Friday, February 27, 2009

Great White, Lost Coast Brewery & Cafe, Eureka California

Our next beer comes from just down the coast a bit. I've been through Eureka many many times, but - and I can't explain why - I've never stopped off at the Lost Coast Brewery & Cafe. Next time...

Their "White Beer" offering is available in the 12oz bottles with fair regularity throughout the Northwest.

It pours an unfiltered very very light straw color with a thin tight head.

The aroma is Blonde Ale-ish, light yeast and mild general spice.

It is fairly crisp in the light body. Coriander is big right away, then some milder spice tones arrive in the finish. The yeast carries all the way through, balancing out the spices, except for the coriander, which stays bold. It has some nice orange/citrus tones that carry from the body into the finish as well.

The aftertaste is subtle general spice with the coriander still holding on. Mild yeast with the orange/citrus lingering nicely. A different kind of white beer than I've sampled recently - I didn't taste my favorite white pepper flavor that is at times apparent in White Ales, this one leans more toward the citrus side of things.

From the bottle, we learn that it is made with Two-Row malted barley, unmalted wheat and ale yeast.

Raven Mad Porter, Bridgeport Brewing Company, Portland Oregon

Bringing it all back home. I tried this beer a month or so ago - then lost my sampling notes. I just came across them yesterday, so let's give it a go. This beer comes with 3d glasses that enhances the label, especially after sampling.

This is an interesting beer - 59% Porter aged in Bourbon barrels, 33% aged in oak wine barrels, and 8% Porter...

It pours opaque with a caramel colored head.

The aroma is big roasted malt. Tones of chocolate and coffee are also in amidst a mild sweetness.

It starts mild, which quickly gives way to roasty and robust in the medium body. It has a slight hop character. It finishes smoky and the malt is characterized by a deepness that has to come from the barrel aging. It is robust and the sweetness is patient, only arriving in the end of the finish.

The sweetness dissipates in the aftertaste, leaving a roasty smokiness lingering on the palate.

This is a big robust beer that is definitely worth catching while it's around. It's available in the 22oz bottles - look for the blue and red glasses around the neck -


Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Turbodog, Abita Brewing Company, Abita Springs Louisiana

Where y'at?
Yesterday being Fat Tuesday and having lived in New Orleans for a spell where I picked up some delicious recipes - I cooked up some Jambalaya with a side of black-eyed peas with okra. The Turbodog from Abita Beer tasted just right to go along side dinner. Although it is a little darker than what I would usually pair with spicy food - it seemed to work quite well....

It pours deep brown, nearly opaque with a tight head.

The aroma is a nice balanced sweet malt, slightly roasty with some mild yeast.

It has a rich full body that is roasty with nice chocolate tones that carry through to the finish. It is very creamy.

The aftertaste is chocolaty with roasty tones. The creaminess holds through to the aftertaste and helps to reset the palate between flavorful bites of food!

It is brewed in small batches with Abita Springs artisan water. They use German Alt yeast and Willamette hops (dry-hopped) along the combination of Pale, Crystal and Chocolate malts. A delicious brown ale! Their distribution has picked up considerably over the past few years and we are lucky to find their beers in the 12oz bottles and 6 packs in fine grocery stores and beer stores.


Monday, February 23, 2009

Beer 100! Belgian White, Portsmouth Brewery, Portsmouth New Hampshire

Beer 100! But really, who's counting....

So another from the brewery I cannot get enough of - but unfortunately can't get any more of! It's a wonderful brewery in Portsmouth, NH and with their sister brewery, Smuttynose - they are my favorite new find of the past few years. A perfect way to celebrate 100 - let's drink.

It pours a bright glowing straw with a tight head.

The aroma is a complex bouquet of orange peel, coriander, deep spices and citrus. Mild honey is also present, but not too sweet.

The flavor is equally complex. It starts with the orange peel. In the medium body, the deep spices are revealed. It ends with a crisp sweetness. Some milder flavors in the body are white pepper and coriander. The citrus and white pepper play on the tongue in the finish along with a mild yeast.

The aftertaste is quite mild and the crispness gives way to a nice creamy citrus. It resets quickly, but the white pepper lingers for a bit longer. A wonderful flavor is left in the mouth.

Okay, I might just be a Portsmouth/Smuttynose fanatic, but another wonderful beer from the New Hampshire duo. It is available seasonally in 22oz bottles at or very near the brewery and on tap at their brewpub in Portsmouth.


Cream Ale, Laughing Dog Brewing, Ponderay Idaho

Our next beer comes from the Laughing Dog Brewery in Ponderay, Idaho. I was a big fan of their Holiday release this year - let's see how the Cream Ale stands up. It is made with both lager and ale yeast and received a Bronze Medal in the 2007 North American Brewing awards.

It pours a bright straw color.

The aroma is very light hop with sweet yeast and a clove honey smell, as well.

The taste is quite mild. The body wasn't as creamy as I was expecting - a little more crispness with a distinct yeast. It finishes crisp and dry. There is a nice orange/honey flavor in the finish.

The aftertaste is very clean, almost mead-like with it's mild honey sweetness.

Not as creamy as I was hoping - I made some Aloo Gobi for dinner and this beer actually seemed to complement it quite well. It's dry sweet finish allowed for the palate to cleanse a little during the meal.


Saturday, February 21, 2009

Sampler, Big Horse Brewery and Pub, Hood River Oregon

On the promise of sun and warm weather, we hit 84 East to Hood River. Unfortunately, when we arrived, it was shrouded in cloud. It's a great little town and we found the Big Horse Brewery for lunch. With a view of the town and the Columbia River, we ordered a Sampler of 8 of their brews and food.

1) Easy Blonde - 5.0% with Mt. Hood Hops.
- It pours a cloudy straw color.
- The aroma is mild yeast and mild hop.
- It is crisp with slight honey. Well hopped, it's more dynamic than most Blonde's I've had - offering a crisp dry finish. It is an easy-drinker and makes me yearn for the summer!
- The aftertaste is crisp and resets quickly with a nice yeast lingering on the palate. It was a surprisingly good, as I do not usually enjoy Blonde's. This one was quite good.

2) Pale Rider IPA - 6.7% with Columbus Hops
- It pours a deep amber.
- The aroma is light with just a touch of mild flowery hops.
- The hop builds in the medium/full body, offering up a nice earthy, lightly flowery bouquet.
- It finishes big with big hops and big bitterness that rests on the palate for a bit. There is a nice hop residue on the tongue that also lingers nicely. I love IPA's and this one had me wanting more!

3) MacStallion Scotch - 6.9%
- It pours a deep amber.
- The aroma is of mild smoke.
- It offers up a lot of flavors. It is smokey right away, but in the body, there is a slight fruit flavor that rises and stays through the finish. Malt and barely are evident.
- The aftertaste is mildly bitter with a nice smokiness. It is the most dynamic Scotch ale I've had that offers up a lot of taste and flavors to enjoy.

4) Nightmare Stout - 6.5% - let this one warm up a bit before sampling.
- It pours opaque with a good head.
- The aroma is a nice deep maltiness.
- It has a medium body with a nice oatmeal chewiness.
- The aftertaste is mild bitter and chewy (with a slight biscuit) that lingers heavy on the palate. Probably the weakest link in this Octet of beers.

5) Unlucky Lager - 5.2% - German style, hopped with German Selects.
- It pours a bright straw color.
- The aroma is very mild hop.
- The taste is mild hop, very creamy in the body. Easy to drink.
- Mild yeast/hop resets quickly in the aftertaste. Another of my "not so favorite" style of beers, this one stood strong.

6) 10-Speed Espresso Porter - 6.2% - Brown Porter with 10-Speed Coffee's Kick Stand Espresso Beans.
- It pours a cloudy dark brown like iced coffee.
- The aroma is straight up coffee/espresso with a mild smokiness.
- It has big iced coffee/espresso notes straight away. It is very thin - not too malty or chewy. It has a nice chocolate tone in the finish. It wasn't as deep as I'd expect for espresso, so I kept tasting more of a coffee flavor.
- Coffee/espress0 with mild malt that dominates the palate for awhile before resetting.

7) B.O.G.Inator - 8.0% - Smoked Doppelbock
- It pours a dark amber.
- The aroma is smoky with mild malt.
- The taste is big creamy smoke that appears right away and stays with you until the finish. It has a rich full body and was one of the favorites.
- The aftertaste is smoky with mild sweetness.

8) 2007 Phat Dog Barley Wine - 12% - Aged 2 Years.
- It pours a bright amber.
- The aroma is real light malt.
- It offers up a big flavor in the full body with malty burnt sugar and caramel. It finishes with molasses.
- Sugary Malty Goodness!

Head brewer Jason Kahler has my kudos for creating a dynamic and delicious round of beers. This was an excellent discovery and comes HIGHLY recommended. They have growlers for some take-home fun.


Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Double Haul IPA, Kettle House Brewing Company, Missoula Montana

Our next brew announces a first for the blog. I, like many, will freely admit my wariness of canned beer - but we shouldn't let that interfere with giving them a try. I don't know much about the Kettle House Brewing Company. Their website announces they use cans because they are recyclable (made from 80% recycled material), opaque (less susceptible to flavor changes), and easily transportable. Good reasons, let's give it a try. This was a gift from my friend Jason - he picked it up on a recent move from Boston to SF, so Jason - this one's for you - Thanks!

I'm not sure what their availability is - this is my first encounter. It is a 16oz can at 6.6% with 65 IBU's and made with Cascade hops in the bittering, flavoring, and finishing.

It pours bright amber with a nice tight head.

The aroma is all hops, of course. Big, bitter, fresh flowery hop - to get a good idea of what Cascade hops are about - this is the beer to try.

The taste is big crisp hop. It has a medium/full body and the bitterness expands right after sipping. It finishes flowery and bitter - a great testament to hops! It is not overly hoppy and has a nice crispness that keeps the palate lively and fresh.

The aftertaste is mild bitter and flowery.

This is by far the BEST canned beer I've ever had - don't let the aluminum fool you!


Monday, February 16, 2009

Allagash Four, Allagash Brewing, Portland Maine

Our next fine, fine beer comes as a wonderful Valentine present from my wife (! The Allagash Four from Allagash Brewing is an apex of ales....4 hops, 4 malts, four sugars and 4 Belgian yeast strains.....fermented 4 times! It sounds complex and is good to sample by itself. Allagash has continued to prove itself as one of my personal favorite breweries....ever! I visited it nestled in the woods and grocery stores of outer Portland (the other Portland), Maine. It's in a bit of an odd place and there is no brew pub, but they offer all their fine ales, swag and tour. Allagash is available all over, some of their rarer ales are a little more difficult to hunt down - but there's joy in the search! They also have the distinction of having 100% of their power obtained from wind power.

It pours a cloudy amber/caramel color.

The aroma is hoppy at first, which then gives way to a sweet malty alcohol.

The beer is, of course, complex. It starts mellow and the body is slightly creamy. That's where the tastes really begin to develop. The creaminess gives way to a crisp hop brightness. This is immediately combined with a sweet oak malt that arrives at the back of the tongue. It finishes with molasses and burnt sugar tones.

The aftertaste is dominating. It is alcohol and oak with bold sweetness that lingers nicely for awhile before giving away to sugary - but not too sweet, more molasses.

From their website, I've learned that they use Date Sugar in the mashing process. In the boil, Light Candi, Dark Candi, and Light Golden Molasses are added. The final (forth) yeast is added for bottle conditioning in their cellar!

It is 10%, sip well!


Saturday, February 14, 2009

Walktopus, Walking Man Brewery, Stevenson Washington

The wonderful Walking Man Brewery and Pub in Stevenson Washington is now offering their Walktopus, Batch 600 Strong Ale. At 8.8%, it's worth the trip.

Pours deep, nearly opaque.

The aroma is mild mild malt.

It has a big malt vanilla flavor. It is mildly sweet and very creamy in the body. It is a bold beer with a lot of pronounced malt, but keeps it's creaminess throughout the body into the finish, making it fairly easy to drink.

The aftertaste is malt and roasted peat. Mildly sweet at the very end.



Stormwatcher's Winterfest 2008, Pelican Pub and Eatery, Pacific City Oregon

Our next brew comes from the stunningly beautiful Pelican Pub and Eatery in Pacific City, Oregon. We took our good friends from Atlanta here last week and wowed them with the location (on the beach!) and delicious brews. I sampled the Stormwatcher's Winterfest. It is a big 13% beer with 31 IBU's.

The Stormwatcher's Winterfest is Pelican Brewery's Barleywine-style ale offering.

It pours a cloudy redish color, but is nearly opaque.

The aroma is sweet malt and toffee.

It has a full sticky body, sweet with tofee notes on the tongue. It is bisquity at athe finish. Floral hops accentuate the body and it is sugary with wtrong alchohol tones.

The aftertaste is sticky on the palate with sweetness that fades quickly. Hop and toffee linger, but it has a remarkably clean finish.

Again, it is perfect for the cold winter nights, but the clean finish makes it a beer that can be enjoyed year-round.

Available on tap and in 22 oz bottles.


Friday, February 13, 2009

Kilt Lifter, Pike Brewing Company, Seattle Washington

Our next brew serves more as an example than as an actual tasting. The Scotch Ruby Ale from Pike Brewing is aptly named the Kilt Lifter. It's an ale with some umph and a bottle made it's way into my fridge awhile ago. Who knows what it's shelf life was before that, I bought it at a grocery in Washington. It didn't take long to realize it was too old for it's own good....

It pours a deep ruby.

The scent is mild oak, mild berry-ish.

The taste is sweet - sweeter than it should be...I begin to suspect. The body is fine with brown sugar and mile smoky oak. Then in the finish, the skunk appears. Ack! I've let a beer go bad. This is not reflection on the Kilt Lifter - I've had it plenty of times and know how it should taste.

The aftertaste isn't worth describing. Let this be a lesson - don't buy dusty beers that shouldn't be dusty (some are fine and some better that way - but not all!) and drink beers on time!

For fans of Scotch ales, I normally recommend the Kilt Lifter, available all over the Northwest.


Thursday, February 12, 2009

Chocolate Stout, Bison Brewery, Berkeley California

Our next beer comes loades with 2-Row, Camel, Chocolate, Roast Barley, and Munich Malts. Bison is an organic brewery from Berkeley, CA. Let's see how these malts taste!

It pours opaque with a tawny tight head.

The aroma is cocoa with a roasty malt.

The taste is roasty malt with a medium body. It thickens as it warms and finishes with big chocolate tones. Dark cocoa and a little coffee develops as you enjoy.

The aftertaste is deep cocoa.

This is a deep dark delicious dessert beer.


Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Deep Enders Dark Porter, Anderson Valley Brewing Company, Boonville California

Anderson Valley....Consistently one of my favorites!

It pours opaque with a tight head.

The aroma is all malty.

The taste is smooth, very smooth. It's malty in the full body with a slight sweetness. There is bitterness in the finish, but it is very light. It is chocolaty and roasty without dominating the palate.

The aftertaste is roasty malt and it resets quickly. It's smooth, very smooth and doesn't stick around being sticky and thick.

A great smooth porter!


Tuesday, February 10, 2009

12th Anniversary Bitter Chocolate Oatmeal Stout, Stone Brewery, Escondido California

Our next sampling comes from the excellent Stone Brewery. This is a limited release, but has been fairly available at most places I've looked. Let's give it a try....

It pours opaque with a dark brown head

It smells of dark cocoa and mildly sweet. The sweetness is rounded off by a distinct roastiness.

The taste is rich and bitter. It is creamy and the chocolate forms in the body, giving big cocoa notes.There is a little sweetness, but it is cut off by the roasty coffee tones in the end. It finishes chewy and thick.

The aftertaste is biscuity chocolate and slightly bitter. The cocoa takes you straight through.

This is an excellent big bold chocolate taster. It's 9.2% and available in 22oz bottles.


Monday, February 9, 2009

In Heat Wheet Hefeweizen, Flying Dog Ales, Frederick Maryland

I'm back to it again - it's been a great week of brewpubs around the Portland area. Our friends from Atlanta were impressed by the selection of local beers and we enjoyed many of them. Unfortunately, not many got blogged about, but a few - just enough to keep me from feeling guilty.

This is a beer I had awhile ago, one of my back-logged posts.

It pours a cloudy unfiltered amber.

The aroma is wheat with slight dried banana and mild white pepper.

It is wheaty with a medium body. Dried banana and citrus forms in the mouth. It finishes with a mild white pepper/dried banana.

The aftertaste is citrus wheat. I'm a fan of big beers and this one is a little on the softer side. I think it would be an enjoyable beer for those who are first venturing into hef's and not quite ready to make the transatlantic voyage to the land of hef's quite yet.


Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Two Hearted Ale, Bells Brewing, Galesburg and Kalamazoo Michigan

So about 10 years ago, I took a road trip to Michigan with my friend Kevin. We were into beer, but not that into it - more into just drinking it. If only I had come across this fine brewery (at the time known as the Kalamazoo Brewing Company). But I did have the fine fortune of picking up a 6 pack somewhere along the road on a recent move from the East to the West Coast. Bell's beers are available throughout the middle states, but unfortunately not on the coasts. I've only had the Two-Hearted Ale, but it blew me away. I recently found out that my friend Dave, who's wife is from Michigan, had this beer at their wedding. He was a brewer for sometime (Boundary Bay, etc) and ran the beautifully stocked BottleShop (R.I.P.) in Bellingham, WA, but enough of my ramblings...

It pours a bright amber with a big foamy head.

It has a nice full aroma with flowery hop and mild citrus.

It has a medium body full of flowery hop. It is noticeably bitter that carries nicely throughout enjoying.

The aftertaste is bitterness that gives way to hop citrus that lingers nicely...

I love this beer, as you can tell by the lengthy introduction. It's well worth finding and once you do, please enjoy one for me....


Monday, February 2, 2009

Solstice D'Hiver Barleywine, Brasserie Dieu du Ciel!, Montreal & St-Jérôme Canada

Another beer from the Brasserie Dieu du Ciel! located in St-Jérôme and Montreal, Canada. Solstice D'Hiver is their Barleywine....

It pours an unfiltered dark, deep amber.

The aroma is sweet malt but very subtle.

It starts with mild malt and a medium body. Liquor/bitter taste arrives in the body. It has a very bitter end with plenty of burnt sugar and oak.

Aftertaste is mostly bitter with some oak residue It lingers nicely on the palate...

This is a delicious offering and at 9%, a nice burly winter sipper. Look for it in the 11.5 oz bottles from you local specialty beer store....


Sunday, February 1, 2009

Bourbon County Stout, Goose Island Beer Company, Chicago Illinois

Okay, enough slacking. Let's get down to some real beer sampling. I'm still catching up with myself - a quick evaluation shows that I have about half a dozen beers sampled in my beer notebook that I haven't yet blogged, so I'm trying to hit it each day and drink beers I've already had for a bit. It'll be tough though - some good friends are visiting from Atlanta and well, you gotta take the beer tour (it'll be their first time in Portland). So, we'll see how far I get before I'm back-logged again. The good news is that MyYearInBeer will be on the brewery tour and I will faithfully report back my findings. Enough talk, let's drink.

Our next beer comes from Chicago - let's look past the recent governor troubles to the Goose Island Beer Company. I don't know too much about this brewery and the only beer I've seen of theirs in person, is the Bourbon County Stout. I found mine here in Portland at Belmont Station. A quick look at their website reveals a full line-up of beers and when I make it back to Chicago - I'm definitely going to give 'em a shot. For now, let's see about this stout....

It pours the darkest beer I've ever seen, literally. It's a black hole of beer. I stand at the event horizon wondering how they can get malt to do that....

The aroma is intense. There is big oak & alcohol tones. A mild vanilla sweetness is also present.

It is a big beer. Big Beer. Full body, oak and vanilla sweetness are present from the beginning and expand in the body. It finishes rich with chocolate and smoke. It's definitely a sipper that warms you right up. Indeed, my ears felt warm as I enjoyed the beer. Remarkably, it's not too sticky, instead finishing fairly clean - it doesn't wear you out with it's heaviness. At least not right away. There is a nice arc to the beer: Intense alcohol to sweet to rich to smoky.

The aftertaste is intense chocolate that lingers with a nice smokiness on the breath.

From the website: 11% with 60 IBU's - look for it in 12oz bottles annually around December.