Review: Boneyard Brewing Diablo Rojo

Author: Jason Harris
September 28, 2012

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.

Diablo RojoFor 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!

Review: Frankenlou’s IPA, Seven Brides First IPA

Author: Jason Harris
September 21, 2011

Seven Brides Brewing out of Silverton, Oregon has made a name for themselves in the mid-valley. The passionate group behind the brand has 4 signature brews that are available on a regular basis. I have reviewed Emily’s Ember, which, in short, I would describe as an average amber ale.

In today’s review, I’m taking a look at the Silverton brewery’s first IPA. As the label says, ‘popular demand’ required them to look at making an IPA. In this spirit, they have tried to make it as hoppy as humanly possible. Looking at the label, they invite hop heads to unite.

Quoting the bottle:

Frakenlou’s India Pale Ale. In response to your requests “demands”! we present our first IPA. Our first batch was just 1.5 barrels of this Hop Monster.

Using only the Northwests’s finests hops, and the desire to make a monster IPA, Frakenlou’s was born.

Think of it like this, we use enough hops in each batch if IPA to make three of our other beers!

Frakenlou’s comes in at 7% alcohol and is 10f IBU’s, making this a very bitter beer with some massive hop creds.

To me, when I read the label, I expected this to be a hoppy bitter beer that made me cringe when I took my first sip.  Almost like a DogFish Head 120 Minute IPA. This ale will definitely delight any hop head, but it’s not a pucker up and cringe when you drink it beer. It’s relatively smooth with a bitter finish that leaves you wanting more. It’s a heavy beer when it comes to alcohol content, so you’ll likely want to share it.

Salem Beer Lovers Welcome Venti’s Cafe and Taphouse

Author: Jason Harris
August 6, 2011

I’ve written about how I wish we had a brewery here in Salem. However, I’ve always thought we just need a restaurant or bar that serves amazing beer from the already existing selection of local beer we have in the Pacific Northwest.

Salem, Oregon, please welcome Venti’s Cafe and Taphouse, which opened yesterday. My family and I went to check it out and we can gladly report that Venti’s taphouse is an amazing place to sample beers and get some great foot at the same time.

The location for Venti’s is quite convenient, no matter what part of town you live on as the restaurant and taphouse has set up shop on Commercial Street SE in the building that used to be home to Buster’s Barbeque. The owners of Venti’s did a complete remodel on the interior and the new look is stylish and modern.

The Venti’s Taphouse tries to be family friendly with an open feel and a dedicated kids area. As the Dad to a 1 and 4 year old, I can appreciate this, my daughters enjoyed the toys that could easily be retrieved from the kid’s area in the restaurant.

However, the joy of Venti’s Cafe and Taphouse is the beer selection. There are 24 rotating taps that feature all types of beer from throughout the Northwest. Additionally, there’s an amazing bottle and canned beer selection bringing the total to about 124 available beers.

I had the 10 Barrel India Summer Ale  from Bend, Oregon and my wife had the Dupont Saisan Farmhouse Ale and both were amazing. The India Summer Ale is refreshing and flavorful and the Farmhouse Ale is a German-style light ale, I’d describe it as a Kolsh type beer with a slight bite at the end.

The food selection spans pizzas, burgers, Asian inspired dishes such as Chicken teriyaki.  it’s a bit of a mish mash of food selection but you can guarantee that there’s something for everyone on the menu.


Overall the new Venti’s location (there’s one already downtown) is a welcome addition to the Salem restaurant scene. The amazing beer selection will impress any beer snow or connoisseur.  If you want to see what’s on tap right now, visit as the taplist changes so often.

Review: Pelican Brewing Doryman’s Dark Ale

Author: Jason Harris
November 16, 2010

I’m becoming a huge fan of Pelican Brewing’s ales.  This amazing brewery is located on the Oregon Coast in Pacific City, Oregon – right on the beach in fact.  So far, I’ve reviewed Pelican’s IPA as well as a yummy Scottish Ale.

For today’s review, I’ll be checking out Pelican’s Dark Ale.

Doryman’s Dark Ale is one of the head brewer’s first brews ever made.  He started brewing this ale way back in the day and according to the website, Dark Ale is amongst Pelican’s favorite beers.

When I hear Dark Ale, I think more malts and perhaps a bit of a nut brown taste – kind of like a traditional British Ale. Doryman’s Dark Ale is exactly like this.

This Dark Ale has an expected dark brown flavor.  At first sip you can sense the roast malt.  It isn’t very hoppy but you do get a sense of the aroma as your drink continues.  Doryman’s Dark Ale has a smooth finish with no noticeable aftertaste.  It’s a great Fall beer for those wanting a bit more flavor than a Pale Ale, but aren’t ready to go all dark with a stout or porter.

Doryman’s Dark Ale is recommended by this beer lover – check it out at your local store.

Help Bring a New BrewPub to Salem

Author: Jason Harris
August 17, 2010

So over at Farmer Brewing, the guy behind the blog is an apprentice brewer who is from the mid-valley who is doing his apprenticeship up in the Tri-Cities area of Washington.

In his post titled “Is it Time, Salem“, he talks about how Salem is in need of a microbrwerey and asks whether we’d like a brewery here.  My answer (I left a comment) was a resounding YES, PLEASE!

As you can see by this site, I love good beer.  I really enjoy going to Bend, Oregon because there are 6+ microbreweries in and around town.  Corvallis has two breweries including Block 15 and Flat Tail Brewing.  Why can’t Oregon’s second largest city have it’s own locally owned brewery?!  We can, and we shall!

So, if you’re so inclined, head over to his post and encourage this young brewer to come back to Salem and open a microbrewery here in Oregon’s capital.  Let’s do this!

Friday Beer Review: Cascade Lakes Rooster Tail Ale

Author: Jason Harris
July 9, 2010

The weekend is upon us and it’s time to consider what we’ll be drinking on this hot summer weekend.

It seems like the entire nation is gripped by a heat wave, so what this weekend calls for is a cool, crisp ale that goes down easy and leaves you feeling refreshed.

Cascade Lakes Brewing of Bend and Redmond, Oregon has just the brew. Roster Tail Ale was the breweries first beer ever made and sold and continues to be a regional favorite.

Rooster Tail Ale is a golden-colored ale that has 5.2% alcohol and only 30 I.B.U.s that makes for a very easy-drinking beer.

In opinion, Roster Tail is *too* easy-drinking.  I’m a fan of crisp summer beers, especially those of the Kolsh variety, but Rooster Tail left me wanting more.  It has a decent taste, but doesn’t have enough flavor or effect to leave me wanting a second sip after the first.

For those wanting a more memorable easy-drinking ale for a summer day, I’d skip Rooster Tale and pickup a Mirror Pond Pale Ale from Deschutes.  Cascade Lakes makes many great beers, but Rooster Tail simply isn’t one of them.

Review: Deschutes Brewing Hop Trip Ale

Author: Jason Harris
October 31, 2009

On a recent visit to the Deschutes Brewery Portland location, I had the sheer pleasure of partaking in their Autumn seasonal – Hop Trip Ale.

Hop Trip Ale from Deschuted Brewing

Hop Trip Ale from Deschutes Brewing

This ale has a fun story behind it. You see, there are some great hops grown in the Willamette Valley area of Oregon (where I live). Bend, home to Deschutes Brewery, is a short 3 hour drive from the Valley.

Once a year, the brewers from Bend come over to the Valley to hand-pick their hops. Then, the harvested hops are taken over to Bend and boiled/brewed fresh. Hence the name: Hop Trip Ale

Hop Trip is available from October through December. So, how is this years batch?

In one word: phenomenal! I trialed a pint straight from the keg and enjoyed every sip of it. The hops flavor the beer in a smooth and savory way. This beer isn’t ‘hoppy’ the same way an IPA is – in the sense that IPA is bitter and shocking.

Hop Trip Ale is a bit stronger in flavor than an average pale ale.

So, get a bottle or pint the next time you’re out and about – you won’t regret it!