Tag Archives: common ale

Common Ales: Block 15’s Season of the Ghost

Block 15's Story of the Ghost pale ale in glass next to can, on countertop

Block 15’s The Story of the Ghost pale ale is…pale.

It’s a NE style pale ale, instead of a NEIPA. Now on the one side, this means it avoids the pitfalls typical to the style: too sweet or tasting like pith.

But on the other hand, it doesn’t want to give me enough malt to support strong flavors like grapefruit. To its credit, the Season of the Ghost has a mild nose, and the initial impact doesn’t seem very severe.

As I drink it though, the bitterness gets more and more intense and the hint of pith starts to creep further into the beer. It doesn’t hold up to an entire pint’s worth of beverage and that’s all they sell it in.

Perhaps it is for you-but it isn’t quite for me.

Common Ales: Deschutes Twilight ale (2021)

Twilight Ale by Deschutes, in glass, with bottle nearby.

Despite what I thought was a proper pour, I sill have difficulty getting any nose off the beer. There’s something a little metallic there, which is definitely not a good sign.

The first flavor impression is sweet, a little fruity. It reminds me of watermelon, actually. It feels thin on the tongue though. As if it’s striving to be a lighter beer.

That lightness doesn’t get much support though. The bitterness is pretty strong- strong enough to power through the finishing bubbles. I want to like this beer-it seems like it’s really close to being good.

But I also get the sense that it doesn’t want to commit to a style. The bottle says ‘golden ale’ but the finishing bitterness especially pushes it out of that balance that goldens might have.

Also, I’m noticing that I have a negative reaction to any beer that gives me a sense of thinness. That tactile sensation of weightlessness that isn’t supported by a balancing flavor profile is definitely a knock for me.

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: 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: 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!

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: Deschutes Handup IPA

Deschutes Handup IPA pic

There is a surprising caramel quality to the nose. Reminiscent of something I would expect from a barley wine, which is unexpected, to say the least. The Handup seems to lack any hop quality at all and that’s disconcerting.

The midrange of this beer follows through on the caramel bit, so that’s nice but the finish is…just all off. I suspect this beer might be stale, if it isn’t outright off. The ending notes have a wet cardboard quality, and coupled with the bittering hops it is hard to get past.

I’m not sure what may have gone wrong here, but something certainly did.

That’s when I look at the date when this was bottled: 8/2/20. I’m drinking this on Nov 5. Well, that certainly lends itself to the idea that this beer went stale.

Common Ales: Monkless-Dubbel or Nothing

Let’s talk about economics.

Monkless dubbel ale in glass on table

At Winco, I saw a 3 variety pack of Monkless ales for about $28 (I’m rounding up).

Around the corner, where I bought this Monkless Dubbel of Nothing (a Belgian dubbel style ale, go figure) I saw this beer, and the other two beers-this one for $7, another for $7 and another for $8 (again, all rounded up).

Now, I know most of you were told there would be no math, but the fact of the matter is that buying the three beers individually would’ve left you with enough money to get a fourth beer.


I really have to wonder what’s going on there. What is someone thinking? A sucker born every minute?

That’s a pretty gross way to treat your customers.

On top of all of that, the beer itself is just ok. It has some of the chocolate and dried fruit flavors in the middle, but the nose and the back end all have a hint of paper to them, making me believe this beer has gone a little stale.

So there’s a method to overcharge people, for beer that isn’t at its best? Hmmm….