Sunday, September 28, 2008

McMenamin Brothers: New Giants on Henry’s old Brewery blocks!




Downtown West Burnside Street was known as Henry’s Weinhard’s “Brewery Blocks” up until the SABMillerCoors purchase and closure of the Blitz-Weinhard brewery in 1999. Currently, the Brewery Blocks are filled with retail stores, Henry’s Tavern and other businesses. For almost a hundred years Henry’s Brewery dominated the west end of Burnside.

Today, Burnside Street is seeing a new prominent Empire in the Northwest, the McMenamin Empire or Kingdom, as they like to call it.




The McMenamin’s renovated the Crystal Ballroom and building back in the 90’s, along with Lola’s Room and the Ringler Pub is the same building. One bock away, they own the Ringler’s Annex with it’s subterranean Bistro.

Now, the McMenamin Brothers have purchased the adjacent Ringler’s annex building and are planning an early 2009 opening of their new Downtown Hotel. With this purchase the McMenamin’s will own the entire triangular block, encompassing the real estate between 12th, Stark and Burnside!

The New Hotel (not yet named) was built in 1911 and has gone through many ownerships and identities.

The new project will have 50 hotel rooms on the 2nd through 4th floors. The first floor will offer a full service restaurant with outdoor seating along Stark and 12th streets.

The basement of the Hotel will contain a “saltwater” soaking pool and “Spa-like” massage rooms. A Cellar bar will connect to the existing Ringlers Annex Pub.

"Having a full downtown property with all of our offerings in one area has been something we've thought about for a long time now," said Renee Rank, McMenamins marketing director. "This project is the perfect complement to our adjacent Ringlers Annex Pub and the Crystal Ballroom, and will be a great connection between the Pearl District and the West End."

..... and so the Kingdom (Empire) grows.....

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Wassail: A Holiday Toast




Definition -

Wassail: 12th century

1: an early English toast to someone's health

2: a hot drink that is made with wine, beer, or cider, spices, sugar, and usually baked apples and is traditionally served in a large bowl especially at Christmastime

Anglo-Saxon term, wæs hæil, meaning, "Be healthy".

Other than the Wassail toast, lets stick to the Wassail beverages. ;-} Over the centuries Wassail has evolved from Med-evil Honey Wine (MEAD) or a Beer Concoction to a variety of alcoholic combinations. Most modern Wassails resemble a mulled Cider or a mulled Wine. For the purpose of this article we’re doing to stay within the Historically old renditions of Mead and Beer.

History

Historical, Wassail was mulled beer or mead. Sugar, ale, ginger, and other herbs and spices would be heated in a bowl or pot and served in what was called a Wassail Bowl. The term Wassail Bowl could represent the bowl the Wassail was heated or a small bowl (mug) that you drank from… Think modern day punch bowls with their separate small serving glasses. These Wassail Bowls would be topped with small pieces of bread. The bread would soak up the Wassail liquid and be eaten while enjoying the liquid celebration.

These bread pieces were called “Sops.” The term Sops or Sop would centuries later evolve into the word we use today for SOUP! Although, drinking or eating this ancient Wassail Soup would induce a more euphoric experience than eating Mom’s Chicken Noodle soup… ;-}

Wassail was served for celebration, usually around Harvest or modern day Holiday season. British Holiday carolers of the time had songs written about the celebratory beverage:


Wassail! Wassail! All over the town,
Our toast it is white and our ale it is brown;
Our bowl it is made of the white maple tree;
With the wassailing bowl, we'll drink to thee.


One of Dr Wort's Patients... ;-}


Wassail BEER

In the Middle-ages Wassail was mostly a Beer or Mead based beverage. Keep in mind; beer was very different in the Middle Ages compared today. Hops were not widely used as a primary bittering and flavoring for beer until the mid 19th century. Prior that time hops were used sporadically and slowly gained popularity. American colonists brewed with imported hops, spruce bark and sassafras root, until 1629 when the Massachusetts Bay Co. ordered hop seeds from England. In the Middle ages we mostly saw beer in the form of what was called GRUIT, a Barley based Beer beverage bittered and flavored with Wild rosemary, coriander, ginger, anise seed, juniper berries and even wood bark.

These were quite herbally, spicy and smoky beverages. Smokey? Yes, most brewing kettle were heated over WOOD Fires, the burning wood smoke would mix with the mashing and boiling beer to create a fairly smoky tasting beverage. Today, the smoky aspect of these beverages might not be very favorable.

Minus the smoky notes, we could recreate a Medieval Wassail in many ways. Here’s a modern Wassail recipe using some medieval ingredients:

Blended Wassail

½ Gallon of Brown ale or Scottish Ale
6 cinnamon sticks
¼ tsp. ground Coriander
1 Tblsp. Ginger

3-4 Apples and/or combination of Pears
½ Cup Brown Ale
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
3/4 cup port wine
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground all spice
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large pot add ½ gallon of Beer. Add the cinnamon sticks, Coriander and Ginger, bring to a simmer over low heat.

Score (poke) Apples/Pears with a knife completely over surface of fruit. Place in a baking dish. Cover with one cup of brown sugar, 1/4 cup of ale, and the port. Cover baking dish and place in oven, cooking for 30 minutes.

Put remaining ingredients into Pot with Beer.

When fruit are done, and somewhat cooled, transfer all fruit and baking dish contents into Pot. Allow cooking over a low heat for another 30-40 minutes.

Serve hot.

For those of your home brewers out there! Here’s a home brew recipe for modern Wassail ale.

Wassail Ale

Grains

10 lbs British Pale Malt
2 lbs Munich Malt
1/2 lbs CaraMunich Malt
1 lb. CaraVienna Malt
1/2 lbs Victory Malt or Biscuit malt
Handful or Chocolate Malt
1/2 lbs Brown Sugar (20 mins to before end of boil)
1 lb. Honey (Add at end of boil)

Hops

2 oz. Goldings - E.K (60 min)
1 oz Willamette (30 min)

Spices. Use all or some. Add 5 minutes before the end of the boil and some can be added to Secondary fermenter:

2 inches of Chopped Ginger
1/2 tsp ground Nutmeg
1/2 oz Bitter Orange Peel
2 Cinnamon Sticks slightly crushed
2 Whole Cloves
2 Stars of Anise

Scottish ale Yeast

Mash 155’F


WASSAIL MEAD

Mead is thought to be the most ancient alcoholic beverage on our planet! What would have been easier? Honey, Water and fermented with wild yeast!

Mead can be created in a variety of styles with a cornucopia of ingredients. Meads can be sweet with rich flavors like Port or they can be light and dry as Champagne. In the USA, Mead can be difficult to find and many of those Meaderies seem to concentrate on more sweet to even disgustingly cloyingly sweet Meads. A poor and misleading representation of Mead. A well make Mead can be sweet like Riesling or Port, but can also be found to be dry and complex as a Cabernet or bone dry like Champagne. Maybe, even found as a fruit Chardonnay or Pinot.

Metheglin: Mead that contains spices.
Cyser: Mead with Apples or apple juice
Pyment: Mead with Grapes
Melomel: Mead with Fruit/
Braggot: Mead with Barley malt

France mead makers prefer to age Mead for up to 10 years to acquire maturity and proper drinking condition!

Well…. We’re not waiting 10 years to toast each other with rousing Wassail! Although with maturity this beverage becomes more complex.

Mulled mead is warmed and with spiced. Of course, if there are already spices in the Mead, you may just need to warm the Mead. ;-}

If using a Melomel and then adding spice…. Now you may have quite a treat! Imagine a Cranberry Melomel with Fall spices!

Wassail Cranberry Mead

Ingredients for 1 gallon (recipe can be double, tripled, etc.)

3 1/2 lbs. fresh cranberries - chopped
1 lb. Golden raisins - chopped
2.5 lbs. Honey

½ tsp Pectin Enzyme
1 tsp. Yeast Energizer
1 Gallon Water

Chablis or Flor Sherry Wine Yeast

Procedure:

1. Freeze cranberries for 1-2 days. This will cause them to blister and the internal juice to become concentrated by crystallizing the sugar within!

2. Defrost cranberries and do a rough chop in a food processor.

3. Add water, yeast energizer and Pectin enzyme to pot and boil for 5 mins. Turn off heat and wait for temp to drop to 180’F.

4. Add Honey and dissolve; then stir in Cranberries and Raisins.


5. Allow to cool to 70 - 75° F. Add to plastic or glass fermentation vessel with fermentation lock. Add the wine yeast.

6. Allow fermenting 7+ days.. Siphon into sterilized secondary fermenter, leaving cranberry and raisins behind.

7. When fermentation ceases and Mead is clear (check gravity 2-3X!) it can be bottled and capped or corked.

.***Note!! The honey in Mead may continue to slowly ferment unless it is COMPLETELY done fermenting. This can take up to 6-8 months! It’s important to make sure fermentation has completely stopped, unless you want Bottles Mead Grenades!!

This Mead can be drank cold, room temperature or warmed with Fall spices for that true Wassail enjoyment.

Enjoy the Up coming Holiday Season!!!

WASSAIL!!!


Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Belgian Holiday Ales: Now availble?!







This time of year is long awaited for the high end beer afficionados. The Holiday season brings out Holiday beers from all over the world.

Here in the North West we look forward to the Holiday Ale Fest, held the first weekend in December at Pioneer Square in Downtown Portland. We welcome new and creative Holiday brews from local NW breweries. A Baltic Porter here, A Barley Wine there, a Bourbon Barrel Olde ale and maybe even a "Jim." We (I) wait with bated breath for the annual list of Holiday Ales that will appear at the fest.

All this Festival revelry aside, a lot of us anxiously await the annual Belgian Holiday ales! Many difficult, if not impossible to find here in the USA, but there are sources to acquire these Belgian Beauties.... Other than local Beer Markets like Belmont Station, Liquid Solutions and John's Marketplace; One might want to search for a "Belgian Beer Shop" somewhere..... ;-}

Here's a list of some of this years Belgian Holiday brews that are or will be available soon. Ask your local Beer monger to carry some these beers.... Descriptions are from Belgian contingents. If there's a spelling error, remember English is not their primary language... ;-}

**Dr Wort Recommendations


**Abbaye des Rocs XMAS 9°

Dark brown in colour, large beige head, yeast floaties. Aroma was spicy, yeasty, some sweetness, malty, with a bit of chocolate. Flavour was warming, smooth, sweet, with a surprising amount of malt. Finish is a spicy coco bitterness.


Affligem Patersvat 7°


The beer pours a translucent golden amber color, the head purposeful in size, the color off white and the residual lace a fine cover upon the glass. Mostly malt in the nose, lightly astringent, crisp and clean with the start slightly sweet, lots of malt, the top skinny in feel. Finish is biting in its acidity, the hops perky in their spicy bite, dry lingering aftertaste


Balthazar 9°

Dark chocolate colour with a chestnut shine, frothy, rich , beige head, which loses its big bubbles quickly, large yeast sediment particles. Sweet nose of perfumed chocolate, caramel and hints of strawberries, cinnamon and nuts. Rich, malty, juicy and somewhat earthy taste with alcohol, hard candies, a touch of pepper and an unassertive but long, hard and dry bitter aftertaste, mixed with cherry liqueur flavour. Chewy and mellifluous palate.


**Barbar Brune 8°

A dark brown almost black beer with a fine light brown head. The aroma is very sweet and complex with notes of plum and dates. A mellow very complex flavor hits You then it turns sweet then alcoholic combined with pricklyness with notes of raisins and hints of smoke - a fantastic soft complex and filling beer - great complexity.


**Binchoise Xmas 9°


Speciale Noel could only be a Christmas beer. It is a classic, warming winter ale with plenty of depth and a roasted, fruity malt character.

This beer rocks!... Lightly hazy, orange/amber ale with a mid-sized, frothy, off-white head. Terrific retention. Scattered lace. The aroma is of orange blossom honey and freshly cut flowers with light notes of honey and sassafras. Sweet, fruity, malty flavor with just the right hop addition to mostly balance out the malt and make the brew more interesting and complex. Full-bodied with a syrupy mouthfeel and fizzy carbonation. Lengthy, bitter-sweet, dry finish.


Bink Winterkoninkske 8,3°

Beside the ‘Bloesem Bink’, you can also enjoy a second seasonal beer, the ‘Winterkoninkske’. This beer is, just like the others, unfiltered, not pasteurized, with secundary fermentation in the bottle. The ‘Winterkoninkske’ is the ideal beer to make a cold and chilly winter evening pleasant. The ingredients are: seven types of malt (among which rolled oats), two belgian types of hop, brewing liqour and yeast. Our winter beer is a dark and heartwarming beer with a pure, sugary flavour and a long, bitter aftertaste. The alcohol content of this heavy beer is 8,3 % vol.alc.


Boelens Kerstbier Santa Bee 8,5°

Deep ruby red, excellent rocky thick longlasting off white head and good condition. Muted aromas of fruity malt, oak and spices but slightly oxidised. Very soft in the mouth with a tangy fruit note and the vaguest suggestion of metallic tannin and woodiness like a flemish red. Some roasted barley noticable in the finish but nothing much else to redeem it.



Bon Secours Xmas 10°

The colour is blond opaque with a big head. The aroma has lot of character with notes of quince and lemon. The flavour is pleasant and very interesting with a nice mix of acidity and sweetness. Very long fruity aftertaste. An original and very interesting beer.


**Bush Noel 12°

This is a sweet beer with a pleasant flavour of hops. Indeed, for Bush de Noel, the brewer uses a traditional process which consists in placing hops flowers in the vats where the beer rests for four to six weeks by which time it will have reached full maturity, giving it a very distinctive taste. In the U.S the label generally reads Scaldis Noel.


Corsendonk Christmas

On the palate this silky smooth ale is predominantly malty, with smoky, spicy and citrusy notes, and a long, lingering finish that is lightly tart and malty.

Pours a dark brown amber color with some red hues. Pretty off-white head with very fine bubbles. Aroma is very spicy with malt and smoke in there as well. Flavor is caramel, dark fruit and spice. Body is a little thin but it had a nice long spicy finish. A good beer for sure.


**Bush Xmas Premium 13°

The Strongest Christmas Belgian beer. Brewed exceptionally for the Chrsitmas period, Bush de Noël is a bruillant, red-amber ale that will delight the most demanding connoisseurs, The Bush de Noël Premium is not filtered and refermented in the bottle,


Chouffe N'Ice 10°

Cloudy brown beer w. insignificant head. Very perfumy, dry, fruity aroma w. a soapy (not bad) quality. Complex flavors, herbal - violets, rose, anise, distinct alcohol taste, particularly at fridge temps. Fruity, nice mouthfeel - Brasserie d'Achouffe is underrated - this is an excellent brewery. Finish tends toward sweet, syrupy, but a citrus note prevents it from being cloying. Had this chilled w. outside temps 85F, and it was refreshing and bracing - not just a winter beer, despite the label.


**De Ranke Pere Noel 7°

A fantastic Christmas beer, but one that defies the universal custom of a stronger, spicier beer for the holiday season. At 7% alcohol by volume, this one is relatively lighter in alcohol than the Guldenberg, and does not pack the hop punch of the XX. It combines some of the best elements of those other two beers – with a fine balance of malt and hops, complex character, a refreshing dryness, and a gorgeous cellar aroma – but is distinguished by its festive copper color. The 1999 Père Noël was a bit of a departure, with a very appealing yeasty tartness that was not readily discernible in earlier years.


Delirium Christmas 10°

Pours a dark amber color with a small, lingering tan head. Strong, bready aroma of malt, yeast, and spice with a touch of alcohol in the background. Full bodied with low carbonation, the flavor is very malty sweet with some spiciness and yeast tones. The finish is lingering and sweet. The alcohol is well hidden, except for a slight warming quality in the gut. Excellent.


Ename Cuvee

Golden with white head. Candi-sugar sweetness and wheat in aroma. Sweet, fruity taste and a long warming and sweet aftertaste.

Enghien XMas

Sweet, yeasty and spicy aroma. cloudy golden colour. taste is delicious; the bottle says Tripel-Blonde; well it's esactly a combination of both. The fresh and sweetness of a blond and the spices of a tripel. Finish is more of a tripel; spicy and a bit alcoholic.

Giant head, complex nose, honeyish and spicy, very yeasty, sweet and tart, full-bodied with a late bitter bite, deep spicy finish .


**Fantôme Noël 10°

A very dark and entirely unique holiday seasonal beer, at a whopping 10% alc. by volume. Reportedly spiced with honey, caramel, coriander, black pepper, and other secret ingredients. The alcohol content probably goes a long way toward explaining that very warm and satisfied feeling one finds on the very first sip. A rich, dark-flavored beer with lots of deep-roasted chocolate malt, but still fairly dry, with a hint of sourness at the core. It is very spicy, with some winter spruce flavor in the bargain. The wild yeast sourness also adds to its welcoming character.


**Gordon Xmas 8.8°

Created in the thirties, Gordon Xmas initiated the tradition of Christmas brews.

Aroma is roasted malty, soapy and bready. Cloudy, brown coloured with a lasting off-white/brown head. Good appearance. Taste is of roasted malts, quite sweet, some toffee, bread and a little fruit. Quite sticky beer. Alcohol is reasonable hidden. Better brew than expected.

**Gouden Carolus Xmas 10,5°

Gouden Carolus Christmas is a strong dark ruby-red beer with character and a alcohol percentage of 10,5% Vol. It is brewed at the end of August. Then it rests for several months to obtain a optimal balance in taste and flavours. Specific herbs are added in the different stages of the brewing process. Three different kinds of hops, and 6 different kind of herbs and spices make this Christmas beer a ‘special class’.

Gulden Draak Vintage 7,5°

Hazy dark red brown color with a high creamy and long lasting crispy white head. Spicy malt aroma with alcohol notes. Pleasant smooth malt flavor without carbonation. Hops bitterness in the aftertaste.

Melchior 11°

Hazy golden beer with a huge head. Nice, spicy and malty aromas with some mustard. Sweet, malty, spicy flavours with a big alc. bite. Finishes sweet, sourrish and strong. Full bodied and very nice!!

Mère Noel 8,5°

Clear blond colour with few foam. Aroma of pine and honey. The flavour is discreet with notes of lime and the finish is short but interesting.


**Metal Boxer Christmas

This is an exceptional Christmas Ale. Light caramel brown with a moderate head that quickly dissapates. Perfect balanced flavor of malt and fruit. The flavor is a complex mix of plums, licorice, caramel and pine. Quite earthy and rich. very good finish with a mild alcoholic kick. Subtle and smooth.

Moneuse Speciale Noel 8°

Cloudy amber with a thick rock solid head. Big yeasty aroma, spicy, kind of remenisent of an abbaye des rocs brune. Very malty flavour, cinnamon, brandy, cherries. Creamy mouthfeel.

Nostradamus 9.5°

Sour and very malty aroma. Dark chestnut brown colour, big unstable head. Malty, slightly acidic, roasted flavour. Full-bodied and very complex. Maltiness well balanced by alcohol flavour. Very nice.



Pater Lieven Kerst Xmas 9°

Deep, deep red clear with large brown lasting light irregular lacing head. Dried fruit, spices, chocolate, coffee, plum pudding and very faint yeast aroma. Medium body, and mild bitter sweet palate hiding the 9% ABV extermely well and for quite a while before it kicks in. Flavours closely mirror aromas nicely all the way through although spices predominate in the aftertaste. A very pleasant all round beer but could be more emphatic about what it does have.


Petrus Winter 6,5°


Caramel-red beer of high fermentation. This Christmas child of the Petrus family is only brewed throughout the month of November. Its soft aroma is the perfect start for cosy holiday season.

**St Feuillien Noel 9°

This beer has a generous head - compact and firm. Its slightly brown colour is the result of the roasted barley. It has a dark ruby brown colour and a very intense aroma. The aromatic herbs and spices used greatly enhance its delicious smell. This beer is full-bodied with a smoothness that is the result of the synergy of caramelized malts, carefully controlled fermentation and long cold storage.

St Feuillien Cuvée de Noël has a very subtle bitterness that is the dominant flavour in this harmonious ale that strikes a perfect balance between all the different ingredients.

**Stille Nacht 12°

Stille Nacht (Silent Night) is a prestige beer from De Dolle Brouwers brewed for Christmas. It has the highest density of any Belgian beer (27°Pl) has been boiling for 5 hours, brewed with pale malt with white candi sugar in the kettle. The Nugget hops and dry hopping gives an extra bitterness to balance the extreme sweetness due to the density. The taste triangle is completed with some acidity of the fermentation. It is a very interesting beer to age. We have samples of every bottling we have done so far and aging does not mean decreasing quality with this beer. Keep some samples at 10°C and mark the year on the cap with an alcohol marker.

Tsjeeses 10°

This x-mas beer poors blond to orange coulered with a magnificent whipped cream head which lasts and lasts and lasts. The lacing is very beautiful and first some malty aromas break free with a hint of mint. The taste is slightly malty and fully fruity from oranges over peaches to apricots. Very easy drinking despite the high alcohol volume which is well hidden. The aftertaste is rather hoppy and somewhat spicy. Full bodied and very well balanced.


Tongerlo Xmas 33Cl

A slightly cloudy orange beer with a fine very foamy head, but it disappears quite fast. It has a quity strong very nice aroma of fruit, yeast and oranges with notes of alcohol. The flavor is smooth with a good sweetness containing orange and yeast notes and ending on a slight very nice bitterness.


t Smisje Kerst 11°

From the De Regenboog brewery, a genuine artisanal beer

Clear-chestnut colour; thick irregular head, going down lacy. Hefty musty-sweet smell like sugared/preserved figs, plums or dates + something spicey; preserved ginger or sauced pipetobacco. Nice acidic touch around an unbelievably heavy body, sweet, liqueurish (Drambuie), and some spices: cloves, allspice, ginger. Very perfumey, in a nice way. Some alcohol punch in a velvet glove. Nice! And another one that needs some lagering - could hardly go wrong at 11% ABV. One of Johan's better tries.


Val Dieu Xmas

Origin: Fact part of the range of beers of the abbey of Val-Dieu.
Type: Highly fermented monastery beer, partly filtered but unpasteurised near to triple.
Flavour: Strong delivery on yeast and its malts.
Volume of alcohol: 7% subtly equipped.
Color: Spangled very hot yellow of semi-sparkling quiet.
Taste: Softness envoûtante including/understanding fine balanced savours.
Foam: Very beautiful white foam very quickly stabilized but constant on the edges.

Verhaeghe Xmas 7,2°

Light amber/golden color with a huge head and nice lace. Yeasty spice aroma with bannana tones. Lightly hoppy, lightly sour, floral tones, berry tones.

Winterkoninck 6,5°

This special ale has been developed in honour of the brewing in the late Middle Ages when the farmers could not work in the fields during the winter months and therefore had time to devote themselves to brewing ale. Winter Koninck is a deep amber-coloured top-fremented ale with 6.5% Alc. vol. and a full-bodied flavour.




Sunday, September 21, 2008

Highland Stillhouse Pub: A review

Highland Stillhouse Pub


Hours: Tuesday through Saturday
11 am to Midnight
Sunday 3pm to 10 pm

Address: 201 Second Street
at the intersection of Highway 99E
Oregon City, Oregon 97045
Phone: 503-723-6789

Living in a SE Suburb of Portland, a beer snob like myself quickly notices that they’re in a Beer “Dead Zone” (and food too)!

Options include:

RAM Brewery – Corporate Beer at its worst. Alcoholic water with different colors.

Chicago’s Pizza – 100 beers that you’re never want to drink

Gustav’s – Some decent German beers, but the bar is so bright and claustrophobic you feel like you’re sitting in a dining booth, which is too close to the bar.

McMenamins – Good in a pinch for the occasional decent seasonal beer.

Other than those and the local ‘hole in the wall’ corporate crap with 4-6 month old stale kegs, the only choice is to go to the new Clackamas New Seasons to buy some decent beers.

Food? None! Corporate chains of crap for as far as the eye can see! Of course, there is the occasional lo brow greasy spoon…

Highland Pub in Oregon City is kind of the light at the end of “road of crap’ tunnel! A beer oasis if you will! Quality beer! On tap, Nitro pushed, in bottles on even on cask! I ignore the fact that I see Bud on the beer list considering it sits right next to Dick’s Best Bitter! What more could you ask for? Food? Their pub grub is fairly good with an interesting English Pub selection.

The exterior is kind of boring, looking like a mid century stucco and wood commercial building. Nothing authentically British of Scottish about it… There are two levels, which do NOT connect… kind of strange! There’s an upper bar with a large makeshift patio. First floor is also a bar room. Both bars have a dark cozy British Pub feel. Dart boards, half seats, tables and a small 7-seat bar. Wood paneled with Beer signs on the wall and a green paint and wood upper walls. It’s homey and inviting.

Their primary beverages are Beer and Scotch Whiskey. There is a lame wine selection and soda. Food consists of small plate and larger dinner plates. Food is kind of old school British/Scottish fare….

Clientele was mixed. Some were sipping a cocktail, other drinking commercially boring beer and very few inquiring about the high-end beers or even the massive selection of Scotches.

OK…. That was too simple! Lets break it down with more detail! This review can be broken down into the GOOD, THE BAD and THE UGLY.

THE GOOD

This place is a good place to get a decent beer; a huge Scotch Whiskey selection and they have some pretty good English Pub Grub. It’s generally a good time…. It’s not great, but it’s better than 99.9% of the places in suburban SE!

They offer a lot of interesting Imported Scottish and British beers. Some on Tap, some casked, some bottled and on Nitro. All dispensed beers are of High quality conditioned and some are a real treat like Old Speckled Hen, Bellhaven and other European brews. There are some local beers available in every servable condition…. Some local beer selections are local standards (boring) and others are hard to find, it’s a nice mix.

The Scotch Whiskey selection is immense and daunting! Highland, Lowland, Islay and all the other Scottish Distilling regions of Scotland.

Food is good for style, but not exceptional.

The place is very cozy and inviting. Staff is pleasant and helpful.

THE BAD

The beer menu is outdated on line and no better in the pub! A pet peeve I have… The beer list should be current! While there is a nice selection of British isle beers, some are redundant and carbon copies in flavor or style, but just have different names. Seems the more diverse one were not available. Still some good choices. Beamish was not available, nor Fuller ESB on tap.

Food selection was interesting, but quality was just above par. The Scottish Eggs were bland and boring, but their quantity of food was admirable. Other selections seem to fit the same bill, although we only sampled a couple items.

Servers were nice, but not very attentive. Some seemed more interested in socializing than serving the small crowd in attendance.

The UGLY

Mac-n-Cheese! Can we all gastronomically grow up and leave the Mac-n-Cheese for the children?

NO HP Sauce! HP sauce or "Wilson's Gravy" as some British call it, is an ever-present condiment in most British Isle pubs, but nowhere to be found here.

The patio over looks the old Paper factory and some pretty strange river aromas. Not at all appealing! It’s an OK area, but I would rather have seen a bar addition or a sunroom that faced a garden scene.

All servers lacked ANY beer knowledge! In a place with numerous British Isle beers and other styles, it’s imperative that SOMEONE should be able to describe the beers. We came across a few beers we’d never tried and inquired about those beers flavors, style or the like… NOTHING! They knew nothing! Was it a Pale ale? IPA? 60 Shilling Scotch? Wee Heavy? No frickin clue!!! I had someone describe Scottish ale as an ”Amber ale!” What the hell does that tell you or me? Nothing! It’s a Scotland made Ale within the Scottish style according to the label. ( I guess they couldn’t read, so they brought me a bottle). Amber beer is an American Style and the beer wasn’t even AMBER in COLOR! On another request for a beer description, the server walked over and asked three other servers and came back with the answer, “It’s good!” GOOD? GOOD for what? Drinking? Cleaning the toilet? Is it pale, Amber, brown in color?? Nope, no frickin clue!

I’m currently working on an article on Knowledgeable beer servers working within a beer bar or brewery. SO far, this tops the list in poor beer knowledge for a high volume beer bar!

Of three Beer Engines ready for a nice traditional British, Irish or Scottish Ale on cask…. They were NO such beers on cask. Beers on cask were disappointing.

ROUND UP!

I’m a pretty hard critic, even on a tried and true beer bars, pubs and breweries. I found the servers lack of beer knowledge to be the biggest flaw. It’s flawed for public information and education, as well as, probably not helping them push their inventory or introduce the public to some interesting beers.

I found Highland to be an incredibly comfortable and cozy little pub, which could easily thrive in a well-heeled Portland neighborhood. With more knowledgeable servers and a step up in food quality this could be a proper beer destination and social meeting place. That said, I’m glad it’s in my neck of the woods and would ask them not to change a thing! I’d like to keep this place right where it’s at, maybe I’m just being selfish.



Beer and Small plate menus below!

(Beer menu is very out dated, but similar to beers available!)

Beer

Draught Beer
$5.00/Pint
Guinness (Ireland)
Newcastle Brown Ale (U.K.)
Twisted Thistle (Scotland)
Boddington's (U.K.)
Ninkasi Believer
Fulller's ESB (U.K.)

$4.50/Pint
Black Butte Porter
Fearless Scottish Ale
Red Hook Longhammer IPA
Mactarnahan Amber
Widmer Hefeweizen
Stella Artois (Belgium)

$3.50/Pint
Coors Light

$5.50/Bottle
Chimay Red Label (Belgium)
Young's London Ale 17 oz. (U.K.)
Young's Dirty Dick's Ale 17 oz. (U.K.)
Black Sheep Theakston's 17 oz. (U.K.)
Welsh ESB 17 oz. (Wales)
Samuel Smith Taddy Porter 17 oz. (U.K.)
Wells Bambadier 17 oz. (U.K.)
Cropton Monkman's Slaughter 17 oz. (U.K.)

$4.50/Bottle
McEwan's Scotch Ale (Scotland)
Harp (Ireland)
Bass (England)
Tetley's Ale (U.K.)
Fraich Heather Ale (Scotland)
Orkney Skull Splitter (Scotland)
Arran Dark Ale (Scotland)
Strongbow Cider (U.K.)

$4.00/Bottle
Terminal Gravity IPA, Hales Wee Heavy,
Klamath Basin Ranch Red, Alaskan Amber Ale

$3.00/Bottle
Budweiser, Bud Light, Dick's Bitter,
Mac's Blackwatch, Deschutes Inversion IPA,
Red Hook Longhammer IPA,
Pacifico (Mexico), Kaliber (N/A)



Small Plates

Juliana's Artichoke & Crab Dip $6.50
Artichoke hearts & snow crab with creamy jack cheese,
baked & served with crusty bread. Available without crab for $5.00

Scotch Egg $4.50
Hard boiled egg encased in sausage with a bread crumb coating.
Served warm or cold with salad greens. Perfect for a light lunch
or late night with a beer.

Deep Fried Pretzels $3.00
With or without salt & served with a spicy mustard dipping sauce.

Linda's Deep Fried Mushrooms $5.50
Dipped in Cask Ale Batter

Mac & Cheese $5.00
Oven baked with 3 cheeses & a golden crusted top.
First introduced to England in the18th century at the White Hart,
in Sussex, by William Verrall, who thought of himself as a poor publican.
**Are ya sure it wasn’t Califlower and Cheese which is a British favorite.

Banger and Beans $4.00
Sausage Scots style, made with ground beef, pork, & highland
seasoning, served with three mustards on a bed of baked beans.

Banger on a Bun $5.25
With sauteed onions & mustard

Pastie (Scottish Bridies) $5.50
A light pastry pouch filled with seasonal vegetables, beef & seasoning.

Chicken Curry Pastie $5.50

Vegetarian Pastie $5.00
(All pasties, limited availability daily.)

Sauteed Prawns $8.00
Mick's secret recipe cooked in garlic butter & served with
grilled bread for dipping. Available as large plate $16.00

Mixed Greens Salad $3.50
Mixed greens with fresh vegetables, croutons & your choice of dressing:
blue cheese, buttermilk ranch, or catalina.

Classic Caesar Salad $4.25
Hearts of Romaine & croutons with Caesar dressing
Add Grilled Chicken..........................................$2.50
Add Grilled Salmon ..........................................$3.50
Add Grilled Prawns ..........................................$3.50
Add Two of the Above......................................$6.00



Friday, September 19, 2008

Time in a Bottle: Cellaring Beers



The Holidays and winter are right around the corner and that means one thing in the brewing world...... Big Rich high alcohol beers! If you're like the Doctor you like those big rich brews and want to stock up on these festive pleasures. Many are great fresh right from the tap or the bottle, but plenty of these brews can be aged to a sublime liquid ecstasy! I buy two or more of favorites! Drink one now and Cellar the other two and wait for the magic to happen.

Over the years, I've had beer fans ask me, "How do I know if a beer can be cellared?" Well, just like wine, some of these beauties can mature with age and become profoundly different and decadent. I find myself wading into the Wort cellar around this time of year to see what can be uncorked from past years. It's a nice way to clear space for this years big beauties and enjoy some incredible surprises....

Some of you are saying, "What the hell is Dr Wort talking about?! Beer is supposed to be drank fresh or else it goes bad!" Well, it's true that most beer is best enjoyed before the ravages of light, heat and time degrade its flavors and character, but some beers can actually improve over time, becoming more balanced and complex. All you need to know is which beers qualify for aging.


Most Commercial beers (Yes, even some of those brewed here in the North West) are heat pasteurized and filtered, which extends their shelf-life but makes them "unsuitable" for aging in your cellar. While pasteurization and filtering stabilize beer and destroy bacteria that are potentially harmful to its flavor, these processes also prevent beer from improving with time. We're not going to cellar those beers, it's a waste of time! We're going to cellar beers that are unfiltered and unpasteurized.... Maybe even have some yeast still in the bottle.

The Classic, Thomas Hardy's Ale, the quintessential beer for laying down. It even states this on the bottle, 'This beer can be stored for up to 25 years.' A bottle from 1995 tastes amazingly different now in 2008! It's been given time to maturate (Mature) in the bottle and the flavors have has time to mingle and contort into a completely different and wonderful beer.

Caveat emptor! There can be some risk in aging beers! While some will become incredible libations that dreams are made of, some can become rather disappointing, dry and or medicinal. Fermentation conditioning, oxidation, yeast and bacteria can play wonder roles in aging, but they can be the undoing of some beers! I'm hoping to remove some of the risk within this article.


**Some of the following has been adapted from an article from SARA DOERSAM wrote for the 'Southern Draft' back in 1997. I've used her article for reference. Thanks Sara for opening my eyes to cellaring beers!


OXIDATION, the exposure of beer to air, can have a detrimental effect on beer by imparting a sherry-like characteristic. This can be a good character or bad depending on the base beer style. In light lagers and the like, this would just sour the beer beyond drinking!

Beer enthusiasts have long debated what role bottle size plays in the maturation of beers. For example, how does the flavor of a vintage Belgian Scaldis Noel aged in a 25-centiliter bottle compare to the same beer aged in a 1.5-liter magnum bottle? In larger bottles, beer has less exposure to air in the head space relative to the total volume of beer, so the larger bottle reduces the risk of excessive oxidation. Nevertheless, while large bottles may be preferred for aging beer, given no other choice, I would not reject a beer well suited for aging just because it is in a small bottle.

YEAST AND FERMENTATION

When a beer is bottle-conditioned, meaning it is bottled with live yeast suspended in the beer, the beer continues to ferment in the bottle, all the while changing in character. As the yeast feeds on the residual sugars in the beer, the beer loses some of its body and becomes drier. Even after the yeast runs out of sugar to feed on, it contributes to beer's body, aroma and flavor profile. Still, it is not imperative that a beer be bottle-conditioned to be a good candidate for laying down. There are many beers and beer styles that improve with time despite a lack of live yeast munching away on sugar in the bottle.

BACTERIAL EFFECTS

As a rule, bacterial infection is not a desirable characteristic in beers that are best drunk fresh. Indeed, bacterial contamination can dominate a beer, rendering it unpleasantly sour and virtually undrinkable. The sourness is usually derived from wild strains of yeast or bacteria that hop aboard the beer as it's being brewed or fermented and wreak havoc on the final product.

But some styles of Belgian beers are highly prized for their distinct sour or lactic character. In particular, Belgian lambic ales employ spontaneous fermentation induced by wild yeast, which is allowed, indeed invited, into the breweries' open fermentation vessels. So while most beer is fermented with cultured yeast strains, many Belgian ales are intentionally fermented with wild yeast strains and influenced by bacteria which impart that lactic character.

If you question how lactic or sour beers could possibly taste good, consider gourmet vinegars, some cheeses, sourdough bread or yogurt all influenced by aging bacteria and appreciated by acquired tastes. Thus, in controlled conditions, that same sourness or lactic character can surely enhance some beers.

CELLARING CONDITIONS

The temperature in which beer is stored or even transported plays an important role in its character. Cold temperatures abate changes to beer during aging; therefore, to reduce the effects of time on most beers, keep it cold. But if your intent is to transmogrify your beer with age, it is important to allow it to mature at cellar temperatures ranging from 50-65 degrees F with little fluctuation.

At these temperatures, the yeast, particularly in bottle-conditioned beer, is warm enough that it can remain active. If conditions become too cold, the yeast may slow down or become altogether dormant, and if too hot, the yeast may die.

Likewise, it is important to store your beer in the dark. Light can interact with the hops in beer, causing your beer to become light struck or skunky. Beer that smells like skunk is never inviting nor desirable.

Hops

While some of us love those incredibly Hoppy Piney resinous beers, all those hops don't always age very well! Balanced beers age better than over hopped beers, but that can be a matter of taste. Most high hopped beers have tendency to mature with the hops combining the bitterness and flavors into a rather medicinal, acrid flavor. At times the high hops will add to the maturity of the brew and dry out into the background. It can be a gamble with high hopped beers.

Barley wines, old ales, strong Scotch ales, strong Belgian ales are not as susceptible to the negative effects of bacteria. The flavors will melange rather than become off put.
Corked beers should be stored on their side, while crowned beers are best stored upright. As a rule, corked beers run a smaller risk than crowned beers of leaking at the seal. But corks can and often do impart a slightly musty, corky aroma and flavor to beers stored on their side, and I personally find that these factors contribute to a beer's complexity. When opening bottle-conditioned or corked vintage beers, be sure to cover the top with a towel and aim it away from yourself and your quaffing companions. Enough pressure may have built up in the bottle to blast a screaming cork ricocheting throughout the room.
Try to ensure that your beers are in good condition when you purchase them for laying down. Usually, your best bet is to buy them from a reputable beer merchant, preferably in brown bottles. Ask your merchant if the beers you want to buy are good candidates for cellaring.




Quick Check list for Cellaring

1. Generally beers over 8% alcohol.

2. Malty or complex Grain bill. Hoppy can be good or bad.

3. Bottle Conditioned with some yeast still in the bottle, but not always!

4. Belgian beers fermented with Wild Yeasts.

5. Cellar beers in a dark, cool place in the 50-65 degree range.

6. Corked beer is laid on it's side and capped beer, upright.

6. Buy quality beer that's in good condition! taste some before you cellar!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Amazing Belgian Brewers Dinner in New England

There are Brewers Dinners and there are BREWERS DINNERS. I've seen Brewers dinners range from multi-course dinner paired with beer and multi-course dinners paired and prepared with beer, some these are quality and some sound like a 3 course KFC meal deal and a can of Old Millwaukie! I've seen some that are just a rip off and others that are just overpriced backyard BBQ's..... But, for the "SERIOUS" beer aficionado, I think this Belgian Beer Brewers Dinner at the Ebenezer Pub in Lovell, Maine, must top the list in quality and imagination. The Dinner was sponsored by the De Struise Brewery of Belgian.


Ebenezer's Pub - Lovell, Maine
Belgian Beer Festival - Beer Dinner
August 28th, 2008

Executive Chef Sean Z. Paxton www.homebrewchef.com
Executive Chef Chris Lively ebenezerspub.net


First Course
Echt Kriek Poached Duck Foie Gras Crème Brûlée

Saison Dupont

Second Course
Seared Cold Smoked Sea Scallops
Local Maine Scallops Smoked with Peach Wood Topped with a De Regenboog Guido Foam,
On a Purple Potato Purée and Saffron De Struise Tsjeeses Bière Blanc Sauce

De Ranke Guldenberg

Third Course
Black Albert Caviar
With Crème Fraiche on a warm Barley Blini made with Koningshoeven Quadrupel Garnished with Yellow Pop Corn Sprouts

Val Dieu Grand Cru 2006

Fourth Course
Duck al a De Struise
Duck Legs Marinated and Braised in Pannepot with Leeks, Carrots, Tahitian Vanilla Beans
Served with Homemade Egg and Barley Noodles

De Struise Pannepot

Fifth Course
Lobster Waterzooi
De Glazen Toren Ondineke Tripel Lobster Stock, Sherman Farms Cream, Leeks, Rainbow Carrots,
Baby Fennel, Purple Potatoes, Lobster Meat, Morel Mushrooms and Local Herbs

Dupont Biere De Miel

Sixth Course
Coriander and Orange Peel Encrusted Venison Tenderloins
Seared and Cooked Sous Vide, Topped with a Maine Blueberry and St Feuillien Cuvée de Noël Demi Glaze and a Hazelnut Oil Powder

Cantillion Iris 2005

Seventh Course
Stoofvlees
A Flemish Stew Cooked with Beef, Lamb, Dark Candi Syrup Cured Bacon,
Leeks, Shallots, Onions, Thyme and De Dolle Stille Nacht 2007

Pomme Frites
Twice Fried Local Potatoes Along with a Cantillion Fou’ Foune Aioli

De Struise Pannepøt

Eighth Course
Rochefort 10 Braised Robinsons Ranch Beef Short Ribs
Cooked for Three Hours in Rochefort 10, Dried Figs, Thyme and Roasted Shallots
Served on a Parsnip Cinnamon Risotto

Rochefort 8 1.5l Magnum 2007

Ninth Course
Belgian Cheese Course
Wedges of Chimay and Père Joseph Cheeses Served with a Wijnendale Cheese Fondue Infused with DeRegenboog Dubbel
Garnished with Home-cured Duck Prosciutto, Gerkins, Local Rustic Breads, Seasonal Fruit and Spanish Almonds

De Dolle Mad Bitch & Cantillon Rosé de Gambrinus

Tenth Course
Sour Cherry Crêpes
Sour Cherries Cooked in Drie Fonteinen Schaerbeekse Kriek Filled into a Coriander Spiced Crêpe Made with Delirium Tremens
Topped with a Abbey Des Rocs Imperial Triple Cream

De Struise Aardnon (Earthnun vs Earthmonk)

Eleventh Course

Assorted Chef Surprises

Dark Belgian Chocolate Dipped Local Strawberries Injected with Cantillon St. Lambvinus
Pistachio Roca – Dark Belgian Chocolate Layered with Spiced Pistachios and Toffee Made with St. Bernardus Special Edition Abt.12


Péché Mortel 2006

Monday, September 15, 2008

Straight Eye for the Gate Guy!

A nice Refreshing Pumpkin Ale from AB!
(This is sarcasm)



The Gateway drinker that is….

What is a Gateway Beer Drinker? The simple definition would be a typical Budmilloors beer drinker who'd like to TRY something different or maybe a young POSER who what's to be hip, but can stomach a real malty or hoppy beer.

Today, we have tons of Gateway beers! Some resemble REAL Traditional beer styles like British Bitters, Porters, pale ales and the like. Others are New American Bastardations of the Original British, German, Belgian and even American styles.

Let me explain these statements. We have Traditional Historically made beer styles and we have modern American interpretations and expansions on these styles. I believe if a beer is created within a traditional beer style, it can be named or tagged with the said style name; i.e., An American Pale Ale that's brewed within guildlines based on a British Pale Ale, but with an American twist should be called a American Pale Ale. That said, if a beer is stated to be a Belgian beer in style, it should be made within a Belgian style frame. Albiet it can be modernized. Of course, there's the whole British Bitter aspect which I'm not going into..... ;-}

When I use the term Bastardized, I'm talking about an American beer that states it's a Belgian style, a Hefe-Weizen, a Pale Ale or Stout, but doesn't even closely follow style guildlines, taste or flavor.

If you're going to make some funky beer (and I do like some funky beers) don't give it a misleading beer style name. ;-}


In regard to gateway beers.... They are more likely to be made lighter, crisper, clearer and more approachable than the European or even American name sakes.

Widmer's Hefe Weizen is a great example of a Bastardized German Hefe-weizen. A typical German Hefe-Weizen is made with a Grain bill (Grains used in the beers production) that has anywhere from 30-65% Wheat and the rest Barley Malt. Hops are restrained, but using of the Noble German hop variety. The Germans use their Weihenstephan Yeast for brewing Weizen beers.

According to Wyeast lab, Hood River, Oregon:

Weihenstephan Yeast

Classic German wheat beer yeast, used by more German brewers than any other strain. Dominated by banana ester production, phenols and clove-like characteristics. Extremely attenuative yeast, which produces a tart, refreshing finish. Yeast remains in suspension readily with proteinacous wheat malt. Sometimes used in conjunction with lager yeast and kraeusened to finish the beer and improve the overall dryness.


As Wyeast describes, this yeast produces a fruity banana and cloves flavors. The yeast hold the Wheat particles in suspension which adds flavor, not just yeast particles with just makes you fart! None of which can be found in Widmer's Hefe-Weizen, mostly because they don't use the Germans Standard Weihenstephan, Weizen beer yeast. WIdmer uses a more neutral ALE yeast which leaves the Hefe- Weizen cloudy like a Hefe, but with a very drab and neutral nothing for taste. Although, American Wheat and Hefe is recognized as a legitimate style, I argue that you can't make a Hefe or Weizen of any shape or form without the use of Weihenstephan yeast; i.e., These American Wheat's are Red Headed Bastard step children of the original…. ;-}

That said, Widmer's Hefe has become a popular staple as a GATEWAY Beer, and why not, there's not a big stretch between a Budmilloors and hazy bland wheat ale. There is somewhat a humorous reality to it all.

Speaking of humor, I'm reminded of my 1991 trip to Munich. My hotel over looked the Old town Farmers Market, two blocks off the Marianplatz and about 7 blocks from the Hofbrauhaus. You could buy almost any type of basic food products at the Farmers Market; Breads, Cheese, vegetables, wines, beer, sausages, etc. Plus, they had multiple food stands selling hot foods.

I had heard that German's liked to have Weisswurst (An herbed Veal, white sausage) on Sunday's. It was Sunday, so my wife and I went down to the market to partake in some traditional food. We stood in line trying to decipher the menu board. I saw the words Weisswurst and some Weizen Beers. OK! I'm set! The Middle Aged stocky, burley server nods his head at an for an order… “I'll have two weisswurst and two Wezien's” His right eyebrow raises and he asks, “Two Weizen for da Damein (Women)?” I reply, “No, ones for me.” He quickly bursts out a loud, “NOOOO!” I asked, “You have no Weizen's?” He looked me with one eye and said, “This you Damein?” I responded, “Yes…” He returned with, “..Den no Weizen for you… Damen, Yes… You NO!” Curious, I asked, “Why?” He smiles one of those, you-dumb-ass-Americans-don't-know-shit smiles and while making a limp wristed Tinker bell gesture, “Only fraulines drink weizen… Da are for little girls or you know…” Well, OK, I've know been educated!


Segway, back to the US then and today…. Every time I see a big hairy and burley truck driving guy with a Harley Tattoo drinking a Hefe with a slice of lemon…. Yea! It's pretty funny! That said, drinking Hefe and Weizen have become more popular in Germany to be drank by men too…. What kind of men? I guess I'll need to return to see…. ;-}

Back to our GATEWAY beers……:-}

With the plethora gateway type beers available in our country, we now have Anheuser Busch (ooops! I mean InBev!) offering an American Ale and a Michelob series of Gate-way beers. I can't use the term CRAFT beers when talking about AB, which would be a true oxymoron! What can we really expect from these new beers?

Michelob in itself was originally brewed as a PREMIUM American beer product. What would we described a Premium American Beer? Well… Pretty much just an ALL-Grain beer! In this day of quality All grain beers made all over the US, this is not uncommon, but for AB, This was a premium product based on the fact their regular products are made with part Barley (and the cheap flavorless 6-row variety to beat) combined with Rice. Rice is an adjunct in brewing. Meaning a FILLER product, something that adds crispness and starch that can be converted into alcohol cheaper than Barley. Oh, don't forget the Beechwood aged!!! I think there's like the equivalent of half a rail tie of beechwood per 600 barrels of fermented beer…. Did ya taste it?? Can ya taste ? ;-}


Here's a list of the Michelob series:

* Michelob Bavarian Wheat (summer)
* Michelob Marzen (fall)
* Michelob Porter (winter)
* Michelob Pale Ale (spring)
* Michelob Amber Bock
* Michelob Honey Lager
* Michelob Pale Ale
* Michelob Marzen
* Michelob Pumpkin Spice Ale

Doesn't that sound nice!?

Instead of reviewing these lovely gems, I'd like to hear from my readers! Anybody try one of these? If so, lets hear your review!

I'm sure this series poses neither threat to the Craft beer industry, nor threat to Inbev when they all go into obscurity within the next couple of years. Anybody remember the AB American Original Beer series? They produced some old pre-prohibition AB styles like Faust and others. They lasted about 6 months….

Friday, September 12, 2008

Octoberfest and OKTOBERFEST!



Mt Angel Octoberfest


Here is Oregon we have multiple MINI Octoberfest celebrations. Mt Angels Octoberfest being one of the largest. Held in a small German founded town in the Willamette Valley. They serve up quite a number of attractions:

# Continuous live music on four stages
# Free Kindergarten with rides and shows
# Friday and Saturday night street dancing
# Over 50 Alpine food chalets serving a wide variety of ethnic foods
# Large Arts and Crafts Show
# Traditional Biergarten, Weingarten and Alpinegarten
# Over 30 musical groups featuring the Original Donaumusikanten from Germany Courtesy Lufthansa
# Cruz-n Car Show

I've been to numerous local Octoberfests and find this to be about the most authentic feeling. Offering some real German styles foods, along with Spaten and Paulaner beers. Check you local newspapers for other Octoberfest events. ** Note: Some of the other events are rather cheesy with some offering Bud products and Spaghetti.... not very Octoberfest like. More like cheap facimiles trying to make a buck off the concept. That said, unfortunately BUD can be found at the Mt Angel event too...


----------------------------------------------------

The "REAL" OKTOBERFEST

Hofbrauhaus Tent

"Oktoberfest" is a sixteen-day festival held every year in Munich, Germany. The first Oktoberfest was held on October 12, 1810; Commemorating the marriage of Crown Prince Ludwig and Princess Therese of Saxe-Hildburghausen. The festival is held on an area named the Theresienwiese (field, or meadow, of Therese), often called d’ Wiesn for short.

Today, the festival runs from Mid September to early October. It is one of the most famous events in the city and the world's largest fair, with some six million people attending every year..

Oktoberfest is more than just a beer festival, it’s a huge traditional event with a World Fair feel. There are exhibits, carnival rides, a Midway, stores, restaurants, dances, competitions, etc.

In 1990, the schedule was modified in response to German reunification so that if the first Sunday in October falls on the 1st or 2nd, then the festival will go on until October 3rd (German Unity Day). Thus, the festival is now 17 days when the 1st Sunday is October 2nd and 18 days when it is October 1st.

My wife and I were lucky enough to attend Oktoberfest in 1991. Most reunified East Germans never really made it to Oktoberfest in 1990, they were celebrating on a more personal and family level. To most East Germans, their reunited Oktoberfest was in 1991. It was a very heart felt event when I attended. The East Germans had not been able to celebrate Oktoberfest for almost 50 years, so the party was immense and raucous. I heard many stories of families being reunited and some even at Oktoberfest together. After 50 years, some families lost an entire generation, but were quickly catching up on current and past relatives lives. There were many tears of joy and sadness of loss.


Lets’ talk about the beer at Oktoberfest….. This is not backyard BBQ!


Munich's Oktoberfest Grounds

Oktoberfest beers have been served at the festival in Munich since 1818, and are supplied by 6 breweries known as the Big Six: Spaten, Löwenbräu, Augustiner, Hofbräu, Paulaner and Hacker-Pschorr. Oktoberfest beer are lager beers with firm smooth maltiness and have around 5.5 to 6% abv. The correct style name for Oktoberfest beer is Märzen, which mean “March,” after being brewed in March and allowed to ferment slowly during the summer months. Originally these would have been dark rich heavy lagers (possibly closer to a Dopplebock), but from 1872 a strong March brewed version of an deep amber-red lager made by Josef Sedlmayr of Spaten Brewing became the favorite version.

Since the 1970s the standard beer served at the festival has been a pale lager (Munich Helles). Although, other styles of beer can be bought at Oktoberfest.


Now that's some nice big beers! ;-}

The Oktoberfest and/or Marzen beers are still produced and can be found at the Oktpberfest festival, as well as, sold around the world. The color of these lagers may range from pale gold to deep amber, with the darker colors more common in the USA. Hop levels tend not to be distinctive, though some American examples may be firmly hopped. Modern beers sold as Oktoberfest and Märzen in Europe tend not to be too differentiated from other pale lagers of this strength, while older German and American influenced examples will be fairly malty in flavour and inclined to use a range of malts, especially dark malts such as Vienna or Munich.


There are fourteen main tents at the Oktoberfest. The tents themselves are non-permanent structures which are constructed for and only used during the festival. These tents are enormous and hold Thousands of people. It’s the largest attended beer event in the world! The vast number of people in the tents are so impressive it’s hard to imagine. Entire families reserve tables months in advance for good seating. Some tables are reserved for certain time slots , while other reserve tables for days. The following is a list of Tent names with the beer served and other events.



Wikipedia info:

Hippodrom - Spaten-Franziskaner-Bräu — One of the smaller tents, it's the first tent that many visitors see at the fest. As well as serving normal Wiezen beer, it has a Sekt (sparkling wine) bar and Maß of Weißbier. Considered one of the trendiest tents, and attracts the occasional celebrity. Tent capacity: 4,200

Armbrustschützenzelt – Paulaner Biers - Translates as the "Crossbow Shooters Tent", a competition that has been a part of the Oktoberfest since 1895. Tent capacity: 7,400

Hofbräu-Festzelt – Hofbräu Haus München - The counterpart to the famous Hofbräuhaus, this tent is especially popular with Americans, Australians and New Zealanders. Tent capacity: 10,200

Hacker-Festzelt - Hacker-Pschorr - One of the largest tents on the Wiesn, they have a rock band that plays from 5:30 each evening . This tent is also known as "Himmel der Bayern" (Heaven of Bavarians). Ten capacity: 9,100

Schottenhamel - Spaten-Franziskaner-Bräu - Reckoned to be the most important tent at the Oktoberfest, mainly because it is where it starts. On the first Saturday of the event, no beer is allowed to be served until the mayor of Munich (currently Christian Ude) taps the first keg, at 12pm. Only then can the other tents begin to serve beer. Very popular amongst younger people. Tent Capacity: 10,000

Winzerer Fähndl -Paulaner - This tent is noted for its huge tower, with a Mass of Paulaner beer sitting atop it. Tent capacity: 11,000

Schützen-Festhalle – Löwenbräu - This is a mid-sized tent. Situated under the Bavaria statue, the current tent was newly built in 2004. Tent capacity: 4,442

Käfers Wiesen Schänke - Paulaner — The smallest tent at the Oktoberfest, it is frequented by celebrities, and is known for its especially good food. In contrast to the other tents (which must close by 11pm), it is open until 0:30am, but it can be very difficult to get in. Tent capacity 3,000

Weinzelt - Nymphenburger Sekt -This tent offers a selection of more than 15 wines, as well as Weißbier. Paulaner Weißbier Capacity: 2,300



Löwenbräu-Festhalle - Above the entrance is a 4.50 meter (15 foot) lion who occasionally drinks from his beer. This is overshadowed by another tower where another drinking lion sits. Capcaaity: 8,500

Bräurosl - Hacker-Pschorr -Named after the daughter of the original brewery owner (Pschorr), this tent has the usual brass band and a yodeler. Capacity: 8,500

Augustiner-Festhalle -Augustiner Bräu- Considered by many locals to be the best tent, due to the fact it sells the favorite local brew, Augustiner, from individually tapped wooden kegs rather than stainless steel vats used by the other tents. Capacity: 8,500

Ochsenbraterei – Spaten- True to its name, this tent offers a great variety of ox dishes. Capacity: 7,300

Fischer Vroni - Augustiner -Another of the smaller tents. Fisch is the German word for fish and this tent carries a huge selection in its menu. CaPACITY 3,200


The Oktoberfest is known as the Largest Volksfest (People's Fair) in the World. In 1999 there were six and a half million visitors to the fest.. 72% of the people are from Bavaria 15% of visitors come from foreign countries like the surrounding EU-countries and other non-European countries including the United States, Japan, Brazil and Australia.


Oktoberfest numbers (2007)

* Area: 103.79 acres (0.42 km²)
* Seats in the festival halls: ca. 100,000
* Visitors: 6.2 million
* Beer: appr. 69,406 hl (1,269 hl non-alcoholic)
* Wine: 79,624 litres
* Sparkling wine: 32,047 litres
* Coffee, tea: 222,725 litres
* Water, lemonade: 909,765 ½ litres
* Chicken: 521,872 units
* Pork sausages: 142,253 pairs
* Fish: 38,650 kg
* Pork knuckles: 58,446 units
* Oxen: 104 units
* Expenditure of electricity: 2.8 million kWh (as much as 14% of Munich's daily need
or as much as a four person family will need in 52 years and 4 months)
* Expenditure of gas: about 205,000 m³
* Expenditure of water: about 90,000 m³ (as much as 27% of Munich´s daily need )
* Waste: 678 t (2004)
* Toilettes: about 980 seats, more than 878 metres stands and 17 for disabled persons.
* Telephones: 83, also for international credit cards.
* Lost property: about 4000 items, among them 260 pairs of glasses, 200 mobile phones, a wedding ring and two crutches

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Russian River's Redemption and Pliny Revisited - Reviewed



Pliny the Elder


Yes, I jumped the fence and bought a Pliny the Elder!

I'd had this beer when I lived in CA, when Vinnie first made it. I remember it being fairly balanced for a DIPA, but that's all I remember. Around here people talk like it's nectar of the Gods.... I'm not too surprised!

It has a beautiful aroma of Oranges and juicy Grapefruit. Very floral and perfumed. The bitterness is somewhat balanced with a slightly caramel maltiness. The bitterness stays on the tongue for quite awhile and lingers on the back of tongue and throat long after the finish. The finish is gritty and resinous with hop bitterness and a piney twang. It's a nicely semi-balanced beer in regard to hop bitterness, alcohol and malt. Still complexly hopped, but the complexity is artful and deliberate, not just hops thrown in for the hell of it. Vinnie knows what flavors and aromas he wants from which hops and utilizes the correct amount of hops for each addition. All is all, I would give it a flat "B". I could have more malt complexity with all the hops present and be even a better beer. The bottles states, "Drink now... Don't age or store." Considering the use of Corn Sugar usage, aging will only degrade the flavor with the ever changing states of the sugar which degrades fast into a Corny and possibly cardboard flavor. I used to enjoy the balance of Speakeasy's Double Daddy a little better.



Redemption - Batch 3

Not available here is Oregon, yet! I've acquired this through a CARE package from some Bay Area friends.

The bottle states it's a 'Single' style of Belgian ale. That would be translated into an Enkel beer.

It's Blonde in color and has a nice tight lace of of carbonation which hangs in there long after the beer sits. This beer has a beautiful aroma which is very authentic to Belgian beers of this style and of Blonde Belgians! A combination of lactic acidity, coriander and floral hops. Likely to be a SPICY Noble hop like Tettnanger or Hallertaur Herzberker? Very herbal in flavor and aroma like a well made Souvegnion Blanc! (Not fruity/melony like the local Pinot Gris!) Reminds me on a Duval in aroma, but drier in flavor. Flavor is sharp acidity which hits about the middle of the tongue and dry singular malt across the tongue which opens into the spiciness and citrus overtones of the hops and lemony coriander that dances across the taste buds. Amazing! Dry, but an explosion to the senses! The finish is dry, puckering, acidic and has a hop spiciness, like an aged dry white wine with hops. It's very refreshing and crisp beer with a high degree of herbal spiciness. I could drink this everyday and be a happy man!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Off the Beaten Path: Portland Beer Joints


I think photo credits go to John Foyston!


Enough Beer Blog, Dick waving talk! Lets' talk about something we all have in common..... BEER!

How about something rarely discussed on the general NW beer blogs?

No current events. No beer reviews. No blind faith reviews of the greatness of Portland's Brewing scene!

Lets' talk about good beer and where to find it! Not just good IPA's or other homegrown fav's, but the real world class variety shit!

Most blogs cover local beer events and the "Meet the brewers" functions, but how about those places that fall off the radar, but have a great beer selection beyond the basics? Yea! Sound interesting?

Other than the routine obvious beer joints; Concordia Ale House (which doesn't get enough web time), Green Dragon and that smelly old Horse Brass! How about something with a different ambiance and beer allure? Although, all the above places are "Not to be missed on any journey to Beer Mecca of the western world," Portland offers more than just home spun Hoppy libations!

This is the first installment of "Off the Beaten Path" Portland beer!

All of these bars offer beer knowledgable servers, which can be hard to find in Beervana, but that's another post!! ;-}

La Bodega

LaBodega
1325 NE Fremont St.
Portland OR
97212

Hidden on lower Fremont Street is this little gem! With it's casual atmosphere and modern decor, you'd think you're not in a local beer joint. Owners Jonathan Jenkins and Amber Browne put on quite a show of homemade gourmet food along with weekend beer and wine tastings! There's NO "meet the brewers" here, because most of the beer tastings are from FAR out of the region.

Beers can be drank on sight or purchased at a discounted price to bring home.

Beer list:

Belgium

Bornem Dubbel
Bornem Tripel
Augustijn Ale
Bruegel Amber Ale
Duvel Ale
Gulden Draak
Kwak
Piraat Ale
Gouden Carolus d'Or
Het Kapitel Pater Brown
Orval Trappist Ale
St. Bernardus Witbier
Rodenbach Sour Flemish Red
Rodenbach Redbach (w/cherry juice)
Orval Trappist Ale
Saison Dupont Farmhouse Ale
Oud Beersel Vieille Kriek (dry Cherry)
Oud Beersel Framboise (Raspberry
Rodenbach Grand Cru
Moinette Saison
Brasserie des Rocs Blonde
Brasserie des Rocs Ambree
Brasserie des Rocs Grand Cru
Cantillon Iris

Canada

Maudite
Trois Pistoles Strong Ale
Don di Dieu Blonde

...and many more!





Higgins

A North West staple in local cuisine also has a wonderful little lounge and bar that serves up many local and international specialties! One of the only places to get Hair of the Dogs', Greg beer, made just for Greg Higgins.

With an old world, dark wood feel and classic turn of century bar, this is a great stop for the beer explorer!

Beer list:

DRAFT

Hair of the Dog Blue Dot Double IPA, Oregon $4.00/$5.00
Deschutes Mirror Pond (cask conditioned), Oregon 3.50/4.75
Bridgeport IPA, Oregon 3.50/4.75
Laurelwood Organic Free Range Red, Oregon 3.50/4.75
Lagunitas Red Ale, California 3.50/4.75
Paulaner Oktoberfest, Germany 4.00/5.00
Pilsner Urquell, Czech Republic $3.50/$4.75
Guinness Stout, Ireland $3.50/$4.75
Lindeman’s Framboise, Belgium Special $5.25
Chimay Tripel, Belgium Special $8.00
Special Guest Tap, Please inquire
__________
BELGIUM

Stella Artois, 11.2oz 5.00
Duvel, 11.2oz 6.50
Delirium Tremens or Nocturum, 25.4oz 12.00
Saison DuPont, 25.4oz 12.00
Fantôme Chocolat 25.4oz 15.00
DeProef Flemish Primitive Wild Ale, 25.4oz 12.00
DeProef Slaapmutske Tripel Night Cap, 25.4oz 12.00
Maredsous 8 Dark-Brune or 10 Triple, 25.4oz 12.00
Petrus Aged Pale Ale, 11.2oz 6.50
Abbaye Des Rocs Grand Cru, 25.4oz 15.00
Pauwel Kwak, 11.2oz 6.50
Affligem Dubbel, 25.4oz 12.00
LaChouffe or McChouffe, 25.4oz 12.00
DeDolle Bos Keun, 11.6oz 6.50
DeDolle Stille Nacht, 11.6oz 7.50
Grotten Brown Cave-Aged Ale, 25.4oz 12.50
Vichtenaar Flemish Ale, 11.2oz 6.50
Echt Kriekenbier, 11.2oz 7.00
Duchesse De Bourgogne, 11.2oz 6.50
Petrus Old Brown, 8.4oz 6.00
Liefman’s Kriek or Frambozen, 12.7oz 8.00
Orval, 11.2oz 7.00
Chimay Red Label, 11.2oz 6.50
Chimay “Cinq Cents” White Label, 25.4oz 12.00
Chimay Grande Reserve Blue Label, 25.4oz 12.50
Westmalle Dubbel or Tripel, 11.2oz 7.50
Rochefort #8 or #10, 11.2oz 10.00
Achel Trappist Ale, 11.2oz 10.00
Achel Trappist Extra, 25.4oz 20.00
Oud Beersel Oude Geuze Vielle, 12.7oz 8.50
Cherish Cherry Lambic, 8.4oz 6.50
Boon Geuze, 12oz 8.50
Lindeman’s Kriek or Framboise, 12oz 8.50
Lindeman’s Cassis, Peche or Pomme, 12oz 8.50
Lindeman’s Cuvée René 1994, 25.4oz 25.00
Cantillon Grand Cru Old Lambic, 25.4oz 25.00
Cantillon Foú Foune, 25.4oz 22.00
Deus (Flanders/Champagne), 25.4oz 40.00
Scaldis Cuvée Speciale “Prestige” 25.4oz 80.00
Scaldis Special Ale, 8.48oz 6.50
Corsendonk Christmas Ale, 12oz 7.00
N’Ice Chouffe, 25.4oz 14.00
La Moneuse Special Noel, 25.4oz 12.00
Abbey Affligem Noel, 25.4oz 15.00
Kerst Pater Special Winter Ale, 25.4oz 15.00
_________
FRANCE

Biere Les Sans Culottes, 25.4oz 12.00
La Choulette Blonde, 25.4oz 12.00
Jenlain Biere de Printemps, 25.4oz 12.00
Yeti Strong Golden Ale, 11.2oz 6.50
Castelain Blond Biere de Garde, 11.2oz 6.00
____________
Great Britain

Young’s Dirty Dick’s Ale, 16.9oz 5.50
Traquair House Ale, 11.2oz 6.00
Traquair Jachobite Ale, 11.2oz 6.00
Bass Pale Ale, 19.05oz 5.50
Newcastle Brown Ale, 18.6oz 5.50
Samuel Smith’s Taddy Porter, 18.6oz 5.50
Samuel Smith’s Imperial Stout, 18.6oz 6.50
Bombardier Premium Bitter, 19.25oz 6.50
Skullsplitter, 11.2oz 6.00
Thomas Hardy’s Ale, 2003, 8.5oz 7.50
Taunton Blackthorn Hard Cider, 12oz 4.25
Fraoch Heather Ale, 16.9oz 5.50
___________
GERMANY

Bittburger Pils, 16.9oz 5.00
Berliner Kindl Weisse, 11.2oz 6.00
Reissdorf Kölsch, 16.9oz 5.00
Paulaner Hefeweizen, 16.09oz 5.00
Paulaner Salvator, 16.9oz 5.00
Schneider Weisse or Edel-Weisse, 16.9oz 5.00
Pinkus Muller Munster Alt, 16.9oz 5.00
Diebels Alt, 12oz 5.00
Ayinger Oktoberfest-Märzen, 16.9oz 5.00
Weltenburger Kloster Asam bock, 16.9oz 5.50
Aktien-Brauerei St. Martin, 16.9oz 5.50
Aventinus Doppelbock Weizen, 16.9oz 5.00
Aventinus Weizen Eisbock, 11.2oz 6.50
__________
OTHERS

Czechvar, Czech Republic, 16.9oz $5.00
Rebel Pils, Czech Republic, 16.9oz $5.00
Oranjeboom Pils, Netherlands, 16oz Can $3.50
Samichlaus Bier, Austria, 11.2oz $7.50
Coopers Extra Strong Vintage Ale, Australia, 12.7oz $6.00
Negra Modelo, Mexico, 12oz $3.50
Negra Especial, Mexico, 12oz $3.50
Black Boss Porter, Poland, 16.9oz $6.50
Ephemère, Canada, 25.4oz $10.00
La Fin Du Monde, Canada, 25.4oz $10.00
Maudite, Canada, 25.4oz $10.00
Trois Pistoles, Canada, 25.4oz $10.00
Don De Dieu, Canada, 25.4oz $10.00
Quelque Chose, Canada, 16.9oz $12.50
Terrible, Canada, 25.4oz 11.00
Edition 2005 Unibroue, Canada, 25.4oz $11.00
Edition 2004 Unibroue, Canada, 25.4oz $11.00
______
USA

Full Sail Black Gold Imperial Stout, Oregon, 22oz 15.000
Alesmith’s Horny Devil, 25.4oz 15.00
Alesmith Speedway Stout, California, 25.4oz $15.00
Ommegang Belgian-Style Abbey Ale, 25.4oz $10.00
Marin Blueberry Ale, California, 22oz 7.50
Boulder Beer Co. Sweaty Betty Blond, Colorado, 12oz 4.00
Jolly Pumpkin Oro de Calabaza, Michigan, 25.4oz 10.0
Jolly Pumpkin La Roja Amber Ale 10.00
Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, 12oz 3.50
Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale, 12oz 3.50
Hair of the Dog Fred, Adambier, 12oz 4.50
Pabst Blue Ribbon, 24oz can 3.50

Victory bar

3652 SE Division St
Portland, OR 97202
(503) 236-8755

This self proclaimed WINE bar offers more than just WINE! They offer a nice selection of Tapas (Tapas are small plates) with interesting flights of wine, but they have a nice beer selection too!


6 beers on tap, rotating... big Belgium beers, summertime sessions and local fav's.....


bottles

Radeberger Pilsner, Germany
"O.K. Beer" Okocium Polish Pils, Poland
Aktien "Helle" German Helles Lager
Weltenburger Asam Bock, Dunkle Dopplebock
Schwelmer Heffeweizen, Germany
Weihenstephaner Dunkleweizen (dark heffe) Germany
Gosser Dark, Munich Dunkle, Austria

Klumbacher Pils, Germany

Coopers Sparkling Ale, Austraila

Eisenbahn Rauchbier "Smoked" bier, Brazil

Flag Porter 1825 Original, UK

Bavik Pilsner, Belgium
Witterkerke Witkier, Belgium

Grimbergen Blonde, Belgium
Gavroche French Red Ale, FR
Vichtenaar Flemish Ale, Belgium
Sterkens Dubbel Ale, Belgium

Sterkens White Ale, Belgium
Geants DuCassis Fruit Ale, Belgium

Echt Kreikenbier (dry cherry beer) Belgium

Cherish Kriek Lambic (Cherry Lambic) Belguim

Deproef Reinaert Flemish Wild Ale

Struise Witte (Witbier, Belgium)

Petrus (Flanders cave aged pale)
St. Bernardus "Pater 6" Dubbel, Belgium
St. Bernardus "Abt 12" Quadrupel, Belgium

Orval Trappist Pale Ale

Westmalle Trappist Tripel

Trappistes Rochefort 10 (Quadrupel, Belgium)
Girardin Gueuze, Belgium

USA!

Bam Bier Farmhouse Ale, Michigan

St. Bridget's Porter, Great Divide, Colorado

Stone Smoked Porter, sunny San Diego


CANS !

Old Speckled Hen, English Pale, UK (Nitro-Can)

Tetly's English Ale, UK (Nitro-Can)
Bellhaven Scottish Ale, Scotland (Nitro-Can)
Murphy's Irish Stout, Ireland
Old German Premium (the world knows no finer) Pittsburgh, PA, USA
Oranjeboom euro Lager, Holland

Morrison Hotel

719 SE Morrison St
Portland, OR 97214
(503) 236-7080

No web site, but this is a funky little bar about 2 blocks from Green Dragon. They offer a huge beer menu of about 100 beers! Everything from Belgian to local... Check them out!

Servers are very knowledgable and helpful!