Category Archives: commercial beers

Common Ales: Ninkasi Megadlodom

Got a monster 2-fer this week! (Unfortunately, I messed up and deleted the good photo and kept a blurry one so…no picture this time).

Ninkasi’s Megalodom IPA has decided to lean into the citrus IPA characteristics. However, the nose offers a drier, more bitter quality-it reminds me of bitter orange that I’ve used to spice saisons I’ve made.

This is a good thing, not just because it isn’t overly sweet. The bitter orange scent also persists as I drink the beer and that helps give the Megalodom some staying power.

There is still some sugary elements from the malt and the beer exhibits this both in the midrange and the viscosity. There’s something a bit weighty and slick about the Megs which has me wondering what the ABV is.

10%. Whoa.

But, the finishing bitterness keeps things in check and for such a strong beer, I have to confess it’s pretty well balanced. Giving this one a thumbs up.

Common Ales: Rogue Colossal Claude

Longtime readers of the blog may recall that I cannot resist any beer named after a monster.

Rogue Colossal Claude IPA in glass on table next to can of same.

Hence, we have Rogue’s Colossal Claude IIPA. Look, there’s a dragon on the label named Claude. I’m supposed to say no to that?

Except: It’s Rogue. And Rogue has rested on its laurels since the 90’s, as far as I’m concerned. So, a little suspicion going into this beer.

The nose faded incredibly fast; despite a persistent head, I had to work hard to get the tropical fruits qualities that were initially present. As in: between me noticing them, taking a sip, and then going to write them down, the olfactory qualities all but evaporated.

The beer is…actually a bit bland. Which is not a good thing to say about an IIPA. I can get some malt character and even sense some bitterness but everything about his beer is insisting that I work for it.

It’s not good. It might be bad. I am picking up a little butterscotch here-which means bad things-but mostly the Claude fails to leave much of an impression at all.

It really is a Loch Ness beer. I can tell you I had it, but I can’t prove it to you.

Common Ales: Three Creek’s Tres Arroyos

This Mexican lager has a corn nose which extends into the flavor, too. Not quite creamed corn sweet but lilting in that direction.

Effervescence is tiny but steady, so there isn’t a lot of head on this beer, but the finish always sparkles a bit.

It’s a pretty clean beer; both visually and flavorwise, and I have a feeling I should’ve chilled the Tres Arroyos a little further than I did to really get the most out of it. It’s a solid beverage that wants to be drank in the shade of an umbrella, with light snacks nearby.

Or, with a full plate of chicken strips, bleu cheese and a joyous riot of people nearby. That would work. But I have to say, I’d recommend this for the style. It’s not going to replace my preference of pilsners as my light beer of choice, but I won’t turn my nose up at this.

Common Ales: New Belgium’s Voodoo Ranger

Voodoo Ranger IPA by New Belgium in glass, next to can, on countertop

This beer kicks things off with a frothy head and a piney nose that is present but not too strong.

For an imperial, the nose seems restrained. It’s reasonably persistent, though, lasting for more than a few sips.

The other thing I’m noting is that for an imperial IPA, the Ranger is fairly well balanced. The malt sweetness is where I’d expect, the bitterness on the finish wraps things up but isn’t a contest to see how intense it can be. It’s like a regular IPA.

I’m a little surprised by this beer’s balance, I’ll admit. On the other hand, it’s almost what I’d hope for from an Imperial style ale: everything taken up a notch, but nothing out of whack. Something even a non-hophead could enjoy.

Common Ales: Lagunitas Maximus IPA

Lagunitas Maximus IPA in glass, next to can, on countertop

So….let’s talk about this can for a moment.

Whenever I see something like this that is so clearly masculine-the logo is all sharp edges, the name is redundantly about the size of the beer, and it’s written so that to read it properly you have to hold the can horizontally-
The first thing I think of is how absurd it is. I can’t help it: this is my instinctive reaction to anything hyper masculine. Isn’t it all not just a little silly?

Because it is. As if a beer could have a gender at all, or one’s gender is somehow reflected in the acquisition of said beverage. That’s silly.

The second thing I think about is; this is why women feel ignored/don’t get into beer. Because the Maximus isn’t being shy about what it’s saying or who it’s going for. The issue of course is that these kinds of examples can be found all over the brewing industry and easily engender an environment of toxicity.

This beer might be good-and hopheads of any gender might dig it! But because this label is fronting so hard to be about dicks, I wonder how many women would consider giving this beer a chance.

Worse, we’re 3/4 through the review of this beer, and I haven’t even had a drop.

But when I do drink some, the nose has a little grapefruit, a little malt in it, and that’s good. The malt sticks around through the glass, offering some sweetness with every sip.

The finishing bitterness lingers, though. This isn’t a clean IPA, this one wants to stick around. But the bitterness isn’t pithy and it does stop just shy of mouth scraping. On the whole it balances the nose out pretty well. It’s not a great beer, but I’d say it’s a good one.

Common Ales: Wayfinder’s Red Fang

Wayfinder Red Fang malt liquor in glass next to can.

So, I was expecting the Red Fang malt liquor made by Wayfinder to be some gimmicky bullshit.

Because c’mon. How is this not gimmicky bullshit? The band themselves are well known for drinking PBR and while I dig their music, I’m also aware that these things are a business. Wayfinder gets the name recognition of Red Fang, Red Fang gets to cling to some hometown/indy cred. 

But you know what? This is pretty damn drinkable. It’s got that funky lager nose, and yes, I did put it in the freezer for 20 minutes to get it extra cold, but I still found the beer to be pleasantly drinkable. Would recommend (to my own surprise).

Common Ales: Boneyard Bone-A-Fide

Bonyard Bone-A-Fide pale in glass, next to can.

The nose is a dank papaya scent, and that is…weird? The way it should be? There’s something oddly abrasive about the scent here: it isn’t sweet, it’s dusky. But it gets worse as I go on; there’s something almost salty happening, like a hot dog. It’s weird.

It’s an interesting beer too. The middle is sweet-not overly so, but notably. There is an attempt to do something balanced in the Bone-A-Fide. The finish doesn’t betray any of the strange olfactory qualities; it’s just straight up papaya and some dank bitterness.

Without that weird nose, I’d probably really dig this beer. With it…I don’t know what to think. Maybe I should try it again.

Common Ales: Gigantic Kolschtastic

Gigantic Kolschtastic bottle, and glass of kolsch ale on counter.

There’s a little bit of the sourdough bread in the nose, which raises my hopes, but not too much, due to its inhibited quality.

The beer itself is a little too clean for my preferences. That seems like a strange criticism to make, but the truth is I really dig on that bready note and want more of it. The finish also seems a bit hoppier than I like; I get a sharp note of bitterness on the end that I’m not excited about.

There’s nothing wrong with this beer; it’s a fine kolsch and I’d happily drink some on a hot day. But the quest remains.

Of course somebody made a Covid “test” beer

Atelier der Braukünste in Germany has made, not just a COVID test beer, but a COVID test series, called Test-Trace-Isolate.

“By rubbing the cross, a smell of Christmas will appear,” the label advises–and then, if you can’t smell the hops, the label steers you to an exceedingly thorough questionnaire to see if you should be tested for COVID.

Mind you, the concept is very tongue-in-cheek. But the information the label provides is frankly invaluable. And the questionnaire is certainly much more thorough than the ones in use where I live.



A Little Problem

I was honored to assist with the Oregon Beer Awards again this year-delayed and restructured due to the pandemic.

Part of that meant that fewer people worked on providing services this year…but there was still the same amount of beer. Which needed to go somewhere.

Leading me to having this:

Boxes full of beer

That is too much beer. And that is after I’ve given much of it away! (I am still giving beer away.)

So the upside to this is first: free beer.

Second: I can use this opportunity to sanitize my gear: mix up a bleach solution and run it through my carboys and hoses, and start running my bottles through the dishwasher. There’s never a bad time to spend some time making sure your gear is clean.

So, you know; making the best of it!