Last Saturday, Oregon Leaf magazine threw a party I had been eagerly anticipating. The event, Tannins & Terpenes, featured alcohol and cannabis paired in an industrial Southeast Portland warehouse. The stated objective was to allow the substances to draw out nuanced flavors from each other—tannins are flavor compounds in wine and beer, while terpenes are flavor compounds in cannabis. I didn't have any ah-ha moments as far as the pairings went, but there were some interesting takeaways.
1. I'm not the only person obsessed with hoarding vapes! In fact, each tasting station was outfitted with a vaporizer provided by Portland Mercury weed columnist Josh Taylor, who also provided technical support. This makes me feel a lot better about my own growing stash of vaporizers. It's also interesting just how fast vaporizers are becoming the preferred way to sample various strains of cannabis, not only because the high is milder but because you get a better feel for the flavor compounds.
2. There's a lot to explore in the world of alcohol and cannabis pairings.
Nothing I tried at the event had the effect of bringing extra flavors out, as wine so often does when expertly paired with food. Other attendees complained it was tough to figure out what was supposed to be paired, and that the people manning the vaporizers knew very little about the alcohol.
3. Organizers are getting better at weed events. Yes, there was a 20-minute delay before they opened the doors. Also, the beer taps were not functional to start, pouring unusable foam for the first half-hour. But this was so much better than the Weed the People clusterfuck.
4. People from the world of craft booze need to get more comfortable with weed. The names of the wineries being poured were conspicuously absent from the program, and the provided beer came from Vancouver's Heathen Brewing. I'm a fan of Heathen—it did a nice job with its Farmer Tom's Super Dank double IPA—but it's not a big, splashy label. It would be great to see someone do a full weed and beer festival with major players from the local craft-beer scene.
5. We're going to hear a lot more about terpenes in the months to come. On Thursday, Sept. 17, the Oregon Cannabis Association and Cascadia Labs host an event called Let's Talk Terpenes at the Laurelhurst Club (fun fact: site of my nuptials!). The talk starts at 4:30 pm, and tickets are $45. Call 855-800-6890 or visit cascadia-labs.com for more info.