Archive for January, 2010

CellarFest Survival Guide

January 22, 2010

CellarFest is almost upon us! It all kicks off at noon tomorrow, and as a veteran of four previous fests, I can tell you that if you’ve never been to one of our big events, you’re in for a real treat. That said, if you aren’t already familiar with the way it works, here’s are a few tips to maximize your fun and help you get through the night.

1) Order by Number. Keep in mind that the seventeen beers we’re tapping tomorrow are all new to us and we’re going to be moving at 100 miles an hour to serve them up as quickly and efficiently as possible to thirsty beer drinkers such as yourself. If you can do us a favor and order by the number, it will mean beer for everyone twice as quickly.

2) Use Your Snifter Glass As A Water Glass. As with any other beer festival in town, there won’t be water glasses provided, so either bring your own thermos or fill up your snifter glass with water in between tastes. It’s a great way to both clean out your glass and hydrate between rounds.

3) Bring Cash. We’re cash only tomorrow, so be sure to stock up on Washingtons and Lincolns before you arrive.

4) Pace Yourself. Remember these are double digit ABV beers here, and if you want to get even close to trying them all, you can’t rush it. Start with the beers you’re most excited to see to ensure you don’t miss out on them, then slow it down and work your way gradually through the rest. We’re open for a full ten hours tomorrow and you can leave and reenter as you please (just be sure to bring your snifter glass back with you). The majority of these kegs probably won’t kick until the very end of the night, so there’s no point in gulping back beers that are meant to be sipped.

5) Take a Food Break. As mentioned in the previous tip, we’re open extra hours and you can always take a break and come back. If you’ve ever been to Bailey’s before, you already know we don’t serve food, so go grab a burrito at Santeria across the street or a couple slices of pizza at Silver Dollar. It’ll give your liver some time to recover and your stomach something to digest besides alcohol.

6) If You Love Beer More Than You Hate Crowds, Show Up Early. Chances are, it will be a zoo when we open at noon. The beer maniacs out there (you know who you are) are used to fighting crowds, waiting in lines, and fretting over whether their favorite beer will be pouring by the time they get to it. If that sounds like you, get in line early so you can grab a spot at the bar and lay claim to all the best beers before they kick.

7) If You Hate Crowds More Than You Love Beer, Show Up Later. The first few hours of a beer fest are always the most insane; if you don’t mind missing out on a couple of the rarer brews and enjoy things like personal space, sitting down, getting your snifter glass filled immediately, and talking with friends without having to raise your voice to a scream, you might consider showing up a few hours into the event after the first wave of beer maniacs has already come and gone.

I think that about covers it! Bring your game face and your beer drinking attitude and we’ll see you tomorrow.

Grossest Beer Name Ever?

January 18, 2010

Ah, the power of marketing! Whether we realize it or not, colorful illustrations, cool packaging and especially clever or quirky names influence our consumption habits. And why should it be any different with beer, especially since the craft beer revolution has brought with it such a tongue-in-cheek disposition about the whole enterprise.

We thought we had heard and seen just about the silliest, strangest, and cleverest beer names around, but how about the grossest?

That dubious honor has been bestowed upon Firestone Walker’s Velvet Merkin. This one initially went over my head, having no idea of what a “merkin” was until a customer with a superior vocabulary filled me in (how embarrassing for an English major!).

For those not in the know, a merkin, as defined by Dictionary.Com is “false hair for the female pudenda.”

And a “pudenda”? “The external genital organs, esp. those of the female; vulva.”

So there you have it. A vagina wig.

The irony is that the beer itself is an absolutely delicious blend of oatmeal, chocolate, and coffee, all smoothed out and creamy due to some subtle bourbon barrel aging. But really, once I said “vagina wig,” does it even matter if it’s good or not?

Three More Beers at CellarFest!

January 18, 2010

What? MORE beer, you say? As if fourteen high-octane brews weren’t enough, Geoff has recently revealed that three more will be joining this Saturday’s celebration.

The ’08 Lucky Lab Old Yeller, ’08 Barley Brown’s Double Whiskey Ale (because single whiskey is too tame), and ’09 Flying Dog Gonzo Porter have been added to the lineup so that after your first fourteen beers and a couple stomach pumping sessions, there will still be plenty to drink!

99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall, 99 Bottles of Beer…

January 8, 2010

Bottled beer gets a bad rap at most bars. Typically, it exists just to fill in holes or as back-up for picky drinkers. Ideally, though, it should do more. Ideally, it should expand the entire scope of beerdom, giving drinkers greater choice and introducing them to styles that typically aren’t served on draft.

Recently, we’ve taken a good hard look in the mirror when it came to our bottle list and realized there was room for improvement and expansion. We initially started with around 30 bottled beers, all of which were “big” beers, ala barleywines, imperial stouts, and stronger Belgians like tripels, quads, and sour Flanders.

But within the past couple months, we’ve doubled our selection to include a wider range of styles, from IPAs and pale ales to unique German-style lagers like Schwarzbier and Dunkels. And we’re hoping to expand even further with a goal of 99 bottles, the majority of which will encompass nearly every Oregon-brewed bottled beer.

This expansion is significant not only because it’s going to mean that you will always find your favorite style of beer available at Bailey’s, as well as a slew of other styles to try when you’re feeling adventurous, but also because it gives you the option of treating Bailey’s a little less like a tap room and a little more like a bottle shop when you don’t have time to sit down and hang around for a few rounds.

While there are a number of excellent spots on the east side to stock up on beer for home, to give away as gifts, or to bring to parties, there is a bit of a vacuum on the west side, and particularly downtown, that we’re looking to fill. And with our To-Go prices usually $2-4 cheaper than listed on our bar menu and bottle deposit already factored in, you’re going to be able to find most of your favorite brews at the same price (or sometimes cheaper) than you could find them at grocery stores or bottle shops at the other end of town.

While our bottle list is still very much under construction, you should begin to see new choices filtering in during the coming weeks, and if you have any recommendations on particular beers you’d like to see us carry, let us know either in person at the bar or here on this blog and we’ll see what we can do; after all, it’s time to bring back some respect for the beer bottle.

Announcing CellarFest 2010: The Best of the Basement!

January 5, 2010

Most people’s basements don’t collect anything more interesting than dust. Bailey’s basement, on the other hand, is where all the beer that’s too good to drink must be hoarded until such time as the world is about to end or we announce another annual festival spotlighting the best in rare and delicious brews.

And now is that time!

…er, not for the world to end, but rather to announce the first annual CellarFest. Geoff has agreed to part with some of his most beloved kegs of aged barleywines, strong ales, and imperial stouts and share them with you… albeit not without a little kicking and screaming on his part.

You won’t blame him the tantrum when you see what we’re tapping:

  • ’04 Fish Leviathan
  • ’06 Alaskan Smoked Porter
  • ’06 Terminal Gravity Bucolic Plague
  • ’07 Hair of the Dog Doggie Claws
  • ’07 Butte Creek Train Wreck
  • ’07 Full Sail Old Boardhead
  • ’07 Golden Valley Tannen Bomb
  • ’08 North Coast Old Stock
  • ’08 Rogue Glen
  • ’08 Lagunitas Olde Gnarleywine
  • ’08 Barley Brown’s Double Whiskey Ale
  • ’08 Lucky Lab Pavlov’s Imperial Stout
  • ’09 Fort George Coffee Girl
  • ’08 Laughing Dog Dogfather
  • ’09 Caldera Old Growth
  • ’09 Flying Dog Gonzo Porter
  • ’09 Deschutes Black Butte XXI

The CellarFest will commence on Saturday, January 23rd for a full ten hours of high-octane beer drinking, from noon until 10 PM.

Entrance to the event costs $15 and that will include a commemorative CellarFest 2010 snifter glass to take home and five tickets. All sampler fills cost one ticket, and each additional ticket after entrance is just $1.

As has been mentioned here before, aging strong beers like barleywines and imperial stouts helps smooth out harsh flavors and bring to the forefront subtleties which might have previously been overwhelmed by carbonation or alcohol. The end product is usually a brew that’s sublimely complex and yet dangerously easy to drink.

Or to put it another way, it’s the best stuff you’ve ever drunk from a basement.