Hopworks Urban Brewery is an awesome brewpub in Portland that opened its second location this week catering to bikers commuting up one of Portland’s main streets. We were commissioned by Astrogirl to make a backdrop for a part the Hopworks BikeBar opening event that people could snag a photo in front of to celebrate the opening. The backdrop has our biker totem from a screen print we did as well as a cool sun/gear pattern in the background. Check out the photos (by DA Booth)! We love their beer and were stoked/honored to be a part of the opening.
Lightly toasted malts, alcohol, and citrusy hops are the bulk of the smell here. Taste follows suit, but with a whole lot of added character. Orange rind and tangerine hops, a medium and slick body, just the right amount of warming alcohol, the absolute perfect amount of malts in my book, and a slick and tastefully bittered finish. I really like this one… wish I brought more back with me from Seattle.
We recently headed up to Portland, OR for a cousin’s wedding and ended up staying a few extra days to take in the sights, activities, and of course … food! Here are some of our findings:
Stumptown Coffee Quite possibly the best coffee! 4525 SE Division Street, Portland, OR 97206-1633 Telephone: 1.503.230.7702 Comments: Roasts coffee on-site, knowledgeable staff, amazing coffee and great history.
Hopworks Urban Brewery Not just your ordinary pub food! 2944 SE Powell Blvd, Portland, OR 97202 Telephone: 1.503.232-4677 Comments: Bikes galore! Food is wholesome and filling while the beer is just darn good. Fries nachos - yum!!!
Piazza Italia Portland Awesome Italian food! 1129 NW Johnson Street, Portland, OR 97209-3062 Telephone: 1.503.478.0619 Comments: Great location, incredible Italian food.
Voodoo Doughnut The Magic is in the apple fritter! Location one: 22 SW 3rd Avenue Portland, OR 97204 Telephone: 1.503.241.4704 Location too: 1501 N.E. Davis St. in Portland, OR 97232 Telephone: 1.503.235.2666 Comments: Good doughnuts, but the apple fritter is the best that I have had - ever! And yes, we went to both locations.
Secession remains my favorite Cascadian Dark Ale. Black like coffee but green and herbal and piney, Secession is a great mixture of styles, especially at two bucks a pint. I followed up with the Army of Darkness bourbon aged stout. It’s great at the start, all butterscotch and chocolate. But over time the bourbon flavor begins to overwhelm the senses. I’m getting a little sick of the taste of bourbon in my beer,
Catching up on some reviews. Been slacking lately. Been drinking new beers but have just fallen behind due to a new job, holidays, etc. Just gonna give some quick down and dirty reviews from some recent favs.
HUB’s Pig War English IPA
This was a really nice IPA. Not overly hoppy and had a nice balance of malt. Tasted was the typical citrus and pine but it was not that sweet. For those times when you want a good hoppy beer that isn’t a Hop Bomb, this is a great brew. Easy drinking and really tasty.
I’m going to rate it pretty high mainly because I appreciate a good easy drinking moderately hoppy IPA.
The cold pressed coffee in this really shines, and fits right in with all the roasted grain notes. There’s plenty of cocoa happening too. The coffee and cocoa flavors almost outshine the grains, but you can still tell there’s plenty of complex grain tastes. It’s fairly on the sweet side, but still manages to finish a little dry. This is actually one of the best coffee stouts I’ve tried in some time, and I’d grab more if I saw it… some to put a year or two on, and at least another to have asap.
Abbey Ale is a misleading label. It implies a beer made in a monastery, but that’s sort of the point. Hopworks’ Belgian-Style Abbey Ale is trading on our fascination with the monks of old. But a beer is about ingredients, technique, and taste, not who made it.
I put this bottle in my makeshift cellar in June, and it’s held up remarkably. The nose is full of fruit, an unidentifiable mélange of fruit. I think I even smelled a strawberry. The taste starts in the fruit and moves quickly on to spices like cinnamon and cloves and finishes with a hop bitterness. It’s warm in the back of my throat in a pleasant way. The transition from fruit to bitter is a bit jarring, a bit rough, but it’s still a satisfying example of the Abbey style.
I can’t remember the first Abbey Ale I tried – Probably Chimay Premier or New Belgium Abbey Ale, maybe something from Unibroue. The beer isn’t really the important part. The story is what really fascinates us. Who doesn’t want to drink a beer made in a monastery built in the eleventh century?
I may not remember the first beer I tried, but I do remember the story that went with it. The story began in the middle ages. A few men cloistered themselves in a castle in the Belgian countryside and spent centuries perfecting their brewing craft. They made beers for themselves, called single. They made beers for special occasions and important visitors – Dubbel. They made beer for noblemen and the bishops – Tripel. And they made the mythic Quadrupel for the Pope and the King. That story is compelling. It sounds like something out of a fantasy novel or a videogame. But it’s just a story.
The true history of the Trappist monasteries and the beer they brew is far more convoluted. Yes the monks made different beer for different people, but sources show it was really just two. They gave away a beer made from oats. A beer made from wheat and barley the monks kept for themselves and visitors to the abbey – sort of a letdown. Abbey beers are relatively young, by Belgian standards; many recipes were invented in the early twentieth century. The abbeys have been occupied by various orders of monks for centuries, but never for long before they were sacked, driven out of the country, or abandoned. The comfortable narrative of recipes handed down from generation to generation in a secretive brotherhood are easy to digest and give abbey ales a certain cache, but the real story is more interesting and tells a fuller story of Belgian beer in the twentieth century.
Over the next dozen Fridays I’ll be sifting through the myths and mysteries of Belgian monasteries and the beers they produce.
(11:37:06 PM) Josh: hub abominable winter ale tastes like you (11:37:21 PM) Scott: erm what (11:40:36 PM) Josh: ben agrees (11:44:38 PM) Scott: I taste like beer? (11:46:00 PM) Josh: it tastes like you
I’m having my noggin flogged by Hopworks. I’ve never really understood what a barleywine tastes like. I’ve only ever had a few tastes back at the Holiday Ale Festival. Noggin Floggin’ Barley Wine is very malty and very bitter. Not really bitter, it’s a pleasant balance for the sweetness. The scent is full of toffee with a hint of hops and booze. The flavor is dominated by bitter hops upfront and sweet caramel and booze in the middle with a dry, bitter finish. I wanted this to taste like liquid brown sugar, and while the brown sugar is in there, Noggin Floggin is more bitter than I expected. The bitter isn’t a bad thing, just unexpected. As I get to the bottom of the bottle, the bitterness subsides and the booze gets boozier. Sarah actually didn’t call this beer terrible. She just said no thank you.
HUB’s 7-Grain Survival Stout contains the usual barley and oats, some unexpected wheat. and is rounded out with amaranth, quinoa, spelt, and kamut. I think that adds up to eight grains total. Wait! Quinoa is a seed. Are all grains seeds? Are sunflower seeds also grains?
Let’s put that aside for a second and mention that Survival Stout also boasts a healthy dose of cold pressed Stumptown coffee. Coffee is a seed. There is a lot going on in this recipe, but the final result is a fairly straight forward stout. It’s fairly dry with subtle toasted notes and a hint of graininess, like wild rice. The coffee is gentle and the finish is smooth. All in all Hopworks did a good job combining unorthodox ingredients to make a fair facsimile of a classic stout.
Rise Up Red is a seasonal Amber (Red) Ale released in February, sold in four-packs of 16 oz. cans, and 22 oz. bombers. 100% of the malts and hops used in this brew are certified organic. My sincere gratitude goes out to Frank Creative of Portland, Oregon for their thoughtful donation. Aromas deliver hop notes of tangerine, grass, and pine needles. Malts reveal a nice little showcase of cereal grains with a little something extra.
The palate begins with a sweet backbone of caramelized, toasted malt. Hops immediately jump in with citrus-focused highlights of orange pith and grapefruit zest. As mild bitterness washes onto the back, a resinous underbelly of grass, herb, and pine are exposed. Malts rest at the foot of the palate like a pillow of buttered wheat toast. The mouthfeel is consistently creamy with a moderate body that carries subdued carbonation. It’s easy to drink, not too astringent or oily.
Overall, I find the bitter, sour, and sweet components establish agreeable balance. In terms of hops, the citrus side certainly has something to say, but herbs get the last laugh. I like how they give a swift kick, then fade away real smooth. This is obviously a West Coast interpretation of the style, so it isn’t aggressively hoppy, but certainly draws outside the lines of standard style parameters. This almost comes across like a Red IPA. It’s not outstanding, but there’s plenty to enjoy, so I recommend it.