Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Cargo, Revisited

Another trip to Portland, a month after the last one. Extraordinary. Sometimes it takes a couple of months before I can get away. I have yet another opportunity to revisit last month's fantasy, but I suspect I'll just forge ahead and do The Right Thing (tm) and deliver the goods as promised. This time I'm off to a Meet-the-Brewer event at the Green Dragon that I was talked into against my better judgment, and then another cask over to the friendly folks at Belmont Station.

I hope Portland is ready for this stuff. It's plain, ordinary, mundane session beer. Nothing ridiculous, over-hopped, mega-gravity or imbued with lynx droppings. Nothing aged in one of Leo Kottke's old Taylor 12-strings for eight months. No exotic herbs flown in from Ouagadougou. No cold-filtration through artisan-designed glassware embracing dust from the tombs of the Pharaohs. These ales were designed for quaffing. Six pints (UK) in a long evening session would be typical. Get ready for a nice easy session Porter that uses, get this, chocolate and crystal malts. And don your sensible, sturdy pub trousers for a malty special bitter. And buckle your seatbelts, because I also have a 3.6% mild that uses a dash of peated malt. This last tipple is a pilot batch for a Welsh Mild that didn't come out quite as malty as I'd like, underscoring the difficulty in producing flavorful sub-4% ales. I'll be revisiting it this summer with some tweeks. Try a pint on Thursday and tell me (really) what you'd do to make it better.

This blog entry is brought to you by snacks, snifters and samples (thanks Steve) at Block 15. Lessee: a Chipotle Chocolate Stout, Hoppy Session Red, Super Aboriginale freestyle and the Ferme de La Villa Saison. These guys are monsters. Additionally, I'm here to swap off some Brewers Union casks for some B-15 casks. In about two weeks "This Time For Sure" might be on the B-15 pumps, and we'll be dispensing some of the Corvallis gold.

Friday, May 21, 2010

The Odd Firkin Out

That last cask in the lineup was just filled with an ale destined for the 2010 Great British Beer Festival in August. How is this happening? It's the Champion Draught Beer competition at the Bieres sans Frontieres International Beer Bar. I could care less about any competition, but am excited that some of our molecules will be traveling so far. Shame I can't go with them, although I've become somewhat less a fan of the large festivals these days. Unless one of you wants to buy my plane ticket.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Cwrw Bach

Small beer. The first cask of the Welsh Mild hit the pumps on Saturday. I had some folks in here this weekend delighted by the fact that they could hang out with their kids for five hours, have some fantastic homecooked food, and drink more than two pints of ale - the typical limit with the high ABV frenzy that seems to permeate the Pac NW Beerosphere.

I wasn't sure how this batch would turn out. The recipe, like many others that appear here, was scratched out and rewritten a few times on a couple sheets of scrap paper. I wanted to use a peated malt, Simpsons from the UK, but not overpower the aroma. The result was 1 lb. of peated malt in a total grain bill of 151 lbs. This is a powerful malt - caveat emptor.

I'm liking it so far, but would like to make a few changes and run it again. I think the Carafa III could be upped a few pounds and the 1/2 Kilo of E.K. Goldings could be dropped back to half that. All in all, a decent tipple. As I mentioned before, I think it would've been nice along with the morel dish that we had on the last week, but alas they have been consumed. Alternatively, there is the Scottish Fish Pie or the New York Strip Steaks as an option. See you at the pub.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Free Publicity

As a wee little company, in a remote part of Oregon, in a recession, with less than two years since the doors opened, advertising is very expensive. I just simply can't afford it. The goal has always been to not have to, so we don't. Initially I used the local rag, and put a few ads in Beer NW magazine (server was down when I wrote this). Now I'm finding that I don't have to. Word of mouth seems to be starting to yield new visitors; can't beat that. More interestingly is the free publicity that has come about in the last few months.

First of all, we made the cut to be included in the National Geographic Geotourism MapGuide for the Central Cascades region that came out late Winter. Right there, on the downloadable pdf file, is the magical mention of the pub. Perhaps we won't get that much traffic from it, but the NG sure does churn out a snappy map.

Then the pub appeared in the May/June issue of Imbibe Magazine. For free!

Most recently, National Public Radio appeared in Oakridge to do a story on the town's efforts to reinvent itself. The radio show is called State of the Re:Union, and they have been traveling the country looking for stories. And found Oakridge, can you believe it. It was fun having the talented folks around for a week, and they captured the beautiful sound of real ale being liberated into a proper pint glass. The entire broadcast can be streamed or downloaded.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Keeping Up To Date

I suppose all you Big Guy Breweries (tm) have time to keep up with your websites, what with having actual staff and all, but I find that just maintaining a list of beers gets missed more often than not. I was just finishing up doing the weekly beer line cleaning routine when I thought I might check to see when the last time I updated the beer list was. April 8, or something like that. Anyway, I have just posted the New Lineup (tm) as all the other jobs and stacks of paper on my desk vying for my attention looked quite dull in comparison. As you can see, the ABV's are dropping into more sessionable Summer standards. By this weekend it should have changed again, what with bringing on the Welsh Mild and rotating another guest beer or two into the works.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Of Mushrooms and Mild

We got another mushroom delivery this weekend; a pub exclusive. The first harvest of morels has made its home in our cooler, and they're beautiful. All you denizens of the Valley (and that means you as well, Portland) within access of poncy restaurants will have to go without, as we snagged the entire yield. Chef has created Creamy Herb and Fresh Wild Morel in a Pastry Bowl, one of several delicious options on the Specials Board. Don't expect it to be there long. He who hesitates is lost, as my Mom used to say.

Also, as May is Mild Month in Britain, I've brewed the first of this season's session beers, a Welsh Mild. I've never tried this style before. I was trying to recall some of the attributes of the ales I had in Wales way back in 1991, and have faint recollections of a dark and slightly smoky/peaty beverage lounging on the inside of my pint glass. For this batch, I made up a recipe that uses some Carafa III and a dash of a peated malt from Simpsons Malting in the UK. This is dangerous stuff - a little bit goes a long way. Casking up day was Saturday, in which I got to have a taste. It wasn't bad at all, but it's hard to tell what the full maturation and conditioning will be like. ABV clocked out at 3.6%. First cask will be breached on Saturday. I have a sneaking suspicion that it will be a perfect complement to some morels. See you at the pub.