Beer week and work do not go together. Events start while work is still in, events include a lot of beer, and events run into the evening. Brock and I had to pick what events we wanted to attend and still be good little worker bees during the day.
Brock was starting to get a pretty nasty cold, so we sat Tuesday out.
Brock had his Alka Seltzer Day and Night and was feeling a little better. We cruised over to Hop Valley for their beer and cheese pairing. It was more of a mini sampler than a true pairing with 5 beer tasters and 3 cheeses. They provided: The Heff, Scruggs Pale Ale, Alphadelic IPA, Natty Red, and Alpha Centari Imperial IPA. The pale and red were my favorite. The cheeses were Rogue Bleu, Rogue Sharp Cheddar and Cyprus Grove “Purple Haze” Chevre. The cheese was delicious, I wish the cheddar was more sharp but it was good. Our waitress didn’t really know what cheeses were what and had no guidance on what to pair, so we just munched cheese and drank beer. Easy enough. I’ve always felt that Hop Valley put the restaurant first and the “brew pub” was a bit of a novelty. As they’ve made a few more interesting beers lately I’ve started to hope I was wrong or they were coming around. This experience left a lot to be desired, though.
We went to the Sensory Class at Ninkasi with owner and head brewer, Jamie Floyd. This was really fun. We drank dosed Total Domination, isolated flavors, learned how the pros taste beer, and learned about their new sensory program and sensory volunteers. WTF?! Why did I not hear about this sooner and how can I get in on this right now?
Next, we went over to 16 Tons for another dessert and beer pairing. Cupcakes from Divine Cupcake and 3 oz tasters. Combos included: Boneyard Hop Venom DIPA and carrot cake with IPA frosting- so tasty!
Widmer Raspberry Russian Imperial Stout and Death by Chocolate- wow, really decadent and rich.
Elysian Jasmine Avatar IPA with green matcha cupcake- I’ve had this beer and wasn’t wild about it then. Still not wild, but the cupcake was a good pairing.
Rogue Hazelnut Nectar with Salted Caramel cupcake- this was yummy, but the cupcake was a little underwhelming. The frosting was delish.
Elysian Peste Chocolate Chile with Swizzle Mexican Chocolate cupcake- ay yi yi, muy caliente!
Friday was another sit out. There was a lot of drinking and eating this week and a gal needs a break.
Saturday: SASQUATCH BREW FEST.
What a great event. My only wish is that it was outside. The weather is rarely this nice during May in Oregon, but when it is, hold on to your butts, it’s AMAZING.
The Sasquatch Brewfest began 10 years ago when celebrated local brewer, Glen Hay Falconer died tragically in an accident. Now proceeds go to providing brewing scholarships to up and coming homebrewers. It’s a really loving, supportive environment to be in. A lot of cheering to the winners of the homebrew competition and to Glen and to all the amazing beer of the Pacific Northwest.
Some of the stand outs were Glen’s Hop Vice, Oakshire’s annual tribute to Glen made with a single hop and single malt. This year was darn tasty. Pelican and Ninkasi’s collaboration Danny’s Black Gold, a fusion of Pelican’s Tsunami Stout and Ninkasi’s Oatis, and finally Walking Man Brewing Iron Man IPA, this one tasted like I just cut the grass, really crisp, bitter and refreshing.
Some other stand outs (for not the right reasons) included Brewer’s Union Local 180 Wotcha a la Mt Hood. Local 180 is a little brewery out of Oakridge, OR and all the beers are casked. This beer just happened to taste like a cigar. I think this brewery is so much more, this beer just did not do it for me. I will be giving it another try though, for sure. Lastly, Blue Dog Mead clocking in at 13% ABV and a more than generous pour was just too much. It tasted like chloraseptic spray to me. So cloyingly sweet and boozy, it made me chug a few glasses of water.
So, raise your glass to the 2nd Annual Eugene Beer Week, may it continue to grow and thrive like the craft brew scene in our beautiful emerald city.