This is one of the most unique things I’ve read about in regards to serving beer. I don’t know that I want to try it, especially since I really don’t like hot drinks (neither temperature nor spice) but it’s definitely fascinating.
I thought that coming to Vancouver would be an excellent way to ensure expand the horizons. But walking to the Doomsday brewpub, I overheard a man say “our little neighborhood is changing fast” to his friend and it’s true: I can see it in the hustle of uptown and the uneasy merging of what was just homes to homes and businesses.
My friend has the Doomsday Agent Orange IPA so I get that. It is what it says; an orange flavored IPA. The finish is a little harsh, but it’s sweet enough on the front end that I’m willing to go with it.
This place is about as low key as you could ask for. It’s managed to feel like a local-the bartender and a patron are playing cards next to me, chatting about the latest superhero film-while being on one of the busier streets, getting foot traffic from casual visitors like myself. Everything in Doomsday stops for a couple minutes when a pink stretch humvee pulls up across the street, and a family exits in baby blue tuxes and dresses for a 16th birthday party. It was the fanciest clown car exit I’ve ever seen, one person after another until a whole crowd was on the street.
We all joked about wishing we’d had better 16th birthday parties and after a brief moment of comradery, went back to our respective corners.
Today’s second pint goes to the Innocence Project.
Today we’ve got Ordnance’s FMJ English style IPA. It’s got a nice nose, with touches of caramel, pine and a little citrus.
It tastes uneven, too: some but not nearly enough caramel in the midrange, with a step up in the bitterness, leading to a surprisingly dry finish. The effervescence doesn’t pop things off my tongue either so all these flavors not only overstay their welcome but don’t bring me any joy to start with.
Seems like this one is a miss for me. Though I usually like Ordnance’s stuff, the FMJ just isn’t working.
I remember reading a meme somewhere that went something like “If your idea isn’t available to the poor people, then it isn’t revolutionary”.
And I like that: only something that becomes available to everyone is actually able to change the fabric of things. While I’m sure there are plenty of instances where this wasn’t the case, pointing to achievements like running water, plumbing, electricity and (almost but not quite) internet, it’s fairly easy to prove how only when something is accessible at the lowest economic levels, do we see real changes.
Which is why I appreciate what this brewery in Denver is wanting to do. Above and beyond the incorporation of Mexican food and flavors into beer, there’s an attempt to reach out to the more economically marginalized people of Denver by making good but inexpensive ales. They don’t talk about it until the end of the article but they do talk about it.
How else are craft brewers and enthusiasts going to convince people to join them? If people cannot afford your product, it may as well not exist, right?
So make something that people can have, and see where that takes you.
I kicked off this evening with a Sunriver Deseo Mexican style lager. This is your basic lager lager; faint but slightly sourish nose, extremely clear, clean, almost creamy flavors with practically no finish. I presume corn was involved in this beer somewhere, given a faint corn flavor. But. It’s a little dry and that is the quality I can’t figure out. Not white wine dry-the absence of any pucker in the flavors keeps it far away form that. I just finish this beer and I want some water.
That’s weird, right? At least a little? I’m glad I got a short pour of this one-it isn’t bad just not quite appealing for me. The woman who ordered it was clearly here as part of an after-business meeting so I didn’t intrude any further than necessary. Which meant I didn’t get to ask her much about what she liked about this beer. That’s OK: after weeks of having people involved, I’m enjoying a beer to myself, you know? It gives me some space to think and time to look at the menu to decide on my next ale.
There’s a nice selection of lagers, which isn’t surprising. It’s nice to see the rise of the lighter ales, after years of heavy beers, even during summer. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve got a double IPA I’m eyeing and there are still a few dark ales there, I’m just talking about where the offerings lean to.
Which is pretty cool; there really is something for everyone. The glory of craft beer’s offer of selection really being realized before my eyes.
Today’s second pint goes to the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
In Portland, beards are a thing. They just are. I don’t have one-my face really doesn’t want to do the beard thing-and that’s fine. It’s a beard, not a lifestyle.
But if point 11 on this list is true well then…I’ll take my extra beer, thank you very much.
Hop Valley Citrus Mistress. That is a very bright beer, eh? The nose smells like someone expressed an orange peel over it, so I can’t claim false advertising on this beer.
The middle of the beer fades fast and it’s challenging for me to pin it down. There isn’t much malt there, to be certain. This IPA is doing the IPA thing not the malt thing though: the next flavor up is grapefruit, and then the effervescence rumbles over to try and sweep it all away.
It doesn’t quite get there: the finish on this has got that grapefruit bitter quality. I’m not really on board for that. I think I could be, if this beer had some more body, something in the middle to tie the front and back together but as it stands it’s just a little heavy on the finish.
I don’t dislike it, though. On a hotter day, I might even be grateful for it. I suppose ‘cautiously recommended’ would be a good phrase. Solid, but I’m not going to convince my Mom to try it.
Adaptability is one of the keys to humanity’s success. I’ve thought so for quite awhile now and today is no exception. I had planned on hitting Great Notion, because I was going to be in the area due to an afternoon tea date. And since I hate tea (unless I am sick) I figured that the easy way to counteract that would be with beer.
That’s how it works.
But the date cancelled so I was left to my own devices, which were not all that clever, to be honest. Then a friend pinged me and asked if I was free to meet up and play Magic, so here I am at Culmination drinking their Captive Audience, a red ale aged in rum barrels. (He got one in his sampler tray so I figure I’m still on theme).
It’s pretty good; malt forward, lots of caramel, with a bit of spice from the rum to finish it off. The spice becomes more pronounced as the ale warms but all in all it’s a sneaky ale; a 10%er that I could easily drink more of…
My friend is going to leave soon: his career path takes him away from Portland and that is a real loss for me. There aren’t all that many beer geek-metalhead-Magic players in the world and from those, fewer still whom I get along with.
But I am happy for him; he is newly married and on a big new adventure! How could I not be pleased?
So I take this opportunity to tell him that.
‘You know, I was at a wedding last weekend in Arizona,’ he replies, ‘and that was one of the things that stood out: That we had a chance to tell each other we cared, because we generally don’t do that, but we did, then.’
And we agreed it was good to say these things, whenever the chance arose.
Today’s second pint goes to No Kid Hungry.
I’m trying really hard to get a handle on the nose of this beer and I just can’t. There’s an element of old school to the Thunderhead, where the hops remind me of something I’d get out of the 80s, suspicious of what my Dad would be drinking. Those hops fade pretty quickly, too so I can’t pin it down and that’s a little discouraging.
The flavor is kinda old school too: a little bit sweet in front, hops on the finish have a resiny quality but nothing is overwhelming. The hops do linger a bit afterwards, the effervescence that failed to bring more hops to my nose also doing a less than awesome job of clearing my palate.
On the upside, I’m starting to get a little taste of corn, now (really?). This beer is just not quite cutting it. A lack of balance leading to an overly bitter finish with some questionable after notes is putting it in the ‘not recommended’ column.
This year, I decided my project ale would be amber ales. I didn’t really have a specific reason: I like the style well enough and don’t see it terribly often in stores so why not! The first batch has come up for review and here we go.
The nose is sweet, but good sweet with hints of caramel and not cloying.
The flavor profile is a little strange though: I get tangerine in there. The beer is still on the sweeter side, but sweet citrus not sweet malt. The finish is rather sparkly too: it really bounces around my tongue but it isn’t sweeping flavors away, either. The aftermath of this ale still has a bitter note to it-not overpowering by any measure but it lingers.
On the one hand: this beer is good. I like it.
On the other hand: this beer should be malt forward. That’s the style.
And on the third hand: This is my first shot at the style this year so I’m not upset. Plenty of more beer to brew!
Brew date: 1/14/18
4 lb Lamonta
1.5 lb lC 80
1 lb Victory
1 lb Munich
Fermentables: 5 lb LME
.5 oz of Warrior and Centennial hops @ 60
.5 oz of Centennial @ 30
.5 Centennial @ 5
Yeast: Imperial Tartan (for Scottish ales. I picked this because why not?)
Put into secondary: 2/18