OGBF Brewer’s Dinner

25 Apr

This year our little blog got invited to the brewers dinner event that happens the night before the Oregon Gardens Brewfest kicks off (thanks Oregon craft beer community!). On the way down here I was starting to feel a little special. It may have just been the sun and leaving work a little early (shhh…don’t tell anyone), but these events are always fun and I can’t believe this little side project is getting us behind the scenes. It’s almost like people want to hear what I have to say. Like there are people out there listening. Are there? Are you out there? My admin panel says you might be…

But just as my head was getting as big as our subscribers list I realized it wasn’t that I thought I was special as much as it is special that we get to go and that the Oregon craft beer community is so welcoming and supportive of everyone contributing to make this whole industry even bigger and better than it already is. There is a recognition that we haven’t hit our cap, our saturation point. Those things probably don’t really even exist, especially not here. There are more things to do, more beers to brew, more to learn, and always another opportunity to drink.

Anyway, you aren’t here for my ramblings on the industry, but to hear about the dinner. We get excited about craft beer dinners because you usually get really good food (check out the menu!) and you get to hear the brewers talk about the craft behind their beers. They seem to genuinely enjoy sharing their stories with a group of fellow beer lovers. And it seems to spread, making the beer even better. Tonight was no different. If you regularly attend the Oregon Brewers Festival or plan on attending next year, you should definitely look into getting tickets for the brewer’s dinner as well.

first course
Flat Tail
Pre-prohibition pilsner / Saison blend
Fontina, Boursin and a dill Havarti with dried fruit and crostini.

20130426-113049.jpgThis beer was made with very low amount of hops. The balance in the light and refreshing beer came from the blending these two beers. This beer had a unique floral nose, the brewer describe it as peach ice tea. The light peach flavors were definately there without the floral quality. This was nice as beer, even very good beer, with a strong floral quality are hard to finish. This was easy to finish and had just enough earthiness to pair well with the cheese course. Flat tail continues to make creative and tasty beers.

second course
Fort George
Blackened shrimp martini with fresh pico salsa and crab meat.

20130426-113202.jpgAnother course another blended beer. Roses on Roses is Fort George’s vortex brewed with a Belgian yeast strain aged in 4 Roses bourbon barrels, over rose hips. Not much of the nose would suggest an IPA as the roes hips and barrel were most evident. The taste, this was top notch beer, start lightly sweet with a hint of vanilla before the hops asserted themselves and finished with bourbon flavors and a nice tannin dryness.

third course
2 Towns
Pork and baby apple bruschetta.

20130426-113259.jpgIn a switch we moved off beer to cider. This cider, Amity Rose, was named after the orchard the apples came from. This cider was described as dry, to me this was a medium cider. A really nice roundness to the apple but it had a clear light sweetness to it. I am not a really big fan of dry cider, most of the fruit character is gone from such ciders. So, I enjoyed this cider, now if the pairing was better. While the pork was good, I hoped a pairing more creative than pork and cider.

fourth course
Spinach salad with smoked pears, walnuts and lemon vinaigrette.

20130426-113401.jpgThis course was much better, the smoked pears made for a very tasty salad which paired well with this saison from Alameda. As described by the brewer, this is a light saison, 4.5%, brewed with a French Saison yeast and fremented very warm, 77 degrees, to produce a lot of fruit esters. Then Netherlands whole was finished with an addition of white peppercorns at the end of the boil and a second ‘dry hopping’ with more peppercorns. I really enjoyed this beer, the earthiness, and fruit flavors were light and bright. The peppercorn gave the finish a nice snap and dryness.

fifth course
Falling Sky
Cornish game hen with grilled strawberries and root vegetables.

20130426-114833.jpg Falling sky was on my list of new breweries to try here at the brewfest. Open for just just a little mo than a year I was a little worried about their offering here as the brewer listed a ton of unusual ingredients faster than I could write them down. This list included coconut sugar, coriander, spruce tips, pepper, if there was more I missed them. Would this be a mess or would the sum of the individual flavors be greater than the whole? Well, this was a great beer executed almost perfectly. The beer was wonderfully complex, I especially liked the hint of spruce which pair well with the hen. But for me, the beer’s one flaw was the finish was a bit too dry. Still I am looking forward to their additional offerings at the brewfest.

sixth course
Flourless chocolate cake with black cherry compote.

The last offering of the night came from another new comer Santiam out Salem. What a way to finish the night, with a beer clocking in at 13%. From the brewer, this is a realitivlly simple stout recipe with 30% of the frementibles coming from Cabernet grapes. One could see the influence of the grapes right away, as the beer pured with a light pink head. The beer smelled of oak and dark malts. The beer had a medium body but was very rich. With all those graps it manges a really tasty fruit, without being ‘winey’, which was seamless with the dark malt. An excellent dessert beer.


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