Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Denogginator Dopplebock Lager, Paper City Brewery, Holyoke MA

Another from my reserves.... The Denogginator Dopplebock Lager from Paper City Brewery in Holyoke, MA. Unfortunately, I never made it to this brewery despite it's closeness to Boston, but their beers were available at liquor stores around the Boston area (Marty's in Allston for me) or occasionally on tap at the Sunset, which I highly recommend if traveling to Boston. It's a small brewery so it's doubtful if one could find these beers outside the Northeast. Their Dopplebock is a limited release.

So let's talk beer...

It pours nearly opaque, a very dark caramel color with just a bit of light passing through it. It has a medium head.

The smell is malty sweetness. There is also a mild alcohol smell that lingers.

The taste is strong and sweet. It has a full body and is roasty. It has a sort of sugary sweetness to it. It dominates the palate.

The aftertaste is malty and strong. A nice roastiness stays in the mouth. It is a sipper and I enjoyed it late in the yard last night. A good talking beer.

Dopplebock literally means double bock. A few sources point to it's origins as being Bavarian. We'll talk more about Lagers and their process soon. For now, drink up!


Monday, September 29, 2008

Night Owl Pumpkin Ale, Elysian Brewery

Alas, it is truly fall. But I face the end of summer bravely with the prospect of the arrival of pumpkin beer (not to mention I've seen the first of the Christmas beers arriving in stores!). Pumpkin beers are a favorite of my wife, so she is adding her perspective in our beer of the day.

The Night Owl pours dark amber without much head.

The smell is definitely pumpkin...like pumpkin pie, with prominent clove and cinnamon.

The taste is obviously very pumpkin and cinnamon. Although this is not to be taken for granted. I've had some that are not a prominent in their pumpkin-ness. The first taste is sweet, but finishes with spice. It is a light body. Holding it for a moment, their is a bit of clove.

The aftertaste is refreshing with a nice spiciness. In all it reminds me of autumn, one of my favorite seasons...It is truly a solid Pumpkin Ale and I strongly recommend it!

From the bottle: "Ale brewed with pumpkin, pumpkin seeds & fermented with spices." Brewed with over 7lbs of pumpkins per barrel and "spiced in conditioning with nutmeg, clove, cinnamon, ginger, and allspice."

It is 5.9%. I found it in a grocery store in Bellingham, WA (on a recent trip to my hometown) but I think it is available in most large stores and beer stores - at least on the Western side of the Country. It comes in a 22z bottle. For those of you so inclined, I strongly recommend visiting the delicious Elysian Brewery in Seattle.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

C-Note Imperial Pale, New Old Lompoc

Since moving to Portland, I have discovered that I have some great neighbors. One of these is the New Old Lompoc, which is a stone's throw down 23rd Ave. On a recent trip, I sampled their C-Note Imperial Pale and enjoyed it with my wife on their patio. An excellent place to drink.

It pours a thick amber with a very foamy head. It is cloudier than a typical IPA, I anticipate hops!

The smell is surprisingly subtle. I was expecting a full aroma of hops, but am greeted instead with a mild hop on the flowery side.

The taste is full bodied, with pronounced bitterness at the end. It definitely slakes my need for hop. I am impressed, then I start reading about....It has seven hops. Yes, seven: Crystal, Cluster, Cascade, Chinook, Centennial, Columbus and Challenger hops. This explains it's unique flavor, a hop flavor I've never had before. They advertise this beer as "Huge!" and I'll agree. It's a big beer that walks one toward the end of the sidewalk for Hop extremity. I'm not sure I've found that definitive apex of where hoppy becomes painful, but this is a solid beer at that end of the spectrum.

The aftertaste is of strong hops and bitterness. Despite being such a big beer, I argue that it goes down very easy. Although bitter, I think even those not so inclined toward extreme hop will be interested in this beer. It is a buffet of hops and worth the try!

New Old Lompoc beer is available at their brewery at 1616 NW 23rd Ave here in Portland!


Saturday, September 27, 2008

Unearthly Imperial IPA, Southern Tier Brewing Company

And now to New York where we will take company with the Southern Tier Brewing Company based in Lakewood. Their Unearthly IPA is advertised as their most aggressive beer yet and being the hop-head that I am, this beer just might slake my need for the bitter....I recently sat down with my friend Kevin to give this brew a try.

It pours a clearish amber with a good head.

The smell is extreme hop - with just slight aroma of honey.

The taste is crisp without too much body. Kevin offered up this suggestion: Ironbar. I'm not sure how often the guy has chewed on iron but I can see his point. Instead of an very flowery taste, it has the copper tones that I've talked about in earlier posts. It is more balanced than I was expecting. It's still extreme, but balances out it the mouth for a lip-smacking aftertaste. We enjoyed it at the picnic table in the yard on a warm afternoon. It is a delicious beer, which is found all over the Northeast. I haven't found it yet on the West coast, but remain hopeful.
The specs are detailed on the Southern Tier Bottles:
2-row pale malt
cara-pils malt
red wheat
kettle hops: chinook & cascade
hop back: styrian golding
dry hopped: cascade, centenial & cascade

Friday, September 26, 2008

Oak Aged IPA, Upstream Brewing Company

On a recent trip northward, I brought along a bottle I bought in Nebraska to try with my father-in-law. This beer hails from the Upstream Brewery in Omaha. If ever even near Nebraska, there are two breweries worth the stop over, both in Omaha - one is the Upstream and the other is the Nebraska Brewery - more on that another time. Upstream is a great brewpub in the Old Market. My wife and I had a pre-lunch pint there and it was a decent bar. I'm not that into sports, but they had a small television and the Olympics were going - so I can say I got to see ping-pong finally. Now, let's talk beer.
Upstream has beer-to-go and I plucked the Oak Aged IPA from the fridge. This is a limited batch with hand-printed numbers on the labels. We tried #137 of 621.

It pours a creamy amber color with a big head. It has an unfiltered appearance and looks very thick.

The oak is apparent in the smell. The floral hoppy aroma is very pronounced.

It has a very full body, and of course is quite hoppy. There is a slight thickness to it and the bitterness starts mild, but builds over sipping. It is lively and has a mild spiciness to it.

The aftertaste is oaky and a little bitter. An excellent hop flavor remains in the mouth.

It is 6.0%, but unfortunately the IBU's were not printed on the bottle. It was brewed in November 2007 and bottled in May 2008.

Other than the brewpub, I'm not sure where Upstream beers can be found. If anyone has an update on this, please let me know. Also, I am very curious about their other beers, especially the specialty bottled series, so if you have tried one, I'd love to hear a review.

In all the Oak Aged IPA was an excellent sipper after some delicious homemade Thai food and complemented a re-watch of Blade Runner, which I hadn't seen for a long time!


Thursday, September 25, 2008

Ipswich IPA, Mercury Brewing Company

And I'm back. Tonight's beer hails from the Mercury Brewing Company in Ipswich, MA. The Ipswich IPA is available throughout the Northeast, but alas - no luck finding it out here...yet. I will keep a lookout though and if anyone finds it here on the West Coast, let me know because I am stoked on this IPA.
It pours a nice copper color with a medium head.

The smell is definitively hoppy, with a slight citrus and without sounding pretentious, I really did taste orange peel.

The taste is a full-body malt. It is a very thirst quenching and refreshing beer. It is a little thick, and slightly strong, so the taste holds it's own. It is not overly hoppy, but rather well balanced with the malt. From the website, I learned that U.S. and Belgian malts are used with Cascade and Warrior hops. Roasted barley is also used, which I think helps with the balancing of the beer and creating the full body.

The aftertaste is slightly bitter, but not-overly hoppy. Again, it finishes very well-balanced. A great evening beer. I had it with a veggie burger and black beans and it went well (especially with the spicy beans.)

It is 6.3 % with 60 IBUs.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Pelican Heiferweizen, Pelican Brewery

Now we venture into new territory with the Pelican Brewery Heiferweizen. I've raved in an earlier blog about their brewery in Pacific City and this is a bottle I brought home from that trip.

It pours a golden hue without much head. It is foggy and unfiltered.

Smell is interesting. It has a decidedly yeasty smell and there is white pepper and citrus in there as well.

The taste is very balanced but with some distinct accents of coriander and orange. As with other hef's, I taste dry banana. It is mildly spicy with a dry finish.

The aftertaste is clean and dry. It is a thirst quencher and I recommend it as a nice afternoon beer, as I enjoyed it. Laying on the hammock watching the foot traffic of 23rd Place roll by.

Thanks to Carly for writing in! I will remember to recommend where one can find these tasty brews. There were a few 22 oz bottles left at the brewery when I was there, but their website announces it will "Be Back Next Summer". The only Pelican beers I've seen in grocery stores around here, so far, has been their IPA.


Friday, September 19, 2008

Tricerahops Double IPA, Ninkasi Brewery

Our next beer is in my favorite category of beer; the double IPA. It is from Ninkasi Brewery in Eugene, Oregon and available in 22oz bottles. This is my first beer from Ninkasi, which I just discovered when I moved here.

It pours a milky amber with a good head.

The smell is subtle. I was expecting a big hop aroma, but it is mild but flowery hop.

The taste is initially big hop, but then balances quickly in the mouth. Bitterness, which I am a big fan of, doesn't really set in until the back of the jaw. It is one of the most well-balanced Double IPA's I've had, it offers up a smooth taste.

The aftertaste leaves a strong hop flavor which lingers nicely. It is slightly floral, but again, very balanced. Quite drinkable indeed!

It is 8.8% with 100+ IBU's ( a little surprising to me to find that out, showing how well-balanced the beer is...)


Thursday, September 18, 2008

Jazz Guy Ale, Rogue Brewery

Let's return to the Northwest with the Jazz Guy Ale by Rogue.
It pours a light amber hue, with not much head.

The aroma is very very light coffee, which seems unexpected due to it's relatively light color. This was a tough one for me to define, I could smell malt and yeast but beyond my expertise to put a finger on it exactly.

The taste is crisp initially, but has a full body - almost creamy flavor. It is hoppy, and seems to coat the cheeks a little. Again, slight coffee tones.

Aftertaste has a full florally finish. There seems to be something like caramel in there somewhere, but again tough to define...

I am looking forward to returning to this beer after my tasting knowledge has improved. From the bottle: "9 ingredients: Harrington & Klages, Cara Vienna, English 115 & 135 Crystal Malts; Cascade & Kent Golding Hops, Free Range Coastal Waters & Top Fermenting Pacman Yeast"

53 IBU & dedicated to Jazz Lovers!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Harpoon Rusty's Red Rye, 100 Barrel Series

Today's offering comes from the Harpoon Brewery in Boston, MA. They come out with a new beer in their 100 Barrel Series every few months and they are limited edition and one of a kind! You can't beat that and you can usually find them in the stores around the Northeast - so check it out. They have a great website which details each of their beers in the series.
I tried the Rusty's Red Rye Ale, which was a sad moment - as this was the last Harpoon beer I smuggled out of the Northeast....It's 6.5% with 38 IBU's.

It pours a dark amber, thicker than most red's I've tried.

The smell is a mild copper. There is subtle hop, but nothing overwhelming or definitive.

It tastes very very smooth, though hoppier than any rye I've tried yet. It is very well balanced with a medium body and a crispness that makes it refreshing even though it is a slightly thicker beer.

The aftertaste is crisp, then mild. Very drinkable. I cracked it open yesterday with my friend Kevin from Bellingham. We enjoyed it in the afternoon, both agreeing it was refreshing while still holding a unique and tasty character. Alas, it was good while it lasted...

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Haverhill Leatherlips IPA, Haverhill Brewery

Let's take a quick exploration into the hoppy-side of the beer world. Our next beer comes from the Haverhill Brewery in Haverhill, Massachusetts - Leatherlips IPA. First, a note on the brewery which is referred to as "The Tap Room". If you in New England and looking for great brewpubs to explore - give this one a chance. We didn't explore the town too much - it's a small post-industrial town on the Merrimac River, the Tap Room has a very nice deck that overlooks the river and the train bridge. It is a great place to relax with friends and try their many beers on their rotating taps. By the way, the building the tap room is in is an old shoe factory - their taps are actual antique wooden shoe forms from the buildings history. Americana and beer drinking, ahhh.

The beer pours a bright amber color. It has 50 IBUs, which is International Bittering Units (a common measurement which we will explore more in depth when we crack the books on beer). So we expect a bitter beer - which I admit I am partial to.

The smell isn't overwhelmingly hoppy. I remember having the beer at the brewpub and the smell was a lot more aromatic when it is drawn from the tap. I can gather a slight citrus smell with the hop.

Leatherlips uses a combination of Centennial and Chinook hops. The taste is hoppy and bright. It is bitter but not overwhelmingly powerful. It comes with a clean, dry finish. I tend to think of IPAs as one of two flavors - Flowery or Coppery. Some have this very flowery, fresh taste and some with a more copper feel in the mouth - not unpleasant, probably not the best description. Soon we will delve into what these tastes are and how it is effected by the kinds of hops used.

The aftertaste is dry - leaving you wanting more. Not a bad thing, except I only brought one bottle with me and haven't found that they export to the West Coast at all. My palate seems to reset fairly quickly, but a nice slight bitterness remains in the back of the mouth.

If you happen to stumble across this gem of a brewery, then find your way towards Portland, OR - let me know! They bottle just a few of their beers, but if your quick, we can share a growler!


Saturday, September 13, 2008

S.O.B., Atlantic Brewing Company

Our next beer is, again, an import from the East Coast's Atlantic Brewing Company - The S.O.B or Special Old Bitter. I found it at the brewery, which is a little off the beaten path, but well worth the detour.

The smell is very mild, very subtle with slight malt and a bit sweet.

The beer pours a dark amber and a full head.

The taste is a little hard to pin down. The back of the bottle touts it as a Crisp Ale, and at first I would agree. After a few tastes, though, I felt it was a little more creamy - which I liked. The bitterness doesn't overwhelm you with first taste. It builds, but remains smooth and on the light side. It finishes very clean and doesn't leave a lot of taste hanging around in the mouth.

The bottle mentions that they use Northern Brewer Hops and pale, crystal, black and Munich malts. They mention that it has an "assertive hope body, balanced with enough maltiness to make this a wonderful afternoon beer." While I don't feel that it is necessarily assertive, it does hold good body and I certainly agree that it is well-balanced. I would also agree that it makes for an excellent afternoon beer, especially given the relative lightness and balance it carries.

Happy drinking!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Bar Harbor Cadillac Mountain Stout

Our next beer is one of my imports from the East Coast - Bar Harbor's Stout. Right to it.... It pours with a caramel head and is extremely opaque. The smells are subtle - with mild malt and roast. The taste is noticeably chocolate with a roasty malt. The body seems to build as you drink. The aftertaste is slight bitterness and leaves a roastiness in the breath. I think it would be a good addition to dessert - especially with vanilla ice cream (if my inherited cholesterol problem didn't bar me from such a delicious combination!)
Bar Harbor is an interesting place, a good afternoon place to check out - way too touristy for an extended stay - but a beautiful place to see in Maine. And some of my favorite beers are from Maine! I will be interested to try and retry more stouts to compare with the Cadillac Mountain... Cheers!

Pelican Brewery, IPA

It was a beautiful weekend on the Oregon Coast and made for the perfect time to be at the Pelican Brewery. The Brewpub is situated on the beach at Pacific City. If you haven't been there and are remotely close - Go! If your not remotely close - Go! You won't regret it.
So back to beer - to reiterate, I will start basic and together we will educate ourselves to a higher level of beer tasting.
My first beer is the Pelican IPA (India Pelican Ale). This is one of my favorite IPA's, ever. In true My Year In Beer fashion, I made notes about the beer on my beer coaster - had my wife try the beer - made notes from her, then...left the coaster right there on the table when we left to go walk along the beach. So, memories....
It has a hoppy aroma - but not overwhelming. I was a little surprised There wasn't more. The initial taste is hoppy though - Cascade hops are used and the taste is not overly flowery or spicy. It strikes a good balance with the bitterness. I'd say it has a full body - but what the hell does that mean?! I guess it helps describe the balance of flavor and bitterness while not disappearing too soon. The aftertaste leaves a little bitterness in the back of the jaw and a nice flavor in the mouth. We enjoyed the seafood quesadillas which were an excellent paring, in my taste, with the beer. The slight spiciness of the meal was enhanced, then controlled by the beer. It's own citrus spiciness wins out and refreshes the palate. That's the best I can do off of memory.... Next time, I'll bring a notebook instead of using the coaster...

Thursday, September 4, 2008


Hello and welcome to my blog dedicated to beer. I have a section of the kitchen devoted to a recent collection of beers gathered from the Northeast. Over the next 365 beers, I will be tasting these, as well as other beers that catch my eye.
For several years, I have fancied myself a beer connoisseur. This was kicked into high gear when I worked at The Bottleshoppe in Bellingham, WA (pour a little out for the passing of this great place!). But then I went to film school in Boston and lost touch with the intricacies of beer. Now, back on the West Coast, I want to re-explore all things beer. This blog will be devoted to relearning the craft of beer, exploring the styles and traveling to brewpubs and breweries. I invite you to pour yourself a cold one or a cask and join me!
The first posting will come this weekend. I am traveling to the Oregon Coast, where I will revisit an old favorite of mine, The Pelican Brewery in Pacific City. Stay tuned!