2013 Portland Fruit Beer Festival

I like beer. I like juice. The organizers of the Portland Fruit Beer Festival (PFBF) have given me a reason to enjoy my two favorite beverages. May I drink a beer in the morning if it is brewed with fruit juice? I certainly hope so.

I was offered the privilege to attend the preview tasting for several of the PFBF’s beers at Burnside Brewing Co. I am usually not a fan of American fruit beers. They are often too fruity, taking away from the flavors of the beer. They almost seem like fruit juice with a spritz of beer. No, thank you. Now, pour me a Lambic (framboise) and I am pretty happy.

However, the organizers of PFBF have pulled together several of the most well-crafted fruit beers offered in the Portland region that even the most skeptic of beer drinkers would find nirvana in each taste. The following is a beer review of several of those beers. These and others will be available at this year’s Portland Fruit Beer Festival.

  1. Bushwhacker Blend presented by Alex Ganum of Upright Brewing: Barrel Aged for 2 months with grapefruit, Blood and Seville oranges. Utilizing a French Saison yeast, the beer offers hints of champagne, tart, and cidery flavors. Think Orval, but more refreshing. 4.5% ABV
  2. Alamosa presented by Carston Haney of Alameda Brewing: Pilsner style lager using a Bohemian lager strain. Dried orange peel and orange juice added during fermentation that leaves the mouth refreshed and wanting more. 4.5% ABV
  3. Passion fruit IPA presented by Christian Ettinger of Hopworks Urban Brewery: If you like IPAs or if you don’t for that matter, you’ll love this collaboration between Hopworks and Automatic Brewing Co. A juicy and crisp IPA (Citra, Nelson, and Galaxy hops) made with passion fruit, pineapple, and mango fermented with a Trappist Ale yeast producing a sunny session ale with juicy characteristics of a Capri sun, but for adults. 5.3% ABV.
  4. Ivill Krushu presented by Jason Mcadam of Burnside Brewing Co: The biggest beer of the entire tasting. As I sipped my favorite beer of the night, I thought of my grandmother. She loved dates and figs, and apparently so does Jason Mcadam. A smooth and light bodied beer barrel aged for 2 months with figs and dates. The California Common yeast balances the sweetness and earthy characteristics from the figs and dates with the essences of blueberry. I would order several pints if I wouldn’t end up with a blood alcohol level that would give John Bonham a hangover. Be careful and enjoy. 8.5% ABV.
  5. Bier Royale presented by Sean Burke of The Commons Brewery:  Influenced by the Kir Royale, made from a Nancy’s Yogurt starter, and 84 pounds of current puree the Bier Royale is a the perfect summer drink. Tart, assertive, with a touch of champagne sweetness, the Bier Royale keeps your thirst quenched, but leaves you wanting more and more and more.

If you want to try these and other fruit beers, purchase your tickets to the PFBF right away. The all-ages event is held on June 8th and 9th and offers a little something for everyone: Gluten free cider, sodas for the non-drinker, and maybe some vitamin C from all those fruit beers. More info can be found here. I hope to see you there with smiles abound.