11th Annual Oregon Garden Brewfest

FullSizeRender (4)Joe and I had a great time at the 11th Annual Oregon Garden Brewfest. Unlike last year, this year was sunny and hot, which allowed us to actually check out the Oregon Gardens. Something Tiffany and I didn’t do last year due to all the rain. The grounds are beautiful and it was fun to stroll around looking a koi ponds and flowers while sipping samples of beer. I will say I wished there was more outside group sitting for friends to catch up at. There is definitely a lot of sitting, but more like two person benches to enjoy the romance of the garden rather than group sitting.  It was great to have Joe’s dad join us, since my parent’s don’t live in the States, I usually don’t celebrate Father’s Day so having a father come celebrate a beer festival was an added treat.

Here is what we tried:

Southern Sky by Awesome Ales. The marriage of a French Biere de Garde (malt bill) and a Bohemian Pilsner (hop profile) with certain Oregon sensibilities. Effervescent and nicely bodied with a moderate noble hop spiciness, finishing very dry. Just learned about Awesome Ales – it’s a gypsy brewer based here in Portland, Oregon. Excited to learn more about these beers this summer.

Calapooia Chili Beer by Calapooia Brewing Company. This award winning beer is brewed with 300 points of FRESH chilies – Anaheim, Serrano, Jalapeno and Habarenos – all hand chopped by the brewers and minimally hopped with Nugget hops. Unlike Burnside Brewing’s Sweet Heat, this beer is heated at the first sip.

Nookie by Climate City Brewing Company.  With a big hop profile of Citra and Mosaic hops, this NW IPA will put a smile on any hop heads face. Our designated IPA fan, Joe’s dad, definitely agreed. This was his favorite beer of the Brewfest.

Sunshine at the Oregon Garden Brewfest 2015

Sunshine at the Oregon Garden Brewfest 2015

George’s Honest Ale by Coin Toss Brewing. This recipe was originally brewed by George Washington at Mount Vernon. Molasses plays an integral role in this beer, as do Cluster hops and six-row pale malt. These ingredients closely resemble those used by our Founding Fathers in the 1700s. I’m not sure if it is cause of the recipe or the taps, but this beer was extremely flat.

Hemp Hop HooRed by Elk Horn Brewery. Brewed with golden promise, crystal 60, melanoidin and roasted barely malts, with hemp seeds in the mash and boil, complimented with a healthy portion of falconer flight and citra hops. Deep red with a complex malt and roast character. This was on the only brewery that called out Untappd at their booth. Excited to check out this brewery the next time I’m in Eugene.

Bumble Berry by Fat Heads Brewery. Light and refreshing with a crackery malt flavor, hit of sweetness and a light blueberry finish. This was way more sour than sweet.

IRA by Feckin Irish Brewing Company. An Irish Red Ale packed with generous portions of NW hops during the brew. A combination of pale malt and Irish premium malt make the copper color. An easy drinking red full flavor.

El Guapo by Flat Tail Brewing. Brewed with locally grown habaneros, cucumbers, and limes, this eccentric beer combines the refreshing aroma and acidity of limes and cucumbers with the head of habaneros. This beer taste a lot like the Spanish candies I used to eat in middle school. Amazing, but I’m not sure I could have a whole pint.

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Spruce Budd Ale by Fort George Brewery. 100% organic. Made with nothing more than spruce tips (hand-picked by the brewers) and organic 2-row barley. Hints of spruce citrus, and more spruce – each sip tastes like a refreshing adventure in the woods. Not only that, but we got to meet one of the brewers, Brad!

Hoot Attack ISA by Gilgamesh Brewing. This ISA is a drinkable reminder of the owl attacks that occur in Salem’s Bush Park. The light body and bright hop flavors pair nicely with a mangled scalp and tired legs. I’m not sure I get the owl taste, but we did meet one of the brewers in the hot tub after the Brewer’s Dinner.

Chehalem Mountain IPA by Golden Valley Brewery. Columbus, Cascade, Nugget, Crystal, and Willamette hops are added in the mash, kettle and fermentor to achieve mountainous levels of citrusy, floral, and herbal hop character.

Sir Orange A Lot by Hop Valley. Bitter and sweet orange peel are added to this cloudy summer pale for a refreshing finish. Nugget hops are also featured to provide this beer with an orange blossom-like aroma. Let’s be honest, I picked this beer because I loved the name, but it was great. Tasted like drinking summer.

Backroad Vanilla Porter by Klamath Basin Brewing Company. Dark, irresistibly smooth, and decidedly different, this beer is the taste of the good life. Brewed with real vanilla beans and a touch of oats in the grain bill.

Kili Wit by Logsdon Farmhouse Ales. African coriander and select yeast strains provide an orangey fruitiness, mild tartness and subtle spicy phenolics. A dry, crisp, mildly hopped beer with a soft malt character from wheat and oats that develops a creaminess with the malted barley. This beer is another summer classic.


Mosaic Eruption by Mazama Brewing. This IPA showcases Moasic hops that give a bold grapefruit twist. Triple hopped with Mosaic, Amarillo, Citra and Centennial hops.

KnockBack by Natian Brewery. An organic, easy drinking, amber lager brewed with Honey Malt to give a touch of sweetness. Mexican lager yeast is used to give it the smooth flavor and crisp finished associated with this style.

Sting, Ginger Session Mead by Nectar Creek Honeywine. Fresh ginger and pure Oregon honey combine for a sting of warmth and a tease of sweetness in this refreshing session mead. I was surprised by how clear this mead was. It looked like water, but tasted great.

Big Reds IPA by RAM. Assertively hoppy, boasting a bold citrus hop flavor and aroma. Reminiscent of grapefruit, this beer has won a few awards as well.

Cherry Chocoholic Baltic Porter by Rusty Truck Brewing. This award winning winter seasonal is a classic Baltic style porter brewed with black hull-less barley and three specialty malts, then aged on 84 pounds of hand pressed Willamette Valley cherries per 10-barrel batch. Flavored with natural chocolate. Another dark beer that I enjoyed on this summery day – must have been the cherries.

Hootenanny Honey Basil by Salem Ale Works. Pale blond topped with a pure white head of foam. Only lightly hopped, the fresh basil takes over the aroma yet remains balanced and not over powering. Honey lends a touch of sweetness to this beer. Another great drink to have in hand this summer.

Pirate Stout by Santiam Brewing. Strong export stout partially aged in rum barrels, with a hint of dried coconut added after fermentation. This beer was my favorite of the Brewfest. It smelled like summer and even though it was a dark beer, it tasted amazing!

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Wallowa Lake Lager by Terminal Gravity Brewing. This light bodied beer with a crisp bitter finish is a pre-Prohibition-style lager. Its six row malt and corn form a background to its hop palette mildly spicy and floral notes provided by Crystal and Ultra hops. This beer was surprisingly hoppy for a lager.

Raspberry Truffle by Twisted Stout Brewery. A rich and smooth Porter with the addition of real raspberries for a silky raspberry truffle flavored beer. Made from a combination of our Honey Oatmeal Porker and our Raspberry Squeal. This beer would make a great beer float!

Scottish Ale by Two Kilts Brewing Company. Rich and malty ale. Slight toffee and caramel notes. Finished with a nice sweet and smokey flavor.

Wanderlust by Wandering Aengus Ciderworks. An authentic semidry cider with a rich body and long ginger spice finish. I didn’t get a single taste of ginger, which was a bummer since that was the reason I tried this beer.

Did you attend the Oregon Garden Brewfest? What did you think of the event? What was your favorite beer?

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About BiteSize

Hi! I’m Jenna, but I got the nickname BiteSize in high school. I love homebrewing beer, thus BiteSize Brews. A blog focused on homebrewing, local brewery reviews and recipes. I’m lucky enough to live in the microbrewery capital of the world. I’m also a big fan of social media (chances are I’ll sprinkle a bit of it into this blog).


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