Sunday: a day for beer. I met up with some family and friends yesterday for a right on birthday gathering. See, there really ARE a lot of birthdays around the same time! Anyways, we decided to have the party at the Fearless Brewing Company. I've never been to Estacada, and with minimal coaxing, I got my lady in the truck and headed on down highway 224. We enjoyed the countryside ride down into the Clackamas River region; the waters were RAGING! Also, we got caught in some weather that was somewhat comical and somewhat manic. The winds and rain that we endured on the way in to town were blowing pieces of fir trees and pine cones all over the road. We survived most of the hits, but my little truck took a minor beating on the cap and windshield. It was like running through a movie set during a tornado scene.
Onto the beers: Fearless Brewing is big into Scotch Ales, so I'll have to go back with Maestro Chez for a pint or two. They brew most beers to 5.3-5.4% alcohol by volume - respectable and full-flavored. The list includes a Cream Ale, Scottish Ale, IPA, Porter and a few seasonals: the Peaches n' Cream Ale, Tomahawk Brown (I had two) and the Strong Scotch Ale (8% ABV). To speak to the brewer's sense of authenticity, I happened to spot a full pallet of Simpson's Golden Promise malt in the brewery. They were all pretty good ales and I think it's true what they say about the atmosphere adding to the tasting experience. The brewery is wide open with the dining area open to the kitchen and open to the brewery - nothing is hidden or contrived. What I love most about the place is their sincerity and unpretentiousness of their products. The dining area reminds me somewhat of the rustic breweries that I used to frequent back in upper Michigan: log cabin style booths, smooth stone floors, exposed wood ceilings and great funky jazz music playing all throughout the place. They do have some couches and big comfy chairs too - right next to a very old upright piano. The only thing that I wish they had in addition to all the existing charm is a fire place.
The beers were great, the food was good and the people were friendly and easy going. On the way out, I was able to have a little hob-nobbin' with the brewer, Ken. He's a friendly chap with a nice lady helping out on the dining room floor - what a concept! I thanked him for his judging skills that awarded me 2nd place in the European Amber Lager category in last year's "Slurp and Burp" homebrew competition. To have a friendly repoire with brewers is truly one of my life's simple pleasures - they are gifted people who make it their 'civil duty' to produce magical beverages for the enhancement of all our lives.