Editor’s note: This is a re-publication of Andre Meunier’s Oregon Brews and News newsletter, which comes out via email at noon Thursdays. Sign up here to get it delivered to your inbox every week.
The new brewery and restaurant Grand Fir Brewing, from renowned Portland brewer Whitney Burnside and chef/restaurateur Doug Adams, is just about ready for you to go check out — it opens at noon Friday.
The wife and husband owner/operator team held an industry preview Wednesday night — it was packed, and the energy was buzzing. People are clearly curious and excited about the place in the Southeast Portland former home of West Coast Grocery Co., catty corner to Revolution Hall. Adams and Burnside have transformed the space into a quintessentially Pacific Northwest feel. Gone is the colorful modernism of West Coast Grocery; in is the understated aesthetic of forest greens and earthy appointments.
Not a surprise: Burnside’s beers are dialed in. The former 10 Barrel Brewing Portland brewmaster delivers excellence with a lineup including My Father’s Pilsner, which was about perfect, Old Growth Pale Ale, Tack Shack East Texas Lager (think modern and improved Shiner Bock), a West Coast IPA, One More Time Hazy DIPA, and Heartwood Export Stout.
I can’t find the words to describe the Grand Fir Burger I ate. It’s a double burger of Carman Ranch grass fed beef (you can get a single or vegetarian), but it’s beyond amazing. Large plates also include Fried Chicken on Texas toast with pickles, honey and hot sauce, a grilled cabbage steak, kale Caesar salad, and a blue cheese wedge, plus small plate appetizers highlighted by smoked wings, beer braised elk and crispy alpine potatoes. Suffice it to say I’ll be going back to try more of the Adams’ creations and Burnside’s beers.
Grand Fir is at 1403 S.E. Stark St. Open noon-10 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday and Sunday; noon-11 p.m. Friday-Saturday; closed Monday.
Goodbye Breakside Salted Caramel Stout, hello Barleywine
Breakside Brewery over the next four months will release six variants of its new seasonal, LIFE Barleywine. LIFE replaces Salted Caramel Stout, Breakside’s longtime collaboration with Salt & Straw ice cream, as its core seasonal in 22-ounce bottles.
Every version of LIFE Barleywine — the first of which will be released Sunday, Nov. 20 — features a specialty grain from a different maltster. The brewery said Ben Edmunds, Breakside’s brewmaster, selected some of the most renowned British maltsters plus up-and-coming producers from the Northwest, and each recipe is built around the nuances of each malt. Here are the various malts in the LIFE Barleywine variants, all of which are 9.5% ABV:
- Simpsons Malt: fifth-generation maltster from Northumberland, England
- Thomas Fawcett: seventh-generation family maltster in West Yorkshire England, operating for more than 200 years
- Crisp Malt: The 10th largest malting company in the world, established in 1870, with two facilities in England
- Minch Malt: Ireland’s oldest maltster, producing malted barley that is 100% Irish origin
- Bairds Malt: Malting for 199 years with facilities in Scotland and England
- Skagit Valley Malt: Malting sustainably grown grain from the Pacific Northwest, based in Washington
LIFE’s color, flavor, and malt profile will vary by batch to match the change of seasons, Breakside announced, with the first release autumnal in inspiration, copper in color and toffee-forward. “Closer to the Winter solstice, the next version will be darker with notes of roasted nuts and macerated raisins,” Breakside said. “As Spring approaches each subsequent brew will become progressively lighter in color with the nuances of the paler malts showing through.”
Bottle labels will also adapt to differentiate releases, with QR codes that lead to more information. LIFE Barleywine will be available throughout Breakside’s distribution footprint on draft and in bottles.
I’m looking forward to trying these new barleywines, which Edmunds described as straightforward and true to style. And this is normally where I’d wax nostalgic about the retirement of Salted Caramel Stout, but TBH I was never a huge fan — a rare occurrence for me as a lover of almost anything coming out of the Breakside brewhouses.
A veteran brewer leaves the industry
Sean Burke asked himself, what am I doing here? Is there longevity in this?
The answer was clear: After building his reputation with The Commons Brewery, Von Ebert Brewing and ForeLand Beer, Burke knew he had to leave the brewing industry. Now, the award-winning brewer is pursuing a new dream of combining his love of photography and the outdoors in a new career.
I sat down with him for a long interview to understand how and why someone at the top of their industry makes such a jarring, life-altering decision. Wise and insightful, he told me his whole story. If you missed it last Friday on OregonLive, check it out here.
Function PDX announces lineup through mid-’23
Function PDX, Northwest Portland’s beer-focused events space that showcases different breweries every month, has released a lineup for the first seven months of 2023 that features out-of-state breweries including HenHouse Brewing, Monkish and Cellarmaker Brewing of California.
The Northwest 23rd Avenue space generally invites breweries for monthlong stays. Function PDX rebrands its bar area as a taproom for the featured brewery and sells its merchandise, pours the brewery’s beers on tap as well as offering its packaged beers, and hosts events such as meet the brewers.
The rest of November will continue to feature WeldWerks Brewing of Greeley, Colorado. December’s lineup will feature a combination of three of Portland’s newest breweries: Living Haus Beer, Hetty Alice Brewing and Via Beer.
Here is next year’s early lineup:
- January: HenHouse Brewing of Santa Rosa, California. The popular brewery, which operates three brewpubs in California’s Bay Area, is known for its hoppy IPAs plus an eclectic lineup of barrel-aged, farmhouse, lagers and stouts.
- February: Tripping Animals Brewing Co. of Doral, Florida. The brewery’s three founders began brewing in Venezuela and moved to Miami, then opened Tripping Animals in 2018 in Doral. They say the brewery “promotes community outreach, Arts + Music initiatives, and spaces of inclusivity.” The beer lineup is heavy with IPAs, sours and lagers.
- March: Humble Sea Brewing Co. of Santa Cruz, California. The brewery, started by three childhood friends from the Santa Cruz Mountains, says it’s “here to forge new trails on the path of kookiness.” Its three taprooms south of the Bay Area serve hazy and clear IPAs plus co-fermented beers.
- April: RaR Brewing of Cambridge, Maryland. The brewery is in an 80-year-old former pool hall and bowling alley, where it serves a varied lineup of pub styles such as stouts, browns, pales and porters, plus IPAs and German styles.
- May: Monkish of Torrance, California. The popular brewer of hoppy IPAs, Belgian styles, farmhouses and mixed-fermentation beers also has a location in Anaheim.
- June: The Veil Brewing Co. of Richmond, Virginia. The brewery started in Richmond in 2016 and now has four locations. It includes mixed-fermentation ales, stouts, barleywines, hoppy IPAs, lagers and smoothie-style sours in its beer list.
- July: Cellarmaker Brewing Co. of San Francisco. A small-batch brewery that experiments with different hops, barrels, and yeasts and serves beers at two locations in the city. Its taplist includes English styles such as mild ales, porters and stouts plus IPAs, sours and lagers.
SheBrew festival announces 2023 date
SheBrew, a celebration of women in the brewing industry and arguably Portland’s best beer festival, announced this week it will return for its eighth year on Sunday, March 5.
The festival’s homebrewers competition will be held on Sunday, Feb. 26, with winners announced at the festival, and it may get a new, bigger venue this year, as it continues to grow.
Those are all the details available for now, but it’s worth a mention this early in order to get onto your calendar. The festival, which falls on the first weekend of Women’s History Month, is a fundraiser for the Human Rights Campaign, a nonprofit that advocates for the LGBTQ community, and the Oregon Brew Crew, a homebrewing and educational nonprofit.
What to do, what to do?
Magnanimous IPA Release Party, Arch Bridge Taphouse. The Oregon City taphouse celebrates the release of the annual Fort George Brewery beer, which is made with fir tips from Earth and Sky Farms in Oregon City. The party includes nine Fort George beers on tap, including some small-batch releases. 3 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 19, 205 Seventh St., Oregon City.
McMenamins 8th Annual Boones Ferry Autumn Ale Fest, Wilsonville Old Church & Pub. The festival brings together local brewers of all backgrounds and skill levels to showcase their finest fall ales and ciders in a friendly competition known as the “War of the Oar.” McMenamins says attendees can sample competing craft ales and put their taste buds to the test to hand-select the winning brewer, who not only receives bragging rights, but also an engraving on the famed Boone’s Ferryman wood oar trophy. Between tastings, visitors can also enjoy live tunes, grab food from the pub, orwatch football on the big screen in the Old Church. Here are photos from previous years. Noon-5 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 26, 30340 S.W. Boones Ferry Road, Wilsonville; all ages free to attend, $15 for adults-only tasking package.
Dark Beer Festival, Uptown Beer Co. The Southwest Portland beer bar and bottle shop celebrates its Black Saturday event for the sixth sixth year, featuring dark beers with an emphasis on rare and aged offerings on tap. This year features over 20 dark beers from BinaryBrewing.co, Crux Fermentation Project, Fremont Brewing, Ex Novo Brewing, pFriem Family Brewers, Firestone Walker Brewing, Matchless Brewing, Georgetown Brewing, Modern Times Beer, Pelican Brewing, Alesmith and Stormbreaker Brewing, among others. “We’re getting kegs that you’ll hardly see anywhere else in Oregon.” said Uptown co-owner Josh Johnson, co-owner of Uptown Beer Co. MidCity Smash Burgers serving its specialties. $30 online at www.uptownbeer.co; 21+ only. 6-9 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 26, 6620 S.W. Scholls Ferry Road.
Makers Fair, Hammer & Stitch Brewing. The Northwest Portland brewery teams with its neighbor Assemblage, formerly Makers Union PDX, to showcase the region’s maker network “while making holiday shopping fun, festive & meaningful.” The fair returns as several, small-scale holiday markets held inside the Slabtown brewery, with10 local artisans selling their handmade goods at each market for a total of 30 makers. Noon-6 p.m. Saturdays Nov. 26, Dec. 10, Dec. 17.2377 NW Wilson St.; 2377 N.W. Wilson St.
Beer of the Week
Bartleby Grodziskie, Living Haus Beer. Two things worth explaining here. First, what is a Grodziskie? A Grodziskie is a lesser-known but increasingly popular Polish-style beer made traditionally with a malt bill of oak-smoked wheat malt. It has higher carbonation, lower alcohol by volume and is hopped like a Pilsner. Brewery notes: “Light smoke, honeysuckle, and jasmine round out the nose which is followed by a spritzy and light bodied mouthfeel.” Second question: Who is Bartleby, and why is this beer named after him? Bartleby Bloss was a friend of Living Haus brewer Mat Sandoval, who worked with Bloss at Modern Times Beer, before Living Haus. Bloss passed away just over a year ago, and this beer is a tribute to him, Sandoval said. “Outside of work stuff, he was an artist, musician, and activist, basically just a good person. He only wanted the best for others and was very supportive and helpful to his friends and anyone in need,” Sandoval said, adding that Bloss had loved a previous Grodziskie that Sandoval and fellow Modern Times and Living Haus brewer Conrad Andrus had made. “He really loved it so we figured we should make a better version,” Sandoval said. “He was one of the most unique and creative people I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing. Hopefully this unique beer does him proud.”
New Releases of Note
Pizza Pals, Fort George Brewery/Ruse Brewing. This collaboration is a new winter seasonal brewed in collaboration with Ruse’s Crust Collective on the Vancouver Waterfront. “Celebrate the world’s most logical food and beverage pairing all winter long, November to February,” the breweries say. Available all winter long at the breweries and retailers in four-packs of 16-ounce cans and draft.
Ruse Brewing released three on Wednesday, and the Southeast Portland brewery also has a special release on Thanksgiving Eve.
- Static Equation. A hazy IPA. Brewing notes: “Beaming with notes of ripe Apricot, cured grapefruit peel and just the right amount of sweet dankness.”
- Couvers Light. An American light lager brewed in collaboration with the staff of the brewery’s Vancouver pizza pub, Crust Collective. Brewery notes: “Brewed to be crushed with a saucy slice of pizza. It’s brewed cold, filtered cold, cold all the things.”
- Shoveling Rain. An Imperial Stout created with Corvallis’ Block 15 Brewery. Brewery notes: “Insane amounts of oatmeal, midnight wheat and chocolate malt will make you thankful that you don’t have to shovel rain.”
- Ruse is also hosting its Thanksgiving Eve Bash & Bottle Release, when it will offer Over the River, Under the Moon, and American-style barleywine aged in maple-syrup casks. 3-9 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 23, 4784 S.E. 17th Ave.
Threshold Brewing & Blending puts out three:
- Holiday Bubble. This cranberry orange tart ale is perfect for Thanksgiving dinner. Brewery notes: “Bright cranberry and citrus make this effervescent tart ale a must for the winter season. Medium-bodied with an initial hit of cran, slowly building sweetness and lingering acidity.”
- Stages of Destiny. This West Coast IPA marks the return of one of Threshold’s rotating flagships. Brewery notes: “A wonderfully aromatic West Coast IPA, delicately floral on the nose with a snappy citrus finish.”
- Piwo. A Polish Pilsner that’s great with a meal. Brewery notes: “Ultra bright and crisp Polish-style Pilsner brewed with Central European malts and Polish Lubelski noble hops.”
Chuckanut Barleywine, Chuckanut Brewery/North Fork Brewery. Chuckanut collaborated with North Fork on this, its big beer for the holidays. Barleywine will be tapped on Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, at its two locations, including P. Nut Beer Hall in Southeast Portland. Chuckanut says the strong, reddish golden ale comes in at 10.3% ABV and has the characteristics of a marriage between the American and English styles of barleywine ale. Brewery notes: “A whimsical balance of sweetness from Vienna malt and a slight bitterness from noble hops creates a warming palate and dry finish.” On tap starting Nov. 25, when merchandise specials will start and continue until Dec. 23. P. Nut, at 920 S.E. Caruthers St., will be closed Thanksgiving Day.
Petite Cranberry, Cascade Brewing. Features Cascade’s sour wheat and blond ales aged in oak barrels and foudres for 10 months with Pacific Northwest cranberries. Brewery notes: “After delicate infusions of orange peel and cinnamon, this blend offers brilliant cranberry fruit flavor with soft spice notes and a clean, refreshing finish.” Available at the Cascade Brewing Barrel House, 939 S.E. Belmont St. beginning today and through regular distribution channels.
Vice Beer releases three IPAs on draft and in cans:
- Zack Morris is Trash. A West Coast IPA that’s clear, citrusy and piney.
- Calm Down Hazy IPA. A hazy that commemorates Vice’s launch of its Oregon distribution through Day One Distribution.
- Slappers Only No Oddjob. A double dry hopped double IPA collaboration with Whistle Punk Brewing of Spokane.
Hopworks Urban Brewery releases two winter beers available now at their two locations and in 16-ounce four-packs at retailers throughout the region:
- Winter Ritual Cold IPA. A light and crisp cold IPA. Brewery notes: “Pine sap, lemon zest and persimmons and a balanced, dry finish reminiscent of gooseberry and pear. Tropical and citrus notes.”
- Bog Monster Cranberry Orange Gose. A pale pink beer created as a cranberry complement to a holiday meal. Brewery notes: “Aromas of orange blossom and subtle cranberry tartness and a light salinity at the finish.”
Portland Cider Co. releases two seasonal ciders, both available at their three locations, and Santa Sauce in four-packs cans at retailers throughout the Pacific Northwest:
- Crangerine Cider. A blend of traditional winter fruits that’s made for a holiday meal. Cidery notes: “Delightfully tart, juicy tangerine blends nicely with plump cranberries and Northwest-grown apples in this ruby-colored hard cranberry cider, with brilliantly bright flavors that aren’t too sweet.”
- Santa’s Sauce. Made to go with your bite of spiced apple pie after the meal. Cidery notes: “This festively spiced cider is made with Northwest apples, and infused with cinnamon, cardamom, and a touch of cayenne pepper.”
— Andre Meunier; sign up for my weekly newsletter Oregon Brews and News, and follow me on Instagram, where I’m @oregonianbeerguy.
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