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?