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July 29, 2005


The Oregon Brewer's Festival started yesterday evening in Waterfront Park. I went later in the evening (to avoid the after-work crowds) and tasted some delicious varieties of beer. 72 breweries are represented. According to an informal poll, the current favorites seem to be 21st Amendment's Watermelon Wheat, Anderson Valley's Summer Solstice Cerveza Crema, and Bison Brewing's Organic Chocolate Stout.

Although most serious beer drinkers scorn fruity hefeweizens, 21st Amendment claims that its Watermelon Wheat is the most popular beer at the festival. Upon trying it, my first reaction was, "I think I need a case of this." It's golden and refreshing, like the essence of a summer picnic. Watermelon and light maltiness take the bite away from the hop flavors.

I still haven't decided whether stouts are my thing, but the Organic Chocolate Stout by Bison Brewing is the best I've had so far. It has a dark, bitter roasted flavor, something I would normally associate with a warm cozy winter's night. The finish is extrordinarily like drinking a good iced mocha. It's like having espresso, beer, and European chocolate in my mouth at the same time. I only had a little sip of this (from my friend's mug) so I think it warrants another try.

Local brewpub New Old Lompoc has a new amber ale called Condor. I had a taste of this at the end of the evening. Condor has a pleasant malty flavor, with a fresh youngness similar to homebrew.

Posted by mara at July 29, 2005 10:36 AM