Summer in Portland, Oregon means a different beer fest every weekend. Usually these festivals are laden with lines that last thirty minutes, tents crowded with shirtless boys whooping every ten seconds and all of the unique beers disappearing on the first day.  Keep in mind, I am not complaining.  I enjoy any event centered around drinking new beer.  I am merely putting my new love for the Hopworks' BiKETOBEERFEST into context.

While I strolled through the fest, I saw kids and adults mulling about, enjoying the weather, the music, and all of the bike-centered events.  Bands played throughout the day on top of a keg supported stage.  Participants took turns racing in a stationary bike race.  Possibly my favorite and in hindsight the most dangerous event, was the Huffy huck-off, wherein people tried their hand at tossing a Huffy bike as far as possible.  Mind you, this took place a mere few feet from the onlooking crowd.  BMX troupe, The Flatlanders, performed a variety of BMX bike tricks that were astonishing.  Overall, it was a nice change of pace from the usual hectic crowds that show up to beer fests.

Oh, yeah. I almost forgot about the beers.  Hopworks has amazed me since they first opened in 2008.  They have a knack for producing beers that are tasty and well-balanced.  They had fifteen beers on draft for the fest and each one was delicious.  Here are a few that I tried for the first time and found to be tasty.


This beer was unveiled at the fest, and it's hard not to wonder why Hopworks kept this one in hiding.  That is until you learn that it was allowed to age for eighteen months in four different barrels (Heaven Hill Bourbon, Maryhill Sauvignon with sixty pounds of sour cherries, Maryhill Cab Barrel with Brett Bruxellensis and Maryhill Cab Barrel with Brett Lambicus).  This Belgian Ale has all cherries in the aroma, but the first sip brings a tinge of bourbon.  All of this quickly vanishes when the ale itself is allowed to come up front.  The finish is just the right amount of tart.  This ale comes out a deep red color that deserves almost as much attention as the brew itself.  8.5% ABV 18 IBU

Velvet Underground

You don't see the category of Imperial Black ESB very often, and after trying this beer, I have to ask why not?  The beer pours a deep black with a light brown head.  The aroma hits the back of the nose like a porter.   Coffee and nutty scents come at you even as you take the first sip.  The flavor is light and a little bitter.  This beer reminded me of the recent Cascadian Dark Ales we have been seeing, but this beer was more complex.  This beer finishes smooth.  Be on the lookout for this one this fall.  8.7% ABV 56 IBU


This Imperial Red Ale has a light red color with a deep Carmel scent.  The Centennial and Cascade hops contribute a floral, fruity taste that is there from start to finish.  This ale has a great taste for an Imperial Ale.  An all around balanced ale that was a pleasure to drink on such a warm day.  9.3% ABV 100 IBU

Noggin Floggin

I tried this Barleywine late in the day, and as often occurs when most of the beers are over eight percent, my notes are almost indecipherable and my memory is a little fuzzy.  All I can truly tell you, is that this beer was delicious.  I remember that it had a nice Carmel malt flavor, and and it didn't taste heavy with alcohol.  Highly recommended.  9.7% ABV 70 IBU