Weekend in Review: Celebration Times

Wow! And what a weekend it was. I can always gauge how great the weekend was by how difficult Monday is. And let me tell, you, this past weekend was terrific!

Friday started with a trip to the world famous Belmont Station, where the company of good friends and great beer makes for unparalleled quaffing pleasure.

An obvious choice for the old gullet at the station was the Barley Brown’s Brown Ale, a malt-driven yet rather hoppy, robust American brown that simply hit the spot. Thanks to the barkeepers Paul and Garreth, I was fortunate enough to snag samples of the Lang Creek Cherry Porter and Cascade Belgian Porter. The Cherry Porter was nice as a sample, but the intense cherry juice zap to it was probably more than I could stand for a whole glass. The Cascade Belgian Porter was, as the description said, intriguing and not really like a typical porter. It has a nice phenolic snap to it. So there you have it, zap and snap. A lot of browns and porters on this night and I was ecstatic. Before my train left the Station, I opted for a glass of the intensely hopped Oskar Blues Gordon. With a killer hops presence and floral grapefruity nose, this beer was the best option for my unbruised palate. While at Belmont Station, we also ran into my friend Alex Ganum of Upright Brewing. Alex said things at Upright are great and the first brews are nearly complete. A burn on his arm indicated to us that he has been busting butt to get his new brews in shape for consumption. Can’t wait to try those.

On a side note, I happened to look across the street from Belmont Station at the sign in front of church on Stark Street, and to my amazement, guess who was performing?

Could it be? Would Eddie be there, too?

After Belmont Station, we went to meet up with the real Gordon at the Horse Brass Pub. On this fine evening, the Brass was celebrating the release of the 2009 Sasquatch Legacy Project beer release. This year’s model was a hearty Belgian-style IPA.

According to the Horse Brass:

The first critiques of this unusual brew have been very positive,so come enjoy the rich flavor and spicy

El Gordo
El Gordo

complexity of this special beer brewed by last year’s scholarship recipients:
Vasili Gletsos of Rock Bottom Brewery and Patrick Miller a member of the Oregon Brew Crew. Brewing was hosted by Bob Craig of Walking Man Brewing, who organized all aspects of this project. Belgian IPA: A mix of European and domestic hops were selected for a spicier hop character. Drier and higher in alcohol than an usual NW IPA with a very mild malt body,for a clean, softer bitterness and an earthy body. Proceeds from this event will go to benefit the Glen Hay Falconer Foundation’s Brewing Education Program.

Bob Craig and friends
Bob Craig and friends

This particular brew was very interesting. If I didn’t know it was called a Belgian IPA, I might not have known it to be Belgian or an India Pale. It was of a deep murky orange-amber hue and the flavor was very bold and a little harsh; definitely not the kind of beer I would ordinarily opt for in an imperial pint glass. Still, it was tasty and the event was one of a kind to honor a one of a kind guy in Glen Falconer.

Here’s a few pictures from the Horse Brass:

After the Horse Brass, our Friday evening was concluded. But there was still a lot more weekend to be enjoyed.

Saturday evening brought a great party at Widmer Bros to celebrate their 25 years of craft brewing. Beer stations were set up throughout the brewery and various Widmer brews, including three special high octane treats, were  offered. An herbal KGB Imperial Stout, a malty Doppelbock, and a special ’84/’09 Double Alt were offered as well as other Widmer mainstay handles like the Drifter Pale and the American Hefeweizen. Widmer also presented a wonderful spread of food and featured live music of 80’s cover band The Breakfast Club, who obliged requests from the crowd. The long lines moves quickly and were a testament to the efficiency of Widmer. Everything was well handled and it was overall a spectacular presentation. In addition to this boisterous happening, the Portland Trailblazers on this night were enjoying their first playoff game in six years. The neighborhood surrounding Widmer, in my estimation, was livelier than ever before. It’s too bad the Blazers got their butts handed to them in their game, but this wonderful event surely made up for that. Thank you to the Bros for this grand event!

Later on Saturday night, we paid a visit to our friend Joe and his cat Bodhi. Bodhi was celebrating her 18th birthday and for this evening, Joe, a phenomenal homebrewer concocted a special pale ale made with wheat-based kitty litter and catnip. It might sound grotesque, but it was far from that. In fact, it was a wonderfully crisp and refreshing, floral pale ale around 8% ABV. Joe also shared tastes of his Baltic Porter, sour gruit, and saison. ‘Twas great! Happy b-day Bodhi Cat!

Sunday saw no ceasing in the beer fun. Margaret’s mother Elizabeth celebrated a special birthday as well–her 60th!  Now that I think of it, this post is really about birthdays and celebration. Much merriment was enjoyed and lavish libations were tasted. Several varieties of wine and liquor made their way to the party. Of course, we brought the beer. Laughing Buddha, ur Trade Route’s Mango Weizen was fitting for this very sunny and warm Portland day as well as a Hales El Jefe Bavarian-style Hefeweizen. There was also a bottle of Saint Somewhere that I ended up pouring down the drain. Ick.

Earlier in the day, when we were out for bagels at Kettleman’s, perhaps the greatest place ever, we noticed a new sign out front of Blitz bar in Southeast (aka Blitz Ladd). I poked my head in to the empty pub and noticed a different feel to the place. There I met Season, the new manager for the pub. She informed me that Blitz is now under new general management and the pub has been revamped to accomodate the needs of the neighborhood. “We wanted to make this place more suitable for our neighborhood” she said. The place maintained all of the things we loved about it from the beginning (Shuffleboard, sports on the flat screens, pool tables, juke box) and improved by adding more outdoor seating and a greater selection of harder to find microbrews. “We’ve made better use of our 20 taps” said Season “now we are featuring more obscur micros.” Excellent! Taps ranging Russian River Blind Pig IPA, Ninkasi Believer, Old Speckled Hen and Hales Cream Stout on nitro, Laurelwood Hop Monkey, and Trumer Pils to name a few. Blitz also added food special and an extended happy hour. Also, they are open until 2AM, so I will definitely be frequenting this hot Southeast destination more often than before.

Cheers to beers!