Tag Archives: common ale

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.

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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….

Common Ales: Level-Ready Player One

Level beer Ready Player one dry hopped saisonThe Ready Player One is a  dry hopped saison. The nose definitely  has the hops, since I can get that floral element. But, the saison qualities are pretty much subsumed by said hops.
The mouthfeel has a wheat ale quality, so it’s a bit denser, but the peppery note that I expect from saison is overrode by the hop bitterness.
It isn’t a bad beer, at all that. What we have here is a Labeling Problem.
The beer says a thing and sets expectations. Those expectations do not get met, so I have a problem.
The size of the problem depends on the quality of the beer. Now, this beer is still tasty and drinkable. Are the hops too much for the style? I think so. Is it bad? Not at all. I’m happy to have another, but with expectations realigned.

Common Ales: Ninkasi Total Domination IPA

ninkasi Total Domination IPA I struggle to pick up fragrance from the Total Domination. It does finally show up: that soft pine blend that I’d expect from something proclaiming to be a NWIPA. Still, not exactly what you expect from the title.

But where the hops really kick in is on the bitterness. This one is juuuust shy of being a tongue scraper. In this regard, I’m a little surprised to taste the restraint that went into that: they didn’t hold back on the malt, so there’s a bit of sweetness to help convince me to drink more of this beer.

I have to say, for the hop intensity, this holds up pretty well.

Common Ales: Rosenstadt Lager

RosenstadLager is one of the more challenging styles for me to appreciate and this…honestly isn’t helping.

It’s weird, because Rosenstadt usually kills it on German styles, but the nose hits me sour, like water gone off, and the finish is the same. I am looking for a beer that is supposed to be exceptionally crisp, to give me some kind of hop notes-spice or floral-but nothing. It’s not even interestingly bready or malty, either.

This lager reminds me of the cheap stuff my Dad got in the 70’s.

So I try a second beer and I get a fresh glass, just in case.

This beer comes across a lot more neutral, for all but the last 2% of the beer. There isn’t any nose, and the middle has more texture than flavor-I can tell, at least, that I am drinking a beer and not just water lite.

But that finish…while the tip of my tongue has a effervescent sparkle feel, there’s still that sour flavor, high up on my cheeks, between my gums. I don’t like it. I don’t hate it, but I can’t be excited, either.

I feel like I could just as easily paid ABInBev and gotten a better beer. Or, Chuckanut and kept my money somewhat local.

Common Ales: Boneyard RPM

I forgot to get a picture of this beer! Which is unfortunate…but we’ll all make it through.

The nose is earthy and sweet; has a dank quality to it, without getting stinky. It lasts, too; like a good IPA, the gift keeps on giving, even 2/3rds through the beer.

The finish really threatens to overwhelm the RPM; it’s very sharp and intense, and those first few sips threaten to derail the beer into one of those mouth scouring ales. Drinking in sips helps, because I can roll it around and get some of the malt sweetness that my nose detected. It isn’t much, and not long after the finishing bitterness hulks out and takes over.

It’s just enough though to keep the beer from being a hop bomb and exclusively for IPA zealots. Don’t get me wrong-it’s still a beer that has a third rail of hops running through it-it isn’t balanced and if you don’t wanna touch that third rail of bitterness ever, then this is not for you.

But it’s balanced juuuuust enough to keep it drinkable and, I think, can even be paired with some food to help provide some contrast to a good meal.