April is Hard Cider Month

Ciderfest Vendor Alter Ego CiderAt Hophouse, we are mostly about beer, but we still love our hard cider. Eight taps will be loaded with unusual local hard ciders all month long.

To celebrate cider, we are having discounted flights. 8 for 8. Eight 2 ounce pours of all different hard ciders for $8.00. And 12 ounce pours all $5. And full growler fills for only $13. This price applies to all hard ciders, including specialty one-off kegs and imperials like 2 Towns Bad Apple, all the barrel-aged ciders like Wildcraft Stone Fence (in rum barrels with peppercorn) , blackberry infused ciders such as Bauman’s Obsidian (blackberry), Bull Run Bramble Berry Cider (marion/boisonberry), Cider Riot! Never Give an Inch Oregon Blackberry Cider, plus all the hopped ciders like Red Tank CHOPS! (hopped cherry) and Swift Dank Hop (Pineapple).

So stop by and try a flight and fill a growler with your favorite to go! Enjoy the sunshine!

Mead Tasting!

Ciderfest Vendor Nectar Creek

Nectar Creek out of Corvallis will be at Hawthorne tonight pouring free samples of their meads.

Mead is not just for Renaissance Fairs any more. These meads are lighter and less syrupy than their predecessors, and more similar to hard cider or the fizzy wines made by Hi-Wheel wines.

Mead (/ˈmiːd/; archaic and dialectal “medd”; from Old English “meodu”,) is an alcoholic beverage created by fermenting honey with water, sometimes with various fruit, spices, grains, or hops.

  • Sting, a Ginger session mead,
  • Cluster, a cranberry-strawberry session mead,
  • Waggle, a wildflower session mead, and
  • Festoon, an hibiscus session mead.

CIDERFEST is today!

Ciderfest Logo 2016 Square copyCiderfest 2016 is at our 15th Avenue location at 1517 NE Brazee.

We still have tickets available at the door. Entry price today (Sunday) at the door is $30 for admission + 12 tokens + tasting glass.

We have 83 ciders on tap today!

At Hophouse Ciderfest, it’s all about the cider. Almost all of our participating cideries will have representatives and cidermakers from the actual cideries pouring their own product. Almost all of theciders served will be from the Pacific Northwest, and we are proud to offer cider from the smaller, newer cideries like Baumann’s, Wildcraft, Farmhouse, Incline, Neigel Vintner, and Apple Outlaw as well as ciders from 2 Towns, Reverend Nat’s, Rogue, Schilling, Carlton Cyderworks, Ace, Cider Riot!, Portland Cider, Anthem, Wandering Aengus, Finnriver, Red Tank, Swift, Tieton, Alpenfire, Alter Ego, HiWheel, Bull Run, and Angry Orchard as well as some others.

Breakside Party Thursday 2/25/16 4:00-9:00

beer tasterAs you all know, Breakside handily won our blind taste-test of our top 12 IPAs this year. So we’re celebrating with a party, that includes:

1. If you voted for Breakside (Beer #2 of the twelve choices), you will get a Breakside IPA for $1. We know who you are and will contact you directly.

2. For the next few beers, or if you didn’t vote for Breakside (what’s wrong with you???), Breakside IPAs will be priced at $3 all night.

3. We’re having an 8-Tap Breakside Takeover inside with a lot of new, interesting Breakside beers* that night.

4. Breakside brewers and crew will be on hand to share stories and beers with you all night.

What’s on Tap?

Breakside’s Pathfinder IIPA, Feel Good, Wanderlust, Lunch Break ISA, Wisco Cream Ale, Pilsner, Salted Caramel Stout plus our other 20+ taps of great local beer.

What’s for Dinner?

Smoked fried chicken – wings and thighs. Shrimp scampi skewers. Jojos. Sweet corn. All food is cooked with Breakside beer.

Come out and sit in the sun with us and drink some beer.

Party begins at 4:00. First 50 attendees get some random free swag. No promises yet on what it is – could be tshirts, glassware, advance tokens for Hophouse Ciderfest (!!!! April 2 & 3).

Party is at 15th Avenue location – 1517 NE Brazee. Rain or shine – we may or may not be tenting off part of the parking lot depending on the weather. Either way, we’ll be tapping kegs both inside and out.

So come down and have a beer or two with us this Thursday.

Breakside IPA wins Top Oregon IPA of 2016

TOP OREGON IPA Breakside

Breakside IPA wins the 4th Annual Hophouse blind taste test. Out of 1445 ballots cast in January, Breakside was by far the top vote-getter at both individual Hophouses and of course overall with 425 votes. We are excited by this for a number of reasons:

1. This is the first time a Portland brewery has earned this honor. We love to “drink local” and this is as local as it gets.

2. Breakside Brewery is “new-ish” and not a huge brewery – although they are growing rapidly. They started with a 3.5 BBL system in 2010, added a 30 BBL system in the Milwaukie neighborhood in 2012, and are in the finishing stages of building a new brewery and taproom in NW Portland, due to open this coming summer. Some of the Breakside crew below (photo courtesy of  http://www.giuliosciorio.com):Group Shot

3. In past years, we collected 700-900 votes per year, approximately. This year that number is 1445 total ballots. That is a lot of people as well as a lot of different types of people (both beer nerds and people doing it for fun). This year we definitely had the most brewers come in and take the test, as well as people from the media and representatives from many of the large distributors.

4. This is the most legitimate permutation of the IPA test we’ve done to date. The first couple of years we had two different versions in which you could choose to just pick your favorite IPA from a flight, but you could choose to actually know what you are picking. Because of that reason, there could have been a tendency to pick a cool new brewery instead of one of the older breweries, so it could have skewed the results somewhat. This year the results are based on a completely blind test.

5. Also this year, we were extremely diligent about the the “blind” factor. In order to maintain the secrecy, we did not allow patrons to order from any of the taps on the blind flight. They might have asked for a pint of Hop Lava, and promised to not look at the tap when the beer was being poured, but we didn’t do that. In fact, some people stomped out of the pubs because of this – they wanted an RPM and we wouldn’t pour it for them because the bartenders didn’t know which tap handle it was. We didn’t even change out the blind IPA kegs except for once at Hawthorne (after hours) and most employees did not know the line-up themselves. One person, our beer buyer Cait Kelley, graded all of the ballots and tabulated the data.

6. We expected Barley Brown to win again this year. We kept their Pallet Jack on, a great beer that won last year, all month as our “known” IPA.  We actually sold almost 2000 pints of Pallet Jack this January because people love it and we needed to have an IPA on at all time, plus it won last year. This year it came in second with 228 votes. We thought this beer might have an unfair advantage because our regulars have been drinking this for a year now. However, in the end, it didn’t make a difference. All the other beers got 50-120 votes. So in the end it is a clear win.

7. Ben Edmunds, one of the brewers at Breakside, came in and took the blind taste test early in the month and scored a whopping 8 right, out of all 1445  ballots. The fact that Ben was able to do this means, if nothing else, he has an amazing palate. So he must know what he’s doing. Arguably some or many of these entrants  had an element of luck, but we don’t think luck was involved with this.

More about the contest:

Average score was 2.29 out of 12.

We got only 21 ballots that scored 8, 9, 10 or 12 correct.

Of the people who don’t mind social media, these are the names of people finishing with 8 or more correct:

D Butters, D Johnson, J Fitzechbon, R Marchant, B Edmunds, B McGirk (12), M Reiersgaard (12), B Bretz, B Thomas, K Setzer, M Mcbee (12). We will be contacting you directly within a day or two to collect your prizes. These people are winning gift cards, Tshirts, and/or Mug Club memberships.

There were around 250 ballots with illegible names and/or emails, and a couple of people who got a perfect score (12) but didn’t give enough contact info for us to identify them (arrgh!).

Last Weekend of IPA Month

Last weekend to come taste all of the top Oregon IPAs, take a blind taste-test, and vote for your favorite! Top IPA gets put on permanent tap at both Hophouses for all of 2016.

Drinking Horse Team!

Drinking Horse Team!

Check out the guys taking the blind taste-test from Drinking Horse Brewery, who make an IPA that we included on the list. Drinking Horse is the youngest brewery included on the list.

Next week we announce the winners and the winning beer. So far out of over a thousand people we’ve got three people with perfect scores – they matched 12 IPAs with the 12 breweries. We’ve got another twenty or so folks who scored 8 and above, and if you’re one of these people, we’ll be contacting you soon to get you your prizes.

If you’ve already taken the taste test, you’re welcome to return and take it again.

Cheers!

Pick the top Oregon IPA?

IMG_7497January is IPA Month at the Hophouses!

As usual, we will curate a blind taste test of 12 different IPAs. Pick your favorite – the most popular beer gets put on Tap One all year round at both Hophouses.

Past winners have been – Pallet Jack, Barley Brown. RPM, Boneyard (2 yrs). Vortex, Fort George.

This is how the Top 12 Oregon IPAs got chosen –

We talked to Hophouse staff and Hophouse patrons over the past month or two about their favorite IPAs. We balanced the list off between some old stalwarts like Workhorse and some new breweries called Drinking Horse (notice the horse theme, in case you missed it). We eliminated some of the beers we usually use because they didn’t do as well in years past. Admittedly, there are forty or so IPAs in Oregon that could have been on this list.

So the beers chosen this year (in random order) are:

Not only do you pick your favorite (blind), but you correspond the beers you think you know with a list, and the best beer tasters win prizes.
Here is how it works:
You’ll get a flight of 6 IPAs, and a separate list of all 6 beers including the hop varietals used in each, as disclosed by the brewers. You may get to smell-test some dried hops. You try to match the 6 with a list of 6 beers. Then you get a second flight, and repeat with a second list.
If you get 10-12 matches right, you get a free mug club membership (sweeeeet!!!). There will be lesser prizes awarded as  the contest progresses.
All lists will be graded at the end of each week. You’ll learn how many you got right, and if you earned a prize.
Cost to enter the contest is $12/person. Prizes include tshirts, mug club memberships, growlers, gift cards, etc.

Last Minute Gift?

GiftcardBuy your woman, man or neighbor a Hophouse gift card.

Load it with any amount of cash.

As a bonus, from now until the end of the year:

Load it withe $30.00 for yourself or as a gift and get a $1 coupon for any beer.

Load it with $50.00 and take home a free glass growler.

The bartender has gift envelopes and can put curled ribbon on the growler – whatever you want. Just stop by and let us know.

Happy Holidays!

Mug Club Membership

IMG_2757

We are now launching our new Mug Club program for our regulars. We changed a couple of things that we think will make it better.  Mug Club membership costs $50/year, and with that you get the following:

  • Discounted Beer:

All beer is served in the 18-ounce mug glasses and the price is the same as a 12-ounce pour. For example, Pallet Jack would cost you a mere  $4.50 for the Mug Club glass.

  • Happy Hour Menu:
  • Mug Club members now get Happy Hour food menu and prices, all hours, all days. We have a new Happy Hour menu with even more options. This inexpensive limited menu makes it possible for you to stop in and get a bite and a beer at any hour. Which is nice during dinner if you’re not that hungry – you can just get a grilled chicken cheddar sandwich for $6 or a side of our fresh-cut fries for $4. Plus a beer or two, of course.
  • New Mug Club Cards:

    Mug Club members get new cards with slots for 132 local beers and ciders (used to be only 100 in 2011  but there’s a new brewery on every block now). Every time you get a beer from a particular brewery, you get a punch in that slot. The more punches, the more rewards:

    • 25 punches, free growler fill;
    • 50 punches, free growler fill and a Hophouse Tshirt of your choice;
    • 75 punches, $30 gift card to use at either location;
    • 100 punches, all of our respect, bragging rights, plus Lifetime Membership which means you don’t have to pay annual cost.

    It will now be easier to get the 100 punches for the Lifetime Membership, because there are more beers (and ciders). So it’s easier to qualify.

    And, it’s got nifty QR codes, so you can scan the cards with your phone to see which pub has which beer on tap, in order to get the card finished more easily. Taplists should be updated daily.

Baerlic Pairing Dinner tonight 10/29/15

Appetizer: Crab and Shrimp stuffed Crimini Mushrooms, Paired with the Baerlic Cream Ale;
Entree: Braised Beef Belly atop purred parsnips with wilted arugula and a mushroom sauce, Paired with the Baerlic Arctos Red;
Dessert: Granny Smith Apple Pie (in ball jars), Paired with either the Baerlic Brown Ale or the Winter Gose (both are delicious depending on preference).
Come on in, no reservations required.