The Portland International Beer Fest is hands down my favorite beer event of the year. Big domestics and internationals make up most of the taps and scare the Bud swilling riff-raff away (well, compared to OBF anyway). Stopping by after work last night for a one hour speed round before last call, I came away surprised both at what I liked and didn't like this year.
Dry Hopped Whoop-pass
Silver City Brewery
My first beer of the fest - candied malt and lime citrus with a shockingly low astringency was inoffensive but boring for a 9.2% IPA, which is I guess a feat on it's own.
Perfect Storm Imperial IPA
It's rare that I dislike a big IPA, but the funky bad cherry and moldy flower aromas were an instant turn off.
Wood Aged Double IPA
Great Divide Brewery
Maybe my pallete was wrecked at this point but this reminded me a bit of nice tart berry cobbler. A woodsy sweettart finish is well executed, very nice indeed.
Great Divide Brewery
A double wit eh? Basically reminded me of a big sour hefeweizen with some honey and berries. A wit should be crisp and finish clean while I thought this was a bit too sweet.
A fellow Tripel Karmeliet (in my top 5 ever) fan recommended this to me and I'm really happy he did. Sweet single fruit notes were overlaid with just the right amount of funky Belgian yeast, and then it shocked me with a hoppy crisp finish, remarkably good.
Typically quad's can get a bit too cloyingly sweet for me, but a Belgian lover mentioned 'best in show' so why not? Huge apple sweetness was quickly tempered by crisp apple acidity with raisins lingering forever. Frighteningly close to the edge of too sweet, but just barely balanced enough to be downright perfect.
Shockingly I was disappointed by the big IPA's for the most part and far more impressed with the few Belgian's I tried, it's usually the other way around for me at PIB. The IPA's I didn't try were rumored to be either skunky keg's or beers I've already had dozens of times, so I'd go Belgian this year even if you're not a fan of the style. Some interesting hybrid IPA/Belgian crosses were on hand too but the kegs empty by the time I arrived.
Anything you loved at PIB? Flex your beer-nerd cred in the comments!