Tag Archives: pelican

Common Ales: Pelican Kiwanda Cream Ale

So let’s talk about what a Cream Ale is first because maybe you, like me, don’t know what one is and as such, may have been expecting a beer with a creamier mouthfeel to it. That’s not what it is: cream ales came into vogue (if my casual internet research is true) in America as a way to compete with lagers. During the Prohibition era, Canadian breweries helped refine the style and today we have what is essentially an attempt to get lighter beer using an ale yeast to taste like a lager.

That is: cream ales are meant to be light, refreshing and mimic the characteristics of lagers as much as possible.

So, now that we know what this is, the question is; should you get it?

It’s hard for me to appreciate cream ales. There’s just the obvious question: why not just get a lager? Without a side by side comparison, I’m hard pressed to make a distinction between the two styles. Still, that’s my problem not yours.

Here’s what I think: Pelican’s cream ale does what it sets out to do. It’s a drinkable, thirst quenching ale that doesn’t have a lot of corn-like sweetness to it that I have found in many lagers. It finishes pleasantly dry and the overall crispness of the beer makes it a good one for pretty much any pub food I can think of.

It also might be an excellent beer to start someone into the craft beer scene. If all they’ve had is macro lagers, this is a low-risk, medium-reward ale. That is: while the style may seem odd and the brewery unfamiliar, the beer tastes familiar and shouldn’t turn someone off from the style. It may even encourage people to keep trying different things and it’s priced reasonably.

I’d have another.

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7pm Voiceless

My illness has lingered, clawing at my throat and making my vocal chords the rusted out nightmare of a shipwreck off the Bermuda Triangle. Plus, it hurts to talk.

So I’m sitting on the rail, listening to the bartender  hold court (he’s telling people about how corporations are going into local shows to make sure musicians aren’t using samples) and the man next to me quote a comedy show I’ve never heard of (‘I once ran naked through a bowling alley for $3’) while I fight off a slight headache and drink Stone‘s ’09 13th Anniversary imperial red.

The brew tastes like chocolate and chalk. I’m suddenly back in 5th grade being punished for eating a Hershey bar in class by being forced to lick the chalkboard.

I wave the bartender down, my throat punishing me for every hoarsely buzzed note: “So, this isn’t good, right?”

He replies, “I think it’s a little bit past it’s prime,” while making a  non-committal motion with his hands. The patron next to me agrees; something’s wrong with this beer.

“I can pour you something else if you like,” the barkeep offers.

Pelican Riptide redI would indeed like. I go for Pelican‘s Riptide, this merely a red instead of an imperial.

And just like that, I’ve got a better beer, one that’s almost too easy to drink but in a good way. All but the definition of a session ale, maybe (maybe!) just a little high at 5.3%, this is what to drink when I’m in a drinkin’ mood. I can hang out for a few hours, drink this and still feel like I’m making sense. It’s just malty enough to have some throughline of taste, a very crisp finish with the whiff of citrus there, like lemon water, to complete the quenching element of this beverage.

With no desire to speak, I’m listening to the dull stoner one-drop, the muted clank of a tipped glass breaking, the warning that Jolly Pumpkin isn’t producing a pumpkin beer and a discussion about Northern California where bikers grow weed to smoke meth while the man next to me takes a photo of an old lamb doll, the kind that could find a home in the Velveteen Rabbit to post on some social media site, somewhere.

I hope kids still read the Velveteen Rabbit. It’s a rare commentary to suggest that loving something makes it real, instead of love being the proof that something is real. I rather like that.

It’s a strange world. Let’s keep it that way.

Notes from the OBF Brewer’s Guild Dinner

Taken on my outboard brain with photos managed as best I could. Thoughts after the fact in bold.

Ninkasi ronsom old Tom collaboration:
Unsure of style but it’s light and has a pleasantly hoppy-pine nose. Recommended

Cronan!

Hopworks Cronan the Barbarian
Strong ale and it’s really rich and tasty. Caramel goodness. Highly recommended.

Gilgamesh organic jasmine hefeweisen starts bitter faint honey nose and… Not sure what to make of it. Final decision is meeeh. Everyone else seemed to really enjoy this beer, so maybe it’s just me, or maybe it’s just really hard to follow Cronan.

Pelican wienna wit
More Belgian like with a hint of sour bite at the end. It was OK.

Upright flora rustica
Got that sour Belgian nose dry finish but something kinda dirty there. Upright continues to not persuade me. Does give me a farmhouse feel but I am just not convinced.

Oakshire Perfect Storm double ipa
Wonderful caramel-grapefruit nose that went for the ipa part. Not balanced; stingy at end. Tasty. This beer is for the hopheads because wow does it bite.

Hop Valley Pollenation honey ale
Smooth and easy to drink. Aftertaste may be affected by ipa b/c there’s a weird bitter moment. Talking to others, that dirty aftertaste was present to them, too so maybe it’s not just me.

Ft George Hellcat Belgian
Nose slightly off-putting with a yeasty note but beer is hard to describe. A hard candy start and a pepper finish that doesn’t hit until it’s too late. This was, amongst the people I talked to, one of the most interesting and tasty beers there, and I agree with that. Try it.

52 Weeks 52: Terminal Gravity Foursome

Now that I’ve sold out to get the kinky sex crowd, (’cause you just know that a whole new group of people will stumble on this blog because of the word ‘foursome’ and I can’t turn down readers) let’s get this party going.

“First of all I’d like to thank my connect,”-Jay-Z.

A heartfelt thank you to Geoff and the other staff at Bailey’s who’ve served me drinks. I’d mention them by name but I don’t wish to presume a familiarity upon them and I certainly don’t want to forget someone, which is always a danger at times like this. I took their time and certainly my share of space but they were all unfailingly helpful and pleasant. 

I’m drinking a flight of Terminal Gravity beers; two old ales, Festivals from 2008 and 2009, then two barleywines, Bucolic Plague from ’02 and ’06. As one might expect, the ’09 old ale is smoother and fuller, more roasted and mature in flavor. I haven’t gotten to the barleywines yet. 

I’m in the back chamber again-it’s been redesigned since I sat here last. The table is this big chunk of wood-maybe even a former railroad tie- that’s been cleaned up and smoothed out. It’s shiny and dense and it feels like the kind of thing to put your beer on. It’s almost a place to stand at. You can lean on the wood, rest your drink in front, and enjoy…if you’re about six inches shorter than I am. Maybe four.

This area isn’t quite done yet, I’m told, but it’s going to be a hell of a space when it’s done I promise you that. The space is just wide enough for beers, so it encourages your hands being free; a bonus for someone like me who tends to gesticulate when he speaks. 

Sparky; this moment is for you. 

And now it’s done. (Sparky  had asked, months ago, to be mentioned in the final post and I said I would oblige him.)

Oh man. That 2002 Bucolic Plague is so good. Like alcoholic caramel, warm from a street vendor, with a buttery nose and a fierce heat to it, fighting the winter off with a battleaxe. I think this beer may be solely responsible for the unseasonable warmth of today. 

I have to confess, I’m looking forward to becoming a customer again. A regular customer, that is; someone who can sit at the bar and visit or just people watch without having to both internalize the situation and externalize it for readers. Don’t get me wrong; next week there will be another post, a new (if similar) theme and I look forward to doing that but our favorite spots are favored for a reason; they are shelters where we don’t have to present our external selves all the time. We can smile in crooked ways and people understand that our laughter is still straight. 

That isn’t to say I won’t ever blog from or about Bailey’s again; I undoubtedly will. But I’m part of the scenery here now and that changes things. I’m going to take some time to figure out what that means. I’m going to take some time to just enjoy the space I’m in.

I suppose if I’ve had a theme this year, time has been a key part of it. Or at least the idea that I ought to inhabit the space I’m in as much as I can, enjoy it, or at least be in the now, this has been a recurring idea. 

There’s been a shift change; I can tell because in the middle of Duran Duran’s Rio (which I like quite a bit) the music has cut out and shifted to a song I don’t immediately recognize. I almost think I should’ve asked if I could play my iPod tonight. It would be all Pelican, all the time. If my choices are Duran Duran, some kind of hip-hop and heavy fucking metal, then…
/short laughter

The 2006 Bucolic Plague is a bit different, a touch more sour than it’s older sister. Not quite as much body; an interesting brew but I think I would’ve preferred to finish with the ’02. Ah well; that’s life.

I’ll see everyone next week, bad photos and all.