June 29, 2011

What I've Been Drinking

Recent selections to astound and amaze:

  • Dark Truth Stout (Boulevard Brewing) - What's this? All of this great beer in Oregon and he's drinking beer from Missouri? Well, yes - your author loves him some PNW, but he's still about quality concoctions, regardless of where the brewing location is camped. One of the better parts about being out here in Portland is that, provided that distribution carries it this way, good beer will show up. Even if it's rolling in from Kansas City. I have heard quality things about Boulevard from people I view as credible about beer knowledge and it turns out that John's carries a pretty good selection of their Smokestack series (creative, high-octane beers). I picked up a bottle of this and a bottle of their Chocolate Ale (not yet tried as of this writing) and found time to work through the Stout last week. So what was the verdict?

    It kicked open the door to my Top Five Stout list, strolled in like it owned the joint, and stretched out on the couch.

    This was well executed, well blended, and had all the flavors and subtleties you want out of a good, thick stout. 9+ on the abv, so it's paced for a sipper. The nose, the mouthfeel - all of it was working in unison in the best possible ways. Think Abyss without the barrel aging; that's the level of gravity/thickness/complexity that I'm talking about. This is a must try if it wanders across your path.

  • Grand Cru de Pelican (Pelican Pub & Brewery) - the 2011 version, picked up for my birthday selection. I was in the mood for a dark Belgian ale and putting your money and hopes on Pelican for a quality release is a bit like betting that the sun will rise in the East tomorrow. I went in with high expectations and the Grand Cru lived up to them. The malt, the spice, the fruit, the 10% abv - it's all here and it's all top end. I plan to pick up another bottle or two for addition to the Beer Cabinet of Perpetual Darkness because it should age like a champ.
In other news, I managed to run down to Deschutes (Portland version) on Sunday and obtained several bottles of the Butte XXIII. I didn't have time to sample any while at the location, but will absolutely dig in at some point this week. Oranges and chocolate and chilies and porter. Yes. Yes, that might work out okay.

June 16, 2011

Returning To Duty

It's been a couple of months (What, six? Really?), but I'm returning to putting thoughts to keyboard. This time away has not been due to a lack of beer or events, but primarily adjustments in 'work situations' and so forth (welcome to the wonderful world of telecommuting). Thankfully, still employed.

There have been quite a few visits and events that I've hit since January. These included:
  • Apex's 1st Anniversary. A lot of good options were on deck that day. I had one of those moments that summed up my love for this area: sitting outside, in the sun, lightly pelted with rain, and drinking hard-to-find beer.
  • Breakside's 1st Anniversary. Had a co-attendee drive us up to their location so we could give them their due. Had their Randall-aided, serrano-and-mango IPA (.5 seconds of hops and then the flames), had their anniversary ale, had a wit-with-strawberry-and-mango, and had a great time.
  • Zwickelmania. Breweries in Oregon throwing their doors open. We started small (Amnesia) and worked our way toward big (Widmer). Will do this again with different breweries next year.
  • Cheers To Belgian Beers. There was everything from a stout to a near-cocktail to straight IPAs represented. Breakside's Brewers' Bramble was my vote for best in show - truly unique among a sea of really good offerings. If you are in the area next year, this is a MUST ATTEND event.
  • Portland Fruit Beer Festival. This was a first time festival run last weekend and due to weather and word of mouth, the attendance level dwarfed expectations. My mantra of "get there early" paid off, but others that arrived late found smaller selections as kegs ran dry. I expect the PFBF to have a break-out second season and will be there with bells on. And if you, dear reader, have the power to convince Hopworks to remake the Chili Chupacabra Stout, do so and earn the thanks of many grateful drinkers.
July is on the horizon. Fests everywhere. Should be interesting.