Saturday, August 20, 2011

Bend Brewfest 2011 - Microbrew Mecca

2011 Bend Brewfest
The third weekend in August is Brewfest here in Bend Oregon. This year the event was 3 days long beginning on August 18th and ending this evening, August 20th. Over 80 different craft brews from 46 different local and regional breweries are available to taste at this epic event.

Bend is the perfect place to host this. This town is a micro-brew mecca. Bend has 7 local breweries located within walking distance of each other, a huge amount for a town of only 80,000 people.
Bend Brewfest 2011 - So many brews to checkout!
The hubs and I went last year. We were new to Bend and I was new to the beer drinking scene so the event was a bit overwhelming. After living here for a year and having had more exposure to micro-brews and craft beers I can proudly say that my beer tasting abilities have improved to the point that I can converse about what I'm drinking rather confidently with all those beer aficionados.  Beer and I will probably always have a 1 glass relationship but I've really come to enjoy tasting all the unique craft beer that Bend is known for.

We tried a lot of beer Friday night so my reviews will be short but sweet.


2011 Bend Brewfest - Food carts help to mellow out your beer filled tummy.

10 Barrel Brewing Co (Bend OR)
Duke 2:
According to the description, the beer makers got drunk one night and threw a whole bunch of stuff they don't remember into a 1 barrel batch. This resulted in a very different almost indescribable beer that's actually pretty delicious. This was the last beer I tried and my notes by then had gotten very sloppy. Ironically I can't read what I wrote but I remember it was refreshingly different. A nice change of pace from all the other beers I tried.

21st Amendment Brewery (San Francisco CA)
Hell or High Watermelon Wheat:
OMG I LOVED this beer!! This was one of my favourites of the night. I love fruity beers and this one, crafted from fresh watermelon, smells and tastes like watermelon. A lovely, crisp, light, refreshing summer treat.
21st Amendment's Hell or High Watermelon Wheat
Big Sky Brewing (Missoula MT)
Moose Drool:
This beer is a deep brown in colour and has prominent notes of caramel and chocolate. Just like the description says, there is just enough hop presence to prevent this beer from being too sweet. I would have liked it sweeter but that's just my personal preference. Overall it's light drinking and has good balance. It's a good beer.
Big Sky's Moose Drool
Bridgeport Brewing Company (Portland OR)
Summer Squeeze:
I chose this beer because the description promised hints of lemongrass, and yuzu. I got a wiff of yuzu but no lemongrass. It's a very light beer but I found it too carbonated. Overall it was just decent, not great or memorable.

Caldera Brewing (Ashland, OR)
Dry Hop Orange:
It says it right there in the title "Dry Hop". If you like a fruity hoppy beer than this is the beer for you. Unfortunately most people I know that like fruity beers tend not to enjoy hoppy bitter beers. I am in that category so this beer was a disappointment. The orange coloration was gorgeous and I smelt and tasted orange and nectarine but the prominent hops just threw the whole thing off for me.

Crispin Cider (Colfax, CA)
Fox Barrel, Blackberry Pear:
Good, well balanced and refreshing cider. Lovely flavor, but I'm still partial to Okanogan Ciders.

Elysian Brewing Co (Seattle WA) - My pick for best Brewery of the night!
Avatar Jasmine IPA:
Gold colour, very floral nose and I smelled but didn't taste the jasmine. It was so different. The floral nose is akin to a fabulous wine; full of depth and interesting notes. I don't like IPA's because they are so hoppy but I loved how this brew challenged my palate.

Elysian Brewing Co's Avatar Jasmine IPA
Night Owl Pumpkin Ale:
I love pumpkin flavored beer and this Ale was no exception. Not a lot of pumpkin flavor present but there was tons of pumpkin spice and brown sugar on the nose and the tongue.

Fire Mountain Brewery (Carlton CA)
Steam Fired Stout:
Dark stout with roasted flavor and hints of coffee and chocolate. Shawn loved it but found it a little heavy for summer drinking. I mainly tasted roasted coffee.

Gilgamesh Brewing (Turner OR)
Mamba: - favourite of the night
This beer was my favourite of the night! It delights those with a refined or fine-tuned palate. I picked up orange pekoe tea, tangerine and a hint of vanilla. I also picked up a spice that I could not identify but I was leaning towards cardamom because that's what I wrote down. The colour of the beer is deep orange and I LOVED it!!!

Lompoc Brewing (Portland, OR)
Lompoc Strong Draft:
Lots of hops and a strong smokey flavor = least favourite. I really didn't like it. Shawn wasn't even much of a fan. It's just not to our tastes.
Lompoc Brewing's Lompoc Strong Draft

Lost Coast Brewery (Eureka, CA)
Tangerine Wheat:
Wheat beers are a favourite for me and fruit wheat beers rank even higher. This is an excellent beer. Fruity flavour, low hops, strong tangerine taste and aroma. 5/5 for this beer!

McMenamins Old St. Francis School (Bend, OR)
Father D's Kolsch:
I've never tried a Kolsh before and I liked this one. The beer was crisp and fresh tasting with the aroma of green tea.

Woodchuck Hard Cider (Middlebury, VT)
Granny Smith:
I did not like this. It tasted like water to me but Shawn loved it.

2011 Bend Brewfest
2011 Bend Brewfest - We had a great evening tasting awesome craft beers.