I am a huge fan of Great Divide (Denver, Colorado) and I am very excited about the release of their Peach Grand Cru, expected to be released in the coming days.

I'll probably try to get my hands on some when it comes out so I can review it, but feel free to take pity on a starving beer writer and send me a bottle! ;)

More about this beer from the Great Divide website:

PEACH GRAND CRU: OUR EXTENSION OF PEACH SEASON We’re thrilled to announce our newest limited release beer, Peach Grand Cru! Brewed with fruit picked at the peak of ripeness, this strong Belgian-style ale marries two of our home state’s well known offerings: great beer and fresh Palisade peaches.

The small, Western Slope town of Palisade is a household name throughout Colorado for its highly-anticipated seasonal peach crop. To brew Peach Grand Cru, our brewers sourced organic peaches from Palisade’s Rancho Durazno, a farm owned by longtime family friends of our Founder and President Brian Dunn.

First brewed as a single 7-barrel pilot batch in 2012, Peach Grand Cru is a true small batch success story. With its powerful fresh peach aroma and complementary Belgian yeast character, visitors to the  Tap Room reveled in the beer’s ability to extend peach season beyond summer’s end. Overwhelming demand for the beer inspired the brewery to immediately start planning for a larger batch for 2013’s harvest season. A larger batch, however, was no easy feat, as over 1600 pounds of peaches are used to brew one 50-barrel batch!

Packaged in large format bottles with a hearty 12% alcohol by volume, Peach Grand Cru is meant to be shared with friends and paired with great foods. Among the many food pairing possibilities, we recommend stuffed mushrooms, smoked chicken quarters, roasted baby artichokes, buttermilk blue cheese, and, of course, grilled peaches with vanilla ice cream.

In addition to the 750ml bottles, limited draft will also be available in select markets where we distributes. With a scheduled early October release, our goal is to have Peach Grand Cru be consumed fresh, but savored well beyond the orchard.
Check out this excellent twenty-minute documentary by David Panton entitled Oregon Brewed.  A little bit about the history and reasons why there's so much great craft beer in Oregon...plus more from my friend Vasilios, head brewer of Laurelwood, among others...

#craftbeer #pdxbeer #beer #oregon

Watch this short clip - a riveting historic tale of the Sausage-Munchers versus The Penguin.

You can invest in BrewDog Brewing UK.

Twitter: @BrewDog
BrewDog on Facebook
In 2007, around the globe in Aberdeen, Scotland, Martin Dickie and James Watt (a.k.a. Brew Dogs) quit their day jobs and started brewing big, strong, hoppy beer full-time, using American hops and American brewing technique.

Say what you will about big, Northwest-style hop-bomb IPAs - which some beer enthusiasts still love and others seem to be growing tired of - but they have helped to put America on the world craft beer charts and have influenced brewing world-wide.  And these guys - the Brew Dogs - were doing something cutting edge, absolutely deviant, in Scotland.

Inspired by American brewers and underwhelmed by traditional Scottish beer, which had been offering the same styles for hundreds of years, they took it a step further - to pioneer the strongest beer in Britain,  EVER, which was banned in many Scottish pubs.  As if that wasn't enough, they continued their experimental journey by producing a beer called Tactical Nuclear Penguin (see fictional...er, historical...account in video to the left), topping the charts at 32% ABV.

These revolutionary boys have been touring the U.S. lately, brewing with some of their brewing idols along the way, and filming it.  Now you can watch their mad-cap adventures on the Esquire TV channel.

Learn more about their TV show, which airs for the first time today.

Listen to a nice piece about the Brew Dogs on PRI's The World.

Block 15 Framboise Rouge at 1856
If you read my last post, you know that I missed trying this one at Zwanze Day.  But I couldn't stop thinking about it.  Block 15 is one of my favorite breweries in Oregon.  There hasn't been a thing I've tried by them that I haven't liked, or most often loved (Super Nebula was my favorite of the many, many excellent stouts I tried at the 2013 Festival of the Dark Arts).  So when I noticed the Framboise Rouge was on the tap list at 1856 - which just happens to be in my neighborhood - I ran there.

(As an aside, before I get to the description of this fine beer, this Thrillist Best Craft Breweries article which lists Rogue as the best Oregon brewery leads me to believe the author has never been to Oregon.  I generally try not to diss on craft beer or those who brew it, and I'd certainly agree with some of their picks...but really?  Has the author ever heard of Block 15 or Deschutes or Cascade Barrel House, Humble or any of the other truly stellar breweries - or breweries doing amazing things, like The Commons or De Garde - in Oregon who blow Rogue out of the water??)  Okay, where was I?

Oh, yes, the Framboise Rouge.  A Belgian-inspired, open-fermented sour wheat beer (think Belgian lambic-style but with a blend of witbier yeast, Brettanomyces ("wild" yeast) and lovely lactic acid-producing bacteria, and with higher alcohol (8%) than a traditional Belgian lambic, usually somewhere around 4-6%).  Then, aged ten months with organic raspberries in pinot noir barrels.  With the right beer, aging in wine barrels can really add a lot of luscious complexity, integrating with and accentuating flavors which are already present in the beer.  This is an example of one of those beers.

It pours a beautiful translucent ruby, with an interesting tawny hue and a thick, foamy slightly pink head that dissipates in a blink.  Smells of fresh-crushed raspberries, wine and funky oak. Super-tart, bright, fresh raspberries with beautifully-integrated red wine, slightly acetic, with funky oak flavors. The berry-wine-oakiness really opens up and shines as it warms up, if you can wait that long to drink it. Oh my...such great flavor. This is what a framboise should be. Block 15 does not disappoint, once again.

It's still on tap at 1856 at the time of this article, so get there before it's gone: NE Prescott and 15th Ave in Portland.

Cheers! ~ Craft Beer Gut

This was my first Zwanze Day, and I'm sorry to see it end.  I have been told that it was quite a bit less crowded and chaotic than it was last year.  I can attest to the fact that it was very calm - no lines, no crowds, no crazy, just a lot of great wild and sour beers. 
    If you are an embittered skeptic, you may find it gimmicky.  But for the die-hard beer geeks, there is something almost magical about taking a sip of this year's Cantillon at the same time that people in Belgium - Canada, Italy, Japan, and the myriad of other countries around the globe - are taking their first sip of this year's Cantillon.
    The 2013 Zwanze Day offering was entitled Abbaye de Cureghem.  Named for a fictional abbey, this one was a tongue-in-cheek take on a traditional abbey ale, blended with lambic, aged six months, then a secondary fermentation in cask or bottle.  This was a beautifully-balanced beer, with a hint of Belgian yeast character and candied fruit - primarily this was a very interesting take on a non spontaneously fermented - yet very wild - beer.

I was asked yesterday which Cantillon beer was my favorite.  It's always so hard to pick a favorite when they're all so different.  My American taste for innovation and boundary-pushing naturally made me a fan of the Abbaye de Cureghem.  And I was - of course - impressed by the Cantillon Gueuze, which was my first taste of the day.  I always love the Champagne character of a good Gueuze.  This one had a great lemon-lime character, along with a hint of apricot, a beautiful bright straw color and excellent head.  Then, there was the 2010 vintage of the Lou Pepe Framboise...The Lou Pepe fruit lambics are in a class by themselves - with a base of 2-year old lambic aged in wine barrels, then the addition of 300 grams of fruit, aged in Bordeaux barrels, and a secondary fermentation after adding sweet fruit liquor, the complexity and tart balance is beautiful.  Then add a couple of extra years of aging and...well, I suppose this one would have been my favorite of the Cantillons.

I think one of my favorites of the day, however, was not actually a Cantillon beer.  Sacreligious, I know.  It was the 3 Fonteinen Intense Red Oude Kriek.  This was very cherry-complex, meaning it left nothing out of the cherry experience.  There was the tartness, of course, and a slight sweetness, but there was also an earthiness and tannic quality to it as well.  Really, this was a gem that stood out to me, and following it with the Cantillon Kriek was a bit unfair.  It left the Cantillon version, sadly, tasting like pie cherries and not much more.
    Another favorite was The Bruery Tart of Darkness.  I'd been wanting to try this for a while, so it was a treat, and my propensity for style-bending beers was certainly soothed by this lovely tart stout.  A difficult style to pull off, for sure, but they did it.  The influence of souring critters and wild yeast was prominent, but with an underlying roasted chocolate that was very well-integrated.  Another surprisingly delicious beer from one of my favorite breweries.
    Also a treat to try was Crooked Stave - which is a brewery that doesn't usually make its way to Oregon - Surette, which was a wood-aged farmhouse ale with Brettanomyces and Lactobacillus.  Also interesting was The Commons Braam, a sour stout with blackberries - mind you, not much to look at (a muddy, thick concoction) - but a very interesting flavor and an admirably bold style.  I did not have a chance to try the Block 15 Framboise Rouge, which I'm certain was excellent.  Block 15 made one of my favorites at Puckerfest this year - Cuvee Rouge - and they have proven themselves to be a world-class brewery. 

Overall, I had my favorites and those which didn't stir my soul quite as much.  But what does it all mean when you're comparing an excellent beer to a world-class beer?  Everything I tried was wonderful, and I can't wait to go back again next year. 

Cheers! ~ Craft Beer Gut
"Beer for Hugs and Kisses" Beer Cart
An old friend of mine provided these pictures for me from Burning Man.  Thank you, MB!!!

Now that they have beer at Burning Man, maybe I'll go...

Check out Black Rock Brewery's website!

~ Craft Beer Gut

#craftbeer #beer #burningman @blackrockbrewer
Anyone who knows beer knows that Deschutes makes some great standards - well known and well-poured beers around town such as Black Butte Porter, Mirror Pond Pale Ale, Inversion IPA, Obsidian Stout, Chainbreaker White IPA...and the list goes on.  But some of you who are less Beer Geek and more Casual Beer Enjoyers may not know about the Deschutes Reserve Series - which illuminates the truly phenomenal brewing standards of Deschutes. 

The reason casual beer drinkers may not know about the Deschutes Reserve Series is not simply due to ignorance or lack of desire to know necessarily, but that these Reserve Series bottles are as hard to spot as a Boa in the wild (which I have also been known to search for, though with perhaps a little more apprehension).  A person practically needs to queue up at the door the night before to get a bottle.   

One of the relatively easier to find Reserve Series beers is The Abyss, one of my all-time favorite imperial bourbon-barrel beauties.  I discovered The Abyss for the first time in 2008, a year after it's first seasonal release, and drank the entire 11% bottle myself it was so delicious.  If you can get your hands on one, I would recommend aging it for at least two years because it brings out incredible complexity that is, sadly, lost drinking it in the first year.  In fact - just get an entire case, and then you can drink one now and save the rest.  Get a case every year, and you can do a vertical tasting of different years later on.  This is a truly amazing experience.

Another Deschutes Reserve Series bottle that is even harder to find is The Dissident, a Flanders-style Oud Bruin (sour brown ale) which is a blend of beers aged in pinot noir and cabernet barrels for eighteen months.  This is a beer that, in my opinion, rates right up there in complexity with Westvleteren 12 (acclaimed as the Best Beer in the World by many) or Abbaye de Saint Bon Chien, which you may have tried for a whopping $12 a glass at The Puckerfest recently (totally worth it, by the way).  Some of you might be thinking I'm sacrilegious right now, but just try aging this one for a year or more, and then tell me I'm lying!  And on top of that - instead of paying $12 a glass (or taking a trip to Belgium to beg from the monks), you only need to spend about $15 for a bottle.

The Dissident - Deschutes first incredibly-successful attempt at a sour beer - is now being followed by a second: The Green Monster, just released.  I wish I could tell you how it is, but being unemployed now...well...OH THE TEMPTATION!!!  You'll just have to tell me how it is.  But hurry, because it's probably already gone! 

Donate to my beer fund (genegeek@gmail.com), or simply read about Green Monster below.  Cheers!

"GREEN MONSTER   The upcoming release of this unique beast was mentioned in the last issue of The Bitter Truth and we're back to tell you that Green Monster has officially been unleashed. This sour beer spent 39 long months in Oregon Pinot barrels while it metamorphosed into something delightful and delicious. Given the alchemy of this mistake turned into gold, less than 1000 cases of 22 oz bottles were produced. You can hunt down a few bottles at our pubs and tasting room NOW or take your chances finding it at a specialty bottle shop near you."
RESERVE SERIES  7.3% Alc. By Vol.
#craftbeer #beer #pdxbeer #sourbeer @DeschutesBeer
There are only 175 tickets available for this annual event...dwindling by the minute...This is a chance to try one of the most legendary beers in the world so don't miss it! Saturday, September 14th, 2013 at The Hop and Vine in Portland, Oregon...and other various locations world-wide.
More than a beer, Zwanze is a global event in the beer community. By sending the beer to a select few locations (only 46 worldwide, with 22 in the US) and tapping it simultaneously, Cantillon ensures that when you sip from a glass of Zwanze, you are in good company – sharing the moment with a true worldwide community. Scores of good, beer-drinking comrades around the world will raise a glass to one another across thousands of miles.
#craftbeer #Cantillon #ZwanzeDay #pdxbeer