February is here and this means that two of the year’s boldest month-long beer events are happening in Oregon – Fort George Brewery’s Stout Month and Block 15 Brewery’s Bourbon Month.
It is February, the shortest month of the year, but this year it is a little longer thanks to it being leap year. That means every four years an added day is tacked on to the end of the month to synchronize with the astronomical year. What does this mean specifically? Well, for beer lovers here it means one more day to enjoy two of the best month-long celebrations around. Fort George Brewery of Astoria is returning their much anticipated Stout Month. For the full month of February, the artisan brew house will pay homage to rich, roasted barley delight. Each year since 2007, this month-long event sees the brewery’s public house surprisingly more hopping than in some coastal summer months. To the appeasement of beer zealots, this year’s Stout Month at the Fort will be bigger and better than ever thanks to added space and an expanded brewery. There will be at least eight of their own stouts presented, and the pub and taproom will also showcase some regional breweries’ most limited specialty brews.
Several events highlight the dark and delicious at Fort George, and one highlight is certain to be the Festival of Dark Arts happening on February 18. This event will have the Northwest’s top stouts available for quaffing in the Fort George’s new production brewery, plus live entertainment including a tarot card reader, visual artists, fire dancers, tattoo artists, a live iron forge, and music.
“I’ve been to several beer festivals and they can become a little routine, so I wanted to make sure our stout fest would be entertaining, while also promoting local artists and tying in stout as another art form,” Fort George’s Jack Harris explains.
Harris and his business partner Chris Nemlowill say they have always wanted Stout Month to include a beer festival, and now with their new production brewery opening last spring, there is finally a spacious venue to do it.
“We’re working on getting an extremely eclectic range of stouts for the dark arts event, and it’s going to be a lot of fun to come and try these in a very unique environment,” Nemlowill says.
For a complete list of all the Stout Month goings on at Fort George, check out our previous link here.
The Spank Stout is back and better than ever! With plenty of caramel and honey malts fronting this beer plus roast and black barley forming the backbone, this brew is made to balance out the impending heat of four different types of peppers, namely Anaheims, Pasillas, Habaneros, and Jalapenos. We threw 30 lbs of peppers into the rolling boil to impart a well-balanced heat to this great brew. What starts off as a slight heat on the tip of your tongue soon turns into a roasting revelation to the taste buds. We hope you enjoy this very fun and sizzling stout! 5.1 % ABV
Vegetable lovers rejoice! Our new veggie stout has two, count ‘em, TWO types of delicious squash in it! Both butternut and acorn squash had their parts creating a truly unique beer. The squash (squish?) imparts a rich, buttery taste to soothe the taste buds into a creamy revelation that will make you realize “I want to be squashed out with this squash stout!” Honey and caramel malts complement the squash by giving it a smooth and sweet body and pleasing mouth feel. Challenger hops balance out the sweetness and impart a floral and spicy bitterness. 6.7% ABV
Polish’s Black Walnut Stout
Our lead production brewer, Michal, aka Polish, put five pounds of walnuts in the secondary ferment to give the beer a light nutty, woodsy taste. He then added one more pound of smoked walnuts in the bright tank for a smoky and roasty aroma. The body of this beer is light with a caramel smoothness that makes the savory walnuts come alive. This is a beer that makes you want to smoke a pipe next to a warm fireplace, wearing a velvet robe, while petting your black panther. 6.8% ABV
Viva La Stout
What does a revolution taste like? Smooth, creamy, and with a kick of cinnamon! Our Mexican Chocolate Stout starts off with a smooth chocolate taste and balanced body. The different chocolate malts give off not only a creamy dark roasted chocolate flavor, but also a bit of bitterness to help prepare you for the wonderful spices that come at the end. With cinnamon, vanilla, and almond spices blended in the chocolate that we put in the kettle and the bright tank, this potent brew is great to enjoy before or after the revolution. Enjoy this sweet yet spicy new stout from the Fort George and celebrate the revolution that is Stout Month. 7.6% ABV
An immense, bold, black as night, American stout beauty; Cavatica is no dry Irish anything. One sip and you’ll surely take notice of what you’re drinking. The name honors this brewer’s affinity with arachnia. Be forewarned, this beer will stain your clothes. This is Fort George’s house stout that has gained a reputation for being mighty and contagious among the locals. 8.8% ABV
Coffee Girl Stout
This year’s Coffee Girl is dry hopped with 5.5 lbs. of Ethiopian Yirgacheffe coffee roasted by the Columbia River Coffee Roasters. the beans impart a bit of a fruity taste along with hints of hazelnut, cream, and smooth caramel. This is a perfect blend for our Coffee Girl beer that has a strong roasted chocolate taste. This beer honors Zetty McKay, who hand-picks the coffee for our stout every year, making sure that the coffee is in the perfect condition to blend with our smooth, chocolatey stout. The beans sat and aged with the beer for a week, and in that time, the beans and brew evolved into something spectacular. A must try for coffee lovers. 9% ABV
Bourbon BBL Cavatica Stout
What could make our Cavatica Stout even better? Bourbon! We let our house stout sit in Maker’s Mark barrels for several months. There in the dark, bourbon-enriched barrel, our stout soaked up as much bourbon quality that it could before we sent it off to the bright tanks. With an up-front bourbon taste backed by our dark, malty stout, the Bourbon Barrel Cavatica is a deliciously potent brew that demands a taste. 9.1% ABV
Kentucky Tart Stout
We took our Coffee Girl Stout and put it into Makers Mark barrels with unique tart notes and let it sit. What came out of the barrels was…unnaturally delicious. Thick in body and strong in dark, roasted malts, this beer was perfect to try to harness the light tartness from the barrels. The sharp, tart taste is light and blends its complex fruit flavors incredibly well with the rich stout it saturated. That, combined with the upfront oak taste from the bourbon barrels and the unique coffee blend provided from the Astoria Coffee Company, makes this amazing beer nothing short of paradise. 9.3% ABV
Bourbon Month at Block 15
Stouts aren’t the only emboldened beer flavor that is toasting a month-long celebration in Oregon. In the Willamette Valley, Corvallis, Oregon’s Block 15 Brewery has declared February as Bourbon Month. For the third consecutive year, the popular artisan brewpub is teaming up with adjacent Les Caves Bier & Kitchen for 29 days of barrel-aged mayhem.
Kicking off on February 1, the release of Super Nebula, a massive stout aged in Buffalo Trace Whiskey barrels. Block 15 founder Nick Arzner says on his Brewers Brain blog “We brewed Super Nebula (for the third time), but several months earlier than the previous year. This extra time is just what we were looking for to give the beer an opportunity to mature. As we were happy with the previous vintages overall, we kept the grain and hop bill the same.” Arzner continues: “In December we tasted each barrel and began blending. At this time I went in search of the perfect cocoa nib. For those interested, my source is Chocolate Alchemy out of Eugene. This guy is as passionate about chocolate as I am about beer. Picking the correct nib is of extreme importance to the beer.”
Arzner chose Dominican Republic “Conacado” cocoa nibs for what he describes as their “luscious earthy, rum, and blackberry character.” The raw nibs were roasted in house and the finished product has been bottled and kegged. The result is, in Arzner’s words “one of the top 5 beers to ever come from our brewery, if not the top.” ‘Nuff said.
In addition to the bourbon barrel-aged brew, Block 15 will also make available some of the choicest straight up bourbons around. Collecting twelve bourbons over the past year (actually, they have collected 17 but are saving some for 2013). Arzners says “Many of these bourbons are rare and not available in the liquor stores. We also have a few special yearly blends, experimental rediscovered barrels, unique offerings, and a wheat whiskey. Bourbons will be presented in professional Glencairn whiskey tasting glass, your choice neat, with distilled water, or a distilled water ice cube. We also are mixing up classic bourbon cocktails.” You can check out our menu here.
Bourbon Barrel Matured Beers
On draught tapping February 1st.
Barley wine 50% matured in 10yr Old Rip Van Winkle bourbon barrels. After maturation we brew another barley wine in the fall to complement the barreled beer and blend the two together. 11%alc/vol
Specialty ale brewed to highlight the character of the bourbon barrels it is matured in. Brewed once a year with floor malted pale malts, European specialty malts, noble hops and English yeast. Matured in 20-year-old oak barrels from the Old Rip Van Winkle Distillery. The bourbon from these barrels was chosen for the infamous 20 year Pappy Van Winkle Family Reserve, contributing a complex character of oak, dark caramel, coconut, vanilla and matured bourbon. 11%alc/vol
Each year we mature Super Nebula, our Imperial version of Nebula Stout, in unique Bourbon casks before selecting an origin-specific cocoa nib to complement the blend. Every vintage is a unique blend, never to be duplicated. This 2011 vintage is matured in the rare rediscovered white oak Bourbon barrels managed by Buffalo Trace Distillery, dating 1989, 1991, & 1993. After blending, we then chose Dominican Republic “Conacado” cocoa nibs for their luscious earthy, rum, and Blackberry character. 11%
Grab your Block 15 bourbon passport to take notes on all of the fine bourbons and bourbon barrel beers. Those that complete the passport will receive a special bourbon month 2012 shirt and entry into a raffle.
Bottle Release! Saturday February 4th
Both Pappy’s Dark, 90 cases, and Super Nebula 60 cases. 750ml corked and caged, bottled conditioned. Pappy’s will sell for $14.95 limit of 4/person, Super Nebula $15.95 limit of 3/person. More in depth information to come on each beer next week.
Les Caves Bier & Kitchen Bottle Release Brunch
Join us for brunch, opening at 9am the day of the release! As with our last release, those at brunch will be able to avoid waiting in line for bottles and are guaranteed the full allotment. Both Pappy’s Dark & Super Nebula will be on tap along with a bottle list of bourbon barrel matured beers.
Portland Bottle Release at The Hop & Vine.
Saturday February 11th, 3pm.
Join us at the Hop & Vine for our official PDX Pappy’s Dark and Super Nebula release. Bottles of Pappy’s Dark and Super Nebula will be for sale along with a great Block 15 tap list. This will be the only place in Portland to Purchase Super Nebula bottles!
Bourbon Food Specials
Our food specials menu features items prepared with bourbon. Fried Oysters with bourbon dip, Bourbon glazed bacon burger, Bourbon Street Pasta, and Chocolate bourbon torte!
Les Caves Bier & Kitchen Bourbon Month
We are featuring Pappy Van Winkle 12 year bourbon and Buffalo Trace single barrel Block 15 brewer’s selection.
Enjoy a rotating bourbon barrel matured beer.
We have bulked up our list to include several bourbon barrel matured treats.
From our Kitchen enjoy daily specials cooked with the Kentucky nectar.
Monday February 20th (President’s Day) join us for a four course meal with bourbon as the star attraction. Each course will be cooked with bourbon, paired with bourbon, or paired with a bourbon barrel matured beer. Limited of 40 seats available. Menu, pricing, and reservation info to come shortly.