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Friday, July 12, 2013

The Incredible, Indispensable Puckerfest

When Carl Singmaster and the folks at Belmont Station launched Puckerfest in 2006, they were trying to figure a way to maximize the utility of an abandoned keg of Cantillon.  In its first year or three, Puckerfest showcased a mixture of rare beers from Payottenland and early wild experiments happening across the country.  Soon the emphasis shifted home, boosted by the inaugural Devil's Kriek--Double Mountain's wild ale made from brewer Matt Swihart's own cherries.  Now the week of Puckerfest is almost wholly a showcase of local wild ales--a testament to how much of this kind of brewing is now happening in Oregon.  The West Coast is famous for hops, but perhaps we should be known for making some of the more impressive examples of subtle, sophisticated tart, sour, and funky beers.

I wonder if Puckerfest is at least partly responsible for the interest--both on the brewer and drinker side--because it is such a good showcase.  Each day one or two breweries gets center stage, and they bring a lineup of their best stuff.  Often it's a keg that has been squirreled away or a beer that is debuting there.  In the best tradition of Beervana, the brewers are on hand to discuss their beers.  (And who can  resist Double Mountain's annual appearance, when Matt doles out orchard-fresh cherries to go along with Devil's Kriek?)

This year's lineup is once again a daily must-try:
  • Today, Friday.  Block 15 (Corvallis) and Cascade (Portland)
  • Saturday.  The Commons (Portland) and De Garde (Tillamook, see below)
  • Sunday.  Trinity Brewing (Colorado Springs, CO) and Upright (Portland)
  • Monday.  Flat Tail (Corvalis)
  • Tuesday. Logsdon (Hood River) and Schooner Exact (Seattle)
  • Wednesday.  Double Mountain (Hood River) and Solera (Parkdale)
Trevor Rogers and Linsey Hamacher,
De Garde Brewing
At least one name on that list is probably unfamiliar to you--De Garde Brewing from lovely Tillamook, Oregon. They debuted in March (Ezra, of course, was on the scene) with the intention of making rustic and spontaneously-fermented ales.  I've been waiting to see what they've come up with, and I have to wait no more than another 24 hours. For the full run-down on the specific beers the breweries will be pouring and the times the brewers will be on hand, go to the Puckerfest website.

One final, important note.  When you go, take your greenbacks: Puckerfest is cash-only.

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