Round Two #20\Second Pint ACLU

Gigantic Sodbuster VII fresh hop paleGigantic’s Sodbusted  VII: the Simcoe Awakens is my selection for today. It’s a fresh hop pale and since I’ve been talking up Gigantic recently, I thought I’d give this beer a go while I still can.

The hop quality in the nose is fantastic; it smells like being in an orchard. I can’t place what kind at first-but repeated attempts give off some citrus.

The flavor, well, this is one of the reasons people clamor for these beers. The Sodbusted tastes like orange zest on the finish, then had a drying quality clearing my palate off in a way that makes me thirsty for more.

There’s some body and a little malt in the middle-but nothing too heavy. Just enough sweetness to give the beer some depth. However, this lovely orange note, no pith, not overly sweet, it’s just a great flavor and the kind of beer that I hope people get a chance to try.

And that’s just the first glass.

The second glass I think I’m starting to get why the nose is so difficult to pick up on; this beer evokes the delicacy of orange blossoms, and doesn’t have the hearty quality of fruit or branch.

The sweetness seems a little reduced: initially my impression was sweet enough that it almost had a gumdrop quality but no, this is more balanced than my initial impression. But it’s still very evocative of orange zest and very, very drinkable.

Today’s second pint goes to the ACLU.

The Six #6: Laurelwood

Free Range Red aleSo, why am I at the Laurelwood public house?

I’m here because it is easy to forget our roots. The genesis of craft beer goes back to the 1980’s, and yet so few of those breweries have survived to the modern era. People talk about Dogfishhead or Sierra Nevada, Deschutes, Widmer, Fat Tire, but when was the last time you drank one of those beers?

Laurelwood has been a Portland staple since 2001. I can’t say their beers are flashy, but they are consistent. That IPA? It’s a solid damn IPA. The Lager? Hey it’s a easy drinkin’ and yet forgettable beer, just like expected. Are you interested in a stout? They got you covered, and dang if it isn’t a nice stout.

I went with the Free Range Red ale. I can smell the roasted malt well before I drink it, which is fantastic, and yet it’s still a Portland beer. By that I mean: They put some nice bittering hops on the finish, so it’s a little crisper.

It’s creamy in the middle, which is quite an accomplishment, given the other flavors goign on. Along with being a mild ale to drink-you can have it any time of year, with damn year anything to eat.

So I’m telling people they should come to Laurelwood as a way to honor our history: They been making solid beers they can be proud of for almost twenty years. I hope we get twenty more.
Postscript: Two days after I went here, news of the southeast location closing arrived. I was disappointed to hear that, in part because neighborhoods need places like this-it’s where I wrote this post from. I’m glad the location in northeast is still going strong and the beer is still out there, though.

Forgot What’s In My Fridge #3

I was digging through beers on my top shelf (where I tend to keep the rarer things), and I came across an unassuming bottle. And found myself face to face with a…spring gruit?

Saltspring Gruit


This is the Spring Fever Gruit from Saltspring Island Ales. And I’m sure it would have been more enjoyable in spring! Or at least much, much closer to when I bought it.

There are some signs that oxidation has taken place–a bit of dullness on the palate–but what struck me most about this beer was how pleasant it still was. Sweet and malty, with some of the herbaceousness coming through as well, it aged far better than I might’ve thought.

Not the best beer to cellar by mistake, but I’ve had worse from the fridge.

Which means I should be drinking more.