Rules for Beer Festivals

Summer means outdoor beer festivals. So the following are my rules for getting the most out of the next beer fest you attend.

1. Research – Check out who is pouring and, if available, find out what they are pouring. This way you can plan what beer you MUST have versus what would be good to have. After five or six beers your palate may lose its edge and a really good beer that you taste after nine other beers may not taste as good as if you had drunk it first.

2. Water & Food – Have water after every beer. I cannot stress this enough. It will help keep you hydrated and clear the palate. And have food before you go and during, if possible, to keep you on an even keel.

3. Take Notes – Take a small notepad and write down your initial observations on aroma, color and taste. Trust me, you will forgot what beer was your favorite and what was good about it.

4. Bring someone new to beer – A festival with the small tasters is a great way to introduce someone to beer that they might never have had before and it will provide some great debates as you argue about which beer is the best.

5. Get there early & Wait to leave – You do not want to miss the popular beers and you don’t want to wait in line to get in. So bring a book or the paper and wait for the doors to open. On the flip side, do not leave until you are 200% sure that you are good to drive unless you have a designated driver. The book or paper comes in handy again here.

Beer Discovery Tasting – 2.0

Beer & Desserts! It’s true it works! My test subjects all agreed that it tasted great. Thanks to all who came over and tried out three brews that you should try for dessert.

First off, was Briem 1809 Berliner Weisse either without or with raspberry syrup. Very acidic. Cloudy. Nice and tart. For a delicate beer it traveled well. With berry syrup not so good to my palate. I had hoped to get some woodruff syrup to try as well but I was denied. But the sour went really well with the buttery shortbread and I imagine would be awesome with a good cupcake or cheesecake.

Second, Ephemere from Unibroue. Really nice apple taste and smell. Light and refreshing and oh so very easy to drink. Also poured a little hazy. Paired with gruyere and gouda cheese. Would be great with a fondue.

Finally, what the crowds were most curious about, the beer float! Two options were made available. HUB Survival 7-Grain Stout or Maui Coconut Porter. Both were delicious but the crowd response for the coffee taste of the HUB was overwhelming. A great full bodied Stout with low alcohol but loads of taste. Smells like roasted coffee. Jet black color. The coconut porter worked well too and would probably taste better with chocolate ice cream instead of vanilla.

Breakfast beer?


You will be.

Immerse one of these little devils in cold water for six minutes, give it a quick stir and, voilà, a pint of foaming beer (3.8% ABV).

The sachets contain freeze-dried triple-fermented hop concentrate, gypsum and a CO2/nitrogen-based foaming agent.

Also available: German Lager, Irish Stout, Old North Country Ale and Middle Earth Mead.

Guest Review of Ommegang Chocolate Indulgence

“First taste is smokey followed by pretty strong alcohol ending in a biting bitter. No real chocolate taste. Complex and full but for a chocolate stout give me the Rogue. Drank it over three days while doing input for work. ”

This beer usually retails for over $12.00 if you are lucky so this sounds like a thumbs down to me.

from Mr. Frank Zappa

You can’t be a real country unless you have a beer and an airline. It helps if you have some kind of a football team, or some nuclear weapons, but at the very least you need a beer.

~ Frank Zappa

Breweries far from the maddening crowd

It is easy to neglect parts of the U.S. because we fly over them or they are too far from what we call civilization so I would like to highlight two breweries doing their thing away from the major metropolitan areas.

First is Salmon River Brewing. Started by two couples who wanted to brew beer in McCall, Idaho for locals and visitors. Their regular beers include Udaho Gold, Sweep Boat Stout, PFD Pale Ale and Salmon River Quiver IPA. Their bar is awesomely rustic. When you want to get away but not from beer.

mt. emily
The Mt. Emily Alehouse is the only brewery in LaGrande, Oregon! They produce an Oregon Blonde Ale, Heifer-Weizen, Paleface Ale, Northwest Porter and Mr. Big and olde English Ale / IPA. They have a mug club if you want to join and get a little extra in your glass when you visit.