Wednesday, April 17, 2013
I got to taste this year's batch yesterday just as the first bottles were rolling off Bridgeport's line. It's a good one. Forget about the "Tart" in the name, this isn't a sour beer. As usual, there is a little bit of Belgian tripel character -- half of the batch is brewed with Bridgeport's house ale yeast, half with a Belgian strain -- and the blueberries come through nicely. This might be the best batch since the Cherry Stumptown Tart in 2009. The beer is pretty, and the blueberries give a nice cotton-candy pink tinge to the head. There is live yeast in the bottle, but it's not really a beer designed for aging -- drink it fresh.
release party tomorrow, and she will even be manning a kissing booth. This year's label has her dressed a little more modestly than years past, so I guess they had to kick it up a notch by allowing actual physical contact. You'll also get another chance to try it this weekend at the Cheers to Belgian Beers festival: Friday, April 19th from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. and Saturday, April 20th from noon to 8 p.m. at Metalcraft Fabrication (723 N. Tillamook).
Wednesday, April 3, 2013
Although it's a 3-2 beer and the brewery describes it as "golden or blonde", it's a little darker than that, and you won't have any trouble distinguishing it from fizzy yellow swill. It's got a satisfying, slightly sweet malt body, with a nice dose of flowery hops but very little bitterness. Jeff Alworth has more flavor analysis over at Beervana.
I first tried River Ale last fall when the Portland pub had an absolutely delicious fresh-hop version of it on tap. Luckily, the regular version out now is nearly as good, and given its pedigree as an English-style bitter, it's really nice if you happen to catch it on the cask engine at one of the Deschutes pubs. Meanwhile, six-packs are starting to appear on shelves around town. Give it a try when you need a beer that you can have a few of without making a fool of yourself. Well, not a complete fool.
Monday, April 1, 2013
The last few years have seen explosive growth for beloved California brewer Lagunitas. This Beerpulse article says production increased by 50% from 2011 to 2012, after a 56% jump in sales the previous year; Lagunitas owner Tony Magee noted on Twitter that January's sales were up 72% from the previous year. All that growth is before the company's new production facility in Chicago has even been finished.
Apart from similar styles of prose, products known as "suds", nonconformist founders, and a shared interest in hemp products, what could possibly have brought these two companies together? Apparently some of the current generation of Bronner soapmakers wanted to add a hop-infused soap to their product line, and being fans of Lagunitas beers, reached out to the brewers in Petaluma for advice on hop-oil extraction and handling. A kind of mutual admiration developed, and since absolute cleanliness is 99% of brewing success, Lagunitas popped the question of corporate matrimony. Dr. Bronner's will keep its name as a wholly-owned subsidiary, and the current management of the soap company will stay on board. The deep pockets of Lagunitas will help the soapmakers enter into new markets and finance new product development, such as the hop soap mentioned above.
Given the rapid growth of Lagunitas, you could also imagine that Dr. Bronner's location in Southern California was attractive to the brewer. Once they wrap up the Midwest with their new Chicago brewery, perhaps they'll use their soap factory as a stepping stone towards building a San Diego brewing facility.
I haven't particularly cared for the few mint beers I've tried to date, though I do have a soft spot for peppermint. As a longtime fan of both Dr. Bronner's and Lagunitas, I am really looking forward to trying the 18-in-1. Let me know if you try it, and don't forget -- in the immortal words of Dr. Bronner -- KEEP OUT OF EYE! OK!
(Thanks to @MoralABC for the image.)