Reusable Beer Bottles Are A Thing, Again In Oregon

Author: Jason Harris
May 10, 2018

Double Mountain Brewing out of Hood River, Oregon have always looked different and they have a cool logo on the side of the logo. Double Mountain makes half-liter bottles that have thicker glass than normal – and their website invites customers to reuse the bottles by bringing them back to the brewery to be refilled.

By reusing bottles rather than sending them through the recycling process, the refillable glass bottles use 4 times less carbon than recycled (one-way) glass and 7 times less carbon the aluminum cans.

Also, these thicker bottles protect the beer inside from UV light that negates flavor. So, in addition to being greener, reusable bottles make for better tasting beer, as well.

Just announced a few days ago, a new consortium of breweries are committing to making reusable bottles a standard practice. The breweries include Widmer Brothers, Bouy Beer, GoodLife, Gigantic, Wild Ride and Rock Bottom breweries.

The reusable bottles will be on store shelves like other brands, but they’ll look a little different. According to OPB:

The new program will allow consumers to continue returning all their beer bottles the same way they do now, but the refillable ones will be set aside and washed instead of being crushed. Refillable bottles returned to collection machines will be rejected and will need to be hand-counted for a deposit refund.

The bottles will be trucked to Montana where they’re washed and returned for usage again. Even with the carbon footprint of the drive, it’s still lower than crushing the glass and recycling it.

Will you use one of the new reusable bottles?

b2 Brewery Is Coming to South Salem

Author: Jason Harris
April 12, 2018

b2 Taphouse has been on South Commercial since 2013, serving up pints of cider, beer and kombacha to adoring fans in south Salem. We at Pints and Steins recently learned the fun spot is set to expand and move locations!

The b2 team is building a new brewery and kitchen right next to Shari’s on Boone road near Keubler Boulevard.

Daniel Shepherd, a former Willamette Valley Vineyards winemaker will be the head brewer of the new b2 Brewery. On the food side of the house, Barb Norris will be specializing in pub fare.

By the looks of their Facebook page, the b2 Brewery will have amazing food to greet families in their kid-friendly environment, which is a focus for the team. Being a tap house, the current b2 space off Commercial St. SE is 21+; however the new brewery and restaurant will have seating available for minors.

image courtesy b2 Taphouse on Facebook

The new b2 Taphouse and Brewery will open in summer 2018 and all of Salem is excited! šŸ™‚

Welcoming Xicha Brewing’s Dunkel

Author: Jason Harris
March 22, 2018

On a recent visit to Xicha Brewing in West Salem, I was able to sample Matt Dakopolos’ most recent creation: Dunkel. Some may not know this, but Matt has a Czech and German influence in his brewing and is excited to bring these styles to the Salem brewing scene.

Dunkel is a lager that is very heavy on Munich malts. It’s very dark, as you can see below – but is remarkably smooth and slightly complex. Xicha’s Dunkel reminded me of a bit of a dark ale, chocolatey and sweet…but not overly sweet. It’s 5% and has 30 IBUs.

Salem beer fans should go to Xicha and sample this amazing Bavarian lager. Let us know your thoughts below!

Salem welcomes Ratchet Brewery

Author: Jason Harris
December 6, 2017

A few years ago, when this blog started, there were only a few breweries operating in Salem. Fast forward to 2017, and Salem has seen a huge upswing in the number of great breweries – just in this year alone, the city has seen the openings of Xicha Brewing, Bine Brewing (opening this weekend!) and now Ratchet Brewing.

Ratchet Brewing Logo

Ratchet is the product of two partners – Daniel Miletta and William Mary, who are childhood friends. I’ve known Daniel for a few years and in that time, he’s talked to me about their efforts to open a brewery in Salem’s capital city, going back to 2014.

The Ratchet duo finally found space off 22nd Street in Salem and have been busy renovating the brewery and taproom since then. Slated to open next weekend, December 15/16th, Ratchet will bring the total number of breweries in Salem’s “Brewery District” to 5.

Ratchet’s beers and brewing styles

Daniel will serve as Ratchet’s head brewer and will open with three beers on draft including Moto Fluzzy, Long Ryed IPA and Shake N Bake IPA.

Daniel Miletta, Ratchet Brewery Head Brewer and co-founder

I asked Daniel about his brewing style preferences and the first phrase that he uttered was always ‘hop forward’ but with a blend of things to make things interesting. For example, one of his favorite beer styles to make are kolsch, stouts, pales and IPAs. Another fun brew Daniel likes to make is Earl Grey Brown Ale – with tea that is steeped just after the burn during brewing.

The Taproom and Brewery

Ratchet Brewing is a production brewery with a very small taphouse for serving beers that will seat maybe 10 folks. There will be seating areas eventually after further renovation. The team has installed a large projection TV where sports and other live events can be broadcast. Daniel and William say opening a second location as a taproom is possible – one where food could be served.

Ratchet taster tray

Salem’s Brewing Community being a proponent and advisor

Salem’s tight-knit brewing community and the Salem Brewery Association has always been a supporting factor in Ratchet’s realization of coming to market. Daniel has been a member for 3 years and has been counseled and given advice by existing breweries in town such as Vagabond and Santiam. The Salem Brewery Association meets monthly and members discuss ways and projects that can promote and boost the beer scene in Oregon’s Capital City. With 7 breweries in town now (along with cideries!), the scene is now much more substantive.

We’re excited to see Ratchet come to Salem and we hope the Salem Brewing community continues to grow.

Is Your Beer Craft Or Big Beer? Find Out With This App

Author: Jason Harris
September 17, 2017

With big beer buying local craft beer brands left and right, it’s hard to know which beers in stores and on draft at nearby bar are truly craft.

My pal Emily Price, an author over a Lifehacker, just wrote an article that enables us to know if that beer is ‘craft’ or not. And in craft, the Brewer’s Association means, is it small, independent and traditional?

By using the Craft Check – you’ll know whether that bottle is craft or not – which is important to beer snobs like me.

For example, I was just in San Diego County on vacation with my family. I ordered a Saint Archer IPA, thinking I was drinking a local beer. Upon looking up Saint Archer on my phone halfway through my pint, I found out this beer is owned by Coors. So much for supporting truly local businesses and brewers.

Craft Check App

No more – I’m doing a Craft Check whenever I’m unsure. šŸ™‚

Friends don’t let friends drink big beer. Sorry 10Barrel, Shock Top, Elysian and all the others.

New Release: Attack Parrot IPA by Santiam Brewing

Author: Jason Harris
August 1, 2017

About 2 years ago, here in Salem, Oregon, we had an issue with an owl in a local park attacking joggers and other visitors. As a salute to the owl and the fame it brought Oregon’s capital city, Salem brewers came out with beers such as Attack Owl IPA and more.

This summer, the sarcastic fellows over at Santiam Brewing have released a fun parody-named beer called Attack Parrot IPA.

Attack Parrot IPA

Attack Parrot is a described as a dry-hopped Northwest IPA with 1.5kg of hops in each keg. That’s a lot – and it shows when you taste this beer. It’s comprised of Cascade, Centennial, Chinook, Crystal, Cluster. Columbus and Citra hops, to be exactly

To get a taste, Santiam graciously provided me with a sample and I was blown away. Attack Parrot IPA is floral and refreshing, without being overly bitter. If you’re a hops fan that dislikes bitter beer face, you’ll love Attack Parrot.

This new IPA is available at the Santiam Brewing taphouse and select tap houses in the greater Salem area. Probst!

For something different, today we’re going to take a look at two ciders from 2 Towns Ciderhouse in Corvallis, Oregon. Following in the footsteps of Oregon brewing, ciders have now taken off and are becoming more prevalent at bars, taphouses and the like. 2 Towns is one of the most prevalent here in the Willamette Valley, thanks to their production capacity and well-earned poplarity

Serious Scrump

Serious Scrump is a strong cider that happens to be an imperial as well, coming in at 11% ABV

Serious Scrump is a dry cider made in traditional scrumpy fashion with a Northwest twist! An eclectic blend of Hood River apples, local Oregon blackberry honey, and a slow fermentation process create a tart, floral, celebratory cider.

I found this cider to be overly-sweet. Like, almost mouth puckering sweet like a barley wine. It pours white with a mild head – you’re hit immediately with the taste of chardonnay and sweet, sweet apples. It’s super dry with almost a farmhouse like yeasty taste…like a saison with a twist

Flight of the Kiwi

Named after the flightless bird from New Zealand, Flight of the Kiwi pours clear with hardly any head.

Electrifying & tropical, kiwis can’t fly, and that’s A-OK, because all the ingredients for this cider were grown right here in the Northwest; Fresh-pressed apples, hardy kiwi berries, and gooseberries.

When you pour this cider, there’s nearly zero foam. and is a rich clear yellow – looking like white wine. I sensed a fresh apple nose with a robust body – almost tropical and dry on the finish. This is a satisfying cider that is enjoyable from beginning to end.

What ciders have you been enjoying lately?

Victory Club and Santiam Brewing Now Open for Lunch

Author: Jason Harris
April 5, 2017

Listen up, Salem area residents (and those visiting the capital city!),Ā there are some great new lunch options ready for you and your beer-loving taste buds.

Victory Club Now Opens at 11:00 AM

In a surprise announcement Monday, April 2nd, Vagabond Brewing announced that Victory Club is now open for lunch. Since the taproom opened last June, as you may remember, opening hours started at 5pm. Now, armed with local Salem beer and ciders, a new chef and an expanded menu, Victory Club is now open for lunch in downtown Salem.

My favorite day to go to Victory Club, besides the ones that end in ‘Y’, will be on Tuesdays because on Taco Tuesday, you get tacos and a Salem-brewed cider or beer for $8.

Santiam Brewing Also Open For Lunch

I’m not sure if the timing is coincidence or not, butĀ also on Monday, Santiam Brewing announced that their taphouse over on the 19th Street SE would be open for lunch. Now, Santiam is blessed to have a catering company located next door that produces amazing food to accompany your favorite Santiam beer.

Santiam Lunch

So, whether you’re downtown or out in SE Salem, stop by either Victory Club or Santiam (or both!) for an exquisite lunch and top quality Salem-brewed ale/cider.

Cheers!

In addition to great breweries popping up all over the state of Oregon, another phenomenon has been the addition of taphouses. These are bars and growler fill stations that have in upwards of 40-50 taps, featuring craft beer from Oregon and the West coast.

Vagabond Brewing, the Salem-based maker of fine ales, has decided to add taphouses as a cornerstone of their business – with Victory Club opening last June and now Vagabond Outpost in Albany, Oregon.

Vagabond Outpost

Vagabond Brewing just celebrated its 3rd birthday and thee trio of co-owners show no sign of slowing down.

Vagabond Outpost is located near Heritage Mall in Albany and features 40-ish taps that pour ales from Salem, Corvallis, Eugene and more. There are also wines and ciders on tap and kombacha as well. Ā The taphouse isĀ located right next to Love Love Teriyaki and near Red Robin, so if you’re hungry, grab food to go and eat it in the taphouse with a delicious beverage.

You can find Vagabond Outpost atĀ 2195 14th Ave S Albany, Oregon.

 

Founders Brewing To Start Selling In The Northwest

Author: Jason Harris
January 16, 2017

In a massive west-coast sales expansion, Founders Brewing, the Michigan-based brewery, will start selling their ales at Oregon, Washington and Idaho. Founders is best known for All Day IPA, a session IPA that’s perfect for summer grilling or camping sessions. It packs a nice flavor profile and is only 4.5% ABV.

Based in Grand Rapids, MI, Founders was established in 1997 and ranks amongst the top 20 largest craft breweries in the US and the brand has been expanding aggressively in the last few years.

Founders Brewing

General Distributors, based in Oregon City, Oregon will handle distribution here in Oregon and I was lucky enough to taste three beers from Founders, thanks to a General sales rep that invited me.

The ales will be on sale in retailers such as Safeway, Albertson’s and Roth’s starting on February 6. They’ll also be available in finer taphouses in the state.

Azacca IPA

Of the beers I tasted from Founders, Azacca was my favorite. This beer pours a clear dark yellow with a sizable head and wonderful lacing on the glass. It smells of fruit, orange and lemons with mild floral notes. This beer is quite sticky in your mouth, with a high amount of carbonation which kind of burns at the end of the sip. It’s a nice bite that finishes off a floral, tasty IPA with a unique taste.

Azacca IPA is highly recommended – I suspect that even picky PNW hop heads will find Azacca to be a welcome entry into their fridges and ultimately their pint glasses.

All Day IPA

Founders Brewing All Day IPAIn my experience, session ales are ones that pack most, if not all of the flavor, of a ‘regular’ ale into one that’s lower in alcohol.Ā All Day IPA pours a golden color and smells of grass, a little orange and a mild hoppy scent. Tasting it though – it’s more like a pale ale with a bit if citrus and a milt malt flavor.

Don’t buy this beer expecting IPA flavors – buy it because you want a tasty beer when you want to take it easy and enjoy a less alcohol-intensive brew.

Centennial IPA

Centennial IPA pours a murky orange color and smells of piney/citrusy hops and a hint of coffee. When you taste it,Ā Centennial tastes malty at first with hints of caramel, with a noticeableĀ burst of floral and citrus hop flavor that kicks in.

This beer is good, but not great – and in an area of the country where we love IPAs, Centennial is forgettable.