Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Beer Musings is going to Feast Portland

Last year I went to Feast Portland on behalf of #pdxbeergeeks and found out first hand that it was as amazing as I had heard. This year I applied for my own blogger pass and am stoked to have gotten approved. I should probably stop eating right now to prepare because yes, it is a multi-day event of feasting on top of feasting.

If you haven't been, perhaps because you think it's just a food event, it's most definitely not. Breweries, cideries, wineries and distilleries are involved in nearly all of the events and there's even a series of events dedicated just to booze - Drink Tank. The six events in the series include two on my favorite tipple plus whiskey, pinot noir, margaritas and one in which "a few key players in the wine and spirits industry...share drinking wisdom and closing-time tales."

One of the events I'm most excited about is Feast Portland's Thursday night kick-off party, Widmer Brothers Brewing Sandwich Invitational Presented by Dave's Killer Bread. That's a mouthful and I expect the event to be one, too, with 15 chefs from Portland and across the country competing to claim the judges' and people's favor.

From there, all the way through Sunday night there is an impressive lineup of events taking place across town. While I'm still figuring out all that I'll be at I'll definitely be at Sunday's Tillamook Brunch Village that among other things had most amazing bloody Mary bar I've ever been privy to. Brunch in Portland is what church is to many other places in the country and this event does justice to the esteem we hold it in.

Finally, Feast Portland is not just a food and drink festival but also an event that supports local and national programs to help end childhood hunger. In three years Feast Portland has raised over $162,000 for Partners for a Hunger-Free Oregon (PFHO) and No Kid Hungry.

Feast Portland
Thursday, September 17 - Sunday, September 20

Find events/buy tickets

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Another Run at Gluten Free Beer

I've been waffling about penning this post for weeks. Part of me feels like it'll just come across shilling for BMC while the other part of me, the part of me that started the post all that time ago, feels there is still some merit to it. The latter half has won so here we go.

On a random Tuesday night in June I went to a macro beer dinner as the +1 of a friend. Yes, you read that correctly. I accepted free beer and food from the evil empire. In return I got three good things: 1) A fun evening with beer friends 2) Great food and an introduction to a new-to-me restaurant in a part of town I don't frequent 3) A gluten-free beer that isn't bad if you are GF.

The dinner was part of the promotion of Coors Peak Copper Lager, a beer that is currently only available in the Seattle and Portland metro areas. The beer is naturally gluten free, being brewed with brown rice, brown rice malt and pure pea protein. As an adjunct brewer Coors is no doubt well versed in the use of rice to make beer so I not that surprised that they've done a darn decent job with this. Or maybe it's the pure pea protein (if anyone has a lead on more information on that let me know).

Gluten content is a big deal these days and Coors ensures the glutenlessness of Copper Lager by doing their own internal testing and having the FARRP Lab at the University of Nebraska test every batch of packaged beer. Apparently those tests consistently show that Coors Peak gluten protein level falls far below the FDA regulated 20ppm, coming in at 5ppm. Interestingly enough, it's also GMO free.

But the taste, what about the taste, right? I haven't done a blind testing, mostly because I'm lazy, but I'd reckon that if I were handed two glasses of copper lager - one with gluten and one without - I wouldn't be able to tell the difference. And while it's still an amber beer, this IPA drinker probably wouldn't mind throwing a few back. I wouldn't go so far as to say that I'd take it over Groundbreaker's gluten free beers (they use hazelnuts instead of grain), mostly because they DO make IPAs, but it's a far sight better than the few other gluten free or gluten-reduced beers I've tried.

I don't know if there are enough celiac disease sufferers still looking for a beer they can drink to make this a nationally viable product line. Perhaps the product will just quietly go away instead of having its market expanded. Or perhaps it'll gain some traction for the simple fact that it tastes better than most BMC products, gluten-filled or gluten free. If you've tried it I'd be interested to hear what you thought.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Beer Geek 1st World Problems

As a beer geek I tend to fall prey to that beer, the one on the beer list that I've never had almost regardless of whatever other amazing beers are available to me. As an Untappd user I get waaaaay too happy about earning badges and I admit to badge whorin' at times.

One of those times happened this past weekend when we met up with a friend at a sports bar to catch the Timbers game. They didn't have a great tap list and the cream of the crop were ones I'd previously had. So I rather offhandedly ordered my first beer, one of their seasonal selections and one I'd had before. Shame on me because I relied on my faulty memory instead of checking Untappd and ended up with a pint of something that I didn't actually like as much as I thought I had. Beer geek first world problem, right?

Lesson learned and the next beer I chose more thoughtfully. Specifically I noticed a beer on the list that I knew had a badge associated with it, confirmed in Untapped that I had not yet earned that badge and placed my order. The beer wasn't great but I've endured worse to earn a badge. Yes, 100% badge whorin' and another beer geek first world problem.

Nearing the bottom of that pint it was once again time to figure out what the next one would be. Feeling like it was slim pickings I read more carefully and this time saw a beer from Kona that I didn't think I'd had before, probably based mostly on the style - a golden ale. Back I went to Untapped, confirming I had not tried the beer and thinking, "well, at least it will count toward my unique beers and maybe eventually to some badge." I found that globally Kona Big Wave Golden Ale gets a 3.48 rating over 141,000+ check ins, with my friends being a bit harsher with a 3.2 rating however as I scrolled through the ratings and notes there was one that said, "like the tropical notes." Intrigued, that sealed the deal and I ordered it up, finding the beer to fit that comment perfectly. Then I proceeded to enjoy the best pint of the night.

Moral of the story: I may be a beer geek who will chose a new-to-me beer over a long time favorite just to try something new and am not immune to badge whorin' (I was a Girl Scout after all) but sometimes I stumble upon a darn good beer that without my faults coming into play and using my Untappd crutch I would have continued to overlook.