Drinking craft beer in a park on a sunny Oregon afternoon- there isn’t much else that can top that for a Saturday.
The Corvallis 8th Annual Septeembeerfest helped kick-off the 2015 Corvallis Beer Week with over 72 taps and 30 breweries, cideries and mead.
I look forward to this event like parents looking forward to the first day of school.
Besides drinking beer in a park on a Saturday afternoon, I love going to this event because you get to sample new beers, ciders and meads from local breweries; some that are brand new for the season and some that are not even in stores.
I got off the Septembeerfest-provided shuttle (a yellow school bus, by the way) and made my way towards the beer. With my pint glass in one hand and my list of what’s on tap in the other- I was ready to get drinking!
The first tent I saw was for Ninkasi Brewing Company so there I headed. I got a sample of their new limited release, the Noir Imperial Milk Stout.
This beer blends two signature brews of the glorious Pacific Northwest: coffee and beer. With these two ingredients a beer can’t get much better. I want to drink this dark and creamy brew in the morning- alas, I can only do so on the weekends.
Just as this beer’s namesake comes- inspired from the black and white films with fog rolling in and sly detectives figuring out a plot-driven case or a heroin looking for her way out- this beer is dark and mysterious.
What I really enjoyed about this imperial stout was that it didn’t feel heavy when you drank the beer. I love my dark beers and sometimes I come across a brew that has a big mouth-feel and heavy composition that I need to nurse that brew for a while.
The coffee (from Stumptown) stands out and isn’t overpowered from the beer, which is another benefit of a great brew- having all the flavors work together instead of against each other.
After the Noir I wanted to try a new beer and one that sounded exciting, so next up was Calapooia’s Chili Beer. This is a medium amber beer made with Anaheim, Serrano and Jalapeño peppers- and I thought this was the beer to fit the bill of new and exciting.
I thought this would be an amber accentuated with the taste of peppers and have that spice in the aftertaste.
Nope. I was wrong. Really wrong.
This beer smelled like spicy Doritos and tasted like fire. The entire taste of this beer was peppers and after a few painful sips I felt the heartburn creeping its way into my chest. I’ve never had a beer that literally hurt to drink, I regretted spending one of my drink tokens on that beer. Call me a wuss, but I couldn’t finish the sample without being in pain the rest of the afternoon so my good friend Sydney chugged the rest of it like a champ and we moved on with our day.
To recover from the Chili Beer I wanted to go with a drink that was familiar and easy to drink. I went next with the Prickle Me Pink Infused Apple Cider from 2Towns Ciderhouse.
Prickle Me Pink is made with the prickly pear cactus fruit, fig nectar and watermelon. It is a bright pink that just makes you smile as you drink it because only drinks in that shade could make anyone excited about life ( the ABV probably helps with that, but for now let’s say the pink is the magic.)
What I always enjoy from 2Towns Cider is that their drinks are not overly sweet like many hard ciders and showcases unique ingredient combinations. Prickle Me Pink is a crisp and tart cider with a delectable watermelon aftertaste. The prickly pear cactus fruit on its own has a crisp flavor similar to watermelon and raspberries that is brought out by the addition of the watermelon in the cider. Overall this cider is great from its name to its color.
I was on a cider-kick and next went over to the Wandering Aengus Ciderworks tap and got a sample of their Bloom, American Hard Cider.
This cider was a sweet and tasted just like the juice from fruit cocktail without all the syrup. Instead of finding maraschino cherries at the bottom, I found a brisk finish and an empty pint glass.
Wandering Aengus was the end of my cider samples of the day and on came beers as dark as the night.
I went through and find some stouts and porters that made my soul happy- and a little buzzed. I sample Oakshire Brewing’s Big Black Jack Imperial Chocolate Porter, Flying Cloud San Francisco Stout from Ancho Brewing and a new favorite from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. with their Narwhal Imperial Stout.
The Narwhal Stout had incredible depth of malt, rich with the tastes of espresso, cocoa and roasted grains. With an unexpected hoppy aftertaste, this stout placed high in my favorite beers of the day.
If you’re another craft beer enthusiast who likes to hang out in a quaint college town on a Saturday in late September- Septembeerfest is a definite addition to your craft beer festivals.