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Olympia – Jan/Feb 2018

Curse of the Haunted Curds: Beer, Cheese and Poutine Raise Money

Chef Jill Ramseir

Beer. Poutine: French fries with gravy and topped with cheese curds from an award winning cheesemaker. Pair that with a pop up chef competition and you’re raising funds for a good cause. What’s not to love?

And a rollicking good time it was for the packed house of supporters who turned out for the Portland event on a damp late-October evening. The second annual fundraiser, hosted by Bandon’s Face Rock Creamery and held at Deschutes Brewery in Portland, Oregon’s Pearl District, raised funds for Sisters of the Road, a community group that benefits folks in Portland’s Old Town/Chinatown neighborhood.


The gravy in each poutine featured the brewer’s beer.

Since 1979, Sisters of the Road has worked to alleviate hunger, build community, and otherwise assist those dealing with poverty, homelessness, and other challenges. Elise Downing, Development Co-Manager of Special Events at Sisters of the Road was on hand for the event. She said, “During my time at Sisters, I’ve been amazed by the generosity of our local businesses. For 36 years we’ve been operating our non-profit Café with our community of customers in Old Town, taking the lead from them, and working to end the crisis of homelessness and poverty together. That so many from Portland’s brewing community and Greg from Face Rock want to support us means they can see all the hard work we’ve been doing.”

Gregory Drobot, owner of Face Rock Creamery, “This was a lot of fun last year, and we’re happy to be able to do it again this year. It’s really good to be able to give back like this and partner with the other breweries.”

Face Rock Creamery, an artisan cheese-making company in Bandon, Oregon, opened in May, 2013. They offer a line of award winning cheeses, including cheddar and fromage blanc. For the event, their “Vampire Slayer” curd cheese was used.

Beer flowed and plates of poutine churned out of the kitchen at a $10.00 per plate donation. The sampler plates of poutine included five different poutines, each created by chefs from 10 Barrel Brewing Co. (Rick Broome), Fat Head’s Brewery (Tyler Rutherford), Portland Brewing (Brian Arnest), Rogue Ales (Brad Pearson), and Deschutes Brewery (Jill Ramseier). Each used cheese from Face Rock Creamery cheese and gravy that included each of the breweries’ own beers.

event judges

Event judges compare notes on the winning poutine entries.

To all the above, add Portland’s Deschutes Brewery’s cozy Northwest Side brew pub digs, Cheesemonger Steve Jones, and Portlandia stars Dana Millican, Andrew Dhulst and Angel Bouchet as judges, and comedienne Kristine Levine as emcee for the event. She challenged attendees to a trivia contest with questions about cheese and the popular “Portlandia” cable TV show.

In the end, more than $1,100 was raised for Sisters of the Road.

And the winners of the poutine competition? The Judges’ voted was a tie: Fat Head’s “My Gravy Curds Bring All the Ghouls to the Yard,” a gravy of pumpkin and Spooky Tooth Imperial Pumpkin Ale, and Portland Brewing’s chicken chili andouille gravy, with their Blackwatch Cream Porter. Deschutes Brewery won The People’s Award for “Nightmare on Davis Street,” a concoction of whiskey maple beer bacon gravy and Biere de Gourd beer.

Poutine variety

Guests voted on The People’s Choice Award for best poutine.

The real winners, however, were Face Rock Creamery, Deschutes and the other breweries, the chefs, judges, and everyone else who contributed to the event, as well those who benefit from Sister of the Road’s good work. —-by Nancy Zaffaro, RFT NW Wine, Brews, & Spirits Editor

Learn more:
Sisters of the Road,
Face Rock Creamery,
Deschutes Brewery,
10 Barrel Brewing Co.,
Fat Head’s Brewery,
Portland Brewing,
Rogue Ales & Spirits,


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Nancy Zaffaro

Nancy Zaffaro is a travel and food writer based in Portland, Oregon. She enjoys travel, writing, good food and drink (of course!), cooking, yoga, kayaking, and photography. She’s a long-time writer and editor who has had interesting and varied careers in the arts and in business, and is thrilled to be able to travel the world and write about her adventures. Nancy is also the Editor of