It’s true: summer is crawling to a close and fall is showing its crisp characteristics more with each shortening day. Before we cry in our beer however, let’s look on the bright side – the many festivities and seasonal beers that come with Oktoberfest. Of course, every season here in Beervana is filled with tasty ales, lagers, festivals and places for the Brewpublic to congregate – but hey, let’s celebrate some brew roots and great Bavarian traditions and contributions to our brewniverse (wow, another made up beer word – we really need to make a list of these) for a few more days before returning to our blissful, wet, little beer bubble.
Local brewery and public house favorite Laurelwood pays tribute to the Bavarian tradition each year with a liederhosen free event and the casual Portland vibe the brewery and restaurants represent so well. The 2008 Laurelfest featured two tasty new seasonals. The scene at their Public House and Brewery location was enjoyable enough – but the brews were the stars of the show (as they should be).
Laurelfest Lager – 5.2% Alcohol by Volume- 20 IBU
Description from Head Brewer Chad Kennedy: “In the great Bavarian tradition, this medium-bodied Oktoberfest beer is
made with German malt and hops. A rich amber lager, it features a malty aroma and flavor with noble hop balance. Celebrate the most famous of beer festivals with Laurelwood’s tribute to Oktoberfest.”
This was my favorite of the night. Crisp and smooth enough to be sessionable, but enough body and subtle flavors coming through to entice the pallatte. Not overly malty, perfect bitterness and just the right kiss of hops came through.
Hop Bale Pale – 6.2% ABV – 56 IBUs – O.G. 14.6 º Plato
Again, from the brewery: “This year we traveled to Mt. Angel and visited Annen Bros. Hop Farms. The farm was in the midst of harvesting Liberty hops. That morning, we brought back over 70 pounds of freshly-dried and wet hops. Less than two hours later, these hops were being used to create this uniquely fresh ale. This beer is our celebration of the year’s hop harvest.”
I predicted the Pale would follow the Lager well, but I should have tried them the other way around. I was prepared for the hops to be the dominant star of the show, but they were a more subtle supporting player in this light bodied pale ale – albeit a very tasty supporting player. Went down smooth and for those who don’t like stronger hoppiness of most IPAs this is great one to celebrate some fresh local hops.
The food, family friendly atmosphere and music were a fine supporting cast. The kids enjoyed coloring on the butcher paper covered extra tables that were set up in the back parking lot (so did the grownups). A band (whose name I should have found out) played some funky jazz fusion. The trio had great chops and jazzed up some good covers with improve and good grooves. Food specials were decent but not outstanding, but the service was excellent. Overall, a great way to spend a Saturday afternoon. Check out their website for news, brews, menus and more. Prost!