I love beer. After now having visited over 250 different breweries, it’s fair to say I have sampled a lot of beer (follow me on Untappd).
However, I am definitely not a beer cicerone. I just swig, sample, and move on. As a result of my simple tasting abilities, we are partnering with Barrel & Keg, Salem’s great beer and wine bottle shop / taproom (home to Salem’s first and only food cart pod).
From post-race pints and run club meeting locations, to beer miles and relays, running and the kegged nectar seem to go hand-in-hand in Oregon. We want to highlight a new beer each week that arrives to the B&K shelves (and may be able to be located in your local shop).
Matt: I first went to Great Notion shortly after they took over their North Portland space from the previous Mash Tun Brewing. The Alberta Arts District is a pretty sweet place and Great Notion was seemingly a great fit. I returned about 6 months ago when I was in town, as I had heard some good things about the direction of their beers. It was at that time that I was starting to scale back my IPA drinking, as most of the ones that I had been drinking at the time just started tasting the same. I needed something different. I tried their Ripe IPA and was blown away by the tropical and fruity notes that accompanied the bitter style.
Fast forward 6 months, and I noticed that Great Notion is just cruising along in popularity and are now in the midst of upgrading to a 20,000 sq. foot brewery and restaurant in NW Portland (2448 Northwest 28th Avenue). That’s big time stuff. At the request of Kelso, I needed to try to stop in and try their Blueberry Muffin, a sour that she claimed tasted like a blueberry muffin. “Yeah right”, I thought…foolishly.
On my last stop in mid-January, I went for a taste and was BLOWN AWAY. It’s a blueberry muffin in alcoholic liquid form. I sat there just staring at my glass and enjoying the moment.
The hardest part about all of this is that, currently, Great Notion is not distributing so the only way to get their beer is to head over to their taproom. They have crowlers, but also only fill two different styles per day. Hence, I recommend following them on Facebook or calling them before hand. I recommend you stop reading RIGHT NOW and go. It’s that good.
Kelso: Great Notion reminds me of the Willy Wonka factory as they churn out beer drinking experiences that confuse and elate taste buds and minds. Their super juicy, hella hazy NE style IPAs showcase the different flavor profiles of hops without overt bitterness and the Double Stack stout can replace any breakfast of coffee and pancakes, but my favorite is the sour blueberry muffin ale. I’m honestly surprised I didn’t turn into a blueberry muffin after drinking this (a la Violet Beauregarde). A meal in itself, the creamy mouthfeel works with the bready yeast to provide the perfect vessel for the in your face blueberry sweetness (just like a muffin, ha!). The addition of lactobacillus and wild yeast will leave you with a pucker as you ask yourself, “What hell did I just drink?” and, of course, keep you coming back for more.