Sunday, December 14, 2008

New Blog

So I've finally gotten around to getting the new blog up and running, although I'll be making tweaks on it as I go. The new blog is at

Let me know your thoughts.


Monday, December 8, 2008

Green Dragon Taps 12/6/08

A quick update. If you missed the Holiday Ale Fest you can still catch some of the beers on tap at the Green Dragon along with some other good winter warmers.

As of Sunday they had:
Fort George North 2
Southern Oregon Old Humbug 2
Full Sail Old Boardhead
Ommegang Hennepin
Six Rivers Kriek
Stone 12th Anniversary Stout

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Holiday Ale Fest 2008

So the Wednesday session is on! Arriving at 3pm for the opening founding me waiting in a 40 person line, sure maybe a few more people than I expected, but I was in the company of people that were truly there to drink and appreciate some good brew. I have to give it up to Preston for adding this day, as I trekked around the tent I met a ton of great local beer enthusiasts. This really was the day for the beer geeks to show up and mingle.

This years fest featured a new navigational hazard... the 2nd beer tent. Upon entering there was a sign to your left that showed that other beers were just a catwalk away. Glancing at the signs I knew that there were some must-try beers in the 2nd tent so I made my way over there. To get to the second tent you had to cross this.Now, i've been to my share of beer fests, but this looks like a fricken mine field in the making, I mean how the heck do you expect people to traverse this thing after some of these beers? Now I was only here for a hand full of samples, but I have seen Friday and Saturday nights and some of the sauced people it creates, this looks like a lawsuit in the making. I understand the need for more space, but this was head-scratching. Also, no Jim for wheelchair bound people. But overall it lead to this tent.

The beer selection this year was excellent. From the 3 years of Jim to the special Firestone Walker releases, all selections at this fest lead to a bit of excitement. My favorite brews from this years fest were Cascade Sang Noir, Hair of the Dog Jim 3, and Firestone Walker Merkin Stout. Also, if it is still available check out the Cascade Vlad the Impaler. I thought Ron's Vlad creation was the star of the show.

Overall some great times. I was able to share a brew with a bunch of the great local beer enthusiasts, and sample a lot of the great hard to find winter brews Portland has to offer. If you can try to get down to the Holiday Ale fest Thursday at opening, so you can sample these great brews before the crowds get overwhelming. Plan on attending this fest over a couple of days to enjoy this amazing selection of winter warmers.

If you are unsure of what to try Jeff wrote a great breakdown of the hard to find beers here.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Green Dragon Update

Excited to proclaim not much has changed at the Dragon. I dropped in for meet the brewer night and it was pleasantly familiar. After a nice glass of Fort George North II (which the mug club was still in effect), the happy hour hasn't changed yet. Next up was a glass of Baron Rauchbier which was excellent. There is something about a easy to drink smoked beer that is just perfect. You get the heavier smoked/scotch flavors, without to much kick.

After that I talked with the brewer for a bit and sampled a few of the offerings. Strange to say, I really enjoy Pelicans standard beers, but their special releases are... well.. not my thing. I thought the Wee Heavy was rather bland, not enough earthiness and character, more like a typical American strong ale. The Bridal ale didn't have the malt depth of a good Bier de Garde. The Pelican Brune didn't have hardly any carbonation, leaving it flat and lifeless. I think Pelican makes an awesome IPA, stout, dark, and Stormwatchers is delicious, but all of these seasonals just seem to be mediocre. Even their Saison and Gran Cru which I had last year had a vegi flavor like they were rushed.

Anyway, enough ranting, needless to say the Green Dragon still felt like home, although reading over the Rogue FAQ on each table showed you that things will be changing.

So if you have writen this place off, know that it still holds the old charm at least for now.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Bottles Available

Just a heads up. I dropped into the Market of Choice on Terwilliger blvd yesterday and they had a few bottles of Abyss left and some bottles of Cherry Adam. So if you missed the dock sale you might luck out if you head down there quick.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

1 good 1 bad 1 in progress

So my blogging has been few and far between, still waiting to get my camera back and a busy schedule has left holes in my blog. So at least this is something.

I've been working on a new platform for my blog, no real reason, just thought it would be fun to have my own real domain for the site and get to know wordpress better. I should have the new site up in a few weeks, I still need to do some artwork and organization, but it will give me more options.

So tonight I got home and popped the top on Heater Allens new winter seasonal Weizenbock. The pour was murky dark amber, very small beige head. The nose smelt off, sort of yeast and cleaner like. The beer tasted the same way, really funky and awful. I wasn't sure if I was drinking part soap and part yeast slurry. This was the first beer in a while I poured down the drain. Anyone else try this beer yet? thoughts? did I just get a bad bottle?

Since that was a total let down I decided to open a bottle of Hair of the Dog Cherry Adam from the Wood that I scored at last weekends Anniversary dock sale. I think this beer isn't quite ready yet, very flat on the carbonation giving a thinner oily palate, very faint ring of a tan head over the dark ebony body with red hues at the edges. The smokiness from the original Adam from the Wood is there and the cherries are sweet but meld well with flavors of sherry and soft burnt chocolate, finishing slightly tart. Good now, but like most Hair of the Dog beers will continue to improve with age.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Lack of posts and bad news

First, I apologize for the lack of posts this week. I've been displaced from my home all week while house-sitting, so my blogging and drinking haven't been connected lately. Also, my parents borrowed my camera for their work overseas, so my blog has been naked without that. With no pictures my horrible writing has to stand for itself, and it is trying to bide its time till the photos return.

2nd, some sad news to report. Angelo just posted on the blog that the Green Dragon is being taken over by Rogue. As a mug club member and big fan of the Green Dragon, this is quite depressing. I'm still hoping this doesn't come to fruition, but if this holds up the East side just had a major setback.

I'll be honest, I don't like Rogue very much. Their beer is decent, a few are really good, but overall overpriced. They don't treat their employees very well, and the ones they do have often couldn't care less about knowing their product. Everything is overpriced in their pubs, so I'll stick to the bottles and maybe forking over the big chips to try something special if it is only on tap.

I've enjoyed my time at the Dragon. Casual and laid back, good selection of rotating taps, a staff that does well at knowing their products. The weekly meet the brewer has been a great success, bringing some of the smaller breweries from the NW to the spotlight. What I don't understand is the Rogue takeover. Integrity Spirits is in the same building, is Rogue buying that also? Would Rogue house a direct competitor in the same building?

Someone say this whole story isn't true.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Widmer Taps 11.8.08

Just a quick post for Widmer beer selection as of last night. On their specials list was a solid schwarzbier called Black Beer, balanced with a fairly bitter hopped finish for a schwarz, and a excellent doppelweizen called Double River Doppelweizen. I think the doppel will be available around town soon, it might be part of the Collaborator project, but i'm not 100% on that, either way, make sure to give this a try.

Beers on tap:
Fest Wit
X114 IPA
TeaserX Fresh Hop
Black Beer
Double River Doppelweizen

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Election Night 2008

As the states begin to report I sit back, battling the excitement, beer in hand, looking forward waking up tomorrow with a renewed enthusiasm for our country. For this evening I pulled a bottle of Unibroue 15 from my cellar. No significance to it, not the best beer I have on reserve, just a overall delicious beer. Soft dry fruitiness up front, subtle hints of wild honey, dried pineapple, and sweet pear. Highly carbonated like most Unibroue beers, lively and fizzy on the palate helping to emphasize the spiciness. Between the beer and the results coming in things are looking good.

7:10pm - As of right now Obama 207 / McCain 135 / Beer 75% remaining. They just called Ohio for Obama, big gain. Hope my uncle in Hamilton, OH helped out on that one.

8:00pm - Obama 207 / McCain 141 / Beer 50% remaining. A few states have gone McCains way, no worries though as they were favored towards red from the start. Getting close to calling the west coast states.

8:01pm - ABC just called the election for Obama, congrats America!

Now to celebrate with the remainder of my beer. Here's to tomorrow's America.


Thursday, October 30, 2008

J.W. Lees Manchester Star Ale

I passed this up the first time I saw it, luckily I ran into Angelo who informed me that this was a joint venture between J.W. Lees and Garrett Oliver of Brooklyn Brewing. If you don't know Garrett Oliver, go pick up the book "The Brewmaster's Table", one heck of a good read about pairing beer with food. Next go out and trade beers with someone from NY and get a Brooklyn Black Chocolate stout, trust me, you won't forget Garrett Oliver again.

Back to the beer at hand. As you can see in the photo above this thing pours like a bowling ball, pitch black, heavy like old motor oil, with a tall khaki head. The nose on this is filled with molasses and black licorice, bitter bakers chocolate seems to clog up the sinuses. Manchester Star drinks like an anvil, heavy and unrelenting, like a mini La Brea tar pit in your stomach. Burnt chocolate flavors flow into an earthy, roasted malt, almost meaty flavor. I'd like to see what Garrett Oliver would pair this with, maybe a dish of smoked ham or a big charred texas steak. Overall this beer is delicious, allbeit very heavy, don't plan on going running or doing anything productive for that matter, after you drink this just relax for the rest of the evening while catching up on "The Brewmasters Table".

Monday, October 27, 2008

Block 15 Brewery

This weekend we took a drive down to Albany to catch up with some friends. Albany, aka "fun town USA" made a really good excuse to drop into Corvallis and try out Block 15 brewery. After a nice drive down I5 and a quick stop at the corn maze, to appease the fall gods, we arrived at Block 15. From the outside this place looks small, but upon entering quite a difference to say the least. Good amount of seating, more up above the bar, brewery tucked back in the back room. I hadn't had a chance to try any of their beers yet, so I was fricken shocked to see about 15 beers on tap, needless to say I couldn't try them all, so a trip back is in order.

I scrambled through the menu to find the sampler plate, discovering they only do a 5 beer sampler, so I loaded that up with all of the seasonal brews and a few others. Included were a belgian tripel, pumpkin beer, chocolate porter, ipa, and nebula stout. I was really impressed with the quality of brew from this place, excellent spicy citrus ipa, rich roasty smooth stout, the pumpkin beer was delicious without being over-the-top spicy sweet. The belgian tripel was excellent, dry and crisp, with a nice estery spice. The only beer I didn't care for was the chocolate porter, a bit sweet and overdone, kinda like sweet icing added in. After those I had a red and aboriginale that were also quite nice. Overall the beer and food top notch, good atmostphere with an impressive selection of beers. I'll be back for sure.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

201 IPAs

I keep track of most of the beers i've had, and I noticed that sometime last week I broke the 200 mark of different IPAs. Another great reason to love the Pacific Northwest! Now with 201 IPAs behind me I thought it would be fun to look back at my top ten.

Top 10 IPAs i've had:
1. LaConner IPA Bottleworks Edition - ummm... dryhopped in bottle
2. Diamond Knot IPA - so good on tap
3. Bear Republic Racer 5 - always a solid favorite of mine
4. Terminal Gravity IPA
5. Southern Tier IPA
6. Ballast Point Sculpin IPA
7. Rogue Integrity IPA
8. Bells Two Hearted Ale
9. Walking Man IPA
10. Alesmith IPA

Sure, I'm bias to the Pacific NW, half are from the PNW, 8/10 are from the west coast, oddly none from Portland though. But... the quantity of IPAs we have available in the PNW is amazing, so we have quite a few samples to pick from, so it may give us an edge.

What are everyone's favorites?

Monday, October 20, 2008

Hopworks Fresh Hop Tastival

Portland sees its first full scale fresh hop fest, and well what do you expect, they oversold the hell out of it. I think the organizers grossly underestimated turn out, and if they didn't it was a cruel joke.

Me, being the beer geek I am, always show near opening, so thankfully they had everything still available. Sadly anyone arriving at, well lets say a normal beer drinking hour (maybe you had lunch first and arrived at say 2pm), arrived to empty taps and long arse lines. I just don't understand advertising a beer fest and running out of most of your beers half way through, poor planning? or were they thinking.. the hop heads of Portland probably won't turn out for a hop festival? come on really... I hope they refunded people.

I'm an introvert and don't like crowds, I show up opening day to festivals so my agoraphobic tendencies don't get the best of me, and I could only stand about an hour of this fest, even at opening, people crammed into the front parking lot showing all to well the desperate need for a full on fall beer festival between OBF and the Holiday Ale Festival.

Sure there were some nice beers, most of which I had the Hood River fest, I thought the Laurelwood Fresh Nuggs really stood out and the Deschutes Fresh Hop Mirror Pond was very subpar. Overall I just want to see a fall beer festival on the size scale of Holiday Ale or Spring beer... Please?

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Heater Allen Bobtoberfest

If you haven't had a chance to stop in to Belmont Station lately don't miss Heater Allen's Bobtoberfest. From what I've gather, Belmont Station is the only place to get their bottles so far, aside from the brewery in McMinnville. I've tried all but one of their brews and been more then impressed so far. Their fall seasonal, Bobtoberfest (5.4% ABV), is a true to form Oktoberfest, big warming toasty malts up front, rich caramel. Finish provides ample balance, even a bit on the bitter and hoppy side for an oktoberfest. Pours a fiery copper, perfect clarity, with a soft off-white head. Overall a delicious brew and one of the best oktoberfests I've had from the Portland market. Drop in to Belmont soon and make sure to grab a few of these before they are gone.

Anyone else have any favorite Oktoberfests in the Portland market?

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Green Dragon Meet the Brewer Hopworks 10/14/08

Angelo posted the tap lineup for tonight's meet the brewer at the Green Dragon, and it looks like it should be an exceptional night to stop by and imbibe. The guys from Hopworks will be there with their GABF medal winning IPA. But even more exciting (at least to me) is the other four:
-Bourbon DOA (I saw this sitting in the barrel when they first opened.)
-Evelyn Imperial Sunshine IPA
-Fest of Fury (fresh hop oktoberfest)
-Newbie Baltic Stout

Check out Angelo's site for more info on the event and the beers.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Green Dragon taps 10/12/08

As of 4pm here is what is on tap at the Green Dragon. If you are out for a Sunday pint you should drop in.

*Russian River Blind Pig
Diamond Knot XIPA
*New Belgium La Fluer Missuer and Tripel
Fearless Porter
Caldera Porter
Ninkasi Schwag
Great Divide Hibernation
*St. Bernardus 12
Bear Republic Racer 5

*highly recommended

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Brewdog Meet the Brewer

Brewdog (Scottish for we adore our dogs) gave one heck of a meet the brewer today at Belmont Station. Pouring their Punk IPA, Amber, Hardcore IPA, and Paradox line. While we are a bit spoiled in the PNW on the ambers and IPAs, these guys really have their stouts in a delicious niche. Seeing as how the paradox series is all based on the same mother imperial stout, the depth that each gets from the barrels they are aged in is beyond impressive. The Islay being a peaty smoked monster, flashbacks of complex scotch without the bite. The Port barrel, being a soft smooth troubadour, hints of vanilla and plum. In between reside the Spayside and Glen Grant, both showing spiciness and soft sweet flavors. You get the feeling at times that bourbon is... well boring in its additions to a beer.

I'm sure they enjoyed their hoppy stay here in Portland.

Striking up a conversation with the brewers shows their insight, they seek out barrels that compliment their beers best. Knowing a bit about the regions (flavors) of Scotland from college days trying to refine myself, unsuccessfully I may add, it was great to hear them talk about how they seek out specific barrels to build upon their beers.

PS. Word is their are collaborating with Mikkelar on an barleywine this November, to be released in... you guessed it, scotch barrels. I can claim for sure that it will be better then my writing.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Hood River WET hop fest 2008

Well Oregonians never stop amazing me. A bitter and wet day in Hood River perfectly set the scene for the 2008 Hood River Hop fest. While some would argue to have this fest set indoors, there is something so perfectly Oregonian about drinking hopped up beers in the rain, all the while I couldn't wipe the smile off my face, laughing at the absurdity of the scene. Like people in all extreme climates you adapt, but it really shows how unique the craft beer scene is when people turn off their NCAA football, dawn their rain gear, and stand in the rain to sample this years hop harvest. The fest, looking like a REI raincoat showcase, went on, bitter beers for bitter weather.

I missed last years event, but two years ago I don't remember the setup being the way it was this year. The beer booths separated from the "family fare". The problem this created was there was this big division in the event, all of the people packed in around the beer booths, taking up 1/3 of the event, leaving most of the area allotted for the event vacant. No tables, only really one small tent in the beer garden area. I'm all for family friendly events, but it is still a beer festival, lets give the beer drinkers at least 2/3rds of the event, then set aside the other booths for the remainder, it felt very crowded, and once the rain started, well, i'll let the next picture speak for itself.
Highlights of this year for me were:
Big Horse Vernon the Rabbit Slayer
Double Mountain Killer Green
Rogue Independence IPA
Port Townsend triple dry-hopped Hop Diggity

Lots of delicious brews and another great year drinking fresh hops in the tempermental Oregon climate.


Thursday, October 2, 2008

Lack of posts

Sorry for the lack of posts lately, between having family in town and a multi-day trip down the lower Deschutes river (no beer involved), I haven't had time to post much. This weekend I'm headed to the Hood River hops fest, and it looks like it will be a good time of drinking in the rain. If anyone else will be there it would great to meet up for a pint (or sample, or whatever they have).

I'll post after the event with photos and stories.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Ofests in Town

So the Oktoberfests are upon us. I dropped into the Green Dragon today, and while I didn't even make it around to the Hales Meet the Brewer tasting, the Oktoberfests were wrestlin for alpha dog. There were 4 on tap when I arrived: Widmer, Lompoc, Double Mountain, and one other that I can't recall. Overall the Double Mountain was my favorit, so head down there for a pint.

Other new beers that were on tap:
Speakeasy Imperial Porter
Captured By Porches Belgian Brown
Deschutes Dissident
Russian River Damnation
Fist Tale Blind Pig Dunkel
Southern Oregon Brewing IPA

Also, new at Belmont Station:
Heater Allen Bobtoberfest and Coastal Common
Full Sail 21st Anniversary Doppelbock (3.99 a bottle!)

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Sick and Sad

So the flu has hit, and it struck in the most evil manner possible.... right when I got a beer shipment. What a sad weekend, I have waiting for me: Duck Rabbit baltic porter, New Glarus Tail Wager barleywine, Unibroue 15, and Southampton Imperial Porter, all taunting me in my sickend state. Maybe it's a good thing, maybe i'll be immune later on in the season battling the heards of sick people at the Holiday Ale Fest.

Whenever I get around to trying these out i'll write up something about them.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Dissident tap vs bottle

I know this may be a bit late, the Dissident taps long dried up, the bottles now a treasure, searched long and hard for, but I will just state it anyway. The Dissident in bottles just blows the stuff on tap away.

When I first tried the Dissident, the day they first had it on tap at the Portland Deschutes, I enjoyed it. The beer was nice, a bit edgy, still had some heat to it, the flavors a touch sharp, the brett subtle. So last weekend I tried on of the bottles I had picked up, and my opinion of this beer changed quite a bit. What once was a "good beer, glad they tried it" sort of thing, is now a "impressive, where can I get more" thing. The bottles seem to have lost any heat the tap version had, the flavors less sharp and feel like they have settled with age, the brett and other wild yeast strains even had more character.

Anyway, I hope everyone that went to try it on tap picked up a bottle or two. I know i'll be sad when my last one is gone.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Full Sail "21" doppelbock release

In the recent Full Sail newsletter they inform of an upcoming release for their 21st anniversary. Due in September is "21" a doppelbock to be bottled in 22ozers for their Brewmasters Reserve series.

Here is what they have to say:

This beer is a labor of love. From brewhouse to bottle, 21 was given the care that only an owner can provide with all the time and attention that a beer this special deserves. Summer's brewing gives this beer a luxurious 12 weeks of lagering creating a deep amber colored brew in the German Doppelbock style. Its ample malt body complements the generous warming alcohol with just a hint of Noble hop character. 21 is part of our Brewmaster Reserve line up. This special birthday beer will be available in specially hand labeled 22 oz bottles in September. Tastes like a great way to celebrate your birthday!

On Thursday, September 25th, at 5:00PM in the Pub, you’re invited to join in a special toast to celebrate “twenty-onederful years.” This same evening, we will tap a keg of 15 year old Full Sail Imperial Porter and launch our seasonal Brewmaster Dinners with a four course Brewmaster Dinner menu featuring “21”.
So don't miss out, Thursday, September 25th @ 5:00pm, and in case that blurb was to much to handle they will be serving a 15 year old Imperial Porter. Yummm... I think.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

On tap at the Green Dragon 9/7/08

A few new beers are on tap at the PDX Green Dragon as of 3:00 today.

Ommegang Grand Cru Rouge - Flemish red aged in oak. Very enjoyable beer if you like the sours, dark red, nice tart cherry and oak flavor. If you liked the Dissident you would probably enjoy this, a bit less maltiness, but more esters in the finish. I thought this was really nice, drive down if you have the time, this is really worth the trip.

New Belgium Giddy Up - A espresso laced brown ale with added lemon peel. This was interesting, but not really my thing. Felt to thin and nothing really seemed to work together. Not sure if this is an experimental beer or set to be released, but you probably won't see this many places.

Others on tap:
St. Bernardus Wit & Special Brown
Amnesia Porter
Roots Pale
Allgauer Doppelbock
Fearless Scottish

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Widmer New Pale Pre-Release Tasting

Just a heads up, Widmer will be doing a pre-tasting of a new pale ale at their Oktoberfest this Saturday. The pale is set to be released in 2009 and is currently void of a name, but if you show up to the fest early on Saturday they are going to be letting people catch an early preview of it.

Here is the blurb from their newsletter:

The early bird gets the worm, and in this case the "worm" is a preview of our newest beer, a pale ale set to be released in 2009 (and yet to be named). Quantities are extremely limited, so get there quick if you want a taste!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Deschutes The Dissident released

So finally, after the hype and the wait the Dissident is here. Available on tap and bottles at the Deschutes pub in downtown PDX (11th and NW Davis). Yah, I was excited, for a number of reasons, yah the Abyss and XX were delicious, the label is bottle-keeper awesome, yes I love sour brown ales, and aww hell, its a new beer in PDX that isn't about the hops. I'll post my thoughts on this beer, but don't take this the wrong way, the beer was good, and i'm still very excited to see what comes out of Deschutes and other Oregon brewers. Bring on the Belgian movement, with brewers like Russian River and the Lost Abbey I'm very excited with this new trend.

I can only speak for Dissident on tap, I haven't opened the bottles i've got yet. Here is my RB review:

Pours dark red, slight mahogany hue, very thin off-white head. Tart berry nose, light sweetness, maybe soft chocolate, but dominated by tart and sour cherry. The pinot barrels give a lot of grape skin flavor in the finish, earthy but not as wild of a brett character as I hoped. The brett is young, still on a short leash, give it a while and this beer will pick up some nice wild brett esters, but this early on it’s very refrained in that realm. The beer overall is ok, it’s no Supplication. The brett needs time to build up more funkiness, the carbonation a bit soft on draft reducing the dryness.

Overall, I thought it was a nice beer, although not incredible, if I were to drop in unknowingly and try this from an unknown brewery I would be very pleased. It needs more time to age, the brett character just hasn't done its thing enough. If you purchased bottles of this don't open them all yet. I would like to hear someones experience that has tried this from the bottle, see if there is a difference. But I think this will really benefit from more time aging.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Bottle Release: Old Odense Ale

If you read the Belmont Station blog you might have read a month ago about Old Odense Ale. This is the collaboration between Denmark's Norrenbro brewery (makes the Northbridge Extreme) and Delaware's Dogfish Head (90 minute IPA fame). Well this beer is finally available in Portland, or at least the first I've seen of it. The bottle is running about $15, so it's a pricey one for sure, but might only be around once.

Based on a traditional 15th century recipe (like anyone is really going to verify the validity of the recipe), this is a sour gruit ale. I found it to be good, but for the $15 there are a lot of other delicious sours out there I would recommend over this one. Nice berry flavor, they use thorn berries (wtf are those?), but they taste a bit like tart sylvan berry up front, but a touch of strawberry comes through later. There is a interesting dry spice in the finish that blends with the tartness well (they use star anise).

Anyway, if you are looking to try this I recommend getting it quick, i'm not sure if it will be brewed again. I know for sure John's Market has it, but Belmont most likely does also since they dropped the story on it.

Monday, September 1, 2008

American Strong Ales

So since I might have opened the flood gates with the IPA post (i'm sure some of you out there have your favorites), i'm going to keep going. So recently I tried my 100th Amercian Strong Ale (i'm at 107 now), so I thought I would post my top 10 so you people could comment on what i'm missing out on and why i'm such a loser.

1. Hair of the Dog Jim 2
2. Full Sail Imperial Porter barrel aged (I don't think it belongs, but RB does)
3. Stone Double Bastard
4. Roots Epic
5. Rogue Brewer
6. Oak Arrogant Bastard
7. Ballast Point Victory at Sea
8. Alesmith Decadence 2006
9. Alesmith Yulesmith (winter)
10. Elysian Bifrost

I'd like to hear others opinions on their favorite "American strong ales", if you think i'm stupid please let me know why.



Blind IPA tasting

The other day a few friends and I were bored, so I decided on a blind IPA test. What better way then go back and try a bunch of the bottled IPAs I haven't had in a while.

I tend to be obsessed with trying new beers, so I don't remember the last time I had a Bridgeport or Full Sail IPA. I head out and pick up 7 IPAs, here's what was included:
1. Bridgeport IPA
2. Full Sail IPA
3. Anderson Valley IPA
4. Victory Hop Devil
5. Bear Republic Racer 5
6. Deschutes Inversion IPA
7. Russian River Pliny

I thought about what else to get, maybe put a control beer like Bud in just to mess with everyone, see who was paying attention. We had one of our friends kindly bring all of them into another room and pour so we had no idea what we were drinking. The one downfall was we didn't have enough glasses to have them all in front of us at once, so it was difficult to compare since you couldn't taste back and forth between a few. Next time I would change that.

I thought a few would seriously stand out, but surprisingly the field for me was split in half, a cluster of nice floral IPAs, and a cluster of blah IPAs.

Here are my final results:
1. Pliny - this was just beautiful and floral, the bitterness was mellow allowing the most hop character to show through.

2. Bear Republic Racer 5 - actually ran right up there with Pliny, a touch more malt up front and the bitterness not quite as mellow

3. Deschutes Inversion - I wasn't sure this would stack up that well, but this is actually had a really nice hop character, more of a sharp bitterness then the top two.

The rest were 4. Victory Hop Devil, 5. Bridgeport IPA, 6. Full Sail IPA.

Lastly was Anderson Valley IPA, although this bottle had something wrong with it, oxidized and very funny malt flavor, surely not what is normal, so I'll say it was down to 6 IPAs total.

I found the bottom 2 to have more of a grainy malt base flavor, almost metallic note to the bitterness, and a lack of floral hop character. Maybe lack of dry hopping.

The most interesting thing about this for me was how I viewed these beers before the test compared to after. Some of these like Victory Hop Devil I haven't had in two years probably, and remember as being phenomenal. I thought Pliny would stand out more, but the Racer 5 and Inversion were right up there.

It was also interesting to see each friends scores, each varied quite a bit, showing each persons preference towards hop variety and bitterness.

My last thought was what beers I was missing. I thought, there has to be better Oregon IPAs in bottles that I could include, my only thought was TG IPA, but that isn't around much any more.

What else is out there that I'm missing?

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Brewers Union all cask brewery

Chris from Belmont Station just pointed out this amazing new establishment Brewers Union.

Brewers Union Website

I guess 100 and something miles under our noses we missed the opening of Oregon's first all cask conditioned brewery. Set in Oakridge (near Eugene as Chris pointed out since I've never heard of it), is Brewers Union, a small brewpub that looks like a unique little place. All their beers served correctly cask conditioned in the true English ABV ranges so you can put a few down.

Anyway, this place looks great, now to find time to search it out.

Roots Oaked ExxCalibur Stout Release 8/27/08

Roots organic brewery will be releasing their new Younger's Nightmare imperial stout this Wednesday, August 27th at 6pm.

Here is what Roots has to say about it:

Youngers Nightmare…A certified organic Russian Imperial Stout. This is Our ExxCalibur Imperial stout aged for 10 weeks in 30 year old Bourbon BBls.

HUB IIPA release tonight 8/26/08

Hopworks will be releasing a new imperial IPA tonight called Evelyn's Imperial Sunshine. Here is what the Hopworks newsletter has to say about it:

Evelyn's Imperial Sunshine is big and beatiful double IPA brewed in celebration of the birth of our first daughter, Evelyn Sunshine Ettinger. Born July 1 to Christian and Brandie Ettinger and weighing in at 8 pounds 4 ounces, she is a chunky monkey worthy of a toast! Eighty four pounds of american hops can't be wrong. 7.6% ABV 100,000,00 IBUs

If you can make it for this release this is sure to be delicious brew, and say congrats to Christian and Brandie on the little one.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Widmer 8/23/08

Aight, so hold in there, i'm not much of a writer, i'm not going to wax poetic or puff this with elegant descriptions, this is about beer, and whats new in town.

Widmer has a few new beers on at the brewery at the moment...

A new IPA called 114 IPA that Jeff had written about in the Beervana blog. If you haven't tried it you should head down to Widmer and check it out while it's still around. Nice golden bodied IPA with a delicious floral spicy hop character. Not over the top, but balanced and solid.

They also had a new amber on called Albina Amber that has more floral hops then Drop Top, picking up the hops and softening some of the toastier malts of Drop Top. I'm not a big fan of Drop Top, or ambers in general, but this was an improvement.

Another Portland beer blog?

Aww heck, why not.

Since I tend to travel around a bit it might be nice to give people a heads up as to what is on tap. My dream would be to have some other people post on here and make this sort of a rolling day to day list of what is on tap in this city since there are about 700 darn breweries in this city and no one person can make it to all of them to see what is on.