Saturday, January 31, 2009

Derniere Volonte, Brasserie Dieu du Ciel!, Montreal Canada

Another from my favorite breweries from "up North". This is their Abbey-Style Blond ale. It is 6.5% and bottle conditioned in the 11.5 oz bottles. They are growing increasingly findable especially at your local special brew store. If they don't, ask about them - they are worth it! You can find them imported by Shelton Brothers in Belchertown, MA. The bottle mentions that Derniere Volonte (that's without the necessary accents on the e's) is French for "last will" and that this brew is a mix of Belgian and English traditions.

It pours a hazy amber.

The aroma is citrus, wheat and big yeast. A nice hop aroma (it is dry-hopped).

The taste is citrus up front with mild hop. In the body it holds a yeast/wheatness and finishes a bit sour, but fairly clean. It is a medium body beer with a lot of tones that progress while drinking. My favorite part is the aroma and initial taste. For me, the body and finish leave something to be desired. A little flat and it doesn't seem to quite balance with the initial citrus/hop.

The aftertaste is wheat, fairly clean with a very mild citrus.

All-in-all not my personal favorite from the brewery. I suppose as a mix of Belgium/English styles it probably hits the mark pretty close. It just isn't exciting my palate too much. Still quite drinkable and another interesting brew! Well worth the try, especially if you are into blond ales.


Friday, January 30, 2009

Captain Swain's Extra Stout, Cisco Brewers, Nantucket Massachusetts

Our next beer comes from Nantucket, Massachusetts - from the Cisco Brewers to be exact. Their beers are available throughout the Northeast, but I haven't seen them elsewhere....yet. Let's give it a try....

It pours opaque with a big head.

The aroma is roasty with chocolate and espresso tones.

It is rich with a big malt/chocolate/espresso taste. Very roasty at the end. Fairly heavy and grows increasingly chewy as it warms.

The aftertaste is all roasty and a bit bitter. It leaves a lot of residue and lingers for a long time, dominating the palate with malt.

It's been awhile since I've last wrote, so I am a bit rusty. Brewing went successfully and we ended up making a Black Ale and a Wee Heavy. It is being bottled soon and I can't wait to give it a try!


Saturday, January 17, 2009

Hoppe Imperial Extra Pale Ale, Southern Tier Brewing Company, Lakewood New York

This will be my last post for a bit - I am going out in the field once again....Heading north to brew! This will be my second time - last year I made a porter. The jury's out as of yet as to which style will be this years adventure, but I'm thinking something hopped up. We'll see....

Southern Tier has continued to impress me with their line of beers. Unfortunately, they are few and far between on the West Coast here. I did find a few at Bottleworks in Seattle though, so that encourages me that we are not cut-off from their brews. Todays sample is a minimalistic beer, let's try it out....

It pours a golden amber with a big head.

The aroma is big hop and yeast. It is very fresh and retains a super light white pepper fragrance.

It has a medium body - the bitterness builds in the body then finishes very bitter. Yeast and slight white pepper are noticeable in the finish as well. It is a flavorful fresh brew that is quite drinkable - especially if you are into the hoppy ones!

The aftertaste is mostly bitterness that lingers with a nice earthy tone.

At 10% this is a big beer. I definitely recommend it - it has regular availability in 22 oz bottles.


Friday, January 16, 2009

Bison Barleywine, Bison Brewing Company, San Francisco California

Well, I'm not sure if you are able to get your hot little hands on this wonderful Barleywine - They only brew 1200 cases a year and I'm not sure how far their distribution reaches (us Portlanders are blessed with a fair supply of their beers). I highly recommend this barleywine style ale - in fact I've had a few Bison beers and recommend them all. And with this next sample - I stand by my enthusiastic support. Let's try it out....

It pours a dark toffee color with a tight caramel colored head.

The aroma is dominated by sweet sweet malt.

The taste is subtle up front. A mild ale/alcohol taste that leads into a full malt body. This all leads to a bitter end with toffee tones that lingers nicely.

The aftertaste is big malty sweetness with substantial bitterness.

All - in - all it is truthfully a little sweeter than I personally enjoy. I still recommend it heartily.

It is 9.5% with 85 IBU's.


Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Oatis, Ninkasi Brewing Company, Eugene Oregon

My first love in beer was the stout. Although my tastes now lean more toward the hopped-up ales, I am still quite picky about my stouts. Our next comes from the Ninkasi Brewery in Eugene, Oregon. I only recently found out about this brewery since moving to Portland, but I've been impressed by their IPA offerings. Their Oatis is the oatmeal stout...

It pours opaque with a big dark head.

The aroma is sweet malt with both chocolate and vanilla tones.

It is oatmeal stright off, but then is balanced back by the hops in the body. It finishes clean. The Oatis has a full body and is rich, but doesn't get sticky at all. It doesn't leave a thick residue, either. It is roasty and quite creamy. Very easy to drink for a dark beer.

The aftertaste is roasty malt. It lingers for a bit before finishing clean for a stout.

I keep my musings in a notebook and then refer back to my notes when I make the blog post. I tried this beer in late December and quite liked it. A lot. I wrote 5 stars next to it in my book.

It is 7.5% iwth 45 IBUs

I'm not sure what the distribution is like beyond Oregon, but here Ninkasi is available all over...
Drink up...Enjoy!


Monday, January 12, 2009

Allagash Black, Allagash Brewing Company, Portland Maine

As is evident from previous postings, Allagash is hands-down one of my favorite breweries....ever.
This is my first tasting of their Belgium style stout...Let's dive right in...

It pours opaque with a big head.

The aroma is big chocolate malt, very roasty with mild smoke.

The taste is big smooth malt. There is chocolate evident in the full body. I also taste mild coffee.

It finishes roasty and a little smoky. It is a little biscuity at the end and lingers nicely.

If you are looking for a big stout with lots of girth, this is your beer. I thought it delicious, especially with the cold weather out there. It holds to their reputation (in my book) as another great beer.

I've seen Allagash here and there, at Whole Foods and specialty beer stores. I got mine at Belmont Station here in Portland. Their Dubbel and Tripel are usually more common, but I've seen the stout out there. Happy hunting for it and happy drinking it!


Sunday, January 11, 2009

Smoked Porter 2008, Alaskan Brewing Company, Juneau Alaska

Our next beer is a perennial favorite of mine - the Smoked Porter by Alaskan Brewing Company. It is widely released for a short time....

It pours opaque with a big caramel colored head.

It smells of big malt - roasty, smoky and slightly sweet.

The taste is big smoky malt. It has a full body and is consistent throughout. It has a nice roasty character that builds as you drink it.

The aftertaste is roasty and smoky giving away to a nice smoky residue before resetting.

It is an interesting and fairly unique beer. If you haven't tried it - it is definitely worth the sample!

From their website, I learned that they smoke a select amount of malts in a commercial food smoker with local alder wood.

It is 6.5%, with 45 IBUs


Saturday, January 10, 2009

Old Godfather, Speakeasy Ales and Lagers, San Francisco California

Our next Barleywine comes from a favorite brewery of mine, Speakeasy in San Francisco. I haven't been there yet, but I've got my New Year Resolutions this year!
Let's sample....

It pours copper with a thin head.

The smell is all sweet wheat.

Two tastings:
Colder: It has a medium body, the wheat and bitterness is apparent straight off. The sugar builds in the body, but doesn't go too far. It's not overly sweet by any means.
Warmer: Fuller body and more bitter. The sugars get thicker, the beer becomes more oak-y.

There is a big strong aftertaste which is fairly complex. There is a slight sourness that rounds off the sweetness. A strong alcohol taste with the wheat remains - it is definitely a warmer! It settles into the palate for awhile.

All-in-all an enjoyable beer. Maybe not as outstanding as their other offerings, but quite a contender.

I find Speakeasy beers here and there - they seem to pop up with some regularity - though mostly their IPAs. I'm not sure how widely released the Godfather is - I found mine at Belmont Station in SE Portland -


Thursday, January 8, 2009

2 Below, New Belgium Brewing Company, Fort Collins Colorado

One of our last Winter Beers I will get to this season is the 2 Below from New Belgium. It is widely available throughout the country...

It pours an orange amber with a thin tight head.

The smell is hop floral with a crisp freshness.

It is crisp and hoppy, the hop softens in the body. It has a medium body and is slightly creamy. 2 Below is very drinkable.

The aftertaste is a subtle hop bitterness. The palate resets quickly...

Perhaps not the most remarkable winter ale, but very drinkable and refreshing.


Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Amber Organic Ale, Fish Tale Brewery, Olympia Washington

Alright, so I'm not always excited by the more subtle ales out there. I tend to the more extreme in both ales and lagers, but still have respect for the other, less-extreme beers, as well. Tonight's Amber Ale brew comes from a brewery I am fond of, Fish Tale Brewery in Olympia, Washington.

It pours a cloudy amber with a thin head.

The aroma is mild hop with sweet malt. There is mild vanilla slightly detectable, as well.

The taste is hoppy and strong. It is mildly sweet, all-in-all, very well balanced. It has a medium body, not too sweet, not too bold.

The aftertaste is mild malt.

It is 5.5%.

So, it isn't bad at all - something that would probably be agreeable with any beer drinker - so good for a party. It would go well with several meals, as well.


Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Proving Ground IPA, Magnolia Pub and Brewery, San Francisco California

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!! This year aims to be a great year for beer - I'm going to brew my second ever beer this month, more about that later. The holiday ale sampling went great - I tried as many as I could get my lips to, but there are so many! I still have one or two, so it's not over yet! I'm trying to catch up with myself, so the next few posts will be beers I sampled last year - but didn't get the chance to publish.

We took a short trip to San Francisco and, upon arriving, promptly found the Magnolia Pub and Brewery on Haight Street. It's a great little pub and brewery - good food - good beer and great people watching. I highly recommend it!

I had two beers here - the previously blogged Winter Warmer and this one, the Proving Ground IPA, which was on cask.

It pours a glowing amber with a big foamy head.

The aroma is like 100% flowery hop goodness!

The taste is smooth, very smooth with a full body. The bitterness is balanced by the fact that it is on cask, which tends to mellow the taste, a bit. It is a great sipper - I suggest a second or third beer, as it tends to dominate the palate.

The aftertaste is mild bitterness with a lot of hop floral.

It is 7.1% with 100 IBU's - so it's not for those who don't enjoy the hop!