This is part of our recent Winter Travel Weekend posts (#WinterPDXnow) chronicling our visit down to Portland during #PDXnow #Collabofest sponsored by Travel Portland.

WinterPDXNow-IMG_20160130_132648781_HDR_Fotor_CollagePhoto-1024x1024.jpgBase 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,OccidentalBreakside, Ecliptic, Ex Novo, Fat Head’s, Gigantic, Hopworks andStormbreaker) and two cider makers (Cider Riot! and Reverend Nat’s).

WinterPDXNow-IMG_20160130_132648781_HDR_Fotor_Collage-1024x1024 (1).jpgEX NOVO BREWING CO. + WITH ECLIPTIC BREWING

WinterPDXNow-IMG_20160130_132648781_HDR_Fotor_Collageecliptic-1024x1024.jpgMidnight #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 has a delicate malt flavor with a touch of roast. The addition of raw cacao nibs and sweet orange peel will remind you of a great dessert.


I felt a little chilly, and Brian ran off to bring back a combo of the two spicy beers on tap by Burnside and Commons. Usually I stay away from anything spicy, but this was a welcome kick to mix up the rounds of beer tasting.

@BurnsideBrewCo #PDXNOW #nofilter    

Burnside’s #nofilter is brewed with The Commons Myrtle and with a special addition of blood orange. The final product is 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 is brewed with a version of Burnside Brewing’s Sweet Heat, fermented 100% with Brettanomyces. The final product is 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.


So I learned that when I try sour-beer on its own, I’m not the biggest fan. However when mixed with another beer, it’s a go for my palette.


Jack Burton #PDXNOW

This malt-forward, German-style dark ale made in collaboration with BTU Brasserie showcases two new malts from Country Malt. “Hot honey” is added post-fermentation, creating a sweet and slightly spicy beer that’s is surprisingly balanced and very drinkable. Drink with Wang Chi to experience #PDXNOW.

Wang Chi #PDXNOW

This light, kettle-soured wit beer, made in collaboration with Breakside Brewery, showcases Country Malt’s new Wint Malt. While wheat malt and oats provide the body, the addition of green tea, citrus peel and chamomile create a flavor profile that awakens all the senses. Drink with Jack Burton to experience #PDXNOW.


I asked Brian to go surprise me with a beer. And he returned with Widmer’s and Fat Head’s. Smokey and dark, how mysterious!


Metal As Bock! #PDXNOW

Bock is metal! But Doppelbock is Metal As Bock! You know … like Motörhead! This clean, dark brew is 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 is 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.


To take a break before our visit to Taylor Railworks, I had a sip of Reverand’s Nat Cider. Great balance of tartness, fruitiness and not overly sweet.


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.


And of course, the best is saved for last. For the hostess, with the most-test. Find me hopping over hops.

#PDXNOW Street Steamin’ Common

An uncommonly produced California Common–type hybrid lager beer, Base Camp’s Street Steamin’ Common is 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 lend 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.

Tips for your next Portland Beer Fest?

  • VIP tickets: I highly recommend in investing in those passes. After the VIP Media preview hour was over, hordes of people piled in, so the lines to taste all the beers became longer and longer… so if you’re a little impatient at times waiting, come early. Plus this ticket came with a really nice steel pint canteen and a token to trade in for another large pint at the end.
  • Eat: Either come prepared with a little food in your stomach, or be ready to check out the large selection of food carts available also.
  • Say Hi: Grab a beer, start up a conversation with the person with you in line or at one of the standing tables. Maybe you’ll start a “Vancouver-off” like Brian and I did with a family we met from Vancouver, Washington. (Which is a 10 minute drive away from Portland, by the way).
  • Planning is Key: For the next festival, if there’s a large array and you have a small stomach like me, don’t be afraid to ask for smaller “Canadian-sized” portions (or bring a buddy who can drink more). As there were many other events happening around Portland, to get to the venue easily, also choose accommodation as close as possible to either take public transportation or even walk.
  • Of course, Enjoy Responsibly! Yes, at under 5′ in height, people wondered if I would be able to sample all 16 brews. What matters most is that one enjoys and remember the fun moments while drinking at your own pace. (This is not a race!)

Thank you to the team at Travel Portland for arranging and sponsoring HelloVancity for our first visit to Portland.

About Base Camp Brewing

The Base Camp family has grown a bit since the first door openings. The crew represents decades of work in the brewing industry and a common love for life here in the Pacific Northwest. When time is made to get out of the brewery, you can find the team out having fun.

About Travel Portland’s latest Zine – The Beer Book

Portland is home base for all kinds of breweries, from old school brewmasters to popular ale houses to freshman aficionados. It got us thinking: If Portland is where beer goes to school, we never want to graduate. This zine is your guide to the most interesting kids on campus. Read the Zine >