July is undoubtedly the most festive month regarding beer in Oregon, as it is most other places in the Northern Hemisphere. The hot weather this week has beckoned us to indulge in the refreshing brewhas like no other time throughout the year. This week, the weekend started a bit early. The Oregon Brewers Guild Dinner kicked off the week of grand brews on Wednesday. We pulled an early shift in pouring to help out, and were reciprocated by receiving the t-shirt/glass/tickets to enjoy the latter half of the wonderful event. From the pouring end, it was great to see the pillars of the Oregon brewing community congregate to celebrate the freedoms that spawn creative and flavorsome brews unlike those from most anywhere else on the planet. Serving folks like Deschutes Brewmaster Larry Sidor, Fifty Fifty Brewmaster Todd Ashman, Beer Valley Brewmaster Pete Ricks, and Oakshire Brewmaster Matt Van Wyk. Pretty damn cool if you ask me. This who’s who event was pretty fun and the only down side of the pouring portion was people asking for samples without providing tickets. Still, it was a hoot. On the tasting end, the five tickets I received were redeemed for the following brews:
Double Mountain Red Pilsner, Wakonda Sneaker Wave Imperial Pilsner (I was fortunate enough to snag the last pour from this 1/6 barrel keg…very bold), Ram Big Horn Pauliny Pils (from Salem, very nice!), Upright Flora Rustica (some fool from Shelton Brothers import company said Upright was terrible…more reason to distrust importers), and Rogue’s Maierfest lager (very smooth and enjoyable).
On Thurdays, the early weekend proceeded with a stop at Bailey’s Taproom for a Chuckanut meet the brewer special event. Brewer Josh Pfriem and beer guru Jim Parker were on hand to talk beer and share some phenomenal German-style brews from the Bellingham brewery. On hand for the first time in Oregon was a Dunkel, a Marzen, a Kolsch, and a Helles. Chuckanut also had a Dortmunder on tap at the big fest (OBF) on the Waterfront. Legendary Rogue Brewmaster, John Maier was on hand at Baileys during the Chuckanut event. At this point it was obvious the OBF weekend was getting rolling.
On Friday, Hair of the Dog hosted a special open house event with their rich line-up of brews and a few specialties unavailable to the public until just recently. A Flanders Fred poured alongside a Bourbon-barrel aged Fred. The Bourbon Fred was definitely the buzz brew at this intimate gathering. 2008 Glen Hay Falconer scholarship winner Patrick Murphy tended the taps as a long line of beer geeks awaited samples of the highly sought after brews of Brewmaster Alan Sprints.
After Hair of the Dog, we journeyed over to Belmont Station for a nutsy (in a good way), event. Green Flash’s Brewmaster, Chuck Silva was on hand to share bottle and tap pours of his wonderfully floral hop-driven brews. Boulevard Brewing of Kansas CIty was at the station as well, with lots of delicious offerings, including the summery Single Wide Pale Ale. Carston Haney, head brewer of Alameda Brewing was also at Belmont Station talking about his new dank Imperial IPA, and it was reported that Rogue’s John Maier was at the beer depot earlier on this day. Wow! What a beer undertaking.
On Saturday we were attending a wedding of a dear friend in Vancouver, Washington, where BridgePort IPA flowed like water and the summer heatwave rolled on into the night. After the wedding, we paid a special visit to our friend David Nunez of By the Bottle, Southwest Washington’s premier bottled beer stop, and sampled some great summer beers before catching up with a Heaven and Hell blend involving a 2007 Dogfish Head 120 Minute IPA and their 2008 Worldwide Stout. Talk about bold!
On Sunday, we pretty much just chilled out (well, as much as we could with a window-AC unit) and made a quick stop at Upright Brewing’s new tasting room where we hung with our friends/brewers Alex Ganum/Gerritt Ill and caught up with McMenamin’s best brewer Corey Blodgett (now brewing at St. Francis School in Bend, Oregon) and his fiancee Anastasia. Upright will be bottling some of their Shelton Brothers-hated beers on Tuesday. Brewpublic will be there!
Concluding sunday, a visit to the Horse Brass was needed to sop up more of the phenomenal hoppy brew list of late. This included Astoria’s Bitter Bitch and Stone’s 13th Anniversary Imperial Red. So, as all the outtatowners head back to whereever they are from following this big brew weekend, we smile knowing it is just another day in Beervana. We some riders!