A new addition to the second year of Sabertooth MicroFest from McMenamins is the inaugural Blasphemous Brew Fest taking place at Lola’s Room inside the Crystal Ballroom from February 6 – 7. Sabertooth MicroFest is a three day psychedelic and stoner music packed weekend, taking place from February 5 – 7, 2016 at the Crystal Ballroom. Sabertooth celebrates the mind-altering experiences that started with mid-’60s folk, rock and blues. The 11 bands featured this year, including Super Furry Animals, Red Fang and Built to Spill; represent a wide range of psychedelic music styles and interpretations of the art form. Check out the full music lineup and details here.
For 2016, McMenamins decided to enhance Sabertooth MicroFest with a small-scale beer festival that pairs quite well with a music festival. On February 6 – 7, from 5:00 to 8:00pm the Blasphemous Brew Fest will showcase seven breweries with small batch beer styles as strange as each of the band’s music. Blasphemous Brew Fest will be held in Lola’s Room for those ages 21 and over. Sabertooth ticket holders can bring beers from the brew fest up to the Crystal Ballroom to watch the show.
“Sabertooth is a celebration of the Crystal’s history of hosting psychedelic music (and all its glorious off shoots), and as imbibing strange substances, challenging preconceptions, and being just generally anti-authority, we wanted all of those things to be reflected in Blasphemous,” states Drew Phillips, McMenamins Crystal Brewery’s head brewer.
This past Friday we were treated to sample seven of the offerings that will be a few of the beers available at Blasphemous. The complete beer list will not be unveiled until the festival itself. Phillips wants to bring back some of that excitement that beer festivals use to have when lists were not made public prior to the event.
The standout of the tasting was Ralph and Carpe Diem Manana from Ale Apothecary, Date Night from Cascade Brewing, and Oaken Tower from McMenamins Crystal Brewery. Here are some descriptions and tasting notes for seven of the beers that will be pouring at Blasphemous Brew Fest.
Ale Apothecary Ralph is an ale that’s brewed with white fir tips. It is then aged in pinot barrels. This beer was originally brewed for Ralph’s 70th birthday and was the brewery’s 100th batch.
Carpe Diem Manana is Paul Arney’s take on an IPA. Ale Apothecary uses only one hop in its beers that is grown at Goschie Family Farms in Silverton, OR. This hop is the Cascade Hop and Carpe Diem Manana is a nicely done hop forward tart beer at 8.8% ABV.
Breakside Brewery The Pathfinder is a dry hopped golden ale that was aged in a gin barrel that finishes at 8.7% ABV. This beer is perfect for one that is seeking out a very gin forward beer but does seem a bit warm and could use a bit more time to mellow out.
Cascade Brewing Date Night is a blend of spiced quad and spice imperial red that has been aged in both bourbon and red wine barrels on rum soaked Bahri dates at 10.5% ABV. A nice rum note covers your taste buds that are very interesting even for this non-rum drinker. Mark Goodwin formerly of McMenamins and now at Cascade artfully blended this beer for Blasphemous Brew Fest.
Crystal Brewery Oaken Tower is an oak aged wild fermented raspberry ginger beer at 8% ABV. Almost like sucking on a SweeTart, “It’s very dry, its very sour. If you’re a big sour lover, this one’s for you!” states Phillips.
Edgefield Brewery Black Rose is a year old French oak refermented Terminator Stout that has added wild and domestic yeasts at 6.97% ABV. This one offers up some nice dryness to this beer, definitely one to seek out. This beer was poured at McMenamins 23rd Avenue Bottle Shop grand opening. The fest will feature all of Edgefield’s barrel aged offerings.
A yet unnamed rare blend of barrel aged Rose and Four Play. This drier barrel aged blend is worth seeking out at the fest. Upright will also be serving its Imperial Stout.
To attend the Blasphemous Brew Fest entry is free, however tickets are required to attend Sabertooth upstairs in the ballroom. To sample beers at Blasphemous tokens will be necessary to receive the festival’s 4 oz. pours. Lola’s full bar will also be open serving its wide array of beverages. There will also be a DJ that will be spinning music inside Lola’s Room.
McMenamins Crystal Ballroom and Lola’s Room 1332 W. Burnside Portland, OR 97209
D.J. is a Portland, Oregon based writer that spent his formative years in the Midwest. With over 25 years under his belt of drinking beer at festivals across America and the world, he has developed a strong appreciation and understanding of craft beer and the industry that surrounds it. He can be found in any of the great breweries or beer bars that make Portland the best beer city in the world. His writing can also be found in the archives of Northwest Brewing News and can be followed on Twitter and Instagram at @hopapalooza.