28 July 2007

Oregon Brewers Festival 2007 - Saturday Report

This year's program. Kinda wish they hadn't tried so hard to hide the "20".

Well, I more or less kept to my word about only sampling a handful of beers at this year's OBF. I only bought 8 tokens to try and make sure of that, and only used 7 of them. I did, however, take a sip or two from some other people's mugs when offered...

Neat logo barrel decorated with hops.

We got there just after noon, so the gates had been open for a few minutes. The line to get in wasn't long at all, and it was very shortly after we bought our tokens that we ran into Sarah & Jason, and Rick, Brandi, Jenn, and Troy. Our pal Kelly met up with us a little while later, so we had a nice group. It started out a little overcast, but around 2 or so, the sun came out and it started getting pretty warm. That, and the crowd, was our cue to bug out. Coincidentally, we'd finished our last samples around then as well. Ryan finally made his way there, but by the time we found him and Kelly again, we were pretty much done.

On to the beers:

Brewery Ommegang: Hennepin - Nice golden colored Farmhouse Saison. Refreshing summer brew. Coriander and citrusy hop character are present, but subtle. I liked it. But I thought these guys were bringing something else. Had to try it anyway, since they're from Cooperstown.

Collaborator: Rawkin' Bock - Nice bock, nothing overpowering here. Kind of a dry finish, but well-balanced. Certainly complex flavors, making it a little difficult to pick out anything that stood out. Smooth and very drinkable.

Dick's Brewing Co.: Lava Rock Porter - I was a little disappointed with this one. Not much of the roasty-ness I like to taste in a porter, and for it's claim of "deep malty flavors", I found it to be lacking there. Not bad, but not great.

Fifty Fifty Brewing Co.: Donner Party Porter - Pretty good porter, but it tasted a lot stronger than the 6% ABV they indicated. You can taste the oats and molasses they used in this one. Dark and malty, it almost creeps into stout territory, but not quite.

Golden Valley Brewery: Red Thistle Quericus - This was listed as a "pinot oak barrel aged red/ESB". I liked it a lot. Dry finish, full-bodied, and nicely balanced malt and hop character. I could definitely taste the oaky-ness from the barrel-aging. Excellent stuff, probably my favorite of the festival.

Rogue: Imperial Porter - At 60 IBU, this was a rather bitter porter, but Rogue makes such good beer that I'd pretty much drink anything they brew. However, there was a hint of something in there I didn't find pleasant. Not sure what it was.

Terminal Gravity: TG Triple - I liked this one well enough. Medium body with a dry finish. Kind of unusual, but good. Drinkable, slightly hoppy, nothing overpowering.

Those are the ones I had 'full' samples of. I did manage to keep it to 7, which is right smack in the middle of the 6 to 8 I told myself I'd stick to. Good for me. However, due to the generosity of others, and just getting caught up in the festival, I had just a little more. Here are the 'one-sippers' - beers I got to get a small taste of from other people's mugs (Thanks, B and K), so all I'm giving you is a first impression:

Stone Brewing Co.'s 07/07/07 Vertical Epic - Another Belgian Saison/Farmhouse ale. I liked it better than Ommegang's. Citrusy notes with hints of ginger and clove. Nice.

Widmer Brothers' Noggin Grog - An 'Imperial Wit'...lots stronger than your usual witbier, 9% ABV, nice hazy golden color, full-bodied. Some citrusy notes.

North Coast Brewing Co.'s PranQster Belgian-style Golden Ale - Interesting...clean, dry finish, full-bodied, refreshing brew. Nice.

There you have it. My somewhat limited and uneducated review of a handful of what was at OBF 2007. We thought about getting some 20th anniversary shirts until we saw the prices. I'm not paying $20 for a t-shirt. Also disappointing was the lack of stouts, browns, and other strong, dark, hearty ales. I suppose being a summer beer festival, those styles are more likely to be absent, but I still would have liked to have seen more of them.

I skipped Fearless' Scotch Ale, as I've had it plenty of times and I know it's all kinds of awesome. I wanted to go for some stuff I hadn't tried, and get away from my usual brews, which I think I accomplished this year. I also skipped Sprecher's Maibock, as I remember having it last year as well (good stuff, as I recall).

Just a shot on the walk back to the Jeep. I like old building plaques.

More old-timey-ness. Just thought the sign was cool and throwback-y.

All in all, it wasn't a bad festival for me this year, but if it keeps being dominated by Pales, IPAs, and the like, I may skip it in favor of the Portland International Beer Fest earlier in the month, which I missed this year.


BJDorr said...

Sounds tasty!

I hear NASA has been having their own brew fest! Ridiculous.

Jeff Alworth said...

That flavor in the Rogue you tasted may have been "tar," which is a note I picked up and one the brewery actually used in the description. Bold.

I admire your restraint on seven beers. The thing is, it was hard to find a beer that wasn't at least 6%, which meant more octane per beer. I had no such restraint, and Saturday morning was a little slower than usual for me.

Ghost Dog said...

Son of a -! Tar?? Ew. Yeah, "bold" is one word for it...

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