52 Weeks 47: Elysian Pumpkin Ale

That’s right, pumpkin ale. 

I suppose it ought to be said right now; I think pumpkin beers are not for serious beer drinkers. Or even not-serious beer drinkers. 

Pumpkin ales are for people who think of beer as a novelty, a plaything that they can get their friends to try; check out this beer made from X! Where X equals some weird plant, like garlic or zucchini. It just so happens that pumpkins are associated with a very tasty food and we happen to have a fuckton of them around during this time of year, so why not do something with them, right? 

So for you dear readers, I have decided to have a pumpkin ale. 

The nose is quite strong and puts me into the Wayback Machine for sure. Nutmeg scents remind me of my mother’s kitchen; its olive green stove right next to the fridge in a classic design scheme, lights dimmed while everyone else is in the living room or dining room, entertaining while I wait for pie to finish. 

And the taste?

Well…I won’t lie to you, it’s quite a bit like liquid pumpkin pie. There aren’t hops or malts to speak of here; it’s all dessert spices and enough sweetness to keep the whole thing together. I’m almost surprised the beer isn’t served in a glass made of flaky crust. It’s remarkably velvety too, like well beaten whipped cream. 

I hate to say it, but it’s a decent beer to have a glass of and it evokes pumpkin pie in some remarkable ways. That said; I’m glad it’s only around once a year. I cannot imagine drinking this stuff on a regular basis. 

273 words. Is there more to say a this point? I feel like there ought to be but perhaps this is not the night for it? It’s windy in Portland, a mild summer giving way quickly to an autumn that is bluster and chilly. The inclination is to grouse; the football games sucked yesterday, I’m going mildly broke and there’s a coil of tension in my chest somewhere behind my heart, that keeps reminding me that somewhere I have chosen poorly all of which wants to be said somewhere. 

But not here, eh? Because I didn’t choose poorly; the beer was good, I’ve got my hat and the night. No complaints.

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Retrospective

With Dad’s visit, I’ve had the opportunity to get into a host of beers I’ve been saving over the past year. I can’t tell you what he had, just that overall he liked what I gave him. But here’s what I drank:

A Lala IPA (the first IPA I made this spring) was very tasty but overcarbonated and a touch minerally. The nose faded quickly and the malts were subdued but it was still a decent brew. It was old though and I think that’s why there was that mineral flavor at the end.

The Chisick mild held up great. Still a very easy drinking brew and very flavorful. I was really surprised because my previous mild didn’t age as well, although I did keep it in the bottle for longer. I probably got this one drank before the shelf-life expired.

The Pale_qm was carbonated even after all this time. Hop nose faded very quickly though. I guess that can’t be too surprising, given the age of the beer. Still a very tasty drink.

There was also what I think was a belgian amber ale, pictured to the left. It has a very sweet back end and huge caramel nose. The reason I don’t exactly know what it is, is because sometimes my titling system of beers is…random. So while there’s writing on the bottlecap that should tell me what this beer is, the information was incomplete. I’m going to have to include that data on the spreadsheet in future brews too.

I also had an IRA that was all malt and no hops. Not bad, but the bummer? No carbonation! Even after all that time. Still, the malts provided a bold roasty caramel flavor so it wasn’t a loss.

All in all, I’m more than a little surprised how well these beers held up. Considering they’ve been in my basement just gathering dust and they were all still drinkable, I feel like that’s a pretty nice accomplishment.

So, what about that IPA?

Indeed. What about that IPA. Did time give it the carbonation that it needed? Let’s take a look.

As you can see there is no head on this beer. So where does that leave me?

Well, it’s actually fairly tasty. There’s a strong nose to the beer, despite having no head to it. Although it’s flat this IPA does taste pretty good overall. But because there’s no fizz, there isn’t any effect to offset the bitterness of the beer or clear it away. Unfortunate, but there does seem to be a solution: Potato chips.

That’s right. What other snack so rewards having another right after you’ve drank some beer to wash the salt out of your mouth?

That said, I am adding bottling sugar to my recipe checklist to ensure that I add that to the beers. I’m not sure if I forgot to put in the bottling sugar in this batch, but better safe than sorry and if it improves future beers, the small reminder is worth it..

52 Weeks 46: Natian Mild IPA

Now this is one of the more interesting beers I’ve had in awhile. A mild IPA? Wouldn’t anyone even reasonably educated in the ways of brewing say that those styles don’t really mix well? 

But this beer works. There’s a bitterness in this beer that reminds me of strawberries. You know that hint there in the fruit, especially if it isn’t quite ripe, that’s leafy and green? That’s what I’m getting in the midrange flavors and bite. But the front had a sweetness and the nose doesn’t give me hops, just a hint of caramel. So this beer has some complexities to it but it also holds to the mild style in drinkability. Very easy to sip on, drink fast, great for hot days, a good beer to have before dinner, just an all around excellent drink. I didn’t know of the brewery until now but I look forward to more offerings from Natian-who apparently is savvy enough to have a Facebook and MySpace page, but not a website of their own.

Then again, they have more followers than I do, so who’s laughing now?

My Dad is visiting and so he’s come with me to this edition of the blogpost. Now what’s interesting is that when Fuz visits, we tend to talk over me writing, just as when my girlfriend has come out with me. Dad is content reading The Drunkard’s Walk, sipping Lompoc’s Oktoberfest. We’ve had a pretty nice visit and most of the beers I’ve been offering him have gone over quite well. I may not be a professional grade brewer, but I can offer a drink to my Dad knowing it’s good stuff so I’ll take it. 

Then again, we had quite the adventure in the one block to took to walk here. maybe a bit of solitude is appropriate. Two homeless looking people shouting at each other about who had the headphones for the other’s iPod; the questioner strangely still, the responder with a raised golf club to keep the former away. We passed by as the incident was dissipating, the person with the golf club telling the other that they were a moron and their headphones were in their pocket. We wove around the argument and narrowly missed cutting off a scrawny white man in Joker-purple pants with a lilac colored shirt sliding into Mary’s strip club, and between two black men who seemed to be talking about their angle of approach to…something, the words faded behind us as we walked up to the bar.

Dad asked me why I chose Bailey’s as the bar and I told him; it was close to where I worked, I liked the place and there was a constant rotation of beers there that would insure I wouldn’t repeat myself.

But I also come here to touch Portland’s character. I know I don’t need to show off Portland to my Dad-he’s been coming here since before I was born-but I do like introducing him to my favorite bar, which I imagine he’ll say he enjoys due to the lack of televisions and reasonable volume to the music. It’s meant to be a place where you can read a book while your son dabbles in technology and I think that’s awesome.

Of course, the most interesting parts of the conversation are yet to be had. That’s how it is with my Dad; you can’t write it up while it’s happening because you’re engaged. Otherwise you aren’t involved. Not that he insists upon it, just that you’ll miss the best part if you’re trying to do something else. So if you’ll excuse me, I have a visitor.

It is good to have friends

Friends who are employed, especially. Which is how I found myself at the Horse Brass to play cards with my friend baeza. We had a few beers between us, which to the man’s graciousness and general awesome, I did not have to pay for but here are the highlights.

First: Guinness 250. Yes, yes, yes, Guinness is 250 years old and good for them. Too bad they made such a bland beer in honor of the occasion. Hell, I wouldn’t be surprised if they just put regular Guinness into a bottle, slapped a 250 label on it and charged everyone an extra buck-fifty.

You know Guinness, I remember when you used to be cool. Of course, that was only 5 years ago for me. But now…well, you’ve lost it and I’ve found some far better drinks. I think it’s just best that we go our separate ways.

I’m keeping the house.

I steered baeza towards the Eilean Dhu and he enjoyed it quite a bit. He was, fortunately, not struck with any kind of morose vibe due to working in a warehouse, thankfully. And I must say (since I didn’t when I drank it) it’s a damn fine beer. Very potent, but quite tasty.

My notes also record me having Lompoc’s Monster Mash Porter. It had a very smoky nose and was incredibly dense for a porter. The flavors included a burnt coco or coffee and it was just flat out delicious. If you enjoy darker beers then this ought to be something to taste. It made me sit up from our card game and take notes. So I know I dug it.

And I totally meant to include the recipe for the Scottish Ale I talked about in Wednesday’s post. So I might as well include it now!

Light Scottish Ale:
Steeping Grains:
1 lb Vienna
1 lb Munich

Fermenting malts:
7 lb Light malt extract, liquid

Hops:
@ 60
1.5 oz Galena
.5 oz Nugget used as dry hops from IPA 2.
@15
.33 oz Centennial
@5
.5 tsp of Irish Moss for clarity.

Yeast:
Two packets Wyeast 1728 Scottish Ale yeast.

The OG was 1.069, and the Final Gravity was 1.02.