A blog by Campbell Consulting Group, based in Bend, Oregon.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Bend WinterFest a Bright Spot in Bend, Oregon's Cold Season

It's been kind of a let down this week, with Bend, Oregon's 2011 OnPoint Bend WinterFest coming to a close last Sunday. The weekend was jam-packed with activities for visitors of all ages. We especially had fun checking out all the great vendors (Ida's cupcakes were divine) and visiting with some of the animals (a miniature donkey tried to steal my handbag), but the real highlights were competitors flying through the air on Friday and Saturday nights on the giant Rail Jam, and the Metal Mulisha performance on Sunday. My family of three sampled fare from nearly every food booth, saw many good friends and were amazed at the number of people turning out to enjoy Bend, Oregon's winter wonderland. On to 2012!
Check out this wrap up on kezi: http://kezi.com/news/local/205065

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Bitter American: Brave the Feb Chill and Drink One on the Porch

If you don’t think session beers are a good choice for February, you haven’t tried 21st Amendment Brewery's Bitter American yet. Right now in Portland, the sun is valiantly shining on my balcony porch, and it seems like a great time to crack open a can.

This is my first experience drinking a craft beer in a can (I sort of skipped that whole chugging Bud Light as a teenager phase, and went straight to bottled beer. What can I say? I grew up in Oregon.)

My first thoughts are, “wow, this does have a ton of flavor.” With an alcohol content of just 4.4% by volume, I’m surprised by the intensity of the flavor, even though I did, you know, write the press release.

I love strong beers, but tend to shy away from super hoppy brews—this beer does have a strong hoppiness that’s not unpleasant, but definitely present. It’s not what I expected from an extra pale ale. I enjoy the maltiness mixed in with the hop flavor—21st Amendment uses an imported English heirloom malt called Golden Promise in Bitter American.

All in all, this is my best beer-in-a-can experience—I definitely recommend giving Bitter American a try, especially if you’re hanging out with friends on a Friday evening. Drinking a Bitter American, you’ll feel like you’re drinking a stronger beer—but you’ll understand why 21st Amendment co-founder Nico Freccia likes to say, "Go ahead. Give one, or three, a try."

Friday, February 4, 2011

Savvy New Beer Mag Embraces Cutting-Edge App

Last night I attended the launch party of a new magazine created by an old hand in the world of beer media – Megan Flynn. The woman behind Beer Northwest has expanded to include the entire West Coast with Beer West Magazine.

The new magazine might have been the reason we were all at this launch party, but a new app was center stage: Beer West is the first magazine to partner with Beaverton-based tech company Digimarc to provide reader-only content through a phone app. What sets this app apart is it registers what the phone is looking at. Behind 25 different images in Beer West Magazine is a special watermark (which can be printed behind anything, even, theoretically, a temporary tattoo). The app recognizes the watermark and connects to special content online.

While Megan was talking about Beer West and Digimarc in front of the audience of writers and PR reps, a news clip on KGW flashed onto the pub’s televisions featuring non other than Megan, herself, and a montage of people with iPhones flashing their screens at pages of Beer West. Kudos to Megan for having the guts to launch a magazine in these stilted economic times, and for having the business savvy to create so much buzz around it. Partnering with Digimarc was an intelligent move (and they revealed how much this cost the magazine: $4.99 a watermark, that’s a total of only about $125).

A feature article on Deschutes Brewery’s newest brewer Veronica Vega is included in this first edition of Beer West – and you got it – readers can use the app to access a reader-only interview with her online. (FYI - the print article is much longer than the blip online, with a two and a half-page spread on Vega. Should she consider creating her own fan club? With a name like Veronica Vega, of course she should!)

In the future, the app is also suppose to register what the phone is listening too, a feature that will put users, as CEO Bruce Davis put it, “in the web, not on the web.” To her credit, Megan made a little joke about how spooky that sounded.

If this new app becomes as big as Davis hopes, it could be a step towards keeping print relevant by making it more interactive with the web and more fun. Personally, I would never trade in my books, magazines and newspapers for Kindles and Ipads. But I’m old school—sometimes I like to unplug and look up from my computer screen. Interestingly, getting away from the computer is one of the motivations Davis cited, saying the app “could liberate the world.”

I couldn’t help being distracted by the six o’clock news flashing on the giant TVs looming above Megan and Davis. The screen showed interviews with Hilary Clinton, President Obama and scenes of protesters running through the streets of Egypt. “Well,” I thought to myself. “It’s not liberating the entire world.”

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Strong Beer Month: Are You Experienced?

The cats at 21st Amendment Brewery and Magnolia Gastropub and Brewery are experienced, baby. Hey, it may not be the Summer of Love (okay, so it’s February) but these breweries know the 9th annual Strong Beer Month is going to warm you blood, raise your spirits and improve your conversational prowess. Both pubs continue the month-long tradition of offering 12 beers, six at each brewery, that are strong and have intense flavors.

The brewers of the 21st Amendment and Magnolia Gastropub and Brewery once again bring you an astounding range of memorable brews to lift the winter doldrums. Those who visit both breweries and try all twelve beers get to keep the special commemorative glass. Commemorative t-shirts are also available. These special beers, glasses and t-shirts will be available from February 1st until they run out. ABV ranges from 8.4% to 11.1%.

“What can be better than listening to a little Jimi?” asked Dave McLean, co-founder of Magnolia Gastropub and Brewery. “Listen to Jimi with Lord and Master or Tweezer Tripel in hand and you won’t even notice it’s raining outside.”

“And don’t forget,” added Shaun O’Sullivan, Co-Founder and Brewmaster of 21st Amendment Brewery and Co-Founder of Strong Beer Month with Dave, “the most experienced drinkers know a cab ride’s the best way to get home after throwing back a couple of strong beers. They don’t call one of our beers Two Lane Blacktop for nothing.”

21st Amendment’s Strong Beer Month Brews:
Lower de Boom
21 Rock2
Lord and Master
Two Lane Blacktop
Imperial Jack

Magnolia Pub and Brewery’s Brews:
Tweezer Tripel
Promised Land Imperial IPA
Old Thunderpussy Barleywine
Smokestack Lightning Imperial Stout
Pride of Branthill
Rye Rye Rocco

The festivities begin February 1st, but check back often at both pubs and at www.strongbeermonth.com as special kegs and casks of vintage and barrel-aged beers will appear throughout the month.