Puckerfest, Women, and a PIB Follow-up

Quickly now, for I am short on time:

1. Molson Coors is rolling out a new beer for women: Animee. As the name suggests, it means "animated" or, perhaps, "enlivened." The virtues are three: 1) a "low-bloating" formula that apparently involves less CO2, 2) low bitterness, and 3) versions in plain, rose, and citrus. The company is also releasing a lighter, more lightly-carbonated beer called Carling Chrome, also aimed at women. Americanos, you're out of luck: the beers are only available in Britain, where apparently few women drink beer. I'm all for breweries catering to women for a change, but my question is this: do women clamor for these kinds of beers, and will it tend to ghettoize a strata of brew as "chick beers?"

2. It's Puckerfest at Belmont Station. Release the hounds. Tonight we have Flat Tail brewer Dave Marliave and three of his beers. Dave is apparently the new Nick Arzner, the guy who has managed to command the attention of beer geeks from his obscure brewery in Corvallis. This is one of the signature events of Craft Beer Month, and unlike some of the others, dog-eared in their predictability, Puckerfest remains on the cutting edge. Expect more exceptional beer than you can reasonably drink. (Unreasonable drunks are still in luck.)

3. PIB Wrap-up.
Speaking of predictable, the Portland International Beerfest was no less fun this year, but I was a little disheartened by the insane prices for bottled beer. The average for a four-ounce pour was about 3.5 tickets (SPE of $63). I have always been sanguine about this scheme, because I trust the bottles are pretty steeply priced. But I happened to notice that they were asking FOUR TOKENS for Orval, a beer that can be purchased at any grocery store for about six bucks. It made me distrust every other beer at the fest, and I stuck to beers I could get for no more than three tokens. Weirdly, the very rare Cantillon Iris was pouring for just three tickets.

(Another complaint that I and almost everyone there made: no water. That's just idiotic.)

Perversely, the exorbitant pricing schemes drove people to the domestic draft taps, where beers were cheap and extremely tasty. There was an 2008 imperial stout from Stone aged in Elijah Craig barrels that they were giving away for $2 a glass. Lompoc's 2010 vintage of Old Tavern Rat was a mere token (pint price: $4).

Nevertheless, I did walk away smitten. The Page 24 Hildegarde Blonde, a two-token biere de garde that was done by three on Saturday, was sensational. The actual name of the brewery is St. Germain, and the "page 24" thing comes from an apparently apocryphal reference in a book by the mystic Hildegarde of Bingen about beer. Hildegarde looked like clover honey in the glass. It had an herbal, wildflower aroma that carried over to the palate. It was a bit viscous but, amazingly, strangely light on he palate (I can't square that impossible paradox, either)--and it finished smoothly and crisply. It's a 6.9% beer, but packs a quality of moreishness unique to farmhouse ales. Apparently Belmont Station stocks their Ambree Reserve, so you might sidle over to the bottle side when you're at Puckerfest and score one.