Monday, November 16, 2009

Collaborator CXI

The current edition of the Oregon Brew Crew/Widmer Collaborator Project is called CXI Pumpernickel Ale. It's brewed with an interesting adjunct: 60 pounds of pumpernickel bread from La Petite Provence bakery. I had a pint with lunch today at It's a Beautiful Pizza next door to Stumptown Coffee on Belmont.

CXI is a nice big beer for winter. It's a beautiful mahogany color with a yeasty, bready nose; the flavor is boozy on top of a nice dark roasted malt. There's a kind of herbal aromatic thing that creeps into your nose as you drink it -- it might be largely due to the alcohol, but you can also imagine the rye bread contributing to it. The beer has a long malty finish, with lots of bitter hops; not at all floral, just kind of a coffee bitterness. Despite the big booze -- it's 8.5% -- and the malty flavor, it's not a sweet-tasting beer. It's good stuff -- try it while it's available at Beautiful Pizza, the Widmer Gasthaus, and eventually the usual beer-snob taverns. I can't think of a beer to compare it to; the closest category I can shoe-horn it into is "winter warmer".

It's a Beautiful Pizza has a respectable set of 10 beer taps, plus a Blackthorn Cider tap. Today a couple of taps were off, but in addition to the Collaborator, they had Eel River Amber, Lagunitas IPA, Victory Prima Pils, and a few other Oregon beers. In the past I've always seen a Lucky Lab tap there, but maybe it was one of the blown kegs today. Plenty of bike parking in the corral on Belmont, and they've recently added a no-minors section with some vid-poker, if you want to get away from the ankle-biters.

For a firsthand report on the making of CXI, listen to Lisa Morrison's Beer O'Clock show from last week. Lisa has an interview with Widmer brewer Ike Manchester and OBC member Noel Blake.

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