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JUN/JUL 2006 | REGIONAL | PACIFIC NW

Oregon Trail
By Lisa Morrison

Big kudos to the Oregon brewers who recently were lauded at the World Beer Cup in Seattle! Oregon was well represented at the awards ceremony, with 11 medals — 13, if you count the two golds for Walking Man, out of Stevenson, Wash., which many feel is really part of Oregon, since it's just a Stone's (IPA?) throw across the mighty Columbia River.

Gold medals went to BridgePort's Blue Heron Pale Ale in the Ordinary Bitter category; Caldera Pilsener Bier in the Cellar or Unfiltered Beer class; and Rogue Shakespeare Stout in the American Stout group. Walking Man grabbed gold for its Blootvoetse Bruin in the Experimental Beer category, and in the American-Style Extra Special Bitter or Strong Bitter group with Walking Man IPA.

Silver medals went to Pelican for two of its beers, Kiwanda Cream Ale in the Golden or Blonde Ale category, and India Pelican Ale in the American-Style IPA group. Rogue Morimoto Black Obi Soba Ale was awarded silver in the Specialty Beer category.

And five bronze medals rounded out Oregon's heavy medal haul: Caldera again with its Dry Hop Red in the American-Style Extra Special Bitter or Strong Bitter category; Full Sail Session Premium Lager in the American Cream Ale or Lager class; Laurelwood Organic Deranger in the Imperial or Double Red category; and two for Pyramid — which used to call Washington home but is now based in Portland. Its Pyramid Hefeweizen got bronze in the American-Style Hefeweizen category, while its Crystal Weizen (a filtered wheat beer) got bronze in the American-Style Wheat Beer class.

Go Green
Laurelwood, which won a medal for its Organic Deranger, and Roots Organic, both of Portland, are among a handful of breweries leading the push for organic brews across the country. This "greening" of North American craft beer will be celebrated June 10 at the second North American Organic Beer Festival at the World Forestry Center in Portland.

It's not easy being green: To qualify as an organic brew, beer has to be made from organic hops and barley, which are grown without certain fertilizers and pesticides — nasty stuff that contributes to conditions that are harmful to wildlife, fish and plants.

Roots co-owner Craig Nicholls was one of the local pioneers of organic brewing. He has included organic beers in his lineup since 1998, taking the organic mantra to several different establishments. But he and Jason McAdam got serious when they opened Roots, making it an all-organic brewery.

Roots is hosting the 2006 North American Organic Brewers Festival, which promises to pour organic beers from across the U.S. and Canada alongside organic beers from England and Germany. The event, which also will include sustainable and organic vendors, is a benefit for organic certifier Oregon Tilth; the Oregon Food Bank, an organization that feeds the hungry; the World Forestry Center, which is dedicated to sustainable forests; and a local women's shelter. The event will run from noon to 9:00 p.m. on June 10. Tickets are $4 per person (bring three cans of food to donate to the Oregon Food Bank and receive $1 off admission).

Ch-Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes
The Oregon beer scene is mercurial, to say the least, but a slew of recent or upcoming brewer moves promises to create some big changes on the face of Oregon beer.

First off, Head Brewer Christian Ettinger is leaving Laurelwood Brewery and Public House to set off on his own. Ettinger plans to open an establishment at Southeast 30th and Powell (yet another contribution to the argument that inner-southeast Portland is the beer cultural center of the universe — see below). Ettinger is targeting an opening date for later in the summer. More on this in a future “Oregon Trail” column.

With Ettinger setting up shop on Powell, a void is filled in southeast Portland for a good-beer establishment. Former Oregon Brewers Guild executive director Jim Parker's Oaks Bottom Public House, located in the Moreland area in the southeast quadrant, has had a waiting list nearly every evening since it opened in March. These two additions extend the craft-beer scene even further in the already foamy Hawthorne District, which features Roots, Lucky Lab, Hair of the Dog, Clinton Street, BridgePort Ale House and several McMenamins establishments.

On the north coast, longtime Bill's Tavern head brewer Jack Harris is departing Cannon Beach to join with former Wet Dog/Astoria Brewing Company brewer Chris Nemlowill in a new venture in Astoria. Details are still in the works, but when this comes to fruition, Astoria could be the next craft-beer hotspot, being home to the aforementioned Wet Dog Café, a Rogue pub and this new establishment.

Meanwhile, folks in the Tigard area and those taking part in the recreational opportunities of Fanno Creek will soon find a new brewpub to enjoy. Brewer Max Tieger, who revamped Tuck's Brewery in southwest Portland into a lauded establishment, is opening his own place with a partner.

Tieger says Max's Fanno Creek Brewpub is right on the river in downtown Tigard (12568 Main Street). It's not slated to open until summer, but Tieger says the establishment will feature a 10-barrel system and have six of his beers on tap, plus a couple of special brews and a Belgian or two. A full bar, high-end Oregon wines by the glass and a family-friendly environment also will be on tap, Tieger says. He's looking at a July or August opening; watch this column for updates and grand opening coverage.

Oregon Beer Week Expands
Last year, a group of three "brewsketeers" decided to stop complaining about how craft beer was taken for granted in Oregon, and instead get off their barstools and do something about it. Because of their "hoproots" efforts, Oregon Beer Week was born. The week, which was actually nine days because there were so many events going on, was a huge success — coinciding with the Oregon Brewers Festival and bringing Oregon's incredible craft-beer culture into the local, state and national spotlights.

This year, that already lengthy week has grown into a month! And it's backed up by a proclamation from Governor Ted Kulongoski and Portland Mayor Tom Potter. The month includes a beer-and-cheese tasting with the incomparable Fred Eckhardt, a distillery festival at Rogue, several beer fests — culminating in the granddaddy of them all, the Oregon Brewers Festival (always the last full weekend in July) — and numerous other events. Please see the sidebar for a sampling of the other goings-on.

So many beers, so little time! Must be summer in Oregon!

OREGON BEER MONTH EVENTS

Buoy 10 Brew Fest
July 7–9
Warrenton, Ore.
oldoregon.com/pages/crabfestandevents
Seafood and culinary treats coupled with local and regional craft brews, art and entertainment on the north Oregon coast. New this year are a catch-and-release sturgeon derby, a carnival and an outdoor music stage.

Great American Distillery Festival
July 22
Rogue Ales Public House, Portland, Ore.
rogueales.com
Sample tastings from a gathering of micro-distilleries from across the nation, accompanied by food and live music. Donation at the door; sampling costs additional.

Oregon Brewers Blind Tasting & Test
July 26
Tom McCall Waterfront Park, Portland, Ore.
oregonbrewersfest.com
This benefit for the Oregon Commission for the Blind Foundation will feature 12 Oregon IPAs and 12 Oregon pale ales served on a tasting tray. The brewer representing the People's Choice Award wins a trip for two to a European beer festival. Meanwhile, the person who correctly identifies the highest number of beers of either style also will win a trip to a European beer festival for two. Following the tasting and test, all 24 beer taps will be opened and attendees will be invited to sample the brews.

Second Annual Sasquatch BrewAm Golf Tournament
July 28
McMenamins Edgefield in Troutdale, Ore.
Team up with celebrity brewers and other duffers to enjoy this super-fun course — one of the coolest in the country. You don't have to be a good golfer to enjoy round a golf, a picnic lunch, raffle prizes and a souvenir golf shirt. Proceeds benefit the Glen Hay Falconer Foundation to support the brewing scholarship program.

Lisa Morrison (aka the Beer Goddess) does The Time Warp and enjoys craft beer in her hometown of Portland, all across the great state of Oregon… and beyond!

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