Friday, May 15, 2009

Meet Barley Brown's Brewer

Wednesday night Belmont Station hosted a meet-the-brewer with Barley Brown's, an award-winning brewpub way out in Baker City. Shawn Kelso (on the right) brought four beers for us to try, including his Armstrong Double Gold, whose name understandably intrigued Abe Goldman-Armstrong, pictured here with Shawn. Turns out the beer was named for a famous gold nugget residing at the U.S. Bank in Baker City. Since it was first served a few years ago while the Tour de France was on, it also pays homage to Lance Armstrong, and now Shawn says he's got a third reason for the name.

The Double Gold -- made partly with rye -- was tasty with a little hops on top of very strong alcohol. A unique and interesting beer, I can't think of another one to compare it to. It was my favorite of the evening, partly because of the sheer novelty of it, but it won't appeal to everyone. If you like some hops, you might be safer going with one of the two Barley Brown's IPAs -- they're classics of the Northwest IPA genre. The WFO IPA is along the lines of a Lagunitas IPA or Ninkasi Total Domination; the Tank Slapper Double IPA was stronger and maltier, but not necessarily hoppier.

Belmont's menu described Barley Brown's Double Whisky Ale like this: "It's not Barrel aged, but the flavors and aromas will make you think it is". At 9.5%, it was another big beer -- I guess you'd call it an Old Ale. It's brewed with smoked rye, and definitely did have a boozy flavor. Quite tasty.

So far Belmont Station has been the only place in town to bring in some Barley Brown's beer. It's not likely to be a regular occurrence, so you may have to make the five-hour drive to try more of Shawn's products. I hope to do that myself during our family vacation this summer as we pass by on I-84.

1 comment:

  1. My family went on vacation through Eastern Oregon last year (we are from Kentucky) and we stopped in Baker City and went to Barley Brown's for dinner. We had a ball trying the different ale's and got to meet the brewer himself, Shawn Kelso. A worthwhile stop indeed!