Librarians in the Beer Tents

Guest post from @esquetee – librarian, beer lover, and married to the Bend Beer Librarian.

The worlds of beer and libraries will collide this week in Portland, Oregon. Mark already wrote about the 27th annual Oregon Brewers Festival, also known as Oregon BrewFest or just #OBF27 for the twitter-inclined, but just a few blocks away at PSU there will be an equally exciting though blissfully smaller festival-of-sorts going on … the Library Instruction West (LIW) conference.

On Wednesday night, brave librarians of LIW will troop over to OBF for the EveryLibrary Meetup in the North Tent. Think you’ll know us by our eyeglass chains and dusty cardigans? Expect to catch a whiff of leather and paper when you stand behind us in line? Looking forward to the hush that will follow us as we move through the crowds?

Oh no, my friend. You won’t recognize us all. But if you have a fetish for the meeting of beers and books, here are some other opportunities:

To my fellow librarians, info nerds, and beer geeks – I’ll raise a toast to you at the BrewFest.

27th annual Oregon Brewers Festival

Taking place this week is the 27th annual Oregon Brewers Festival at Tom McCall Waterfront Park in Portland, Oregon and I will be there for my 1st Oregon Brewers Festival (OBF). [Far more details below or see the OBF website.]

27th annual Oregon Brewers Festival at Tom McCall Waterfront Park in Portland, Oregon, July 23 - 27, 2014

27th annual Oregon Brewers Festival at Tom McCall Waterfront Park in Portland, Oregon, July 23 – 27, 2014

Last year was the first year we could have attended but we had conflicts. This year my wife is the co-chair of the Library Instruction West conference, being extremely conveniently held at Portland State University all during OBF. Both of us will be at OBF Wednesday evening with a group of librarians going there for dinner and socializing. I will also be there Thursday at noon for a few to several hours and maybe back again with Sara on Thursday evening.

I am truly excited to be attending and am looking forward to quite a few beers. I do not know yet what will be in the Specialty Tent but I am following @OBFLTDTent on Twitter to keep abreast of what is pouring there. Of the 88 beers in the main fest I am particularly interested in trying many of the following, which are in a loose sort of prioritized order and then simply alphabetically:

  • Cigar City Mangosteen Florida Weisse (lowest ABV)
  • Dogfish Head Burton Olde English (Old English-style strong ale)  (highest ABV)
  • Sixpoint Barrel Aged 3 Beans (Baltic Porter)

These are my top 3 and should truly be reversed. Cigar City has the lowest ABV at the fest and is a fruit Weisse. There are, in fact, several Weissen at the fest. It is a style I am trying to explore a bit more and we don’t generally get Cigar City in Bend; no idea whether Portland does. The Dogfish Head is the Old Ale half of Burton Baton minus the IPA part. A big old ale. From Dogfish Head. That I simply cannot buy elsewhere. Yep. I am THERE. I have been wanting to try something from Sixpoint for a while now and this is my first opportunity (I believe) and it is a barrel-aged Baltic porter. Not missing this one either.

  • Mazama Rasplendent (Raspberry Wit)

I really like Mazama and try to support them. Raspberry is not my favorite ingredient but I’m betting they can pull it off for my taste buds.

  • Sprecher Abbey Triple (Tripel)
  • Stone Witty Moron (Black Wit)
  • The Dude’s Grandma’s Pecan Brown (English-style nut brown ale)

I have not had any Sprecher beer although I did love their root beer [I don’t drink soda anymore]. Want to give this a try. What the heck is a “Black Wit” but, hey, it’s Stone and it has a witty name. I enjoy a good English nut brown ale so I’ll see what The Dude’s can bring. Their website says it’s their flagship. Alrighty then! That’s different and perhaps bold and I respect that. Going to give it a try,

  • Boundary Bay Double Dry Hopped Mosaic Pale Ale
  • Bear Republic Grand Am (APA)
  • Deschutes Ester the Farmhouse Maiden (Saison)
  • Ecliptic Perihelion Crimson Saison (w/rhubarb)
  • Full Sail Cascade Pilsner (NW German Pils)
  • Gigantic Who Ate All the Pies? (Strawberry Rhubarb Gose)
  • Golden Valley Young Franken Stein (Kellerbier)
  • Logsdon Straffe Drieling (Triple)
  • Natian Portland Fog (Org. blond)
  • Old Town YoSteamite Sam (California Common)
  • Rock Bottom Cascadian Kölsch

The above I want to try for assorted reasons: I like Mosaic hops and pales, I like Saisons, Deschutes Saison sounds tasty and has a silly name and I’m guessing it is from one of the pub brewers [Verified my hunch. Is a Portland pub beer as I suspected.]. Gose, Tripels, Kölsch, California Common, ….

  • 10 Barrel Cider Weisse
  • Anderson Valley Summer Solstice (cream ale)
  • Bayern Amber Lager (Marzen)
  • Collaborator Czech’d Out Pils
  • Fort George The Optimist (IPA)
  • Grain Station Brew Works Epernay Weiss
  • Lucky Lab Hopperopolis (copper ale)
  • Nimbus Red Ale (amber ale)
  • Paradise Creek Huckleberry Pucker (Berliner Weiss)
  • Pelican Phil’s Pils (Pre-Pro Am Pils)
  • Upright Old News Saison

These I would love to try but there are quite a few before them and, as I wrote above, no good idea what is going to be in the Specialty Tent. Then there’s the issue of these all sounded potentially tasty a few days ago but what will in a few more?

Actually, I know there will be about 100 specialty beers that will rapidly come and go so, if you are interested, following that @OBFLTDTent account might be the best way to keep up. Also in the Specialty Tent will be 11 Dutch and 1 German brewery with up to 5 beers apiece pouring daily Wed.-Sat. [See more below. See also pp. 8-9 of the event guide for even more.]

Seems we’re looking at over 200 beers; how much over depends on how many beers each of the Europeans bring. Hard decisions will have to be made. Drink responsibly, folks!

I want to thank my friend, Jon Abernathy, for hooking me up with this opportunity. I am sorry he cannot attend this year. Here’s his post for this year and you can find previous ones at his blog.

Bits and pieces culled from the press kit I was supplied and from the festival website and the event guide [big PDF].

Info on the 27th annual Oregon Brewers Festival at Tom McCall Waterfront Park in Portland, Oregon

The OBF was founded in 1988 by Art Larrance, co-founder of Portland Brewing Co.; Dick and Nancy Ponzi of BridgePort Brewing Co.; and Kurt & Rob Widmer of Widmer Bros. Brewing Co. Along with McMenamins, these were the only microbreweries in Portland at the time, and there were just three more across the state. Today, there are 173 brewing companies operating 214 brewing facilities in 70 cities in Oregon. Portland alone has 56 breweries — more than any other city in the world. The Portland metropolitan area is the largest craft brewing market in the US with the most number of breweries at 76.

Venue: Tom McCall Waterfront Park, Portland, Oregon. Main entrance at S.W. Oak Street and Naito Parkway.

Dates: July 23 – 27, 2014 — “Always the last full weekend in July”

Times: Wed through Sat, taps are open from Noon to 9pm. Sun, taps are open from Noon to 7pm. Token & glass sales close one-half hour prior to the taps shutting off (8:30pm daily, except 6:30pm Sunday)

Admission: The OBF is NOT a ticketed event, admission into the festival grounds is free. In order to consume beer, purchase of a 2014 souvenir tasting glass is required and costs $7. Beer is purchased with wooden tokens, which cost $1 apiece. Patrons pay four tokens for a full 12.8oz glass of beer, or one token for a 3oz. taste. Glasses and tokens are pre-sold up to two weeks prior to the festival at select local locations, including Raccoon Lodge & Brew Pub, Cascade Brewing Barrel House, Belmont Station, Deschutes in the Pearl, Rogue Ales Public House and the Green Dragon. The festival is cash only, and there are 8 ATMs on-site.

Description: The Oregon Brewers Festival is one of the nation’s longest running and best loved craft beer festivals. Situated on the west bank of the Willamette River, with towering Mt. Hood as a backdrop, it is the ideal venue for anyone who loves craft beer. With a laid back attitude and scores of award-winning beers, the festival reflects the essence of the city of Portland. The Oregon Brewers Festival exists to provide an opportunity to sample and learn about a variety of craft beer styles from across the country. 86 craft breweries from all parts of the nation offer more than 30 styles of handcrafted brews to 85,000 beer lovers during the five-day event; an additional two taps are dedicated to gluten-free beer, and a tap is reserved for the Oregon Brew Crew Collaboration project.

In addition to the main taps, there is a Specialty Tent featuring uber-geek beers, cellared specialties, one-offs, and other brews you might never see again. These beers are highly prized, very expensive, and the selection is very limited in quantity (follow OBFLTDTent on Twitter). As part of this year’s specialty tent, the OBF is bringing in a handful of craft brewers & their beer from the Netherlands. #NLtoPDX is a natural progression in the evolution of craft brewing worldwide, a collective celebration of great craft beer. We will offer these Euro beers daily in the specialty tent and pour them until their allotment per brewery is exhausted.

The OBF’s focus is craft beer, but there’s more than sampling involved. The event features live music, beer-related vendors, displays, homebrewing demonstrations, and an assortment of food vendors. The Crater Lake Root Beer Garden offers complimentary handcrafted root beer for minors and designated drivers. Minors are always welcome at the festival when accompanied by a parent.

The Oregon Brewers Festival strongly encourages responsible drinking, and urges patrons to take advantage of the MAX Light Rail line, located just one block west of the festival on SW Oak Street. Go by bus, train or taxi, just don’t drink and drive. The festival also offers free monitored on-site bicycle parking.


  • 27th year of the festival.
  • 88 handcraft beers are poured in the main festival; another 100+ in the Specialty Tent.
  • There are 86 participating breweries (Deschutes has two entries, one Gluten-Free), plus Collaborator, a project in which Oregon Brew Crew homebrewers create the recipe and have it made and distributed by Widmer Bros. Brewing.
  • 14 states are represented: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Minnesota, Montana, New York, Oregon, Washington and Wisconsin; plus British Columbia. In the Specialty Tent we also have Germany and The Netherlands.
  • In the main festival, Maui Brewing Co traveled the furthest at 2,568 miles; Dunedin Brewing from Dunedin, Florida, was a close second with 2,483 (and the brewers actually drove their kegs on a road trip to the fest!); and Dogfish Head from Milton, Delaware was third at 2,434 miles.
  • There are 17 breweries making their first appearance at the festival this year, including Ashtown, Central City, Cigar City, Coronado, Crux, Ecliptic, Ex Novo, Fitger’s, Grain Station, Kells, Mazama, No-Li, North Rim, Payette, Sixpoint, Viking Braggot and Wild Ride.
  • The following breweries have never missed a festival: Bayern, BridgePort, Deschutes, Full Sail & Widmer.

There is a Mobile Guide “app” that I have played with some. It is an app in that is a website that does a particular job. It might be useful if you have a good fast (and cheap) data connection. Otherwise it seems to me it would seriously tax your battery. Then again, maybe heavy use of Untappd also seriously taxes a battery. Bottom line is the more you use your phone the faster the battery drains. I think it is a good stat but not as good as I would like. Give it a try and see what you think.

There is also an intriguing color code used. It is used throughout the event guide for each individual beer and all are collected from lightest to darkest in the last few pages of the guide. So if, for whatever reason, you want to choose your beers based on color you have some help.

Brewers from the Netherlands and Germany

See page 9 of the event guide.

… for the first time in the festival’s history, nearly a dozen brewers from the Netherlands will join in the celebration.

The Oregon Brewers Festival is flying over both beer and brewers from Brouwerij ‘t IJ, Brouwerij Rodenburg, Microbrouwerij Rooie Dop, Brouwerij Maximus, Brouwerij Duits & Lauret, Brouwerij de Molen, Oedipus Brewing, Het Uiltje, Oersoep and Ramses Bier. Bierbrouwerij Emelisse is also sending beer as well, although no brewer representation.

Each brewery will serve five of their beers daily in the festival’s Specialty Tent, an area where vintage, barrel aged, blends and esoteric one-offs from participating breweries are also offered. The brewers will be available for daily meet the brewer sessions at the event. They will also be doing a special Meet & Greet and beer tasting event at Belmont Station, a local bottle shop, on July 24 from 4 to 8pm.

Dubbed NL to PDX (#NLtoPDX), the program started when festival director Art Larrance learned that Portland has a Friendship City relationship with the city of Utrecht in the Netherlands. Upon visiting, he discovered a growing craft brewing movement that reminded him of the Northwest craft beer industry in the 1980s; brewers who are just beginning to explore new flavors and styles.

“Featuring international brewers is a natural extension for the OBF,” explained Larrance. “We want to develop a long term cultural exchange and share our passion, knowledge and friendship with these brewers as part of a collective The Dutch brewers will join Portland brewers while they’re in town to collaborate and share information. Portland breweries including BridgePort, Ecliptic, Gigantic, Portland, Laurelwood, Hair of the Dog, Upright, The Commons, Hopworks Urban Brewery and Upright have all stepped up to host their Dutch counterparts.

  • Bierbrouwerij Emelisse (
  • Brouwerij ‘t IJ (
  • Brouwerij Rodenburg (
  • Microbrouwerij Rooie Dop (
  • Brouwerij Maximus (
  • Brouwerij Duits & Lauret (
  • Brouwerij de Molen (
  • Oedipus Brewing (
  • Het Uiltje (
  • Oersoep (
  • Ramses Bier (
  • Brauerei Nothhaft (German)

Each brewery will serve up to five of their beers in the Specialty Tent starting at Noon (Wed-Sat); the brewers will be available for meet the brewer sessions those days as well.

Live Music

There will also be live music throughout the event. The schedule is also in the event guide.


Visiting Portland? Be sure to check out Travel Portland to learn about restaurants, attractions and more. You can also download a concise visitor guide.

Want to learn more about Oregon craft beer? Visit The Oregon Brewers Guild.

Want to learn about the history of the Oregon Brewers Festival? Watch a video of founder Art Larrance.


The map which is also in the event guide.

I am truly looking forward to my 1st Oregon Brewers Festival and to being there mostly when it isn’t massively crowded and in full-on party mode. I will report back with some kind of after action report about the tasty beers I had and the cool people I met. Maybe I’ll see you there. Cheers!

Twitter Road to Cicerone #beerchat

Tuesday 15 July, Ray Daniels [see note below if you aren't familiar with Daniels], held a Twitter #beerchat #RoadtoCicerone. During it he announced their new study program Road to Cicerone®, which was released the next morning. There will be 7 courses available in the Road to Cicerone® Self-paced Instruction for Certified Cicerone® Candidates but for now only the first is available: German Course.

[Check out Ray Daniels at the bottom of this page under "Who started the Cicerone program?"]

I am immensely interested in the German Course and what you get for $99 as I am currently setting up a beer styles study group for a small band of friends. While $99 is kind of pricey so is my time identifying and sourcing beers, researching history of the styles, and so on.

Daniels also took questions regarding studying and other forms of preparation for the Certified Cicerone exam.

Here are some of the things from the #beerchat that I found of importance and/or that I want to comment on [note: these are mostly in order from earliest to latest, but I re-arranged a few where it made sense]:

Steven Ward asks who should take exam and Daniels replies:

Daniel Hartis asks about beer writers:  

Daniel Hartis concedes the point and Ray tells us he started as beer writer:

Douglas Smiley asks about bloggers but I did not, nor could, find a reply.

Beer Styles:

Study partners:  

It sounds like they are trying to make more of a community, with multiple ways to support each other and, of course, pay for more education. Sounds promising to me. All forms of support are needed in serious studying. This is serious.

How to manage so many styles:

Food and beer pairing:  

Notice the best and worst pairings comment. Why do some pairings not work?

Time required to study:

Someone questioned the “new to beer” comment and Daniels clarified that he truly meant new. I’m not sure why someone that “new” to beer would be jumping into taking the Certified Cicerone but it is possible.

Road to Cicerone courses: As I said above, the Road to Cicerone courses were announced during the Twitter chat.

Certified Cicerone considered “mature professional”:

So it appears based on this and above that Certified Cicerone is considered a professional certification for a “mature beer professional,” which includes exactly … what? Working in the “beer industry” or being a beer writer. Blogger; not sure. Distributor? Why? 

On learning beer chemistry:

The bible for draft systems:

Great resource for learning draft systems (not cheap):

– —   After chat:   A while after the chat I retweeted the following and then a tweet of my own commenting on new pricing which led to a short chart with Cicerone (not Ray, but the Cicerone Certification Program account):

That morning someone with Cicerone tweeted that the cost for the Certified Cicerone is going up to $395, which is what my comment above was based on. I cannot find that tweet but here is the relevant section from the Certified Cicerone page:

Exam Cost - Initial test: $345; Retake Tasting: $75; Retake Written: $150.

**Please Note: Effective 9/1/14, the Certified Cicerone exam will be priced at $395. Retake Written $175, and Retake Tasting $100.

I fully understand the cost of professional certifications and have paid for acquiring them, along with having paid dues to professional organizations for decades. I also know no one has to use the Road to Cicerone courses. But if they did? That is 7 x $99 (at pricing for 1st; last not due to 4th qtr 2015) + $395. Or, $1088.00. But you also need the Oxford Companion to Beer. Let’s say a round $1100.

You still have to supply all of the beer.

Do not mistake me. I am not judging. This will be great for many people. Some of the rest of us have the time, knowledge and inclination to do a lot of the research on our own. As I said above, I am immensely interested in what is in the German Course as I am currently designing a beer styles study group using the Certified Beer Server and Certified Cicerone syllabuses, the BJCP style guidelines, the Oxford Companion to Beer, etc. And, lo and behold, German’s are first. Very interested and will probably spring for it as soon as I can afford it.

By the way, after my “after chat” I paid the Cicerone Certification Program $69 and took my Cicerone Program Certified Beer Server exam and passed it. I am not against Cicerone nor giving them money. I do not resent them their fees and I also find them appropriate as compared to other professional organizations. My point is simply that it is a lot (and here I am only speaking of the $395) for someone not in “the industry.”

I also maintain that the Certified Cicerone certification is highly relevant to beer writers, possibly some bloggers, also to serious beer enthusiasts, and to many in the “beer industry” but certainly not all.

Besides myself, I know of several people who are serious beer geeks but are not currently working in “the industry.” Some of us have assorted aspirations along those lines and some don’t. The point is we are highly interested in this certification.

I hope to participate in next week’s follow-up #RoadtoCicerone chat on Tuesday. I intend to ask about the new draft BJCP style guidelines. The changes do effect Cicerone but possibly (probably?) not that much. I am analyzing that info now. There are a couple small areas needing cleared up but that would be easy. I hope to know more by next Tuesday. Before the chat so I can ask intelligent questions during and then hopefully after based on response. [There was a recent press releases from the Cicerone Certification Program stating that they were working with the BJCP regarding style guidelines changes but this was before the release of the draft and had no specifics.]

I am now a Cicerone Program Certified Beer Server

[Updated title and first line on 17 July 2014 based on Titles, Trademarks & Proper Use page at]

Today 16 July 2014 I passed my Cicerone Program Certified Beer Server (CBS) exam.

My Cicerone Certified Beer Server certificate

My Cicerone Certified Beer Server certificate

My profile at the Cicerone Certification Program site.

I have been studying on and off for this for a while and I simply got tired of it and took the test today. I may go on to take the Certified Cicerone exam at some point but am no longer committed to it. I am continuing my beer education, of course, and the CC syllabus is as good a starting point as any other.

I hope to write a couple posts in a small series on the Cicerone Certification Program and changes they just made and are facing, what they recommend for studying for the CBS and what I did for studying, some thoughts on their recommendations for studying for the Certified Cicerone test, some extractions from yesterday’s #RoadtoCicerone #beerchat on Twitter and, finally, what I have been planning for studying beer styles with friends.

Hieronymous – For the love of hops

For the love of hops For the love of hops: the practical guide to aroma, bitterness and the culture of hopsStan Hieronymous; Brewers Publications 2012WorldCatLibraryThingGoogle BooksBookFinderBrewing Elements Series

Read 8-17 August 2013

This entry in the Brewers Publications Brewing Elements Series provides exactly what its subtitle claims: “The practical guide to aroma, bitterness and the culture of hops.” I found it an enjoyable and enlightening read. Highly recommended to all beer lovers and not just hop heads.

This is not much of a review but is mostly my notes sprinkled within an outline of the book. Be aware: some sections—the larger breakouts—are not mentioned. “§” is a section or subsection heading.


  • Acknowledgments     ix
  • Foreword (by Ken Grossman, Sierra Nevada)    xi
  • Introduction     1
  • 1. The Hop and Aroma     15
  • 2. A Plant With a Past     45
  • 3. A Plant With a Future     65
  • 4. Growing Hops     87
  • 5. Harvesting Hops     113
  • 6. The Hop Store     131
  • 7. Hops in the Brewhouse     175
  • 8. Dry Hopping     205
  • 9. The Good, the Bad, and the Skunky     225
  • 10. What Works     239
  • 11. Epilogue     275
  • Bibliography     285
  • Index      301


Ken Grossman writes,

“This book is an amazing compendium on the hop, written at a level that will captivate historians, chemists, and brewers alike. … This book is technically sound, very well researched and footnoted, and digs into the use and history of hops in a deep and relevant way, for those in the brewing industry and those just curious about this amazing plant.” (xiv)

I believe he is correct on all of those points.

Introduction: Hops in the twenty-first century

These notes were just to help me get a feel for some of the recent data on hop production and use.

     “High alpha/bitter hops constitute about 61 percent of hops planted worldwide and produce about 76 percent of alpha acids, which are traded as a commodity.” (4)

     “Aroma hop acreage worldwide shrank 49 percent between 1991 and 2011. Alpha hop acreage dipped 5 percent, but because farmers grew better-yielding varieties that contained higher percentages of alpha acids, overall alpha production increased 59 percent.” (4)

     “Although U.S. craft brewers made less than 6 percent of beer sold in 2011, they used about 60 percent of domestically grown aroma hops.” (4)

§ Me to Mirror: So you Want to Write a Book About Hops?

§ About the Book

     “The first chapter provides a primer on essential oils, the production of odor compounds, and how the human sensory system and brain turn those into aromas.” (11)

     “The second and third chapters examine the plant’s past and future.” (11)

     “Chapters 4 and 5 focus on the farm, growing hops, then harvesting and drying them.” (11)

     “Chapter 6, The Hop Store, includes a summary of all of the forms available to brewers and provides vital information about and descriptions of 105 varieties.” (12)

     “The hop arrives in the brewery in Chapter 7, the first of three that look at the chemistry of the hop; extracting, calculating, measuring, and understanding bitterness; the results of different additions throughout the brewing process; and ways brewer may maximize the benefits of using hops. The eighth chapter deals specifically with dry hopping, both how brewers add hops post-fermentation and all the variables they consider. Chapter 9 includes … measures brewers may take to assure quality, the benefits hops provide in sustaining beer quality, and the possible details.” (12)

     “In Chapter 10 brewers provide recipes that illustrate how they use hops.” (12)

     “There are no predictions about future fashion in the final chapter, but there are some thoughts from participants who will have a direct impact on “What’s next?”” (12)

1. The Hop and Aroma: The legend of BB1, and why you smell tomato plants and I smell tropical fruits

§ Hop Oils: Secrets Not Yet Revealed

Reiterating for myself what hops do in/for beer:

    “… seven positive attributes hops contribute in brewing:

  •           Bitterness
  •           Aroma
  •           Flavor (a combination of aroma and taste)
  •           Mouthfeel
  •           Foam and lacing
  •           Flavor stability
  •           They are anti-microbial, …” (19)

§ Less Is More and Other Aroma Secrets

     “[Buck and Axel] later found that closer to 350 of the [olfactory] receptor types may be active, but even that number dwarfs the four types of receptors necessary for vision. About 1 percent of human genes are devoted to olfaction. Only the immune system is comparable, which is one reason smell is referred to as the “most enigmatic of our senses.”” (28)

I found this fascinating, although one must be careful making such arguments for “complexity.”

§ Hop Aroma Impact

§ The Language of Aroma and Flavor

     orthonasal (breathing in) vs. retronasal (breathing out) (36)

     The Beer Aroma Wheel from Hochschule RheinMain University of Applied Science (38, en27 [GET])

§ Why You Smell Tomahto and I Smell…

When it comes to our own experience of smell (and, honestly, anything else), we are each truly unique snowflakes. These short excerpts don’t even comment on how our own unique experiences effect (and construct) our sense of smell (and memory, which is a critical component).

     “Women (on average) detect odors at lower concentrations, are more likely to rate smells as more intense and unpleasant, and are better able to identify them by name.” (39)

     “… everyone has about 350 olfactory receptors. They aren’t necessarily the same 350 receptors, providing a biological reason why two people will perceive a combination of odors, such as from a single hop variety, differently, or one of them might be altogether blind to a particular smell.” (39)

2. A Plant With a Past: How hops became basic ingredient in beer, and the varieties that emerged

     “”Beer is a popular subject, and the literature abounds in unsupported statements, misleading or inaccurate quotes, and inadequate references.”1” Quoting D. Gay Wilson (45/61)

This could be said about any topic around beer, sadly.

     “The genus Humulus likely originated in Mongolia at least six million years ago. A European type diverged from the Asian group more than one million years ago; a North American group migrated from the Asian continent approximately 500,000 years later. Five botanical varieties of lupulus exist: …” (46)

Geographic dispersion.

     “Because the pollen from hops and hemp are identical, it is difficult to use archaeological evidence to distinguish between the cultivation of hops and the cultivation of hemp, leading to considerable confusion about where and when hops were grown.” (48)

Really, identical?! Can they be cross-pollinated? What results? Is there a difference in the result if use hemp versus marijuana? Intriguing questions.

     Stephen Buhner believes it was primarily the Protestant Reformation and competing commercial interests that led to the change from gruit to hops. Gruit ale was “highly intoxicating–narcotic, aphrodisiacal, and psychotropic when consumed in sufficient quantity.” Hopped ale was “sedating and anaphrodesiacal.” (50)

     Others believe differently. (51)

Religion is definitely a factor in many, many ways but there are also many other contributing factors.

     We have an American Hop Museum in Toppenish, WA. (54)

§ ‘We Like the Hop That Grows on This Side of the Road’

     “Hop geneticists call them landrace hops, implying that they reflect the area where they grow and adapted over time to that region. When breeders began to use cross-pollination to create new varieties they usually started from these genotypes because they had qualities brewers liked.” [Fuggle and Golding (England); Tettnanger, Spalter and Hallertauer Mittelfruh (Germany); Saaz (Bavaria/Czech Republic)] (58, emphasis mine)

     Hops are very adaptable to location/climate. (61) Much like hemp.

3. A Plant With a Future: Aroma is in fashion, but hop breeders still abide by the rules of agronomics

     “… most research is related to combatting new or old diseases, improving yield, making low-trellis systems viable, or other advances that serve growers.” (67-8)

     USDA program began in Oregon in 1930 (70), prompted by the spread of powdery mildew at a time when Oregon grew 50% of US hops (76)

4. Growing Hops: You don’t meet many first-generation hop farmers

§ Location, Location, Location

§ Size Matters, But So Does Family

Small editing mishap: “… is 12 times larger the average German farm.” (102) Missing a “than.”

Trying to get a grasp on US hop production and especially PNW:

     Large farms in the PNW; small almost every where else. (102-4)

     “The largest grower in Washington, Roy Farms, produces more hops annually than all but six countries.” (104)

     “In 2011 Washington farmers harvested 79.3 percent (by weight) of the hops grown in the United States, Oregon farmers 12.3 percent, and Idaho farmers 8.3 percent.” (107)

     “Farmers in more than a dozen states outside the Northwest grew hops for commercial purposes in 2012.” (107)

Another small editing mishap: A citation to endnote 22 appears on p. 110 but it does not exist in Notes; last citation is 21.

5. Harvesting Hops: Where the violence of picking machines meets the quiet of the kiln

§ Turning Acres of Hops Into Bales

§ Rubbing and Sniffing

     “Victory Brewing co-founder Ron Barchet travels to Germany every year to select hops. … Hop farmers in Tettnang grin in recognition when they hear his name.” Has long-term contracts and a very good hop nose. (122)

§ BO: A Brewer’s Guide to Evaluating and Selecting Hops (by John Harris) (123-9) – [an updated version of his 1999 Master Brewers Association of the Americas convention presentation]

§ Common Flaws in Hops

§ Hop Selection Team

§ The Brewer’s Cut

§ Hop Rubbing Descriptors

§ Hand Evaluation of Hops

§ Further Evaluation

§ Evaluating Pellets

§ A Checklist

6. The Hop Store: A variety of varieties come in a variety of forms

     Larry Sidor (now of Crux and prev. Deschutes) – worked at Olympia; converted hops to pellets and is his “biggest regret in life.” Then worked at S.S. Steiner (as gen. manager) in the Yakima Valley before joining Deschutes. (131)

     Sierra Nevada is the largest cone-only brewery in America (131)

§ Pelletizing and Pellet Products

§ Hop Extracts

     Russian River uses extract for the bittering addition in Pliny the Elder, also uses varietal extracts in Blind Pig and Pliny the Younger. Lagunitas uses extract in a wide range of its beers. (134).

§ Advanced Hop Products

§ From Admiral to Zeus

     an introduction to 105 varieties of hops in the pages that follow

     Cites a p. xx under Storage, but there is no p. xx!

7. Hops in the Brewhouse: Perception matters: You can have your bitterness and smell the aroma, too

§ Alpha Acids and Beta Acids

     Alpha acids – multiple alphas

          humulone, cohumulone, and adhumulone (pre- and post-humulone occur in small amounts.

          After isomerization by heat in solution they each occur in two forms, cis- and trans- (176-7)

          Cohumulone and humulone levels vary between 20-50% in diff. species, adhumulone 10-15% (178)

§ The Bitterness Drift

     Iso-alpha acids make the most contribution; importance of other elements varies greatly.

     Highly roasted malts add bitterness.

     Calcium sulfate gives a “crisper” hoppiness.

     Calcium carbonate exhibits a coarser bitterness.

     Lower temps suppress perception of bitterness.

     Level of polyphenols affects perception of bitterness. (181)

     People vary in their perception of bitterness as there are different receptors for different bitternesses. (181)

§ Understanding IBU and Calculating Utilization

     Three main formulas for calculating utilization (185, Calculating IBUs callout)

     “Brewers benefit from using the IBU as a tool in formulating recipes and maintaining a specific level of bitterness in regularly brewed beers, while recognizing that it does not perfectly reflect the quality of bitterness–which will be affected by various reaction processes as well as the composition of the bitter acids–or overall perception of bitterness.” (187)

     “Bitterness units and the amount of iso-alpha acids are equivalent only in the range of 15 to 30 IBUs, and then only when working with relatively fresh hops.” (188)

As usual, our shorthand “measuring stick” is only accurate in a very narrow range for which it is used.

     “And, again, recent research in Germany has shown perception of bitterness is not linear and reaches a point of saturation.” (188)

     Utilization is affected by many variables – Form of hops, boiling time and vigor, kettle geometry, wort gravity, boiling temperature, pH and mineral content of water, composition of the humulones (188-9)

     Bitterness levels will also drop by about 20% in fermentation (190)

§ Ready, Set, Start Adding Hops

     First wort hopping (191-4, also earlier)

§ Post-Boil Hopping

8. Dry Hopping: Scores of methods exist, but the intent remains the same: Aroma impact

     “Today the term dry hopping refers to the addition of hops in the fermentation vessel, in maturation vessels, or in casks.” (208)

§ The Universal Questions

§§ Form

§§ Temperature

§§ Quantity

§§ Residence Time and Number of Additions

§§ Fermenter Geometry

§§ Yeast

§§ Varieties

§ The Slurry Method

§ Hop Cannon

§ Torpedo

9. The Good, the Bad, and the Skunky: Taking responsibility for hop quality

§ Hop Quality Group: A Learning Process

§ Pellets: Easier to Store but Just as Fragile

§ Polyphenols and Phenols

     “Malt furnishes approximately 70 percent of beer polyphenols, although the hop contribution may increase with the addition of lower alpha hops.” (231)

     “Hop polyphenols enhance flavor stability because of their antioxidant properties, which suppress the formation of undesirable staling compounds. As any brewer making heavily dry-hopped beers may testify, they also provoke beer haze.” (232)

§ ‘Skunky’ by Any Other Name (‘Imported’) Is Still a Fault

§ Some Like Their Hops Slightly Aged, Some Quite Old

§ Dry Hopping and Flavor Stability

10. What Works: Theory aside, what matters is what ends up in the glass

     “Tip: “It’s best to brew dark beer at night,” said Hlavsa, “Because that way the darkness gets into the beer.”” (261) [Comment from a Czech brewer.]

11. Epilogue: The future has already arrived, so what about the future?



Final comments:

This is an excellent addition to this series and is a superb book in its own right. Highly recommended to all beer lovers. I own this one and recommend you do to.

Hornsey – Brewing, 2nd ed.

Brewing BrewingI. Hornsey; RSC Publishing 2013WorldCatLibraryThingGoogle BooksBookFinder Read 28 Feb – 22 April 2014

Well-illustrated, learned, and perhaps serving multiple readers, this book, now in its new 2nd edition, is, despite being fairly heavy on the science, a useful, up-to-date, statement of the brewers art, with a little bit of up-to-date history and anthropology (Introduction).

[Note: I apologize for the somewhat mishmashed citations. Brewing science uses one of the most ridiculous citation styles ever invented. For starters, they throw out the title of a book chapter or article. I could go on but won't.]


  • 1 Historical Material
  • 2 Barley and Malt
  • 3 Hops
  • 4 The Brewhouse
  • 5 Fermentation
  • 6 Beer Post-Fermentation
  • 7 Achieving and Maintaining Beer Quality
  • Subject Index

I will have little to say about most sections as it is fairly science heavy but still often understandable to someone with a good basic knowledge of commercial brewing. If I were a brewer with a problem or wanting more information on a process or an ingredient then I would turn here to get pointed in the right direction. I will leave in all of the section headings so you can get a good idea of what it contains, which is no more than you can do at amazon [although amazon is showing you the table of contents for the 1st ed. at the 2nd ed. page]. Again, after the Introduction there won’t be much in the way of comments. I may leave a note or two and add context as needed but not all of my notes are of use to you as you may well be interested more in one of the many other topics covered in the book.

1 Historical Material

Hornsey’s introduction, while being both interesting and easy to read, is also erudite. He turned me on to so many interesting looking works and some possible follow-on work to something I was hoping to find more of [ See Samuel, D.].

He chooses two topics as his focal point in the intro: Likely Origins of Brewing and Some Notable Figures in Brewing Science. The areas of most interest for me, if measured by note-taking and citations recorded for obtaining resources, were the section on the likely origins of brewing and the last paragraph of the chapter where he ends with suggestions for several books and articles on the topic(s) at hand.

1.1 Likely Origins of Brewing

I was particularly excited to learn of his Alcohol and its Role in the Evolution of Human Society, Royal Society of Chemistry, Cambridge, 2012 and his A History of Beer and Brewing, Royal Society of Chemistry, Cambridge, 2003. I acquired a copy of each via Summit (interlibrary loan) and will definitely be ordering myself a copy of both soon.

This section also covered Delwen Samuel’s work on brewing and baking in Ancient Egypt. I had read two of his articles, both from 1996, and had hoped to find resources describing any further work. Hornsey pointed me to two of them, which can be found here along with others.

Samuel’s work is covered on pp. 3-5 see fn 14 & 15

     fn 14 ref “With the aid of scanning electron microscopy, Samuel has demonstrated that some grains were sprouted (malted!) before being crushed and used for brewing; ….” (5)

     14 D. Samuel, “Fermentation technology 3,000 years ago – The archaeology of ancient Egyptian beer.” SGM Quarterly, 1997, 24, 3-5.

     fn 15 ref “Brewing and baking in ancient Egypt has been thoroughly studied by Samuel.” (5)

     15 D. Samuel, “Brewing and baking” in Ancient Egyptian Materials and Technology, ed. P. T. Nicholson and I. Shaw, Cambridge Univ Press, Cambridge, 2000, 537-76.

This section ends with some suggestions for articles and books:

“Highlights in the history of international brewing science have been summarized by Anderson, who has also documented the way in which science transformed brewing over the past three centuries, and the history of industrial brewing. A number of useful articles on brewing research and brewing history have appeared and are worth consulting, as are the books by Bamforth and Priest and Stewart.” (22)

  • R. G. Anderson, Ferment, 1993, 6, 191. [“Highlights in the history of international brewing science,” 191-8.]
  • R. G. Anderson, Brewery History, 2005, 121, 5.
  • R. G. Anderson, in Handbook of Brewing, 2nd rev. edn, ed. Priest, F. G. and Stewart, G. G., CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL, 2006, p. 1. [History of Industrial Brewing, 1-38]
  • T-M, Inari, One Hundred Years of Brewing Research, J. Inst. Brewing Centenary Edition, London, 1995.
  • F. G. Meussdoerffer, in Handbook of Brewing: Processes, Technology, Markets, ed. H. M. Esslinger, Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KgaA, Weinheim, 2009, p. 1. [“A Comprehensive History of Beer Brewing,” 1-42]
  • C. W. Bamforth, Brewing: New Technologies, Woodhead Pubishing, Abington, Cambridge, 2006. [See my review here]
  • F. G. Priest and G. G. Stewart ed., Handbook of Brewing, 2nd rev. edn, CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL, 2006

From 6.6 Beer Flavour:

     “For an up-to-date account of the sensory evaluation of beer see the excellent chapter by Bill Taylor and Greg Organ, 217 a repository of important facts and references.” (269)

     217 W. J. Taylor and G. J. Organ, in Handbook of Brewing: Processes, Technology, Markets, ed. H. M. Esslinger, Wiley-VCH Verlag, Weinheim, 2009, p.675. [“Sensory Evaluation,” 675-702]

Have my hands on this and looking forward to reading it.

From 7.2.4 Foam one little nugget (amongst many):

     “Even allowing for the enormous amount of research that has been carried out into the broad subject of head retention, there is still a mysterious side to the subject, a fact that is referred to in an article by Bamforth.48” (287)

     48 C. W. Bamforth, The Brewer, 1995, 81, 396. [“Foam: method, myth or magic?” 396. [389].]


  • 1 Historical Material
  • 1.1 Likely Origins of Brewing
  • 1.2 Some Notable Figures in Brewing Science
  • 1.2.1 Robert Boyle (1627-1691) and Robert Hooke (1635-1703)
  • 1.2.2 Antonj van Leeuwenhoek (1632-1723)
  • 1.2.3 Challenging “Spontaneous Generation”
  • 1.2.4 Louis Pasteur (1822-1895)
  • 1.2.5 The Sedlmayrs – a Scientific Brewing Dynasty
  • 1.2.6 The Carlsberg Laboratory, Copenhagen
  • 1.2.7 Chemists and the Brewing Industry
  • 2 Barley and Malt
  • 2.1 In the Beginning
  • 2.2 The Barley Plant and Its Domestication
  • 2.3 Barley Breeding
  • 2.4 Biochemical Structure of Barley
  • 2.4.1 Starchy Polysaccharides
  • 2.4.2 Non-Starchy Polysaccharides
  • 2.4.3 Proteins (Nitrogen; N)
  • 2.4.4 Lipids
  • 2.4.5 Other Constituents
  • 2.5 Malting
  • 2.5.1 Steeping
  • 2.5.2 Germination – and What Happens
  • 2.5.3 Kilning
  • 2.5.4 Malting Loss
  • 2.6 Other Cereals Used In Brewing
  • 2.6.1 Wheat
  • 2.6.2 Rice
  • 2.6.3 Maize
  • 2.6.4 Sorghum
  • 2.6.5 Oats
  • 2.6.6 Rye
  • 2.6.7 Triticale
  • 2.6.8 Buckwheat
  • 2.7 Specialist Malts and Adjuncts
  • 2.8 Commercial enzymes Used In Brewing
  • 3 Hops
  • 3.1 Historical
  • 3.2 The Plant
  • 3.3 Hop Varieties
  • 3.3.1 Dwarf Hops
  • 3.3.2 Hop Processing
  • 3.4 Hop Constituents
  • 3.4.1 “Sunstruck” Beer
  • 3.5 Hop Products
  • 3.6 Hop Pests and Diseases
  • 4 The Brewhouse
  • 4.1 Milling
  • 4.2 Mashing
  • 4.3 Wort Separation
  • 4.4 Sweet Wort
  • 4.4.1 Carbohydrate Composition
  • 4.4.2 Nitrogen Compounds
  • 4.4.3 Fatty Acids
  • 4.4.4 Sulfur Compunds
  • 4.5 Wort Boiling
  • 4.6 Wort Cooling
  • 5 Fermentation
  • 5.1 The Yeast
  • 5.2 Nutritional Requirements of Yeast
  • 5.2.1 Carbon Metabolism
  • 5.2.2 Nitrogen Metabolism
  • 5.2.3 Vitamins
  • 5.2.4 Inorganic Ions (Other Elements)
  • Sulfur
  • Phosphorus
  • Metallic Elements
  • 5.2.5 Relationship with Oxygen
  • 5.3 Yeast: Vitality and Viability
  • 5.4 Fermentation
  • 5.5 Yeast Storage Compounds
  • 5.6 Fermentation Technologies
  • 5.6.1 Batch Fermentation
  • 5.6.2 Continuous Fermentation
  • 5.6.3 High-Gravity Brewing
  • 5.7 New Brewing Yeasts
  • 6 Beer Post-Fermentation
  • 6.1 Maturation
  • 6.1.1 Flavour Development
  • 6.1.2 Colloidal Stabilisation
  • 6.1.3 Carbonation
  • 6.1.4 Clarification and Filtration
  • 6.2 Brewery Conditioned Beer
  • 6.2.1 Kegging
  • 6.2.2 Bottling
  • 6.2.3 Canning
  • 6.2.4 Nitrogenated Beer
  • 6.3 Cask-Conditioned Beer
  • 6.3.1 The Cask
  • 6.3.2 Beer Fining
  • 6.3.3 Bottle-Conditioned Beer
  • 6.4 Low-Alcohol (LA) and Alcohol-Free Beers (AFB)
  • 6.5 A Couple of “Special” Beers
  • 6.5.1 Ice Beer
  • 6.5.2 Wheat Beer
  • 6.6 Beer Flavour
  • 7 Achieving and Maintaining Beer Quality
  • 7.1 Management and Systems
  • 7.2 Chemical and Physical Laboratory Analysis
  • 7.2.1 Gravity and Beer Strength
  • 7.2.2 Bitterness
  • 7.2.3 Colour
  • 7.2.4 Foam
  • 7.2.5 Nitrosamines
  • 7.3 Microbiology
  • 7.3.1 Rapid Identification Methods
  • ATP Bioluminesence
  • Fluorescence in situ Hybridisation (FISH)
  • The Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR)
  • 7.3.2 Bacteria
  • 7.3.3 Wild Yeasts
  • Subject Index

Again, a well-illustrated and learned book that can perhaps serve multiple reading publics.

I got this from COCC Barber Library [TP 570 .H66 2013]. It is a second copy of a text for the brewing certificate exam prep course that started this spring term at COCC.

Dawson – Vintage Beer

Read 3-9 Mar

Vintage Beer by Dawson is an excellent introduction to cellaring beer. It is a quick read that will also bear close studying and better note-taking. Production values are high and it is well-edited.

My only gripe, which is both a philosophical one but also an extremely important one practically, is with the author’s stated purpose for cellaring beer:

“So you might ask, why go to the trouble of aging beer? Well, the answer is very simple: aging beer allows time for various flavors not immediately present to develop and meld. With experience and knowledge, your nose and tongue learn to detect different aromatics and taste aspects in a beer and judge whether changes in them would make the beer more enjoyable. This book gives you the background knowledge you need to get started” (6).

My gripe with this is that the goal is restricted to “more enjoyable” when the goal should be “differently enjoyable.” If you start with an already exquisite beer, it may still be “improved” by seeing how “flavors not immediately present [and those already present] develop and meld” over time. The results may not be “more enjoyable” but “differently enjoyable.” I do agree that this book will give you knowledge that will serve you well in learning which beers to cellar, whatever your stated aim is.

The book is full of useful facts, many of which can be found in other places. They have been brought usefully together but with a different focus. These kinds of facts are related to, or at least studied under the rubric of, the spoilage of beer but are here focused on the deliberate aging of beer to impart desired flavor changes.

For example,

“There are also malts that have low lipid (fatty acids found in some malts) levels, which makes them much less susceptible to oxidation and so enables the beer to have a longer cellar life. For these and other reasons, the pricey Maris Otter malt makes extremely rich, long-lasting beers that stand up remarkably well in the cellar” (25).


“So put yourself in the shoes of a brewer who is designing a beer to age. You would want a hop varietal that has a high ratio of beta-to-alpha acids, which will reduce the trans-2-nonetal potential while retaining the beta acid’s bitterness through the aging process. Luckily, there are hop varietals that meet the need, and, no big surprise, they are used in beers that age well, like English barley wines and Belgian quads. Notable varietals are hops of the noble and English varieties, which sometimes reach close to a 1:1 alpha-to-beta-acid ratio” (30).


  • Introduction: The World of Vintage Beer
  • 1 The Aging Beer
  • 2 Determining Vintage Potential
  • 3 The Best Beer Styles for Your Cellar
  • 4 Tasting Classic Cellar Beers
  • 5 Dark and Cool: Selecting Your Cellar
  • 6 How to Manage Your Cellar
  • App. Outstanding Vintage-Beer Bars
  • References
  • Glossary
  • Index

Introduction: The World of Vintage Beer

Discusses the author’s entry into aged/aging beer and provides an overview of the rest of the book.

“What I eventually found out is that every beer is highly time dependent. Each beer had a “window” in which it can really shine. Finding that window takes a critical review of a beer’s current qualities and the knowledge of how they (might) change. What you have to keep in mind, though, something it took me a while to figure out, is that everyone’s optimal window is different, and it requires knowing what you are looking for in a beer” (5-6).

1 The Aging Beer

Provides 14 ‘Vintage Beer Rules’ to help one stock “a respectable cellar without too many regrettable choices” (15).

2 Determining Vintage Potential

Looks at the ingredients/components/processes of beer [malt, hops, yeast esters and phenols, alcohol, wood (if present), oxidation, and microbiota (if present)] and provides guidance around each of these topics/issues for choosing beers to cellar.

Under Oxidation we learn that larger volumes oxidize more slowly (45). We also learn that oxidation has four main effects in beer:

  •    “Creates a variety of new compounds with the kilned malt molecules;
  •    Degrades the alpha acids left by the hops;
  •    Causes the esters and phenols produced by the yeast to develop in flavor and aroma;
  •    Forms aldehydes from higher alcohols” (45, reformatted).

3 The Best Beer Styles for Your Cellar
“One of the main reasons for aging beer is to allow new, sometimes subtle flavors to develop and emerge and thus add layers of complexity” (59). Indeed! But not necessarily “better” ones. Different is not wrong.

Styles covered include: English barley wines, American barley wines, Imperial stouts, Belgian quads, Flanders reds/ brown ales, and Gueuzes.

Dawson includes a Vintage Beer Tasting Wheel on p. 61, which has some intriguing differences from the Meilgaard Beer Flavor Wheel. I only wish he had provided more information on where/how it was developed. I’ve read the papers by Meilgaard, et al. on the genesis and evolution of the standard flavor wheel and would be very interested in learning more about the genesis of this one.

4 Tasting Classic Cellar Beers

Eight beers are covered in depth with another three getting shorter mention. The writer and his circle of “experienced vintage beer aficionados” did vertical tastings of these beers and included detailed notes on how appearance, smell,  taste, mouthfeel and overall impression changes over ten years for each of the beers.

5 Dark and Cool: Selecting Your Cellar

Provides a short but reasonably detailed coverage of choosing and outfitting a cellar, focusing on temperature, light exposure, humidity, ullage, cellar configuration, and bottle orientation.

6 How to Manage Your Cellar

This chapter gives ideas on keeping track of what you have and what you have consumed. Paper vs. spreadsheet vs. cellar apps are considered with a side discussion of how to date a bottle of beer.

Appendix. Outstanding Vintage-Beer Bars

Discusses 10 vintage beer bars with a mention of 10 more.

Concluding notes:

All-in-all, I found this an excellent little book about a topic near and dear to the better half’s and my heart(s). The author has provided a wealth of knowledge in a condensed but accessible form, which will bear closer study when I revisit it soon. But first, I will have to pry it from my wife’s hands once she’s done reading it.

Highly recommended to anyone considering the intentional aging of beer.

Deschutes Mirror Mirror 2014 release

Today is release day for Deschutes much-anticipated Mirror Mirror 2014 Reserve barrel-aged barley wine. It has been 5 years since it was last released. This past Dec 20th I had some of the 2009 Mirror Mirror at a Solstice Barley Wine Night party we had at our place and it was quite tasty so I was definitely looking forward to this release.

Mirror Mirror 2014 Release barley wine at Deschutes Brewery barrel works

Mirror Mirror 2014 Reserve barley wine at Deschutes Brewery barrel works

The same friend who brought the 2009 Mirror Mirror to our barley wine party, the ever personable Jon Abernathy, invited me as his +1 to an invitation-only media event held yesterday at Deschutes barrel works, celebrating the release of the Mirror Mirror 2014 Reserve. We got to chat with founder Gary Fish and barrel master and brewer Ryan [sorry, failed to catch his last name].

Deschutes founder, Gary Fish, and barrel master/brewer Ryan, talking to us about the Mirror Mirror 2014 Reserve barley wine

Deschutes founder, Gary Fish, and barrel master/brewer Ryan, talking to us about the Mirror Mirror 2014 Reserve barley wine

They talked about Mirror Mirror, the Reserve Series, the new Pub Reserve Series, the barrel works, upcoming plans for beers, and answered questions while we sampled the new 2014 Mirror Mirror. Next we tried some of the first Pub Reserve Series beer Big Red. And finally we got to try some future Not the Stoic right out of the rye barrel it is aging in. It was a grand time, the beers were all world class, and I learned a lot. Thanks, Deschutes and Jon!

Deschutes Brewery barrel works, cold side

Deschutes Brewery barrel works, cold side

Deschutes Brewery barrel works, warm side for sours and those beauties needing warmer temps of 70 degrees

Deschutes Brewery barrel works, warm side for sours and those beauties needing warmer temps of 70 degrees

Mirror Mirror 2014 Reserve Barley Wine was the first of the Deschutes Reserve Series and was previously released in 2005 & 2009. It was “born of a double batch of Mirror Pond Pale Ale, [and] is an inspired barley wine ale layered with intriguing nuances. Explore the latest incarnation and enjoy its delicious complexity in every sip.” It is 11/2% ABV and has 53 IBUs. It is brewed with English malts and Cascade and Millennium hops. Fifty percent was aged for 10 months in oak barrels that once held Oregon Pinot Noir, Tempranillo, and Malbec wines. [All info from the one-sheet they provided.]

Mirror Mirror 2014 Reserve barley wine

Mirror Mirror 2014 Reserve barley wine

I hope to get about 5-6 bottles of this and sit on them for 6-months, 1 year, 2 years through to 4-5 years. I expect quite delicious things to develop. I suggest you get to one of the pubs and try this fresh on draft and then put aside a bottle or two for at least 6 months. Keep in mind that even Deschutes recommends waiting a year as the bottles have a “Best After” 24 February 2015 date on them. I’m willing to “sacrifice” a bottle at 6-months to see how it is developing but my main interest in this vintage is in the 1 to 5-year-old range.

The Pub Reserve Series was quietly released at the end of last year. These bottles are only available at both of the pubs and the breweries’ tasting room. “It’s no secret that our brewers love to experiment in the pub brewhouses, and this new series celebrates that passion with some never-seen-before, single-batch brews. First up is Big Red, a double Cinder Cone Red, aged in Cabernet and Syrah barrels. The next pub Reserve beer will be Planète Rouge, a blended sour red ale – releasing March 24, 2014.” [All info from the one-sheet they provided.]

The Big Red, an Imperial Red Ale, is shaping up quite nicely already. We had a sample at the Deschutes Pub on 31 December when it was released and picked up a bottle for some light aging. It has a “best by” 1 Dec 2014 date and based on how it has already matured I think I’ll give it another 3-4 months. If you are interested in this you had best grab it soon at either of Deschutes pubs in Bend or Portland or at the tasting room at the brewery.

After they discussed the Pub Reserve Series, I asked Gary and Ryan if the Portland Pub beers would be available at the tasting room. They clarified that these beers are brewed in both pubs, in this case barrel-aged, and then shipped to the brewery where they are blended and then bottled for sale. So they truly are a collaboration between the two pub brewers. I know I need to learn more about the Portland pub brewer but we adore Veronica Vega and her Bend pub beers!

The Not the Stoic will be a barrel-aged, Belgian-style quad, due in April if I remember correctly. It is aging in several different barrels and we got ours straight out of a rye barrel. I hope once it’s blended some of those rye notes remain, along with whatever other intriguing notes they get from the other barrels.

Not the Stoic straight out of the rye barrel

Not the Stoic straight out of the rye barrel

Again, thanks so much Deschutes Brewery and Jon for including me.

Oh yeah. We each got to bring a bottle home.

And as final photo teasers here are some true beauties to salivate over in your dreams while we wait for some future release:

The Abyss Imperial Stout. But is this 2014 or 2015?

The Abyss Imperial Stout. But is this 2014 or 2015?


Pub Imperial Bitter sitting in a spanish sherry cask. OMG! Please let me find this at the Bend pub whenever it is released.

Pub Imperial Bitter sitting in a spanish sherry cask. OMG! Please let me find this at the Bend pub whenever it is released.



Tap Into History: Oregon Hops & Brewing Archives Launch Party

Oregon beer fans of all stripes will want to be at this event if they possibly can: The Oregon Hops & Brewing Archives (OHBA) is having their formal launch party titled Tap Into History at McMenamin’s Mission Theater (Portland), 28 March starting at 7 pm. This event is free and educational in the best possible way!

Beer folks in Portland—and further afield—really ought to consider being there if they can. Check out the line-up. We will definitely be there if the weather gods are cooperative. We already have a room reserved for the night at McMenamin’s Crystal Ballroom in a dash-up-and-back that Friday-Saturday. We are super-excited for this. As I mentioned back in December I have been entirely remiss from writing about OHBA here.  I hope to rectify that before (and after) this event but we are in the process of closing on a house in the next few weeks (and 1-2 weeks before this event) so no promises.

See below for links for more info but the Oregon Hops & Brewing Archives is a unit of OSU Libraries & Press’ Special Collections & Archives Research Center (SCARC). It is “the first archive in the United States dedicated to preserving and telling the intertwined story of hops and beer” and its mission is “to preserve the story of hop production and the craft brewing movement in Oregon” (from the OHBA page). Their 2-page pdf brochure (pdf) can be be found here.

Here is the event flyer [full-size pdf, 1 p.]: ohba-launch-event-022814-2

Flyer for the Oregon Hops & Brewing Archives Tap Into History Launch Party on 28 March 2014.

Flyer for the Oregon Hops & Brewing Archives Tap Into History Launch Party on 28 March 2014.

Event on Facebook

Here is the press release:



Contact Tiah Edmunson-Morton at or 541.737.7387 for more information.

Find out more about OHBA at

On March 28th we’re hosting “Tap into History,” an event at the Mission Theater in Portland to introduce OHBA to our diverse audience. We’ll bring together a panel for a public talk about brewing history in Oregon. Tiah Edmunson-Morton, OHBA archivist, will talk about the project and its impact. Peter Kopp, agricultural historian, will talk about his use of archival materials and the relevance for researchers. John Foyston, an Oregonian writer since 1987, will talk about his work documenting the Oregon beer scene. Irene Firmat, CEO and Co-Founder of Full Sail Brewing Company, will talk about her work as a female brewing pioneer. Daniel Sharp, PhD student in the OSU College of Agriculture’s Fermentation Science program, will talk about his research and the OSU program. The event concludes with screenings from Hopstories, a collection of short videos showcasing breweries in Oregon, and OPB’s Beervana, a documentary about the history of beer and the rise of craft brewing in Oregon.

Production of hops and beer are part of Oregon’s identity, engaging both the general public and the scholarly community with our rich history of researching and producing world-class hops and beer. From scholars to people with an interest in local and creative products, students to alumni, hops farmers to brewers, the opportunities for the community engagement and scholarly use are vast. Recognizing the need to document the intertwined story of hop production and the craft brewing movement in Oregon, the Special Collections & Archives Research Center at Oregon State University Libraries & Press established the Oregon Hops & Brewing Archives (OHBA) in 2013 to collect and provide access to records related to Oregon’s hops and craft brewing industries. As the first archive in the United States dedicated to hops and beer, OHBA will bring together a wealth of materials that will enable people to study and appreciate these movements.

“At its core, OHBA is a community archiving project” so come to this event to learn how you can help record and make use of the history of hops production and brewing in Oregon.

Seriously, beer/brewing/hops/history fans, be there! I hope to see you.

The Abyss vertical tasting

On the 11th of January of this year the wife and I were invited along with about 16 other people to Jon & Sherri Abernathy’s home for one of the most epic tastings ever: Deschutes The Abyss Imperial Stout full vertical tasting, 2006 – 2013.

Epic is the correct word. Certainly there are similar tastings of equally exquisite beers, but bring in all 8 years beginning with the first vintage (2006) and they become very rare, and often epic, events.

The first order of business is a big thanks to Jon & Sherri for collecting, saving, hoarding, storing and, finally, sharing all of those bottles of The Abyss. Bless you Jon for starting discussions of carrying it forward in 8 or more year flights into the future (next year 2007-2014 unless some saintly benefactor shows up with some 2006).

Jon's menu for The Abyss 2006-2013 Vertical Tasting

Jon’s menu for The Abyss 2006-2013 Vertical Tasting

The guests were Jon’s work buddies, local beer geeks and local beer industry folks including Gina and Jason, great people and Deschutes’ social media team. There is of course some overlap between various groups. There were three folks who were not having beer.

We drank the vintages sequentially starting at the beginning with 2006 and ending with 2013, although a few people had already dropped off or were about to by the time we got to 2013. ;)

Deschutes The Abyss 2006 - its 1st vintage

Deschutes The Abyss 2006 – its 1st vintage

We had shared a bottle of 2006 The Abyss back in summer with some of these same folks at the 2013 End of Summer Beer Extravaganza. Jon’s bottle was a bit better aged than that one, which wasn’t bad in the first place. He only had two 22 oz bottles of 2006 so we were getting about 2 oz each. It was an exquisite beer.

I knew trying to keep notes on the nuances between vintages was beyond ridiculous and I wanted to focus on the beer. I was planning on checking them all in on Untapped but only made a few notes on the first few. 2007 was going to be the only vintage I had not yet tasted* and I wanted a few notes on it. Here’s what I said:

  • 2006: A: heavenly. Dry must, cedar. Choc, tobacco, vanilla. Amazing! [notebook and Untappd]
  • 2007: A: tar, tobacco. OMG Beergasm! Slightly more tobacco, slightly spicier in mid-finish [notebook only]
  • 2008: little sweeter; smoother [notebook only]
  • 2009: slight Brett “infection” After that I just checked them in with a five-star rating and got back to enjoying them.
Deschutes The Abyss 2007

Deschutes The Abyss 2007

Every single one of the vintages was exquisite despite its differences from its siblings. Perhaps it is also due to those differences. Drinking 2 pints of The Abyss is not something one undertakes lightly. Experiencing all of those one after the other over a few hours was priceless.

In 2009 Deschutes had a problem with some of their batches getting infected with Brettanomyces. I have had Mirror Mirror and now The Abyss from 2009 (all previous 2009 The Abyss i have had was not infected.) that were both “infected” and let me tell you that they were still exquisite beers—despite and because. For many fans of Mirror Mirror and The Abyss the 2009 infected bottles are their favorites.

After the 2013 there were still some bottles of assorted vintages that weren’t empty. I had another ~1.5 oz of 2006 and then the same of 2010. In all, I had had ~2 pints of The Abyss.

My favorites so far are 2006, 2007 and 2010. I believe 2009 has amazing potential and 2011 isn’t far behind it. 2012 and 2013 are, of course, tasty but are still young.

We have a bottle each of 2007 and 2008, which I got at the Deschutes Bend Pub on release day this year. That bottle of 2007 is the priciest beer per oz. that I have bought so far. We also have 2 bottles of 2012 and 12 of this past year’s vintage. Sadly, it will be several years before we can host a vertical of The Abyss ourselves.

Thanks so very much to Jon and Sherri for hosting this wonderful tasting and for sharing all of this The Abyss with us.

Orange bottle cap from Deschutes The Abyss 2006 [see Jon's post linked below for more info]

Orange bottle cap from Deschutes The Abyss 2006 [see Jon's post linked below for more info]

Here is Jon’s recap of the evening at his own blog: Abyss tasting Some of his tweets:


Deschutes Brewery tweets:


* We moved to Bend in time for the 2012 release of The Abyss and had a flight of 2008-12 at the pub on release day, and this past year we had 2009-13, again at the pub on release day.