Category Archives: commercial beers

Spokane Pt 2 (2018)

The continuing story of a quack who’s gone to the dogs…

Iron Horse- Crazy Aunt IPA: a pleasantly drinkable, grapefruit oriented IPA. Bitterness levels are low, the nose is nice and floral. I dig this. I can see having another pretty easily.

Big Barn brewing Peone Wheat aleBig Barn Brewing– Peone Wheat ale: Funky nose! This is definitely mining the Belgian, rustic ales but it isn’t pushing the sourness too much. A little dryness on the finish too, elevating a white wine quality. Along with the fruity, farmhouse element, it’s drinkable but a little unusual. Part of this is the mouthfeel, I think; that dryness is accompanied by a grainy feel too. I wouldn’t say no to this beer but I’m not sure how many pints of it I’d want in an evening. But a full pint? Oh yeah.

Bitter Root Brewing- NW Pale ale, Single hop (Columbus hops): This has a fruity nose, almost candy like. That’s a little strange but it doesn’t throw me off. The hops show up in the finish, too: this beer isn’t too bitter, it’s more fruit instead, reminding me of kiwi, actually. In fact, the tropical fruit becomes more obvious the more I drink this beer. I like it, but the single hop usage might leave some thinking it’s a little one dimensional.

Twelve String- Batch 201 IPA: The nose seems to be duking it out between gummy orange and a hint of pine. Which stops me for a moment, that’s for sure. The flavor is similar, too. So, kudos to them for consistency. The nose disappears pretty quickly, though and the flavors follow a similar pattern; it tastes…bland?Which is really strange after the initial, weirder impressions. There’s a bitterness spike at the end, so it’s definitely punching the IPA bag but there really isn’t anything on the front end, once you get past the first impression. Too bad.


Spokane Pt 1 (2018)

OK, it’s time for reviews of stuff I tried while I went on vacation recently. I spent $100 on beer so this post is going to be a series, because damnit, I need to justify spending $100 on beer.

Hale’s– Supergoose: caramel nose, sweet. This is surprising! The midrange is shallow though, and doesn’t give me much to work with. Effervescence pops nicely and the bitterness on the finish isn’t harsh at all. It’s actually pretty drinkable, despite not standing out that much.

Alpine Beer Co Willy Vanilly ale

Alpine Beer– Willy Vanilly wheat ale with vanilla: I got this because wheat and vanilla is a strange combination. So I’m wondering: How do you make that work? Well, the nose has no nose to speak of, so I’m a little lost. The beer tastes like vanilla; that isn’t a bad thing but I’m left with feeling like there is no there, there. I don’t have anything else brought to me because there there are no flavors to contrast with the vanilla, as there might be in a different style. So…it’s vanilla alcohol? And that’s…fine? Sure. It’s fine.

Puyallup River Brewing CoРElectron IPA: I purchased this because I liked the name. I am just a sucker for science and monster names.  Again, a strong caramel note here, but there is a sliiiight touch of pine as well. At first, I thought; Hey this reminds me a lot of the Supergoose, with its touches of sweetness, caramel, but with a little more hop flavor.

Then the finish kicked in and post the effervescence note, things taste dirt-like. This isn’t a solid look and I’m not down with this one.

Common Ales: Redhook Big Ballard

Redhook Big Ballard IIPANow THAT is a hop nose. Like opening a bag of Amarillo, I think: piney and pleasant. The head lasts, too, so I can pick up that nose through the entire beer.
The middle is a little odd, since it seems to be missing. This beer jumps right into a peek-a-boo from caramel malt, shouldered aside by some floral tastes before the effervescence sweeps most of this away and leaves the hop bitterness behind.
It’s a solid beer: the lack of any midrange flavor really keeps it from being great. At 8.6%, I’m genuinely surprised there isn’t something there for me to grab on to in the foreground or the middle. The density is nice but there isn’t anything to wrap my tongue around. But I am OK with drinking this and just being happy with a beer.

Common Ales: Faded Flannel Blonde

Faded Flannel blonde aleWhat a fantastic toasty note in the nose. It lasts through the beer, too, which is pretty damn impressive, considering a lot of hoppier ales cannot provide a sustained hop presence after the first sip.
There’s a bit of that toasty quality on the tongue, too but nothing about this beer is intense or overwhelming. It finishes pretty cleanly and sets the palate up for another drink, I believe.
I like it.

Common Ales: Ninkasi Pacific Rain

Ninkasi Pacific Rain paleI get more caramel in the nose than anything else, and only after some swirls and really¬†intently¬†sniffing do I pick up some dank hops. A little earthy scent is happening, even if it’s hard to pick up.

The Pacific Rain is pretty easy drinking; the midrange is wispy in it’s presentation of flavor, the bubbles spark off my tongue and leave a mild but not overwhelming bitterness behind. It’s drinkability is a plus, but it doesn’t really give me much of an impression, which isn’t so rad.

It’s the kind of beer I could sip mindlessly, noshing on some chips and watching TV. As a one-of, sure! But I don’t know that I’d be aching for another.

Common Ales: Boatswain IPA

Boatswain IPAI’m always on the lookout for something I haven’t had before and during an uncommon trip to Trader Joe’s I found it. It looked inoffensive enough-that kind of bland TJ marketing at play-but that was also why I got it: it’s the kind of thing a not-me would probably purchase.

There is a caramel malt nose. So already, I have a problem here. Not that there shouldn’t be any malt present in the nose of an IPA-some sweetness can help balance things out.

But IPAs should have IPA scents-citrus, pine, floral kinds of things. So I was not hopeful and that hopelessness was rewarded upon tasting the ale. A halfhearted middle, thin and weightless does nothing to impede the veggie tainted bitterness. The bubbly finish doesn’t help either-though I will say that this beer does keep it’s head all the way through.

Just trying to find something positive to say and…well, it ain’t easy. It’s not very good, even for a pale. Avoid.

Common Ales: Ordnance FMJ

Ordnance FMJ aleToday we’ve got Ordnance’s FMJ English style IPA. It’s got a nice nose, with touches of caramel, pine and a little citrus.

That nose drops away far too quickly though: three sips in and I get some faint citrus but that’s about it.

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.