Zwickelmania is an annual brewery tour that beer afficianados in Portland have known for years. It’s an open house of sorts for participating breweries that want to welcome new fans and bring old ones into the doors.
This year is special because, thanks to the efforts of Matt Killikelly, it’s the first year Salem breweries will be featured in the festival!
That’s right, this year with Gilgamesh, McMenamins Thompson Brewery, Pale Horse, the Ram, and Santiam Brewing are all participating. Also, there’s a shuttle that will go from brewery to brewery..and here’s the schedule:
Shuttle Bus Schedule
Pale Horse Brewing: 2359 Hyacinth Street NE, Salem 97301 First Bus leases 11:15, 12:50, 2:25, 4:00, 5:35, Last Stop 7:10
McMenamin’s Thompson Brewery: 3575 Liberty Rd S, Salem, 97302 11:40, 1:15, 2:50, 4:25, 6:00
Gilgamesh Brewing: 2065 SE Madrona Ave., Salem 97302 11:55, 1:30, 3:05, 4:40, 6:15
Santiam Brewing: 2544 SE 19th St SE, Salem 97302 12:10, 1:45, 3:20, 4:55, 6:30,
Ram Restaurant & Brewery: 515 12th St SE, Salem 97301 12:25, 2:00, 3:35, 510, 6:45. Bus stop will be in the West lot on the brewery side of the creek.
A large gravel lot directly next to Pale Horse Brewing is being graciously provided by NATHAN LEVIN PROPERTIES; please park there. Parking is also available at all other locations please obey no parking signs.
Are you going to be participating this year? If so – please let me know how it goes!
There’s a very special project at 10Barrel Brewing in Bend, Oregon called the Small Tank Project. These very small batch beers are typically done on a special basis, probably like an R&D project, I’d imagine.
While at Newport Market in Bend recently, I came across a beer called Rye’m or Treason, the latest product to come out of the Small Tank Product. This Imperial Red Ale is the brainchild of a fellow by the name Bobby Jackson – production brewer at 10Barrel and in charge of the barrel program.
According to Jackson, Rye’m or Treason is a play off of Super Fly Rye that they ‘imperialized’ (I’m not sure what that means – if you do, please leave a comment below!). The beer is aged in whiskey barrels from a distiller in Park City, Utah.
Each bottle of Rye’m or Treason comes hand-dipped in wax, so the minute you go to pop the top on this brew, you’e in for a treat. This rare ale comes in at around 60 IBUs and is about 11% ABV.
Rye’m or Treason pours a special copper red color and has a creamy beige head. To your nose, you can smell the fresh oak and hints of vanilla.
Unlike any beer I’ve ever had – it’s big, bold and very, very interesting. Being aged in rye whiskey barrels, it’s very flavorful but not overwhelming. I can taste a lot of different hints of earthy hops, whisky, fruit and an amazing barley-focused finish.
I must say, this is the best beer I’ve ever experienced. It’s flavorful and leaves you feeling like you’ve just gone on a journey guided by an experienced ale artisan.
Go find this beer today!
I’m a huge fan of Three Creeks Brewing in Sisters, Oregon. As I frequently travel from Salem, Oregon to Bend, Oregon, I go past Three Creeks a lot. I’ve tried a few of their creations in the past, including Knotty Blonde.
Today’s beer is a special one – in honor of Hoodoo Ski Area’s 75th anniversary, the team at Three Creeks Brewery have created a special limited edition brew called Hodag Cascadian Dark Ale, which is a Black IPA.
Weighing in at 6.2% alcohol, Hodag is described this way:
Three Creeks head brewer says the Hodag CDA is 6.4% ABV and pours near black in color, while featuring the generous hopping of an IPA. Munich and Crystal Malt provide a solid Malt backbone while Midnight Wheat and German Caraffa malts stain the beer black in color. Hopped with Bravo, Crystal and Columbus hops, Hodag has a nice piney hop aroma while the flavor balances hints of roast with citrus and mint hop flavors all rounded out by a dry finish.
When I pour Hodag, it’s black in the glass – as black as the night. There’s a decent lacing around the rim of my glass and it leaves a medium beige head. The hoppy flavor is apparent at first sip until the intense malty smoothness kicks in. There’s an amazing balance of the hop intensity and roast malt flavor.
Overall, this is a very smooth beer with lush flavor and excellent aroma. This is the perfect example of a cascadian dark ale, a beer style I’ve become a huge fan of in recent months.
What’s your favorite cascadian dark ale so far?
In this edition of fresh hop ale news, let’s take a look at the king of fresh hop pale ales – Fresh Hop Pale Ale from Deschutes Brewing.
For those unaware, Hop Trip ale is brewed in Bend, Oregon – after the crew comes to Salem, Oregon and handpicks the choice hops they want. Then, the hops are trucked in a Uhaul back to Bend and boiled immediately. The result is a succulent pale ale with a mild taste and bold fresh hop taste- sans the bitterness of a traditionally ‘hoppy’ ale.
I enjoyed Hop Trip in the best way possible – directly from the keg.
Upon your first pour, you’ll see how clear the pale ale is, with hardly any lacing on the glass. Your nose immediately picks up on the citrusy, floral hops. When you sip the beer you notice a sweet almost fruity-flavor that are complimented by pale malts. This beer isn’t overly-carbonated and it’s very easy-drinking.
Honestly, after Chasin’ Freshies, I was hoping for more of a punchy hop taste. However, Hop Trip is a nicer, lighter version that will likely have a broad appeal. For example, my wife, who doesn’t like very bitter beers, thought Hop Trip was just right.
What are your thoughts on Hop Trip this year? It’s available from now until December, according to Deschutes Brewery.
Deschutes Brewing knows their stuff when it comes to fresh hop beers – in fact, last year they had the most amazing event where they debuted 5 different fresh hop editions of their best beers.
This year, the company is bottling two fresh hop beers, the always great Hop Trip Ale and a brand new one called Chasin’ Freshies, which is an IPA, not just a straight pale ale.
Weighing in at 7.2% ABV and a very low 60 IBU, this beer features fresh hops that are rushed from Goschie Farms (from just outside Salem, Oregon) to Bend. According to the site, this special type of Cascase hops is an heirloom strain, from one field, restored from the original rhizome developed at Oregon State University so many years ago.
As you pour Chasin’ Freshies, it’s astounding at how clear this IPA is..as most IPAs are copper in color. This beer is simple, crisp and clean – and displays the hops so well. Most IPAs (especially here in the Norhtwest) are a little heavy and way bitter. This is a clean and smooth IPA that just lets the hops glide onto your tongue.
I’ve had 3 fresh hop beers so far this year, and Chasin’ Freshies is by far the best.
So, how does it taste, it’s bright, fresh and utterly amazing. The hops taste of a citrus quality with a little tropical hint as well. The beer is quite fragrant to the nose. Like Jon says, it’s “super drinkable with a simple but clean malted-rich cracker malt base”.
Head down to your favorite pub or bottle shop and pick up some Freshies today.
What’s on tap around you? What’s the latest brew available at your favorite local bar?
There’ a favorite service of mine called Taplister that’s been around for a few years. For beer lovers, Taplister is a website and mobile app available for iPhone and Android (there’s no Windows Phone app – I’m trying to change that) that lets you either search for a specific beer around you and also shows you what’s on tap at the tavern or pub in your area.
Here in Salem, Oregon, we have a few establishments such as Raen Brew and Venti’s that rotates taps constantly. In this case, Taplister shows me what’s on tap as the database is constantly updated by personnel at these brew establishments.
Taplister has been around since 2009 and I know the CEO – Kerry Finsand. Earler this year Kerry went through Upstart Labs in Portland and has re-launched the service with new emphasis on monetizing the service, which before was a side project for Finsand and the others involved with Taplister.
If you are the proprietor of fine craft brews, such as a restaurant, bar or tavern, using Taplister means you have visibility on the web in a very active beer community. By keeping Taplister up-to-date, beer consumers know what’s on tap and available at your establishment. Access to Taplister for businesses is $99/month. Here’s Techcrunch’s perspective:
And for bars and breweries, Taplister should provide a relatively easy way to update their menu via Web browser, telling customers about exactly what they have in stock. (That can be particularly important if you’re a small brewery without much of a marketing budget.) That information will be available in Taplister, but it can also be shared on Facebook and Twitter, and even through something that the company is calling a Digital Beer Board — a digital menu meant to be displayed in the store on an HDTV or 1080 pixel display.
Also, Meet the Startup recently profiled Kerry Finsand in an interview:
For a few of my favorite taplister links of awesome Salem beer bars, see:
I’m lucky enough to live in the the heart of Hop Valley, Oregon, also known as the Willamette Valley. In my area, we grow some good hops. They’re so good, that brewers all over the state scramble each September when the hops are fresh and in season. They come over, pick hops and make ‘fresh hop’ ales that are in season from late September to November, depending on the harvest.
Today’s beer spotlight is on a brand new brewery in Salem, Oregon called Santiam Brewing. Santiam is a collaboration of homebrewers who call Salem home and met through a local homebrew club.
Located in Salem’s industrial area, Santiam Brewing has been growing and growing ever since its debut a few short months ago. I’ve heard really good things about their beer from those whose opinion I trust, so I was anxious to try their one of their brews.
I purchased a growler of Santiam Fresh Hop Pale Ale from Venti’s in downtown Salem.
Weighing in at around 40 IBUs and at around 7.0% ABV, this pale ale is an American style ale with hops “straight from the field to the kettle”.
At first pour, this is a very clear, traditional pale ale. However, when this ale meets your mouth, the taste of flavorful, herbal and floral hops balanced by a clean caramel body take over. Smooth is an adjective that can easily be applied to this beautiful seasonal ale.
Santiam Brewing Fresh Hop Pale Ale is a crowd favorite and is a fnatastic ale to accompany your autumn events.
Oakshire Brewing is a brewery based in Eugene, Oregon that has been making a name for itself in the last year or two. Most Oregon beer snobs have likely heard of them, as their ales are excellent and consistently good.
Today’s review will be of a new (to me) India Pale Ale called Watershed IPA from Oakshire Brewing. This ale is available year-round and is sold in kegs and also in 22-oz bottles, which is how I consumed it.
Watershed IPA pours very orange-y in color. I can’t find what hops are used in the ale’s brewing process, but the label says it’s 7.1% ABV and has 75 IBUs. To the nose, the beer has a fantastic scent of citrus hops with a bit of malt for a very balanced aroma. There’s a bit of carbonation in this IPA that gives it a nice bubbly appearance.
Upon first taste, you get just a hint of bitterness from those yummy hops, however it is not overpowering (read: it doesn’t cause bitter beer face – far from it). I also picked upon a nice hint of pine, herbs and maybe even slight grapefruit and then the crystal malt hits, making for a very nice drink.
Watershed is the smoothest IPA I’ve had in a very long time. Even my wife, who likes lighter beers, found it to be pleasant. I found Watershed to be so drinkable – which is a bit dangerous considering its high alcohol count. The lingering of the caramel sweetness leaves you wanting another sip.
Watershed IPA would go perfectly with a nice hamburger or steak. This beer is highly recommended if you are a fan of IPAs.
Do you like brown ales? Typically, I do. I enjoy them because they’re very drinkable and go down really smooth. Brown ales typically very easy to drink as the flow down your mouth with a light nutty taste and almost zero bitterness. My favorite brown ale by far is Hard Bop Brown from Upright Brewing (review) – which was astounding.
Today I’m trying an ale from a new brewery (to me) – Everybody’s Brewing in White Salmon, Washington. Everybody’s Brewing is a small-town brewery, but judging by their outstanding website, they don’t let anything hold them back. The have a huge selection and it looks like they’re popular.
So how does Hoedown Brown rate?
In a word, boring. Hoedown Brown comes in a 40 IBUs and is 5.2% ABV. The website describes the brew as “light brown in color, nutty sweetness and a clean aftertaste”.
I guess the description is adequate. This is a smooth beer that is very light – it rolls down your tongue and indeed has a slight sweet, nutty flavor with no aftertaste. To me, this is a beer that needs so much more. It needs a bit of complexity and something to add interest.
What do you think – have you had this brew? Please disagree with me as I want to discuss this beer. But for me, this beer is boring.
For those wondering where Everybody’s Brewing is – see the map below.
Bend, Oregon is known for outdoor sport, the amazing scenery and surrounding natural beauty. However, in the last 5 years another movement has put Bend on the map. Brewing is a major sport now in the city of 88,000 in central Oregon as there are now around 15 breweries in the Bend metro area.
I have been meaning to make it over to Boneyard Brewing as their beer has a great reputation, but the opportunity hasn’t presented itself just yet. However, here in Salem, Raen Brew recently had a keg of Boneyard Diablo Rojo on tap so I rushed right over to check it out.
For those who aren’t familiar with red ales – they’re different than just an ‘amber’. Typically a red ale is stronger on the malt side of the beer equation, making a copper color ale that has a strong flavor with a pleasant citrusy aftertaste. Red ales are one of my favorite styles of beer, and we are blessed with some good reds here in the Pacific Northwest.
Diablo Rojo from Boneyard Brewing is described as a hoppy, malty red ale, that is ‘perfect for the fall season’. It has an IBU rating of 40 and is 7.0% alcohol.
At first glance, I wondered how hoppy a 40 IBU beer could be. However, I was pleasently surprised. At first sip, Diablo Rojo is very smooth with just a nice subtle hint of malt. Then, the malt taste kicks in and leaves you refreshed and your taste buds challenged a bit.
This is a nice Fall season ale because it presents the perfect mix of hoppy bite and malty red ale goodness. I’d recommend this beer with a burger while watching a college football game. Its profile is perfect for a sunny fall day where the air is crisp and you need a malty bite to perfect the moment.
Diablo Rojo is a perfect example of what an Oregon red should be…it’s highly recommended!