Thursday, July 22, 2010

Klamath Basin Brewing Co.

Klamath Falls, OR
1320 Main Street

If you drive around Klamath Falls long enough you can’t miss “The Creamery” marked by a large powder-blue neon cow. This is the location of the Klamath Basin Brewing and Creamery Pub. The creamery is long gone, but you can still see the bricked-in remains of the loading dock portals – and their menu still offers a modest selection of ice cream treats. (for my designated driver and wife) I visited the brewery with family while on vacation in Northern California and Oregon.

The Pub and Brewery offers a large, open seating area inside, but we decided to take advantage of the beautiful July weather and sit out on their patio and enjoy the hanging pots of annual flowers.

I am a variety nut, so the first thing I ordered was their sampler tray. ($9.00) This included eight regular offerings plus three seasonals. (Actually one seasonal was their standard Butt-Crack Brown, but nitrogen dispensed. This counts as a different beer if you ask me since the method of beer carbonation and how it is dispensed has a significant impact on its flavor.)

Favorite Brews

Well, it is not really a July staple, but my favorite was their Cabin Fever Stout. Smooth, black and lightly hopped with the right balance of chocolate and coffee flavors rounded out by a slight fruitiness. This was my “post sampler” nightcap. A close second was their Drop Dead Red - a strong red ale with subtle complexity. Different grains step up at different times including caramel and just a touch of roasted malt, and it finishes slightly dry. An excellent interpretation of a style that can, at times, be a touch bland.

Worth Noting

This area of Northern California and Oregon in the Cascade Range is known for its volcanoes and geothermal activity. According to head brewer Corey Zschoche they use 185 F geothermal water to heat their domestic water supply, for building heat, and to heat their water for mashing. They still use natural gas to boil the wort, but as far as he knows they are the “only brewery in the world that uses geothermal energy in the brewing process.” (I need to confer with my beer loving Icelandic friend Beggi who is a thermal energy buff… but regardless, this is very unique.)

While in Town

Make sure and visit Crater Lake, which is less than one hour north. This lake fills a large caldera that was formed around 7,700 years ago. The setting is very unique and stunning. It is the deepest lake in the United States, and its pure water creates the deepest blue you will ever see. The area also offers countless opportunities for camping, hiking and spelunking.

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