With 67 (and counting!) breweries in town, Portland’s collective beer knowledge runs deliciously deep. So imagine what happens when a cadre of the town’s esteemed brew masters joined forces to create a special run of collaborative ales. You guessed it: one massive party.
Base Camp Brewing hosted its second annual #PDXNOW Presents Base Camp’s Collabofest in January, an opportunity to taste 17 never-before-sampled recipes from 16 innovative Portland breweries (Base Camp, Baerlic, Laurelwood, The Commons, Burnside, Culmination, BTU Brasserie, Widmer Brothers, Occidental, Breakside, Ecliptic, Ex Novo, Fat Head’s, Gigantic, Hopworks and Stormbreaker) and two cider makers (Cider Riot! and Reverend Nat’s).
The epic results were available for a limited run through February at the breweries’ taprooms as part of the Portland is Happening Now campaign, which also includes some free stuff and great savings for visitors.
The 2016 Collabofest beers
Ex Novo Brewing Co. + with Ecliptic Brewing
Midnight #PDXNOW Black Gose
Ecliptic and Ex Novo chose to take traditional German styles, make them dark and use chocolate as a unifying ingredient. At Ex Novo, we brewed a Black Gose using Jacobsen’s Pinot Noir-infused sea salt to tie the chocolate and style together. Light and tart, with subtle cocoa and Pinot Noir notes.
Nightfall #PDXNOW Black Pilsner
Ecliptic’s take on a dark, chocolate-inflected beer is a German-style Schwarzbier. This beer had a delicate malt flavor with a touch of roast. The addition of raw cacao nibs and sweet orange peel reminded you of a great dessert.
Burnside Brewing + The Commons Brewery
@BurnsideBrewCo #PDXNOW #nofilter
Burnside’s #nofilter was brewed with The Commons Myrtle and with a special addition of blood orange. The final product was a blend of Burnside Brewing’s take on The Commons Myrtle and The Commons’ take on Burnside Brewing’s Sweet Heat, with a special mystery ingredient added by each brewery.
@CommonsBrewery #PDXNOW #nofilter
The Commons Brewery #nofilter was brewed with a version of Burnside Brewing’s Sweet Heat, fermented 100% with Brettanomyces. The final product was a blend of The Commons’ take on the Sweet Heat and Burnside Brewing’s take on The Commons Myrtle, with a special mystery ingredient added by each brewery.
Gigantic Brewing Co. + Stormbreaker Brewing
Something Brown #PDXNOW
Brewed in collaboration with their friends at StormBreaker, Gigantic’s Something Brown was a sessionable brown ale made extra smooth with the addition of cacao nibs from Portland’s own Mana Chocolate.
The #PDXNOW Love Van
StormBreaker went big with their collaboration. So big, it’s Gigantic. This Imperial Chocolate Brown Ale, brewed with local cacao nibs, was big and bold, but finished as smooth as a ride in the Love Van. With flavors of chocolate and notes of caramel, you would need to pull over and draw the curtains for maximum enjoyment. But remember: Only drinking, no driving in the Love Van.
Breakside Brewing Co. + BTU Brasserie
Jack Burton #PDXNOW
This malt-forward, German-style dark ale made in collaboration with BTU Brasserie showcased two new malts from Country Malt. “Hot honey” was added post-fermentation, creating a sweet and slightly spicy beer that’s is surprisingly balanced and very drinkable.
Wang Chi #PDXNOW
This light, kettle-soured wit beer, made in collaboration with Breakside Brewery, showcased Country Malt’s new Wint Malt. While wheat malt and oats provided the body, the addition of green tea, citrus peel and chamomile created a flavor profile that awakens all the senses.
Base Camp Brewing + Culmination Brewing
#PDXNOW Street Steamin’ Common
An uncommonly produced California Common–type hybrid lager beer, Base Camp’s Street Steamin’ Common was assertively fruity from an aggressive fermentation regimen with house lager yeast and firmly malty from Great Western’s Full Pint and P-50 malts. Its historical hop complexity comes from Northern Brewers and Summits in the whirlpool and Willamettes added in the dry hop. To add a Portland spin, some of the brew was cooled overnight in an open fermentation vessel which was moved the following morning — with primary fermentation already rocking and rolling — to Culmination Brewing, where it was topped off with their #PDXNOW brew. This open, collaborative fermentation was then blended back into each of the two beers, adding extra fruity notes.
Cascadia Uncommon #PDXNOW
A Cascadian twist on a California Common. Pilsner and the new sacchra-caramel malts lent the backbone to Northern Brewer, Summit and Willamette hops. We then open-fermented in both Base Camp and Culmination (and the roads in-between) with the Base Camp house lager yeast with warm temps for those classic fruity CC esters.
Widmer Brothers Brewing + Fat Head’s Brewery
Metal As Bock! #PDXNOW
Bock is metal! But Doppelbock is Metal As Bock! You know … like Motörhead! This clean, dark brew was soul-crushingly good. It will lead you into and through the darkness. You shall meet, greet and defeat your maker. You will kiss the goat! Welcome to the dark side. You shall never return. Prost!
Rauch You Like a Hurricane #PDXNOW Smoked Dopplebock
Rauch You Like a Hurricane was Fat Head’s take on the traditional German-style dopplebock with a twist. Aromas of rich German malts and a hint of smoke are followed by flavors of smoke, toffee and caramel.
Occidental Brewing Co. + Hopworks Urban Brewery
#PDXNOW Sticke Alt
Occidental’s submission to the #PDXNOW Collabofest was a stronger-than-normal seasonal Altbier. Sticke (German for “secret”) is a balanced beer with a complex malt bill and subtle hop aroma provided by noble hop varieties. Fill your glass, pretend you are at a Düsseldorf brewhaus and enjoy the festivities.
HUB Doppelsticke #PDXNOW
Hopworks contribution to 2016’s #PDXNOW Collabofest was the strong big brother to Occidental’s delicious Sticke Alt. Wanting to provide both traditional versions of an often overlooked style, taste your way through the subtle malt complexities of toasted biscuits, raisins and plums. Perfect for sitting back, relaxing and snuggling up with our warm Doppelsticke blanket.
Laurelwood Brewing Co. + Baerlic Brewing Company
After passing around a few ideas, Laurelwood’s brewers decided to try their hands at brewing an extinct German ale. Notes of oats, honey and molasses pulled this beer together. With help from Baerlic Brewing, this beer was somewhere between a German hefe and a Belgian wit.
#PDXNOW BIRDSEYE Kottbusser-Style Honey Wheat Ale
Birdseye was Baerlic’s take on the long lost Kottbusser style beer originally brewed in Cottbus, Germany. Unfortunately, this style went the way of the Dodo bird as the German Beer Purity Law banned brewing beer with wheat, oats, honey and molasses. Birdseye was brewed with a blend of local honey, barley malt, Bob’s rolled oats and molasses, and kettle soured for a mellow, tart finish.
Cider Riot + Reverend Nat’s Cider
WTF There’s Palms in #PDXNOW?
Sustainably harvested and certified organic Wild Palm syrup from the highlands of Sri Lanka was added to juice from Reverend Nat’s proprietary blend of northwest apples and fermented at Cider Riot! with champagne yeast. Kandy Mountain Treacle in Eugene supports the farmers who harvest the syrup from flowers of the wild palm trees, and say it helps you tap into ancient body wisdom. Restraint is recommended when consuming, lest you inadvertently end in Downward Facing Pigeon pose.
Check back in January 2017 for the next Collabofest lineup!