In 2006, Chris Nemlowill and Jack Harris flew to Virginia Beach, Virginia to salvage an 8.5-barrel Saaz brewing system and drive it across the country to install it in their soon-to-open Fort George Brewery in Astoria, Oregon. While traveling with the equipment strapped to a flat bed, they met up with a tornado that nearly spread the brewery across a Nebraska cornfield. This became the inspiration behind the name Vortex IPA. Before the tornado, though, their U-Haul broke down in Rabun County in northeastern Georgia. The tow truck diver said, “You’re not from around here are you?” They replied, “No, we’re from Astoria where The Goonies was filmed.” The tow driver replied, “Well, you’re about 30 miles away from where Deliverance was film. You best get out of here.” Peaks and Pints presents Craft Beer Crosscut 3.13.2107: A Flight of Fort George — five, 5-ounce pours of Fort George Brewery’s craft beers before our SudsPop session with the brewery tonight.
Fort George brewed this lager in honor of Astoria, Oregon’s bicentennial, with lager yeast at warmer-than-average temperatures, which would make it, technically, a steam beer. Hopped with both Saaz and Centennial, the flavor is bready malts and a touch of caramel sweetness that carries light pear and lemon notes down the middle of the tongue; rustic, woody hops handily contrast the bright fruit. Sure sounds like a steam beer to Peaks and Pints! If you’re a fan of Anchor or even Dogfish Head’s My Antonia imperial pilsener, then you’ll probably be happy with this one.
Fort George Plaid Scotch Ale wears the style well, and by well we mean well-balanced. We get earth. We get smoke. We get slightly toffee malts. The beer is nicely attenuated and not too sweet, despite being a showcase for malt flavor. The 7 percent ABV means it’s a beer of substance, but not too heavy. Plaid is in.
7.7% ABV, 97 IBU
Caught in a tornado in the Midwest while hauling their original brew system cross country from Virginia, it made sense from Fort George Brewery to whip up Vortex IPA. With a hearty 7.7% ABV unfiltered, unpasteurized organic malt spine that makes way for Simcoe, Amarillo, and Centennial hops this IPA is medium bodied with a resinous mouthfeel, grapefruit more than pine and finishes with lingering hop bitterness. This beer is straight up delicious.
6.2% ABV, 50 IBU
That is an awesome craft beer! We mean that! After several sips of Fort George’s The Optimist we find my new enthusiasm streaming from us like a Pixar-produced rainbow! Suddenly we could stare at the Pacific Ocean for hours! Hello, spring onions, garlic, lemons, grapefruit and pine! Let’s put our heads together and solve some of our shared problems! Creamy mouthfeel! Smooth bitterness! Yes, we believe everybody’s just trying to do their best and no one’s out to take something from someone else! Thanks for asking! Spruce tips and pine needles on the finish! Thank you!
Fort George sits at the mouth of the Columbia River in Astoria, Oregon. It knows cold. The brewery knows what to brew to battle strong winds, gray and coldness. May The Oats Be With You is a flavorful dark beer that’s perfect drinking in cold weather. At 7.2 percent ABV, there’s subtle warmth and spiciness in the finish. It doesn’t hit the imperial mark, but it’s almost as robust as a higher ABV. Whatever — roasted malts, chocolate, coffee, caramel, oats and brown sugar are with us, for a pleasant, drinkable experience.