Tag Archives: spokane

Spokane Pt 4 (2018)

Hop Project Hop Freshener seriesLast one I promise!

Port Brewing Co, The Hop Concept-Hop Freshener series: the logo resembling a car freshener is maybe a little too spot on as a choice. The nose is strong with lemon and cleanser. Subsequent sniffs on the Freshener give me a little sweetness but I’m still dubious to taste it. But the beer is OK. The bitterness isn’t overwhelming and the beer is pretty drinkable, all things considered. The lemon flavor isn’t too intense, there is a little grassy quality to help give the beer some depth as well. I have to say, it improves as it warms up, too. Not bad at all.

Orlison- Boulder Garden Brown Ale: Chocolate milk mix nose; sweet, but not lactic at all. The beer is a bit more roasted than I would expect; it finishes very dry, too. There isn’t much sweet about the flavors, which isn’t a bad thing. It gives this beer a bit more to chew on and support to stand up to bigger flavors. I can see this working with some spicy dishes really easily.

Laughing Dog-Devil Dog DIPA: The hops aren’t too strong in the nose, but it’s got that slight gasoline element that says that this beer packs a punch. There’s a strong lemony flavor to this beer, and I find myself checking to see if it’s been barrel aged at all, just in case. It’s certainly strong enough to make me forget that I’m in Idaho, if I was in Idaho. The finishing bitterness leans into pine flavors and while I wish this beer had more of a nose to it, I think I am recommending it.

Spokane Pt 3 (2018)

We’re almost done with this.

River City Brewing-River City Red: despite the substantial head on this beer, it’s remarkably light on the nose. There’s a pleasant sweetness to it, more caramel than roasted quality, but it isn’t that powerful. The flavor is actually similar: It’s rubbing shoulders with some roasted quality but nothing too dominant. The finishing bitterness matches as well. It exists, you know it, but it doesn’t wipe out the rest of the beer. Makes for a pretty solid red ale. I’d drink another.

Paradise Creek Pokerface Blonde aleParadise Creek-Pokerface Blonde: the bottle opens with a crack so sharp it could come out of a movie. The head on this takes up two thirds of the glass and smells like sourdough bread rising. It’s not too sharp but it’s there. The blonde doesn’t have any of that sourness though: it’s sweet and sparkles on the finish to try and clean up as best it can. The overcarbonated head is a knock but it’s not a bad beer.
Unita-Cockeyed Copper, Barleywine barrel aged: it’s definitely got a creamy, malty undercurrent to the nose, which is full on bourbon. It’s a little overpowering, so I approached the beer with a little trepidation, unsure if everything would just be overrun by the bourbon. It isn’t, thankfully: there’s a respectable smokey malt flavor happening to give some depth to the body of the beer. The bourbon flavor isn’t shy, though and makes sure to tie the whole beer together. I dig.

Spokane Pt 2 (2018)

The continuing story of a quack who’s gone to the dogs…

Iron Horse- Crazy Aunt IPA: a pleasantly drinkable, grapefruit oriented IPA. Bitterness levels are low, the nose is nice and floral. I dig this. I can see having another pretty easily.

Big Barn brewing Peone Wheat aleBig Barn Brewing– Peone Wheat ale: Funky nose! This is definitely mining the Belgian, rustic ales but it isn’t pushing the sourness too much. A little dryness on the finish too, elevating a white wine quality. Along with the fruity, farmhouse element, it’s drinkable but a little unusual. Part of this is the mouthfeel, I think; that dryness is accompanied by a grainy feel too. I wouldn’t say no to this beer but I’m not sure how many pints of it I’d want in an evening. But a full pint? Oh yeah.

Bitter Root Brewing- NW Pale ale, Single hop (Columbus hops): This has a fruity nose, almost candy like. That’s a little strange but it doesn’t throw me off. The hops show up in the finish, too: this beer isn’t too bitter, it’s more fruit instead, reminding me of kiwi, actually. In fact, the tropical fruit becomes more obvious the more I drink this beer. I like it, but the single hop usage might leave some thinking it’s a little one dimensional.

Twelve String- Batch 201 IPA: The nose seems to be duking it out between gummy orange and a hint of pine. Which stops me for a moment, that’s for sure. The flavor is similar, too. So, kudos to them for consistency. The nose disappears pretty quickly, though and the flavors follow a similar pattern; it tastes…bland?Which is really strange after the initial, weirder impressions. There’s a bitterness spike at the end, so it’s definitely punching the IPA bag but there really isn’t anything on the front end, once you get past the first impression. Too bad.

Spokane Pt 1 (2018)

OK, it’s time for reviews of stuff I tried while I went on vacation recently. I spent $100 on beer so this post is going to be a series, because damnit, I need to justify spending $100 on beer.

Hale’s– Supergoose: caramel nose, sweet. This is surprising! The midrange is shallow though, and doesn’t give me much to work with. Effervescence pops nicely and the bitterness on the finish isn’t harsh at all. It’s actually pretty drinkable, despite not standing out that much.

Alpine Beer Co Willy Vanilly ale

Alpine Beer– Willy Vanilly wheat ale with vanilla: I got this because wheat and vanilla is a strange combination. So I’m wondering: How do you make that work? Well, the nose has no nose to speak of, so I’m a little lost. The beer tastes like vanilla; that isn’t a bad thing but I’m left with feeling like there is no there, there. I don’t have anything else brought to me because there there are no flavors to contrast with the vanilla, as there might be in a different style. So…it’s vanilla alcohol? And that’s…fine? Sure. It’s fine.

Puyallup River Brewing Co– Electron IPA: I purchased this because I liked the name. I am just a sucker for science and monster names.  Again, a strong caramel note here, but there is a sliiiight touch of pine as well. At first, I thought; Hey this reminds me a lot of the Supergoose, with its touches of sweetness, caramel, but with a little more hop flavor.

Then the finish kicked in and post the effervescence note, things taste dirt-like. This isn’t a solid look and I’m not down with this one.

Other Spoils from Spokane

I didn’t just drink cider in Spokane: I also got to check out some Washington ales that I don’t have access to in Portland. Let’s get to the notes!

Harmon‘s Pt Defiance IPA: It tastes like burnt caramel. Wow. I have a mouthful of regret and bitterness. It’s both sickly sweet and unbearable. If you ever needed a reason to not do this to yourself, take it.

37327031616_3ebd17d38c_cIron Horse‘s Life Behind Bars kolsch: bread dough nose; really yeasty and pungent, but in a pleasant way. It’s a little bit like sourdough and buttered popcorn. The flavors are also very much like raw bread, giving me something to chew on, absent a sour note. I think I may have found a beer that gives Old Town’s kolsch a little bit of a run! It doesn’t finish quite as cleanly but it is a damn fine beer.

Juice Box IPA from Tricksters Brewing Co. A Coeur d’Alene brewery! The bottle claims a NW IPA style-and the nose is certainly dank enough for it-but the clarity is all NEIPA. The flavors match the nose more than the visuals, thankfully. Yeah, it’s sweeter than your typical NW IPA, but a little malt helps the foresty-bitter characters smooth out in the long run. I like this beer: it’s got some interesting flavors happening but is still pretty drinkable.

36665807614_487ccd063c_cTenpin; Groove pineapple wheat. This really does have a strong pineapple flavor. However, it’s less like raw pineapple and more like it’s been roasted on a grill. I imagine that it’s because of the malt aspect, played up in a caramelized way. It’s a good beer but it’s definitely unusual and unexpected. But if caramelized pineapple sounds like your jam, you should absolutely have this.

Hale‘s Aftermath IPA-nose pushes some of that forest dank scent, wet needles, but doesn’t push it very hard. The flavors kick up a little roast in the middle which is unexpected, followed by a more traditional sweetness, and then the kind of bitterness I’d expect from a more piney IPA. No grapefruit tart or pithy bitter quality. It’s a pretty straightforward IPA but I can’t fault it for that. It’s tasty and solid.

Cider in Spokane

I got to pick up a few beers in Washington when I was in Spokane last weekend and I’ll get to those reviews soon. However, I spent one evening at Liberty Ciderworks and thought it deserved it’s own little writeup. The caveat to my notes on this flight is that my knowledge of cider is minimal, so if my language tilts towards more familiar beer-related flavors, that’s why.

23502531418_c989fba7de_cIn the flight, I’ll be discussing the ciders from left to right in the picture.

The New World has a lovely snap to it, with a nice dry finish; has me wanting a dollop of vanilla ice cream.

Spokane Scrumpy: not as dry and a little easier to drink. I could see this disappearing fast. As it gets a little warmer, a subtle buttery note comes up.

English Style III: this one is tarter, and isn’t quite my speed. But I can see it going with a warm scone and honey and I’m sure that this will be someone’s favorite. It actually got a little sweeter as it warmed up, which was neat!

Splintercat: this one has a citrus level of tartness, maybe close to grapefruit. Again, not quite my thing but pretty good. It has the least dry finish of the run so far and is something I’d like to pair with a nice piece of fudge.

Garratza: this has a funk to it, not unlike a Belgian ale, might be the most compulsively drinkable one for me. A tartness starts to come up as this warms, making for a really interesting, complex drink.

After I was all done, the bartender was also kind enough to give me a taster of the New World that had been dry hopped, which was a completely different drink, nicely hopped with a touch of grass to it and just a little bitter. This was followed up by a taster of the English Style that had been aged in whiskey barrels; the tartness has been eliminated and it’s now a warm-belly drink, something I can see going with tea cakes. Really awesome.

I say give them a go, if you see them-and I hear they’re trying to get into Portland’s stores, so that’s all the better!

Spokane Brew Reviews 1

So to jump off from my last mention of Spokane

As I always do when I leave Oregon, I took a long look at the available beers in Spokane to find things that I just don’t or haven’t seen in Portland. While this included some beers from the Eastern Washington area, it also incorporated Idaho and Montana, which is pretty cool! The advantage of bringing these beers home: I could get more beer to review. So let’s get to it!

29165913792_3d5227f039_cIcicle Dirtyface Amber lager: that nose is pure malt, bready, maybe C60 and biscuit or Victory? It’s delicious though and the beer itself drinks like a sweet lager. If there’s a complaint, it’s that the effervescence isn’t strong enough to really clear my palate for the next sip. But that’s a minor quibble.

Selkirk Abbey Infidel Belgian IPA; Sweet Belgian nose with a little malt coming through. Holy crow is this beer a hunk of sweet tangerine in the mouth. Then there is the finish which…it’s almost waxy. Like I’ve bitten into a candy I used to get as a kid, which held sugary liquid in wax. There’s a host of competing flavors in this beer and they don’t want to get along with one another.

The beer doesn’t warm up well, with a bitter quality starting to show up after all the other flavors. I’m not willing to write this brewery off: this is clearly a very complicated drink but I’m just not on board with this complication.

Orlison IPL: A little skunky-papery in the nose and I think I get a whiff of corn there. The finish is corn-like and bitter. It’s puzzling me and I don’t get it until midway through the beer: it smells like peanuts. So I don’t think I’d suggest this beer to you.

29165913192_2c5dc9cdce_cPayette Rustler IPA: orange in the nose but also with a hefty dose of caramel. I like this. There is also a smidgen of caramel in the middle to put some counterweight on the beer and I like that, too. However, the finish has a combination of bitter and burnt flavors and that I don’t like much at all.

Seven Seas Rude Parrot IPA: Slight grapefruit nose but the malt steps in rather quickly to carmelize things. After a few sips, a hint of lemon dishwasher liquid fills in the scent gaps and that’s a little less awesome. The beer itself is…bland? It’s strange to say this but yes: nothing severely bitter on the finish, nothing really malty in the middle. It’s just there. Under certain circumstances, I would call this beer very drinkable but…it’s missing something. Namely: a moment where I want more of it.

Spokane 2014 pt 2

And now I conclude my Spokane adventures with more notes!

Trickster IPA from Coeur d’Alene. There is no body, there isn’t any nose, and it’s got a dirty bitterness on the finish. I actively hate this beer and don’t want to drink more of it.

Ramblin’ Road: dubbel (pictures) and Grisette. The problem is the aftertaste. In both cases there is a drymouth effect with a dusty flavor at the end and I ended up not liking either. This is a new brewery I’m told, less than a year old and there are close to 13 ales on tap. That is a huge chunk of work for a new place so I’m not surprised to taste beers that aren’t up to snuff. I think they may be trying to do too much in a short timeframe. Maybe in a year things will improve.

Perry Street Brewing pilsner: it is crisp and nice; has a reasonable ping of bitterness on the finish and is very easy to drink. There’s juuuust enough hint of body on the sides of my tongue to encourage me to appreciate this over a mass market pils. The day is just hot enough to justify a pils and I almost want some tacos to go with this beer, just because that’s what ought to be paired with a pilsner. Also: tacos are good.

The Double IPA doesn’t feel like a double IPA. It is quite bitter, that part is for certain. The lingering dank on my tongue is coating so they didn’t short the hops by any measure. The malt presence? Not so much there. This beer has a very nice golden color but it isn’t balanced…which, admittedly isn’t the point. The hop presence is so strong on the finish that I almost have to approve of it. This isn’t flawed, this is a beer saying: you want  hops? HERE

About halfway through the IPA, the bartender behind the counter and I have a chat; she used to live in Portland before moving back to Spokane with her husband who’s the brewer at PSB. Next thing I know, she’s introduced us and he’s taking me and my friend on a brief tour of the pub, which has a seven barrel system in the back that is as new and shiny as a whistle. He talks a bit about how they are trying to make this a neighborhood place and confides how much difficulty he has providing a name for his beers, a plight I can sympathize with myself. He tells me how he runs a 50′ hose from the brewery to the refrigerator to pump the beer into kegs and then we visit the fridge for a moment, while he pours us a little of his upcoming imperial farmhouse saison.

You need this beer. A gentle funkiness in the nose that leads to this well rounded wheat based beer with the barest touches of sour that just tastes excellent. So good. I would camp out at Perry Street while that beer was on tap, if I could. So thanks for the tour and the taste!

Spokane 2014 pt 1

While I was on vacation in Spokane, I didn’t spend it forgoing beer. That would be silly. And potentially stupid, as visiting Spokane is an activity I enjoy but requires heroic doses of heavy metal and steady drips of beer to endure. Fortunately for me, craft brewing is pretty much everywhere now so there were some new beers to try! And that’s why I go anywhere, now.

So here are my notes on what I drank. I’m saving the best for last, which will appear Friday.

River City Vanilla Bourbon Stout (picture)- has a smoky, wood nose, and the vanilla has a pretty solid undercurrent in the beer BUT there is a smoky finish too, coupled with a beer that is really thin for what I feel like a stout ought to bring.

Raspberry Wheat by Icicle. Nose is sour, off-white wine fruit scent that isn’t bad but it isn’t encouraging. The flavor itself is thin, without much in the way of malt at all and then moves to just a raspberry syrup note to the end. I just can’t get behind it.

There isn’t much in the way of a nose on the Iron Goat Impaler IIPA (picture)-I fault the glasses here. Please; give me the pour I have paid for, but provide glasses that allow the beer to have a head and give me the nose the beer deserves. Because this beer is a solid one; there is a strong caramel middle to help set up the citrus bitterness that is quite punchy at the end. This is the third of three Iron Goat beers I have had so far (including a blonde, which didn’t excite me, and a pale that did) and I have to say, they’re doing something right.

The Goatmeal stout (my fourth beer from Iron Goat) is an excellent porter. It is not a stout; it’s thin, and at 5.4%, the alcohol content isn’t there to provide that kind of density that I feel a stout should have. That said; it is super tasty, with the cocoa flavors and dryness at the finish it’s really good. It just isn’t what I am expecting, so I have to knock it.

Vacation recommendations

While in Spokane I had the pleasure of meeting some friends at Jones Radiator and I dug it. There was a broad selection of beers to choose from and the space was just big enough to feel roomy but not crowding.

It also feels old; I was told that it was once a veterinary clinic but prior to that, nobody knew. It’s in an area of town that has been around for awhile and has the railroad running nearby, so it’s got the weathered brick building vibe going on, along with the more compact build of old buildings.

Which means that while it’s cool, it’s still a little cold-feeling. What isn’t old brick is solid colors and straight lines. It’s not unpleasant by any means but it doesn’t quite have that comforting vibe that some of my favorite bars and pubs tend to have. I give it another year to grow into itself and I bet it’ll be pretty sweet.

And just so you know I’m not overlooking the most important stuff; I had an Avery Maharaja and an Iron Horse Double Rainbow and they were both excellent. So they take care of the equipment and look for good beer to serve. If you’re in Spokane, I say check it out.