Featured Review – Sting from Nectar Creek Mead

I have mini-dabbled in mead in the past year so when I got the opportunity to taste a Ginger Mead from Nectar Creek Meadery, I jumped at the chance.

Sting is from their core line-up and is described as, “Fresh ginger and pure Oregon honey combine for a sting of warmth and a tease of sweetness in this refreshing session mead.”

The big flavor here is vanilla. Like pastry shop baking vanilla. Ginger is kinda there. But this slightly bubbly yellow hued mead is big time vanilla. To me less sting and more pillowy. The honey has won this battle royale with the ginger convincingly.

Take away the ginger root on the label. Take away the name. And this is delicious. The pastry heads in attendance would love this. I quite enjoyed drinking it myself and would not hesitate to buy another mead from Nectar Creek. That is saying something because I look at media samples much harsher.

Santa’s Pint Glass – Day 26

I have had a few Jubelales this year but let’s focus on the alternate Deschutes Jubel, Cherries Jubelale.

“This new take on the beloved Super Jubel receives a dessert-inspired twist with the addition of cherry and vanilla to its rich barrel-aged malty decadence. Barrel-aged in wine, the beer brings in the flavors of Jubelale, but with added strength and complexity from barrel aging.”

Santa’s Pint Glass – Day 20

Back to Oregon for some strong festivities from Terminal Gravity.

“Festivale is a classic TG rendition of a Winter Warmer. Brewed to be fairly dry, yet highly drinkable. With a complex malt and hop profile and a full, rounded, deep ruby colored body- Festivale is a winter favorite that rings true to a wide variety of beer drinkers.”

Brewery + Distillery # 1 – Rogue Ales

As you can see from their website banner, long time Oregon brewery, Rogue does beer, spirits and dabbles in the CBD too.

I am going to highlight two beers and two spirits that I would like to taste. I will do the same with the other brewery/distillery combos later this month.

Colossal Claude – “It’s been a few decades since a Colossal Claude sighting has been reported, but we’re fairly certain the massive sea monster has been laying low off the coast of his favorite brewery. Word has it that after years of terrifying sailors and feasting on salmon he acquired a taste for hops. So we brewed this Imperial IPA with a colossal dose of Cascade, Chinook, Citro and Strata hops in hope of coaxing Claude out to join us for a pint.

Pinot Barrel Farmhouse Gin – “With an abundance of freshly drained Oregon Pinot noir barrels, it only makes sense to capitalize on the flavors locked within them. For this unique gin, we fill Pinot noir barrels with our Farmhouse Gin and let it rest for six months. The result is a complexly layered gin that tastes great on its own and mixed in cocktails.

Shakespeare Stout Nitro – “Rogue Ales was originally founded in Ashland, a Southern Oregon college town home to the world-renowned Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Inspired by this festival, we introduced this English-style oatmeal stout as one of our three original beers when our first pub opened in Ashland in 1988. It has remained in our product line ever since, earning the most awards and highest ratings of any of our beers.

Oregon Rye Malt Whiskey – “One of few malted rye whiskeys, the malting process in Rogue’s hand-crafted Oregon Rye Malt softens the spice notes typical of rye whiskeys and makes for a more approachable whiskey that builds in flavor. The barley in the mash bill (52% rye, 48% barley) further rounds out the taste and mouthfeel creating an easy sipping experience. Complex nuttiness is softened by light caramel and a hint of citrus leading to cinnamon, nutmeg and black pepper.


Looks like two Bend, Oregon breweries are partnering…

Most SoCal beer fans will have seen and most likely had a few Deschutes beers but Boneyard does not have a footprint down here so will be lesser known. Think of it as the heritage brewer / older sibling getting together with the rough edged / younger sibling. You can read more HERE. But I expect that more neighboring breweries may combine forces. Some will work and some will divorce later depending on how well they can balance the union.

New in Portland

Being an expat Portlander and not being able to return home to try Oregon beers has been trying to say the least and the New School Beer + Cider blog is not helping by posting a rundown of new breweries coming to the state. I strongly encourage you to check out the full list but below are the breweries (and contract brewery) that struck me as places to visit.

A brewery, in a formerly church with a gorgeous bar like that. What a great drinking environment.

A new Japanese and food based brewery is a really nice addition to the beer scene.

Contract brewing has always needed more facilities and more people focused on smaller breweries. Back Forty ticks both of those boxes and does distilling too.

That is one wicked cool logo and the fact that they will focus on the wild side of beer is even cooler.

Idea from the North – Drive Through

Old Town Brewing is setting up a one-stop shop for Oregon beers. Since their parking lot isn’t being used as much, they have turned it into a customer fulfillment center. Here is how it works – “Customers will enter the drive-thru on the north side of the parking lot by motorized vehicle, cycle or foot. Orders and purchases will be placed from your smart phone from the Brewers Market online menu, but contact and on-site imbibing and socializing is discouraged as is cash payments. As people make their way through the booths they can make their selections on the go or place an order in advance for pick-up. Once placed, pull into a designated parking spot at the end of the market where someone will bring their order out to them. Leaving the vehicle is not necessary, walk-ups are allowed with social distancing measures.” That is the write-up from the New School Beer blog who have excellent coverage of how Oregon breweries are doing in these times.

Hoppy Burger

The promotional photo stack of the new Hopyard Cheddar Burger from Burgerville is impressive but the fact that the Oregon burger chain really goes local is even more towering. The burger “features a cheese that is made with hop petals.” That is right, the cheese is from the Rogue Creamery and they use fresh hop petals from their home grown Freedom Hops. According to Rogue, “the flavor of the cheese is gently bitter, with sweet brown butter, hazelnut, and buttermilk notes.”


When I was in Portland, I noticed 12oz cans with puzzle piece like labels from a brewery in McMinnville. Since that is where I went to college (ahem, now University), I picked up the stout and the IPA from Evasion Brewing and found out that they are gluten-free beers.

Of the two, Tantamount Stout was my favorite. As with most glutenless IPA’s, they just don’t seem hoppy at all. And this one was like those. The base beer on both was quite fine and if not told about the difference, I probably would not have noticed.

In addition to the two canned beers that I tasted they had a nice and wide range of beers at their Riverside Drive taproom. Pinata Colada IPA, Air Hostess from the 60’s Hazy Pale Ale, Yamhill Punch 2020 American Wild Ale, This is My Party Shirt, Hoptensity DIPA, Blood Orange IPA, Barrel-Aged Imperial Stout, Hole Mole Stout.

Birthday Beercation part the first – Stout Month in Astoria

Back to Astoria and a birthday month excursion for Stout Month!

So, no, I did not go inside Fort George on festival day, I was pretty close though. Despite a chill and consistent but not heavy rain, there were lines at the start but I ran across many people who were waiting to go in, a thing I had not seen before.

I started my day at Reveille Cider with a Breakfast in America apple and pear cider with botanicals, orange and grapefruit zest. Lovely tart citrus mix. Fruit punch notes.  Almost like orange juice.

Next door, Reach Break was pretty busy too. Only two IPAs on the board. They also had a kolsch and coastal hefe on tap. Here is a quick rundown of the five beers, I sampled…

Duane Street Wild Ale – gin botanical collab with Pilot House.  Really nice.  Bready with botanicals spicing

Merlot Veraison– wild ale with Merlot grapes. Nice red color. Very red wine, tannic. 

Evolution of an IPA 9 – hazy dipa. Wood chips. Sawdust. Quite bitter with some creamy softness. 

A Storied History – dopplebock collab with Buoy. Sweet and malty.  Just tastes Germanic to me. 

Hessian Aggression – collab with Rowley from NM. Barleywine. Smokey. Real nice.