Sunday, April 20, 2008

Portland represents at the World Beer Cup

On April 19th the World Beer Cup published the winners from each of the 91 beer style categories that they were judging this year. Out of the 2,864 beers entered from 644 breweries in 58 countries Oregon walked away with 16 metals, the winner of the Small Brewpub category (Bend Brewing Company, making Tonya Cornett the first woman brewer to win this award), and the winner of the Large Brewpub category (Pelican Pub & Brewery, which they also won in 2006 at the Great American Beer Festival)

Portland was able to snag 7 of the medals, 4 golds and 3 silvers:

BridgePort Brewery got a gold for its Beertown Brown in the English-Style Brown Ale category and a silver for its Blue Heron Pale Ale in the Ordinary Bitter category.

New kid on the block Hopworks Urban Brewery won gold with its IPA in the American-Style Strong Pale Ale category and silver with its Organic Lager in the Bohemian-Style Pilsener category.

Laurelwood Brewing Company's Organic Deranger won a silver in the Imperial or Double Red Ale category.

Widmer Brothers got two golds, one for their Hefeweizen in the American-Style Hefeweizen category and the other for their Pale Ale in the American-Style Pale Ale category.

Find the compleat list here:

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Barons Black Wattle Superior Wattle Seed Ale

I had no idea what wattle seeds were when I saw this, so naturally I had to check it out. As an extra special bonus I had a flimsy excuse to use my really bad Australian accent while purchasing it and listening to Men at Work's opus "Down Under" over and over again on the way home.

Brewery - Barons Brewing Company in Woollahra, Australia
Style - Seems to me like a spiced version of a Northern English Brown
ABV - 5.8%
Serving type - 12-oz bottle

Apparently, Wattle Seeds are native Australian versions of Acacia. Of the 1300ish species of Acacia, around 960 of them come from Australia. It has been used in food stuffs for awhile. The aborigines would eat the seeds raw or cooked or made into "bush bread". Today it shows up in Barq's Root Beer and Altoids. It was only a matter of time until it made its way into beer.

I have no idea what Wattle Seeds smell or taste like so it may be difficult to judge how it impacts the beer. According to what I found on-line Wattle Seeds tend to add a nutty, chicory and/or coffee flavor to the foods it is added to.

Glass - Tied house pint glass

Aroma – When I first poured this beer there was a distinct cider aroma. This quickly gave way to a delicate balance of flowery (almost like lavender, but not as pungent) hops and nutty/bready malts. As the beer warmed it became muskier.

Appearance – It pours with a small, short lived off-white crown. There is no lace. It has a light ruby color.

Flavor – The beer starts off delicate and balanced enough with sticky sweetness in the front, malty and nutty down the middle and the floral hops down the sides. In the back the flavor a bold spiciness jumps out. Then, from out of nowhere, dark chocolate appears in the aftertaste amongst the lingering spices.

Mouthfeel – The body is light and refreshing, probably do to the prickly/fizzy carbonation. It finishes dry.

Final Thoughts - Not what I would call an "Everyday Beer" and it might even be difficult to knock back a couple of these in a row. However, it is a unique and flavorful beer that I'm glad I found. I am curious to add a few milliliters of Wattle Seed extract to a macro-beer and see what that tastes like.