The Oregon Trail To Beer

In 1845, a man named Joseph Avery came all the way from Illinois to stake out a land claim here on this side of the U.S. He said he knew that steamboats were going to come up that river (The Willamette) and he wanted a town there waiting for them. By 1850 there was a population of over 600 people. By 1870 there were 1200. And the only reason they could do it was because almost every person who showed up had to contribute. They built stores, and roads, and schools. The courthouse, the post office, and the first meeting hall, the Opera house. If they couldn’t build, they farmed. If they couldn’t farm, they taught, or transported, or communicated, or just plain gave what they had.

And yes, they built a brewery. Corvallis Brewery was both a beer brewery and distillery. Sadly there doesn’t seem to be a whole lot of info on it. It burned in 1870, but along the same portion of river in 1987 a new incarnation of brewing appeared in the Old World Deli in Corvallis. After remodeling the corner of the deli building, they were up and running with 20 barrels a year. Now, just as they did then, all the grain is hauled all the way to the top story. When brewing, it is fed into a grain hopper that is set into the floor and feeds directly to the mash tun. It saves space in what is a very tiny (1800 sq feet vertically in three levels) brewery. It took hard work and cooperation to get that brewery up and running. Reinforcing floors and moving restrooms is not an easy task.

 

At the time there were only three other breweries in the entire state of Oregon. Widmer, Full Sail, and Bridgeport. Microbrews were still not popular at this time in Oregon. Even having to battle over every single tap handle they gained, Oregon Trail began to win over customers with their consistent brews. In 1989 they won a silver for Oregon Trail Brown at GABF. The brewery prospered and increased to 300 barrels per year.

Poised to increase to 1200 barrels per year, disaster struck. The owner at that time, Jerry Shadomy, fell into hard times and brewery suffered. They lost tap handles in the community and it seemed that Oregon Trail was destined to fail completely by mid 1992.

Dave Wills, who had assisted Shadomy in renovating the space for the brewery decided that he didn’t want to let this piece of history die after so much effort had been put into it. While he had other businesses such as Freshops demanding his time and expertise, he threw his efforts in with Oregon Trail. He redesigned fermenting, marketing, and packaging. Instead of just kegs, they began to bottle and present their microbrew in a new way to the public. This gained them valuable shelf space, and customers. Dave hired new brewers who helped create quality, dependable recipes. Other breweries and the public have contributed, and even today when a customer offers pounds of hops or other ingredients they grew in their backyard, Oregon Trail Brewery is only too happy to accept. This makes the community part of this brewery.

Today Oregon Trail Brewery is at full capacity, 1200 barrels. They have continued to improve packaging and marketing. They hire brewers who have surprised us with their interesting ideas and tasty recipes such as sours and beers created with wine yeast. Their flagship brown still continues to be a prominent seller although they have added a wit, a solid IPA, and a ginseng porter to their regular lineup. They provide kegs as well as bottled beers aged in casks. It’s the only brewery in Corvallis that offers party pigs for those who can’t afford or transport a full keg.

You can go right into the brewery itself and on most any day, the brewer is happy to talk to you, give you tour, and a taste from the bright tank. Dave himself is more than willing to talk to homebrewers or even share hop starts. Every fermentor has a name, every piece of equipment a story, and every brewer a different view.

Other breweries have taken on many of the ideals that Oregon Trail started with and even though other breweries in Corvallis have expanded, all the breweries in Corvallis are still willing to share ingredients and make the public part of brewery life. It’s the way that Corvallis started and it’s what we will remember about Oregon Trail Brewing. Cheers! 

Photos by Che Dean (https://plus.google.com/+CheDean)

http://www.bentoncountymuseum.org/index.php/research/benton-county-history/

https://www.facebook.com/Oregon-Trail-Brewery-45124684392/

 

 

 

 

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Septembeerfest!

Septembeerfest was REALLY awesome this year. For those who are not familiar with it, Septembeerfest is Corvallis Oregon’s large beer festival held each year in September. For an entry fee you get a shaker pint glass and some tokens to try tastes of beers presented there.

This year, Septembeerfest was held at Avery Park, which is a lovely tree filled park. We enjoyed great beer, great food, and great music!

Here are four of my favorite brews that were served at the event!

I’d like to thank all the people who gave their time to volunteer for this event whether it was running a tent, serving drinks, answering questions, or picking up trash. Corvallis is very community oriented with a strong vision of ecological responsibility. It’s a real pleasure to live here.

Proceeds went to assist Corvallis Benton County Food Share, who helps distribute food around the county. Their service is invaluable to us!

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Friday Night Hangout – Celebrating Lagunitas Brewing

FNH - Celebrating Lagunitas

 

Friday Night Hangout – Celebrating Lagunitas Brewing

Episode 171 of the #FridayNightHangout is going to be a hopping time as we crack open a bunch of Lagunitas Brewing goodness.

Lagunitas

For the uninitiated Lagunitas is pronounced LAH GOO KNEE TUSS

Hops Take Center Stage

Known for their hoppy beers, Lagunitas first opened its doors back in 1993 and has since grown into one of the largest craft breweries in the US.

Lagunitas IPA

IPA-Tap-Sticker_smallTheir Lagunitas IPA is the quintessential west coast style IPA with its grapefruit hoppy signature. Add in beers like Hop Stoopid and the world class Lagunitas Sucks and it’s easy to see why Lagunitas has a reputation for hoppy beers.

Mistakes Lead To Greatness

Some of Lagunitas most beloved beers were born out of mistakes in either the brewing process or scheduling.

Brown-Shugga-Tap-Sticker-smallBrown Shugga’ Was a failed attempt at their Olde GrarlyWine. Brewed with loads of actual brown sugar this is a big sweet malty craft beer with a generous amount of hops to perfectly balance it our.  Our own Gil Melo’s favorite.

When last we celebrated Lagunitas on our Friday Night Hangout it took a whole 37 seconds into our show before some Brown Shugga’ was on display.

Sucks-Tap-Sticker_smallLagunitas Sucks Brown Shugga’ Substitute Ale came about after a scheduling mishap caused them to miss brewing that year’s batch of Brown Shugga’. This is a big tropical beast of a beer.  Loaded with barley, rye, wheat and malt, and dry hopped to perfection, Lagunitas Sucks is full of tropical fruits and resin on the nose and the taste buds. And we love those 32oz. bottles!

USA-Tap-Sticker_smallUndercover Investigation Shut-Down Ale is craft beer commemorating that time back in 2005 when they were shut down for 20 days for some extracurricular activities.  This is a malty sweet beer with an earthy and citrusy hoppiness to balance it out.

For the story behind this:

Overall there’s a lot to explore when it comes to Lagunitas. They are one of the best and most consistent breweries out there. Whenever we see a new Lagunitas craft beer hit the market it is very quickly in our fridges soon to be opened and savored. Is it Friday Night yet?

Friday Night Hangout

Join us Friday, August 14, 2015 for #FridayNightHangout Episode 171.

Share Your Thoughts

Have you explored all the amazing Lagunitas beers yet? Have you been fortunate enough to find yourself in California and stopped in and had any at their source?

Share with us your Lagunitas experiences. Drop us a comment below or head on over to our Google Plus Event Page or our YouTube Page and comment there and look for us to share your comments on air.

We love sharing our new craft beer experiences and love to hear from others.

#FNHBeer Style: LAGUNITAS BREWING


What To Watch

Friday Night Hangout Posts:
http://craftbeernation.org/blog/category/friday-night-hangout/

Friday Night Hangout YouTube Playlist

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Friday Night Hangout – #IPAday

FNH - IPAday

Friday Night Hangout – #IPAday – We’re Still Celebrating

Thursday, August 6, 2015 is #IPAday and we are in celebration mode on our #FridayNightHangout episode 170.

Back in late March through early April we explored the Ale, from Pale Ale all the way up to the big Imperial IPAs.  And now it’s looking like that was just a homework assignment, a training session for #IPAday 2015.

IPA is always a great style of craft beer to dive into and we’re super happy #IPAday is here so we can dive right back into the style.

For a breakdown of the India Pale Ale you can click the links below to our previous shows.

Friday Night Hangout

Join us Friday, August 7, 2015 for #FridayNightHangout Episode 170.

Share Your Thoughts

Are you an IPA fan?  Are you newer to craft beer and haven’t yet made the leap into hoppy gloriousness?

Share with us your IPA experiences. Drop us a comment below or head on over to our Google Plus Event Page or our YouTube Page and comment there and look for us to share your comments on air.

We love sharing our new craft beer experiences and love to hear from others.

#FNHBeer Style: #IPAday

What To Watch

Friday Night Hangout Posts:
http://craftbeernation.org/blog/category/friday-night-hangout/

Friday Night Hangout YouTube Playlist

Craft Beer Nation Ale Series

 

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Foothills Brewing on Pints and Quarts

Foothills Brewing

Foothills Brewing

Foothills Brewing | Pints and Quarts – Ep.054

Pints and Quarts Episode 054 welcomes Foothills Brewing to our show.  We have the pleasure of interviewing Jamie Bartholomaus, the President and Brewmaster at Foothills.

About Foothills Brewing

Starting in 2005 with just 800 barrels Jaimie has grown Foothills into a multimillion dollar regional brewery approaching 40,000 barrels a year.

Sexual Chocolate

Sexual Chocolate - Foothills Brewing

Sexual Chocolate – Foothills Brewing

While Foothills makes a slew of great beers they are perhaps best well known for the buzz surrounding Sexual Chocolate.  A cocoa infused Imperial Stout coming in at 9.75% ABV, this is one powerhouse craft beer.

Here’s the description from their website:

A cocoa infused Imperial Stout. Opaque black in color with a dark brown head. Big chocolate aroma with notes of espresso, blackstrap molasses, dark sweet toffee and dark fruit. Smooth dark chocolate backbone with complex notes of coffee, dark toffee and dark fruit.

As if that wasn’t enough they also seasonally brew a bourbon barrel aged version.

Foothills Beer List
http://www.foothillsbrewing.com/beer/

We’re excited to talk with Jamie to hear what Foothills has been up to.


Banner - CBN - PnQ - Foothills

 

You can also watch Pints and Quarts from the following locations:

Google Plus Event Page
https://plus.google.com/events/c9mb05720mprivadpvfi3ubg670

YouTube
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qE8QhrydfC8

Craft Beer Nation Pints and Quarts Playlist
https://goo.gl/xxLmLh


Related Links

Foothills Brewing Co.
http://www.foothillsbrewing.com/
https://twitter.com/FoothillsBeer

 

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Friday Night Hangout – Lambic

FNH - LAMBIC - CBNFriday Night Hangout – LAMBIC

It’s time to take a virtual visit to the Pajottenland region of Belgium and explore the Lambic.

Brewing Process

Lambic is produced by spontaneous fermentation, by exposing the beer to wild yeast and bacteria.  This unpredictable process gives the Lambic its distinctive flavors.

Lambic runs the gambit from dry and cidery to funky and sour and might be a good and interesting way to introduce your red wine drinkers to beer.

Lambic is mostly wheat, a combination of malted barley and unmalted wheat (approx. 60-40 percent).  The wort is cooled overnight in a flat pan and left exposed to the elements so all of those wonderful microorganisms can perform their magic. Here you will find, amongst a horde of other microorganisms the wonderful Saccharomyces cerevisiae and Saccharomyces pastorianus and Brettanomyces bruxellensis.

You can find Lambic being brewed and fermented in the colder parts of the year.

Where are the Hops?

The Lambic is interesting is how hops play a role.  Unlike many other beer styles where the hop can be an aromatic or flavor star, here they are used mainly for their natural preservative qualities.  The bittering, aroma and flavors imparted are still there but in the background.

Blending

One key component of the Lambic that makes it into the bottle is it is a blend of multiple Lambic beers.

There are currently 9 breweries brewing the Lambic wort within the Senne Valley and four lambic blenders who buy the wort from breweries to age in their own barrels and then make their custom blends.

The brewers take their various Lambic batches and blend them to get just the flavor they want and that is what goes into the bottle.

Lambic comes in a few different variations these days.

Gueuze

Cantillon_Classic_Gueuze - photo by Doug Nolan

Cantillon_Classic_Gueuze – photo by Doug Nolan

A mixture of a young and an old Lambic.  The younger Lambic undergoes a secondary fermentation in the bottle.  A gueuze can ferment up to a year before being shipped out for sale.  This version of the Lambic can often have a shelf life of up to 20 years.  The gueuze is also carbinated and champagne like.  Expect something dry and musty and barnyard with some acidic sour thrown in for good meausure.

 

Popular versions of the style

Faro

Lindemans Faro - photo by Gil Melo

Lindemans Faro – photo by Gil Melo

A sweetened beer featuring a blend of Lambic and a young beer with brown sugar added in, this low-alcohol beer is meant as an easy day drinker.

Kriek

Lambicx_2011_2013

Lambicx_2011_2013 – photo by Charles Dunkley

This a Belgian beer was traditionally created by fermenting Lambic with sour Morello cherries. These days many breweries will use different cherries or even things like cherry juice and sugar.

Popular versions of the style:

There is a debate amongst some regarding the Kriek and the turning away of some brewers from cherries to fruit juice.  This is to be expected whenever time honored brewing traditions come face to face with market realities.  An interesting experiment might be to gather up a group of Kriek Lambic and divide them into the various categories of real fruit vs. juice and do a taste test to see if there is any discernable difference.

Even better, do a blind taste test and then see which ones came out on top.

Either way, finding interesting ways to go out and try more beers sounds like a science experiment just waiting.

Friday Night Hangout

Join us Friday, July 31, 2015 for #FridayNightHangout Episode 169.

 

Share Your Thoughts

Have you explored the Lambic yet? Have you been fortunate enough to find yourself in that region and stopped in and had any at their source?

Share with us your Lambic experiences. Drop us a comment below or head on over to our Google Plus Event Page or our YouTube Page and comment there and look for us to share your comments on air.

We love sharing our new craft beer experiences and love to hear from others.

#FNHBeer Style: LAMBIC


What To Watch

Friday Night Hangout Posts:
http://craftbeernation.org/blog/category/friday-night-hangout/

Friday Night Hangout YouTube Playlist

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DuClaw on Pints and Quarts

DuClaw Brewing Co.

DuClaw Brewing Co.

DuClaw Brewing | Pints and Quarts – Ep.053

For Pints and Quarts Episode 053 we will be interviewing Dave Benfield, Founder and Jim Wagner, Brewmaster of DuClaw Brewing out of Maryland.

About DuClaw

DuClaw opened its doors in its original location way back in 1996 and has continued to grow and expand to a state of the art facility on the outskirts of Baltimore.  You can read more about how Dave went from homebrewer to DuClaw’s “grand poo-bah” here.

With beer names like Sweet Baby Jesus, Dirty Little Freak and Hellrazer DuClaw doesn’t shy away from being creative and different.

DuClaw Beer List
http://duclaw.com/beer-main/


 

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You can also watch Pints and Quarts from the following locations:

Google Plus Event Page
https://plus.google.com/events/cr51uo0k5v5b92ak4tunsnpekg4

YouTube
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j_PA-YYGM-U

Craft Beer Nation Pints and Quarts Playlist
https://goo.gl/xxLmLh


Related Links

DuClaw Brewing Co.
http://duclaw.com/
https://twitter.com/DuClawBrewing

 

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