The latest trials, tribulations, and thoughts from the club you know and love.
  • 08/08/2013 8:29 AM | Anonymous

    PORTLAND, Ore. – July 31, 2013 – A record 85,000 people traveled from all parts of the world to celebrate the 26th consecutive Oregon Brewers Festival (OBF) this past weekend. The event, which opened on a Wednesday for the first time ever, took place July 24 through July 28 at Tom McCall Waterfront Park in downtown Portland.  
    “We decided if we couldn’t add space to the footprint of the festival, then we’d add another day and see if that helped spread out the crowds,” explained event founder Art Larrance. The theory worked; the crowds on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday were solid, yet beer lines ranged from non-existent to not long at all.
    The other notable change to this year’s event was the switch to a tasting glass following 25 years of serving into a plastic mug. Despite consumer concerns of broken glass, there were very few issues on-site, and the response to the switch by the consumer was overwhelmingly positive.
    “Beer should be enjoyed in a glass; it allows the consumer to fully enjoy the sight, smell and taste of the beer,” said Larrance. He added that the festival will continue to use a tasting glass in the future.
    The five-day affair kicked off on July 24th with a two-mile-long parade of 600 brewers and beer lovers through the streets of Portland. This year’s Grand Marshal, local longtime beer writer John Foyston, led the parade, pedaling his way to the opening ceremonies on a beer-themed bicycle. Once onsite, Foyston drove a brass tap into the inaugural wooden keg – containing a Belgian blueberry by BridgePort Brewing Co – heralding the start of the festivities as beer flowed for all.
    In two main beer tents, the OBF served 84 different craft beers, including two gluten free beers, from 12 states across the country. The most represented style was fruit beer, with 15 entries, marking a shift from the past, when IPAs ruled the festival. In addition to beer tasting, attendees enjoyed live music all five days, food from six area restaurants, homebrewers demonstrations, and a collection of beer-related vendors ranging from ceramic beer growlers to glass blown pints and kegerators to kilts.
    Minors and designated drivers received complimentary cups of handcrafted root beer and free face painting in the Crater Lake Root Beer Garden, a benefit for the Community Transitional School for homeless children in Portland. In the same area, staff from Everyday Prevention provided education on the potential dangers, risks, and unhealthy community norms associated with underage drinking.
    More than 2,900 bikes were parked in the Hopworks Urban Brewery Bike Corral, manned by volunteers for Transportation Solutions ByCycle. The festival brought in more than 2,200 volunteers to pour beer, sell tokens, and aid with recycling education.

    The Oregon Brewers Festival was founded in 1988 as an opportunity to expose the public to microbrews at a time when the craft brewing industry was just getting off the ground. Today, that industry has succeeded, especially in Oregon, where 137 brewing companies operate 175 brewing facilities in 59 cities in Oregon. There are 51 breweries operating within the Portland city limits, more than any other city in the world. The 2012 Oregon Brewers Festival generated an economic impact of $30 million for the local economy.

    The Oregon Brewers Festival always takes place the last full weekend in July. The 27th annual event will take place July 23 through July 27, 2014. For more information, visit

  • 08/07/2013 9:45 PM | Anonymous

    I want to start off this month’s column thanking everyone that staffed the Oregon Brew Crew booth at the Oregon Brewers Festival.  We had over 20 people that staffed the booth and another 6+ that did brewing demos during the fest. In addition I saw countless OBC members volunteering to pour/serve at the festival. You have my thanks and gratitude for being such great volunteers and showing the public why this club is so great.


    There are a lot of events coming up this month. First we have judging for the State Fair Homebrew contest this month. I’m the organizer of it and I need a lot more judges then what I currently have. We have 228 entries and not nearly enough judges to get through everything. I know that the Oregon Brew Crew traditionally has issues for driving to events further south of Tigard, but if you can come down for even a few hours, I could really use your help.


    Then on the weekend of the 17th we have Hop Madness 2013 down at the Rogue Hop Farm in Independence Oregon. Now if you haven’t been to Hop Madness then you’ve been missing out. It’s an event that I got involved in about 3 years go (It’s the 11th year it’s been running) and it’s a chance to meet homebrews and drink hombrew from all over the state. We’ve had clubs from Washington, Idaho, California and Arizona all show up in addition to the clubs from Oregon that show up. We will also have fresh hop picking, and a hop farm tour.  It’s a low key, no pressure type event that allows you to drink and then camp out overnight at the Hop Farm.  I have been going for the past 7 years and I’ve always thought that the event makes for a nice relaxing weekend to meet new people and hopefully you will get a chance to experience the same thing.


    Finally let’s cover what our August meeting is going to be about. First off our education topic will be all about water and why it’s so important to get the chemistry right for your beer. Josh has decided that we will finally have our Tacos! Tacos! Tacos! Meeting. If you’re interested in brining something that will accompany that please let Josh know. Finally Ted will be organizing the judging for Sessions Beers in our Style Competition program.


    In addition this is going to be our first August meeting. In the past we’ve done a picnic that was sparsely attended. We wanted to capture the momentum we had from talking to everyone at the OBF and telling them to come check out our club. I anticipate a number of guests at this month’s meeting, so if you see someone you haven’t talked to before, please take the opportunity and talk to them about the club. Find out how they are brewing, what they are brewing and if they have any questions. Show them what’s great about this club.



    Chris Hummert


    Oregon Brew Crew

  • 08/03/2013 3:54 PM | Deleted user

    Demand for gluten-free beer has risen recently, with people who are unable to consume gluten not wanting to miss out on delicious craft beer. Gluten sensitivity affects an estimated 6% of the general population, leaving many unable to drink beers fermented from conventional grains. Gluten sensitivity is caused by a T cell driven intolerance to wheat gluten epitopes.

    Current Methods of Preparation of Gluten-Free Beers

    There are currently several methods of producing gluten-free beers. The most common is use of fermentable cereals such as sorghum, rice, millet, buckwheat and corn that do not have gluten. These beers have generally not been accepted as a direct substitute for those brewed with conventional grains. Widmer Brothers Brewing Company is currently producing Omission, a gluten-free beer with conventional grains by enzyme degradation. I’ll explain how it works and how you can achieve similar results with your brewing.

    Gluten Enzymatic Degradation by A. niger Protease (the science part)

    Gluten found in beer has a high proline content in the T-cell stimulating epitopes.  In the last seven years, an endoprotease from the fungus Aspergillus niger has been isolated, researched, and made commercially available.   This enzyme, Aspergillus niger prolyl endoprotease (AN-PEP) has been shown to efficiently degrade gluten by post-proline cleavage at the C-terminal side of proline residues.

    AN-PEP has been shown to degrade gluten 60 times faster than a prolyl oligopeptidase. Studies have also shown AN-PEP to be active at pH ranges of 2-8, with peak enzymatic activity of pH 5.0-5.5 at 37ºC. At these conditions, AN-PEP degrades 50% of the total gluten every 6 minutes.

    Is gluten-free beer actually gluten free?

    There’s quite a bit of debate on that subject, and several methods for determining what counts as “gluten free”. The simplest definition is “made entirely with gluten-free ingredients”. This applies to sorghum beers like Redbridge.

    The FDA definition of “gluten free” is “contains less than 20 ppm gluten”. Depending on why a person is avoiding gluten and how sensitive they are, this definition is a point of contention. Some people with Celiac’s Disease get a negative reaction to as low as 1 ppm gluten.

    When I use enzymes to make gluten-free beer, I call it “reduced gluten”. It meets the definition of <20ppm gluten, but lets people know that it may contain some gluten.

    Procedure for making reduced gluten beer as a homebrewer

    The enzyme that breaks down gluten is sold commercially as Clarity-Ferm by White Labs (WLN4000). They sell vials pre-measured for 5-7 gallon batches. Just pour a vial of Clarity-Ferm into your fermenter when you pitch yeast, and it’ll break down the gluten as well as proteins responsible for chill haze. It’s about $2 per vial, so is an easy and inexpensive way to make your beer drinkable by more people and impress everyone with your brewing prowess.

    Happy Brewing!

    More information:,0,2712332.story

  • 07/20/2013 11:10 AM | Deleted user
    The mystery hop from Mystery SMaSH 11 was Mosaic. A different malt was used too - MFB Special Aromatic (similar to Vienna). However, I think the overriding malt profile came from a carmelization process (similar to decoction).

    Congratulations to the following members that proved they have good taste:
    • First guess: Jason Jordan
    • Second Guess: Corrie Heath
    • Third Guess: Tim BakerTed Assur
    We would like to thank Warren Holmes for volunteering to brew this SMaSH. Nice job Warren!

  • 07/09/2013 10:01 AM | Deleted user
    By Seamus King

    Hey members! Do you have a brain? Can it formulate questions and think about stuff?Can you use it to direct your hand to mouse over to spell check and then click post? Well aren't you so fortunate? Put that to use, and write for the OBC OJBA. Did you go to a brew-related event? Did you have a compelling conversation with a brewer? Did you do extensive research about the level of activity of alpha-amalayse in 2-row Northwest Pale Malt at 137 degrees Farenheit at 15, 30, 45 and 60 minutes after mash in? Did you document some parallel SMaSH brews? Did you trip over your brewing sculpture and manage to tweet about it, snap a picture of your exposed femur to Instagram and update your Facebook about it before the ambulance carried you off? Then, by all means, share a post! If it's top notch, it will even get slid into the monthly digest that goes out to all members. If you sign into the website (not the forums) and click on over to "News" you should see the "Add Post" button at the top of the feed. Click on "Add Post" and write it in. You can even attach pictures from your PC! If you want to do something fancier (attach audio or a video) and need help, shoot me an email at
  • 07/09/2013 9:59 AM | Deleted user
    By Seamus King

    Hey OBC'ers, I've recently had the calendar handed off to me, and I can see it's pretty paltry right now. Our bad on that. I'm going to get at it today or tomorrow so you can plan the rest of your brew related summer fun.
  • 07/08/2013 12:18 PM | Deleted user
    By Rick Okamura

    Are you tired of the sunshine, sick of the company of others, and yet still manage to be interested in the governance of your club?  Then, the June Board Meeting Minutes have been posted for you:

  • 07/06/2013 8:15 PM | Deleted user
    By Seamus King

    Next month, we're bringing back "Ask the Brewer." So, send all of your questions for our next featured brewer (TBD), to me at In lieu of your questions, this month, I've interviewed and featured a brewer.

    Sunny Parsons is the owner and brewer (along with Rodney Stryker) at Heathen Brewing in Clark County, Washington. Tucked away, north of Vancouver in his large shop, he has a 10 barrel system, which utilizes an old buttermilk tank as a mashtun. They are aggressively brewing and consistently turning out beers that are balanced, flavorful and impressive. Those who enjoy more malty beers will find happiness in the bottom of a pint of RIP Porter, brewed American style, but fermented using a British yeast. Hop heads will revel in Son of Malice, an Imperial IPA with a crush of fresh hop aroma and flavor that hits your palate. There are a range of beers in between, as they are trying to constantly keep a line up of 12 house made beers available.

    What follows is the cliff notes version of my interview with him, which does no justice to the great conversation I had with him. I have the audio file from the interview uploaded below. I highly recommend you give a listen to it.

    How did you come up with the name Heathen?

    When we were growing up, whenever we were being mischievous or getting in trouble, my parents always called us "heathens." When I started to brew, we had friends who really were "heathens." I'm using it in a loose sense, meaning "barbaric," "uncivilized" or "lacking of manners," maybe. I know that some people might look at that the wrong way, but I think the beer industry lets you get away with that in a way that other industries might not. I've embraced it.

    How long have you been brewing?

    It's coming up on 8 years, now that it's July. I had a buddy who had one of those Mr. Beer things, and I thought, there's gotta be something better than that. So I did my first extract brew using Bader's recipe. I quickly learned that even though it takes a lot more time, going all grain gives you a lot more control and it's less expensive. Within six months, I went from doing 5 gallon extract batches to doing 25 gallon all grain batches using Blichmann 55 gallon kettles.

    Tell me about your brewing philosophy. What do you like that you saw wasn't there on the craft beer scene that you wanted to address at Heathen?

    In the beginning, it was the fact that I didn't feel like I could get the kind of IPAs I like that had just that huge backbone of hop flavor. Workhorse IPA was one of my favorites. But, you could only get it at a few places, and you couldn't get it in a bottle. I thought, "What's wrong with Vancouver that we couldn't do this here?" I think I have a pretty main stream palate. When Drifter came out, I thought, "This is great." And it made me wonder if what I wanted was something that was salable. Rodney Stryker, my head brewer, brings a whole different level to Heathen because he has a palate that is much broader than mine.

    What do you do different on a 10 barrel system vs. what you would do on your 25 gallon system?

    It's actually gotten easier. It's hard to explain because I have learned so much. As a homebrewer, I really thought I knew what I was doing, and I did have a good grasp of the fundamentals. But, learning that measuring your original gravity after you oxygenate your wort, is not really a good way to do it. As a homebrewer, that was never a problem, but we oxygenate inline when transferring to the fermenter from the kettle.

    Really, it's not that much different, other than the size of equipment, but I can make a 10 barrel batch a lot faster than I could make a 25 gallon batch. With the glycol system, if I want to make it ferment at 66 degrees for 3 days and want to bump it up to 68 for 3 more days, that's easy.

    However, I've also learned that I'm at a hop disadvantage. As a homebrewer, you go down to the homebrew shop and just buy whatever hops you want to make your beer. As a pro brewer, you have to buy your hops one to three years in advance. So, when I got into the business professionally, I had these recipes I'd been refining for years and years built around these hops that I can't get. I had to do a lot of SMASH beers to reintroduce myself to hops that I'd just been using as an accent role, not necessarily as the main hop. Learning those hops and how they express themselves and balance the taste of the beer was a challenge.

    If you'd like to meet Rodney and Sunny, you can find their location and hours at their webpage: I'd highly recommend you check them out. They generously offer tasters of all of their current brews for free, and growler fills are generally $10.

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