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Thursday, July 17, 2008

PIB: The New World Beers

It is appropriate that the list of American beers is growing. I love the Portland International Beer Festival because it allows me to (relatively) cheaply taste beers that would otherwise be prohibitively expensive to assemble and sample. But it's now the case that American beers are as good, as rare, and as costly as their international counterparts. They should proudly share the stage--they are international standards, even if they are domestic or local. You will certainly find ones you like, but here's the list of those that are catching my eye.

Great Divide Oak-Aged Yeti
There's an old trick Charlie Papazian suggests for homebrewers to get the flavor benefits of oak without having to buy the barrel: toast a few oak chips and dump them in during fermentation. Great Divide borrows the technique for their otherwise unaltered imperial stout. 9.5% abv.

Jolly Pumpkin Oro de Calabaza
Jolly Pumpkin has gotten more press than any brewery in recent memory. Well, let's see if a Michigan joint deserves such adolation. This is their version of a biere de garde which they describe as "spicy and peppery with a gentle hop bouquet and the beguiling influence of wild yeast." I believe Oro de Calabaza means "Golden Pumpkin." 8.0% abv.

Allagash Black
You know, there are a lot of stouts at this fest. This is another one, but with a twist. Allagash has long been a leader in pushing the Belgian envelope, so it's not suprising that they've used a Belgian yeast strain and bottle fermented in the methode champenoise. 7.5% abv.

Cascade Quadrupel
Ron Gansberg sends two of his experiments to PIB, and the truth is, I'll try them both. I chose to highlight the Quad (the other is his Grand Cru), which I dimly recall from my visit to the Raccoon Lodge (it was one of the later beers I tried) as fantastic. I would like to verify. For those who haven't had Gansberg's Belgian-inspired beers, get on the stick--they're some of the most interesting beers in all of Beervana. 11% abv.

North Coast Brother Thelonius
A huge double from the folks who brought us Old Rasputin. It has what is easily the coolest label this side of ... well, Old Rasputin. I have heard murmurs that it may hold the rare artistic genius of Crepuscule with Nellie (that link, by the way, is worth following).

Deschutes XX Black Butte
You have already heard something about this beer, and perhaps you have had it. It is nothing like Black Butte, weighing in at 11% alcohol and including cocoa nibs, 100 pounds roasted coffee as "dry hopping," and then aging in Stranahan’s Colorado whiskey barrels.

I'll try to wrap all of this up with a final post today or tomorrow. As an FYI:

Portland International Beer Fest, July 18-20
North Park Blocks, Portland
Friday 4pm-10pm
Saturday 12pm-10pm
Sunday 12pm-7pm
Beer drinkers pay $20 for 10 beer tickets and official PIB glass. More tickets available for $1 each. All beers are 4 oz. servings

Each beer costs 1 to 4 tickets depending on "swank factor." Usually at least half are just 1 ticket.

1 comment:

Stan Hieronymus said...

Jolly Pumpkin has gotten more press than any brewery in recent memory.

A lot, perhaps, but I would argue not even in the world you and I inhabit.

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