Archive for the ‘Brewers’ Category

ZZ Hop Tapping At The Ram

Monday, August 24th, 2009

from theweeklybrew

My opinion of the Ram has changed dramatically over the course of this year. For a long time it had a reputation of shelling out mediocre beers. When I finally was old enough to belly up to the bar all I knew about the place was what I’d been told. Turns out I liked their beers, but just  haven’t been back much. Mike is definitely shelling out some quality beers though. ThursdayI got the chance to chat with Mike while sampling their lineup of the 10 beers that were on tap. I enjoyed the beers, and the conversation. Mike even sent me some pics for todays post.

1246982883Tis the season for fresh hop ales, and Mike at the Ram is tapping his on Wednesday at 3:00 pm. ZZ Hop was brewed in honor of Jim Quilter who passed away in June. He was the Seattle locations head brewer. Jim was known for his ZZTop style beard, hence the name ZZ Hop. Wednesday would have been Jim’s 53rd birthday.

ZZ Hop is a fresh hop ale meaning the hops are taken straight from the vine and added to the beer. No kilning involved. Mike uses 150 pounds of Perle hops that he helped harvest himself in Brooks right before brewing. Sorry for the small picture sizes, but they came like that in the email and resizing distorts them.

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Pale Horse Brewery

Thursday, June 18th, 2009

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Hmmm where do I start with Pale Horse?

Maybe I should start with the fact that it’s only miles from my house. Really, who knew it was this close? I went from kinda excited to major excited when I found out. Sadly Pale horse doesn’t keep their beers on tap though. So it’s not as exciting as it would be if Seven Brides was only miles from my house. I did get to try a pale ale though straight from the fermentor…. More on that in a sec though.

Pale Horse is brewed by Dennis. I didn’t get a last name though. Was just told his name was Dennis. Dennis is not only the brewer of Pale Horse, but also the only brewer in the group. He runs it along with his nephew (the seller) and I think his brother, but I could be wrong. Dennis is a homebrewer of something like seven years and has been operating commercially since January of this year. As CapitolTaps said (and I later learned first hand) his style leans towards less hoppy and less bitter beers. This is both a blessing and a bad thing (curse is an ugly term). Their Hillbilly Blonde is amazing. Their IPA…. Not bad.

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Pale Horse runs their business by providing the general public, not beer snobs, with what they like. Many breweries in Oregon have pale ales as their flagship and breakout beers. For Pale Horse it’s a blond in an unassuming bottle. Overnight it seems Pale Horse is on tap in almost every bar, and from what I was told will be in Bi-Mart as well as Roth’s IGA where it seems to be doing well. Dennis’ nephew is the one responsible for this amazing event. His job is to travel around to bars raising the profile of their beer. So far they’re in many taverns and bars around Salem. With the job he’s doing their current brewing capacity won’t be able to keep up.

As to this no tours nonsense. Perhaps it was the time when many people asked, perhaps not. When I first called I got the we don’t do tours line also. After informing them that I had a blog and wanted to educate people on their business they were much more open to letting me come… alone. When you show up though you kinda get why they don’t do tours. There really isn’t alot of room. I think if you told them you were a brewer and were curious to see there operation they might be more open.

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Apparently though the person I talked to on the phone didn’t remember me calling as when I showed up they didn’t seem to excited. Again I played the blog angle. Dennis came out of the office and we had a chat next to the grains. After talking for a bit Dennis offered me a taste of the pale ale he’s trying out. I’m really torn on this one. I was told that the pressure was being put on for the pale ale by a Drifter fan…. Anyway, I loved the malt flavor of this beer. My only issue was that there was a strong distinct bitter taste, but no real hop flavors. This pale ale has great potential if he can increase the hop juice without increasing the bitterness.

Over all the people at pale horse are great guys. Dennis is especially friendly. They remind me of the group of guys my dad and I go fishing with. They do their research for what sells in Salem, and they are eager. I hope they stay in Salem for a time yet. Look for them at the Summer Solstice Festival, the Oregon State Fair, and The Bite in Salem. Also they will have their pale ale out for sure soon and hope to have 5 beers by this time next year. Sorry bout the porter though for those who were excited. After researching they’ve decided a porter isn’t where they want to go quite yet.