It's never been distributed in Oregon, and this weekend is liekely your first chance to get it. That's because Driftwood joins a long line of small, unique breweries tapped by the Spring Beer & Wine Fest. The annual fest at the red-rugged Convention Center is the city's second-oldest festival, but off the radar for too many beer geeks. Actually, it's arguably the geekiest fest of the year, with a lineup that sticks to the exotic and nano—eschewing the big names that seem to come along with the jockey boxes at most fests.
This beer was brought down by Mike Neely's brand-new nanodistributor, Craft Masters—following in the footsteps of Day One Distribution by bringing tiny breweries to Oregon that otherwise might not hitch a ride across the state line.
Well, as it turns out, Canada's Fat Tug tastes like a classic West Coast IPA. The 7 percent ABV beer is big, hop-forward and aggressively grapefruity with a stern malt backbone—a full-bodied IPA with an even fuller bittersweet flavor profile. Though new to me, the classic profile makes it almost pleasantly nostalgic…a bit like those hopey-changey days of 2008, the sort Canada is living through now with Justin Trudeau.
GO: The Spring Beer and Wine fest is Friday and Saturday, April 14 and 15, at the Oregon Convention Center, 777 NE Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., 503-235-7575. Noon-10 pm. $10-$25.