Pre Post Pandemic Blind Tasting

As we go back under lock key until the morons of the country vaccinate, now might be a good time to return to Zoom but with a blind tasting instead a boring meeting.

This method require driving and some coordination but it also removes the need for an impartial steward. Each member of your blind tasting needs to buy the listed target number of beers needed. Each person in the tasting then covers up the label as best they can and numbers them, keeping a chart handy. Make sure you are working from one package size. A 12oz can or bottle will stick out like a sore thumb.

Then each person drives the masked beer to a designated recipient. This keeps the mystery going. Then set-up your zoom and taste. Since the beers might be in different orders, it adds a layer of detecting if your friend’s #2 beer was your #1.

Then see who can guess beers right or just rank them.

1st Visit – Far Field Beer Co.

Far Field Beer Co. opened on Saturday after months of doing to-go only and here is my report on the beers and the taproom…

Feller Hoppy Pilsner – very toasty and malt forward.  Not much in the way of hoppiniess though. if sold as lager would work better for me.

Home Range IPA – quite dank. heavy bitterness. pine first and foremost. a little one note. many people ordered it but it lacked depth.

All Terrain Cream Ale – my favorite of the three. no head to it at all though. other than that it has a nice taste to it. a little refining and a little more body and it will be solid.

The taproom is a lovely little spot in the middle of a fast moving Rosecrans Avenue.  It is tucked in between auto shops, thankfully they have a nice big sign to guide you in.  big roll up doors to a small outdoor patio.  long reverse shaped L bar with comfy wooden stools.  7 beers on tap on opening day with 3 IPAs, a hoppy pilsner, a cream ale, a California Common and a Berliner Weisse. 10 barrels tucked into the corner might already be in use though I saw no stouts on the menu. Nice metalwork touches on the upstairs that match the design of the logo and merch. Though the second floor seemed empty at present.

Beer Before Glory Podcast

We can always use more beer podcasts before we reach peak hops. Now a new ear venture from The Brewing Network and Firestone Walker is here, Beer Before Glory.

I have downloaded the first two episodes. The first being on the origins of IPA and the second on the haze craze. FW knows hops and barrels in equal measure so I look forward to listening and learning.

But the Kitchen Sink

It can be easy to get down about the damage being medically and politically done to breweries this year but then you see a beautiful photo like this one from Allagash

Not only is it cool to see the stained glass reflected in the sort and to read about the different apple varieties but then, thinking long term as to what kind of “coolship” creations will come of this experiment gives me hope for 2021.

Start Tomorrow

Might be a shade too late to get all your home brewing gear and ingredients and then dive into the hobby of home brewing for tomorrow’s Learn to Home Brew Day. But you can start the process and be ready a week or more later and have your own private day. The recipe for 2020 and more can be found right HERE.

A Podcast & A Beer – Lovecraft Country Radio

Three shows have salvaged 2020 for me, Ted Lasso, The Great British Baking Show and the lacerating Lovecraft Country. The “Radio” podcast hosted by Ashley C. Ford and Lovecraft Country writer Shannon Houston talks about “the ties between the horror genre and Black culture and explore how the show’s themes connect to contemporary social issues.”

It is such a well designed show especially the make-up and it is great to hear (though decidedly pro the show) podcast about it so that I can find out nuggets of info about it.

One of the aspects of the show is Uncle George’s travel guide. An incredibly somber reminder of our white hostility towards blacks even when all they are doing is traveling. With that in mind, make your own travel guide of breweries near places of US historical importance. We all can learn more about our past, both good and bad and talk about it over a beer.

Interview with Ted Fleming of Partake Brewing

I follow the nascent N/A beer market with interest so I was glad to be able to ask a few questions of Ted Fleming, the CEO & Founder of Partake Brewing.

1. Why did Partake want to do an N/A beer?  What did they think was missing from the market?

 Over a decade ago I was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease which has led to many changes in my life. One of the biggest changes was my decision to give up alcohol and with that one of my favourite things and social activities – craft beer. As I began to explore the world of non-alcoholic beer as an alternative I realized that there was a significant lack of variety and high-quality NA beer like I had come to love in the craft beer experience. Every non-alcoholic beer I tried made me feel like I was compromising on something, which is why I wanted to launch Partake to bring authentically great tasting craft beer to the NA beer drinker.

2. Is the calorie counting drinker market the same now as it was last year or have attitude shifted?

 Overall, we have seen a significant shift in the market over the past few years with consumers wanting to see lower-calorie beverages across all areas. This is likely reflective of the increase in wholistic diets, the keto diet, as well as a decrease in desire to consume sugary beverages. Due to this, and since our launch in 2018, we have seen an increase in low-calorie beer across the non-alcoholic beverage category as well as the alcoholic beer category. There has also been an increase in more sessional beers with a lower ABV from brewers across North America.

3. What is the best-seller of your range and why do you think that is?

 Our best-seller in stores is our Pale Ale, coming in at 10 calories a can with zero carbs and won the World Beer Award for Best Non-Alcoholic Beer (2018). Our customers love it for it’s citrusy aromas and crisp finish. It also has our biggest distribution across the USA and Canada. The Pale Ale is a very accessible flavour profile for a variety of beer drinkers and is a great beer to always keep stocked in your fridge for any occasion. However, a very close 2nd overall is our IPA which is our best-seller online (drinkpartake.com). 

4. What is the biggest challenge in crafting a non-alcoholic beer?

 The biggest challenge is the delicacy of our beer to create the right balance of aromas and flavors. In full-alcohol beer the alcohol provides a flavor buffer that can hide a lot more potential imperfections and gives the brewer a larger margin for error. We also have a lot more to prove, we aren’t just trying to prove we make a great beer but we are also proving that we make a great beer without having to compromise on calories or having to consume alcohol to enjoy a great beverage.

5. Are there special one-off beers in the pipeline?  N/A pastry stout or double dry hopped IPA?

We definitely have some exciting new beers in development right now. One of these is our new Radler that we are working on launching sometime this July as an online exclusive (drinkpartake.com). The best way to stay up to date on when our new beers are launching is to subscribe to our newsletter as we usually release these in a very limited run to gain feedback and insights from our community.

PDX Visit – Threshold Brewing

I was sold when I saw that both brewing and blending was in the name of Threshold which is out near Mount Tabor. This is your typical Portland beer spot. Firmly in a neighborhood and not consigned ton industrial park. You have the picnic table seating and the children’s play area too.

I sampled five beers on their T emblazoned taster tray. Interestingly, they use a Grisette as the base for barrel aging. I tasted it, Jens as well as the whiskey version. Both were excellent and pretty much different beers. The other standout was the Brut Punch Tart IPA which really hit the drinkability and had a nice combo of tart and hop. The Pilsner and blood orange IPA were solid as well.

PDX Visit – Ruse Brewing

Located on 17th Street near the Max Line that leads to Milwaukie is new Portland darling, Ruse Brewing. The brewery is one tenant in this new development and despite my misgivings about their logo not really conveying much, I do like the space. If you sit in the center of the bar, instead of staring at taps and a cold box, you have a view into the brewery. I noticed that it is one of the few taprooms where the bartenders had more elbow room.

Beer wise, I had one of the prettiest beers in recent memory. Love & Lore was a lovely rose color and this tasted of cherry pie with a small touch of Pinot tannin. The base was a golden sour so it led with fruit and followed with a gentle sour. The Grizzly porter was quite nice, it cut the November chill and was my second favorite. I had two IPAs. One hazy and one that they describe as bright. The Bright or West-Coast Facts of Identity was my preference due to a pineapple taste that was really nice.

A Podcast & A Beer – Noble Blood

The Podcast choice for August is royally messy. Noble Blood from writer Dana Schwartz started with a bang with Marie Antoinette and her unfortunate end then for episode 2, picked up the tale of Charles the Second.

The episodes are not lengthy digressions into dry history. The narration is both crisp and conspiratorial and they hit pockets of history that I did not know of or remember.

For the beer to sample alongside this podcast, I suggest heading to Anaheim, California and Noble Ale Works and see if they have Naughty Sauce, their coffee cream milk beer that was all the rage a few short years ago or maybe go Imperial to Nobility, their Imperial IPA.