Denizens of the Dark

Fuz and I met up in Tacoma to attend Wingman‘s Denizens of the Dark beer event. It came with this rad Chuthulu glass and that was really all the excuse I needed to drink some dark, heavy beers. The mildly edited notes follow.

North Coast Old Stock: fruity, raisin, apple? Sweet. Not cloying. Dry finish. This has an oily, rich feel on my tongue I was expecting. But it pops on the finish, cleans up nice. Really, really tasty.

Wingman Heavy Bevy: Scotch ale oak aged

This beer needs to warm up, so I’m letting it. It’s got a woodiness to it but it’s not super dense, which I’m expecting. It is confusing me: I am expecting some viscosity, an oily quality and it’s thin. The oak character is there but I don’t want to savor this beer so much as just drink it.

Weird.

Epic Big Bad Baptism: Holy moly this is good. Dark chocolate cocoa flavors all through, sllliiiiiight astringency a la coffee. Not much effervescence but just enough to keep it from weighing down on my palate.

And that was all I had!  Once again, the staff at Wingman was awesome and I’m glad I got to visit. Now we’re on to Friday and the Holiday Ale Fest. Should be a treat!

On The Rail: Ex Novo

The rail at Ex Novo is a fine piece of wood. Seriously: it’s warm and inviting, cut and polished to be smooth but without taking away the contours of the tree. I like it a lot. Just feels like something to scooch my belly closer to.

Which is a good thing because this pub is almost too open. Understandable, given that it’s clearly a working brewery but I’m keeping my coat on because I can feel a chill licking at my thighs.

I’ve been meaning to write about this place for months, but the writing schedule got in the way of the life schedule. You know how it is; the demands of everyone else leveraged against the demands of what you want. I’m here now though and the wise among us insist that we live in the now.

I’ve got the winter warmer, Warm It Up, Kris! and it’s pretty nice. The spice element is restrained. I think this beer is definitely tilting towards a crowdpleaser in flavor, with soft brown sugar & dark fruit elements. At the end is a very, very light sprinkle of something smokier. The longer I wait between sips, the more I can let my tongue run around my mouth and pick it up. The mouthfeel is something I dig too; there’s some weight there, a density that I think might be settling those flavors on my tongue.

Nearby the bartender is telling a patron about farmhouse ales, then continuing to pontificate on the wonders of Belgian beers, and the coolness that is the Tin Bucket. (Need to put that on my list of ‘to go’ places). On the other side of me two people are talking about the annual bike rides of Portland. I’m resisting hunching over my keyboard, the cold continuing to stroke my legs. I feel like hunkering down and getting all writerly; shifty eyed and quick fingers as my brain shouts out words and tells the chill to fuck off at the same time.

As the warmer warms up, I’m becoming a little more suspicious of it. The smokey flavors have started to take over and the spice and malt are receding. Unfortunate; I really was hoping this beer had some legs. But the turnabout is making this beer harder to recommend. Hm. Perhaps I’ll change it up next time.