Spokane Pt 4 (2018)

Hop Project Hop Freshener seriesLast one I promise!

Port Brewing Co, The Hop Concept-Hop Freshener series: the logo resembling a car freshener is maybe a little too spot on as a choice. The nose is strong with lemon and cleanser. Subsequent sniffs on the Freshener give me a little sweetness but I’m still dubious to taste it. But the beer is OK. The bitterness isn’t overwhelming and the beer is pretty drinkable, all things considered. The lemon flavor isn’t too intense, there is a little grassy quality to help give the beer some depth as well. I have to say, it improves as it warms up, too. Not bad at all.

Orlison- Boulder Garden Brown Ale: Chocolate milk mix nose; sweet, but not lactic at all. The beer is a bit more roasted than I would expect; it finishes very dry, too. There isn’t much sweet about the flavors, which isn’t a bad thing. It gives this beer a bit more to chew on and support to stand up to bigger flavors. I can see this working with some spicy dishes really easily.

Laughing Dog-Devil Dog DIPA: The hops aren’t too strong in the nose, but it’s got that slight gasoline element that says that this beer packs a punch. There’s a strong lemony flavor to this beer, and I find myself checking to see if it’s been barrel aged at all, just in case. It’s certainly strong enough to make me forget that I’m in Idaho, if I was in Idaho. The finishing bitterness leans into pine flavors and while I wish this beer had more of a nose to it, I think I am recommending it.

Whatever You Say 32/Second Pint OHS

PBR at the Vern“Well,” he says, “I just had whiskey so I’m drinking crap beer with it,” justifying his PBR. “But it’s still better than my buddy,” he points to the can of PBR that is waiting for his owner to come back from the bathroom. I’m…not exactly sure that is how it works.

Either way, a PBR is what’s on the menu today at the Vern.

The Vern is a holdout, a dive bar in a neighborhood that won’t let them in anymore. I want to say it’s changed since I visited last, and I suppose it has. There is a giant poster for the movie Uppercut on the wall. I suppose that’s really it, which is fitting for a good dive bar.

On the other hand, like most locals, it has the charm of the clients but I’m really not interested in them right now. Just outside, in the truck parked right in front, a mutt is leading out the window with that doggy smile, hoping that whomever come out next will be its owner, or at least invite it into the bar. It isn’t barking or misbehaving: It just clearly wants to not be alone in the car.

That’s a pretty well trained dog, which I can’t help but feel bad for (and a kinship with) as the pooch retreats to the driver’s seat and waits. After a little while, the dog moves back to the open window at the passenger’s side and looks into the bar; ‘is this the person who will invite me in?’

I’ve been there, looking for a way into something cool and having no way to get invited to the party. Waiting and hope for the best. Never very good at making a thing happen, I try to be a good sidekick, at least. I honestly think I’d rather be outside drinking with the dog right now. Why not?

Times like this, I think I should establish a local of my own. The nomad life has its charms, but a pub I can walk to where they know me is nice to have, too. Bonuses if they have a dog.

Today’s second pint goes to the Oregon Humane Society.

The New Style(s)

The Beer Judge Certification Program has identified four new styles that brewers can produce. This is pretty wild to me, as we have so many different styles of beer to try to begin with, but why not have more?!

The New England IPA becoming a thing is unsurprising to anyone who’s been watching the beer scene for the past 18 months. That style has taken the US by storm.

The Catharina Sour is one that interests me, however. Not from a tasting perspective-I just can’t get that excited about sour ales-but from a etymology-ish one. Developed in Brazil in 2015? Wow! Craft brewing clearly has a dedicated group throughout the world, and there must be so many interesting opportunities to learn and develop new ideas! I just find that fascinating and very exciting.

The New Zealand pils description really tries to dance around what it isn’t, making it a little more challenging, I think, to say what it is. However, the base concept seems to be pretty evident: Use of hops grown in the New Zealand area that promote those flavors (very fruity) with just enough malt to keep it from being thin. I’d try some.

Possibly the most personally disappointing would be the Burton ale. And for me, this is because there aren’t any commercial examples of the style. I have no way of knowing what the baseline is! On the upside, I suppose that means we can make our own baseline. And this is, to me, a fairly obvious attempt to bring a style back from extinction. I think that’s a good thing, too: even if the style isn’t incredibly popular, I know that it’s going to be someone’s favorite beer and knowing about our history is important.

Spokane Pt 3 (2018)

We’re almost done with this.

River City Brewing-River City Red: despite the substantial head on this beer, it’s remarkably light on the nose. There’s a pleasant sweetness to it, more caramel than roasted quality, but it isn’t that powerful. The flavor is actually similar: It’s rubbing shoulders with some roasted quality but nothing too dominant. The finishing bitterness matches as well. It exists, you know it, but it doesn’t wipe out the rest of the beer. Makes for a pretty solid red ale. I’d drink another.

Paradise Creek Pokerface Blonde aleParadise Creek-Pokerface Blonde: the bottle opens with a crack so sharp it could come out of a movie. The head on this takes up two thirds of the glass and smells like sourdough bread rising. It’s not too sharp but it’s there. The blonde doesn’t have any of that sourness though: it’s sweet and sparkles on the finish to try and clean up as best it can. The overcarbonated head is a knock but it’s not a bad beer.
Unita-Cockeyed Copper, Barleywine barrel aged: it’s definitely got a creamy, malty undercurrent to the nose, which is full on bourbon. It’s a little overpowering, so I approached the beer with a little trepidation, unsure if everything would just be overrun by the bourbon. It isn’t, thankfully: there’s a respectable smokey malt flavor happening to give some depth to the body of the beer. The bourbon flavor isn’t shy, though and makes sure to tie the whole beer together. I dig.