New “Taste of Portland” launching at Beervana
For the very first time a special “Taste of Portland” area is being offered at Beervana, New Zealand’s premier celebration of craft beer, being held in Wellington on 22 and 23 August.
Three award winning Portland brewers, a Portland chef, and one of the USA’s leading beer writers, are heading to Wellington as part of what’s called the “Beervana Exchange” which encourages the sharing of ideas and experiences between two craft beer capitals.
The Portland brewers who will be showcasing at Beervana are all medal winners from the prestigious 2014 Beer World Cup: Widmer Brothers Brewing, Gigantic Brewing Company and Commons Brewery.
As well as offering tastings of some of their award winning brews at a Portland Brewers Bar, open to all Beervana attendees, the brewers will also be part of special ticketed “Taste of Portland” seminars. During these one hour seminars, attendees sample beers presented by the three Portland brewers, enjoy food pairings with Portland chef Paul Kasten and will be enlightened by John Holl, Author of the American Craft Beer Cookbook and Editor of All About Beer Magazine.
“With 53 breweries, Portland boasts more breweries than any city in the world and is known as the Beervana of USA,” says Beervana Director David Cryer. “People attending Beervana this year will have the rare opportunity to taste some incredible craft beers which are not available in New Zealand and to meet some of Portland’s top brewers.”
As part of the “Beervana Exchange”, two New Zealand brewers have just travelled to Portland to take part in collaborative brews which will be shipped to Wellington ready to be tasted at Beervana. Soren Eriksen from 8 Wired Brewing is collaborating with Gigantic Brewing, while Carl Vasta from Tuatara has partnered up with Commons Brewery. In addition, beer writer John Holl, has paired up with world renowned Widmer Brothers Brewing to take part in a Media Brew which will be judged at Beervana and tasted at special Media Brew Bars.
“Taste of Portland” Seminar Tickets are $45, limited to just 100 per session and will be available for purchase via Ticketek from 9am on Monday 9 June. Tickets must be purchased in addition to the general Beervana entry tickets.
In its 13th year, Beervana is the premier New Zealand celebration of craft beer, with more than 200 different beers on offer. Held at Westpac Stadium, Wellington on 22 and 23 August, up to 12,000 people are expected to attend during two days of tasting, meeting brewers, beer seminars, home brewing and media brew competitions and enjoying food from some of Wellington’s best eateries.
Taste of Portland participants
Widmer Brothers Brewing
Founded in 1984, Widmer Brothers Brewing is celebrating 30 years of beer in 2014. Founders Kurt and Rob Widmer helped lead the Pacific Northwest craft beer movement in 1984 when, in their 20s, they began brewing unique interpretations of traditional German beer styles. In 1986, Widmer Brothers Brewing introduced the original American-style Hefeweizen, which elevated the brewery to national acclaim. Since then, the brewery has continued to push the boundaries of craft beer, developing a variety of beers with an unapologetic, uncompromised commitment to innovation.
Based in Portland, Ore., the brewery currently brews a variety of beers including Hefeweizen, Upheaval IPA, Alchemy Pale Ale, Drop Top Amber Ale, a full seasonal line-up, and a series of limited edition beers.
Award at 2014 World Beer Cup:
Category 2: American-Style Wheat Beer With Yeast
Gold: Hefeweizen, Widmer Brothers Brewing Co., Portland, OR
Joe Casey, Brewmaster and Director of Brewing, Craft Brew Alliance, Portland, Oregon
Joe’s interest in fermentation science began in college while studying biology and watching friends get involved in homebrewing. Joe began his career in the brewing industry when he joined Widmer Brothers Brewing Company in 1995 as a keg washer. Shortly after transitioning into the Brewing Department in 1996, Joe graduated from Portland State with a BS in Biology and later went on to earn his Diploma of Brewing from the Institute of Brewing and Distilling. Currently, Joe is a member of the Emerging Issues Committee of the American Society of Brewing Chemists, is the President of the District Northwest Master Brewers Association of the Americas, is a Diploma member of the IBD, serves as CBA’s Technical and Board representative to the American Malting Barley Association, and represents CBA in the Hop Research Council. Joe has worn many hats at Widmer Brothers and CBA, and he currently manages brewing raw materials and brewing processes for the group, as well as copack partner activities.
Media Brew for Beervana: Widmer Brothers is collaborating in a media brew with John Holl, Editor, All About Beer magazine, which will be sent to Beervana for tasting and judging as part of the media brew competition on 22 August.
Role at Beervana: Widmer is one of the Portland brewers involved in presenting the Taste of Portland sessions at Beervana and other events during the week.
Gigantic Brewing Company
Gigantic Brewing Company is an independent, crafty brewery located in the Southeast quadrant of Portland. Brewer/Owners Ben Love and Van Havig are veterans of the Oregon brewing community.
“At Gigantic we only do two things: make the best damn IPA in Portland, Oregon and produce seasonal, exciting, flavorful beers, most of which will be brewed only once. Our goal is simultaneously to create new interpretations of classic styles and to ignore those same style guidelines completely and brew whatever our creative natures produce.”
“We hold ourselves to a simple principle – Never Give an Inch. We vow to start small and (stubbornly) stay small, focusing our efforts on making exceptional beer, rather than a lot of beer. When you drink Gigantic, know that we didn’t just put our names on the label – our effort, imagination, and dry wit are in every bottle.”
Award at 2014 World Beer Cup:
Category 20: Wood- and Barrel-Aged Beer
Gold: Pipewrench, Gigantic Brewing, Portland, OR
Ben Love is the Gigantic Brewing Company Brewmaster. A native Oregonian, Ben’s passion for beer (legally) began with a pint at the Horse Brass and a stint at Belmont Station in 1999. His brewing career began in 2003 in Appleton, WI at the Adler Brau Brewpub. He returned to Oregon in 2004 to brew at Pelican in Pacific City. In 2007, Ben became the first employee and Headbrewer at Hopworks Urban Brewery (HUB) in Portland. Ben always wanted to own his own business, and put years of dreaming and scheming into action to start Gigantic.
He spins funk and soul, and will do anything for incredible food.
Collaborative Brew for Beervana: Co-owner Van Havig of Gigantic Brewing is creating a collaborative brew with Soren Eriksen of 8 Wired Brewing.
Role at Beervana: Gigangtic Brewing is one of the Portland brewers involved in presenting the Taste of Portland sessions at Beervana and other events during the week.
The Commons Brewery is a small craft brewery located in Southeast Portland, Oregon. We are inspired by European brewing tradition and Northwest grown ingredients. We take a very hands-on approach to brewing our small batch beers.
The Commons Brewery started in Mike Wright’s garage in Southeast Portland. The Commons strives to make well executed, moderate alcohol beers with a refreshing and unique character (most often with yeasts originating from Europe). The beers are geared to be session-able and therefore enable or enhance social interaction.
Award at 2014 World Beer Cup:
Category 19: American-Style Brett Beer
Bronze: Flemish Kiss, The Commons Brewery, Portland, OR
Josh Grgas is the Brand Manager and Brewer at The Commons Brewery. He began homebrewing shortly after college starting immediately with 10 gallon all grain batches. In 2007, Josh moved to Portland, Oregon from New York City seeking a career in the beer industry. He volunteered at every beer festival in the area and helped out numerous breweries on bottling days, while continuing to expand his homebrews into various experiments of mixed fermentations. In 2010 Josh began work as a distiller at Stone Barn Brandyworks, a small artisan distillery producing whiskies, brandies and fruit liquors. He also began work as the Manager and Buyer at The BeerMongers, a neighborhood craft beer bar and bottle shop. In late 2011, Josh helped Mike Wright start the Commons Brewery. Josh also serves as the Vice President of the Oregon Brewers Guild.
Collaborative Brew for Beervana: Commons Brewery is creating a collaborative brew with Carl Vasta from Tuatara Brewing (1st week of June)
Role at Beervana: one of the Portland brewers involved in presenting the Taste of Portland sessions at Beervana
Most Recently was Sous Chef / Beer Director at Wildwood Restaurant & Bar, Portland (now closed)
Paul Kasten got serious about beer as he worked his way through the huge selection at John’s Grocery in Iowa City during college. He went on to cook in Iowa and New York before moving with his future wife to Burlington, Vermont, where he attended New England Culinary Institute. He started as an intern at Wildwood Restaurant in 2006, and has been sous chef there since 2009. In 2011, he took on the role of beer director, establishing a vintage and specialty beer program. Paul brewed his first batch of beer in 2006 with his father-in-law just before his wedding. They made an imperial stout that he and his wife have been enjoying a bottle of on their anniversary each year since.
Role at Beervana: Paul will be presenting food matches to go with the Portland beers at the Taste of Portland seminars held during each Beervana session and other events during the week.
Author of the American Craft Beer Cookbook and Editor of All About Beer Magazine
John Holl is a metro New York based journalist covering beer and the culture of drinking. The author of the American Craft Beer Cookbook, he is also the editor of All About Beer Magazine and the host of the Beer Briefing on iHeartRadio. John has written for the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Wine Enthusiast, Beverage World, and many other publications. He’s judged beer competitions around the globe, regularly lectures on craft beer, and appears often on television.
Collaborative Brew for Beervana: John is collaborating on a Media Brew with Widmer, which will be judged and tasted at Beervana.
Role at Beervana: John will be involved with presenting the Taste of Portland sessions at Beervana and other events during the week.