Oregon's 19th Century Beer
Heritage Returns to Shelves
By Fred Delkin
Minott Wessinger, great-great grandson of Portland brewing pioneer Henry Weinhard,
has brought a new beer to retail shelves in the West. Black Star double-hopped golden lager is aEuropean-style pilsner brewed at Great Northern Brewing Company in Whitefish, Montana, a
gravity-flow operation built by Wessinger in 1994. The label has just been released to retailers in the Pacific Northwest. We've tasted the product, available in both bottles and cans, and applaud
its distinctive crisp and refreshing character.
Minott came up with this recipe in 1995, but original distribution was limited to Montana. It utilizes Bavarian and Czech hops and a new malting barley. It is hopped in the kettle and again prior to finishing. "Black Star has a very rich, full-bodied flavor, while remaining very
refreshing ," notes the Wessinger scion. The equipment for the expanded brewery was custom designed in Germany. Black Star is available in both six and twelve packs.
The Wessinger brewing heritage dates back to 1856, when the original Wessinger brewery was
built on the edge of Portland's West Hills. We daresay the fifth generation's new effort
surpasses anything that has carried the Blitz Weinhard label in recent decades. A list of Black
Star retail accounts is found at www.BlackStarBeer.com.
Beer Beats Wine in food-pairing challenge
A California series of multi-course dinners has resulted in a victory of Beer over Wine in a 2-1
margin by a judging panel. Wines were selected by Barry Wiss of Napa's Trinchero Estate,
while beer was the province of Stone Brewing's Greg Koch. The beverage providers had no say
in the creation of the food menus for the three dinners staged at San Diego's Rancho Bernardo
Inn. So, take that you fancy pants wine snobs!
New American Vodkas debut
Any readers pleading guilty to sharing yours truly's fascination with the smoky delights of bacon
will be ecstatic over the introduction of Bakon Vodka, a Seattle contribution to the spirits world.
What better way to mix the perfect Bloody Mary! Bakon is a smooth product of multi-filtering
of fermented potato liquid infused with smoky bacon flavor. Black Rock Spirits of Seattle has
achieved distribution to date in 20 states, including Oregon. Carniverous cocktails are a new
category for consumers of the hard stuff.
Another West Coast vodka creation, Devotion, is a San Francisco emanation. This is an 80-
proof, triple distilled mixture of fermented grains whose creators claim it benefits from a process
equal to the production of the most lordly wines. They also salute the Sierra Nevada snowpack
water used in their process, and the infusion of casein (whatever that may be). The stuff is
definitely smooth and very neutral in flavor. It has the OLCC's blessing and retails in 750 bottles
in a gourmet price range.
Summer is for Ciders
The Crispin Cider Co. of Minneapolis has hit the market with three versions of hard apple cider,
original, brut and light. "The greatest adventures happen over ice" is the maker's motto. These
ciders are dry, not at all sweet, and quite clean and crisp. No mere summer substitute for beer,
Crispin ciders are rife with natural apple flavor and naturally fermented. As our thermometers
inevitably rise this time of year (yes, eventually even in Oregon!), seek the Crispin label out for a
well crafted refreshment.
© 2010 Oregon Magazine