Wednesday, August 16, 2017

30th Oregon Brewers Festival

Devon and I attended the Oregon Brewers Festival at Tom McCall Waterfront Park in Portland on July 28th and 29th. The OBF celebrated its 30th annual event commemorating craft beer this year and it was a good time to be there as a beer tourist. Although we didn’t taste all of the 84 beers from craft breweries across the nation, we had a good sampling of mostly northwest brews. As with any festival these days, this one included live music, food booths, craft vendors and, last, but not least, homebrew demonstrations.
I didn't understand the 2017 OBF graphic at first, but then I saw in the program how they were remembering one of the first customers and contributors to the fest, the late Richard Frank, who is pictured on the left. Well, he sounds like a good guy to me! Cheers!
Most of the following tasting notes and ratings are from BeerAdvocate and Untappd, with some commentary by Taste N Trip.
Sasquatch Brewing Company - KGB (Kremlin Ginger Blonde) 
Kölsch, 4.6% ABV, 19 IBU
Rated 3.75 / 5 at BeerAdvocate
Rated 3.88 / 5 at Untappd, Inc.

Experimental ale brewed in tribute to our Russian overlords with fresh organic ginger, lime juice and lime zest. It was light and Devon liked it.

Portland Brewing* - Strawberry Rhubarb Blonde Ale
Fruit Beer, 5.6% ABV, 15 IBU
Rated 3.37 / 5 at Untappd, Inc.

Rhubarb and strawberry puree from Oregon Fruit Products are added before fermentation to yield a flavor profile that are reminiscent of homemade pies. Two-row and wheat malts in the mash, Perle and Vanguard hops in the kettle, Bull Run water and a house ale yeast fill out the chef's recipe in this summer delight. It was a nice light blonde ale, but I didn’t taste any strawberries or rhubarb though. Devon liked it.

* Subsidiary of Florida Ice and Farm Company S.A.
Full Sail Brewing Co. - Blood Orange Wheat   
Fruit Wheat Beer, 5.2% ABV, 23 IBU
BA SCORE = 82 at

Rated  3.52 / 5     at BeerAdvocate
Rated  3.66 / 5     at Untappd, Inc.

This beer is brewed with 2-row Northwest Pale, Malted Wheat, and Unmalted Wheat. Blood orange provides a subtle twist to this refreshing brew. It pours with a white lacy head and a hint of orange aroma. A medium malt body with a crisp wheat finish and subtle orange flavor. Devon didn’t like it.

BridgePort Brewing Co. - Deep Cuts: India Pale Wheat
India Pale Wheat, 5.4% ABV, 60 IBU
Rated  3.69 / 5 at BeerAdvocate
Rated  3.5 / 5   at Untappd, Inc.

Mixing Hefeweizen wheat malts and IPA pale malts together makes an interesting IPW! I like both separately, but the lightness of the Hefeweizen and the hoppiness of the IPA seem to be at odds with each other when mixed. Still, I’d recommend trying it!

Caldera Brewing Co. - Cousin Rick Triple IPA 20th Anniversary Brew
American Double / Imperial IPA,  11.0% ABV, 100 IBU
Rated  3.83 / 5  at BeerAdvocate
Rated  2.9 / 5    at Untappd, Inc.

Cousin Rick Triple IPA incorporates a malt bill of 50% Premium Two Row and 50% Weyermann Light Munich and brewed with whole flower hops, pelletized hops, hop extract/goo, hop hash pure lupulin and hop oils. It was good when I tasted it on Friday, but the line for this brew went crazy on Saturday!

The Lost Abbey - Avant Garde
Farmhouse Ale/Bière de Garde, 7% ABV, 12 IBU

BA SCORE = 82 at BeerAdvocate
Rated 3.81 / 5      at BeerAdvocate
Rated 3.68 / 5      at Untappd, Inc.

I know Lost Abbey makes great beer and I felt that I just had to try their Farmhouse Ale, even though I’m generally not a fan of the Bière de Garde style. Described as deep gold in color with hints of biscuits, caramel and fresh baked bread this reminded me of a flavor characteristic I’d noticed in Australian beers, what I always called “cardboard” - it must be the lager yeast. Victoria Bitter (also known as “Vitamin B”) comes to mind with its “very robust lager yeast.”

And wouldn’t you know it? Lost Abbey got lost at Trailer 7 even though they were listed in the program as being at Trailer 6! Worth the hunt either way.
Ancestry Brewing - Tiny Umbrellas Experimental Hop IPA
American IPA, 7% ABV, 75 IBU
Rated  3.6 / 5 at Untappd, Inc.

This experimental IPA has a tropical toned nose, a little pineapple, a little coconut, and a dank hop touch. The hops include Bru 1 (canned pineapple and pine characteristics) and HBC 472 (toasted coconut, wood an Bourbon). I thought it was great!

Natian Brewery - “Full Pour” Imperial IPL
Imperial IPL, 8.0% ABV, 68 IBU
Rated  3.76 / 5 at Untappd, Inc.

This single hop summer lager uses Citra throughout the brewing process to produce a citrus kick. Balancing out the hop are pilsner, two-row and Munich malts. An Imperial IPL, I tried several IPLs, but never really liked any. I did like their name of "Full Pour" though, because it would have been great to have anybody fill up my beer mug by this point!

21st Amendment Brewery - Watermelon Funk
American Wild Ale / Sour - Ale, 6.7% ABV, 14 IBU
BA SCORE = 84 at
Rated  3.74 / 5     at BeerAdvocate

Rated  3.60 / 5 at Untappd, Inc.
A summertime watermelon wheat beer with syncopated sweet fruit notes and downbeat aromas is fermented with French saison yeast for an estery and slight barnyard character. The two-row pale and white wheat are bittered with a single dose of Magnum hops at the beginning of the boil to preserve the fruit-forward aromas and flavors. Some of the opinions about Watermelon Funk on BeerAdvocate expressed my thoughts - not much watermelon flavor, funk is minimal, low tartness or body. And the chief fruit drink taster, Devon, didn’t like it.

The Specialty Tent featured more than 100 one-off kegs of rare, bold, and experimental beers from participating brewers. They didn’t last very long! The Untappd app announced the beers with their descriptions as they became available. I’m glad to have caught the Pipewrench IPA on Friday. 

Gigantic Brewing Company - Pipewrench IPA 
American Double / Imperial IPA, 8.0% ABV, 85 IBU 
at BeerAdvocate   

Rated  4.1 / 5       at BeerAdvocate
Rated  3.91 / 5     at Untappd, Inc.

IPA aged Ransom Old Tom Gin barrels for 3 months. Botanicals from the gin meld perfectly with citrusy hops and subtle wood in an incredibly complex beer. I like Gin, I like Gin & Tonics too, but I think the additional Gin-related flavors were a little strange, yet still drinkable. Although not sure it was worth the extra token.

Two Kilts Brewing Company - Kilted Destroyer IPA 
IPA - American, 7.0% ABV, 55 IBU
Rated  3.71 / 5 at Untappd, Inc.

Kilted Destroyer IPA is a clean, big, and straightforward IPA. Pilsner malt, flaked barley and Vienna malts in the grist, citrusy Amarillo hops in the kettle, Mosaic in the whirlpool and a clean, crisp, highly flocculant yeast with a medium high attenuation yields a balanced, medium bodied brew that won't pucker your mouth. Some late hop additions proved a tropical fruit and slight citrus flavor and aroma. Calcium chloride and sulphate were added to city water to add mouthfeel and softness. Although it did destroy my taste buds, I thought this IPA was GREAT!

Lompoc Brewing - Lompocker Hoppy Kölsch
Kölsch,  5.3% ABV,  36 IBU
Rated  3.42 / 5 at Untappd, Inc.

This beer is a German style ale with a touch more hops than a traditional Kolsch. It is  brewed with Perle and Mandarina Bavaria hops that give off a fruity aroma. Bright golden in color with a delicate, soft maltiness and a lingering hop bitterness. I thought this hoppy Kölsch was very good and highly drinkable.

Dunedin Brewery - Passionate Disenchantment 
Saison / Farmhouse Ale, 6.0% ABV, 15 IBU
Rated 3.23 / 5 at Untappd, Inc.

Lots going on in this beer from Florida’s oldest craft brewery, it has Serrano peppers and cold brewed Tanzanian coffee! There’s a spicy kick in this classic saison style brew. It’s brewed with pilsner malt, carahell malt and oats, hopped with Mt. Hood, Tradition and Nelson and fermented with a farmhouse yeast to add a spicy and slightly tart character. I liked the unique pepper and coffee flavors!

Ninkasi Brewing Company - Beautiful Trouble 
American IPA, 6.8% ABV, 65 IBU
Rated  4.06 / 5 at BeerAdvocate
Rated  3.89 / 5 at Untappd, Inc.

Beautiful Trouble is a big American IPA with a touch of Kiwi inspiration. New Zealand and U.S. hops collide, creating a tropical and fruity hop aroma and flavor, with notes of white wine grapes, tropical fruit, melon and passionfruit, all balanced by rich Munich and Vienna malts. Originally brewed in collaboration with Birkenhead Brewing Co. of New Zealand, this is the first time this beer was tapped in the States. I wasn't blown away.

Widmer Brothers Brewing - THRILLHAUS
Munich Helles Lager, 4.5% ABV, 22 IBU
Rated  3.5 / 5 at BeerAdvocate
Rated  3.23 / 5 at Untappd, Inc.

This simple, copper colored brew is perfect for summer! Pilsner and Vienna malts in the grist meet up with noble Hallertau hops in the kettle for a soft, balancing bitterness, then Enigma hops from Australia are added to the whirlpool to give it a slightly fruity flavor and aroma. Portland Bull Run water is adjusted to Munich's mineral profile with brewing salts and Augustiner yeast finishes it off clean.

Crooked Stave Artisan Beer Project - Single Hop IPA Exp. 06297
American IPA, 6.2% ABV, 55 IBU
Rated  3.67 / 5 at Untappd, Inc.

Crooked Stave Brewing Company is an artisan microbrewery in Denver, Colorado that is known for their brewing specialty in Brettanomyces fermentations and barrel-aged sour and wild ales. Even so, their IPA was pretty good anyway!

Chetco Brewing Co. - The Chetco Effect
American Pale Ale (APA), 5.0% ABV, 32 IBU
Rated 4.46 / 5 at BeerAdvocate
Rated 3.39 / 5 at Untappd, Inc.

Although I thought it had weird hops, it’s described as a bright summer ale dry hopped with Sorachi Ace (cross between Brewer's Gold, Saaz and Beikei No. 2 male) to give it a crisp, lemony finish. One taste was fine, probably wouldn’t drink two though.
StormBreaker Brewing - Hopfenreich IPA
American IPA/Pale Ale - International, 6.4% ABV, 74 IBU
Rated  3 / 5       at BeerAdvocate

Rated  3.15 / 5  at Untappd, Inc.
A German wheat beer is combined with an IPA to brew this summertime beer. Made with all German ingredients, five different malts, four infusions of hops and German yeast. The tropical and citrus fruit flavors combine with aromas of pineapple, tangerine and lemon. I didn’t appreciate this combo any more than the India Pale Wheat from BridgePort Brewing. Still not fond of the wheat-IPA blend.

OK, I tend to like IPAs and hoppy beer, so my favorites (in alphabtical order) were:
  • Ancestry Brewing - Tiny Umbrellas Experimental Hop IPA
  • Caldera Brewing Co. - Cousin Rick Triple IPA 20th Anniversary Brew
  • Crooked Stave Artisan Beer Project - Single Hop IPA Exp. 06297
  • Lompoc Brewing - Lompocker Hoppy Kölsch
  • Two Kilts Brewing Company - Kilted Destroyer IPA
On Saturday Band of Comerados performed Winter Song from their album Tomorrow Is Today. I really enjoyed their playing!
Ryan McMahon - mandolin/vocals
 Jeffrey Leppert - bass 
 Kyle Donaldson - guitar/vocals
  Devon James - guitar/ vocals
Click here for a music video of the festival.
When the Volunbeer servers start to look like Picasso people you'd better give away the rest of your tokens...
It was a warm Saturday afternoon with lots of great beer! 
Send me your beer thoughts!
twitter: @TasteNTrip

Friday, June 23, 2017


It’s Friday and time for Happy Hour. Will you need to leave work or just hit the company Beer Fridge?  A smarter, happier hour awaits…

A tech company I used to work for (that was run by lawyers) wouldn’t even serve alcohol at company picnics, because they were afraid of the liabilities involved. Times sure have changed!

And it’s not just about the beer when your workplace has a Beer Fridge Culture. In companies that have a beer fridge people feel that they’re treated with respect and empowered to make their their own decisions and use their judgement.
Does providing alcohol to employees make sense in all industries? Sure, there are many that involve the promotion and sale of alcohol where you have to sample the products and these have made  alcohol available for a long time; I’ve even worked for some. And my Taste N Trip activities, as the the first part of the name implies, certainly involve sampling all manner of alcoholic beverages, some even in the home “office” where there are real refrigerators. You might not want to have anyone who works in healthcare, construction or transportation tipping a few while they are at work though.
Clarity Way, an addiction and mental health recovery center, has put together the following infographic listing five pros and five cons of providing alcohol at work.
If the Pros outweigh the Cons for your business then you might want to make it a “Bud-e” beer fridge. You can keep it stocked with help from Anheuser-Busch’s real time monitor that uses spring sensors and a WiFi connection. When your beer level begins to run low, the smart fridge can place an automatic order with a local delivery service or send the office manager a reminder to order more brews through the Anheuser-Busch web portal. As you may have guessed, Office Bud-e is completely free to lease - and not suprisingly it expands the market for Anheuser-Busch InBev, the world's largest brewer.
No information was available regarding what happens if you stock non-AB products in one of these Bud-e fridges. Does an alarm sound? Do those sensor connected springs go into action and eject the offending brew? Or do both happen simultaneously while the “When You Say Bud” song plays?

It will be a while until cities other than New York and Chicago have the Bud-e though. So if you are located anywhere else and are thinking of buying your own beer (or wine) fridge, because, you know, you trust your employees and you really want to empower them, you can find a large selection of them online
They will cost you a couple hundred dollars, but then you can decide what craft beers to stock them with. Maybe even a few Bombers?
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Wednesday, April 19, 2017

6th Annual California Jazz & Wine Fest

The 2017 California Jazz & Wine Fest at the Four Seasons Hotel in Westlake Village was presented by the local Rotary Club Sunrise to benefit the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Conejo Valley. It was held on Sunday, April 9th from 1:00 to 5:00, or with an hour earlier entry for VIP tickets.
Live music was showcased on two separate stages during the event. I enjoyed watching the Adam Clark Quartet and Lao Tizer perform on the main stage and D.on Darox and the Melody Joy Bakers and Bruce Forman’s "Cow Bop" perform in the big tent. Other musicians included The Barrelhouse Wailers and Danny Janklow. Click here to listen to an abbreviated music video in 4K or a longer version of HD video and pictures here.
The tasting experience included a nice selection of California wines, Taittinger Champagne, local craft brews and spirits, plus a variety of gourmet food offerings from local restaurants and caterers.

California Jazz & Wine Fest 2017 - Video & Pictures

California Jazz & Wine Fest 2017 (4K)

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