Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Beer # 182 - Single Wide IPA, Boulevard Brewing Company, Kansas City, Missouri

This is a great brewery I discovered on a cross-country road trip. I've enjoyed their Double-Wide Imperial IPA and am stocked to try the Single Wide! They add a bit of yeast at the end for a secondary fermentation in the bottle - sounds like a good idea!
Let's Pour!

It pours a brilliant straw color with a big head.

The aroma reveals big sweet hop with citrus and some evident yeast tones.

The full body reveals smooth hop that does not peak too high on the palate, but settles smoothly on the tongue. Yeast is predominant in the finish rounding out the hop with citrus/grapefruit tang.

The aftertaste reveals yeast and hop that lingers on the tongue, but the beer provides a very smooth finish. It is refreshing, but maintains a nice presence while drinking.


Beer # 181 - Jubel, Deschutes Brewing Company, Bend, Oregon

The Jubel 2010 - Once a decade beer! Fittingly at 10% - I was excited to give it a try - though I must say, I wish the beer was available more than just once every 10 years!!!
Let's pour!

It pours nearly opaque with a hefty head.

The aroma reveals malt with some sweetness and noticeable fig or raisin.

The Jubel is smooth with a full rounded body. Malt builds on the palate revealing fig and currant notes on the tongue. It finishes very smooth with a nice warming sensation. It has the presence of a well-aged port, but doesn't pack any sweetness with it.

It finishes fairly bold, but still drives a consistent smoothness through to the end. Assertive alcohol settles nicely - again reminiscent of a port. It is a smooth delicious sipper.
This is an excellent smooth beer offering up consistent flavorful palate pleasing sip after sip, pulling flavors from their excellent Jubelale. It is recommended that you buy one to enjoy now and cellar one for next year - a suggestion I will definitely take up!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Beer # 180 - Glissade, Sierra Nevada Brewing Company, Chico, California

I'm always excited when I see a new Sierra Nevada at the store. In recent years, they've been distributing a lot more of their beers and this was my first try of the Glissade, a Golden Bock.
Let's pour!
It pours golden with a thin head

The aroma is light and springy with some very very subtle malt presence.

It is delicate, very delicate, but refreshing. It has a beer beer flavor that greets the palate lightly. It has a very light body with subtle malt and hop, that don't develop.

It finishes clean and bright. It is refreshing, but the flavors don't develop too far and leaves the palate wanting a little more...


Saturday, May 8, 2010

Beer # 179 - Hop Pursuit, Full Sail Brewing, Hood River, Oregon

Hop pursuit - what a good idea! I spend most of my beer drinking in the pursuit of hops, so this is a natural one to try! It is Full Sail's Extra Pale Ale offering -
Let's pour!
It pours a golden hazy hue with a tight head.

The aroma is crisp hop, earthy with honey notes - slight coriander and orange peel are evident, as well.

The full body is crisp with hop arriving early and developing fast to dominate the palate. Aggressive bitterness jumps all over the tongue. It is refreshing and lively, finishing with citrus and spice.

The aftertaste let's the bitter citrus linger on the tongue with mild spiciness on the palate. Like spicy food, you want to take a moment between enjoying - but you also can't help continuing to enjoy! Not for the fein of heart or for those afraid of bitter beer face! An excellent beer! Not a session beer by any means, but it sure tastes good while listening to the baseball game on the radio - I won't lie!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Beer # 178 - Auld Battle Axe, Laurelwood Brewing, Portland, Oregon

Ahhh, Laurelwood - a consistent provider of delicious beers! We ventured over to the East Side to enjoy the Laurelwood Pizza Company and happened across the very last bottle of the Auld Battle Axe, a Scottish Style Ale. At 10% in a beautiful bottle, I was anxious to crack it open -
Let's pour!
It pours a deep brown with a thin head.

The aroma reveals big malt, which greets the nostrils with big vanilla and slight nut.

It has strong alcohol tones right away that build with the big malt presence in the full body. It is strong and aggressive with vanilla, but there is not too much sweetness, with nuttiness rounding the vanilla off. It is lively on the tongue. Oak and slight cherry sourness arrives in the finish, giving it a very dynamic arc.

The aftertaste is big and strong with malt and alcohol dominating, with subtle nuttiness, oak and slight cherry.

It is a full body, full flavor beer - Bold, strong and delicious! For being so big, it still provides dynamic flavors that keep the palate lively -
If you can find it, get it!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Beer # 177 - Berserker Imperial Stout, Midnight Sun Brewing Company, Anchorage, Alaska

Another from the Midnight Sun in Anchorage - I sampled this with a good friend of mine who lived in Alaska for a spell, seemed like an appropriate time to crack it open!

It pours opaque, like midnight in winter. Opaque. It has a dark tan head.

The aroma is intense malt, with some sweet vanilla and chocolate evident.

I don't normally do this, but this is one beer that substantiates such a declaration in a such a truncated form - the description was muttered by my friend as we drank....

"Molasses in our glasses."

Enough said. The beer is INTENSE, black and thick and very hard to drink. If you want to push your palate to the very edge of reason and beyond - and you are a fan of Imperial Stouts, hit this one, it won't let you down. If you are not a fan of thick strong intense beers or such things like straight molasses, steer yourself clear!


Sunday, April 4, 2010

Beer # 176 - Treat, Midnight Sun Brewing Company, Anchorage, Alaska

Midnight Sun hails from Anchorage, Alaska. I've had the pleasure of visiting the brewery last year and have enjoyed several of their beers. Their distribution has increasingly expanded and now I've seen their beers regularly around Portland. Treat is their Imperial Chocolate Pumpkin Porter, at 78% with 30 IBUs. With pumpkin, cocoa nibs, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg, it promises to be an interesting ale! Let's pour!

It pours opaque with a big tight head.

The aroma is lively with vanilla with clove, pumpkin and spice.

It has a very creamy full body. Pumpkin mixes with cocoa to make it slightly rich on the tongue. Cinnamon and spice take over on the back of the tongue, balancing back the sweetness of the pumpkin and the richness of the cocoa. Roasted malt arrives late to curb back the spice and the vanilla, allowing the beer a nice smooth finish.

The aftertaste is balanced by the roasted malt. Vague sweetness and pumpkin are apparent, but instead of a lingering sweetness, there is a nice long smooth full malt flavor.

It is a wonderful beer, one of the best pumpkin ales I've ever had!


Friday, April 2, 2010

Beer # 175 - Isarweizen, Heater Allen Brewing Company, McMinnville, Oregon

Heater Allen is a small artisan brewery in McMinnville, Oregon - it may be small, but they have a nice selection of German-style beers with growing distribution. This was my first of their ales and I am excited to have more! Let's pour!

It pours cloudy & golden with a thin loose head.

The aroma reveals big wheat with spicy yeast and clove.

The medium body is refreshing with spice, clove and white pepper on the palate. It finishes crisp and flavorful with low carbonation. It is an excellent example of the hefeweizen style with banana and nutmeg flavors building throughout.

The aftertaste holds the yeast and clove, though the palate refreshes quickly, making this beer quite drinkable. It will be released again here in May, a perfect warm weather time to enjoy the beer!


Sunday, March 21, 2010

Beer #174 - Life and Limb, Sierra Nevada Brewing Company & Dogfish Head Brewing Company

Beer. Sometimes, the attempt to take notes after having a few beers gets a little tricky. My handwriting is already a bit dodgy, but at time downright illegible. In the case the notes for Life and Limb, it seems to lean toward the illegible, cut I'll give it a shot....
The beer is a collaboration between Dogfish Head and Sierra Nevada and features birch syrup in the brew. Let's pour!
It pours opaque with a thin head.

The aroma is malty with vanilla and pronounced maple.

It has a full-body, with birch and maple evident. There is sweetness, but the malt tends to curb it from being too dominant on the palate. It has low carbonation and finishes with a nice toasted malt. A few more lines and something about the hop that I can't quite read!

It finishes clean with maple and toasted flavors lingering nicely on the tongue.

I'll attempt to be a little more responsible next time and BLOG before BEER!


Thursday, February 25, 2010

Beer #173 - Secession Black, Hopworks Urban Brewery - Portland, Oregon

Carbon neutral and organic, Hopworks is a conscientious brewery that offers up a great line-up of beer. I was excited to see their Black IPA (a.k.a. Cascadian Dark Ale) at the store - a style that is rapidly becoming a favorite. Let's pour!

It pours opaque with a big tight head.

It is aggressively fragrant with big hop aromas and spruce. A nice roast malt echoes in the background.

It is smooth and bold. The hop develops on the tongue of this full-bodied beer. Hops are very pronounced, their tangy character bounces all around the palate. Spruce tones add boldness to the hops, while also sweetening the beer slightly. The malt backbone adds a little more fullness to the body. The roast tones develop as it warms, but the beer retains a nice crispness.

The aftertastes is considerably mild. The hop dissolves leaving the beer refreshing and crisp. The malt lingers a bit adding dimension and weight to the palate making the next sip even better!

Available now, it is absolutely perfect for these beautiful February days. The hop brightness compliments the sun, the dark color and malts compliment the fact that strangely, it is still winter! 6.5% with 70 IBU's.


At 6.5% with 70 IBUs, it stands to be a formidable

Friday, February 19, 2010

Beer #172 - Java Stout, Bell's Brewing Company - Galesburg/Kalamazoo, Michgan

I don't particularly care for what I will call "Flavored Beers" but occasionally, they will get my vote. A sure bet is by throwing coffee in the mix, then I'm on board. One of my favorite beers is from Bell's Brewing Company, called the Two-Hearted Ale (see earlier post) which I happened to pick up unprompted on a move across the country. It proved a good move. A good friend of mine, who has strong Michigan ties, recently gave me a bottle of their Java Stout. I am unable to find their beers out here, so I was reasonably stoked to have another from their line-up. Let's pour!

It pours opaque with a big head.

The aroma is heavy with dark roasted malt. The coffee tones are very present.

Letting the beer warm, it has a smooth body. Roasted dark coffee tones are present at all times, but is especially apparent in the finish. Vanilla sweetness and heavy roasted malts are also present, curbing the bitterness that arrives in the finish. The beer is dominated by the coffee.

The aftertaste is thick with roasted coffee.

This beer definitely gave me my coffee fix! It isn't the most balanced beer, but sometimes it's just fine to indulge!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Beer #171 - Topsail Bourbon Barrel Aged Horizontal Tasting - Portland, Oregon

This week brought a phenomenal beer tasting at Full Sail Brewery in Hood River and Portland, OR. I had a chance to enjoy the horizontal tasting for their seasonal release, Top Sail, a bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Porter. Not only was the Top Sail available, but Full Sail kegged off each of the three beers that are brewed for the blend that is Top Sail. The four beers offered in the tasting were: Maker's Mark Aged, Stranahan's Aged, Four Roses Aged and the blend of all three, Top Sail blend.
I started with the Maker's Mark Aged which offers up bold aromas of dried fruit, oak and vanilla. It has a full smooth body that emphasizes the vanilla and oak, but maintains a bold characteristic that keeps it from being too sweet. The aftertaste introduces dark chocolate flavors. It is very smooth, not sweet, not bitter, nicely balanced. Oak and chocolate covered fruit notes linger nicely on the palate, getting smoother and smoother as it is enjoyed.

Next up, the Stranahan's Aged which has big notes of smoky oak. It has a stronger bolder body , with more assertive bourbon flavors. Oak and vanilla are strong on the tongue and it finishes bold with spiciness and strong alcohol. Very subtle chocolate in the aftertaste, which mostly maintains the oak and bourbon flavors, tending toward the sweeter side.

The Four Roses Aged aroma asserts more bourbon than the other two. Oak and alcohol are also apparent. It starts smooth with the bourbon flavors overtaking the palate. Smokiness and oak linger on the tongue like a nice bourbon! It finishes with strong bourbon flavors and chocolate in the very finish. It maintains a nice smoothness, even with some strong alcohol and bourbon characteristics.

And finally, the Top Sail Blend. It is very smooth, like the Maker's Mark aged. The aroma is sweet with bourbon flavors and oak combining nicely. It maintains a marked smoothness, combining the smoky flavors of the four roses with the alcohol and spiciness of the Stranahan's. Chocolate, bourbon, spice and oak all reveal themselves in the aftertaste. The beer maintains a balanced full-body.

It was an interesting tasting, and it allowed a really clear chance to see where the blend gets all of it's flavors. Admittedly, I enjoyed two more glasses of the Maker's Mark - hey, it was only available that one night! The Top Sail is available in 22oz bottles at 9.85% and 65 IBUs. It will age well, and I am looking forward to seeing how the individual flavors evolve as it ages.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Beer #170 - W'10, Pitch Black IPA, Widmer Brothers Brewing - Portland, Oregon

The new seasonal release from Widmer is the W'10 Pitch Black IPA. This style combines the hop bitterness typical of most IPA's with the backbone of darker ales. Let's pour!

With black malt and roasted barley, the beer pours a deep brown, nearly opaque with a tight head.

The aroma carries hop fragrance with evident malt tones. Chocolate and biscuit combine with tones of the roasted barley.

The ale begins with hop liveliness, mellowing on the tongue where the malt backbone becomes pronounced. It has a smooth body, almost creamy, as mild dark chocolate and toasted flavors develop. It finishes more aggressively as the hop delivers decent bitterness and freshness that keep the malt tones from dominating the palate.

As the bitterness subsides, citrus is evident in the clean aftertaste.

At 6.5% and with it's dark hue, the beer fits in perfectly with our grey winter. The hop delivers the much needed hope of summer!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Beer #169 - Highland Ambush Scotch Ale - Bridgeport Brewing Company, Portland, Oregon

Part of the always tasty Bridgeport Big Beer series, the Highland Ambush is 33% ale aged in oak bourbon and 67% ale. Wow, enough said. Let's pour. Now.

It pours a cloudy brown with a big head.

The aroma holds strong vanilla and sweet oak.

It starts smooth with distinct vanilla. The smoothness holds through the full body with oak and caramel malts. The ale develops some subtle backbone flavors of rich malt as it warms.It finishes bitter with alcohol tones and vanilla malt - the strong backbone and full body keeping it from being overly sweet.

The aftertaste is quite smooth with vanilla balanced with bitterness and alcohol tones.


Sunday, January 17, 2010

Beer #168 - Killer Penguin Barleywine Ale, Boulder Beer Company, Boulder, Colorado

And part of the joy of winter are the wide releases of barleywine style ales. Characterized by their sweet and strong elements, they help to warm these cold months. The Boulder Beer Company's barleywine selection is the Killer Penguin. Barleywine's age well, their finer tones evolving and developing over time. This particular one is from 2008 and is 10%. Let's pour.

It pours an auburn color with a big head.

The aroma holds tones of sweetness, fig, alcohol and molasses.

It is a very very smooth and silky sipper. Indeed, rarely have I had barleywines so smooth. Oak and fig develop in the body, slightly coating the tongue with molasses and burnt caramel, but distinctly steering clear of the stickiness that pervades the heavy ales. Alcohol tones arrive late, firing up the taste buds.

The aftertaste hold the alcohol tones which round out subtly and smoothly with oak and fig sweetness.

Highly recommended for fans of very smooth ales and newbies of barleywine styles, to help you ease into the realm of these ales.


Saturday, January 16, 2010

Beer #167 - Adoration Special Winter Ale - Brewery Ommegang, Cooperstown, NY

Ommegang specializes in Belgium style ales, providing consistent American brewed ales that adhere to the distinctive standards that make Belgian style ales so unique and so tasty. Their winter ale, a dark ale, is spiced with cardamom, coriander, mace, grains of paradise and sweet orange peel. Pop the cork and let it breathe and breathe in the wonderful aroma...

It pours a cloudy brown with a big tight head.

The aroma holds scents of vanilla, cardamom, and general spice with fragrances of yeast.

It is a full ale with immediate pronounced sweet spice. Coriander, orange peel and alcohol tang develop in the body. The spice gives way to effervescent sweetness on the tongue. Orange peel intensifies in the finish where the alcohol tones mix with the yeast flavors to complete a complex and strong sipper.

The aftertaste holds the orange peel sweetness with a spice that rounds off quickly. Yeast and slight bitterness lingers at the very end.

A delicious way to make the winter ales linger - if we have to deal with a few more months of the rain here in Portland, the thought is eased by the knowledge that Ommegang is out there, at your local beer store, making the dark days more quaffable, one sip at a time.


Thursday, January 7, 2010

Beer #166 - Hop-Head Imperial IPA, Bend Brewing Company - Bend, Oregon

Happy New Year and Happy 2010! My intuition is that this will be a great year, indeed! To start this year, indeed, this decade off right, I thought it good to start with the Hop-Head Imperial IPA from Bend Brewing Company. My beer goals this year are to keep the blog updated more frequently and to brew more! This started last weekend, when my friend Dustin and I brewed up a batch of "Santa's Dilemma Ale" a winter ale with ginger, honey, cinnamon and orange peel. It was my first time brewing a concentrate on the stove top indoors - I'm used to freezing outside while brewing. A few weeks and we'll know how it went.
The Hop-Head won a Bronze medal at the 2008 Great American Beer Festival. It's available in the 22oz bottles and on tap in the late fall at the brewpub.

It pours a golden honey with a decent sized head.

The aroma holds big flowery hops with citrus and earthy tones.

Flower notes give way to an earthy smooth body. Honey smoothness on the tongue also holds citrus tones. Earthy bitterness and alcohol tones arrive late on the back of the tongue.

The aftertaste bounces bitterness around the mouth, but it is cut short by a velvety body - smoothing out with a slight vanilla at the very end.

A great way to kick the year off!

Happy drinking -