Tag Archives: brown

52 Weeks 36: Caldera Cauldron Double Hemp Brown

I’ll admit, tonight I’m truly  not up for it. 

The beer, though, the beer is delicious. Brown and sugary, with a tackiness like salt water taffy lingering in my mouth. Though the beer is supposed to be a Winter one-and I can totally see why, because of it’s rich mouthfeel-I see it more as the Spring or Autumn beer. 

There’s such a chocolate presence in this beer that I wonder why brown ales (or at least this one) aren’t marketed as such. There are legions of chocoholics who would probably really appreciate a brew like this. It actually reminds me of my own IRA (which I’ll be talking about this week) so I wonder if the beers have anything in common?  Aside from, you know, mine being a happy accident and theirs being on purpose.

Vancouver part two

It was on the third day that I finally wised up. In a dark lunchtime pub, I daringly tried Russell’s Lemon Wheat Ale. I did so not expecting much, but very pleased with the results. This was a wonderful mix of lager malts and lemon tang, that after a day of riding a bike around Stanley Park was perfect.

But where to go next? How am I going to find other pubs with interesting beer selections?

It’s simpler, of course, than I’m making it out to be. Our bartender Billy, with silghtly bulldog cheeks and a salt and pepper grizzle and moustache was happy to tell me where to go next: the Black Frog, Irish Heather, and Malone’s. None of these pubs were brewpubs, but they were havens in a city were I was having trouble finding selections beyond lagers.

It was at the Black Frog I had Big Rock’s Traditional Ale. I had no idea what the heck I was getting when I’d ordered it; I got it because another bartender had suggested it to me, but he couldn’t tell me what the style was. I was treated to a pleasant nut brown ale in a bar that everything from a Melvin’s 45 to a monkey doll riding a T-rex. Also a doll; I doubt I would’ve been able to enjoy a beer with an actual Rex around.

Walking in to the Irish Heather for a moment I felt that the pretension there would drive me out. It felt disturbingly modern, with huge windows in the front, no seats at the bar, quotes from Samuel Becket etched into the glass of the door leading to the bathroom. Fortunately, the waitress was disarmingly charming, and easily set a relaxed tone for the place. I had Tin Whistle’s Killer Bee-which was another honey ale, and wasn’t very distinctive. I selected it because I’d had so many of the beers they offered, but that wasn’t the pub’s fault; I just drink lots. After that, I had Whistler’s Pale Ale, and like so many pales I had, it tasted more like an amber than like a pale. It’s not an easy distinction I know; the line between amber and IPA, but with all the beers I as drinking heading toward the malt sweetness instead of the bitterness of the hops, I was getting a bit worn out.

This was also my problem with Steamworks‘ IPA; it tasted like a decent pale ale, but couldn’t be called an IPA except by stretching. The hop bitterness just wasn’t present, not in the nose, nor flavor. I know I’m from a part of the country that really, really likes their hops, but I can still appreciate an IPA that’s in style. Now if they’d just make one….

Austin via alliteration

I started off my trip to Austin in the Portland airport, recommending Rogue’s Shakespeare Stout to a man on his way back to Hawaii. He was asking the waitress about a dark beer and while she went to get samples, I told him about their porter and specifically recommended their stout.

Austin, amongst its other charms has some really good beer, too. This is a huge plus for a city that never dipped below 80 while I was there. Even at night, as far as I could tell. While IPA’s tend to be favored in hot weather, I found myself drawn to Real Ale Brewing‘s Brewhouse Brown (from Blanco, even). Brown ales especially tend toward naming alliteration, sadly. It’s as though people feel the need to ‘spice up’ what is meant to be a very drinkable {sometimes read as: bland} ale with a clever name. Or, maybe it’s because it’s easy to alliterate a ‘b’ word. Either way it seems lazy, but then again, nobody’s asking me to name their beer…

I had a layover on Salt Lake City on the way home and hurriedly rushing to the plane I pass by an airport brewpub posting its beers on the side, Polygamy Porter being the one that winks out of course. But alas, I could not stop to try it; boarding was being called.

texas brewI also had a Lone Star, because When in Rome, right? The nose on this beer was fetid, like bad dog breath. But it was pretty damn drinkable until it warmed up; clean, light, and very bland. Which on a 96 degree day, can be pretty nice. Just don’t drink more than half a can, and you’re set.