As some of you may be aware, the hubby and I took a week to explore the wonders that are the beers of Oregon and Washington state. The first part of our trip was spent in Astoria, Oregon, a picturesque, storybook-looking town on the banks of the Columbia River. Astoria is home to Fort George Brewery, which has been on my radar for a while now. In early spring, my friend Tim Sarrantino and his lovely fiancé, Jocelyn, hosted a Portlandia night where they shared some of the beers they acquired from their recent trip to Portland. (And I made them have Portlandia episodes play in the background.) They shared a Fort George beer where the brewers replicated fruit cake but in ale form and, as crazy as it sounds, it was delicious! It turns out this beer is one in a line of winter ales brewed by the brewery that tries to replicate a traditional flavor of the holiday season.
My second exposure to Fort George beer was at the Beer Bloggers conference in July. I met Brian Bovenizer, a Chicago-area transplant to Astoria, Oregon who blogs and does social media for Fort George. He brought plenty of Fort George beer to share with conference attendees and, when the hubby and I told Brian that we wanted to head out to the Portland area for vacation this year, he informed us about a beer festival occurring in Astoria, Oregon the last weekend of September. Done! We made our travel arrangements so we would begin our trip in Astoria to attend this fest. But before we headed to the fest, we wanted to scope out the brewery.
Fort George Brewery is divided into the brewpub and the production brewery which has a tap room. Since we were interested in getting some food, we hit up the brewpub first. There is a brewhouse in the pub and the majority of the small batch beers are brewed on this system while those for larger distribution are brewed at the production brewery across the parking lot next door. The hubby and I were in luck as we are in the tail-end of fresh hop season so there were four beers on the menu that were fresh-hopped, meaning that there was a short amount of time from when the hops were harvested and added to the boil. As I’ve only had two of Fort George’s beers before, we opted to order a flight of all of their beers. Our server, Sean, ran through all of the beers but, noticing that we knew our way around a beer tasting, asked if we would like to see the brewer’s notes. That was amazing. It afforded the hubby and me the ability to taste the beers and make some guesses about what the beers were made of but then could really get into what each of the beers was about. It was also fun to put the a beer against its fresh-hopped version.
I was impressed with all of their beers but my favorite was a Flanders Red where their Nut Red Ale was aged in a soured Makers Mark barrel. We spent about four hours at Fort George Brewery and then we decided to seek out some more tasty beers at the Pacific Northwest Brew Cup, a three-day fest sponsored by Fort George and partly organized by Bovenizer. I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to write a guest post for #pdxbeergeeks about my experience at the Brew Cup.
Be sure to check out my write-up of the Pacific Northwest Brew Cup on #pdxbeergeeks!
More Beercation posts to follow! Stay tuned!