One of the reasons I like to volunteer as early as possible at beer festivals is you can find out what’s the talk of the place and get to it before it runs out.
(Also? Free t-shirts.)
Last night I was pouring Upright Brewing’s Five. It’s something that is fairly widely available in Portland, so I expected a nice, quiet night, and plenty of time to practice my foam-free pours (the head on the pitcher of this beer just DID NOT FADE). Not realising the gentleman next to me would be pouring Upright’s Rose City Seven, a beer aged in Pinot Noir barrels with rose hips, hibiscus, and rose petals. Even though it was a double token beer, he was kept hopping.
(And dude, I’m sorry I stood there and ran pitchers for you and you totally helped deal with my first jerks at a beer festival ever who were drunk and tried to grab my pitcher [p.s. supervisors and event security ROCK], but I never did get your name.)
At the end of the shift we were given the chance to taste the beers, and so the first one I went for was the Rose City Seven. It’s a fairly complex beer, and it has interesting flavors. It tastes a heck of a lot like a Pinot Noir wine, with just a little of the saison yeast for fun.
The Laurelwood Green Elephant was mentioned once or twice, and when I got ahold of it, it was a deep, well-executed IPA with really fantastic malt flavors.
The Laht Neppur Strawberry Cream Ale is the Watermelon Wheat or the Ruby Ale of this fest– It’s a sweet, light, fizzy beer that non-beer drinkers MIGHT like. I think the Eel River Acai Berry Wheat has the same characteristics, but got in a pretty heated ‘discussion’ with a fellow volunteer about it, so your mileage may vary.
On a related note, the Elephant Toes which were being sold by one of the food vendors? CRAZY DELICIOUS.
Everyone should get a taster of the Fort George Spruce Tip Ale. I really enjoyed it, and went back for a full pint, but one or two people compared the taste to pine needles (which is silly, it was SPRUCE needles). If you like gin or you want something really refreshing in the heat, try this one.
Now, to the beers I heard about but didn’t get to try– Number one on that list is the Bacon Stout from Uncommon Brewing. I think I am going to skip it, actually, because I like my bacon to be bacon, and my beer to be beer. But people sure were talking about it.
The other one that was talked about a lot was the Elliot Bay Vanilla Bean Stout. Mostly because they’re only tapping two kegs a day of it and it ran out by 6pm yesterday.
I’ll be hopping on the MAX along about noon and taking the ridiculously short trip to Overlook Park, to see what else was good that no one was talking about. The Fest runs from 12-9 today, and 12-6 tomorrow.