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.


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