[Editor's Note: Another nice guest post from Brian (msubulldog25). Keep up the good work, Brian!]
Though the Oatmeal Porter was the stated focal point of this night, the spiel by brewer Doug Rehberg was short and to the point. The new seasonal (available March – May) weighs in at 6%, with a modest 27 IBUs, and is crafted using a liberal dose of custom-toasted oats (made exclusively for Widmer Brothers by the folks at Briess Malting and dubiously dubbed ‘Bro Oats’). I enjoyed the beer quite a bit; its feel is smooth and creamy and its nutty and sweeter flavors evoke cocoa powder, brown sugared oatmeal, vanilla and toasted coconut flakes. In early sips, I found ‘bourbon’ and, thus, could have sworn that some barrel-aging was behind it. There is none. Whether this dessert-y porter finds a home in the market remains to be seen, but I found it satisfying for my malt-loving leanings and a good complement to the hoppier things in the brewery’s current lineup.
Once the brief speech ended and the noshing and sipping resumed, a familiar-looking gentleman approached me, shook my hand and introduced himself as ‘Kurt’. After some awkward chit-chat about the food pairings and -facepalm- the rainy weather, we settled on topics more near and dear to Widmer. We discussed upcoming beers, such as the ‘Series 924’ summer release Marionberry Gose (fans, like me, who recall a similar beer at last year’s Fruit Beer Fest will note the switch from raspberries) and the imminent release of the Raspberry Imperial Stout (‘Babushka’s Secret’ without the fancy name).
Among other Widmer tidbits:
- Upstairs remodeling in the building where the Gasthaus is located has (finally) been completed.
- Several small tanks will soon move from the original brewery to the test facility at the Rose Quarter – meaning more opportunities for smaller/experimental batches.
- Several huge fermentation tanks (I forget the volume, but it’s a lot!) will be added to the main brewery, filling the void in the N. Mississippi/Russell St. corner. This will require the roof to be temporarily removed, an endeavor which the architect in me finds fascinating. Can’t wait to watch.
- In business news: the annual shareholder meeting (which Bill blogged about last spring) will NOT be held in Portland this year (but it’ll be just a daytrip away, up at the Redhook brewery in Woodinville, WA). Bummer for us Portlanders, but great for longtime HOOK shareholders who’ve asked for it in recent years.
The window is short on the Oatmeal Porter -- check it out before it gets replaced in May.