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Monday, July 6, 2009

My Oregon Craft Beer Month: Tart Tale

Posted by Patrick Alan Coleman on Mon, Jul 6, 2009 at 3:41 PM

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She was a tall strawberry blond, and somehow she managed to punch me right in the brain.

Yesterday was a one beer day (though please note that the number here is not the quantity I drank, but rather how many new, unique beers I drank), and what I pulled from my fridge seemed to be in keeping with the Independence Day weekend. So far I’d watched fireworks, ate hotdogs, wore red, white, and blue, sang the national anthem, and had a long discussion with Kitty about growing into patriotism. What had I missed? The pie.
Imagine how delighted I was to find that the BridgePort Stumptown Tart I was about to pour into my glass contained Oregon sour pie cherries. Huzzah!

I must say the Bridgeport Tart cherry wheat is one very pretty beer. As I sat on the patio, the afternoon light slanted through the foliage and dappled the side of my frosty pint glass. The brew within shone golden, with a slight red hue. Lovely.

The first sip is all cherry pie filling. At the same time, it’s very dry and clean. Despite the pie filling flavor, there is no overwhelming sweetness. Still, the mind was saying pie = sweet and somehow tricking me into believing that there was sugar there. When I concentrated, I couldn’t detect that sweetness. There is, however, a tart twang that I believe is lengthened from a slight undertone of oak. I could also be making shit up about the oak… Half of the brew was aged in oak, according to the label, and I feel like I can pull tendrils of oaken flavor from the beer—it reminds me a bit of the notes in scotch—but then again, labels can be persuasive.

The finish has some major legs and lingers on the palate long after the beer has been swallowed. I wonder at the metallic aluminum tones at the tail end. Is that meant to be there? It’s as if after consuming my cherry pie, I had continued eating until I’d packed away the aluminum pie plate as well. That aluminum tinge coupled with a distinct acidity makes for a sharp end to an overall dynamic flavor profile. All and all, an interesting pleasant beer, and one I’d love to try from the tap.

But the kicker of BridgePort’s Stumptown Tart is its 8.3% alcohol by volume, which I missed despite all my label reading. I drank this pint too fast, and it hit me like a truck. That little tart has a mean roundhouse. I decided that it’d be best to halt consumption for the remainder of the day.

As always, I’d love it if you tracked down a pint of Stumptown Tart and gave me your thoughts.

If you’re having trouble tracking these brews down, you’ll be interested to know that a new iPhone App and website is being launched tonight at EastBurn [1800 East Burnside]. From what I understand Tap Lister.com is essentially a tweet aggregator. As people using Twitter tweet what beer they’re drinking and what bar they’re at, marking it with #ontappdx, the website adds the information to a list that can be browsed to find specific beers on tap around the city, or discover what beers a bar currently has on tap. Sound complicated? It’s actually very easy to use, and their iPhone App, Beer Signal, looks just as convenient.

The launch party kicks off at 7 pm tonight. EastBurn will be selling special $10 pitchers and you’ll be able to check out Tap Lister in action.

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