52 Weeks 21: Boulder Mojo Risin’ IPA

“So what do you think,” the barkeep, Michael, asks me. 

“The nose is like cucumber farts,” I tell him. “But as a drink it’s pretty good.”

“At 10.5%,” he replies, “it’s a pretty rough beer.”

“But it’s not bad,” I tell him. 

And that about sums it up. It’s not very malty, and I get only a very mild bitterness at the end. The beer is remarkably clear, and pretty easy drinking. Just don’t inhale.

The day after I wrote that it wasn’t spring until I could see the sun for two-thirds of the day, the sun shone for two-thirds of the day. Then most of the day on Sunday, and today all day. It’s Spring. And my powers over the weather seem to be increasing. 

I have to confess, I’m thankful for this. Not that I have a particular affinity for the sun or the outdoors for that matter, but I do like being warm. And this winter has been longer than usual, with even Portlanders feeling a touch more surly than they ought to. 

Which is why I’m so surprised that Bailey’s is so quiet tonight. This night feels celebratory; Winter has been broken! Hoist the flagons, mates! Maybe there’s a groundhog effect in place. We saw our shadows, hide away, hide away! It can’t possibly be real, can it? 

But at ten at night I could walk home comfortably. It’s almost Summer-like. That might be the problem. No one wants to trust the warmth, because we’re still at the point where it could be stolen from us. Perhaps that’s why I’m not so down on this beer. Which, as I near the end of the pint has revealed itself to be adequate, but little more. The nose remains, but no backbone in the mouthfeel, no bitterness to sharpen my senses away from the nose. It’s limp. 

There’s a clear sky, a nearly full moon, and it’s warm. A lot of things seem to not matter when those combinations come together. However, if you’ll pardon me, I think I’m going to try to get a better beer before I have to head out. A night like this ought to be given to the pleasures I can find, and this IPA is not fitting the bill.

Later Winter Warmer finished

Well, this beer has come out very well although there are some small flaws. Winter may technically be over, but the beer still remains. Besides, it hailed three times last Sunday. Winter isn’t over until I can see the sun for a least 2/3 of my day.  

The initial nose hints of bubblegum. I’m pretty sure that this is due to me adding the yeast while the wort was too warm. But there are other scents, including roasted malt so all is not lost. The flavors keep that toasty flavor as an undercurrent to the warm nutmeg and cinnamon spices. There’s even a ever so slight hint of ginger, which I really wasn’t sure would make it given how it got in the beer.  I am reminded of the flavors of warm mulled wine. It’s a little strange to find warm flavors in a cold drink. It’s almost as though I’m getting mixed signals. 

The mouthfeel is really light too; I’m not sure the flavor profile lets this beer be a session ale, but it feels light and very drinkable. 

Maybe this whole beer is a study in conflicts. But it’s a tasty study.


Ninkasi’s Spring Reign is out and I, ever the sucker for a new beer, picked one up promptly. It’s a pale ale, and the nose on it reminded me more of honeysuckle than anything else. Sweet, but with an earthy quality that signaled that I wasn’t about to drink soda.

The hop scent faded quickly after pouring and gave way to roasted malts. Like grain being toasted in the oven, or maybe really toasted cookies. Again, not too sweet; the toasty flavors tilt the beer away from being cloying. To top it off, the hops don’t disappear; they make a comeback at the end with a piny flavor. I’m looking for more of it, because it’s fantastic. 

Edit: I found more of the Spring Reign; my buddy Jim and I talk about it at the end of our 4th podcast here.