Friday, January 28, 2011
Read the promotion/contest based on Red Chair NW Pale Ale here.
Free to enter, and it's still a pretty good prize, even if you live in Bend. Grand prize is three days of lift tickets at Bachelor, plus equipment rental. And $1,000 in money for expenses. Can we spend it all on Deschutes beers?
And if you don't win the grand prize, you can still pick up some Red Chair goodies via the contest.
Get your entry in by the end of the month to qualify.
Tuesday, January 25, 2011
Anyway, totally random Twitter sighting...if you use Twitter, you probably know that if you go to the home page, it scrolls through recent interesting tweets. So I saw one by Wil that was pretty funny, so I clicked on his Twitter feed. And lo and behold I saw this tweet:
Black Butte XXII. Proof that, if god exists, she wants us to be happy.
With this pic:
We agree, Wil. Stop by Deschutes' pub in Bend sometime and buy us one.
So, after a bit of confusion about whether the beer was available (it was on the chalkboard, but crossed out), and whether or not we could buy a pitcher of it (we could), we got to enjoy the beer.
Here's Beau and James unsuccessfully trying to look sophisticated while drinking Hop Junkie.
And we did enjoy it. Evidenced by the fact that Beau, James and I, and a friend of James, polished off the pitcher in about no time. We all agreed that the beer was tremendous. The smell of it alone was great...smelled like a fresh hop beer, really. And despite a high ABV (8.5) and pretty strong IBUs (90) it was surprisingly easy to drink.
We also had the stout later in our session, and we all thought that was really good, as well.
Bottom line? After not always being super excited about 10 Barrel's beer in the past, we're all on board now. And with the new brewers set to really make their mark, 10 Barrel might be poised to explode. As if they weren't doing well already.
Another nice note...Jon from the bar came over and just chatted us up, apparently since I asked about the stats on the Hop Junkie. After hearing from our waitress that we were interested in beer, he came over unprompted and answered questions. Not sure if everything he told me was for mass publicity, so I won't repeat it all here. Suffice it to say even more cool stuff coming down the road for 10 Barrel.
Monday, January 24, 2011
According to the site for Zwickelmania, five Bend breweries are taking part, Cascade Lakes in Redmond and Three Creeks in Sisters.
You can get the full list, including hours for the tours, here.
So far, Deschutes, Bend Brewing Company, 10 Barrel, McMenamins, and Silver Moon are in. Boneyard is not currently on the list.
More on the Deschutes event here. Of particular interest to homebrewers is a recipe book for cloning Deschutes beers, and some hops for your next batch. Count me in.
Sunday, January 23, 2011
As an Oregon beer geek, I really want to like BridgePort Brewing.
The state's oldest craft brewery, BridgePort has some great history. Originally named Columbia River Brewing, BridgePort was the first Portland microbrewer to bottle its own beer. They've got a great brewpub in the the Pearl District, a spot which when they moved there in the late 1980s was surrounded by industrial wasteland. And their name and logo might be one of the sweetest in the country.
But how often do you buy a six-pack of BridgePort? What's the go-to beer in their lineup?
I ask these questions because the brewery has released a trio of new beers in what is what seems to be another rebranding of the company. (For more details, Beervana blogger Jeff Alworth has a nice recap of the company's history and constant reshuffling of beer lineups.)
Cafe Negro (coffee porter), Kingpin (double red ale) and Nightcap (seasonal winter ale) are all new brews by BridgePort. The brewery is aggressively marketing Cafe Negro, which was available for $5.99 a six-pack a couple of days ago at Safeway.
Wanting to try some new beer, I put together a mix-and-match pack of BridgePort beers, grabbing a couple of Cafe Negros, a pair of Hop Czars (the company's imperial IPA, which came out in 2008) and one each of BridgePort's old standbys, its Blue Heron Pale Ale and the BridgePort IPA. It pains me to say it, but nothing really knocked my socks off. The Cafe Negro was decent, but I'm not sure I'd have more than one in a sitting. It wasn't as smooth as some of the better coffee porter/stouts other breweries in the state are making.
The Blue Heron and BridgePort IPA were OK, but rather bland. I made me think of some of the gateway beers I drank when I first started getting into microbrews. Both just seemed like really low-risk, low-reward beers.
Of all the BridgePort offerings I had, I enjoyed the Hop Czar the most. Yes, big IPAs in Oregon are as plentiful as bank-owned homes in Bend, but the Hop Czar seemed like the one beer in my variety pack that was brewed without a safety net.
Just my thoughts. I'd love to hear from some die-hard BridgePort fans who can show me the error in my ways. Because, like I said, I love everything about the brewery except for the actual beer.
Saturday, January 22, 2011
Most interesting part was the list of beers they were working on. Here's the list, with some thoughts (read the newsletter for more info on the beers):
- ISA Prototype beer. An Indian session ale, we guess? Anything that would have come from 10 Barrel labeled as experimental would have scared us previously. Now we're intrigued.
- Imperial red. You had us at "imperial."
- Bourbon-aged Sinister: I think they misspelled their own beer. Isn't it S1nist0r? Regardless, we approve of playing around with it. The nitro is a solid beer, adding bourbon barrels to the process sounds promising.
- Cab Belgian Blonde: Personally, I've never had a beer that tried to play with wine flavors that I liked. Hopefully this one will be different.
- Bourbon-aged English Style IPA: English IPAs are generally tasty; see Empire Strikes Back from Double Mountain. Bourbon aging with a non-dark beer sounds out of the box, to us...at least I have never seen it. There's a first time for everything, though.
- Hop Junkie: Calling anything "Hop" brings instant comparisons to the all the awesome Deschutes offerings. Tough mountain to climb, even for a former Deschutes brewer.
- NW Style Red: More red beers being brewed locally can't be a bad thing.
We'll be excited to check these out in the near future...and we'll let you know how they are!
Friday, January 21, 2011
A cooler which spans one wall, sectioned out by region. From Belgians (stocking the likes of Duchesse De Bourgogne) to Germans, Eastern Europe (I got a Pils, a great Czech beer for $1.65) and on. The North American wall is broken down into states/regions. Genius.
Don't tell anybody, but the side room might be our new favorite hangout. Couple tables, peanuts, a fireplace and a small tv to watch the game. And with a huge selection of reasonably priced brews a few steps away? Perfect.
And of course they stock all manner of brewing supplies and even have a couple beers on tap.
From that video, we also learn that the Bend Ale Trail is putting together a free app for the iPhone. That sounds cool. If we had an iPhone. Hopefully those of you with one can enjoy it!
Now you can win a free ride, for you and 15 others. Just come up with the Cycle Pub's slogan for their T-shirts. Here's a link to the Facebook page where they are taking suggestions.
The BBBers have already entered some slogans, so excuse us if we're rooting for ourselves to win.
And if you don't win the free ride, they are still planning to launch at WinterFest next month.
Thursday, January 20, 2011
When I sign up for an e-mail list using my personal e-mail address, I figure I am going to get useful e-mails. And I think Rogue's have at least been that in the past. But this month they seem to just send out e-mails that are supposed to be clever, I guess, and have no other purpose.
That's all there was in the e-mail. No other information. And I have gotten several more like that in the last couple of weeks.
I know, I know, I can always just unsubscribe. Wouldn't it just be better if they reserved the e-mails they sent me for actually important/relevant information? Or, if in addition to the "funny" note they would send me some information about some new beer, or something happening at a pub? If I was subscribing to a blog (i.e. like ours), I would be fine with it. But when I am signing up for an e-mail from a business, I guess I expect more. Am I just being too nitpicky?
I do love a lot of the Rogue beers, and the wife and I usually make a point of hitting the pub in Portland. So, send me an awesome deal, or some free beer, and all is forgiven!
Tuesday, January 18, 2011
Well, duh. It was determined in a very scientific contest, detailed here.
Cool idea, for sure. But it seems like it should be taken to the next level. Like the Bend breweries head to Portland for a beer vs. beer challenge, or vice versa. With a little more pub and a little more effort put into the ground rules, it could be really big and pretty cool.
Anyway, we missed the first version of the Beer Olympics, but we plan to be there the next time it happens.
In related news, here's what you come up with when you do a Google image search for Beer Olympics.
Saturday, January 15, 2011
The beers are great as well, but they've been hard to come by on this side of the Cascades. Until now.
Pelican announced on its twitter site that Newport Market, Whole Foods and The Brew Shop all will be stocking Pelican brews. Even better, the Good Drop Wine Shoppe in downtown Bend has the brewery's flagship beer, Kiwanda Cream Ale on draft.
Grab some and let us know what you think.
Friday, January 14, 2011
In Friday's Bulletin, former Deschutes brewer/new 10 Barrel brewmaster Jimmy Seifrit says he is working on a beer that tastes like .. .wait for it... beef chili. Not chili peppers. Chili, like the thing with sauce and beans.
I have had several chili (pepper) beers over the years, because, let's be honest, what guy can resist trying a drink that tastes like chili peppers, just for kicks?
Beef chili, though? I am filled with trepidation.
Does that mean I won't try it? Of course not. Draw me a pint when it's ready.
Thursday, January 13, 2011
My only complaint?
They're all on the westside
Maybe I'm overlooking a place - please let us know if I am - but I can't think of anywhere on the eastside that routinely has a solid lineup of microbrews. I'd kill for a Brother Jon's, Riverside Market or Jackson's Corner type of place on the east side of Third Street. Any thoughts from the legion of Bend Beer Blog readers?
Regardless, the BBB trio went to lunch at Taylor's Sausage (on Third, near Franklin) for the first time. We weren't disappointed. Excellent sausage at good prices. Beau and James both had the hot mustard on their sausages, and lived to regret it. And the breakfast menu looked awesome, as well, with very good prices.
They had a pretty solid tap selection, as well, and although we love a good lunchbeer (copyright 2011, trademark pending), we didn't partake in any adult beverages. Picture of the taps:
They have a solid local selection...a Deschutes tap, a 10 Barrel, a Silver Moon. The most interesting find, for us, though was two taps from Wild River from Southern Oregon. Website here. We have no idea what their beer is like, but we'll probably go back.
They also have a pretty awesome deal, if we read it right. Sunday-Thursday, from 4-close, they have a special where you buy a micro ($3.50), you get a sausage for $1.50. Beer and sausage? How can you go wrong?
- Just and add on to Dustin's thoughts. Taylor's also had Caldera's IPA on draft. I'm not aware of any other place in town that has the Ashland brewery's beer on tap. Again, we're looking forward to trying out the beers of southern Oregon. - Beau
We'll credit The Brew Site, since we read it there first. Story here about how 10 Barrel has snagged a couple of brewers -- one from Bend Brewing, the other from Deschutes. The Brew Site was citing this article from The Source Weekly. According to The Source, 10 Barrel has hired Tonya Cornett, brewmaster at BBC, and Jimmy Seifert, who amounts to the No. 2 brewer at Deschutes.
Seifert is already on board as the brewmaster, while Cornett is set to join 10 Barrel this summer.
Another juicy nugget for Bendites who love beer (cut+paste from TSW):
At the moment the brewery is still negotiating the purchase of a property that would allow 10 Barrel to increase its commercial production from the current ten-barrel system to a 50-barrel system, Wales said. In the meantime, Cornett will continue to brew for BBC, he said.Random thoughts/observations/questions on all this news (just thinking out loud):
--What happens to the people that 10 Barrel brought in in 2009, when the brewpub launched? Bulletin story here (cut+paste). "Soon thereafter, the 10 Barrel team hired Thom Tash, previously head brewer at Kona Brewing in Hawaii, as its brewmaster to work with head brewer Dan Olson, who had previously been with Deschutes Brewery." Is everyone still in the mix since they're making more beer?
--Personally, I've felt 10 Barrel's beer has lagged behind much of the rest of the Bend beer scene. I think Boneyard passed them up in quality of beer almost from the day they launched (no, I don't get paid to say nice things about Boneyard, I just happen to think their beer rocks). I didn't really care for the beers they produced pre-brewpub, and although the quality has gotten better since the brewpub, I still don't love it. I enjoy the S1NIST0R Black Ale ( I am pretty sure this predates the brewpub?), especially on nitro, and the Pray for Snow Strong Ale. And my wife likes the Summer Ale (even in winter). And that's about it (and I think I've tried most of their beers). I go to 10 Barrel, when I go, for the food, not for the beer. Or for the atmosphere...it's definitely a fun place to hang out, especially in the summer. I live near Brother Jon's and 10 Barrel, and I go to Bro Jo's all the time, 10 Barrel only on occasion. Anyway, I've rambled. While the moves are apparently tied to the expansion, I have to imagine the moves are meant to address the beer, and get it up to a level where it can compete with the rest of the town. Because right now I don't think too many people would rank the quality of 10 Barrel's beer among the best in Bend. Just my opinion, I could be wrong.
--Is 10 Barrel going to change its name to 50 Barrel? I kid.
--How does this affect BBC? It's doubtful Deschutes is hurt by one person leaving, as important as he might be. But Deschutes is a giant, and we're guessing there's someone who's ready to fill his shoes. How will BBC cope with losing its brewmaster?
Anyway, if you have any answers to my questions, or just want to agree or disagree with our thoughts, write us, comment on the blog, etc. Regardless, we're excited to see what the new-look 10 Barrel starts producing this year.
Wednesday, January 12, 2011
Yesterday, we reported on a horse-drawn carriage that does the Bend Ale Trail. Soon, you will be able to drink on a bike.
Story here from The Bulletin about the planned "Cycle Pub," which is based on the Holland Bier Bike, according to the article. Link to Cycle Pub's website here, they are on facebook here.
Picture of said "bierbike" from across the pond:
While I am not sure any of the BBBers will do the horse-drawn carriage, I am fairly certain we will try this at some point. You pedal the contraption, someone else drives, you drink beer. Sounds like a blast to us. And given the area's love of 1. beer and 2. cycling, this sounds like it can't miss, to be honest.
They are planning on launching at WinterFest on Feb. 18. We'll keep you posted.
Now, if only a monkey could be the driver of the bike...
Tuesday, January 11, 2011
Pretty kitschy, and a touristy thing/something you do if you have friends or relatives in town. Maybe. I don't think I'll be doing this with anyone I know. But to each his own!
Anyway, here's the Cowboy Carriage website. According to the map, it looks like you hit all the Bend breweries, even Cascade Lakes on Century. More on the Bend Ale Trail here.
For our money, we'd rather drink beers on bicycles with monkeys.
Sunday, January 9, 2011
So, I picked up Terminal Gravity's Festivale ($1.69 for a regular-sized bottle, I believe) and Ninkasi's Sleigh'r Dark Double Alt ($3.99 for a 22 oz.).
I really enjoyed the Festivale, and I have to say I usually enjoy everything TG puts out. I even made a pilgrimage to their place in Enterprise while vacationing this summer...it's exactly what I picture when I think of a winter beer. Flavorful, warming, etc. I would definitely have a six-pack of that.
Beau and I weren't big fans of the Ninkasi. It's a fine beer, it gets a B+ at Beer Advocate. It just didn't really hit home for me as a great winter beer. Maybe I am just picky.
Thursday, January 6, 2011
The Bend Beer Blog is back with a vengeance, but we sure did miss a heck of year. Here’s some highlights from Bend’s 2010 year in beer:
Rise of Boneyard
Opening last spring with three beers – Black 13, Bonafided Pale Ale and Girl Beer – Boneyard eschewed the brewpub business model and focused all its energies on beer, ala Ninkasi. The plan worked, as Boneyard, the creation of Tony Lawrence and Clay and Melodee Storey, has taken off in Central Oregon and beyond.
Boneyard is on more than 20 taps in Bend alone, and has expanded its original offerings to include a coffee stout (Backbone), a Cascadian Dark (Armored Fist) and sour (Femme Fatale), to name just a few.
Best of all – other than the beer of course - you can actually afford to drink Boneyard. Wednesdays there are $6 growler fills at their production site. (It’s $8 on other days.)
10 Barrel opens brew pub
Four years after it first started producing beer, 10 Barrel Brewing Co. opened its first brewpub at the end of February. Housed on Galveston in a former Di Lusso coffeehouse, 10 Barrel’s patio and outside bar seating were an immediate hit. If there’s a better place to have a beer outside In Bend, we haven’t found it.
After a one-year hiatus, the Bend Brewfest returned last August. Over 30 breweries participated in the 2010 brewfest at the Les Schwab Amphitheatre.
Deschutes’ Miss Spelt Hefeweizen (which is rumored to replace Cascade Ale in Deschutes’ regular lineup), Double Mountain’s Vaporizer, Everybody’s Brewing Country Boy IPA, Laurelwood’s Free Range Red and the Trumer Pils were some of the BBB’s favorites.
Little Woody gets bigger, better
Formed in part in 2009 to fill the void left by the absence of the Bend Brewfest, the Little Woody Barrel-Aged Brew Festival expanded to include breweries outside of Central Oregon this year. Held on the lawn and in the parking lot the of the Des Chutes Historical Museum – a great spot which we hope the festival doesn’t outgrow – Ninkasi, Block 15 joined the party in 2010.
Multiple great beers were served, but the one that sticks out was Boneyard’s Bourbon Black 13 (Black 13 aged in a bourbon barrel) and Block 15’s Super Nebula Imperial Stout stand out.
Deschutes dumps Black Butte XXII
As we remember the good we also must find time to recollect the devasting/heart-breaking/have-you-gone-made moments of 2010.
Not happy with the visual presentation of its Black Butte XXII, Deschtues decided to dump all its bottles of the Black Butte XXII. The brewery only served the beer at its pubs in Bend and Portland after the chocolate in the beer did not adequately dissolve. The beer still tasted amazing, but Deschutes did not want new customers to think something was wrong with the beer.
Props to Deschutes for holding a higher standard.
More, more, more breweries in Bend
According to reports in The Bulletin, Bend may become home to THREE more breweries in 2011. Noble Brewing, Below Grade and Old Mill Brew Werks are all reported to be launching brewery operations this year. The Old Mill Brew Werks is already up and running as tap house, and Noble is allegedly setting up on the west side of town in the Century Center. Not a lot has been written about Below Grade since The Bulletin first reported homebrewer Dean Wise’s had applied for the appropriate paper work in September.
Like we said, it was a good year.
Wednesday, January 5, 2011
In the last year, Boneyard has found its niche in Bend, where it's tough to make in-roads in the microbrew market. But they've gotten themselves into a lot of eating and drinking establishments around town. Why?Because the beer is awesome.
I am happy to pay $4 for just about any Boneyard I see on tap when out and about. But I have also gotten into the habit of going to Boneyard's brewery every Wednesday, when they fill your growler for $6. Yep, that's not a misprint. I have tried and enjoyed all the beers they have...you'll most often see Bonafide (a pale) and Black 13 (a dark beer they don't classify as a porter or a stout).
For some of the specialized beers, like Femme Fatale (a sour ale that uses raspberries during fermentation) it's $10.
The best part is that you can try the beers while you are there. Every time I drop by to fill my growlers, without having to ask, I am offered a sample. Every time. They charge you if you want to try them all. But one or two, no problem. So $6 for a growler, plus samples. A little slice of heaven.
Anyway, head to 37 NW Lake Place (kind of near Colorado and 97, just mapquest it, if you don't know where it is). Today, or the next Wednesday you have a few minutes. You'll be glad you did. I'll see you there!
Tuesday, January 4, 2011
Sometimes, however, even favorites disappoint. But with favorites, you know that it's only temporary. Favorites have earned the top spot in our lives by rebounding and consistently proving to be the best.
This past Monday we settled in at Deschutes for locals night brew and some football watching. Witnessing Pac 10 standout Stanford beat up on the rural redbirds (VT) was a hoot.
Surprisingly, none of the specials caught out eye so we rolled the dice, usually a safe bet at Oregon's (the nations?) best brewery. I ordered the Old Sam Hain (say Sow-wen) an Irish-style beer on Nitro (46 IBUs, 5.6%). Creamy, yes, but paler brews on nitro don't seem to work. The Quail Springs was equally so-so. Bitter, but lacking something (56 IBUs, 5.5%).
Sometimes its the standbys that keep old favorites firmly in that top spot. By far the best beer we drank Monday night was the Obsidian Stout on nitro (55 IBUs/6.4%). Creamy, smooth and rich --though not too sweet. Perfect.
Deschutes. Even when it's bad, it's still good.
Monday, January 3, 2011
If you've never tried it, it doesn't seem terribly complicated, but you do worry about messing something up along the way and ruining the beer. It was fun to do, I just hope the beer turns out. We went pretty tame to start, just following a recipe kit for Summit Pale Ale. If this one goes well, maybe we'll get a little more adventurous.
The best part of the brewing process had to be the smell...the grains, the malt, the hops, it all smelled great as we were making the wort (unfermented beer). Anyway, here are some pics below. Check in a couple of weeks when we try to bottle it!
1. Pulling the grain out after steeping
2. Adding malt
3. Stirring and drinking
4. More stirring
5. Pouring the wort into the carboy
Our big problem when we started the first time? We tried to do too much, and we got crushed by the weight of our own expectations. We've resolved just to start posting again, with no expectations, goals, etc. We just want to post about beer, and have some fun. And we hope a few of you read it and enjoy it too.
Cheers from the original Bend Beer Blog,
Dustin, Beau and James