The Ale List: July is Craft Beer Month; BIG celebrates

This one goes to 11 — with a “brewer’s dozen” or more in the pipeline.

As Oregon celebrates Oregon Craft Beer Month in July, it’s a good time to revisit the alliance known as Breweries in the Gorge, a group that, according to its website, is “united in promoting and progressing our craft and in helping you discover some of the Nation’s finest beer, in one of the most beautiful places on earth.”

BIG is now in its third year. The website — www.breweriesinthegorge.com — is the central information point for the 11 breweries, and counting, currently operating in the Gorge. (Though the slide show could use two specific updates, starting with the fact that only 10 breweries are depicted — Parkdale’s Solera the absent friend. Also, the Logsdon Farmhouse Ales photo shows the upper valley farm brewery, no longer open to the public, rather than the brewery’s one-year-old downtown Taphouse.)

Speaking of Logsdon, I sampled the American Wild Ale Conversion II recently, and found it to be a quenching mildly tart ale (7.7 ABU), one that is sure to please sour ale aficianados and, well, convert those of us will skeptical of the sours. (“Tart” being a term more and more brewers prefer to apply to the type.)

More releases, new and old

Full Sail’s new Brewmaster Reserve Capsize Imperial Pilsner is hitting the shores, or at least the shelves, for the summer. Capsize has intense aromas of pine and citrus balanced by a full malty body and a long, clean, hoppy bitterness.

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Capsize from Full Sail

Full Sail Brewmaster Jim Kelter describes Capsize (7 percent ABV, 60 IBUs) this way: “With an extra load of Cascade hops from start to finish, we have upended our Pilsner. Big hop flavors of citrus and pine abound, but with a smooth malt character, this one is remarkably easy to drink.” He said its “clean malt profile, well balanced with moderate bitterness, sets the stage for a blend of Cascade, Crystal and Citra hops to provide a spicy Northwest backbone to the full-bodied golden lager.”

Capsize Imperial Pilsner is similar in style to the Full Sail brew with the same name from the early 2000s, but is brewed with a completely new recipe. Full Sail recommends pairing it with burgers, steaks, barbecue, or spicy desserts such as gingerbread and carrot cake or with Roquefort, Stilton, Camembert, Taleggio and aromatic and pungent aged cheeses.

Full Sail’s Brewmaster Reserve series allows the brewmasters to put their creativity, innovation and passion into small, limited-release beers. Over the years, Full Sail’s Brewmaster Reserve series has earned 18 gold medals. Brewmaster Reserve Capsize Imperial Pilsner is available June through October in 22-ounce bottles and draft.

Double Mountain Brewery & Taproom releases seasonal favorite, the Cluster Single-Hop (7.3 percent ABV, 85 BU) in bottles for the fourth year. This IPA is currently available on draft and by bottle at the Double Mountain Brewery & Taproom.

Brewer Matt Coughlin said the oft forgotten Cluster hop was the dominant hop in the U.S. brewing industry for centuries. “With this single hop IPA, we’re putting it in the spotlight.”



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