Living in a beer city, it can start to feel rather ordinary when a new brewery pops up. I love the beer/coffee/bike shop economy idea (ie. more isn’t competition, it’s just more growth for an industry/consumption) though, so I’m always happy to see more opening. I just might not jump up and down about every one.
One of Portland’s newest breweries, Base Camp Brewing, is my brewery crush at the moment though. The whole ‘outdoorsy’ decor might be a little over the top for some people — not this girl. String up a canoe to the ceiling anytime, please. Maybe it’s from living in Bend (it kind of has the Central Oregon vibe actually, if you replaced city folk with hardcore athletes). So I love the space – exposed beams, climbing gear (carabiners as coat hooks at the bar), all the nature photography, the “stars” on the ceiling that make it kind of seem like you’re in the country, and the outdoor ‘fire pits’.
Thankfully, the beer is also awesome. And for the couple times that I’ve been there, I keep ordering the taster tray. Feels a tad silly, but I kind of love not having to pick just one (or two, or three). They currently have nine beers:
- Ripstop Rye Pilsner IBUs: 52 SRM: 3.7 OG/TG: 13.5/3.0°P ABV: 5.7% The Ripstop Rye Pils is our reinterpretation of the classic pilsner lager beer: aromas of European malt and noble-type hops mingle with a dignified, refreshing, and clean malt character that is further distinguished with a generous addition of spicy rye malt, creating a beer that is at once malty, zesty, crisp, hoppy, and incredibly drinkable.
IBUs: 40 SRM: 5.0 OG/TG: 13.5/2.6°P ABV: 5.8%
Base Camp’s Paölschenbier is a stand-out pale that is both approachable and nuanced. Dry-hopped for lots of lemony citrus aroma without a mouthpuckering bitterness, well-balanced by its slightly bready malt and yeast profiles. Our house ale yeast strain does some of its best work in this beer, making for a light ale that is truly unique.
- Northwest Fest
IBUs: 28 SRM: 8.0 OG/TG: 13.8/3.5°P ABV: 5.6%
Our take on the maltforward fest biers of Bavaria. Extensive malt aroma and taste trials over the last two years led us in crafting this recipe, a subtly-hopped amber lager that walks the line between dry and full-bodied, not too sweet but definitely not lacking in malty goodness. Lagered on our in-house toasted oak to round out this brew’s flavor profile.
- Belgian Session Ale
IBUs: 14 SRM: 9.7 OG/TG: 11.6/2.4°P ABV: 4.9%
Base Camp’s Belgian Session Ale showcases a thick, white head atop a golden honey-colored beer. Aromas of spicy clove and a hint of camp fire smoke accompany its wheaty malt taste. The BSA’s medium-light body is well-balanced by this beer’s tartness. Low gravity and huge taste, making for a great sessionable beer.
- In-Tents India Pale Lager
IBUs: 55 SRM: 15.4 OG/TG: 16.5/4.0°P ABV: 6.8%
Our flagship India Pale Lager showcases a copper color that gives way to a crisp, clean lager beer perfectly balanced in its massive complexity. Dry-hopped and aged on an in-house toasted blend of white and red oaks. The IPL finishes clean and smooth, with hop aromas of wild flowers and pine, and a unique maltiness highlighted by the subtle oak character.
- Out-of-Bounds Brown
IBUs: 45 SRM: 15.8 OG/TG: 15.3/3.8°P ABV: 6.2%
A fun, refreshing take on the oft-maligned brown ale, Base Camp’s Out-of-Bounds Brown has a light brown color with big aromas of citrusy Cascade dry hops which meld into a highly distinct malt character. It has a clean yet full mouthfeel that makes it both satisfying and drinkable. Light and crisp, the O.o.B. restores faith in what brown ales can aspire to.
- Prime Meridian India Pale Ale
IBUs: 56 SRM: 11.3 OG/TG: 15.3/3.1°P ABV: 6.7%
This deep golden-colored beer is topped by a dense rocky crown that kicks off a punchy American IPA hop aroma. The unique tropical fruit nose of Meridian hops follows through in the taste. For balance, a Flemish saison-inspired malt bill; well-attenuated yet maintaining a full body. We ferment it at high temps to make the most of our house yeast strain, creating a late fruity tartness that plays out nicely with the lingering hop character.
- S’more Stout
IBUs: 70 SRM: 55.2 OG/TG: 19.2/5.3°P ABV: 7.7%
The S’more Stout is an absolute all-star: Aromas of chocolate, coffee, fig, and smoke invite you in to a gigantic maltiness that is distinct in its smooth and refined character, with flavors of chocolate and hints of smoke mingling with rich caramel, fruit, and warming alcohol. Top with a roasted marshmallow and you have the ultimate S’more experience!
- Acclimator Doppelbock
IBUs: 30 SRM: 20.4 OG/TG: 17.4/3.6°P ABV: 7.6%
The Acclimator presents a rich smoothness that we balance out with just enough crisp hop character to make for an extremely quaffable strong lager. Doppelbocks are traditionally brewed with Pilsner or Munich malts, but we chose to showcase the awesomeness of Maris Otter and Belgian dark crystal malts. Result? A totally unique and drinkable beer.
—Base Camp Brewing
S’more Stout – I’m usually more of an IPA person, but I really love the s’more stout — it comes with an adorable little marshmallow on the side, and is kind of mocha-esque and like drinking dessert.
The Acclimator Doppelbock and In-Tents India Pale Lager (see what they did there?) are also awesome beers.
Now if there’s a 2nd annual Beer & Cheese Festival, Base Camp had better be there, with their Stout and… maybe a blue cheese? Also, this weekend is Zwickelmania, so if you’re in Portland, you really have no excuse for not checking out a brewery near you!
Have you been to Base Camp yet?