I can appreciate that.
The color on the Rose IPA is just fantastic. A lovely shade of pink, evoking the wine it’s named from.
They didn’t shy away from the hibiscus, either; the nose is very floral but it isn’t citrusy or piney in the way of most hops. It also isn’t overpowering, which is nice.
Which is something that can be said about this Rose IPA at large: it’s fairly subtle and pretty easy to drink.
Yike. The title of this post might be longer than the post!
First thing’s first: the nose is way hoppier than I expected, and I was really surprised until I read the “NW” part of the amber ale. “NW” is now code for “hopped”. It’s pleasant enough: piney without being overpowering, but it’s a little different.
The nose holds up nicely through the drink which is a definite plus, if this is what you’re hoping for. But it’s such an unusual style; hoppy ambers may not always play nice with each other.
I can’t say that it’s a bad beer but the flavor profile just doesn’t ring my bell.
The Pacific Rain is pretty easy drinking; the midrange is wispy in it’s presentation of flavor, the bubbles spark off my tongue and leave a mild but not overwhelming bitterness behind. It’s drinkability is a plus, but it doesn’t really give me much of an impression, which isn’t so rad.
I’m trying really hard to get a handle on the nose of this beer and I just can’t. There’s an element of old school to the Thunderhead, where the hops remind me of something I’d get out of the 80s, suspicious of what my Dad would be drinking. Those hops fade pretty quickly, too so I can’t pin it down and that’s a little discouraging.
The flavor is kinda old school too: a little bit sweet in front, hops on the finish have a resiny quality but nothing is overwhelming. The hops do linger a bit afterwards, the effervescence that failed to bring more hops to my nose also doing a less than awesome job of clearing my palate.
On the upside, I’m starting to get a little taste of corn, now (really?). This beer is just not quite cutting it. A lack of balance leading to an overly bitter finish with some questionable after notes is putting it in the ‘not recommended’ column.
I hate it when breweries let marketing override what something actually is. There is no such style as ‘easygoing’. That’s how you describe a horse. not a beer.
So what I’ve got is a yeasty, raw dough nose. So…a lager? This beer is both sweet and with a sparkly finish. This isn’t a lager, though; or at least it’s not as clean as I would expect a lager to be, and definitely sweeter than one. I suppose it would be a cream ale, but that sweetness…
That’s the quality that’s throwing me off: what does this beer want to be? I don’t know and I’m not sure the parts come together to make more than the whole. Is it easy to drink, as promised? Yes. Is it something I want more of? Not so much.
The sweetness doesn’t mesh well with that raw dough nose-a scent that has a touch of sourness to it. The finish wipes it all away but there isn’t an element of hoppiness to give me any contrast.
For a one note beer that I only have to drink one of, I’m good with it. But a second? I’d move on.
Continuing with the review of the winter ales: Bridgeport’s Ebenezer Ale. Sweet nose, very subtle brown sugar note happening. Again, another beautiful deep red color with some near translucence when I hold it up to the light.
The flavors aren’t too bold: there’s a little cinnamon finish, but there’s also a little bit of a red wine in the mouth with some drying effects. It doesn’t feel heavy or dense, but I get the sensation that there are more flavors that I am just missing: there’s a definite warmth coming from this beer that I’m trying to pinpoint. I almost get a hint of cherry coming from this beer; it’s got some nice flavors going on and I think I like this beer a bit more than Deschutes’ Jubelale.
With winter fast approaching and having recently made a winter warmer, I thought it would be good to try some of the winter seasonals. We start with Deschutes’ Jubelale winter ale. This has a faint molasses note to it in the nose, right behind the roasted quality. A near burnt caramel scent is what that roast reminds me of. The label says toffee and that’s probably a better word. As it warms up though, a new scent comes out, almost like chocolate frosting. Surprisingly sweet.
It’s a damn pretty beer, deep amber color that’s almost but not quite see through.
The flavors are an interesting blend of touches of chocolate and molasses, all overpowered by a more intense and a little burnt roast malt. I do get minute dark fruit- dates, I think, but it’s quiet and in the background. It’s not bad but I’m just not sure I’m all about this. Again, as the beer warms up, the roasted qualities soften and the beer gets a bit sweeter, in a banana-ish way. There’s a little spiciness too-the beer gets more complex as it warms I’m still not quite convinced here but I can totally see someone else loving it.
Occidental Altbier: pleasantly roasted nose, and it rolls right into the mouth. The beer itself has a little bit of chocolate in there but I’m reminded of that scent that I get when I go to the homebrew store and put my nose into a container of biscuit malt. I like it.
This finishes really clean, with no aftertaste at all. I want to get a plate of nachos with this. Sushi would work too: foods that might need a lighter feel and less intense flavor would be well matched to this beer.
Occidental did well with their altbier and I’m thinking this would be a good one to recommend to people who aren’t well versed in craft ales. It’s tasty without being overwhelming.