Bread & Brew: 'Pitchering Oregon' event pairs art and beer
Visual art inspires music, dance, poetry and even food, so why not beer?
If you consider a brewmaster an artist — which they certainly do — it's that process of how art spurs experimentation that will be on display at a unique, only-in-Oregon exhibit at the Portland Art Museum on Nov. 4.
"Art & Beer: Pitchering Oregon" has happened four times since its launch in 2009, when brewers from across the state were challenged to create a special beer inspired by a local work of art.
It's now happening again, to help celebrate the museum's 125th anniversary.
And for all beer geeks, art enthusiasts and lovers of the creative process, it will be food for the mind and soul.
"We created a highly composed blended beer to contrast positively with the desolation in our painting," say Trevor and Linsey Rogers, co-founders of de Garde Brewing, a tiny operation in Tillamook. The couple were paired with a 1995 painting called "Harvest," by Michael Brophy — a bold Surrealist depiction of a clear-cut forest.
"By incorporating the vibrancy of the natural rejuvenation of the forest through its new physical growth (spruce tips), the beer expresses the dynamic future inherent in the work," they said. "By incorporating desiccated and aged hops early in the brewery process and freshly picked hops at the end, we hope to further represent the same transition and potential."
The brewery is one of a few in the nation that relies solely on spontaneous fermentation — a process that takes between three months and three years without adding cultured yeast.
Their Ferme et Forêt beer is a wild ale of 5 percent alcohol by volume, just one beer that attendees can sample.
"Since our first Art & Beer event with artist Eric Steen in 2009, we've seen how bringing the creativity of brewers into conversation with works of art is an incredible springboard for experimentation in both the beer and art museum worlds," says Stephanie Parrish, the Portland Art Museum's associate director of education and public programs.
Some of the other beer-art pairings include:
• Heater Allen Brewing in McMinnville — Brewer Lisa Allen developed "Block House Beer," with oak-smoked wheat malt, rye malts, and a heritage form of barley inspired by artist Constance Fowler's woodblock print of the Yamhill Block House in Dayton.
• Leikam Brewing in Portland — Inspired by a vintage 1930s print of Temple Beth Israel by photographer Henry Berger Jr., brewer Sonia Marie created "The Kuppel," a kosher beer brewed in collaboration with a rabbi from Temple Beth Israel. Leikam is the only kosher brewery outside of New York.
• Hopworks Urban Brewery in Portland — Brewers created "Slough Mountain," a foraged beer inspired by artist Lily White's image of a pre-industrial Columbia River Slough. The beer includes lichens, wild fenne, toasted black cottonwood bark and bigleaf maple leaves.
Check it out:
• "Pitchering Oregon," Saturday, Nov. 4, Portland Art Museum, 1219 S.W. Park Ave., Kridel Grand Ballroom, Mark Building, third floor
• VIP Brewers Brunch, 10:30 a.m.-1 p.m.; $40/$35 members, includes access to the full event and early admission. Must be purchased by Nov. 1.
Admission, 1:30-6 p.m., $25/$20 members, includes museum admission, commemorative glass and 10 tasting tokens (each a 3-ounce pour). Choose from 16 beers and two ciders crafted for the event. Also includes informal brewer and curator chats, docent tours of beverage-themed works of art, a sensory/smell experience highlighting ingredients that went into making some beers, and Super 8 film processing demonstrations using different types of beer, led by the NW Film Center.
• For tickets: pam.to/pitcheringoregon.
• Breakside Brewery (Portland)
• Ecliptic Brewing (Portland)
• Great Notion Brewing (Portland)
• Hopworks Urban Brewery (Portland)
• Leikam Brewing (Portland)
• Little Beast Brewing (Beaverton)
• Reverend Nat's Hard Cider (Portland)
• Widmer Brothers Brewing (Portland)
• de Garde Brewing (Tillamook)
• Fort George Brewery (Astoria)
• pFriem Family Brewers (Hood River)
• Steens Mountain Brewing Company (Burns)
• Terminal Gravity Brewing (Enterprise)
• Standing Stone Brewing Company (Ashland)
• Deschutes Brewery (Bend)
• McMenamins Thompson Brewery (Salem)
• Heater Allen Brewing (McMinnville)
• WildCraft Cider Works (Eugene)