Cheers to Belgian Beers date announced, tickets on sale

Advance MercPerk tickets on sale now for 11th annual
Cheers to Belgian Beers festival, taking place June 2 and 3
PORTLAND, Ore. – March 20, 2017 – The early bird gets the worm, or in this case, beer! Advance tickets are on sale now for Portland’s Cheers to Belgian Beers festival, which features up to 70 Belgian-style beers brewed by Oregon craft brewers using the same single yeast strain. The 11th annual event will take place June 2 and 3 at The North Warehouse at 723 N. Tillamook St. Hours are 1pm to 9pm on Friday and 12pm to 8pm on Saturday.

Drink packages at the door costs $20 for a souvenir glass and eight drink tickets. Discount tickets are on sale now at MercPerks, with two tasting glasses and 16 drink tickets for $28 ($40 value), while supplies last. The event is for ages 21 and over.

This year’s featured yeast strain is Imperial Yeast B45 Gnome, a yeast that creates crystal clear Belgian ales in a short amount of time. Gnome produces peach and apricot esters with a Belgian phenolic character that can be manipulated through temperature. It pairs well with hops, while also complementing malt and caramel characters.
To ensure the diversity of the yeast strain, as well as show off the creativity of Oregon craft brewers, the color and strength of each brewery’s beer is determined by a dart throw. More than 80 breweries took part in this year’s dart throw, held on Jan. 16 at The Evergreen, the private event space at the Loyal Legion. Depending on where the dart landed on the board, a brewer was directed to brew a Belgian-style beer that will be either light or dark in color, with amber as the midpoint; and either lower or higher in alcohol, with six percent being the baseline. Four breweries hit a bullseye, meaning they get to choose their color and strength.
Portland’s Cheers to Belgian Beers takes place inside The North Warehouse as well as outside in the tented parking lot. Food is available from Urban German Grill. Street parking is available, but limited. Attendees are encouraged to take public transportation — the TriMet Bus Line 35 stops one block away and the Yellow Max Line stops two blocks away — or ride their bike, with complimentary bike parking available.
The festival is seeking volunteers, who receive a glass, 8 drink tickets, a t-shirt and free admission after their shift. An OLCC servers permit is not required to participate as a volunteer server at this event. To sign up, visit  https://www.events-connect.com/ctbb/volunteer.
Cheers to Belgian Beers is produced by the Oregon Brewers Guild and sponsored by Boelter, Imperial Yeast and the Portland Mercury. Follow @OregonCraftBeer on social media on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, #ctbb17.
About the Oregon Brewers Guild
The Oregon Brewers Guild is a non-profit organization whose mission is to promote the state’s craft brewing industry and the common interests of its members. Founded in 1992, the Oregon Brewers Guild is one of the nation’s oldest craft brewers associations. The Guild comprises 159 brewing companies, 118 associate/supplier members and more than 3,950 enthusiast members known as S.N.O.B.s (Supporters of Native Oregon Beer). To learn more, visit OregonCraftBeer.org.
Social Media: @OregonCraftBeer – Facebook, Instagram and Twitter
Hashtag: #ctbb17

First Magnitude Brewing Company – Gainesville, FL

First Magnitude Brewing Company

This is the brewery I’ve been waiting MONTHS to check out.  First Magnitude Brewing Company!  Ever since Karl sent me a photo of it’s mermaid logo.  I knew I had to check it out.  I mean, mermaids and craft beer, what could be better?  On top of that, I realized it’s a major supporter of the environment and the local community.

Fun Fact – The name ‘First Magnitude’ represents the heart of what makes this part of Florida naturally great. Thanks to its unique geologic characteristics, North Central Florida has the highest density of freshwater springs in the world. First magnitude springs are the most powerful – over 100 cubic feet of water per second boils up from their limestone openings to form cool, clear pools that feed our rivers and lakes. Look up in the sky – the brightest star you can see with your naked eye is called a first magnitude star. Their mermaid logo brings together the stellar and the aquatic.

Liquid Sunshine!

Here is what we tried:

  • BATCH 200 Double Red IPA – This came as a recommendation from the guy pouring our beers.  It’s a decent IPA.  (Again – not a fan, but the boys loved it.)
  • Dark Age – Belgian Stout – You know, this goes great with the Dark Queen.  Delicious.
  • Wacahoota Wit – Belgian Wit – Classic wit.
  • Flandsome Gentleman – Flanders Red Ale – Karl and his friend, Jonathan, both loved this beer.  After our samplers, they each got a pint of this.
  • Hoppy Golden Sour – I’ve learned this week that Karl loves sour beers, so this was for him.  I honestly hated it, full on, weird face shuddering, sour.
  • Karst Belgian Pale Ale w/ Rosemary, Thyme, & Sage – This was a CLOSE second to Bee’s Knees Honey Saison.  First Magnitude has a year-round Karst without herbs that I got to try at dinner the night before.  Let me tell you, herbs make such a difference.  AMAZING!
  • Dark Queen – Jackie’s Belgian Dark Strong Ale – Hogtown Brewers Collaboration – You know me, I love a dark beer, even in sunny Florida, this was a great beer.
  • Bee’s Knees Honey Saison – This was my favorite beer (Karst was a solid second).  After our samplers, I got another pint of this while we explored the rest of the brewery.

Have you ever been to Gainesville, Florida?  Or First Magnitude Brewing Company?

Nature Coast Brewing Company – Crystal River, FL

Nature Coast Brewing Company – Crystal River, FL

Natures Coast Brewing Company – where beer and manatees meet.

I recently had the opportunity to spend a wonderful, wonderful week in Florida.  I literally went EVERYWHERE – Orlando, Naples, Gainesville, AND Crystal River.  With my amazing college buddy / tour guide / outdoor adventurer, Karl.  For those of you who don’t know, Crystal River is THE ONLY PLACE in Florida, where you can legally swim with manatees.  So this mermaid had to give it a try.  Yes, I did bring my mermaid tail.  Yes, we did see manatees.  No, we did not swim WITH the manatees, because we hung out with a mama and a calf so they needed their space, but it was still AWESOME!

After hanging out in beautiful water all day, lucky for Karl, I found the ONLY brewery in Crystal River – Nature Coast Brewing Company.  Located in the heart of Crystal River (let’s be honest – there is only like one traffic light) in an Irish pub called “Burke’s of Ireland.”  This one barrel system hosts a handful of small, hand crafted batches of beers.  One of my favorite things about the pub was the walls were covered with beer taps from around the world.  I’m happy to report back that I was able to find a few Oregon breweries taps all the way in Florida.  We made friends with the brewer’s brother and he let us try all four beers on tap.

Here is what we tried:

  • Citrus Ave IPA.  This was a classic IPA that Karl got.  Again, not a huge IPA fan personally, but after being in the sunshine all day it was refreshing.
  • Pastel De Calabaza Del Diablo.  This was my favorite of the four beers with tried.  A spiced beer with a little bit of sour that definitely stood out from the crowd.
  • Dr. Porter’s Ales What Cures You!  This beer is named after the original owner of the building, The Pharmacy and Medical office that was established in 1920 by Dr. Porter Hudson.
  • My Heart is On Fire.  This was a spicy hot beer that reminded me a lot of Burnside Brewing’s Sweet Heat.  Only the heat stuck with you a lot longer!

Another thing I loved about this brewery is they have a “Bucket List.”  This was an ongoing theme of Karl’s during the week.  Due to the nature of their brewing system, after each beer is brewed and fermented, they take 31 gallons and separate them into six different secondary fermenters.  With each bucket fermenter, they add a finishing flavor making each batch outlandishly unique.

Ever swam with manatees in Florida?  Ever been to Nature Coast Brewing Company?

Ecliptic + Gigantic Team Up on a Beer from the Darkside

Ecliptic Brewing has partnered with Gigantic Brewing on the newest addition to its Cosmic Collaboration series, Star Destroyer.  Brewed in the style of an Imperial Schwarzbier and with a nod to Star Wars, Star Destroyer is cleverly styled as an Imperial Darkside Lager.

“In 2016 I approached Van Havig of Gigantic about a collaboration for 2017.  He agreed only if we called the beer Star Destroyer,” said Owner and Brewmaster of Ecliptic Brewing, John Harris.  “Brewing with the boys from Gigantic is always a good time!”

Ecliptic and Gigantic collaborated in 2013 on TicWitTic American Sour Ale, brewed for the opening of Ecliptic.  Both breweries knew that another collaboration was bound to happen, but little did they know that a beer brewed to the tunes of The Imperial March would be it.  Check out the description of Star Destroyer below.

About Star Destroyer

Feel the power of the darkside. Bah, Bah, Bah-Bum, Ba, Bum-Bum, Da, Bum. This beer is fully operational.  Prepare the attack.

ABV 8.0% IBU 39

 

Star Destroyer Release Events:  Oregon and Washington

  • Ecliptic Brewing, 825 North Cook St. Portland, OR.  Beginning March 1st, 11am.  Draft and bottles available.  WHO WANTS TO GO?!
  • The Growlerie, 15151 Barrows Rd. Beaverton, OR.  March 13th, 5pm-7pm.  Star Destroyer Release Party.
  • Teku Tavern, 552 Denny Way, Seattle, WA.  March 1st , 7pm-9pm.  Women in Beer Trivia and Star Destroyer Release Party

About Ecliptic Brewing

Ecliptic Brewing is a venture from John Harris, an Oregon beer icon whose background is steeped in the state’s rich craft brewing history. The name Ecliptic unites Harris’ two passions: brewing and astronomy, and as such, the brewery celebrates the Earth’s yearly journey around the sun through both its beer and restaurant menus. Executive chef Michael Molitor rotates his seasonally inspired menu every six weeks in accordance with the old world calendar. Harris’ signature beers include Spectra Hoppy Pilsner, Orbiter IPA, Phobos Single Hop Red Ale, and Capella Porter. For more information, visit: www.eclipticbrewing.com.

Seriously, who wants to go grab a pint on March 1st?

Zwickelmania 2017 (Recap)

We came, we drank, and we conquered.

When I first started making my plans for Zwickelmania 2017, I forgot that I had a two-hour Cambodian language class before I could meet up with everyone. That being said, the group met up at noon-thirty at HUB to really get things started. (A few girls went to Double Mountain before hand and got me some sweet swag. AKA a cute hop key chain – THANK YOU!)

Hopworks Urban Brewery  

#Zwickel17 Squad Goals

On the tour we got to try the zwickel of Spring Fling, a chocolate and raspberry summer beer. I’m really excited about this beer coming out soon. As someone who likes fruit beers that don’t have strawberries in them! They also had Gear UP IPA on tap, which is a pleasant sipper for those who can handle a light IPA.

Gigantic Brewing Company

Gigantic Tour

Next stop was Gigantic for some beers, they were sampling Mons Meg, a strong Scotch Ale, which I’ve had from a bottle before, and can definitely say is better on draft, their Sound and Vision pale ale, that I’ve recently stocked in my Airbnb, so I was happy to give that a try and liked. Finally, from the zwickel, Gigantic IPA. Which honestly on draft I’m not a fan of (just cause I don’t like IPAs and prefer their Pipewrench IPA) but warm and flat the Gigantic IPA is pretty good.

Ross Island Brewing

Excited face for Ross Island Brewing

It was fun to finally meet the Ross Island headbrewer. Before I’ve met his wife and his wife’s sister so now I feel like I know the whole family! This new brewery was doing samples of the TNT IPA. This beer is a collaboration with Alameda and features a new hop called “TNT”.

Grixsen Brewing

At first I was excited to check out this new brewery. Unfortunately, they charged for samples. Which I believe goes against the whole spirit of Zwickelmania. Joy and I each bought five samples and were so unimpressed we left without finishing up our punch card. We tried:

  1. Belgian Blonde
  2. Kolsh
  3. Hopped Saisson
  4. Fresh Hop Saison
  5. Brown Ale
  6. Scotch Ale
  7. Stout
  8. Pilsner – this was actually deceptive. While chatting with a lady, she mentioned this was her favorite beer here. So Joy and I gave it a try, turns out it’s a lemon dill pilsner. Definitely the most unique offering here.

I’m not sure I’ll make it back to Grixsen. They seemed more interested in selling beer samples, and t-shirts then marketing their craft beer offerings.

Baerlic Brewing Co.

We did a pit stop here and didn’t stick around. It was a 25-minute wait to get a 20 minute tour and samples. Still love them though.

Ground Breaker Brewing

New gluten free brewery in town! We decided to skip the 20-minute wait for a tour and just get a sample of all their beers. I had to check this gluten free place out to make sure it was legit for all my dietary restricted friends. It definitely made the cut so we’ll be back. Here is what we tried:

  1. Pale Ale
  2. Imperial Darkness
  3. Cascadian Dark Ale
  4. Dark Ale on Nitro
  5. IPA No. 5
  6. Clemy – This was my all time favorite from Ground Breaker. Definitely had a saison mouth feel to it.
  7. Dark Grinder
  8. Gorgon

Base Camp Brewing Company

Mama Nancy’s First Zwickelmania

Last stop, we got to try the Bourbon Barrel Aged S’more Stout from the Zwickel and because it was Mama Nancy’s first time to this brewery, I got her a full pint of S’more Stout with the toasted marshmallow. The other sample they were handing out was Ultra Gnar Gnar.

Did you attend Zwickelmania?  What was your favorite brewery to tour? Beer to sample?