Fort George Brewing Co – Cavatica Stout

A few years ago my brother decided he would be joining the Coast Guard.  I’m not entirely sure I would blossom and flourish in that Cavaticaparticular setting, but he seems to be enjoying it.  One of the nice things about his job is that he gets to travel and live in a bunch of different areas.  He went to boot camp in Cape May NJ, was stationed in Boston for a time, and now lives in Astoria Oregon.  Since being officially stationed there he’s managed to take the boat to various islands, travel through the Panama Canal, and hang out in Guantanamo Bay for a little while.  I love to travel, so some of those actually do get me jealous.  Well he is about to move again from Astoria to Seattle, and we’ve never made it out there to visit him.  My wife and I change that next week.  Next Wednesday we fly into Portland to spend a couple of days in and around hipster paradise.

Being an avid beer lover, it sounds like Oregon could be a bit of Mecca for me.  My brother and Megan Vs Beer have managed to give me a few different examples of that.  I’ve received different beers from Deschutes, Ninkasi, Rogue, Hair of the Dog, and a variety of others.  Since we of course have to check out where my brother has been living the past few years, and it’s a free place to stay, we’ll definitely be heading back to Astoria.  One brewery I know I’ll be visiting while in Astoria is Fort George Brewing Co.

My brother informs me it’s right around the corner from his place.  It’s a brewery he had been telling me about for a while, and he made it even more interesting when he brought a variety of their beers back to the east coast for me.  I previously reviewed their Oatmeal Pale Ale, which I really enjoyed.  But I’ve worked my way through a few other beers from them as well.  I didn’t review it, but their Vortex IPA was really good too.  Since it is stout month, and I’m looking for a few ideas of what to do while in the Portland area, I figured it was about time to dive into their stout.

My brother has told me this beer is definitely his favorite, so I was holding on to it for a while waiting for the right time to enjoy it.  Fort George apparently has an affinity for spiders, so there are quite a few spider facts and pictures surrounding the can.  Although intrigued their love became the artwork for this particular beer, I’m not especially a fan of particularly large arachnids.  I’m trusting that they didn’t use them in the brew, so I was really looking forward to it.

This beer has a super dark oil appearance to it as it hits the glass.  Fort George goes as far as saying this beer will stain your cavatica glassclothes.  I didn’t really feel like giving that a test, so I’ll take their word for it.  There is a light brown/tannish head that develops on the pour.  There is certainly great lacing and residual sticky residue left on the sides of the glass after a nice little swirl.  Agitating the beer builds the thick and creamy head right back up.  Of course it was far too dark to get a sense of clarity, but you can see a little carbonation around the edges.

As a good stout should, both chocolate and coffee seem to dominate the aroma of the beer.  One nice thing is that they list the malts and hops they use in the brew on the side of the can and on the site.  There are no chocolate malts in the brew, but they use Munich which I suppose help give some of that nice dark chocolate smell.  There are some light roasted aromas that come off the beer as well.  These combine nicely with rather fragrant coffee scents.  The sweet malts are quite evident, but the hops seems to get swallowed up on the nose.  There is a slight woody earthy quality to the smell as well.

While there are certainly stouts out there that take it easy on some of the big stout aspects I love, I’m glad to see this beer features some nice bold stout qualities.  The beer has a typical sweet malt intro that is accompanied by some of the rich dark chocolate I pulled out of the nose.  The bold coffee flavors come in and are quickly met by huge roasted notes.  The big roasted flavors reach a peak towards the end of the brew.  Right near the end I get my first taste of some hop that could be hiding behind all that chocolate and coffee.  The beer ends with a nice sweet and chocolate flavored finish.

The beer borders on having an almost milk or oatmeal stout quality.  The big thick and creamy mouth is always nice for a bold stout like this one.  Thankfully they provided just enough carbonation to keep it slightly lighter; however, the bold roasted notes towards the end still keep it heavier throughout.

I’m definitely looking forward to finding my way over to Fort George brewery sometime next week.  I actually just saw that they will be offering this very beer aged in rye barrels.  I will certainly be on the lookout for that one.  If you’re familiar with the Portland and Astoria area, let me know some things I should be looking out for out there.  Maybe I’ll bring some good beer back for you.

Teacher Grade: A


Fort George Brewing Co – Sunrise OPA

I have recently been loving the hook-ups I’ve been getting from my very few connections I have on the West Coast.  My brother brought me some Ninkasi, I did a beer trade with Megan VS Beer, and now my brother brought me a sweet set of five tall boy cans from Fort George brewery.  When my brother last visited me, he brought me a bottle from Ninkasi, one from Rogue, and one from Pyramid.  While they are all good breweries, he was emphasizing that he loves this little brewery that is around the corner from him in Astoria, Oregon.  According to him, Astoria is known for only really one thing.  It’s the location where they filmed The Goonies.  While that is a pretty high feat, I suppose, I can assure you that Fort George Brewery is helping give Astoria something else to be known for.

Looking up details on Fort George, it sounds like they have actually only been in existence since 2010.  They only distribute their beers in the Northwest, so I’m glad to have had a brother who can make sure I’m hooked up. If you ever visit Astoria, you’ll find they house a 30 barrel brewhouse, canning line, and taproom.  Sounds like one of the best spots to check out in the little town.  I will point out that they have a beer featured on their site that I really want to try.  They had their customers pick the wild hops that are growing in their yards and on their own property and bring them into the brewery.  Fort George took those hops and produced a beer called Co-hoperative.  Ultimately it sounds like they have some fun ideas working over there.

There were five different beers I could choose from to do this first review.  I’m not sure I’ll do another one because I don’t want to bore my readers, but I knew I needed to start with this one for a review.  As far as I’m aware, this is the first ever OPA I’ve consumed.  The O in the OPA stands for oatmeal.  Therefore, this is an oatmeal pale ale.  I’ve certainly had oatmeal in beers before.  I really enjoy oatmeal stouts, but I was really interested to see what the oatmeal did to a very different style of beer.  I was highly doubtful it would do much to the taste of the brew, but I was sure it would have some affect on the appearance and the mouth.  I was really hoping the effect would be something surprisingly delightful.

This one pours out a nice yellow color with a slight orange tint.  There is a really big bubbly white head that develops on top of the beer.  The head has a super sudsy and soapy look to it.  As the bubbles subside you see a ton of really sticky lacing left on the side of the glass.  I think the super sticky nature is certainly due to the inclusion of the oatmeal.  Swirling the glass gives you some more sticky lacing and residue.  The beer is super hazy and it only gets more hazy as you pour out more of the beer.  There is lots of visible carbonation in the glass as well.

The aroma is dominated by really big bold hops.  There is some apparent tang to this beer as well.  The bold orangey citrus smell blends with some nice tropical fruit.  The tropical fruit aroma is dominated by big pineapple and light mango scents.  There is certainly a slight herbal smell to this one, and you get a slightly wild yeasty smell as well.

There are some really interesting aspects to the taste of this beer.  The hops are certainly at the forefront of this beer; however, it is also packed with lots of citrus and tropical fruits.  The beer starts out with some light sweet malts that only get a momentary chance to shine.  There is some very light pine notes that kick up to squash the sweetness right away; however, there is some light pineapple notes that lead the hops from light pine to big bold hop flavors.  The second stage of the hops have lots of big tangy pine flavor.  The big pine and tang linger slightly as the beer leads into a more dominant citrus flavor.  The beer ends with some slight citrus and lingering pine flavor.

The oatmeal component really plays huge into the mouthfeel of this beer.  The beer is by no means syrupy, but it has quite a heavy feel due to the use of the oatmeal.  There is a lightness in the flavor profile to counteract the thickness.  There is also an ample amount of carbonation to help fight the heavy nature of the beer.  The overall flavors all work great together.

The first sip made me question whether I really liked this beer; however, I realized it was a really nice fall OPA.  Fall tends to bring the thicker and heavier beers, and this is simply following suit.  It is a bit of a meatier hoppy beer.  I’m glad I have four other cans to check out from this brewery.  If you happen to find yourself looking at an OPA in future, I would certainly suggest giving it a shot.  This one is a little thick, but they did a great job still keeping it well-balanced.

Teacher Grade: B