Upright and Bols introduce Kopstootje Biere!


It’s been almost a year since I started working for Lucas Bols and I’m not going to lie, I’ve gotten to do some fun things on this job. However none of them is more exciting than the project we’re releasing tomorrow, a collaboration between Bols and Upright Brewing to create the perfect pairing of beer and spirits, the Kopstootje Biere!

The Kopstootje, or “little headbutt,” is the Dutch version of beer and a shot. A tulip glass is filled to the brim with genever and served with a beer back. Since the glass would overflow if moved, the drinker takes the first sip by bending down to take the first sip off the top and then following that with a sip of beer. It’s a surprisingly good match, with the maltiness and botanicals of genever complementing the malt and hops in beer (Bols Genever actually includes hops as one of its botanicals).

A crisp lager would be the usual choice of beer for a Kopstootje, but Oregon is better known for its hoppy ales. So my boss, Tal Nadari, suggested approaching one of Portland’s many local breweries about coming up with a Portland twist on the traditional Dutch drink. I knew right away that Upright is who I wanted to team up with; their farmhouse ales are among my favorite beers and brewer Alex Ganum loves taking on experimental brews, from oyster stouts to sour ales aged in Pinot Noir barrels. Alex also loved the idea of creating a beer designed specifically to par with Bols Genever, so I was thrilled that he decided to collaborate with us.

A few weeks later Alex, fellow Upright brewer Gerritt Ill, and I say down to taste genever and plan the beer. Alex decided on a biere de garde. This a rustic French beer that uses lager yeasts fermented at warm temperatures, fitting into Upright’s farmhouse style. Yet Upright’s beer diverges from the traditional with the addition of many of the same botanicals that go into Bols Genever, including aniseed, ginger, angelica root, licorice, and juniper berries. The result is a dry beer with subtle notes of spice. The beer came out just like we hoped it would and perfectly lives up to its name, Upright Kopstootje Biere.

We’re holding a release party for the beer tomorrow, April 1, at Circa 33 in southeast Portland. Tal, Alex, and I will be on hand and we’ll have $6 Kopstootjes on offer from 5-8. If you can’t join us then, we have a small number of kegs going on tap at some of Portland’s best bars and restaurants: Beaker and Flask, Broder, Clyde Common, Cruz Room, Grain and Gristle, Hop and Vine, Irving Street Kitchen, Spirit of ‘77, Spints Alehouse, St. Jack, and Temple Bar. Get your Kopstootje Biere before it runs out!

For more information:
Ezra Johnson-Greenough on the brewing of Upright’s Kopstootje Biere
David Wondrich on Dutch drinking culture

[Photo by David Lanthan Reamer.]


NovemBEER’s tasty cocktail night


Last weekend’s beer event at Cassidy’s was another successful night for the Oregon Bartenders Guild and Schoolhouse Supplies, with the latter receiving a little over $700 from the proceeds. If there’s a more fun way of raising money for kids than by drinking beer cocktails, I’m not aware of it. I’d like to thank all the brewers who contributed beer to the event, and especially thank McClaskey’s Spirits for providing some excellent products for us to mix with.

There were some interesting cocktails made that night with one of the most unique being Chris Churilla’s crowd-favorite Second Deadly Sin made with Buck bourbon, Maraska maraschino liqueur, Oakshire espresso stout vermouth (pictured above), and Oakshire IPA orange bitters. I didn’t have a chance to taste the vermouth separately, but the cocktail was delicious and proved the versatility of beer as an ingredient.

With my own participation in the event decided so late in the game I didn’t have time to do anything quite so transformative with beer but I still managed to turn out a tasty cocktail. Alex Ganum from Upright Brewing came through big time offering his beer on short notice. On the day before the event I visited Upright for what was supposed to be a brief tasting; however a power outage put Alex’s work to a halt and we ended up spending two hours trying everything on tap and talking beer. It was one of the best, most informative beer tastings I’ve ever had. I left with a case of his Flora Rustica, an aromatic saison brewed with yarrow and calendula flowers. Absolutely delicious on its own, and also quite nice in this simple beer cocktail:

Farigoule rinse
.75 oz Bellringer gin
5-6 oz Flora Rustica
toasted thyme sprig for garnish

The Farigoule thyme liqueur complements the floral notes of the beer, as do the botanicals in the gin. Toasting a thyme sprig over a candle during the drink’s preparation adds even more aroma that drifts across the entire bar.

For more cocktails and photos from the event, go visit Ron’s coverage at PDXplate (the source of the photo above).