Get to Know: Deux Fermes

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Get to Know: Deux Fermes

Collaboration brews are an important part of what we do here at Alesong. Learning from our peers, seeing their equipment and procedures, and likely making a beer that is better than the sum of it's parts is usually the name of the game. We've worked with several of our friends in the past three years, so when the fine folks at Logsdon Farmhouse Ales suggested we brew with them and explore the world of spontaneously fermented beers, of course we didn't say no!

Brian worked closely with with Shilpi, Logsdon's head brewer, to plan out a beer that could be brewed at their farm brewery outside of Hood River Oregon, and then split up to be finished, hopefully on regional wine grapes, at each of our respective breweries.

Step one happened roughly 18 months ago when Brian and I ventured up to Logsdon in Pedro, our trusty box truck, and an empty tote for hauling the wort back in. We brewed the base wort with Shilpi and his assistant, Mark, on a cold early spring day when we knew the night air would be cool enough to innoculate in the coolship. (a Coolship or Koelschip, is an open topped, flat bottomed, shallow vessel that holds hot wort to be cooled by Mother Nature and allows the local organisms in the air and in Logsdon's barn to start their journey of turning sugar into alcohol.) The day was long and adventuresome to say the least, but the "Gueze-mosas" that the gentlemen treated us to were enough to make the brew go smoothly. Or at least that's how I remember it!

The next morning we hauled the innoculated wort back to Eugene where we'd let it ferment for over a year and mature in barrels. In the meantime, Brian and Shipi made their wine grape plans and placed the orders with the growers. Logsdon's version of Deux Fermes ('two farms') was refermented on Oregon Tempranillo grapes while ours saw Syrah grapes from Oregon's Applegate Valley. After this refermentation and maturation, both versions of Deux Fermes are ready to go and will be debuted together on October 19th at our 3rd Alesong and Friends event happening at our tasting room. As this is our 'Harvest Edition" all beers are wine/beer hybrids. There are definitely some unique and rare beers that you will not see served in Oregon. And if you can't make it to our Alesong and Friends event, consider joining our Blender's Circle club since this little blend will only be available to the club this time around.

Cheers!

Matt

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Get to know: Farm Fresh ’19

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Get to know: Farm Fresh ’19

Considering we really don’t make hop forward beers often, it’s not common for our cellar to be punching with hop aroma. But harvest season in the Pacific Northwest means a bounty of some of the best Oregon has to offer, and we couldn’t pass up the opportunity. The fresh hopped, barrel-aged mixed culture blend is a style we did for the first time last year and are very excited to revisit. Aromatics from fresh hops are pretty unparalleled, and with positive feedback from last fall’s Farm Fresh, we are back with a delicious new variant stuffed to the brim with Comet hops from Oregon’s own Crosby hop farm! 

Located just south of Portland, Crosby hop farm gave us a great selection to choose from and we settled on the Comet hop which has been described to have a “wild American” flavor that we thought fit right into our methodology! After soaking up the hop aromas on the ride from Crosby back to our cellar, we tasted through our mixed culture French oak barrel selection and put together a blend of 3 oak casks that we felt complimented the Comet best. Farm Fresh ’19 bounces with citrus zest and fragrant spicy, grassy, and earthy notes… for now! Considering the volatility of fresh hops, we decided keep this batch draft-only, to relish its freshness as soon as it finished. We’ll have this one available on draft here in our tasting room for you to enjoy shortly, and will be sending out a handful of kegs to some of our favorite pour houses in the Oregon.

If you’re curious about this style and more, be sure to check out last year’s version here.


Cheers!

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Get to Know: Rhino Suit

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Get to Know: Rhino Suit

That’s right, the classic imperial stout that began our exploration into aging in bourbon barrels is making a return for another year! Rhino suit was one of the first spirits aged beer we released here at Alesong back in 2016, and although we’ve made subtle tweaks each time around, that same rich and delicious milk stout has been a favorite that we’ve returned to again and again. It’s such a favorite around here that we’ve been known to dabble in a few variants crafted from the same base, bourbon-barrel-aged style — Vanilla Rhino Suit, Mocha Rhino Suit, Señor Rhino, and a few other one-off projects that we’ve done as collaborations that didn’t get the Rhino Suit name (for more on that name, read on!).

But sometimes, it’s great to return to the original! This fall, we’re releasing a third rendition of straight up Rhino Suit. And although the name is the same, like all of our beers, each release has its own unique character. Slight tweaks to the grain bill and brewing process, new barrels, and small variations in aging time or cellar temp all contribute to this 2019 Rhino Suit’s vintage personality. This year’s version was aged 100% in freshly emptied Heaven Hill bourbon barrels that added smooth notes of vanilla and coconut to the rich chocolate flavors of the base stout. We love this beer as the leaves turn colors and fall gives way to winter. Nothing better to curl up with on a rainy Oregon winter day next to the fire!

And what about that name? Is it a rhino in a suit? Or a person wearing a rhino suit? We love both (hilarious) visuals, but the original idea came from one of our mentors sharing a valuable business lesson with us as we were just getting our feet wet in this venture. We’ve had lots of help and great advice from a number of people in getting this thing off the ground, but this particular guy has founded a couple of very successful wineries and when he told us he had a business secret to share, we were all ears.

So the three of us are sitting in his office in Sonoma on a couch, eager to soak up whatever it is he’s about to tell us and he leans across his desk and says, “You know what running a business is all about?” A little confused, we all look at each other and nobody says anything, to which our winemaker friend responds, his voice building with excitement, “it’s about people just putting walls in front of you… every day! Walls in front of you, just trying to stop you from doing what you’re trying to do!”

Wow… not exactly the pep-talk we were hoping for as we’re just getting a new venture off the ground, but we continue to nod waiting to see where this goes.

“Well you know what I do when someone puts a wall in front of me? I go in my office and put on my Rhino Suit….” Thoroughly confused now, we are staring blankly and he jumps out of his chair and is suddenly towering over us on the couch, practically shouting: “You know what a rhino looks like, right? A rhinoceros!” Arms waving in animation, showing us the shape of a rhino, he exclaims “You know, big fucking horn, huge shoulders… you do not mess around with a fucking rhino!” Half terrified and half trying not to laugh, we nod again in unison. “Well, when someone’s got a wall in front of you, it doesn’t stand a chance against that rhino, so make sure you’re ready to put on your rhino suit and charge through those walls every day!”

We all walked out of that meeting, looked at each other, and said, “that’s definitely a beer name!” And it became the first beer we ever brewed, in celebration of charging through that first major wall of getting our TTB Permit! It’s a funny story and visual, but obviously that advice has stuck with us to this day and we’ve certainly had to put on our Rhino Suits to charge through our fair share of walls over the past three years. Chances are, even if you haven’t started a business, you know the feeling of having someone put a wall in front of you, so crack a bottle and raise a glass to putting on your Rhino Suit!

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Get to Know: Terroir Cabernet Sauvignon

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Get to Know: Terroir Cabernet Sauvignon

Another installation for our Terroir series is coming this release and it could be the most deceiving one yet. Terroir: Cabernet Sauvignon has a big, beautiful, Cabernet fruit character that dominates the glass unlike any hybrid we’ve done. We can’t wait to pour glasses of this in our tasting room and see the reaction on peoples faces when they are reassured, yes, this is beer. 

This deep garnet-colored ale underwent it’s second fermentation on 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon grapes from the Alder Ridge Vineyard in the Horse Heaven Hills AVA. Sitting atop our golden sour base is a rich, jammy, Cabernet grape flavor exhibiting firm tannins from the grape skin ferment. After about a year co-fermenting in neutral French oak barrels, this luscious beer/wine hybrid finally separated from the grapes and was blended and bottled just in time for our August release. 

Terroir: Cabernet Sauvignon pours a velvety ruby, magenta color with a tamed carbonation. As any wine aficionado will tell you, Cabernet and oak go hand in hand. In addition to having a softening effect on the grape's naturally high tannins, the unique wood flavors of vanilla and spice from the barrels complement the natural grape flavors of berries, black currant and tobacco. This beer is a fascinating and delicious beverage that is sure to have you coming back for more.


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Get to Know: BeerMongers Biscotti

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Get to Know: BeerMongers Biscotti

Our relationship with Portland’s The BeerMongers beer bar and bottle shop started in the beginning back in 2009 back when Matt had just started working at Oakshire. At the time, Chris Tappan (now BeerMongers’ GM) was a sales rep for Point Blank distribution and worked closely with Matt and the Oakshire team. Since then, the bond has kept strong and so in celebration of our relationship and of 10 successful years of mongering at The BeerMongers, we were approached to put together a collaborative blend.

Talk of a collaboration has been in the works for years, and with the 10th anniversary party The BeerMongers will be throwing in September, the timing was finally right. For the celebration, they decided to make a collaboration beer with 10 different breweries, and we were lucky enough to be chosen as one of the few barrel-aged options. When we met up for discussion, it was pretty apparent right off the bat that they had some wonderful and creative ideas for variants of our bourbon-barrel-aged imperial milk stout. So for this blend we showcased a bright, but velvety ensemble that brings together all the notes of a classic chocolate dipped orange biscotti. 

We began by tasting a couple variations of our base stout recipe aged in bourbon barrels and as the barrels were reaching their desirable maturation, the decision was to finish them on orange peel, cocoa nibs, coffee, sea salt, and hazelnuts. As we always do with adjuncts, we ran through numerous trials to dial in just the right proportions for the final blend.  We’re very proud of what we’ve ended up with and can’t wait to share it with you all! If you can’t make it to Eugene for our summer release August 17th & 18th, we will be having our quarterly Portland satellite release at The BeerMongers August 29th and will be hanging out from 5-8 p.m. With all five new summer release beers available on limited draft for the evening, you will get the first sneak peak at this collaboration before their 10 year anniversary party in September. 

Big congrats to The BeerMongers for 10 years building one of the most premier bottle shops in the US! Here’s to 10 more!

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