Posts Tagged ‘McMenamins’

12th Annual Barley Cup

Tuesday, June 30th, 2009

mcmenaminsTo be honest I see why some of the guys at Capitol Brewers weren’t crazy to volunteer to judge this. While it is an event, it’s more Thompson’s oriented and less beer oriented. That being said it was still a beer event.

I’d planned on attending this with a few friends and Salem’s beer and wine meetup group. Both my friends though had to bail, and no matter how hard I looked I didn’t see the meetup group. Granted I didn’t know any of the people from the group that were going, so that didn’t help.

A beer competition doesn’t have to be a big social get together though, and so I headed to the bar. On an evening like this one the bar was the best place to be seated if you didn’t mind the hustle and bustle. With all the servers coming in and out you could order quicker, and the bartender kept your drinks full in between filling tasting trays. I ordered a tasting tray and joined three other guys at the bar. For awhile conversation was fairly dead, but it was no biggie. Conversation isn’t needed when your brooding about the fact that neither of your friends could make it.

I was about halfway through my tasting tray though when I got a nice surprise. Gary Nance from the Eugene location came and had a seat at the bar also. We discussed brewing and the pros and cons of making beer for a company like McMenamins. Gary was a cool guy. The guys at the end of the bar bought him a pint (I wasn’t impolite enough not to offer, but he’d told me he wasn’t drinking anymore) and we all got to talkin. After I finished my tasting tray I followed traditional McMenamins style drinking in Salem and got a compition beer mixed with Ruby. Turns out the Drunken Monkey IPA combined well with it.

Final results were

Restitution Brown – Mike White, Corey Blodgett
Pullman’s Porter – Gary Nance
‘Merican Ale – Graham Brogan

After we had all finished chatting I headed home for some dinner before heading to Venti’s for some heather ale. Bobby informed me when I got there that they’d just drained that keg the previous night. What the crap??? I so wanted to try some. Oh well. I had a couple pints while Bobby and I caught up on what’s been happening since high school. After I finished I headed over to the World Beat and watched some fire dancing.

Here’s a little video of some of it.

Fire Dancing at World Beat from 72mm Blogs on Vimeo.

Barley Cup

Monday, June 22nd, 2009

mcmenaminsSpecific information on this event may seem lacking, but that’s because there isn’t much out there to go off of. Here is McMenamins info on it.

This Saturday is the 12th Barley Cup at Thompson’s Brewery in south Salem. Every year McMenamins breweries randomly draw a style of beer which they then have to brew for the competition. The winner of the contest then goes on to represent McMenamins at the Holiday Ale Festival in Portland. If you choose to attend though you won’t get to pick the beer that goes on. That honor is reserved for volunteer members of Capitol Brewers. If you do go however you get to choose the peoples choice award.

Interestingly enough I was there when judges volunteered, and if the enthusiasm of the volunteers is a measure of the quality of the Barley Cup then it may not be an event worth going out of your way for. Truth is I don’t know. This is the first year I have heard of the Barley Cup since McMenamins does such a crappy job advertising to Salem that this event is going on.

Hopefully though this will be my first year going. If I can get work off Saturday evening then I plan to attend. Also if I do make it I hope to take some video of this event. Who knows, I may even volunteer as a judge for next years.

Does anyone else in Salem plan to attend?

Stay Classy Salem

Thursday, June 4th, 2009
picture taken from McMenamins

picture taken from McMenamins

So yesterday was about the worst work day I have ever had during the course of my job. It was so bad in fact that I needed an escape. So as soon as that clock said 9:00 and I was off I grabbed my stuff and headed to Boon’s. Those who know me know I don’t go out drinking much. I generally prefer drinking beer at home with friends. But last night I just wanted to spend time at my favorite pub.

When I got to Boon’s I did what I always do upon arriving. I looked at the chalkboard with a list of their beers. The interesting part was the guest tap list. Bet you can’t guess what was on it. It was PBR and Coors Light. Now normaly I’m fairly easygoing on pubs selling commercial beer. After all, they have to pay their bills, and craft beer can’t always do that.

The thing is though it’s not something I’d expect from a McMenamins location. Normally their guest taps are reserved for popular craft beers that other companies make. I’d come to rely on that guest tap when they had nothing else I liked. So how does PBR or Coors end up on it? Ironically I think it has to do with location. Boon’s is located in downtown Salem. Downtown is frequented by mostly young people who view themselves as cultured. They eat at local restaurants, shop at the small boutiques, drink coffee at small local cafes, and drink PBR.

I’ve always found it interesting to sit back and watch the trends in Salem. It amuses me to watch them all flock to a new hotspot for lunch because it’s “local” and “community oriented” yet they pass over Court Street Dairy, a little restaurant that has been a part of Salem since 1929. These people will drink Tricerahops and discuss the greatness of Oregon craft beer, then head over to the space and drink Rainier or PBR over Deschutes.

Anyway, enough about that. Here’s what I drank last night

Golden Jalapeno – this was a smooth beer with some pepper flavor, but no heat. although I wanted heat it was still good and I had a couple

Drunken Monkey Imperial IPA– there wasn’t as much hops to this as I’d thought. It was a dark deep ember color and extremely sweet in a malty way. The hops were there, but without much presence. It was 8.6% ABV and didn’t taste like a big beer. Definitely would drink this again.

Mystery Red– I forgot my other complaint about last night. If you run a pub known for it’s beer either hire servers who know beer, or provide literature for them. I asked the waitress what style of red it was, and she had no clue. She also didn’t know the IBU’s for the beer or the even a basic flavor profile. I ordered it anyway to figure it out myself. It was a good beer, but if you want more then that you’ll have to order one. After all, I had to do it.