By: Chelsea Mansene


I have a major crush on Portland so any opportunity I get to spend time there I take it. Craft beer was to be my excuse the weekend of January 18th, to escape and cheat on my beloved Seattle and attend the city’s Big Woody Barrel Aged Beer and Whiskey Fest.

Nineteen breweries and eight distilleries filled a two-story brick building. All ranging in size from heavy weights such as Stone and New Belgium, to tiny regionals like Silver Moon from Bend, OR.

Portland Big Woody

The spectrum of options that barrel-aging beer has is quite immense, and this event showcased that excellently. Everything from handmade cedar, to repurposed brandy and rum barrels, nothing was off limits.

My personal favorite was Silver Moon’s Barrel Aged Elf Brew. A sour aged in pinot noir barrels, that had a very crisp and flowery taste, but grew very earthy and almost herbal like when I went back for a second try.

Stone’s Cali-Belgique IPA, was a beer that I would do dirty things in order to gain just a six pack for. Imagine Stone’s signature IPA brewed in the style of a Belgium, but the dryness of a wine. I kid you not, my friend.

Craft beer

My other favorite: The Ale Apothecary. A brewery that commanded nothing but respect due to the obvious attention to detail in their beer making. They were showcasing their flagship SAHALIE. A beer style that I still can’t define, but showcased the flavor profile of oak aged beer like no other. It was like taking a sip of wood, but enjoyable and slightly hoppy.

With events such as this, combined with the overall charm and character that is Portland, It’s impossible for me to not swoon after this city like a teenage girl at a Backstreet Boy concert. I highly encourage every beer lover to take a pilgrimage at some point. With over 52 breweries, and such a large craft beer culture, you’d be hard set to walk away disappointed.


Chelsea Mansene is a guest blogger.

Chelsea Mansene

Hi I’m Chelsea and am a 23 year-old Arizona desert rat, now residing in Seattle. Partly for occupation, partly because the lack of sun suits my skin tone better, but mostly for the food and beer scene. All the pretty mountains are great too. I have a great deal of interests, but food and beer are certainly the most prevalent. If you don’t mind a novelist’s perspective on the craft beer scene in the Pacific Northwest, then I hope you enjoy this blog. Cheers! Too cliché? Never mind..