June 17, 2013
On Father’s Day, my husband Burtle, my friend, and a coworker of mine all went to the Portland Beer and Cheese Fest put on by The Commons and The Cheese Bar. In all fairness, by time my father decided he wanted to go, the tickets were sold out. Buy them early!
The ticket prices went up from when we went last year, from $25 to $32, but this is the second year, so it could have been adjusted for better cost recovery. However, the format was still set up very much the same, where thy give you a kind of passport to get punched as you go from station to station. My co-worker said this is his favorite beer festival of the year. However, this passport actually makes me not think of it as a beer festival. It is definitely one of my favorite festivals of the year, but I don’t think of it as a beer specific festival. It isn’t about showcasing new and creative beers, but the pairings.
As for the cheeses, they varied a little bit, though I found most of them to be kind of middle ground flavors. I mean, some had more bite than others, but none of them were really stinky, robust, sharp, etc. A few times I switched out the cheese from the beer it was assigned and still found it to be just as good.
Again, I didn’t try all the beers, especially as the day wore on, but I did like Solera’s The Fez sour farmnouse blend, which was paired with an okay goat gouda from Central Coat Creamery. I surprised myself by finishing Upright Brewing’s Vienna Lager, which was paired with a cow cheese Mountina from Vintage Cheese Co. I actually ate all of the blue cheese from Rouge, which is very unusual for me.
We got there right as they opened, which is what we normally do. However, because they were not selling tickets at the door, there were a limited number of people, and they all seemed to come at the same time. Granted, it took a solid two hours for us to go through everything, but I think it might be worth it to hold off on going there until 3pm. However, there is something to be said about grabbing a table to set things down on to take notes, and, being a Sunday, having a little more time to sober up that evening. It is, technically, a school night.
June 14, 2013
This year for Dairy Month, I got ahold of the book Cheese & Beer by Janet Fletcher, published in 2013. Really, everything you need to know from this book can be found in the subheading “Making Marriage Work” in the Introduction chapter. While she briefly mentions the traditional cheese and beverage pairing from the same location before refrigeration and some other history, she gets into contrast and complement instead. To that, she begins talking about texture, intensity, acidity, sweetness, bitterness, and aroma in both the beer and cheese. She “distills” everything down into four guidelines, which are not geography dependent as the same region rule:
- Pair delicate beers with young, fresh, cheeses
- Pair malty beers with nutty or “sweet” cheeses
- Pair hoppy beers with tangy cheeses
- Pair strong beers with blue cheeses and hard aged cheeses.
The following chapters are then based on a style of beer. It goes through and describes the style and what to expect, and then a suggested specific beer to try. It then talks about the kind of cheese needed to balance that beer, and suggests the cheese. My husband Burtle flipped though it and didn’t like it being so beer centric. He knows beer and feels he doesn’t know cheese, so he would rather start with a cheese and try to figure out what kind of beer to pair it with. Thing is, when I flip though cheese making books, it never seems like people can get a good grasp on cheese styles with all the rind/no rind, firm/soft, aged/fresh, etc options out there. This book kind of ignores all that by starting with the beer first and then moving to the cheese. In fact, I actually finally got a good handle on the flavor profiles of beer, which I had never really thought of before. It covers Amber and Red Ales, American Pale Ales, Bareley Wine, Belgian-Style Pale Ale, Belgian-Style Strong Golden Ale, Biere de Champagne, Bitter and Extra Special Bitter (ESB), Brown Ale, Double, Holiday Ale, IPA, Kolsch and Blonde Ale, Quad, Sison and Biere de Garde, Sours, Stouts, Porters, and Imperial Stouts, Triples, and Wheat Beers for the Ales. For the Lagers, she covers Amber and the California Common, Bock and Doppelbock, Maibock, Marzen and the Pilsner.
Of course, my interest was piqued in the Beligum Pale Ale chapter when she said they are like ciders, and then says she would pair cider with complementing cheeses “such as aged British farmhouse cheeses like Cheddar, Cheshire, and Caerphilly; or with Camembert, a cheese made in cider country.”
The book does have some tables, like what cheese goes with what beer and vice versa. It also has a Glossary and a Beer and Cheese Index.
I was viewing this book digitally and in color, but I found it to be a very interesting book. Burtle and I were discussing buying it as a digital copy. We are too afraid that if we bought the physical book, we would never read it, but if, say, we had access to it on a smart phone while we are out and about, it would be very useful. Granted, you kind of loose out on the charts a little, and the “flippablity” of just browsing the book is gone. Still, I think we will get this book.
Further Readings: Other books by Janet Fletcher
June 10, 2013
This last Saturday, I went to the Portland Fruit Beer Festival for the thrid year in a row. We got there at about 11am, and because of the Rose Festival Grand Floral Parade, parking was horrible as always. I think this festival is also growing, as it was starting to get pretty packed when we left at 1:30.
Before I start talking about the beer, I should make a note that there was a “ticket creep.” Last year, it was $20 for 10 tickets, and this year it was $20 for 12 tickets. Where is the creep in that, you ask? More and more of the beers cost two tickets, so you were actually consuming less. However, we still feel like this was a very good value, and fruit beer is expensive to make.
There were a lot of similar things there. For example, my husband Burtle started with a New Belgium Brewing Love with Cherry and Nectarines, while I started with Logston Farmhouse Cerasus. Both were very similar and kriek like (sour cherry beer), though Burtle’s was slightly sweeter. Both were very good, though I’m not sure which one I liked better.
The festival kept promoting Breakside Brewery’s Strawberry Rhubarb Pie, where they put entire pies into the beer. However, I found it to be lacking and disappointing. I actually heard others around saying the same thing. However, Two Towns Ciderhouse Rhubarbarian actually tasted of rhubarb, which it a difficult thing to ferment and still taste like. I think it would be excellent paired with a strawberry pie. This cider was one of the highlights of the festival.
Besides the Rhubarbarian, the other rememberable/really good beer was 10 Barrel Brewing Cucumber Crush. It really did taste of cucumbers with a touch of lemon, and was very refreshing.
Other tasting notes:
- The other similar beer was the Beer Valley Brewing Oregonberry Wheat, which I felt was better than the Lompoc Brewing Cherry Wheat.
- Bushwhacker Cidery did a collaboration with Upright Brewing, so it was a cider blended with rye beer that had been aged in wine barrels with Brett and currents. The cider portion was a rose hip cider aged in a hazelnut rum barrel. Once blended, it was all added to a whisky barrel for a week. I write all this because it was just a lost drink. It didn’t know what it was or what it should be. The two krieks were better.
- The Commons Brewery had a Bier Royale with black currents. Something was wrong with that beer, as it tasted like butter.
- Burtle got a Burnside Brewery Co. Ivill Krushu, which had an amazing nose on it that I swore I’ve had before at the Holiday Ale Fest. I think what it was 10 Barrel Brewing Co. Frosty’s revenge, where both of these beers were aged on figs and dates. The result is a darker malty caramel beer with some sugar.
- My last beer was a Lucky Lab Brewing Blue Raspberry Lager. It was an okay beer, but they tried to make it blue, but it wanted to be golden, so it was almost a green beer. It was a little odd.
June 3, 2013
Once again, it is June, which is dairy month! I haven’t been writing so much recently, but this month has me booked for three events, including a beer and cheese fest.
Earlier this winter, I came across an interesting news article about how the Seattle Cheese Festival was being canceled because it was too successful. At first, it seems like a head scratcher – why would you shut an event down because it was too successful?
Because I love cheese, I went once in 2008 before I was blogging. Thing is, it was very crowded and hard to get to any of the booths to take a cheese sample. Burtle and I hate being in lines, which is part of the reason we go to beer fests right when they open so that we don’t have to stand in line. We love supporting new festivals because they aren’t crowded (yet).
But the Seattle Cheese Festival is free, unlike the beer fests. At the beer fests, you pay a token to get a sample, so the business owners are recouping the costs of the sample. At the cheese fest, this was not happening. One could argue that they may see an increase in sales, but I hardly doubt the increase in sales would offset the money shelled out by businesses for the samples.
When Burtle heard the news, he said he wondered if this would happen to the Oregon Brewer’s Festival. He really likes going there, but it is really crowded and organizers admit they need to expand but have no room. The compromise, for now, was to expand the days. Burtle doesn’t really think this festival will close due to its rich history, but at the same time, he does wonder if it will become a victim of its own success.
I’m sad to hear that the Seattle Cheese Festival has closed. Hopefully, it will re-emerge at a different location and maybe with a more cost recovery type model. In the meanwhile, I’m excited to be going to a beer and cheese pairing event!
May 31, 2013
Before I begin with the monthly cider news, are you going to the Portland Cider Summit on June 21-22?
Trends for May including more big beer companies getting into cider, new cider companies have started up, some cider companies are switching to cans, and there was a bit of a weather scare on apple crops.
- Brewbound: Ciderboys Cider Co. Introduces New Can Packages. May 3, 2013
- BlackBook: Cider House Rules: Stella Unveils ‘Stella Artois Cidre.’ May 6, 2013.
- Islands Sounder: Cider and mead festival is back. May 7, 2013
- NewHampsire.com: Jim Beauregar’s Tasting Notes: Today’s Lesson: Hard ciders. May 7, 2013.
- *Nation’s Restaurant News: Restaurant trends to watch this summer. May 8, 2013
- Willamette Week: Pickin’ Apples. May 8, 2013
- Capitol Hill Seattle Blog: Capitol Cider waits to get its recipe just right before E Pike opening. May 9, 2013
- The Washington Post: Look for these tart, refreshing hard ciders in DC bars, or try making your own. May 9, 2013
- Second Wave Media: Virtue Farms opens Fenville tasting room, hires distributor. May 9, 2013
- WCAX.com: Woodchuch Hard Cider breaks ground on new facility. May 10, 2013
- News.com.au: A healthier way of drinking. May 11, 2013
- St. Louis Post-Dispatch: A-B places bigger bet on growing hard cider sales (contains US market information). May 12, 2013
- WILX: Freezing Temps Worry Farmers [including Uncle John’s Cider Mill in Michigan]. May 12, 2013
- *Bloomberg Businessweek: Why AB InBev and Big Brewers Are Betting on Hard Cider. May 13, 2013
- Hard Cider News: May 13, 2013 edition
- The Drinks Report [New Zealand]: Premium quality drives cider category revival. May 13, 2013
- Milwaukee Wisconsin Journal Sentinel: Beer in cans, hard cider benefit Stevens Point Brewery Co. May 14, 2013
- The Daily Meal: Driving on the Nelson 151: Virginia’s Craft Beer, Wine, and Cider Destination. May 14, 2013
- The Sonoma County Gazette: Gravenstein Apple Slow Food Movement Cider. May 14, 2013.
- Zagat: Vander Mill Cider Begins Canning, Renovates Tasting Room. May 14, 2013.
- KUNC: Banking on Local Orchards, Colorado Ciders Hope History Repeats. May 15, 2013
- Daily Camera: Colorado man makes hard cider the old-world way. May 16, 2013
- Esquire: The 3 best ciders to drink right now. May 16, 2013
- ThurstonTalk: Olympia’s Whitewood Cider company Launches First Blends. May 17, 2013.
- *Craft Brewing Business: Cider trend going strong, will it cut into craft beer? May 17, 2013.
- Hospitality Magazine: Cider consumption tipped to double [in Australia]. May 23, 2013
- The Oregonian: Bull Run Cider takes root in Forest Grove as county’s only hard cider producer. May 24, 2013
- Boston Herald: Buddies hope co. brews up business revival in Attleboro. May 26, 2013
- Culture Map Austin: Cider houses rule: Texas ciders are on the rise with Argus Cidery and Austin Eastciders. May 28, 2013
- Seattle Weekly News: Hard Cider: Fruit of the Boom. May 28, 2013.
Other industry news of interest:
- CNN: 8 best beer towns in the USA (Portland is #1). May 7, 2013
- KNDO: Gov. Inslee Signs Bill for Alcohol in Theaters, Markets. May 14, 2013
- The Atlantic: When that ‘Local,’ ‘Craft’ Liquor You Pay Big Bucks for Is Neither. May 22, 2013
- The Columbian: All 50 states embrace home brew boom. May 27, 2013
- Distiller Row PDX Pedicab Tour
April 26, 2013
Cider is still on the rise, but to quote James Wilmore at Just-Drinks, “A report in February suggested that cider still suffered from a lack of distrubution in the US and the need to invest in the category’s image.”
- Canada Newswire: Modern day Johnny Appleseeds? – Pommies Dry Ciders gives away apple trees this April. March 27, 2013
- Philly.com: Ciders of the Basque country and Asturias. April 1, 2013
- Harpers: Monopoly forces ice cider producers into Europe. April 2, 2013
- Brewbound: Craft Brew Alliance Launches Square Mile Cider Company. April 2, 2013
- *CBS 6 Albany: Move to boost cider sales in New York. April 2, 1013
- *MSN: Hard cider is filling more American’s beer glasses. April 5, 2013
- Capital Press: Cider apples right at home in Western Washington. April 8, 2013
- The Baltimore Sun: Mead and cider make a comeback in Maryland. April 10, 2013
- Digital Journal: Cider & Other Furit Wien Production in the UK Industry Market Research Report Now Updated by IBISWorld. April 12, 2013
- NPR: A Tax Day Story for Hard-Cider Lovers. April 15, 2013.
- The Daily Page: Cider House of Wisconsin makes Madison’s most local hard cider. April 15, 2013
- Coloradoan.com: New cider hosue, distiller join north Old Town in Fort Collins. April 16, 2013
- Richmond.com: Blue Bee Cider to Open Tasting Room. April 16, 2013
- Brewbound: Woodchuck Hard Cider Initiates Earth Week Campaign. April 17, 2013
- The Wall Street Journal: Nature-Inspired Fruit Trends Nourish Product Innovation. April 17, 2013
- *Food Republic: 12 Things You Didn’t Know About Hard Cider. April 18, 2013
- Rapid Growth Media: Peoples Cider is All Michigan. April 18, 2013.
- The Pitt News: Borrebach: Cider: a respectable alternative to beer. April 19, 2013
- *Just-Drinks: US: Cider volumes soar in US on-trade – figures. April 22, 1013
- NW Cider Association: Introducing Seattle’s own Schilling Cider. April 22, 2013
- Seven Days: Demand for Hard Cider Surges, and the Industry Organizes. April 24, 2013
Other Industry News:
NPR: Craft-Beer-Crazy Oregon Poised to Name Official State Microbe. April 5, 2013
March 29, 2013
- HackCollege.com: Infographic: Cider is the New Beer. January 14, 2013
- *MonkeyDish: New brands and flavors driving hard cider popularity. February 2013
- MarketingWeek: Cider sales closing in on lager [in the UK]. February 21, 2013.
- Big Hospitality: Sweet success: UK cider consumption hits record levels. February 25, 2013
- Bloomberg: [South Africa’s] Winemaker’s Ditell’s First-Half Profit Gains on More Cider Sales. February 25, 2013
- *Just-Drinks: Comment – Race for Cider Prize is a Tightrope. February 25, 2013
- Serious Eats: 4 Up-and-Coming Cider Makers to Watch in 2013. February 26, 2013
- Richmond.com: Richmond’s Blue Beer Cider on Serious Eats. Feubary 27, 2013
- *Chicago Business.com: Bars mull popularity of cider. March 1, 2013
- The Asian Age: Cider isn’t just some sweet beer [Cider in India]. March 1, 2013
- PostBulletin.com: Cocktail Hour: Cider is the new beer (again). March 1, 2013
- Willamette Week: Future Drinking: Hopeworks to Make Cider? Plus, Local Mezcal by Meteca. March 1, 2013
- MatchingFoodAndWine.com: Is Cider More Food-Friendly than Wine? March 5, 2013
- The Street: Angry Orchard’s David Sipes Gets Samuel Adams to Try Cider. March 8, 2013
- *timesunion.com: Tapping into hard cider market. March 13, 2013
- Portland Tribune: Ciders add a little bite to NW taps. March 14, 2013
- Mountain Xpress: Sweet on brewing: Urban Orchard brings craft cider to Haywood Road. March 18, 2013
- WoodTV: Calling all hard cider fans. March 21, 2013
- GRBT.com: Great Lakes hard-cider competition picks world’s best producers. March 22, 2013.
Other industry news:
- The New York Times: Craft Beer’s Larger Aspirations Cause a Stir. March 4, 2013
- The Oregonian: House passes bill to allow take-home wine, cider ‘growliers.’ March 6, 2013
- KGW: Oregon lawmakers want ban on self-checkout beer, wine. March 15, 2013