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Beer Geek - We're #1!

Aug 28, 2014 -- 8:20am

As heard on the radio this morning, Oregon is #1 for beer (duh!) in a Thrillist ranking of the nation's 50 states.  

If you can get past some of the snarky comments, it's a fun rundown of craft beer in all 50 states...  I do like the fact they give a shout-out to my home state of Michigan, which has a tremendous craft beer scene...

Here's what Thillist has to say about Oregon:

1. Oregon

California and Washington might have more brewers, but dammit, they’ve also got more people. More importantly, they don’t have the density of Oregon’s offerings. Or the quality. Oregon’s long been at the forefront of the craft industry, with brewers like Widmer Brothers, Rogue, Full Sail, and Deschutes leading the national charge as gateway beers for people who want something more out of their pints. But they’re just the OGs of what might be the epicenter of the craft beer movement.

Much ballyhoo has been made of the sheer number of breweries in the Portland metro area, which tops out at more than 70 and counting... but this isn’t a case of quantity over quality. It’s a case of quantity meeting quality head on. Portland houses an insurmountable number of great breweries -- not good, pretty good, or wonderful, but effin’ great breweries -- that are changing the landscape of modern brewing. Hair of the Dog, Breakside, Cascade, Upright, Ecliptic, the Commons, Burnside, Lompoc... it just keeps going. Even the “crappy” breweries by Portland standards would bury most of their peers based on pure deliciousness.

But that’s just one city in a state full of amazing brewers dotting the state, from the coastal Pelican to the high desert’s 10 Barrel, mid-state’s Ninkasi, Southern Oregon’s uncleverly named Southern Oregon Brewing, Mt. Hood’s Double Mountain... basically, if you enter a city or town in Oregon without a solid brewery, you’ve probably crossed into Washington or Idaho. Or maybe the capital of Salem... which sucks. But you’ll still find a great brewpub serving some of the best beer in America, made in Oregon, with Oregon hops, by a bearded Oregonian who’s probably in a band that sucks... that’s the Oregon way. Oregon beer, more than any, has helped introduce the masses to the potential of drinking great brews, and, with new breweries seemingly opening on a weekly basis, it’s the best damn place to be a beer lover in the US.

While the Oregon ranking is justified, I think Thrillist's jab at Salem is unfair.   The craft beer scene in Oregon's capital city is a happening place these days, thanks to Santiam, Gilgamesh, Vagabond and Salem Ale Works.

The First Edition Beer Geek airs every Thursday morning at 7:40 a.m. on First Edition with Tim Hohl & Terry Travis.  Follow me on Twitter @timhohl & use the hashtag #BeerGeek for breaking craft beer news during the week!

Beer Geek - No Shortage of Craft Beer Fun!

Aug 14, 2014 -- 9:54am

As heard on the radio this morning, plenty of events for craft beer lovers...

TONIGHT (Thursday), Belmont Station hosts a Portland-New Zealand Collaboration Tasting.  The Commons, Gigantic, and Widmer have brewed beers to be showcased at New Zealand's biggest beer festival, called Beervana!   You can sample them tonight and meet the brewers who will be participating in the upcoming "Beervana Exchange"   5-7p.  SE 45th & Stark.

*  *  *  *

Kells Brewpub celebrates its 2nd Anniversary on Friday with 2 special tappings and live music.  6p-close @ NW 2nd & Everett.

Kells Barrel Aged Red: The brewers took their Kells Irish Red Ale  and barrel aged it for many months in Bull Run Distillery whiskey barrels. Honey and vanilla notes of whiskey dance in your mouth with the light toffee and red fruits of the ale. 5% ABV

Billy Ray Citrus CDSL: Billy Ray Citrus merges the dark roasty richness of a stout with the smooth, easy taste of a session lager. Two-row, caramel, carafa II (dehusked black malt) and Vienna malts are balanced by Northern Brewer, Hallertauer, Mt. Hood and Saaz hops, a great blend of the traditional European noble hops with the freshness of the Northwest. Fermented with lager yeast at room temperature gives this beer its fruity esters and a mild green-apple aroma.

*  *  *  *

3rd Annual Westmoreland/Sellwood Summer Brewfest is Saturday & Sunday at Portland U-Brew & Pub, 6237 SE Milwaukie.  6-8 local breweries plus cider, live music & BBQ.  Big tent in the back.  The Oregon Humane Society is the event's chosen charity.

*  *  *  *

Salem Ale Works celebrates its 1st anniversary on Saturday. 11a-9p.  Two new beers: White IPA * Barrel Aged Smoked Porter.  It's a great excuse to check out the burgeoning craft beer scene in Salem (where fellow newcomers Vagabond & Santiam along with Gilgamesh have given craft beer lovers a reason to visit Oregon's captial city).  Salem Ale Works is at 2027 25th Street SE (just south of Mission Street near Salem Airport)...  BTW, I love their slogan!

The First Edition Beer Geek airs every Thursday morning at 7:40 a.m. on First Edition with Tim Hohl & Terry Travis.  Follow me on Twitter @timhohl & use the hashtag #BeerGeek for breaking craft beer news during the week!

Beer Geek - OBF Survival Guide

Jul 24, 2014 -- 10:09am

The 2014 Oregon Brewers Festival is here!  

((( for fellow Beer Geeks who are just here for the beer list...   CLICK HERE!!!  )))

Despite the rain on Wednesday, hundreds joined in the parade from Lucky Lab to Tom McCall Waterfront Park for the ceremonial tapping of the first keg.  By the looks of it, plenty of folks were happy to brave the rain and drink beer!


One of the biggest questions each year is: how do I find the beer I want.  The friendly folks at OBF have an answer for that: 

The festival is divided into two areas: North and South. Each section features five semi-trailers that pour at least 8 beers apiece. The taps are numbered starting at the first tap at the South end of the park, closest to the Morrison Street Bridge. Because the beers are delivered to the park only two days before set up, it is impossible to “position” them in a set order; when they arrive, they are loaded onto a trailer. You are more likely to find beers by distributor rather than by style or alphabetical order. The best way to locate the beer you want is to check the map inside the program guide, available at no cost; or to follow the official mobile app

There's also this handy map (DOWNLOADABLE HERE) that shows you were the beer trailers are (see "Beer List" for which beers are at which trailers)

Be sure to use the Twitter hashtag #OBF27 while tweeting and drinking at the festival!

Finally, if you see this woman...

... give her a hug or at least say "thanks" for being Oregon Brewers Festival ROYALTY.  Chris Crabb is one of just 3 paid staff members for the festival.  Her craft beer promotion magic is one of the big reasons why Portland has become known worldwide as Beervana and a mecca for craft beer.  Cheers, Chris!

Happy OBF! 

The First Edition Beer Geek airs every Thursday morning at 7:40 a.m. on First Edition with Tim Hohl & Terry Travis.  Follow me on Twitter @timhohl for breaking craft beer news during the week!


Beer Geek - Craft Beer in Wine Country

Jul 10, 2014 -- 10:02am

Pinot noir isn't the only thing they're drinking in Dundee these days.

Deception Brewing, the work of childhood friends Ben Hoffman and Brian Wheatly, is now open along Highway 99W on the west end of town.  Four beers on tap to start: Apricot Cream Ale, Pale, IPA & a CDA.

It you think Yamhill County is all about wine, think again.  Craft beer can be just as big an attraction.  Just ask the breweries in wine destinations like Walla Walla & Napa/Sonoma.


Beer Geek - Food Snobs

Jun 19, 2014 -- 10:25am

BEER & FOOD: I never understand why foodies, especially here in Portland, get so worked up about pub grub.  We live in such an incredible beer and food town.  I never understand why food writers seem so "shocked" that you can get a locally sourced, quality & inventive meal at a brewpub.  Take this article from the Oregonian, which is out with it's Diner 2014 issue this week.  The headline alone makes it seem that it's a stretch that just 5 brewpubs in town have decent food.  Sure, there are plenty of places in town where the menu is an unexciting array of burgers and sandwiches.  But c'mon, I could name 25 places that serve up fantastic craft beer and equally creative food.  

That said, I do agree with the 5 breweries on the list.  Especially Cascade Brewing, where I can personally recommend the fantastic Muffuletta sandwich.

NEW LOCATION FOR THE COMMONS:  What a long way owner/brewer Mike Wright has come, from the days of brewing in a shed outside his home, to his current brewery and tasting room in Ladd's Addition.

The maker of European-inspired beers (including the very tasty Urban Farmhouse Ale) will be moving to a new 10,000 SF  space in the 600 block of SE Belmont, right on Portland's Distillery Row with Cascade Barrell House, the Green Dragon & Buckman Brewing in the same proximity.  

Beer writer John Foyston says the new Commons will add a 15 barrel brewhouse, larger tasting room and more taps.  Like John, I hope it retains some of the industrial feel of drinking beer right in the brewery.  It's always been fun to be hanging out with a beer right next to a bubbling fermenter.

MOUNT TABOR BREWING RETURNS TO PORTLAND: As first reported by Brewpublic, Mount Tabor Brewing is opening a new location in SE Portland.  The first Mount Tabor brewery was in NE Portland's Montaville neighborhood, hence the name.  But when owner/brewer Eric Surface wanted a larger location closer to home, he chose downtown Vancouver, where Mount Tabor has been a leader in the development of the craft beer scene in the 'Couve.  But Surface has always been looking back across the river and plans to keep the Vancouver location open even as he launches his new brewery and tap room near SE 11th and Ash.

NEXT WEEK ON THE RADIO (7:40 a.m. Thursday June 26th): everything you need to know about this year's North American Organic Brewers Festival...

The First Edition Beer Geek airs every Thursday morning at 7:40 a.m. on First Edition with Tim Hohl & Terry Travis.  Follow me on Twitter @timhohl for breaking craft beer news during the week!

Beer Geek - Molalla Brew Fest

Jun 12, 2014 -- 7:47am

As heard on the radio this morning:

The 4th annual Molalla Brew Fest starts TODAY and runs thru Saturday in downtown Molalla.  30 beers and ciders will be showcased from familiar names like AlamedaLaurelwood and Vertigo along with some newcomers like Boring Brewing.  Out-of-towners include Coronado Brewing from San Diego and Payette Brewing from Boise

PDX Beer Week is in full swing.  Upcoming events include Friday's Rye Beer Fest at EastBurn and the Mississippi/Williams Pub Crawl on Saturday.  Father's Day Sunday is the Beer and Cheese Festival at The Commons...

Deception Brewing in Dundee holds its soft opening on Saturday starting at noon.  They're right on 99W on the right side of the road if you are headed south from Newberg.


The First Edition Beer Geek airs every Thursday morning at 7:40 a.m. on First Edition with Tim Hohl & Terry Travis.  Follow me on Twitter @timhohl for breaking craft beer news during the week!

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