Review of Oregon Brewer’s Festival Part II

August 1, 2011

It is Burtle Beer’s turn to submit a review of the Oregon Brewer’s Festival:

Admittedly, I was only there one day, but I managed to try close to 20 of the 85 beers that were pouring. Many breweries brought beers that are commonly available, so I didn’t bother trying those either.

Deschuttes Chainbreaker IPA: This was probably my favorite beer of the fest. It was a soft, wit like IPA with some subtle spices. Although I’m not a huge IPA fan, I could see this being a “sessionable IPA.” Apparently Deschuttes collaborated with Boulevard Brewing to create this beer.

Burnside Brewing‘s Gratzer: Loosely modeled after a historical style, Burnside’s Gratzer was a smoked apple beer. In reality, it smells (and drinks) like bacon. American palates aren’t used to smoked beers, and I found the smoke to be overpowering. I couldn’t detect any trace of apples at all, which was disappointing since I’ve been planning some apple beers of my own. Definitely it was a beer I’m glad I tried, but I won’t be going back for more. One gripe about the PR for this beer- Burnside claims they revived the style, but I’m pretty sure Breakside’s Ben Edmunds beat them to it.

Upright Brewing Often Weiss: This was a fun, drinkable wheat beer with a tart nose. There are lots of banana notes in the beer, but I didn’t get many phenols, which I am very sensitive too. I would love to have a keg of it in the garage.

Mint Beers: Mint overpowers beer very easily. I tried all three of the mint beers at the fest, and came away wanting less. Gilgamesh‘s Mint Kolsch was the worst offender; I felt like I was drinking toothpaste. Dogfish Head almost pulled it off by blending raspberries in a rather large stout, but the mint was still too powerful. I could see mint working in a saison maybe, but most beer is too sweet and malty for mint to be a good partner.

Prodigal Son Bruce Lee Porter: A really well crafted porter, although it was a touch roasty than I prefer. Still, the hops and malt profile we in balances, this feels like something that has been fine tuned- not a “one off beer” like some at the fest.

Rock Bottom‘s Zombie Flanders: This was truly a wonderful Flanders red. It had a promising nose, with a slightly vinous/fruity front and a dry brett finish. Rock Bottom has apparently decided to put corporate politics in the way of good beer, so it may be one of their last really great beers we’ll see in a while.

Burtle Beer, brewing beer at the speed of a turtle, signing off.



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