Thursday, July 23, 2009

First Glance at 2009 OBF

This will be a pretty telegraphic post, just to get you some quick information early on in the 22nd Annual Oregon Brewers Festival. I just got back from trying a few beers, here are some thumbs-ups and thumbs-downs:

  • Hopworks Rise Up Red: malty red with over-the-top hops
  • New Belgium The Trip: orange scent with flowery bitter flavor
  • Grand Teton Bitch Creek ESB: dark and flowery with a bitter edge
  • Firestone Walker Union Jack IPA: malt and hops in perfect balance
  • Three Creeks Stonefly Rye: mild and smooth but full-bodied
  • Rock Bottom Eat a Bale o' Hops IPA: orangey and not too bitter
  • Dogfish Head Festina Peche Berliner Weisse: refreshingly tart, not SweetTart
  • Chuckanut Dortmunder Lager: tasty Helles-style beer, nicely crisp
  • Vertigo Razz Wheat: very raspberry, nice and full-bodied
  • Bridgeport Stumptown Tart: not sour, just lovely cherry beer
[Update (Saturday morning):
  • Boulevard Tank 7 Farmhouse: dry and fruity with a long bitter finish
  • Beer Valley Leafer Madness: big, hairy IPA
  • Elysian Loser Pale Ale: nicely balanced strong ale (reminds me of big Rogue ales)
  • Stone Cali-Belgique IPA: Belgian-y with nice hops
Second opinion: DoSiR's OBF must-have list.

The Trip is a collaboration with Elysian, and is a lovely must-try beer. If you need a lighter beer, the Chuckanut is definitely worth trying -- also it turns out that Green Dragon founder Jim Parker is assisting with the brewing there. Even if fruit beers aren't your thing, go for the Vertigo and the Bridgeport. Tasty stuff. The Vertigo has an amazing watermelon-sunset color, and is very satisfying. Stumptown Tart is much stronger, but also a lovely blend of beer and fruit.

  • Green Flash Imperial IPA: (spoiled keg?) rotting vegetation smell/taste
  • Great Northern Wheatfish Lager: eh, very bland
  • Eel River Acai Berry: thin and thin
  • Collaborator Saison Cristophe: cloying, esthery, banana-y
  • Bear Republic Crazy Ivan Belgian IPA: a little mediciney in the middle
  • Cascade Lakes Blonde Bombshell: dull; I dumped mine
[Update (Saturday morning):
  • Blue Frog Blonde Frog Ale: both medicinal and infected tasting (?!)
  • Fifty Fifty Manifesto Pale Ale: thin and vegetal
  • Lazy Boy Red Head: flat taste and flat carbonation

There was some consensus at the OBF media preview that our sample of the Green Flash might have been off, especially since some of us tasted it Tuesday at the Green Dragon and found it to be a wholly different and drinkable beer. So, you might choose one volunteer from your posse to get a taste and see if it's OK. The Collaborator Saison was disappointingly sweet; on the other hand, if you like German hefeweizens, it might work for you.

Anyway, that's just a quick first glance -- feel free to comment if you find another must-try beer.


  1. One of the people involved in CollaboratorJuly 24, 2009 at 9:53 AM

    Unfortunately, the Collaborator Saison is too sweet. It had a terminal gravity of 4 Plato as opposed to the original batch brewed several years ago which had a TG of 2 Plato. We heard from Widmer that the yeast kind of quit and wouldn't attenuate further even at very high temps. They only had about 2 weeks to ferment it this time, as opposed to the 5 weeks it took last time. Luckily they bumped the hops this go around from about 18 IBU to about 25 IBU's which does help, but there's no getting around the residual sweetness. Kind of a drag it, but what can you do?

  2. Thanks for the inside scoop! I hesitated on giving it a thumbs down, because someone who doesn't mind some sweetness and estery tastes might appreciate it, even though it's far outside the style.