NBA City Brewery Tour # 3 – Ope! Brewing in Milwaukee

Our third quarter stop around NBA cities is the new home of famed and former Blazer Damian Lillard, the Milwaukee Bucks so let’s head to a brewery in town before a Giannis and Dame game., Ope! Brewing.

But Is It Traditional? Kölsch

“This traditional style is clean, crisp, and delicate, using traditional Kolsch yeast and traditional German hops. Enjoy it anywhere you want to feel traditional, or not…”


“This here is our American laaager don’tcha know. Crafted from only the finest of ingredients and whole lotta love. Crisp, light, and refreshing, perfect for a day on the boat fishing, or sitting on the beach.”

Jeez Louise IPA

“With Galaxy, Nelson Sauvin and Amarillo Hops, this brew has the perfect combo of juicy, fruit forward hop flavors to satisfy any craving!”

A Stop and a Score Oatmeal Porter with Almond

“This Oatmeal Porter has the right combo of flavors to get you back in the game! With Almond and Vanilla chiming in to help seal the deal. Just like Bucks Legend Johnny Mac used to say on the broadcast – All we need is A Stop and A Score and we’ll be back in the game!”

Sports & A Beer – Trade Demands

As a lifelong Trailblazer fan, this summer of trades has been bittersweet.  Not seeing Damian Lillard in the red and black is weird.  But what is weirder are the trade demands being made.

I love Lillard but telling Portland that he wanted ONLY to go to Miami felt a little hostage-y.  And I wasn’t the only one to think so as the NBA head office fined him and his agent over it.  But Lillard was an absolute angel in comparison to James Harden who is toxic enough that the 76ers didn’t even want him on a team flight and had security bar him from the plane before pawning him to his third team in three years, the Clippers.

I am way more pro player than pro ownership but a player can’t point and expect to go.  Unless.  The preferred team is willing to actually negotiate in good faith.  Now that we have both had a good laugh, here is what should be done by the player.  Let the team you want to leave know that you have a preferred destination but also give them other less liked but OK landing spots.  My guess is that the reception will be a lot better when not demanding with a capital D.  And the fact that there is a list will incentivize team 1 to deal since other teams are in the running.

Trades can be good or bad.  Try to make them better people.

For beer, I would suggest a fun game.  Bring three separate beers from your ‘fridge and see what you can trade for from a beer loving friends stash.  You can even ask for a beer to be named later.  See who ends up with what and who thinks they won.  See if being super extra demanding works to your benefit.

NBA City Brewery Tour # 2 – Portland Labyrinth Forge Brewing

You knew I was going to make a stop in Portland for my Blazers who are not doing too bad despite the youth and the injury bug that has hit them with Simons, Henderson and a freakin’ Time Lord getting hurt.

And as the Blazers remake a roster so too has Labyrinth Forge Brewing has taken the former Hair of the Dog space on the Eastside over.

Here is what I would pick for a taster flight…

Heinzelmänn Kölsch-style ale – “In northern German folklore, Heinzelmänn was a lucky household spirit… so long as he was appeased. This is our take on the traditional kölsch .”

Noble Citizens Pale Lager – “In honor of the 14 noble citizens of Athens that were sacrificed to the minotaur in the Greek myth when King Minos’ son died, we brewed this limited edition, tasty beer. It was brewed with Imperial Yeast’s Cable Car, all pilsner malt and the noble Styrian Celeia and Northern Brewer hops.”

Hoptaur PNW IPA – “Deep in the heart of Labyrinth Forge resides our hero and inspiration, the Hoptaur. This fearless Northwest IPA is the spawn of locally sourced craft malt and heroic amounts of Bravo and Centennial hops to add classical citrus and pine flavors and aromas. Dare to get lost with Hoptaur, and tell your tale at #getlostwithyourbeer! Watch out for the Fresh Hop versions of this every fall!”

Juløl Winter Ale – “

Collaboration with Ridgewalker brewing in 2022 for the Scandanavian Fest.

In 1075, the King of Norway decreed that all farmsteads must supply their employees and slaves with Christmas beer. In that tradition this beer does not fail. Dark malts combined with cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and cloves. All the ingredients to warm you up.”

NBA City Brewery Tour # 1 – San Antonio – Künstler Brewing

You cannot talk hoops without talking about the French phenom, Victor Wembanyana. Rail thin with a wing span that you have to see to believe, Spurs fans are going to enjoy watching him play.

I could not a Saison brewery in San Antonio but there is an artistic brewery, Künstler Brewing that is Tex-Deutsch that is a good stand-in. So, let’s get a flight….

Behind the Couch – “My first Bière De Garde, was in collaboration with another homebrewer, Jeremy Banas a local beer historian and author. We brewed it in 2013, on a system unfamiliar to us, and let’s just say all kinds of things went wrong, producing lots of sweat, cursing, (maybe some tears) and a scorched wort. We bottled it anyway, and I literally stashed my share behind the couch, hoping I could forget the failed brew day. A year later, while drinking with friends, we tasted through everything I had on tap, and I was asked: “What else do you have?” Somehow I remembered the “behind the couch beer” and thought it would be good to at least try, maybe laugh about it, and then finally dump it. Long story short: I was almost sad that I had to share such a fine brew with anyone!”

Rosemary’s Honey Oats – “Rosemary pours in a luscious shade of orange. Aromas of rosemary that can be mistaken for an exotic, piney hop character greet the nose. On the palette there is an interesting floral play created by the hops and the rosemary. The oats supply a rich, full texture. Everything is underscored with hints of honey which lightens up the body, and adds a touch of mystery. This one drinks extremely refreshing.”

Tejano Coffee Porter – “This is a Robust Porter base with lots of malty, chocolate undertones, perfect for the 15 lbs of coffee we added to 3 BBLs. We try to support local business if at all possible. For this brew we wanted to highlight Quantum Coffee Company for their amazing coffee roasting abilities. They are also teachers of physics and math.”

Blazers Re-Start and Re-Mix

The 2023/2024 season starts, for me, with the Portland Trailblazers and our three S’s (Simons, Sharpe and Scoot) vs the Los Angeles Clippers.

The pre-season finished at 1-3 with the only W coming against a team from New Zealand but that was to be expected with only two returning starters and an average age of just shy of 24. But this season should be fun for a few reasons:

  • Expectations are low – no disappointment at failing Dame’s quest for a title
  • Exciting talent – not only #3 pick Scoot Henderson but Shaedon Sharpe and Toumani Camara and new pick-ups DeAndre Ayton and Robert Williams
  • Future picks – even if this season doesn’t show potential, the future just might.
  • Fun rivalries – games against young teams like OKC and Chet and Spurs with Wemby should be the start of something new

Yes, this is not a beer-centric post but for years, I have kinda dreaded watching the Blazers knowing that the balance wasn’t right no matter the effort but now I can sit back and look for progress with a session beer or maybe a Widmer Hefeweizen and enjoy without getting tense. Plus, who knows, maybe Portland breweries are already concocting beers with Blazer themes for this new team.

Sports & A Beer – All Star Games

All-Star games in the U.S. have morphed quite a bit in the last few years alone. Who would have thought that there would be flag football played with NFL players or that the NBA would have playground style captains picking teams.

Overall an All-Star game has turned into a weekend of entertainment and not a true celebration of the best players and it has suffered along with awards shows like the Oscars and Grammys with what is the best anyway.

Injuries and just being worn down also play a role. NBA players with a third of their season still in front of them just don’t want to aggravate anything and thus no read defense is played and the NBA finally had to change the rules to a first to this point total rule. The NFL plays after a long season, that is now even longer right after the Super Bowl so no Chiefs or Eagles are going to play.

My idea is to put the game at the start of the season. Have the sportswriters choose the starting line-ups and give the fans and coaches input on reserves. Make it a shortened game and have each team play for a charity with the winning team donating a larger amount. Add in three point shooting or field goal kicking contests to round it out.

This would hype up the coming season and add a little competition back into the event.

On the beer side, choose your beer rating app of choice and find a starting five of the best ranked beers. Saison Dupont. Pliny the Elder. Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. Those would be on my list.

A Podcast & A Beer – The Brief Case

It is NBA season and time for this beer blogger to root for my Portland Trailblazers, and to do so effectively I will be turning to this new podcast, The Brief Case

These are bite sized, under twenty minute podcasts from long time Blazer writer Holdahl. It is a nice behind the scenes soundbite from players alongside some betting information which is a bit incongruous to me. The episodes that I have listened to thankfully do not veer in the rush to analyze each game as a momentous occasion that troubles some sports podcasts.

To pair with this podcast, I would recommend alighting upon a favorite brewery to match with your favorite team. Choose a starting line-up of core beers, then find a bench of five more beers and taste through them all to re-acquaint yourself with why that brewery is your favorite.

In the Rafters

NBA Season is fast approaching and as I fervently wish that my Trailblazers start strong one team in the Association has finished strong, the Boston Celtics (my Dad’s favorite team).

They also have a great beer partner in Jack’s Abby that has a Celtics beer with a great name….

Maybe a Portland brewery will be able to create a Second Banner Belgian Dubbel in the future.

A Podcast & A Beer – Jacked Ramsays

Time to dig into early season NBA basketball and my favorite team, the Portland Trailblazers. What better way to dissect each game and player? Jacked Ramsays.

For those who have yet to join the Blazer Bandwagon, Jack Ramsay was the coach when Portland won its only NBA championship in 1977.

Host Danny Marang talks all things Blazers from recaps of games to interviews with players. Hopefully, this season won’t be as up and down as the past few but then again, a podcast about a team that never loses would get old, right?

For the beer to pair with it, you could choose one associated with new coach Chauncey Billups or a Philly special since Portland is a rumored destination for disgruntled 76er defensive star, Ben Simmons.

But let’s throwback like the City Edition jersey and scream Rip City with a Riip Beer Co. beer from Huntington Beach. Order up a Krimson Killa Red Ale as Logo Lillard hits another deep three to down the Lakers.


You may have seen the 2021 NBA Hall of Fame inductees announced this month (if not check HERE). But the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame also announced a partnership with the White Lion Brewing Company. The brewery will release a beer “with a commemorative collector’s label designed to capture the imagery of the Hall of Fame’s annual Enshrinement Program.”  

“The Class of 2021 will be enshrined on Saturday, September 11th at MassMutual Center in downtown Springfield.”

No Blazers entering the hallowed halls this year but when they do next, I might need to get my hands on this beer to toast them.