Monday, October 12, 2009

That Was a Busy Week

Last week was a blur of beer activities. Throughout the week, I was on my October mission to sample as many fresh-hop beers as I could, ramping up to the Fresh Hop Tastival at Oaks Park on Saturday. It was a beautiful day to hang out with friends and neighbors and all their ankle-biters. And here's a big "Happy Birthday" to the blog Brewpublic -- the Killer Beer Fest at Bailey's Saturday night to celebrate one year of Brewpublicanism was a blast.

But I'm getting ahead of myself. The madness really started on Wednesday, when Alan Sprints brought some big Hair of the Dog brews to the Green Dragon for meet the brewer. This year's Cherry Adam from the Wood and Doggie Claws were probably too young to drink by HotD standards, but it was nice to try them. It was my first taste of the Cherry Adam, though thanks to Brian G. I have a bottle from last year stashed in the basement. The Green Dragon bungled the event, only announcing it the day before, but the usual suspects made it out, as covered by Brewpublic.

Thursday I finally made it to Belmont Station for their Fresh Hop Week. It's great to see so many fresh-hop beers on tap at once, and Belmont is a nice, relaxed place to do some experimenting. I think the only beers they had that didn't show up at the Tastival were Oakshire's Conundrum (Cascadian Dark) and the Crystal Hop variant of Full Sail Lupulin. They also had the Cascade Hop Lupulin, and I believe they're still on, so if you want to try them side-by-side, get on in there.

I already mentioned the Saturday Tastival. There were no astonishing new beers to displace fresh-hopped Mirror Pond from the throne as the best fresh-hop beer of 2009. I thought the Santiam Hop Harvest from Three Creeks was nicely done -- a light ale that let the freshness shine through. Astoria's Hoptimus Prime 2.0 was a nice hop bomb, one of those like Double Mountain's Killer Green that is an awesome beer that clobbers the fresh-hop flavor. Pelican's Elemental Ale was bitter and tasty, though Lindsey was put off by what he called a "coconut" flavor. Caldera was a no-show in Portland: I would have liked to try their Alpha Beta.

One interesting thing was to note the similarly cabbagey taste of the two beers brewed with Mt. Hood hops: Rock Bottom Hoodwinked and Golden Valley Mt. Hood Fresh Hop. That's the flavor that turns some people away from fresh-hopped beers: it made our group wonder if that particular hop might be a bad choice.

The Brewpublic party at Bailey's Taproom Saturday night gave me a chance to try a couple of hard-to-find fresh hop beers -- Vertigo's Midnight Harvest, and the fabulous Wet-Hop Amber from Standing Stone. But as impressive as the beer list was, it was the crowd that really made the party. Portland's beer-obsessed turned out in droves to congratulate Angelo and Margaret on a terrific first year. Brewpublic does an excellent job reporting on Oregon beer, including some nice in-depth interviews with brewers and other beer characters. It's become such a fixture in Portland's blogosphere that someone I was talking to said "It seems like it's always been there", and it's really true. Happy First, Brewpublic, and keep up the good work!


  1. Thank you for doing yeoman's work on behalf of the blogging corps. I am falling down on the job. (Proof of why we need all of us.)

    Did you try the Laurelwood Hop Bale (amarillo)? That on thrilled me.

  2. Oh yes, the Hop Bale was listed as my #3 this year a couple of posts ago. Also, last year I used some stale Hop Bale to experiment with beer martinis, so I have a soft spot for it.

    I'll put together my final list of fresh-hop conquests tomorrow or the next day. I think I've tried about 40 this year, there aren't many more possibilities.

  3. Are those Hobbits in the last photo?