I attend lots of different beer events all throughout the year, but don’t usually post about them- most of the time I might do a promotion post just to get the word out for an event I think needs to be shared, but not a recap. Untappd is my main beer outlet.
I also have been purposely avoiding writing about my favorite beer bar, which is like F and my Cheers, because we don’t want it to get too crowded. However, I really enjoyed a recent event at The Upper Lip, and thought I would share anyway to give props to what an amazing beer event it was and to encourage more like this from them or from anyone!
Perhaps when you think about fruit beer, you think of just a bunch of girly beer that tastes sweet and like juice and not much like beer at all. I hope not- and I think that the Portland Fruit Beer Festival, now returning for its 4th year, has helped a lot with that misconception.
I thought I would write this post about the beers at this event I just attended, just to reinforce that fruit beer is awesome, and what it can entail.
This event was a Breakside Brewing / 10 Barrel Brewing Fruit Beer event at The Upper Lip with cheese pairings by the awesome Steve of Cheese Bar. I have enjoyed many a Breakside beer and been to a few of their events since they are here in Portland, but 10 Barrel Brewing is harder to get as they are based in Bend and their fruit beers don’t usually make it here to Portland. Even better, with the price of admission, besides getting tasters of 8 beers we would also get 4 cheeses that were specially paired!
The first pairing was Fresh Ladysmith a cow cheese from Samish Bay, WA. I’ve had this cheese several times- not just because Steve seems to love pairing it, but because it just goes well with so many beers. During Thanksgiving I saw it at a co-op in San Juan WA and bought a 1/2 pound that was gone by the Sunday we were heading back. I also really enjoyed many of their other cheeses while at the The Wedge Cheese festival.
The Fresh Ladysmith was paired with the Breakside Gooseberry Wheat and the Breakside Peach Pale. The Gooseberry Wheat was a wheat ale with pureed Oregon gooseberries from Oregon Fruit Products and had a subtle tartness to the wheat beer. Meanwhile, the Peach Pale offered a lot of hop flavor (specifically Citra and Amarillo) and had a nice peach nose but I didn’t detect much peach flavor.
Next was the pairing of Pastorale from Sartori of WI, a sheep and cow milk cheese with the Breakside Kriek with Brett and the 10 Barrel Strawberry Crush. In this berry face-off, the 10 Barrel was the winner with its strong fresh strawberry puree flavor and it is so sad that this was a one-off keg made exclusively for this event. I hope they made more of it. A lot more. This was my favorite beer of the event.
The next cheese pairing was Adnatou from Black Sheep, a WA sheep and cow cheese. This was paired with the Breakside Beaujolais Avec Brett and the 10 Barrel Apricot Crush. Both of these beers were amazing- the Beaujolais Avec Brett is a strong ale with a bit of sourness thanks to being fermented wild yeast and bacteria and use of Oregon grown Gamay grapes. It was really enjoyed by some at my table, while I was hoping for a bit more sourness. Meanwhile, the 10 Barrel Apricot Crush was my second favorite beer of the event with its complexity of flavors.
The last pairing was the Smokey Blue cow cheese from Rogue Creamery OR. I admit I actually started with this cheese and its beers because I had really been curious about these two beers the most. The beers here were the Breakside Smoked Apple Ale and the 10 Barrel Cucumber Crush. The Smoked Apple Ale was a mix of smoked malt, freshly pressed apple juice, and apple pie spices but I guess I built it too much in my head as I was disappointed by how subtle the flavors were.
On the other hand, the Cucumber Crush was all you would expect it to be in terms of being super light and refreshing, like cucumber water but so much better because it’s a BerlinerWeiss beer (all 3 10 Barrel fruit beers here, and all the beers of their Crush series, are Berliner Weiss style which then have various fruits added). I would drink this all summer long if I could get it.
This was a fantastic event- I loved that it offered tastings of beer with cheese pairings, and it was incredible to be able to get access to 10 Barrel Crush series beers. The event was ticketed and sold out, which allowed us plenty of room up stairs to enjoy sitting at a table and chatting with other beer and cheese aficionados in a relaxing atmosphere without the usual loud “wooooos” or lines of a normal beer fest. No worrying about balancing a drink and cheese here!
There is a confirmed rumor first published by Brewpublic and then confirmed by Eater that 10 Barrel will be opening a pub here in Portland in the former Mellow Mushroom space by mid-summer, and I eagerly hope that the rumors turn out to be true!Of course depending on what they do with the space whether it’s mid-summer or end of this year or who knows when we’ll have to see.
I should also let you know that this coming Saturday the 26th that Bailey’s Taproom is holding their annual Germanfest- check out the beer list and see if you are interested! Usually I am torn between attending Germanfest and the Eat Mobile food cart festival, but this year they moved Eat Mobile to Sunday the 27th, so I will be at Germanfest this year. This 4th annual GermanFest will feature German style beers brewed by Oregon breweries as the name suggests, with general admission beginning at 2 PM and until close (you purchase beers as you order them, no admission fee). There are a few advance entry VIP tickets for $20 (which is what I got). These tickets include five tastes but also allow entrance two hours earlier from 12-2 PM, providing a less frenzied experience as well as guaranteeing a seat somewhere in a far less crowded bar. I also like to bring a cheese plate with me to enjoy the beers, but as Baileys doesn’t serve food you can also feel free to order Santeria Mexican food from next door.
If you are interested in trying some fruit beer, also check out the taps at Breakside Brewing as some of these beers are available (check out the video below that highlights how they made the fruit beer in partnership with Oregon Fruit Products).
Finally, be sure to look forward to the Portland Fruit Beer Festival- tickets for this June 7 – 8 event are already on sale at $20 general admission Saturday 11am-9pm or Sunday 11am-6pm, or $30 VIP admission on Friday 4-9pm and limited to 400 VIP guests + supposedly a few special tappings.
The festival will be held Burnside Brewing at 701 SE Burnside again. Burnside Brewing will be open, so you can still get a cheese plate to compliment your beers, or my personal favorite their cohiba cigar and/or beer cheese curds on their menu!
Aren’t you inspired to have some cheese and beer now? I am just writing this post! If you would like some tips on pairing beer and cheese, check out this great post “Cheese and Beer Pairing Tips From Steve Jones of Portland’s Cheese Bar” from Serious Eats with pointers from Steve while at this event himself (and also photos from this event!)
What kind of fruit beer would you want to try?