Category Archives: commercial beers

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!

Common Ales: McKenzie’s Bombay Bomber

Rare to see something made in Oregon that I haven’t heard of (despite being around since 1991!) in the store, and even better to find it for pretty cheap. As a 6-pack, I appreciate that even more, as I feel a bit of a disservice is being done to consumers by having to buy pint sized 4-packs. That’s a lot of beer for most people. 6-packs spread the experience out better.

I want to like this: the nose is piney and that’s my favorite kind of hoppy scent. It lingers, too so they really leaned into the American Pale style, pushing the hop qualities.

But the finish tastes dirty. Something that shows up well past the expected hop bitterness, and goes into that sensation that the hops weren’t cleaned before they were added to the beer.

Something that shouldn’t have got into this beer and I can’t recommend it.

Common Ales: Laurelwood Megafauna

Laurelwood Megafauna DIPA in glass on table, next to can

Let’s talk ’bout this.

The Megafauna has papaya, tropical qualities in the nose. That fades but not completely, which is good. It’s consistent throughout the experience, which is a benefit.

It’s sweeter than I would expect from a double IPA. Admittedly, that sweetness makes this beer a bit more drinkable; the finishing bitterness isn’t as harsh as a result. But that bitterness is definitely there. I’d say it’s strong, but it doesn’t reach tongue scraping levels.

I’d recommend it!

Yeah, that’s a no from us…

bottlebybottle: *forwards picture of a coconut crème sour to apint*
bottlebybottle: “Yeah…no.”

apint: “Also no.”

/fin

This did get us to thinking about rejecting a beer before we’ve even given it a chance. I know that I like sours, but coconut is a flavour I find distasteful, and sour + crème reminds me of a time…when I drank something sour with something creamy. It was a terrible idea, one I regret to this day. (Ed. note; I also remember this massive error in judgment). I also know that apint isn’t very sour tolerant.

But: this is one of the many, many, many problems with 2020-2021. There’s no sampling. In 2019? I’d have gone to the brewery/thebrewpub/my local bar–wherever I saw that beer–and I’d ask for a tiny sample. Now? I have to commit to a tallboy. And it’s asking a great deal to commit to 16 oz. when you’re not sure you want more than, say, 2.

*sigh*

Common Ales: 2 Towns: Cosmic Crisp

Cider in mug on table, next to can of cider.

A friend recently pinged me, saying this was the best cider they’d had in some time.

And when someone takes time out of their day to tell you how good something is, well I feel I need to give it a try. So, although cider is a little out of my area of expertise, I picked some up.

There’s something in the nose-fresh cut apple, maybe apple blossomy? I’d say it’s just shy of perfume-y while still inviting.

The apples come through in the body, and this is a dry-ish, mildly tart drink. Enough sweetness that they might’ve back sweetened the beer, but tart and dry enough on the finish that it has balance.

It’s also quite bubbly: I wonder if they used yeast for sparkling wine, because that’s actually the nearest analog I can draw to the Cosmic Crisp. Except I find this beverage far more palatable than sparkling wine, in part, possibly, because it has such a clean finish. Or maybe I’m just not a big sparkling wine fan.

This has been a wonderful surprise and I’m pleased to recommend it to cider drinking friends.

Common Ales: Ferment Hana Pils

Ferment brewing Hana Pils in glass, next to can, on table, indoors

Whoa, this is a fine pils. I get the two-row malt, but also a little bit of sourdough. Just enough malt in the middle to give this beer some body, but not too much. There’s enough viscosity there that I don’t feel like it’s watery.

The finish is really nice too: just enough bite there to let me know that yup, they did indeed use hops in this beer, but not so much that it overwhelms the beer, or gives me that 70’s beer skunk. It also doesn’t linger, either; this is another ‘pub classic’ kind of beer where I feel it can really wash down some strong flavors, without interfering with the next bite.

Ferment did a damn fine job with this one, and I hope to see it again.

Common Ales: Sierra Nevada- Hazy Little Thing

This…is a hazy? This beer is so BRIGHT. Sure, I cannot see through it but light penetrates. So many hazy IPAs I drink are opaque.

Sierra Nevada Hazy Little Thing IPA in glass, with can, on table indoors

The nose has some sweeter grapefruit qualities but it fades rather quickly. There’s enough going with this beer that it doesn’t matter though.

The flavors are where this shines: grapefruit is still the dominant feature, but while this beer does have some malt qualities, they’re mostly there for body, to give this beer a little weight. The finishing bitterness is strong but it doesn’t lean into pith qualities.

There are no soda pop elements. There are no fruit skin bitterness notes. It’s just…an outstanding beer.

I have to say: I’m really, really impressed. If THIS Is what hazy IPAs were, I’d probably drink a lot more of them. I am a bit shocked: after spending the last 18 months being incredibly disappointed with almost every hazy IPA I had, this is delightful.