Tag Archives: imperial ipa

On The Rail: Beermongers

I didn’t know where I wanted to go tonight, I just felt that going back to Baileys after last week’s post might be a little too soon. It probably doesn’t matter to anyone but me and my brain chemistry insisting that I keep looking for different places to post but most nights, I don’t mind.

So I’ve come to Beermongers, which is blessedly low key right now and easy on my consciousness. That’s good, because I have a lot on my mind tonight. It’s been a dense week personally and a heck of a week for the country, so the relaxed vibe is working out.

I went with the Melvin 2×4 imperial IPA. Resin and slight pine in the nose–not overwhelming but there and then…grapefruit in the finish. It’s not bad, I just feel a bit tired of grapefruit finishing IPAs. There isn’t much malt there either, so it transitions too quickly from pine nose to grapefruit tongue and I wish that the sweet bridge lasted longer.

It’s been a good week for the country, in my opinion, for those who experience oppression on a regular basis-either because of race, or preference, or fear of their health. For those of you who share in that opinion, then I say: rejoice! Let us be as gracious in triumph as we would be determined in defeat.

But maybe you don’t think like I do. That’s OK. I’m just sitting quietly on the rail; come sit down and have a beer.  There’s room for you, too.

7pm: Intros and invitations

I’ve been wandering around for awhile and it’s time to stop.

Make no mistake, going to the local bars or asking other people what they were drinking was great. I met people, tried things, had to stretch myself in ways that I could feel confident about later; everything was really cool. I recommend it to everyone; see what’s out there and try things from a stranger’s point of view.

But I’ve been on the road for awhile and I’d like not to be. Maybe it’s because I’m looking to buy a home, maybe I’ve just had enough time away for now but whatever it is, I want to be consistent for a little while.

So I’ve come back to Bailey’s for the next year to have my drinks and as always, take bad pictures and talk to people. However, I don’t want to just do the 52 Weeks project all over again. If I’m tired of going to the world, maybe the world can come to me for a little while.

Here’s the plan: I will be at Bailey’s at 7 pm, every Monday, for the next year. The usual caveats apply, I may be sick or taking tango lessons for a little while or whatever. We’re grownups, we can deal with it. I’ll be posting at my Twitter account (which is mostly boring but seems entirely appropriate for this sort of thing) if I can’t make it and say when I can or where I am. For example, in three weeks I’m going to be in Seattle for a Mariner’s game. The point is that the reader will know beforehand and make decisions on that information.

But maybe you’d like to come and visit. Maybe not. I’d rather open the door to people showing up and talking to me than just wander around like Caine, except with beer. It makes life more interesting.

To keep things reasonable, I’m only having one drink then I’m done. (Most of the time.) This means that nobody has to fake small talk much longer than is comfortable but an decent conversation can still happen.

If there isn’t anyone to talk to, that’s fine: I can ramble on and all is well. Drinking alone is far more tolerable when the beer is good.

I just want to put it out there: let’s have a drink.

Tonight the beer is pretty dang good. Flyers Fork Tailed Devil, Imperial IPA. Although someone needs to tell them that their website needs to be fixed, because it’s unwieldly as hell, their beer is pretty tasty. It’s easy to drink, the bitterness lingers long after I’ve swallowed the brew, both good signs for an imperial and really my only complaint is that Bailey’s is unusually loud.

I don’t know if the ambient noise is causing people to talk louder, if I’m just more sensitive tonight or if customers are especially amped but the volume is notably different. Simmer down, everybody, I’m trying to drink here!

I’ll have whatever you say #12

Rock Bottom Imperial IPAI don’t see much discussion about Rock Bottom’s brews and there are a few reasons for that, I think. First, it’s a chain and beer geeks instinctively distrust a chain. Second, the business tends to de-emphasize the brewing part. There’s a stage for bands, TVs all over the bar to watch sports and it’s a restaurant as well. Finally, as far as I know, they don’t bottle or distribute their beer anywhere outside of the restaurant.

I think that all of these things contribute to RB’s lesser standing, however that doesn’t detract from quality of the beers there.

I dawdle before finding a place to sit. There are chairs available but they are surrounded by people. Are they available? Is it OK for me to sit down in the crowd? Because bus rules generally dictate giving people as much space around you as possible.

But; nothing ventured, nothing gained. So I ask an older guy if the chair is taken and when he says it isn’t, I ask him what he’s drinking. He’s got a Mug Club glass in front of him, so I can tell he’s a semi-regular.

“It’s a pale ale, but you know. I’m driving,” he says. “It’s good but they have some great beers here to try.”

“So what would you recommend?”

“Oh, the seasonal, there’s an IPA, I think…” he says, looking around. He sounds like a Jimmy Stewart imitation but I don’t mean that in a mean way. He’s friendly and casual. We look about until I see the 16th Anniversary Imperial IPA on cask.

“That?” I ask, pointing to the keg. He nods vigorously.

So I have it. And it’s smooth and delicious. It’s a really good beer that people ought to try. Well balanced, maybe just shy of the bitterness someone might expect from an IPA but what do I know? Try it for yourself. It’s good.

He and I talk football. We talk travel. He’s been to Okinawa, he has a daughter in Tokyo, teaching english. He likes to hike and cross country ski and he likes a good pint of beer. He’s been up to Mount Hood and he’s not above having a beer that’s just OK when that’s what’s available. He’s lived in the south, Louisiana, and since I’ve visited we talk about the wonders of the South; beautiful landscape and the chance to experience nature.

We talk sports albeit briefly and college athletics for a little bit. I try not to let my opinions get in the way of listening to him, because I’d rather listen to him.

It’s a good night.

52 Weeks 53: Cascade Imperial Wheat IPA

So, Fuz comes into town and we have a chance to get a beer.

What’re ya gonna do?

You’re gonna drink an imperial wheat IPA, that’s what you’re gonna do.

In a way, this is a preview to the 31st, when Bailey’s 3rd anniversary event happens. There will hopefully be more people in my party but Fuz and I will, in our own way, form the core of people there to amuse ourselves on interesting beers.

As a matter of fact, it’s him who points out the Cascade Imperial Wheat has a metallic flavor-an interaction, he thinks, between the wheat and the hops. Personally, I like what the wheat has done for the mouthfeel of this beer; it’s softer, a bit fuller, but the metallic sensation is a twinge off putting. Too bad, because I want to like this brew. Unfortunately for the both of us, Fuz’s Double Brown on nitro doesn’t fare much better. The coffee nose is a bit too strong for my tastes, and this brown on nitro just doesn’t seem to benefit much.

That’s OK though; Great Divide’s Yeti awaits and GD never disappoints.

We’re a nerd couple tonight-Fuz is doing some work on his laptop and I’m doing this blogpost. It’s almost adorable.

I feel a bit calmer here. After the Local is done I think I’ll come back to Bailey’s again. Not just because the beer selection offers more variety; the space just offers me the ability to settle my mind and observer a little more.

Not that my adventures are done. Oh no. There are some wonderful places to visit and I don’t want to be found lacking-but it’s always good to find a few home bases.

And Don’t Forget the Joker

ace of spades brewI have no way of knowing if the brewers at Hopworks meant to evoke Motorhead when they made the Ace of Spades but because I love heavy metal I’m going to pretend. (As it turns out, they did! YAAAY!)

The fact is; this beers has a serious hopiness to it. They say they added hops at every point they could to this beer-but it doesn’t show. That’s a compliment though; the malts in this beer hold their own in a losing battle. Just enough to keep this from being a liquid hop cone but not nearly enough to call this beer balanced.

It’s possible the alcohol content helps the malt hold the line; at 9.5% this beer is a heater. The relevant point, I suppose, is that this beer comes at you hard and strong and while it finishes loud, when it’s over, it’s over.

So I dig it.

I don’t know if the man himself would like it-he’s a Jack Daniels fan from all reports but I have a feeling he’d be hard pressed to resist a pint of this. Hell, add it to the JD and have a hell of a Boilermaker. Cheers.

Oakshire Imperial IPA (or, it’s hard to drink outside)

The wind is taking away the nose of this beer. Unfortunate, because it’s really, really bitter and there ought to be some real strong hop aroma from this beer. Oakshire’s IPA has a pine resin flavor, which coats the mouth and seems to compound the bitter flavors with every drink.

So I really wish there was something to smell to help enhance the beer. But I don’t object to the beer; it’s tasty. I object to the outside.  

I have to say, I like what’s become of the Green Dragon. The outdoor seats are spread far enough apart that it’s easy to navigate, with room to stand around if you want. There’s even a version of horseshoes to play out here, tho’ with rubber rings to make damage to humans less likely. The beer prices have become more reasonable, which is a huge plus. Still pricey, but not ‘Are you kidding me?’ pricey.  

Although I just stumbled on the beer and blog event, I was able to make it work. I met people, and they were nice and wanted to tell me about what they did. I think I might attend again, when the opportunity presents.

52 Weeks 20: Mad RIver Steelhead Double IPA

I’ll just confess, I’m tired. Friday I helped the Portland Farmer’s Market move their office. This is what happens when you’re unemployed; you’re available to help your SO’s business move. I also got to meet Alex of Upright Brewing (the brewery is in the same building as the new PFM location) and he was gracious and enthusiastic to my questions. He offered me a taste of the stout he’d made (which was excellent) and an entire strawberry-rhubarb beer that he’d made on his own, which was also quite good. Like a sour ale but made without the belgian yeast.

Saturday I helped my friend baeza set up for the Vampires Masquerade Ball. A wonderful spectacle, but he also treated me to dinner at the Morrison Hotel. A couple Dutchesses and a heated discussion about the quality of the film The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen later, I went home. 

Finally, last night I went to the triumph of metal that is Pelican and they were fantastic. But the rock shows, they take it out of me more than they used to. Still I would not give up seeing Angel Tears for anything; it was a sonic highlight for me, and certainly one of the best shows I’ve seen them give.

If that wasn’t enough, I started classes at the Viscount Ballroom tonight. Lindy hop. So I’m a tired kid. 

But the beer is well balanced and tasty, with a citrus nose and a very clear beer with a cleansing finish. Good for spicy foods for sure! My girlfriend is chilling with me for this post, so no complaints.

Away from the Geek Riots

I’ll be short of pictures and posts for the next little while, as I’m on the road. Right now, in Seattle at PAX where fans of games of any and all types come to play, chat, meet up, freak out, and generally cause a good natured ruckus. Sometimes I have to get away from the groups though, and fortunately for me getting a good beer isn’t difficult, especially if one is willing to walk a little.

Just up the street is the awesome Elysian brewpub, where yesterday I tried at least three different beers, but the one that I remember is the Hubris imperial IPA. It was very smooth, with the usual bitter aftertastes of most IPAs mellowed out of it.

Today, at Von’s I had the Old No 8, billed as ‘The world’s strongest beer’. A cheerful exuberance based on the alcohol I’m sure because there’s certainly much stronger than this 8%er. I wasn’t informed as to what to what they style was, but one sip told me it was a Belgian dubbel; not quite alcoholic or complex to be a tripel, was my deciding, but still quite good. 

I also had Maritime Pacific’s Old Seattle Lager, and found it to be a fine counterpoint to the strong beer I ‘d just had. I’m sure it would be a great drink for those times when I’ll be working off the sweat of Left 4 Dead sessions, whereas I’d probably take the Old No 8 when I started some of the marathon board games they have here. You don’t always want to start playing Risk sober.

All at once

Most of the time, I don’t get to try a lot of different beers at once. This is partly so I don’t get ill; mixing beer styles can be as unpleasant mixing other kinds of alcohol, but it also is economics. Who can afford to spend all that cash?

However, when going to the coast on a family vacation, we have an exception to the rule. I was to be surrounded by people who oppressively cared about me! Call it an excuse if you wish, but what the hell; I got a few different beers to try, took notes and photos, and here we go!

I kicked Friday off with some Green Flash Imperial IPA. The label says it has Summit and Nugget hops, and they give the beer a heavy grapefruit nose and some bite on the back that really stuck with me. Happily munching on my Mom’s monster cookies, I noticed that this beer got more piney as it warmed up. The flavor got so strong, I thought I was drinking evergreen tea. Pine does not go as well with oatmeal-raisin-chocolate cookie items, so I finished this beer rather quickly. Perhaps some beers should be served in certian portions. If this beer turns into a tree that fast, maybe it would be better served in twelve ounce bottles.

The second beer comes to Portland by way of Japan from a Portland expat, or so the fine people at the Belmont Station tell me. This beer, Baird’s The Carpenter’s Mikan Ale, had an odd fruit fermentation aspect; the bottle tells me there are citrus flavors, but I don’t believe that. More like something between a banana and a tangerine. It stopped short of cloying by introducing a dryness at the very end, I presume from the fruit but I’m not sure. This is the trouble with tasting a flavor I’ve never had like mikan fruit; I have no idea where it’s subtle contributions to the beer kick in, and where the yeast or malts would take over.

As the evening is wearing down and everyone else is talking about coffee, a drink I have no experience with and no real drive to drink, I finish with the Eel River Triple Exultation. I was looking forward to this beer, because it was from one of the few breweries I liked at the Organic festival. The Triple Exultation is an old ale, but it was a hell of a lot sweeter than I thought it would be. Usually, old ales have some alcohol warmth to balance out their sweetness, but this beer not so. It’s all malts, and that puts the beer off balance.

Still, it was a good way to start off the weekend. More tomorrow!