SheBrew

Women have been brewing beer as long as humans have been drinking the stuff, and women have been active participants in the recent Craft Beer Renaissance as beer drinkers and brewers.  If the evolution of SheBrew in Portland Oregon is any indication, they are not going anywhere any time soon.


How did SheBrew come about?

This year’s festival will feature thirty professional female-identified brewers and cider makers, and ten female-identified homebrewers.  However, the festival did not start at that scale.  The first festival came about as the brainchild of Stef-Anie Wells Koty with the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), and her wife Jamie Koty, who was the festival coordinator of the Oregon Brew Crew (OBC) at the time.  HRC was looking for an innovative fundraising idea, and the idea of a female-centric beer festival took shape.  The first festival was held at the Q Center on North Mississippi Ave. in Portland Oregon, and it featured home brewers and a people’s choice award, as well as about ten professional brewers.

SheBrew
SheBrew Swag

2020 will be the sixth year for the SheBrew festival, and the fourth year for the competition.  This year will feature nearly thirty brewers and cider makers, all female-identifying.  The number of featured brewers gets larger every year as more women are entering the brewing industry as brewers and cider makers.  Additionally, the competition has grown into one of the largest and most profitable brewing competitions that OBC sponsors.  Brews from as far away as Rhode Island, Alabama, and the *other* Portland make their way to FH Steinbart’s in Portland, Oregon for judging.


What makes it stand out as a competition and a festival?

A few things that make the SheBrew festival stand out.  Competition Coordinator Jenn McPoland what makes SheBrew say, “Female brewers, I find are more creative.  They are willing to take more risks like a homebrewer would, and they just come up with more interesting things.  That’s not to say you’re not going to find pale ales, and you’re not going to find a great ESB…but to have a lime pastry beer and a gluten-free glitter Belgian.”


Additionally, where most festivals in the area support any number of non-profit organizations, 100 percent of SheBrew’s proceeds go toward non-profit organizations.  The festival supports the HRC, and the competition supports the OBC and its mission of educating beer lovers and homebrewers.


Any tips fo competitors?

When asked if she had any tips for competitors, McPoland says, “Do it!”  Last year, the festival received about 200 entries, and they are all judged by BJCP certified judges, and there is always at least one woman judging each category.  The feedback is great, and the Best of Show is judged by a Master BJCP judge or a professional brewer.  Winner of Best in Show will have the opportunity to brew in collaboration with Natalie Baldwin at Breakside Brewing Company.


The SheBrew Competition is accepting registrations until February 21, 2020. 

Please drop off or ship all entries to FH Steinbarts, 234 SE 12th Ave, Portland OR  97214.  The entry fee is $8, and all proceeds go to supporting the Oregon Brew Crew.  Visit shebrew.oregonbrewcrew.org for more information.

The SheBrew Festival will be held on Sunday, March 8, 2020, from 12 pm-8 pm at Castaway, 1900 NW 18th Ave, Portland OR  97209.  

Tickets are $25 in advance or $30 at the door.  Visit shebrew.beer for more.

Zupan’s Markets partners with Double Mountain Brewery to Introduce the most Sustainable Farm to Market IPA

Zupan’s Markets has partnered with Hood River’s Double Mountain Brewery to develop the eighth beer in their Farm-to-Market lineup. Featuring the BottleDrop Refillable bottle, this package is made and reused in Oregon. Created with ingredients from the Pacific Northwest, this IPA includes notes of tropical fruit and kind herb for a perfect mix of sustainability and drinkability.

“Zupan’s Markets is excited to continue to bring our customers exclusive beer creations in partnership with the best local craft breweries,” said Zupan’s Markets’ President and CEO Mike Zupan. “We are proud to be working with Double Mountain Brewery to bring a delicious spring IPA featuring a sustainable package.”

Made of thick-walled glass which protects the beer from light, this bottle is the most sustainable choice in the beer aisle. Return this bottle to any BottleDrop facility. Or return the bottle to any Double Mountain Taproom or Brewery and Double Mountain will buy you a pint (limit 1 pint per customer per day.)  

Zupan’s Markets Farm to Market IPA brewed at Double Mountain.


This IPA is currently on shelves at all three Zupan’s Markets locations in 500 ml bottles for $5.99. With only 150 cases produced, this beer will only be on shelves for a limited time.

“We enjoy working with companies that we like. And we like Zupan’s a lot” said Matt Swihart, Founder of Double Mountain Brewery. “Our shared mission to provide the best products for our customers made this partnership a great fit.”

Profile: ABV 7.5%, IBU 65
Malts: Pilsner, Wheat, Crystal 15 
Hops: Simcoe and Strata in the kettle, Simcoe hop back and Strata dry hop
Yeast: Abbey
Tasting Notes: The grain bill keeps it light enough to let the hops shine. Heaps of tropical fruit and citrus leap out of the nose and continue through, combining with an enticing dank, kind herb characteristic Strata is famous for, as well as Simcoe’s rainforest pine and ripe strawberry.

I found the beer had a great balance of sweetness and spice. It tasted very fresh with complex notes but easy to drink. It paired well with my roasted veggies and grilled chicken sausage.

About Double Mountain Brewery
Double Mountain Brewery and Taproom was established in 2007 in the heart of downtown Hood River, OR. Founder, Matt Swihart, opened the brewery with a clear mission: make great beer for craft beer fans. The unique location of Double Mountain provides the use of pure and clean glacial water for beers and ciders, while also take advantage of regionally grown hops. Reusable bottles allow customers to partake in a softer environmental footprint, affirming they are part of a sustainable future. Double Mountain may be found on tap and in bottles throughout the Pacific Northwest and British Columbia.

About Zupan’s Markets

Founded by John Zupan in 1975, Zupan’s Markets is a local and family-owned gourmet market that has served Portland’s food-loving community for more than 40 years. Zupan’s Markets has three locations that focus on quality, selling everything from the best meats and wines to the freshest produce, baked goods, gourmet deli products, specialty foods, flowers and more, always emphasizing locally-sourced, artisan products when possible. For more information, visit www.zupans.com.

Like in previous blog posts about Zupan’s Markets, they provided free beer for this review.

Ecliptic Brewing + Modern Times Cosmic Collaboration – Pineapple Hazy IPA

Pineapple Hazy IPA

Ecliptic Brewing has teamed with Modern Times Beer for their next Cosmic Collaboration: Pineapple Hazy IPA!

I hate IPAs, they’re too bitter and gross. I know that’s it’s practically treason to not be an IPA fan in Portland, but I can’t help what my taste buds want! I went to try Ecliptic and Modern Times collaborative new beer out of duty more than interest.

I studied it clinically and found it visually pleasing, with an even haze and a perfect head. The smell had the classic pale ale hoppy bitterness scent but also a decent citrus aroma from the wonderfully absurd amount of pineapple that was brewed in the beer.

I steeled myself for the taste and was surprised to find it quite nice! A good seltzer level of fizz and the right amount of sweet sweet pineapple to balance the bitter hops.

I found it refreshing!  It had to be a fluke.

I had a bottle of it a week later and again found it well balanced and tasty!

I don’t know what’s happening to my taste buds, has this beer conformed me into another Portland IPA enthusiast?

John Harris, Ecliptic Brewing Owner and Brewmaster, hoped this collaboration would be a way of welcoming Modern Times to their Portland outpost. “I have enjoyed Modern Times Beer for a few years,” he says, “and when we learned that they were moving to town, I reached out to Jacob in San Diego to see if they were interested in teaming up.”

Hazy IPAs haven’t lost any momentum this year and in deciding what kind of beer to make the two breweries looked at ways to experiment with the popular style. John says, “I had mentioned pineapple with Mat Sandoval, Production Manager of the Belmont Fermentorium, when we were talking about what to make. Mat said we should definitely use Denali hops for their tropical qualities and almost pineapple like character.” The result is a Pineapple Hazy IPA brewed with Denali, Citra & Mosaic hops.

In addition to draft, this will be Ecliptic Brewing’s first release in 500ml bottles. According to Alaric Lawrence, Ecliptic’s Packaging Manager, “It’s an exciting time for us to step in a new direction with our packaged beer. Trends have shown that beer drinkers prefer bottles that are a true pint and easier to finish in one pour.”

About Ecliptic Brewing + Modern Times Pineapple Hazy IPA

Fresh pineapple coalesces with Denali, Citra & Mosaic hops for a citrusy, tropical party of astronomical proportions.

ABV 8.5%

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. 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 Starburst IPA, Orbiter IPA, Carina Peach Sour Ale and Capella Porter. For more information, visit: www.eclipticbrewing.com.

Has anyone tried the Pineapple Hazy IPA?  Please let me know what you thought of the beer.

Full disclosure:  Ecliptic provided me with two bottles of this beer.  That being said.  I loved it like I mentioned above 🙂

Oregon Brewer’s Festival 2018

Adam, Dan, Joy, Trey, Beckie and I at Oregon Brewer’s Festival

This year, I was super blessed to be back home in Portland, Oregon for the Oregon Brewer’s Festival 2018.  Joining me on our annual beer adventure was beer professional and bestie, Beckie, cookie expert, Joy, her boyfriend, Adam, Adam’s brother, Dan and his pup, and Beckie and my newest friend, Trey.  We spent a lovely Portland summer evening trying amazing beers, people watching and joining in a few cheers throughout the night.

Here is what we tried:

  • Buoy Beer’s Beaver State Pilsner
  • Ecliptic‘s Flamingo Planet Gauva Blonde Ale
  • Bayern’s Citra DumpTruck Summer Bock
  • Caldera’s Coco-Nutty Blonde – This one tasted like almonds.  Definitely a note worthy beer.
  • Monkless’s Peppercorn Imperial Wit – I was really excited about this beer, it was recommended to me by a friend and Cambodia is known for it’s pepper.  However, I couldn’t taste anything peppery at all.  I was pretty bummed.
  • Von Ebert’s Hibiscus Wit
  • Kells’ Mezcal-a-Gose
  • Old Town’s Green Tea Lemonade
  • Pelican’s To Peach Their Own!
  • Agua Mala’s Sirena – I’ll be honest, I picked this beer because the name means “mermaid” in Spanish, but it ended up being one of my favorite beers of the festival.  I really want to check out this brewery in the future.
  • Freebridge’s Summertime Radness
  • Wendlandt’s Perro del Mar
  • Coin Toss’ Caught in a Pickle Lager – We tried this and expected to have a little bit of a pickle-back or dill vibe.  However, it was hard to pick up any pickle flavors.  I hope they revamp this beer and sell it at Portland Pickle’s games in the future.
  • Heretic’s Goo – This was definitely a crowd favorite in our group, might have been the 9% AVB or the fact that it tasted like Christmas in a glass.
  • MadTree’s Entropic Theory
  • Sasquatch’s American Aquarium Drinker – This beer was made with squid ink, however, it wasn’t as salty as I thought it would be.
  • Terminal Gravity’s Summer Honey
  • Wolf Tree’s Spruce Tip Gruit – Another crowd pleaser.  I met these brewer’s at an Oregon Garden’s Brewfest and have loved their beers ever since.
  • Thunder Island’s Fuzzy Wit – A very fizzy beer, delightful from a great brewery.
  • Wild Ride’s Cold Chillin’ Vanilla Cream Ale
  • Fremont’s Limeshine – This tasted like a fancy Corona with lime.
  • Migration’s Summertime in the 503
  • New Holland’s I like Pretzel Day
  • Rogue’s Pinch
  • Silver Moon’s Water on the Moon – this coffee beer was pretty delicious.
  • Vertigo’s South of the Border Blonde

My biggest take away from the evening is that you need to download the app that everyone was using.  Maybe it’s the year I’ve spent in a third world country or the fact that I just really love writing down my beer tasting notes in a journal but with no information handed out, having the app was definitely super helpful.

Did you go to the Oregon Brewer’s Festival?  What was your favorite beer?

The Beer’s Best at Fred Fest 2014

It’s a fundraiser, a tasting of highly unusual beers—not to mention a chance to drink with a founding father of Northwest craft brewing.  It was the 9th running of Fred Fest 2014, on May 4 at Hair of the Dog Brewing in inner SE Portland. The Fred Fest 2014 edition celebrated the 88th birthday of Fred Eckhardt, one of the first widely known American Beer Writers who helped grow the Portland brewing culture.

Why did I pony up the not insignificant sum to show up? It wasn’t Fred’s favorite beer pairings, namely cereal and chocolate bars. And I could have donated directly to the charities Fred Fest supports: Guide Dogs for the Blind, International Medical Corps and the Oregon Brew Crew’s OSU Bob McCracken Scholarship for Fermentation Sciences.

No, the star attraction (after the man Fred himself) was the selection of beers donated by select west coast breweries. They rolled in with their latest standout experiments in honor of Fred and the charities. I can’t give them all a proper review here. After an entire afternoon with these big brews, I was glad I took notes to recapture the highlights:

Sour Power: Our craft breweries continue to perfect belgium-inspired styles, especially sours. The crowd favorite was the Super Cherry Vlad from Cascade Brewing in Bend, a wild yeast-sour blend that popped in your mouth like a sour candy, warmed your soul like wine due to its barrel aging, and kept all those flavors in balance. There were other power sours from 10 Barrel Brewing and Craftsman Brewing, and more subtle tongue puckerers like Stone Brewing’s Cali-Belgique and Breakside Brewing’s Apollo and Dionysus Saison (which was aged in gin barrels). And let me throw special “cheers!” to Logsdon Farmhouse Ales for its spicy, complex Trippel Straffe Drieling.

Barreling Along: When brewers are asked to donate a special beer, we are thankful when they roll out the barrel-aged beauties. A big surprise was the Bourbon Abominable from Fremont Brewing, with a huge bourbon nose balanced by just the right amount of sweetness. We spent some time comparing its depth to Full Sail 2009 Black Gold Bourbon Stout and Deschutes Black Butte XXIV. McMenimans had a sleeper hit with its Vityaz Russian Imperial Stout, which we found sweet enough for dessert.

Don’t Stop the Hop: It wouldn’t be a Northwest beer celebration without hop bombs. Fort George North VII led the way, with a sophisticated bourbon-barrel-aged Belgian IPA called North VII that showed off every side of the hop—from first floral sniff to the pleasing citrus linger. Hair of the Dog rolled out Beer Week, a big lager with all the bitter satisfaction of an IPA and a surprising little sweetness at the end. There were others but my notes get a bit fuzzy by this point. You understand.

I think of Fred Fest as a kind of TED talk for the brewing cognoscenti. You get to taste new ideas that will inform the brewing and enjoyment of beer lovers for the next few years. Who knows, maybe we’ll find the answer to that annual question: What would Fred drink?

David is a Portland-based creative director and writer who brews occasionally and writes about beer now and then and drinks beer for research nearly all the time. Find me at about.me/DavidSmithPDX.