Friday, July 27, 2012

OBF Review

Yesterday I got a full dose of the OBF starting with the parade and ending with a dinner at the House of Louie in Chinatown.  Here are my thoughts and recommendations [note that they coincide fairly strongly with Jeff/Beervana as he and I agree on a lot of things beer-wise and share each others beer choices to broaden our samples without getting falling-over drunk].

Parading through scenic industrial SE PDX

First off the parade was a mild amusement but not more than that.  Fun once, but I don't think I need to do it again.  Jeff mused that if you had arrived in Portland for the first time to attend the OBF and this was your first look (a march through the gritty industrial inner SE) you might have a skewed impression of our fair city.

Ah, this pic could be from any of the last 15 or so OBFs, but it was yesterday.  This is the absurdly long Dogfish Head line for a decidedly unimpressive beer.  Once again the Dogfish hype-machine at work in the service of poor beer - they do have some great ones but too many are total duds.  This is not a total dud, but no where near the best of the fest.

Second, it just keeps getting earlier and earlier.  I used to be able to count on a few relatively peaceful hours on Thursday afternoon before the chaos started, but this year, the first big whoop I heard came in just before 12:30pm.  Bummer.  Still, it is a pretty well oiled machine at this point and I never had to wait long for beer, toilet, or water.  On the latter, it really is time to improve these facilities.  More water stations and better flow rates.  Many have figured out that to stay hydrated you need to drink lots of water which leads to long wait times at the water stations as the little dribble fills up a big water bottle.

Third, the beer selection was good and quite varied.

Some of my favorites:

Uinta IPA - This is a pretty big IPA but very well well made with a delicious hop aroma and flavor

Sierra Nevada Pilsner - Not too big but full of American hops.  This is similar to the Laurelwood Pils in that sense but I thought a bit more successful.

Prodigal Son - I liked it a lot but it was not universally admired. 

Odell St. Lupulin Pale - Very, very nice hop aroma on a non-aggressive well-balanced beer.

Occidental Kellerbier - Perfect for a hot beerfest day.

Gigantic Dynomite! - What else is there to say?

Flat Tail White Light/White Ale - Beautiful use of white peppercorn to give some spice and flavor.

Epic Lager - Wonderful hop flavor in a lighter session ale.


Russian River - too much of a good thing, Simcoe, it turns out.  A little agressive and one dimensional.

Ninkasi  Pils - A dark pilsner?!? I'm sure some love it but I don't want roasted noted in my pils.

Dogfish Head Wheat Beer - Overdone, and way too many banana esters fro my taste. But if you like you them banana-y wheat beers, and many do, try this.

Boundary Bay Pale - A well-made beer but it turns out that the Delta hop is not one of my favorites.  I don't think it has enough character to stand alone.   

Ooops - ones I missed but wished I hadn't:

Pelican Wit.

Eel River Pale.

Fort George Wit.

Lompoc Saison.  Figure I can try this locally at the Oaks Bottom.

Summit Abbey.  If this was last year this would have been my brother's contribution to the Unchained series, now he has moved on to Renegade in Denver. 

Finally, a bonus.  With I-5 across the river closed this weekend, the fest should afford a rare opportunity to enjoy the waterfront park without the din of cars.  Now if we could only do something about the ever-increasing "whoop".

Enjoy the fest folks!


The Oriole Way said...

As an East Coaster, your assessment of Dogfish is very fair. They have some excellent staple beers (60 Minute IPA, Indian Brown & Raison D'Etre to name a few), but their one-offs and seasonals are much more polarizing. Some of the ancients are excellent; some of the occasionals are just weird. On the other hand, the Aprihop and Punkin are easily the best fruit and pumpkin beer I've had and stack up quite well outside of just those niche categories. If a few duds are the price to pay for the innovation they consistently bring, that's a worthy trade-off.

Jeff Alworth said...

When did you have the Russian River? I regretted not tasting it--but now I fear I did. Ah, the Fest. Did I like it?