Sunday, November 22, 2009

Beer #165 - Vesuvius Belgian Style Golden Ale, Full Sail Brewery, Hood River Oregon

November represents the last month that Vesuvius is available, so don't delay! Brewed up the river from us in Hood River, this Belgian Style Golden Ale is available in the 1pt. 6 fluid ounce bottles with 8.2% - Let's give it a try!

It pours a cloudy straw with a tight head.

The aroma holds white pepper, yeast and coriander.

The medium/full body introduces yeast flavors with white pepper and slight coriander. THe yeast spice continues to expand on the palate finishes with a mild earthy hop.

Mild yeast notes linger on the tongue. It finishes fairly clean, crisp and refreshing.

A great introductory example into the wonderful world of Belgian style ales, it does go well with these fall days. As I said, it is only available for a short time more, so enjoy soon!



Thursday, November 19, 2009

Beer #164 - Bigfoot Barleywine 2009, Seirra Nevada Brewing Company, Chico California

Consistently one of my favorite Barleywine style ales each year! Let's try the 2009 -

It pours a caramel color with a thin head.

The aroma is dominated by molasses with sweetness and caramel. There is also a slight hop apparent.

As it warms, a complex mixture of molasses, oak, sweeteness and roast malt are evident in the full body. Alcohol tones arrive later and it finishes long with bitterness, biscuit and caramel.

The aftertaste hold roasty malt notes with oak sweetness and a bright citrus hop at the very end.

Something that ages well, buy enough to enjoy now and later!


Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Beer # 163 - State Pen Imperial Porter, Santa Fe Brewing Company, Santa Fe New Mexico

A very limited edition beer - The State Pen Imperial Porter from the Santa Fe Brewing Company looks like it will offer up some big flavor. A beer that is hard to find outside of New Mexico - if you happen by Santa Fe - make the Santa Fe Brewing Company a stop - for sure!

It pours a deep black with a roasted malt colored head.

The aroma reveals a lot of flavor with hop, chocolate and roasted malt. It also offers up some sweetness of oak.

It starts sweet with oak and malt, but the big/full body takes over quickly with big dark chocolate, molasses and roasted malt flavors. It finishes roasty - since it is oak-aged, it also offers hints of oak and wood in the finish, as well.

Hop arrives at the end with freshness and bitterness, which blends nicely with some dark chocolate bitterness that linger nicely on the palate.

A delicious porter that is especially enjoyable on these stormy evenings. It ages well, so it is worth buying if you happen across it - The State Pen Porter is brewed in honor of the Santa Fe Brewing Company's 20th Birthday -

Beer # 162 - Honey Basil Ale, Bison Brewing, Berkeley California

An interesting sounding ale - probably best suited for the summer months, but let's give it a try...

It pours a cloudy straw color with a thin head.

The aroma is of slight hop with citrus and floral notes. There is also a honey essence.

The medium/light body reveals honey with a crispness on the tongue. Hop builds in the body giving away to sweet malt. Mild basil notes are evident in the finish.

It finishes clean, the basil and honey flavors linger momentarily on the palate.

Light, crisp and refreshing with some unique flavors - Makes me miss summer!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Beer # 161 - The Abyss 2009 & 2008 Deschutes Brewery, Bend Oregon

This month marked the arrival of Deschutes' Reserve imperial stout. It is a limited release, so don't delay to give it a try. At 11% & 65 IBU's, it packs a punch, as well it should. At their Portland Brew House location, they offer samples of the 2008 release as well. Let's travel back in time, then return to the present release. Come follow me into the Abyss!

The Abyss - 2008
It pours opaque with a light-tawny head.

The aroma holds strong alcohol tones and malt with mild sweetness.

The full body delivers a robust roast malt flavor. The intense flavors seem surprisingly balanced. Biscuit, hop freshness and licorice all unfold on the tongue. Molasses also makes an appearance and lasts through the full finish.

The aftertaste holds the roast malt and molasses sticky on the palate, but is very smooth and gets smoother as you drink.

The Abyss 2009
It pours opaque with a dark tawny head.

The aroma is malt with sweetness. The roast tones are there, as well but a little lighter than expected. Lighter, it seems, than the 2008.

The full body presents BIG malt packed with licorice, roast, oak and bitter chocolate tones. There is a lot there and it evolves as it is enjoyed. It holds a dominating presence over the palate. These flavors last through the finish where the licorice and roast tones take it to the aftertaste.

It finishes relatively clean for such a big sticky thick beer. A hop freshness arrives late and helps the palate from being too dominated. Malt roast and sticky molasses linger on the palate delivering a robust dominating presence without being overly sticky and coating the taste buds. It has more alcohol presence and gets more complex as you drink it.

The Abyss does not hold back. There are many flavors hiding in it's opaque mysteriousness. As it evolves over enjoying, you'll only know the true virtues of the beer when you reach the bottom of the Abyss!


Monday, November 2, 2009

Beer #160 - 13th Anniversary Ale, Stone Brewing Company, Escondido California

I didn't know too much about Stone's Anniversary Ale this year, but at 9.5%, it seems to offer up the promise of some big flavor...

It pours a brownish hue with a decent head.

The aroma is big hop with some balancing barley tones.

Hop arrives straight off with barley and yeast giving it an intricate backbone. It has a big body where the yeast gives a nice earthiness. The yeast lingers on the tongue as the beer finishes strong but smooth with lasting hop.

The aftertaste has a nice earthy hop with yeast and spice that linger with a dominating presence.

DEFINITELY a 5-star beer. Grab one while you can, you won't regret it!!!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Beer #159 - Local, 1 Brooklyn Brewing Company, Brooklyn New York

This beer has been waiting for me to drink it for awhile, the time finally came!

It pours golden with a white foamy head.

The aroma is strongly yeast with citrus hop and white pepper.

It starts light, sparkly on the tongue. The body reveals yeast spiciness with a hop bouquet. It is lively on the tongue and that holds through the finish with hop freshness on the tongue.

The aftertaste is mild hop with a lingering spice.

A refreshing and sharp ale!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Beer #158 - Glockenspiel Weizenbock, Great Lakes Brewing Company, Cleveland Ohio

Our next beer is the fist I've tried from the Great Lakes Brewing Company. My friend Dave brought it back to me from a recent trip he took to the area. Let's give it a try...

It pours a deep reddish hue.

The aroma is yeast with barley and wheat tones. There is mild sweetness apparent, as well.

Yeast and mild spice greet the palate straight off. The body reveals wheat while maintaining the spice and yeast. The hops balance everything back before the beer finishes strong with intense barley, alcohol and wheat tones.

The aftertaste is yeast with wheat. It finishes with a full body that lingers nicely.

It's probably hard to find, but worth it if you can!!!


Thursday, October 29, 2009

Beer #157 Hoss Lager, Great Divide Brewing Company, Denver Colorado

I wanted to try to get a few Lager's in before winter! Summer went quick, the time for these typically lighter and refreshing beers. But the crispness compliments these fall days....

It pours a cloudy amber.

The aroma reveals biscuit tones, vanilla with a mild hop.

The malty body supports a nice biscuit and vanilla on the tongue. The presence of rye gives a more complex flavor, adding earthy and spicy tones to the finish. There is a hop bitterness that arrives at the very back of the tongue.

The aftertaste has a variety of notes including citrus from the hop, malt body and presence with some tartness that lingers.


Monday, October 26, 2009

Beer # 156 - Bob's '47 Oktoberfest, Boulevard Brewing Company, Kansas City Missouri

The Boulevard Brewing Company, a fine brewery that has an ever growing distribution. This is my first time trying the Octoberfest.

It pours a cloudy straw color with a thin head.

The aroma is sweet caramel malt with some very mild hop tones.

The malt is noticeable right away, with mildly sweet tones. The hop balances the beer back from sweetness, adding a fresh crispness to the light body. It finishes with mild honey and complex malt that rounds off nicely.

The aftertaste holds the malt tones, the palate resets quickly. It's a great all-around beer that would pair with many fall dishes. A great autumn beer with it's light crisp body and complex underlying malt tones.


Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Beer #155 - Wit, Oregon Trail Ales, Corvallis Oregon

A new brewery for me! I was in Corvallis not so long ago and was able to try the Wit from Oregon Trail Ales. Now, I did have a mild cold, so my tasting was not as accurate as usual, but I still wanted to share.

It pours a brilliant orange/straw.

The aroma is slight spice with orange and coriander.

It is smooth, but a offers a nice bite with the spice in the body. There is plenty of coriander and orange, white pepper was not as noticeable, but again, a general spice was present.

The aftertaste held orange peel and coriander on the palate, but reset quickly.

A crisp, but smooth offering, it went well with the huge sandwich I enjoyed...


Sunday, October 4, 2009

Beer # 154 - Hop Pale Pale, Laurelwood Brewery, Portland Oregon AND Others from the Hood River Hops Fest 2009!

With over 31 fresh hop beers (though over 50 beers available to sample) the 2009 Hood River Hops Fest premiered some excellent examples of fresh hop beer styles. Ranging from Pales Ales to Red Ales, Amber and Wheat to Imperial IPA, Octoberfest to Farmhouse style and even a Hemp ale - the 27 breweries involved gave a well-rounded showing of ales and lagers. Their one similarity - the fresh hop! A glorious occasion to come together!
I sampled 15 beers and was impressed with the range and varieties available. This was a perfect time to sample the differences in aroma, taste, body and finish of different hops - Amaillo, Chinook, name it. If you want to line up a taste test of hops, this is your place. There will be a Fresh Hop Tastival in Portland on October 10th and in Eugene on October 17th, check for details... There were many beers to try, but I managed to scratch down a few brief notes on each of my samples...

-One of my favorites from this year was the Hop Pale Pale from Laurelwood, a brewery that continues to impress. It pours a cloudy amber. A good way to introduce yourself to the Amarillo hop, the aroma is all hop. The bitter full body has a rounded finish that lingers nicely, giving you great breath!

-Ninkasi, my favorite brew-find of 2008! brought their Nugg E. Fresh Wet Hop Ale - a red ale featuring Crystal hops. It had darker characteristics in both color and flavor, with a fuller body and not quite as crisp as some of the others I sampled. The hop was very soft and though it was a red, there was no real sweetness present. I thought it a great beer and if I had more tokens, I would have returned!

-Pelican Brewery, an all-time favorite of mine (with a picturesque brewpub in Pacific City) presented their Elemental Ale - which displayed the virtues of the Sterling hop in this strong pale. It was crisp, but the hop seemed to soften the crispness, rounding out the body. Sterling isn't as floral-y as other hops and tends to a more earthy balanced flavor.

-Walking Man Brewery, up the river in Stevenson, Washington - just a skip across the Bridge of the Gods, featured two beers, their Hoptoberfest, an Octoberfest Lager and the Holalong IPA. At 6.9% this big IPA held bold flowery hop that lasted well through the finish. You will walk away with the virtues of the Chinkook hop still on your palate. It is crisp and delicious, a good complement to these fall days! The Hoptoberfest held it's own with imported German malts and hops. Rich and malty, it tended toward the sweeter side with a coppery finish. Another welcome compliment to fall.

-Three Creeks Brewery from Sisters, Oregon, presented their Santiam Hop Harvest, which I kick myself for not trying. It is a Farmhouse Ale with Santiam fresh hops. Their other beer was the Desperado Imperial IPA, which I did sample. It has a nice full rounded body with big hops, but not overly bitter or flowery. It did seem to have an excess of CO2, but it's nice lingering finish helped forgive it...

-Eliot Glacier, from Parkdale, Oregon, sampled their Belgian Espresso Stout and their Gnarl Ridge Double Dry Hopped IPA. The Stout was in the dubbel tradition of ales and held big noteso of chocolate, espresso and yeast. Almost a brown ale in character until the yeast settles in on the palate giving it a unique tang. It has a nice full body with a lingering sweetness after the yeast spice. The Gnarl Ridge shifted gears drastically, offering up big earthy hop and a nice full finish.

-Double Mountain, from right there in Hood River, offfered up the Dapper Dan, a mild brown ale and the one I tried, the Killer Green Fresh Hop IPA which kicked it up a gear with Brewer's Gold hops. A big full body with a nice long hop finish that dominates the palate.

-Hopworks Brewery from here in Portland made an appearance with their 7-Grain Survival Stout and the Sodbuster's Pale Ale. The Sodbuster's featured Crystal hops. A little thin, it offers up an interesting sweetness that curbed the bitterness, resetting the palate quickly.

-Upright Brewing had their Upright Four Farmhouse Ale and the Fresh Hop of Bel Air. With a name like that, I couldn't refuse. It is a Saison with Liberty hops. Citrus notes combined with the yeast to deliver a uniquely tasty beer. White pepper and spice on the back of the tongue, finishing with the citrus tones.

-Big Horse Brewing from Hood River appeared with their The Strange, a Hemp Ale and Vernon the Rabbit Slayer. Again, I'm a sucker for names. Vernon is an Imperial IPA with Simcoe hops. It is big with earthy hop and a malt backbone. There is bitterness-a-plenty and it dominates the palate with Simcoe.

-Amnesia had both their Copacetic IPA and their Fresh Hoppalata Pale Ale, which features Liberty hops. It packs a punch with an earthy big body and a nice lingering finish.

-Astoria offered up their Bitter Bitch Double IPA and the Hoptimus Prime 2.0 Pale Ale. Featuring Simcoe and Cascade, the Hoptimus offered up the earthy Simcoe flavor with a nice pine, as well. The Cascade hops helped to make an interesting and unique finish on the beer that lingers for awhile on the palate.

-One of the first Fresh Hop Beers I ever tried years ago was the Hop Trip from Deschutes. This Pale Ale with Crystal hops was my introduction to the Fresh Hop style and I finished the festival with this beer in honor of it's place in my personal beer history. My palate was quite useless at this point to commit to a proper tasting, so I will leave it at this: a great beer!

I hope you will have a chance to introduce yourself to some of these fine Lagers and Ales - some are available in stores, others at the breweries and of course, at the upcoming Fresh Hop Fests. It's a short harvest season, so don't delay!


Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Beer #153 - Coal Porter, Atlantic Brewing Company, Bar Harbor Maine

You gotta love it when you can match your glassware to your beer! Our next beer, a porter, comes from the East Coast - Bar Harbor, where a dark drink is necessary on those stormy coastal nights! Let's give it a try!

It pours opaque with a thin tight head.

The aroma is nut malt with mild chocolate tones. There is a very mild sweetness.

The initial taste is nut malt, but the chocolate tones quickly take over. It has a medium body and is fairly rich, though it finishes fairly clean. Vanilla builds while drinking, but the bitterness from hops and the nuttiness of the malt keep it from gaining too much sweetness.

The aftertaste is mildly hoppy, but mostly malt and vanilla - the palate clears quickly.

It's hard to get ahold of, but a nice porter to enjoy if you get it...and you gotta love the name!


Monday, September 21, 2009

Alleycat Amber Ale, Lost Coast Brewery & Cafe, Eureka California

A brewery that I do not have too often is the Lost Coast Brewery. Their beers are available with decent distribution throughout the west coast. Let's give their amber ale a try...

It pours a brilliant amber/copper with a decent sized tight head.

The aroma is dominated by caramel malt with a fair amount of sweetness.

The medium body holds caramel malt on the tongue. Mild hop bitterness is apparent in the body, as well. The sweetness arrives at the end, but does not dominate the beer. It is crisp on the tongue, but finishes smooth.

The aftertaste is caramel with hop bitterness winning out over the sweetness. A lingering biscuity malt leaves a nice flavor on the breath.

Though I am not the biggest fan of ambers, this one hold some interesting character without becoming too sweet or falling into blandness.


Sunday, September 20, 2009

Beer #152 - Wry Pale Ale, Laurelwood Brewing, Portland Oregon

The Laurelwood Brewing Company serves up certified organic ales at 3 public houses/resaturants around Portland. Select ales are also available at a variety of stores in 22oz bottles. One of their recent seasonal offerings is the Rye Pale Ale. An interesting hybrid of Pale Ale with Rye Malt. Let's give it a try!

It pours a brilliant straw color with a medium-sized tight head.

The aroma is bright hop with mild citrus tones.

The medium body introduces straw and citrus tones right off. There is substantial bitterness on the tongue, but it does not dominate the palate. A rounded malt backbone is evident on the back of the tongue, curbing the hop and balancing the flavor. Citrus tones reveal subtle grapefruit and orange layers.

The aftertaste holds tones of grapefruit citrus which initially dominates, then fades to a mild bitterness that leaves a freshness in the mouth.

A refreshing beer with plenty of substance and a unique spin with the addition of the rye malt. It is a good sipper on these last hot days of summer, but also will pair easily with many dishes.


Friday, September 18, 2009

Beer #151 - Old Stock 2008, North Coast Brewing Company, Fort Bragg, California

Well, I may not have waited long enough, but I couldn't resist cracking open my Old Stock...

Pours a thick caramel/copper color.

The aroma is sweet malt, with a mild nuttiness. Hop is largely apparent after the sweetness.

The full body has large notes of caramel and thick sticky malt. Mild hop develops at the end of the body and though the bitterness is mild, it is present. It ends with bitterness, sweet and alcohol

The aftertaste is all alcohol, malt and caramel. It finishes relatively smooth for such a strong ale - it has a velvety character that pulls the chewy malt out from being too thick.

Available in 12oz bottles with 12.5%.


Thursday, September 17, 2009

#150, Zon, Boulevard Brewing Company, Kansas City Missouri

Our next beer comes from a brewery that is definitely on my top find list for last year and has began to become increasingly available out here in the Northwest.

The beer pours a cloudy unfiltered straw color with a thin head.

The aroma is white pepper, wheat, citrus (mostly orange) and coriander.

The medium body is crisp and refreshing. Subtle white pepper and spice greet the tongue. It finishes with orange and coriander

The aftertaste is subtle with slight wheat and citrus. It is quite fresh and refreshing! A great summer beer!

Zon is apparently Flemish for sun, so enjoy while these summer days are still here!


Wednesday, September 16, 2009

#149, Latona, Rogue Ales, Newport Oregon

Apparently with only two ingredients: Special Aromatic malt and Rainier hops, Latona Ale is a delicious addition to Rogues expansive list of ales.

It pours a cloudy brilliant amber.

The aroma is very subtle - slight sweetness and slight hop.

The hop builds in the body. The sweetness is curved by the bitterness that arrives in the medium body and at the back of the tongue. Honey and earthy bright hop at the end. It is smooth and refreshing.

The aftertaste is bitter and hoppy and very fresh.


Tuesday, September 15, 2009

#148, Chatoe Wet-Hopped Ale, Rogue Ales, Newport Oregon

The newly released Chatoe Wet-Hopped Ale!!! Need I say more?

It pours a hazy red color with a white foamy head.

The aroma is slight with light hop and mild sweetness.

The taste is hoppy with a medium body. It has a pleasant bitterness on the tongue and is very very smooth.

The aftertaste is slightly bitter with nice earthy tones to the hop.

It is a rather simple beer with delicious hop tones. Smooth and easy to drink and pair with food.


Monday, September 14, 2009

#147, Invasive Species IPA, Captured by Porches Brewing Company, St. Helens Oregon

Our next beer comes from the tiny Captured by Porches Brewing Company in tiny St. Helens - just west of Portland, Oregon. I caught up with the brewer at the Green Dragon here in Portland and sampled the Invasive Species IPA.

It pours a thick unfiltered copper.

The aroma is heavy floral hop with mild citrus.

It has a medium body that is very smooth. It starts flowery, and the hop builds on the tongue with big citrus (orange/grapefruit) tones. The bitterness is not overwhelming but builds in the finish. The strong citrus tones resonate.

The aftertaste is big orange/citrus on the palate with dominating bitterness. It has a slight sour finish and as that dissipates, there is a slight pine flavor.

Available around Portland and St. Helens, Oregon

Sunday, September 13, 2009

#146, Tsunami Stout, Pelican Brewery, Pacific City Oregon

This is the only way I'd ever want to experience a Tsunami...

It pours opaque with a big caramel colored head.

The aroma holds tones of vanilla and caramel.

It has a thick full body, but not too heavy or sticky on the palate. Vanilla and caramel malt appear on the tongue and there is slight bitterness on the sides on the tongue which keeps it lively and not too sticky.

The aftertaste is mild chocolate with vanilla. The hop bitterness keeps the sweetness from dominating. The nice rich malt fades fairly quickly on the palate.

A great stout that is balanced and easy to drink. It is very smooth and surprisingly clean on the the finish!


Sunday, August 16, 2009

Palo Santo Marron, Dogfish Head Brewery, Milton Delaware

The Dogfish Head craft brewery likes to challenge with their interesting and often, strong beers. I picked up the Palo Santo Marron a while ago which is described on the bottle as "Malt beverage aged on Palo Santo Wood." (That is a Paraguayan wood.) At 12%, it is available in 12 oz bottles.

It pours opaque with a dark head.

The aroma is sweet with vanilla, caramel and heavy malt. It does have that "oak-aged" element that I've had before (though noted this is Palo Santo wood - which is used in wine making in South America).

The full body launches a lot of flavor. The malt starts right off, but vanilla and caramel catch up on the tongue. The sweetness builds there before dissolving a bit in the finish where wood, and a smoky malt curb the beer from being overly sweet. Alcohol tang rounds up the finish.

The aftertaste is malty and thick with initial sweet notes (mostly vanilla) kicking around - but that releases into a wood/aged alcohol flavor. It resonates on the tongue almost like wine.

This is a deliciously interesting strong beer - definitely worth the try - a slow sipper to enjoy all the flavors offered up...


Saturday, August 15, 2009

Morimoto Soba, Rogue Ales, Newport Oregon

On yet another recent trip to the coast (and therefore, to Rogue Ales) I enjoyed their Morimoto Soba Ale - made from buckwheat (Soba) which is of the rhubarb family (not wheat). Interesting, but not as interesting as the taste! Let's give it a try....

It pours copper with a thin head.

The aroma has an interesting caramel essence, but not sweet. It is also slightly nutty.

The taste is delicate, but holds it's own. It is almost cask-like with it's smooth velvety medium/light body. Honey is apparent up front, but a nutty flavor arrives on the tongue. There is slight caramel (again not sweet) in the finish.

The aftertaste is sweet and slightly bitter. It is very smooth -

This beer is definitely hard to pin down - it's refreshing and unique, but the unique quality doesn't overpower, it's a nice clean beer to enjoy anytime -


Friday, August 14, 2009

Saison, Great Divide Brewing Company, Denver Colorado

Great Divide's farmhouse style ale offering is simply titled Saison - Known for their yeast presence they tend to be refreshing yet robust. Let's give Great Divide's a sample....

It pours a straw, near copper color with a white head.

The aroma is strong yeast with peppery spice. There is also orange and citrus at the end.

This Saison is bright and refreshing with a light/medium body. Yeast and peppery spice are present on the tongue, then citrus arrives at the end. There is also slight coriander in the finish.

The aftertaste is slightly sour and bitter with dominant citrus tones.

A wonderful, refreshing summer seasonal. At 7.3%, it holds it's own - yet the citrus and yeast keep it lively and fresh -


Saturday, August 1, 2009

Glen, Rogue Ales, Newport Oregon

And we're back...On a recent adventure to the coast, we dropped by the Rogue Brewpub in Newport, Oregon. It was a hot day, but the Glen from Rogue hit the spot - both cold and refreshing.

It pours a honey hue with a medium head.

The aroma is mild hop, but not overly flowery. The hop is curbed by the malt aroma that arrives a little later.

It is hoppy, but smooth. There isn't much bitterness in the body, which is medium/full and velvety. Bitterness does arrive in the finish with a malt presence which gives it body.

The aftertaste is bitterness with malt that weighs on the palate keeping the hop from dominating the finish.


Monday, July 20, 2009

Back Burner Barleywine, Southern Tier Brewing Company, Lakewood New York

The bottle of "Back Burner Imperial Barley Wine Style Ale" that I had in my reserves was brewed early 2008. I kept it around to see how it would age and recently had the chance to enjoy the result of my patience.

It pours a hazy caramel with a caramel tinted tight head.

The aroma is burnt sugar and caramel right off, but not overly sweet smelling. Instead there are molasses tones coupled with mild hop.

It has a creamy full body and an unexpected spice on the palate/mid tongue where a peppery liveliness reveals itself. Molasses arrives at the back of the mouth with the burnt sugar. The very end results in more sweetness and the peppery spice lingers in the mouth.

The aftertaste reveals bitterness and malt that carries the spiciness. It's not as thick as expected, keeping the palate from getting overwhelmed.

Enjoyable aged or "as-is", it's a wonderful beer!


Saturday, July 18, 2009

Sinister, 10 Barrel Brewing Company, Bend Oregon

On a recent stop to pick up a Flying Pie Pizza, I had the chance to enjoy the Sinister (Black Ale) from 10 Barrel while I waited. A great way to spend a few minutes while waiting for a pizza -

It pours opaque with a small head.

The aroma is mild, but sweet malt is detectable with some mild hop.

Mild chocolate malt with a little sweetness greets the taste buds. It has a rich body with lots of character. Not overly heavy, it is an easy beer to enjoy by itself. It finishes clean with brown sugar and caramel malt at the end. From their website, I learned they use German de-husked black malt. It is also mentioned that this malt is free of astringency, which helps keep the beer from being overly heavy or sticky on the palate.

The aftertaste is mild richness with caramel and brown sugar. It finishes remarkably clean...


Friday, July 17, 2009

Hefeweizen, Beaver Street Brewery, Flagstaff Arizona

A great place to visit in Flagstaff is the Beaver Street Brewery - a great menu with great beers!

Their Hefeweizen pours a cloudy honey color.

The aroma exposes mild banana that rises first with subtle clove.

It starts crisp with a medium body, smooth with slight hop. Banana and clove are there, but very slight. There is a slight sourness in the finish.

The aftertaste is refreshing with slight banana and clove.

A very subtle hef, but very refreshing too -


Thursday, July 16, 2009

Drop City IPA, Trinidad Brewing Company, Trinidad Colorado

Flying along the highway between Colorado Springs and Taos, we took a brief break from the road in the small town of Trinidad. It's an interesting little town and we were lucky to meet the very friendly people at Trinidad Brewing Company. I tried their IPA...

It pours a brilliant amber with a big head.

The aroma has strong earthy hop - it's a nice full aroma.

It has a full earthy hop with a nice medium/full body. Bitterness builds strong, exposing the big earthy hop.

The aftertaste is bitter, lingering nicely...

If you happen across this small town, pay a visit to the brewery - it's a great way to spend the afternoon -


Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Elk Lake IPA, Bend Brewing Company, Bend Oregon

Ahh, the Bend Brewing Company.... In a state with so many brewery options, this is a great gem.

It pours darker amber, hazy with a tight head.

The big aromatic hops reveal a mild pine.

The hop builds in the medium body, bitter with a mild pine on the tongue. It is flowery and hoppy 'til the end.

The aftertaste - bitter on the tongue, rests on the palate for awhile before having a clean finish. Bitter, but refreshing!

I brought a Hop Head IPA home in a bottle - We'll sample that another day...


Monday, July 13, 2009

Rio Refresco Pale Ale, Eske's Pub and Restaurant, Taos New Mexico

The second of the Eske's beers I sampled at their brew pub and restaurant in Taos, New Mexico was the Rio Refresco Pale Ale, which sounded good after a long hot day in the sun...

It pours a thick honey color with a nice big head.

The aroma is citrus with hop - and a unique aroma which - and I may just have been influenced by the dry environs - I detected a hint of agave.

Earthy hop builds, but it is not too bitter. It has a medium body, smooth with slight citrus and I swear, agave - if any one else tries this beer, let me know what you think.

The aftertaste is mildly bitter and dry.


Sunday, July 12, 2009

Compass Cask IPA, Bristol Brewing Company, Colorado Springs Colorado

Our next beer (another brief departure from my month of darker beers) comes from the Bristol Brewery in Colorado Springs. A great little place I had the pleasure of visiting in May - When I was there, they had the Compass IPA on Cask.

It pours a honey color with a big head.

The aroma is mild grapefruit and citrus with mild yeast.

It is creamy with a medium body. Very smooth with a nice earthy hop that arrives toward the finish. The bitterness builds at the end - it's an easy drinker.

The aftertaste is bitter on the tongue lingering for awhile...

The cask mellow the bitter edge of the beer and it makes for a nice velvety beverage.


Thursday, July 9, 2009

10,000 Foot Stout, Eske's Brew Pub & Restaurant, Taos New Mexico

Back to the dark beers! Well, if you are ever in Taos, drop by the small but tasty Eske's Brewing Company. We sampled two beers, first, their 10,000 Foot Stout....

It pours opaque with a thin tight head.

The aroma is chocolate with deep roasty malt and mildly sweet.

It has a full body with deep dark chocolate. It is roasty with a building sweetness (cherry). There are oak tones as well...

The aftertaste reveals the bitterness with cherry lingering on the tongue making a slight sour tone appearing at the very end.


Surfer Summer Ale, Pelican Brewing Company, Pacific City Oregon

A brief break from my Christmas in July beers...Lets have a true taste of summer. I've posted many enthusiastic posts about the Pelican brewery, so let's see how their summer seasonal holds up....

It pours a golden hue with a tight head.

The aroma is dominated by hop and white pepper with citrus zest and coriander.

It is a crisp beer with mild hop with very subtle spice in the body - mostly white pepper and coriander. There is also honey and mild citrus on the finish.

The aftertaste fishes very clean with hop freshness on the palate.

Flavorful more in the aroma than the taste, the ale is a light crisp warm weather beer that still offers some very nice flavors of summer! Great for a picnic!


Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Baggywrinkle Barleywine, Cisco Brewers, Nantucket Massachusetts

Baggywrinkle Barleywine...what more can you say? I check the Cisco Brewers website, which actually explains the name - Baggywrinkle being a nautical term, it's a good story - check it out on their site!

It pours a thick unfiltered molasses with a tight head.

The aroma is sweet malt with mild raisen and mild smokiness.

Big sweeet malt greets you right away. It is thick and velvety in the body. The sweetness lessens a bit at the finish, exposing more caramel molasses, raisen and heavy malt. It has a slightly bitter finish with Chinook and Northern Brewer Hops.

The aftertaste has caramel, biscuit, molasses and fig notes.

At 9.8% and in the 22oz, it's a great late evening sipper on the back porch....or front porch...or lawn...or somebody elses lawn if you don't have one...or the park....there are several flavors that develope as the beer warms.


Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Espresso Oak Aged Yeti, Great Divide Brewing Company, Denver Colorado

I enjoyed this one during a trip a bit ago to Colorado. It was my first time in Denver and we instantly migrated to one of my favorite breweries - Great Divide Brewing. On take was this - the Espresso Oak Aged Yeti Imperial Stout. This is a stout aged in oak chips with espresso added. A perfect addition to the Christmas in July series....

It pours opaque with a big caramel colored head.

The aroma is deep malt with chocolate tones. Coffee and mild smokiness are also there.

It has a thick full body loaded with chocolate and coffee roastiness. Deep malt residue on the tongue and palate. It lingers with layers of chocolate, coffee, malt and has a slight bitterness in the finish.

The aftertaste is thick alcohol and malt roastiness that carries for awhile.

A big robust beer at 9.5%....


Sunday, July 5, 2009

Oat, Southern Tier Brewing Company, Lakewood New York

Our next Christmas in July beer was one I sampled a bit ago - the Oat, an Imperial Oatmeal Stout from Southern Tier brewing. This is an August release, so look for it soon!

It pours opaque with a tight caramel head.

The aroma is big malt with thick molasses and sweet with burnt sugar.

It is a thick full body, sticky molasses right off. At 11%, the alcohol is fairly transparent. It is sugary but has a mild oak that puts some backing on the sweetness and keeps it from being overly sugar dominated.

The aftertaste is thick big molasses - the sweetness is completely rounded off by oak and alcohol - it is definitely a sipper. Enjoy from the 22oz bottle in a snifter. A slow drinker in the late evening, perhaps lounging on the hammock!


Saturday, July 4, 2009

Blue Finn Stout, Shipyard Brewing, Portland Maine

Happy 4th of July! Well I'm sure we'll all be out there enjoying our BBQ's and there are plenty of great beers to enjoy with them - The Terminal Gravity ESB, Spring Reign from Ninkasi, Shine Bock, Hop Stoopid from Lagunitas, Independence Hop Ale from Rogue and sooooo many more! Me, I'm going to use this holiday to kick off my "Christmas in July" tasting. Although I am still trying to catch up from May and June's beer tasting adventures which will be interspersed throughout the month, I will use July to taste some of the Barleywines and stouts that I held on reserve... Let's start it off with the Blue Finn Stout from Shipyard. Located in the "other" Portland (Maine) it is available throughout the Northeast in 12oz & 22oz bottles...

It pours opaque with a big caramel colored head.

The aroma is deep chocolate and roasty malt.

It has a big full body with chocolate and sticky mildly smoky notes at the end. Hop bitterness builds near the finish and keeps it lively on the palate. This also helps it from getting too sticky at the end.

The aftertaste is roasty chocolate and malt that hangs around, but again, doesn't get overwhelming.

So you may wonder why you'd want to enjoy a sticky heavy stout or barleywine under these beautiful summer skies? Well, wait until the sun goes down, the stars make their best attempt to shine through the haze of the city or blaze in the country skies. Sit back and sip on one of these upcoming beers and like enjoying a fine bourbon or cognac, take the time to contemplate the complex notes while reflecting on these summer days! For me, it's a great summer additive, a relaxing evening, enjoying friends, warm weather and maybe a little Chet Baker on the stereo...


Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Meyer ESB, Thirsty Bear Brewing Company, San Francisco California

In San Francisco there lies many a great beers. During a recent trip, my friend Jason and I found our way to the Thirsty Bear, the first stop of many that night! They had a decent variety on tap and their menu looked good as well, but I went with the Nitro Conditioned (from a traditional "Firkin" keg) ESB.

It pours a deep copper with a tight head.

The aroma is very slight with some floral hop and light sweet malt.

It has big molasses right off with some sweet malt and burnt sugar developing in the body. This is rounded off by a soft floral hop bitterness at the end, but fails to completely curb the sweetness in the finish. Some may enjoy the finishing sweetness, I tend toward a cleaner finish rather than sweet and this one fell a little on the sweet side.

The aftertaste is burnt sugar with bitterness that builds. Sticky molasses dominates the palate.

If in the city, it would be worth the time to hunt the Thirsty Bear down and give it a try, since they aren't bottling...


Monday, June 29, 2009

5 Barrel Pale Ale, Odell Brewing Company

One of the great beers I had the chance to try last month in Colorado was the 5 Barrel Pale Ale from Odell. I'm not sure what the extent of their distribution is, but if you come across it - it'd be worth the try...

It pours copper with a tight head.

The aroma is very subtle with slight flowery hop and slight citrus notes.

It starts very subtle, but after a few sips, the flowery hop develops and reveals a nice bitterness. The bitterness builds and lingers on the tongue revealing some subtle citrus flavor as well.

The aftertaste is bitter and very very dry.

with 5.2% and 36 IBUs, it's a great beer for dinner or for as a sessions beer.


Thursday, June 25, 2009

Spring Reign, Ninkasi Brewing Company, Eugene Oregon

Well, I raved about the Ninkasi Double Red a bit ago, so now I will rave about there next beer in my sampling, the Spring Reign....Available in 22oz bombers around Oregon, it presents itself with 28 IBU's and 6%...

It pours a honey hue with a tight head.

The aroma is burnt sugar and caramel with a hop tang at the end.

It is roasty malt right up front, hop earthiness appears in the medium body. It is very refreshing with roasty notes at the end. The hop lifts the malt and keeps it from getting too heavy with the sugar notes.

THe aftertaste is bitter with lingering biscuity malt.

More malty than expected but still refreshing with the bold hop backbone. I highly recomend this spring refresher - even if it is already summer~


Monday, June 22, 2009

La Fleur Amere, Pelican Brewery, Pacific City Oregon

This weekend I had the fortune of coming across the 2009 Brewer's Summer Games at the beautiful Pelican Brewery. This was my first beer festival on the beach and it really is as good as it seems...One of the best beers I had was the La Fleur Amere (The Bitter Flower) brewed right there at the Pelican Brewery. It is a Belgium yeast based English IPA - Nice!

It pours copper with a tight head.

The aroma has a slight sourness but with nice flowery notes.

It is bitter and the yeast is right up front. Dry-hopped, it the bitterness develops in the body. It is balanced, but with some bold taste that has a lot of character.

The aftertaste is mildly tart, and dry with yeast.

I'd recommend trying this one, but it is hard to find! They had it at the brewery, but only available for take-away in a growler.

Other notable beers I enjoyed: Lompoc Bald Guy Ale, Vaporizer IPA from Double Mountain, Oatmeal Pale from Fort George and Silver City Whoop Pass Double IPA -


Monday, June 8, 2009

Believer Double Red Ale, Ninkasi Brewing Company, Eugene Oregon

Now, let me prep by saying I usually don't enjoy reds, but as mentioned before, put double in front of it and you've got me!

It pours deep and dark with a big tight head.

The aroma is sweet with caramel malt and mild vanilla. Hops are aplenty and there is a slight pine aroma as well.

It has a full smooth body. A slight sourness (that's meant in the best possible way) builds in the body, but it finishes creamy just as the hop bitterness builds. That vague pine is buried it deep, it took me a while to identify what it was I was tasting and that is the best way to describe it. For a double, the beer is fairly dynamic offering up sour, bitter, pine and ultimately sweet then bitter tones.

The aftertaste is bitter with bold malt character.

Quite a beer and I continue to be impressed by Ninkasi's line-up. So far I've enjoyed every beer I've had from them and look forward to continue trying their beers. Look for the double red in the 22oz bottles.

6.9% with 60 IBUs and I'm a believer!!!


Saturday, June 6, 2009

Extra Special Golden, Terminal Gravity Brewing, Enterprise Oregon

A new one for me. The ESG is described as an American Lager with a kick - Let's give it a try....

It pours a bright straw color with a medium head.

The aroma is all lager, lots of straw hopness with some mild citrus and orange peel.

It has a light/medium body, bigger than I was expecting. It is fairly creamy, as well. The crispness arrives at the end. Light hop and citrus builds in the body. Over all, very drinkable and indeed more dynamic than a "typical" American lager.

The aftertaste is clean, slightly "beery". It is a refresher and the palate resets fairly quickly.

A good hot afternoon beer. It does offer more kick and dynamic flavor than one would sometimes expect from a lager. Definitely one to try this summer. Available in 12oz bottles -


Thursday, June 4, 2009

Olde School Barleywine, Dogfish Head Craft Brewery, Milton Delaware

Don't let anyone tell you that there is a wrong time for Barleywine. Yes, they are good in the cool depths of winter, but they are also equally good on a late spring eve. A storm just passed through Portland and I think it's a good time to crack open a beer I've had on standby for about six or seven months now. Let's give the Olde School a try....
It pours a deep amber hue

The aroma is brown sugar and molasses.

It is a viscous beer - thick with sugars. The molasses and brown sugar jump up right away. A burnt caramel flavor kicks in with subtlety in the body (which is full, quite full). The finish curves away from being too sweet - the 15% becomes apparent and the beer finishes heavy with oak and bitterness (85 IBUs).

The aftertaste is a mix of molasses and oak, a little chewy - like a cigar or cognac, it settles nicely on the palate despite it's bold flavor.

HIGHLY recommended, especially after a little aging. Give it a try anytime, any season. Available a certain times of the year in the 12oz bottles -


Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Oaked Arrogant Bastard, Stone Brewing Company, Escondido California

It's been a long while! A few trips have led me to Colorado, New Mexico, California, BC and Alaska...Where many great beers have been had! I will get back on the blogging wagon and post some of these soon! For now, it's good to be back in Portland, the land of beer. I will continue sampling some new beers as I post some of the delicious beers from my trips...

For now here's an old favorite of mine...At 7.2% and available year round in the 12oz bottles, there is never a bad time for a bastard...

It pours a deep copper with a thin head.

The aroma is big oak with vanilla sweetness. Roasty malt is evident as well.

It has a big full body although it starts mellow. The flavors develop quickly in the body, the roasty malt and oak combine giving it a lot of character. There isn't the sweetness that is evident in the aroma.

The aftertaste is bitterness and oak which lingers nicely.

A good experiment is to get a regular Bastard and an Oak Bastard, line 'em up and try 'em!


Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Shiner Bock, Spoetzl Brewing, Shiner Texas

I'm on a road trip right now - trying some exciting beers to blog about when I return. This is a post I had drafted to post...

Sometimes it's nice to keep it simple. It was a hot hot afternoon in Napa some years ago. My wife and I had our belly full of wine from a day's worth of tasting. A Texan at the Bed and Breakfast we were staying was leaving that day. He had a six pack of Shiner and wanted to leave it behind. Into my welcome arms did those bottles safely fall and that was my first experience of Shiner. After the wine and sitting out on the porch in the heat....

It pours a dark copper with a medium head.

The aroma is malt with a slight bitterness and a slight yeast.

It is light and crisp but with a nice malt body that has character. It isn't a delicate beer, but it is subtle.

The aftertaste is mild malt and the palate resets quickly.

This is a great bbq beer and I highly recommend it for the festivities coming up this summer season -


Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Blue Dot Double IPA, Hair of the Dog Brewing Company, Portland Oregon

7%, 22oz bottle, Double IPA...I'm in!
Firstly, notice the glassware - it's from the Spring Beer and Wine Fest I attended last Friday here in Portland. I had some delicious beers here including two great ones from Walking Man Brewery and a white ale from Fort George which was excellent (plus I had a chance to talk with one of the brewers there - thanks for the hat!). More about these two brewery's when I continue to visit them throughout this blog...For now let's go back to our beer d'jour.

It pours an unfiltered straw color with a big foamy head.

The aroma is BIG BIG earthy and floral hop with a slight straw flavor. Yeast tones also permeate.

Big hop jumps up right away. The yeast tones develop in the full body. It starts nice and crisp, but turns creamy towards the finish. There is a slight citrus flavor and some honey tones, as well.

The aftertaste is straight up hop with a slight straw flavor, as well.

Okay, I know Double IPA's aren't necessarily the most dynamic beers, but they can be enjoyed for their robust character and I that's exactly why I like them!


Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Belgian Style Tripel Ale, Stone Brewing Company (& Collaborators), Escondido California

The Belgian Tripel Ale raised to new heights with a collaboration between 3 breweries - Stone, Alesmith (San Diego) and Mikkeller (Denmark). At 9.5% it is available - for a limited time in the 12oz bottles. I picked mine up at Belmont Station a bit ago. Act now, because I'm sure it wont be around long...

It pours a bright amber with a thin head.

The aroma is white pepper, orange peel, citrus and yeast.

There is big yeast right up front. In the medium body, the citrus and white pepper build. It's a complex beer with a lot of tones that appear throughout the beer. Some are subtle like the coriander that drift around the palate - others are stronger like the citrus tones.

The aftertaste is just as complex as the body. Coriander and white pepper are evident with the yeast. It finishes bitter and viscous.

An excellent beer! Cheers!