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Saturday, July 4, 2009

My Oregon Crafte Beer Month: Independence Edition

Posted by Patrick Alan Coleman on Sat, Jul 4, 2009 at 1:18 PM

A look in my fridge right now will show you how committed I am to this project:

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On the left is a sixer of Caldera’s Ashland Amber, beside it is a row of Session Dark, and on the far right from back to front: Cascade Lake Brewing’s Paulina Lake Pilsner, Ninkasi’s Radiant Summer Ale, Bridgeport Stumptown Tart, Full Sail’s LTD Limited Edition Lager, Widmere’s Drifter, and an import from the Bay Area (which I’ll drink in August, this being Oregon craft beer month) Bison Organic Honey Basil. Actually, when I think about it, it’s very Oregon to have a Californian interloper in with all the native beers. Huh.

So anyway, yesterday was a two beer day. However, the first beer was a complete mistake. I’d walked down to Dot’s on Clinton for lunch and I was very hot and very hungry. So after ordering a salad and a grilled cheese sammy, I scanned the taps in front of me at the bar. I was at a loss. Panicking, I ordered a Rogue Dead Guy Ale not seeing the row of taps behind the bartender that included a Pyramid wheat beer, which is what I was really craving. All apologies to Rogue and Dead Guy lovers, but I just don’t dig that beer. It was way too sweet on a hot day and it had an astringent quality that didn’t help matters. It did not go well with my grilled cheese and it was an all around disappointment. Now, I’ve had some very good Rogue beers, but I’ve never been a fan of Dead Guy. I remember living in Ashland when Rogue still had a brewery there. The Dead Guy was not a favorite then and it’s not a favorite now. There will be more Rogue brews for me this month, to be sure. So, no worries.

Beer two was Ninkasi’s Oatis Oatmeal Stout. I was a bit hesitant to order a pint of Oatis when it was in the eighties outside, but a taster changed my mind. The Oatis was surprisingly light for a dark beer and could have been the more gregarious and interesting cousin of the Session Black I had the night before. I realized quickly that I probably should not discount all dark beers for summer drinking. In fact, as I drank the Oatis, I was reminded of a summer BBQ. There was a very nice smoky quality to the brew, but it was still very bright. Below it all was a subtle sweetness. I think this beer could make a great base for a BBQ sauce, or at least a quaffable pint to cool the throat as you tear the meat from a beef rib.

Speaking of BBQ’s, it’s the 4th of course. Below is my new favorite BBQ dessert. I’ll give you one guess what it is.

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If you answered a Session Black Vanilla Ice Cream Float, you are correct. I took a chance this afternoon and plopped some Tillamook Vanilla Bean ice cream into a pint of Session Black. Magic. It’s actually very cool. The vanilla augments the Session nicely at the start of the drink and by the end the Session is lending its chocolate and coffee tones to the vanilla ice cream. Go ahead, give it a shot. You know you want it.

And one final word on this 4th of July. Please buy seeded watermelons. There is nothing independent about a watermelon without seeds, and there is nothing more American than spiting spitting. God bless the USA.

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