Tag Archives: 2017

East Coast 2017

As I mentioned Monday, my last trip was to the east coast where I was hosted in New Jersey and got to spend time in New York. Of course, I drug my Dad around to try beer because otherwise we would’ve just gone to see awesome stuff all day. Can’t have that!

I proceed, once again, with my lightly edited notes.

37419583870_bcde108431_cCricket Hill Fall Festivus Ale: vegetal finish = no, this is awful.

Departed Soles-Playoff Beard: red-burnt on the finish in a way that just overwhelms the beer. It’s drinkable but I didn’t enjoy it. I just wanted to finish a beer.

Pipeworks War Bird session IPA: sour. Poured this out. How a sour session IPA comes into existence boggles me.

Troegs-Hopback Amber: this is solid. Nice, drinkable beer, the roasted qualities are there but not overpowering. The midrange of the beer feels a little thin but the pluses outweigh the minuses.

Hop Concept IPA: It’s an IPA that is so clean that the bitterness might be the only thing on the finish that registers and while that’s not bad, it’s a little one dimensional. If I reach for it, I can get a little tropical fruit-mango, I think-but it’s just not balanced enough for me.

36967432744_26d3272c7f_cEinstok White Ale: This is a really nice white ale; a touch of coriander in the nose, with a sweetness that helps like fantastic dryness on the finish to that encourages the next sip.

Threes: Way to go Idaho (my Dad ordered this so I just got a sip)-super dank, almost gritty marijuana flavor.
Temporary Identity: NE IPA and not bad but doesn’t stand out special, either.

I still love the names Threes gives their beer. Also, it was the place that had the most ‘Fuck Trump’ graffiti I saw in the bathroom. Points for that, too.

Terrapin-Hopsecutioner IPA: solid nose, which I appreciate. I get grassy notes from it and that leads nicely into the caramel malt in the body. The finishing bitterness isn’t too intense, which seems a little surprising but I’m pleased about. I’d have another.

23824569438_083b5f2866_cFolks Bier Helles Simple: this tasted like pickled green beans. That is…no. However, I also had a their Echomaker dark rye ale, which I enjoyed and the Recurring Dreams 10 IPA, which was good. So 2 out of 3?

902 Brewing Single Hop IPA with Amarillo hops: It’s not bad. There isn’t much dimension to it , though. The Amarillo hop gives me a solid but not overwhelming grapefruit flavor, the bitterness isn’t too prominent at all and there’s a strong sweet note in the middle to try and give this beer something else to do. But I’m just not that excited.

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Other Spoils from Spokane

I didn’t just drink cider in Spokane: I also got to check out some Washington ales that I don’t have access to in Portland. Let’s get to the notes!

Harmon‘s Pt Defiance IPA: It tastes like burnt caramel. Wow. I have a mouthful of regret and bitterness. It’s both sickly sweet and unbearable. If you ever needed a reason to not do this to yourself, take it.

37327031616_3ebd17d38c_cIron Horse‘s Life Behind Bars kolsch: bread dough nose; really yeasty and pungent, but in a pleasant way. It’s a little bit like sourdough and buttered popcorn. The flavors are also very much like raw bread, giving me something to chew on, absent a sour note. I think I may have found a beer that gives Old Town’s kolsch a little bit of a run! It doesn’t finish quite as cleanly but it is a damn fine beer.

Juice Box IPA from Tricksters Brewing Co. A Coeur d’Alene brewery! The bottle claims a NW IPA style-and the nose is certainly dank enough for it-but the clarity is all NEIPA. The flavors match the nose more than the visuals, thankfully. Yeah, it’s sweeter than your typical NW IPA, but a little malt helps the foresty-bitter characters smooth out in the long run. I like this beer: it’s got some interesting flavors happening but is still pretty drinkable.

36665807614_487ccd063c_cTenpin; Groove pineapple wheat. This really does have a strong pineapple flavor. However, it’s less like raw pineapple and more like it’s been roasted on a grill. I imagine that it’s because of the malt aspect, played up in a caramelized way. It’s a good beer but it’s definitely unusual and unexpected. But if caramelized pineapple sounds like your jam, you should absolutely have this.

Hale‘s Aftermath IPA-nose pushes some of that forest dank scent, wet needles, but doesn’t push it very hard. The flavors kick up a little roast in the middle which is unexpected, followed by a more traditional sweetness, and then the kind of bitterness I’d expect from a more piney IPA. No grapefruit tart or pithy bitter quality. It’s a pretty straightforward IPA but I can’t fault it for that. It’s tasty and solid.

Benfest 2017

In the Portland brewing scene, there are a lot of brewers with the surname Ben and….well any excuse to throw a party, right? Thus: Benfest-a festival with beers mostly made by people named Ben, or in honor of, as this year also saw the passing of Ben Flerchinger, a loved local brewer and part of the proceeds went to his family to help with the expenses of death.

Sigh. Sorry, folks. Looks like it’s going to a week with more downer feelings than usual.

Here’s the mildly edited notes!

Gigantic Benmosa; grapefruit, tangerine, pineapple. I’m not sure this is even beer, so much as a fruit drink that might have alcohol in it. Even the bitterness on the finish is heavily reminiscent of the pith of grapefruit. I don’t think it’s for me-that pith note isn’t something that I like. But it’s definitely what it says it is! And if you like mimosas, you should give this a go.

Breakside First Blanche; witber. This beer feels soft on my palate. Almost like a hug. It’s also very straightforward; little wheat malt in the nose, a dollop of tartness on the finish. I’m more into this one.
Gigantic/Sasquach collab, Been There Freshed That; fresh hop pale. Smells like band aid. Tastes similar. Pass.
36776416740_a04d66a981_cCoin Toss Benvention; Imperial mild. Milds are very difficult for me to tell you about. Like brown ales, their strength is in their forgettable qualities. There’s just enough malt happening here that I have something to chew on. It’s 5.2% ABV, which I don’t object to, but why not just call this an ESB? Probably because I don’t know enough about styles to say. But sit me down with a pitcher of this and a plate of nachos and I’m a happy camper.
Lucky Lab Benedict Palmer; lager with lemon and ice tea. Nose of sulphur. That makes my face wrinkle. There’s a corn note after that and this doesn’t unwrinkle me. The flavor has some corn and lemon in there, but they do not mesh well.
Three Creeks Stampede Strong ale; American strong. I cannot pick up anything on the nose to save my life. However the beer hits my tongue softly, gives me a nice roasted flavor, followed up by some sweetness. The Stampede also has a pleasant heft to it; the beer might hit the tongue softly but it rolls around with a little weight. That sets up the finishing hop bitterness and just a tiny pop of effervescence to end. The Stampede Strong makes me want to sit with some buttered popcorn in a movie theater. I feel like that would be a great environment with a pretty nice salty offset to the beer.
Laurelwood Ben There Done That; Kolsh. OK, so my current stance is: Old Town’s Kolsch > everyone else’s, which is why I wanted to give Laurelwood’s offering a shot.
Old Town is still safe. The nose on this Kolsch has that lager old hop nose that isn’t so awesome.¬†However, after that? There’s a really pleasant beer to drink. It’s sweet, with a nice rounding effervescent pop around the sides of my tongue that I’m enjoying. It’s definitely solid, even if it doesn’t take the crown.
Deschutes BlENded; saison. Now this is a nose that pops up like a jack in the box. Spicey, a little funk and a little fruit in there. This beer is…a touch unusual. Mostly saison. That is: wheat malt, Belgian yeast spice note, but the finish is fruity and sparkly, like grapefruit champagne. I find this beer really interesting and very quaffable. Have at it.
36776417350_697553de95_cGigantic Macallan Barrel aged barleywine, pic. Oooooo boy. This is basically alcoholic, unsulfured molasses. Brown sugar syrup that will give you a buzz. It is REALLY good. It is also a beer to have one of, and a small pour at that, because at 15% it’s more dominating than Michael Jordan.

54-40 Half Cocked; IPA in the cask with Citra hops. The nose is ALL Citra, with sweet orange and lemon scents. There’s also just a little nudge of cut grass in there, too. The beer itself: solid. the nose is amazing, the liquid is very good but I almost want a more carbonated version so that it finished with some pop. However, the body of the beer has a solid malt adding a nice sweetness and hint of grain before the hop bitterness, which isn’t very intense at all, sweeps in to round it all out.

Ecliptic Benith; Grapefruit Gose. Wow, this nose is just a nice confluence of sour and salt and fruit. My first sip has me exclaim because of its tartness in comparison to all the other beers I have had today. That isn’t to suggest it’s bad, though. Just the opposite; the tartness is on point and the finish is dry like white wine. The contrast that this beer provides from the other styles here is more than welcome and I have to say, this might be the first Ecliptic beer I can endorse.

OBF 2017 x 2

The Oregon Brewer’s Fest is in full swing now and I’ve got my (mildly) edited notes to share. As a bonus my friend Fuz came with me, took notes, and has allowed me to share those as well.

Between the two of us we got to try a whoooole lotta beer. His notes are in blockquote and…I think that’s all you need to know! Let’s have at it.

36045127992_8e04bc0a5a_z1) Chetco Brewing, The Chetco Effect pale. The sorachi hop nose is distinct and pleasant, the finishing bitterness not too prominent; as a first beer, this is solid. Clean, with a pretty dry finish, I can see myself having a full pour.

Beer 1: Ghost Runners Brewery, Chasing Fluffy Pink Unicorns:
Raspberry, pink peppercorn gose – it doesn’t over balance any flavors, but keeps them nicely in check. Perhaps a bit more of the saltiness of a gose would be welcome, but against fruit like raspberry a delicate touch is better.

2) Ancestry, Tiny Umbrellas IPA: grapefruit and melon in the nose. Onion in my mouth. I had two sips, just to make sure. And then? NOPE.

Beer 2: Three Creeks brewing, dry hopped apricot stonefly session ale – the beer delivers on all stages of the apricot, but it’s also the dried apricot, not fresh, and that means it’s less enjoyable for me. Dan liked it, but he also acknowledged that he’s fonder of dried apricot than I am.

3) Oproer, 24/7 IPA; I’m not getting a nose here and the finish tastes like dirt. “Clean dirt,” Fuz says, “but dirt.”

Beer 3: Perennial artisan ales, Ship of the Sun – terrible. Can’t finish. Can barely start. I suspect spoilage in transit. But: bandages should not be the aftertaste of a beer.

35818906580_598a099f93_z4) New Holland, Dragon’s Milk- Thai Curry. This is quite interesting. While there is a strong element of dried fruit in there-raisin is what I pick up and it’s all over-the finish has a definite Thai spice note to it. This is a rarity for me: a spicy beer that I can drink and enjoy. I don’t think I’d want a full pint of it but I know that this beer is going to rank very high on someone’s list.

Beer 4: Lost Abbey. I wish I could say that it was better. But it’s not. It’s perfectly fine, as these things go. But…

5) Sasquatch, Kremlin Ginger Blonde- The lime and ginger in the nose is distinct and mouth watering. The beer itself is just fantastic. The ginger isn’t overpowering, the lime is a nice hip check to it, and the beer is crisp and delicious. Just great. Pour me more of this, please.

Beer 5: Dunedin, Passionate Disenchantment – is actually not bad. Serrano pepper, coffee, and saison all do eventually-eventually work together. But it feels as if the brewery is trying to do too much with one beer, even a beer that can carry spice flavors. The pepper lingers on the palate-it’s not disagreeable, but I will need a stronger beer after this to stand up to this one.

6) Bridgeport, Deep Cuts: India Pale Wheat. This isn’t a terrible beer but it’s a bit weird. The malts feel like they are in conflict with the hops, where I don’t get a proper feel for the hops or the malts and…it’s muddied. I don’t think it’s flawed, but I’m not sure this was the best idea.

Beer 6: Oregon City, Plumbelievable – it’s too Johnny one – note, and the note hasn’t been built up on the best of plums, even though it’s built off of two fruits. The lacto detracts from the beer. It’s not a bad beer, but it’s too simple and too generic for my taste.

7) Cloudburst, Tigers In Tiny Spaces pale. This is…OK. That isn’t a bad thing. But it isn’t popping out at me either. In a way, this beer is a sip it and forget it but as with some beers, not noticing it is actually a plus. Give it a shot. Maybe I’m overlooking something.

Beer 7: Burnside brewing, Cannonball!: it’s actually quite pleasant, with the barrel making itself known. And each of the fruits comes through (cherry and pineapple), with the aftertaste definitely lingering more pineapple. Were I making it, 5% less pineapple. But it’s certainly a nice, round, well-balanced beer.

8) Boneyard, Enzymatic IPA: nose is faint but hints of honeydew and grapefruit. Unfortunately my pour was served both warm and a bit flat. It’s not bad…but it could be a heck of a lot better if it was served cold and bubbly. I am not sure that I can really evaluate this beer properly because it’s serve was so off.

Beer 8: Breakside, Dreamboat – a thing of cromulence. That is what I can say, at this point. It’s not bad.

36077114311_18773d2981_z9) Caldera, Cousin Rick Triple IPA: First thing I notice is that the color on this beer is outstanding. I love that amber hue. The nose harkens back to IPAs of old, with pine being the outstanding scent, though there isn’t much else. But as an IPA, this holds up very nice. A good roasted flavor, followed by a sweetness, followed by a hefty but not scouring bitterness, and I’m totally in for this.

Beer 9: Great Divide, grapefruit radler: the nose is off-putting. Day-old rind with a bit of flesh attached. The beer itself is perfectly drinkable, if it tends a bit more to the grapefruit than I would think would be in style.

10) Elk Horn, Sirberlin. A concoction of beer, lemongrass and lychee fruit, the first thing I notice is the grassy nose. The beer itself is tart, and high up on the thirst quenching scale. I enjoy this beer and would say that it’s working with a light pale malt base, which really doesn’t get in the way of the fruit/souring elements. Nice.

Beer 10: Pelican, Negar Pelicano: I like it, but it’s a bit thinner than Negro Modelo and similar beers. Still: very nice closing beer.

35818900250_f9a1f3cd72_z11) Druthers brewing, The Dare Gose: The nose has a little funk, a little coriander and hints of sour. The beer itself is pleasingly tart, with a dry finish reminiscent of white wine. Yeah, I dig it.

12) Crooked Stave, Single Hop IPA: the nose on this is full out mandarin orange and I love it. The flavors are thin, with a dirty bitterness on the finish. What a disappointment.

13) Old Town, Coconut Curryiocity: I don’t know what the fuck is going on here, but it tastes like meat.

14) Widmer, Thrillhaus: first off, if this is a copper colored beer then I am a monkey. Straw/golden if anything. But more relevantly, there is no nose and the beer tastes like I don’t even know what. It isn’t good. Bad corn, is what I finally come up with before pouring it out.

15) Walking Man, Yoga Pants ale. The nose brings the lavender and after that you have a smooth, sweet but not cloying ale with just the right amount of herbal flavor. I’d have a pint.

35407277433_e634f12e31_z16) Terminal Gravity, Knuckle Buster red: the nose smells like caramel and the flavors support it very nicely. It also doesn’t weigh heavy on the tongue, which is a little surprising. It’s pleasant, drinkable and a fine beer to finish on.

And that’s it! I hope everyone has fun at the festival and gets to try some great beer.

Oregon Brewers Fest 2017

The OBF is ramping up with what is, once again, a truly daunting list of beers to try. My hope is to get to the festival on the 27th, thus having a post up on the 28th for everyone to view & use as a guideline for my triumphs and mistakes!

However, instead of talking about what I’m interested in or disappointed by (looking at YOU, 21st Amendment with your x-year-in-a-row shoving of that shitty watermelon ale at us. You’re better than that. And we deserve better.) I’d like to highlight was is, for me, a new program: the Safe Ride Home.

Let’s be straight with each other: people get intoxicated at festivals. You know it. I know it. I am someone who has gotten drunk at a beer festival. Just so nobody thinks I’m getting high and mighty about the subject.

Which is why when I go to these festivals, I take the bus downtown and the bus home. Honestly, it’s a relief; I just don’t have to worry about anyone’s safety.

So I want to encourage readers to behave in a similarly safe and responsible manner and I’m really pleased that the OBF is highlighting methods for people to both attend the festival and have fun, as well as get home safe and sound.

See everyone on the 27th! (Or the 28th, if that’s when you read the blog!)

Heavy B

35140105512_87b1db6016_cPart next in the brown ale series: The nose has a lovely caramel and chocolate mix going on. It’s rather luscious, considering and I’m a little surprised I managed to create something with this kind of scent. Pretty cool.

The beer isn’t too heavy on the tongue but there’s a definite cocoa flavor happening, with the inclusive dryness that comes from dark chocolate.

The finish is light, strong effervescence on the tongue and is there a touch of lemon there? It’s a pretty solid ale, I’ll say that. The color isn’t what I hoped but the flavor profile is pretty nice.

I suppose that at the least, I’m making some really good porters.

Brew date: 3/26/17

Steeping grains
2 lb Chocolate
3 lb British brown
1 lb Belgian biscuit

Fermentables: 7 lb LME

Additions: 1/8 tsp Calcium Chloride to boil

Hops
.75 oz Nugget & US Fuggles @ 60
.25 oz Nugget & US FUggles @5

Yeast: Imperial Independence (3rd use)

OG: 1.072

FG: 1.028

ABV: 6%

Bay Area 2017 (pt 2)

Part 2 of the Bay Area reviews!

Fieldwork- Chocolate milk: this is a milk brown ale and….whoa.It tastes like it should have a lot more weight-my friend Kate (who is playing tour guide for me today) says “heavier and a little creamy and it’s not” which is a good assessment. But it’s also damn good-which we also agree on. Unexpected yet tasty.

I a35167038146_cb750d861e_clso got the Power Glove double IPA which is equally wonderful, one that Kate (who does not like IPAs) says is “almost drinkable”. For me it’s super drinkable and has a really pleasant orange flavor, which is a welcome change. The bitterness gets a little sharper as the beer warms up but nothing undesirable.

Faction (reviewed again because I went to their brewery): Moon Germs pale-made with oats, this pale has that kind of roundness that you get in the mouth from that addition. But after that, it seems like a pale. The hop finish is a little intense, however it’s not enough for me to suggest that the beer shouldn’t be drank.

Headlands: Wolfback Ridge IPA-good nose with a pine sway but the beer itself wants to put the malt forward. I’m not complaining, as there is a subtle bitterness that appears on the finish. That bitterness seems to get a little stronger as I go, keeping things in the IPA realm.

Barebottle: Galaxy Dust IPA. Ah, the NE strain of IPAs has indeed made it to the Bay array. But this isn’t bad! The grapefruit isn’t too pronounced, the bitterness isn’t too strong. It’s almost like drinking a less abrasive, more alcoholic Sprite, actually. I’m kinda down with this.

35167038886_d0057a14d2_cMagnolia Brewing: Kalifornia Kolsch-The nose has me wanting to like it already: with that yeasty, dough rising scent. And huzza! It pays off; the mouthfeel is just rich enough to keep the beer from feeling watery, with a soft, grainy flavor and a very crisp finish. Really solid ale and especially good for summer.

Alvarado Street: Hive Mind double IPA. The nose isn’t very prominent, so I’m not sure what I’ve got here. Visually, it’s cloudy like a NE IPA, but this is a sweeter beer. As it warms, there’s a little bit of a skunky note that comes out, along with a little more bitterness. Which is good, because that prevents the beer from becoming cloying. Solid and I’d try another.