Aug 17, 2012

Coalition Brewing makes beer inspired by Portland's Forest Park

Coalition Brewing will be participating in the Oregon BMBW. I've worked with Coalition before on a project called Art & Beer, where they made a beer inspired by an artwork in the Portland Art Museum. I moved away from Oregon just as the brewery was opening it's doors and when I come back to visit friends, it's one of the places I like to go. The pub is laid back, small, off on a side-road, and the beers are really nice. They were enthusiastic to be a part of this program, so while I was in town we organized a private hike through Forest Park. Elan Walsky, one of the co-owners, came along with a friend. The hike was led in-part by me as I've gained a little bit of plant-knowledge on the various hikes I've attended. It was also in-part led by my friend Harrell Fletcher, a Portland-based artist who also knows a bit about edible plants.

Red Huckleberry
Forest Park is actually located in the city of Portland, it has hundreds of miles of trails and is the largest in-city park in the country. It doesn't feel very scripted though, trails meander around trees and thick vegetation, and parts go alongside streams. We really couldn't have chosen a better time for a hike in the area. It had rained two or three days previous so the ground was damp, the forest was lush, and the air was fresh with the scent of plants and evergreen trees.
Stopping for a quick break
Salmon Berry (photo by Isaac Grindeland)

Checking out Sorrel
We came across all sorts of berries and ground plants and sampled a number of them. These included: Stinging Nettles, Horsetail Plant, Sorrel, Red Huckleberry, Salmon Berry, Strawberry, Dandelion, Clover, Oregon Grape, and Fir.
Elan testing the aroma of some nearby plants
The view from the top of the trail
We reached the top of the hill and stayed for a while to check out the view of the majestic Mt. Hood and the city. We talked about what we had seen that day and what could work as a good combination of ingredients for the brew. The more Elan thought about it, the more he was sure he wanted to make a beer that had both Salmon Berry (a strong citrusy orange flavor) and some Stinging Nettles. Sounds like a wonderful and curious combination, doesn't it?

The Coalition beer will be available with other BMBW beer from Deschutes, Flat Tail, Standing Stone, and Upright on Oct. 20th at Belmont Station. Additional details will be posted soon so please check back!