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Thursday, November 29, 2007

The Brewers Speak - Caldera and Raccoon Lodge

Here are the last two missives from brewers about the beers they've sent to the Holiday Ale Fest--which starts today. I was able to sample ten (!) of the 41 taps last night, and will post a review later today (tonight, actually--I left my notes at home). One of the beers we tried, however, is the Raccoon Lodge's Baltic Porter, which brewer Ron Gansberg describes below. I am now officially psyched. Based on the samples I had last night--and there were two sublime, absolutely-can't-miss-these-beers in the bunch--this has the makings of one king-hell of an event.

Raccoon Lodge (aka Cascade Brewing) Baltic Porter
"Thanx for the interest in the Baltic Porter. This beer is a blend of select stocks of Baltics and a 10% Belgian Quad. We based the selections around some '06 Baltic that had aged 8 months in a "Jack Daniels" whiskey barrel on Goldings and Centennial whole hops. We added a barrel of '07 Baltic from a French oak Pinot Noir barrel. This barrel was wine-neutral but with only one run of wine through it, the beer picked up some fresh oak flavor and vanillin aromas. We also selected some '07 Baltic from a first beer run Pinot Noir barrel which had a crisp angular hop presence from the barrel whole hops. We fleshed this blend out with some Belgian Style Blond Quad (SG 25º P) [editor's note--he means here that the recipe was for a gigantic beer] to add some body, sweetness and a little twist.
"Cheers! Ron

"PS We are releasing our "Belgian Flanders Style" Kriek and Blackberry Ales in 750ml champagne bottles for sales and tasting 12:00 to 4:00 pm on Dec. 8th and Dec. 15th. Come on by and check them out!"
I will show my hand to a small extent here by saying that 1) this beer was nothing like a traditional Baltic Porter (more Bruges that Baltic), and 2) it was one of the sublime, absolutely-can't-miss-these-beers.

Caldera Cauldron Brew 2007
Caldera was the first place I contacted, and I focused more on the stats in my question. Perhaps that's why I got stats from President Jim Mills in the reply. Still, there's enough info here to make a pretty informed judgment:
"1.064 original gravity
6.5% alcohol by volume
Deep garnet in color
Hops: Galena, Cascade, Simcoe
Dry hopped in the brite tank with Simcoe and Cascade hops
Malts: Rahr 2 row, Crisp crystal 60 and 120, Special B, Great Western Munich, Gambrinus Dark Munich, Crisp Chocolate"
Incidentally, we didn't try the Caldera last night, so these are all the facts I'll be able to impart. More tonight on the other beers I tried. In the meantime, if you plan to head down to the Fest, these are the details you'll need:
Pioneer Courthouse Square
Thurs-Sat: 11a to 10:00p
Sunday: 11a to 6p
The traditional plastic fest mug is $5; a taster is $1 and a full pour $4.
Also, today only they'll be pouring a series of super rare beers at specified times. I'm slow in getting this posted, so you've already missed the first flight. Not to worry, there are seven more:
  • Anchor Brewing, Anchor Christmas (11am)
  • Dupont, Avec les Bon Voeux (11am)
  • Sierra Nevada Brewing, Wood aged Scotch beer (Thursday)
  • Sierra Nevada Brewing, 20th Street Ale (Thursday)
  • Brasserie St. Feuillien, St. Feuillien Cuvee de Noel (Thursday)
  • Eggenberg Brauerei, 2005 Samichlaus Bier (5 pm)
  • Deschutes Brewing, 2005 Mirror Mirror (5 pm)
  • BridgePort Brewing, 2005 Old Knucklehead, Batch #11 (after 5 pm)
  • Hitachino Nest beer, 2006 Celebration Ale (after 5 pm)

1 comment:

  1. Will you be at the fest on Saturday, JeffREY?

    It would be fun to meet up and chat....

    I'm not GRINCH you probably think I am..