Category Archives: commercial beers

Common Ales: Terminal Gravity Festivale

Terminal Gravity FestivaleTerminal Gravity’s Festivale is a strong winter ale. It has a sweet nose that fades rapidly so I can’t get as much as I would like off of it. There’s a little woody quality there, too, again difficult to detect because the scents seem to evaporate so quickly.

This beer is problematic for me. The body of it has a sweet, roasted quality along with a bit of maple. The issue is the finish, which is startlingly bitter. It clashes hard with the beer and makes me think of that period of time in Portland where everyone was over hopping their ales, trying to shove that bitterness into styles that did not want them.

And that’s where that orange bitterness rolls up; it’s not horrible but it really isn’t going well with the rest of the beer. A rare miss from Terminal Gravity.


On Additions

You may have heard that the government shutdown has impacted the ability of breweries to bring new beers to market.

Which is a shame for multiple reasons (which I’m going set aside for purposes of staying topical), but not the least of which is that brewers ought to think about telling their customers what’s in their beer.

Honestly, it is the kind of thing we never had to worry about, even 15ish years ago! But now, there are so many tweaks, unusual ingredients, or flat out odd adjuncts that brewers are combining their beer with, that being aware of the potential risks their customers might take by drinking their beer is the responsible thing to do.

If only there was a regulatory agency that could mandate such things to help protect and inform consumers…

It’s Variety, Silly

This article charting the rise in lower ABV beers at some point writes:

Whatever the reasons, brewers have quietly been introducing low-ABV and even non-alcoholic craft beers….

For some reason, the plainly obvious reasoning of: more variety means appealing to more customers means more money, just never appears. I don’t know why.

What I will say is that if businesses expect me to pay more for a beer that’s at 10%, that’s understandable, as it takes more materials to create such a concoction. But they’re going to find 3% beers that they try to charge as much for a very, very difficult sell.

Common Ales: Full Sail Atomizer

Full Sail Atomizer IPA“Sci-fi suds for a wi-fi world” reads the label. So I think it’s fair to say that we know going in that there’s some self-hype nonsense going on, with more wording that promises ‘ultrasonic infused’ hops.

I don’t know where the ‘atomizer’ part comes in. I know there’s a marijuana reference in there but as far as I’m concerned, all it means is that they played Black Sabbath loudly at the wort. (As if there was any OTHER way to play Black Sabbath).

Fine, though; let’s get to the beer, right? That’s what matters.

The nose is really intense; pine, little bit of citrus. Definitely smells like opening a bag of Chinook hops: really green and intense. The first impressions are strong and positive.

There’s a big push of sweetness in the flavor. The Atomizer is lemony and bright but not cloying at all.

It’s a pretty good beer. I’d have another.

Common Ales: Ale Smith Nut Brown

Ale Smith Nut Brown aleLook at this: what a lovely shade of brown. I wish I’d seen this beer when I was brewing brown ales last year, because it would’ve been a great example of the style, visually. Translucent enough that I can see through it when I hold it up to the light, but dark enough that it won’t be mistaken for an amber ale.

The nose has a subtle nuttiness to it running behind some chocolate. Nothing strong but present and when the beer is drank; the exact same. It’s not sweet, like some of the peanut butter porters I’ve drank, which is a good thing. A bit of sweetness but it settles on the more slight bitter chocolate flavor on the end. It’s easy to sip on and very, very tasty.

Common Ales: Ecliptic Quasar

Ecliptic Quasar pale aleThe cans have all been particularly foamy! But it pours into a class nicely enough.

The nose is strong and up front; I get the mosaic, I think; grassy, a little citrus there.

The flavors pick up in the drink too: fresh cut grass, a little lemon. I like it quite a bit and I want hot dogs on a picnic day with this. The finishing bitterness has a slightly drying effect, but it isn’t too strong and it doesn’t linger. I really dig on this-there’s a sweetness in the first phase of the beer that really helps brighten the rest of it up, keeping it from tasting one note and being too sharp. Well done.

Blowing It

Ed. Note: I’m off schedule due to travel and the Thanksgiving holiday, so this is substituting for the regular Monday post. I’ll be back on track next week-for a week.

In a recent conversation with a friend, I mentioned a brewery in Bellingham I had not heard of but recently got to drink and liked, which lead to me complimenting the beer scene at large in Bellingham-which is pretty amazing from down here. Her reply;

It does. So much so that we don’t even have to bother with the two Melvin locations after their epic fuck up

What? Because I like Melvin’s beer (although I still don’t like the name).

Turns out, one of the head brewers came to town to visit, went to another brewery’s pub, opened up one of Melvin’s beers in that location (rude, even if that wasn’t a no-no) and then groped an employee, which I hope I don’t have to outline to my audience the fuckery there.

This, as you might imagine, did a lot of damage to their reputation in the community. Damage they have addressed in what I would call a ‘corporate manner‘.

Now, I’m not saying that the culture at Melvin hasn’t or cannot change. I don’t know any more than what I’ve shared. Perhaps things have truly changed.

What I do know is that until I learn otherwise, I don’t really want to buy any of Melvin’s beer. I have options and a lot of them. Why should I give my money to people who are behaving like jerks? I don’t give my money to ABInBev when I can, for similar reasons.

Oh, and if anyone from Melvin is reading this, when I say “things have truly changed” I mean that there are actions being taken to fix that culture and contribute to amend the world in a way that the toleration of previous, harmful behavior harmed people.

Not just a mealy mouthed statement of “we’re very sorry”.