On Saturday, January 16, 2016 we attended the McMenamins Old St. Francis School 3rd Annual High Gravity Extravaganza with 22 breweries & 4 cideries present. [updated beers drank 29 January 2016]
“Go Big or Go Home” is the motto.
For McMenamins passport fans there is an event stamp.
We got there pretty much at opening at 1 pm and like last year the weather was (or threatened to be) a bit wet so they had moved large portions into the theater. There were still couches and other seating available when we arrived so we joined some of our friends.
Let’s just get this out of the way. I got put on the guest list so got a free entry package of tasting glass, 10 tokens, and a koozie. We did pay the $15 entry and got Sara her own glass and tokens though.
I like this festival as it brings together a lot of different McMenamins beers and brewers along with a fairly equal balance of beer from other local Bend breweries. The brewers from the 10 or so represented McMenamins breweries were there from 1-4 pm pouring their beers and I chatted with a couple including our local brewer, Mike “Curly” White. I didn’t get names but also a woman from Thompson (Salem) and a guy from Crystal (Portland) that I actually had conversations with and not just chit chat.
I didn’t bother to take any other pictures except of the names of the beers I was getting. Of course, I didn’t get pictures of the ones I tried via my wife and I didn’t get all of those written down. May well have missed one of the ones I got myself, photo-wise.
Definitely caught a good buzz. We stopped and got a pizza and drank a lot of water before heading home at a still reasonable time.
These are the beers that I tried in as close to the order that I had them (highly accurate):
- McMenamins Old St. Francis School Midnight Scream Double Black IPA
- McMenamins High Street (Eugene) 565 Strong Ale
- Silver Moon Train Rye’d Barleywine
- McMenamins on Munroe (Corvallis) Ballena Russian Imperial Stout
- Deschutes The Descendant
- McMenamins Anderson School (Bothell, WA) Into the Badlands IRA
- McMenamins Thompson (Salem) Magnuson Strong
- McMenamins Crystal (Portland) Another Day Malt Liquor *
- Three Creeks Ten Pine Porter
- Worthy Dark Muse 2015 Stout
- McMenamins Edgefield (Troutdale) Edgefield Extra One Year Barleywine *
- I am missing (at least) one that I had a taste of Sara’s and I believe that is Crux Snow Cave. [Bend Brewing’s Big Bad Russian is definitely missing from here. 29 January 2016]
My favorites were definitely the McMenamins Edgefield (Troutdale) Edgefield Extra One Year Barleywine and, very surprisingly, as 2nd oddest beer out, the McMenamins Crystal (Portland) Another Day Malt Liquor.
For the McMenamins Crystal (Portland) Another Day Malt Liquor I wrote:
“Haha. This shit is like crack. Sara had a sip, her face lit up, & had another before saying anything.”
That is surprising behavior for my wife with any lager-like beer except Samichlaus.
The alcohol wasn’t hidden from you, although it wasn’t exactly prevalent either, but you just wanted one sip after another and we aren’t talking small sips. This was a very dangerously “more-ish” beer and one of the best uses of corn ever in a beer. I was not expecting to like it under the context of the fest but it was exquisite. I got a chance to go back and tell the brewer all this after having it. That’s a feature of this fest, if you can go early.
For the Edgefield Extra One Year Barleywine I wrote:
“2014 barleywine in Hogshead Whiskey. Another (almost) crack beer.
With palate cleanser cookie is awesomer in the opposite of Helldorado a deep dark chocolate barleywine. Crazy.”
Quite tasty. Not quite a crack beer because easier to tell its 10%+ ABV is present. But amazingly tasty. And far more “appropriate” for the time of the year.
I also enjoyed Deschutes The Descendant but that was the odd beer out for this fest. I don’t believe there were any other sours, and no other fruit beers either, I believe. Quite delicious.
My friend Jon Abernathy has a much better post and definitely more and better photos at his post, McMenamins High Gravity Extravaganza, thoughts and photos. If you check out Jon’s post you can see that we had pretty much the same thoughts on best beers of the day even though we did not have exactly the same ones.
My pre-post can be found here at McMenamins OSF Third Annual High Gravity Extravaganza 16 January.
If you are in Bend or the nearby area mid-January next year, and like high gravity beer, you ought consider this fest. I cannot comment on how it is in the evening as we insure that we are in and out before then, which is how we try to do fests. But we enjoy this one quite a bit.