Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Rye Beer Fest 2012 Recap

It's not like we need any extra beer festivals in Portland, but the Rye Beer Fest that helped kick off Portland Beer Week last Friday at Spirit of 77 was a nice low-key event with an eclectic set of beers.  The festival benefited local clean-water charity We Love Clean Rivers.  Pub Night regular and  Taplister mogul Kerry Finsand organized the fest in honor of his wife Josie's taste for rye beers and river sports.  Way to overacheive, Kerry.  I hope that doesn't give the rest of the beer widows out there too many ideas.

Spirit of 77 has a mix of good and bad qualities as a bar and as a festival venue.  On the plus side, the beer selection is decent, always with one or two nice surprises.  If you're watching sports, the huge screen is great, and free pop-a-shot hoops is very civilized.  But the location is kind of out of the way over by the convention center, and it gets noisy in the high-ceilinged space -- a little hard to hold a conversation.  Still, I'm impressed that you can get a 20-ounce pint there, and you can also order a 10-ounce glass for exactly half the price -- a surprisingly rare situation called linear pricing that the Beeronomist has taught us about -- or, if you're an economist or a sucker you can order a relatively more expensive 16-ounce pint.  At the Rye Fest, small 4-ounce tasters were also available in plastic cups.

My favorite beers were:
  • Hopworks Fight for Your Rye't Dark Mild - dark, smoky malt; light yet creamy body; very drinkable
  • Commons Enkel Light Belgian Pale - reminiscent of a hefeweizen, plus some nice hops that play well with the rye
  • Breakside Kellerbier - packed with flavor, a little caramelly, with spicy rye and piney hops
  • Short Snout Rye-teous Dude Stout - very nicely balanced stout, on the malty side
  • Firestone Walker Wookey Jack Black Rye IPA - if you haven't tried this beer, get a bottle right away: smoky, rich, hoppy
  • Bear Republic Ryevalry IIPA - a nice big hop monster with a little rye in the background 
Nice to see Milwaukie-based Kickstarted brewery Short Snout starting to place some kegs at festivals and a few bars.  The stout was the first beer I've had the chance to try, and it was a winner.  I really enjoyed the first two beers on the list above -- they were relatively low in alcohol, but very tasty.  That's the cloudy Commons Enkel in the picture above.

Congratulations to Kerry for pulling together an interesting beer lineup.  I hope the Rye Beer Fest comes back next year, it's a nice addition to the festival ecosystem.

1 comment:

  1. What happened to the Fruit Beer fest review? We got a preview and then no follow-up. No one people say Beer Blogs are dying.


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