivers a tempting citrus aroma and light wheat character.
My beer of choice was the Pearl’s Place Kolsch. The beer was crisp and refreshing though I prefer a traditional Kolsch.
The NW Everette block was our next adventure with beers from 10 Barrel Brewing and Fat Head’s Brewery.
10 Barrel Brewing tap list:
KEY LIME PIE SOUR – ABV: 5.5% • IBU’s: 10
A creamy, tangy, zesty taste of the keys brewed in collaboration with Ezra Johnson-Greenough of The New School. Key Lime Pie is a tropical citrus-forward American sour with the addition of milk sugar, fresh key limes, and crushed vanilla bean.
OUT OF OFFICE – ABV 5.6% • IBU’s 28
We brewed an all grain pilsner and then dry hopped it with a bunch of Comet and Citrus hops creating a light, crisp lager with amazing hop flavor and aroma. You just found your new hoppy session beer!
1411 NW IPA – ABV 6.5% • IBU’s 60
A refreshing, tropical, fruity We brewed an all grain pilsner and then dry hopped it with a bunch of Comet and Citrus hops creating a light, crisp lager with amazing hop flavor and aroma. You just found your new hoppy session beer!
BOISE 150 – ABV 5% • IBU’s 22
Not quite a traditional blonde, but not quite a golden, the crisp Boise blonde is light bodied enough to be your everyday go to with a smooth blend of hops to keep things interesting. Clean, light and easy drinking.
Although I did not have any 10 Barrel Beers at the event, recently I had their Key Lime Pie Sour beer that was available at the Fruit Beer Festival this past weekend.
I decided to head to Fat Head’s. It was time for something hoppy. After trying both the Vantastic IPA and the Experimental IBUsive, the latter one. Though to be fair their regular Ibusive will never disappoint, so I knew I would be biased towards it.
EXPERIMENTAL IBUSIVE – 7.6% ABV • 79 IBU
IBUSIVE with HBC 438 Experimental Hops:
A Simcoe and Citra hop punch that we decided to get Dry Hop with HBC 438 (Hops don’t get their name until they are fully commercially available). HBC 438 has been described as peachy stone fruit, tropical pineapple, and lime with herbal notes of cedar and coconut; exceptionally distinct and pleasant.
BLOODY JULIUS – 6.9% ABV • 70 IBU
Do you like IPA’s? Do you like Blood Oranges? Well, here you go!
VANTASTIC IPA – 6.8% ABV • 70 IBU
West Coast style IPA with citrusy, tropical and piney flavors.
GOGGLE FOGGER HEFEWEIZEN – 5.4% • 12 IBU
Light aromas of wheat, bubblegum, clove and spice.
As we headed back to NW Hoyt I noticed the event started to get busier. Along the way you could find people enjoying a meal at a picnic table or sipping on a beer while playing bags.
The final brewery of the day was Back Pedal Brewing who was serving their beer out of River’s Pigs portable beer truck. Beers from Back Pedal included:
KUMULUS – ABV: 5.8% • IBU’s: 55
Back Pedal Brewing & Fat Heads Collab – Hazy Wheat IPA. A Juicy and lightly spicy IPA loaded with Mandarina Bavaria, Mosaic, and Citra hops. Taking inspiration from German wheat beers, we used 50% wheat and spiked the whirlpool with German Chamomile and a hint of mouth tingling Szechuan Peppercorns. A collaboration between Back Pedal Brewing and Fat Head’s Brewing.
ABACAXI – ABV: 5.1% • IBU’s: 20
Uh-baka-shi (Portuguese for Pineapple) – A fruity play on American Hefeweizen, a style pioneered by our neighbors across the river at Widmer. The malt for this beer is over 50% German Wheat for a very soft and quaffable finish. A large dose of Pineapple dances with Amarillo hops, which double down on the tropical vibes.
CASPARUS – ABV: 8.2% • IBU’s: 26
Belgian Dark Mocha Ale – Layers of chocolate flavor from Belgian dark candi syrup, chocolate malt, cocoa nibs, cocoa powder, and Roseline Coffee’s single origin Peruvian Ayabamba coffee. A tribute to Chocolatier Casparus van Houten and the world of chocolate treats he unlocked after inventing the technique for making cocoa powder.
TROPIC THUNDER – ABV: 6.5% • IBU’s: 66
We used 100% real grapefruit purée in this dry and crisp IPA, which is hopped aggressively with Mosiac and Amarillo for a tropical blast. Brewed with a touch of wheat and fresh lemongrass for an extra bit of fruity sweetness.
Here I tried one of my favorite beers of the festival, their Kumulus Hazy Wheat IPA. This collaboration with Fat Head’s provided a unique twist on the popular Hazy IPA category. The Szechuan peppercorns slightly enhance the chamomiles flavor.
Across from Back Pedal Brewing we listened to the Garcia Birthday Band own interpretation of Grateful Dead songs.
Pints in the Pearl is a unique experience where NW 13th Ave turns into a giant beer themed party with locally made beer, food and a variety of music to keep you entertained.
Kerry Finsand is an Oregon native and has been a fan of craft beer for many years. He helped co-found Taplister and continues to be intrigued by technology and how it can assist in growing craft beer. He also assists with PDX Beer Week and organizes the annual Rye Beer Fest that is a fundraiser for local charities. When not drinking craft beer he enjoys attending sporting events and getting outdoors to explore all that the Pacific Northwest has to offer. Later this year Kerry will launch a new website, BeerHeard.com. Kerry can be followed on Twiter at @kfinsand.