Sunday, November 20, 2016

GoodLife Brewing Company - Comatose Imperial IPA

You snooze, you booze.
Yeah, sorry about the caption on the photo over there. (groan) I was drawing a blank for about thirty minutes and finally decided that I needed to type something--anything--or this blog post was never going to happen. Man, I don't know what's wrong with me lately. You'd think I got some really, really, really bad news this month. It's like I'm in a coma or something...sigh.

Well, the world might be going to hell in the proverbial handbasket, but at least I'm still surrounded by lots of tasty, tasty beer. Today's tasty beer is from Bend, Oregon's GoodLife Brewing Company. Comatose Imperial IPA comes with an ABV of 8.5% and I got mine in a 500ml bottle at New Seasons for $4.99. 95 IBU's according to the label.

The beer poured into my glass a slightly hazy, golden orange color with a creamy, clumpy white head. The head dissipated slowly. A full, thin cap of suds was left behind with thick webs of lacing all over the glass.

Aroma was juicy fruit galore. Tropical fruit scents of melon, guava, and pineapple. Luscious citrus: tangerine and Mandarin orange. Hints of pine. Floral notes.

Taste followed the nose. This is a big flavored beer. Some spicy, herbal notes mixed in with the citrus and tropical fruit. Sweet caramel malt up against some well-rounded hops bitterness. Nice!

Medium mouthfeel with a bit of a chew to it. The finish was just a bit hot. The 8.5% ABV was apparent but not overbearing. No doubt that this is an Imperial IPA.

Overall, this is one heck of a delicious beer. I can't find any fault with it. I get a lot of grief from my friends about my generous ratings, but I'm giving Comatose a BeerGuyPDX rating of 4 crushed cans out of 4. All that really means if that I would buy this beer again without hesitation. I'm also giving it a Droolie. Merry the Wonder Beagle's nose perked up the instant the cap came off the bottle of this one. Trust me, her nose knows.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Old Town Brewing Company - Mushroom Ale

Will this beer make you a...
wait for guy?
One thing I've learned through my beer adventures is to always keep an open mind--always. If the brewing process is anything, it's transformative. You can literally make beer from dang near anything and chances are good it will, in the very  least, be drinkable. "What the holy heck are you talking about, Wolf?" you ask. "Are you 'shroomin'?" you say. Yes, as a matter of fact, I am!

Tonight, I'm drinking a beer that was brewed with mushrooms. Yup, mushrooms. If you're not from around here, I should probably clue you in about mushrooms and the Pacific Northwest. We have a lot of rain. We have a lot of forests. Mushrooms love damp forests. It's where they live. Lots of Oregonians forage for mushrooms. It's kind of a big deal. Some mushrooms are for eating--like my favorite Chanterelles--and some are for, uh, other things. We have a veritable mushroom bounty every fall in these parts, and there are dozens of delectable mushroom varieties that most folks out in the real world have never heard of before.

Old Town Brewing Company's Mushroom Ale is flavored with Candy Cap mushrooms. I'm not sure when the mushrooms are added. To the boil? In the fermenter? Beats me. A REAL journalist would find out for you, but I'm just a lowly blogger, so I'm not held to any kind of standards--other than my own very low ones. Sorry.

Candy Caps are an interesting little fungus because they taste and smell exactly like...are you ready for this? Maple syrup. Bam! How are they in a beer? Delicious! Pow!

The beer poured into my glass a dark amber color with a creamy, light tan head. The head rose up to almost two fingers thick and dissipated at a moderate rate. A thin cap of lacing was left behind.

Aroma was full-on maple syrup up front. Brown sugar. Sweet caramel malt. Some muted citrus and floral notes.

Taste followed the nose. Maple syrup. Sweet malt. A mild but appreciable hops bitterness was present to balance  things out quite  nicely.

Medium to slightly full mouthfeel with a smooth, creamy finish. Very drinkable and light on the palate  at the end.

Overall, this is a terrific beer. Something new, different and unapologetically  Pacific Northwest. I love this beer. I must go get some more tomorrow! My wife tried a sip and proclaimed this the beer that she will use to make her special holiday gingerbread cake this year. That's quite an honor, Old Town Brewing, and I'll let you know how  it turns out.

I'm giving Mushroom Ale a BeerGuyPDX rating of 4 crushed cans out of 4. Get yourself some of this seasonal beer while you can. I bought my bomber at Hollywood Beverage on Sandy Blvd, here in beautiful Northeast Portland.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Hopworks Urban Brewery to Release HUB Brewer's Whiskey

(photo courtesy of Hopworks)


Hopworks Urban Brewery today announced that they will release HUB Brewer’s Whiskey at both Hopworks pubs on Wednesday November 16. More than four years in the making, the whiskey was distilled at New Deal Distillery from the wash of Hopworks’ award-winning Organic HUB Lager. Highly limited in production, HUB Brewer’s Whiskey will be available primarily by the glass at Hopworks pubs, with an upcoming bottle sale in December.

“What really sets our Brewer’s Whiskey apart is the use of our beautiful, finished and filtered organic beer in the still,” said Hopworks Brewmaster and Founder, Christian Ettinger. “We get a smooth spirit that exhibits characteristics well beyond its years. Making whiskey is a natural extension of our passion for craft beer. Our Brewer’s Whiskey is a product of our playfulness and our commitment to push the limits of what we can do as fermentation experts.”

“We’re used to working in a fast-paced brewing facility. It was an exciting challenge to make a whiskey based off organic beer and give it the love, patience, and neglect it needs to age well,” said Hopworks Head Brewer, Trever Bass. “We did just that and we’re truly proud of the results.”

Unhopped Hopworks’ Organic HUB Lager received a traditional double pot still distillation and was aged in a variety of American oak barrels where it picked up flavors of brown sugar, dark currant, chocolate, and leather. Much like Organic HUB Lager, the whiskey has a clean honey flavor, restrained ester profile and a smooth finish.

“We had a lot of fun working with Hopworks to create a single malt whiskey,” said Tom Burkleaux, New Deal Distillery owner and distiller. “Being brewers, the Hopworks team excels at working with all malt fermentations. We wanted the deeper notes of the malt to carry through. Once distilled the malt had a pleasant nutty character, which mellowed nicely in the barrel. Of course the best part was finally tasting it after several years!”

Of the partnership with New Deal Distillery, Christian Ettinger said, “We found a great partner in New Deal. Their decisions to use organic ingredients resonates with us, and they have been excellent in helping us bring to fruition a product that is made with the same skill and care as our beer.”

Release Party

HUB Brewer’s Whiskey will be available at both Hopworks’ pubs beginning Wednesday, November 16 at 5pm. The whiskey is served neat or in a variety of house cocktails that include a Hopworks Old Fashioned and Blackberry Sour. The Hopworks brewpub on Powell will also serve a BBQ Whiskey Burger special with beer battered in the days following the release.

Bottle Sale

750ml bottles of HUB Brewer’s Whiskey will be available during a special bottle sale on Saturday, December 17th, from 11am - 3pm at the Hopworks brewpub on Powell Blvd. New Deal Distillery will also have a variety of bottles available for purchase at the pub during the sale.


About Hopworks Urban Brewery

Hopworks Urban Brewery strives to revolutionize and inspire the brewing industry with practices that drive quality, protect the environment and improve the community we live in. Utilizing organic malts and a combination of locally-sourced, organic and Salmon Safe hops, the company’s 20-barrel brewery produces 13,500 barrels of beer and cider a year for HUB’s brewpubs and for distribution throughout the Northwest. Hopworks is a family-owned and operated business, the first Certified B Corporation brewery in the Pacific Northwest, a gold-level bike friendly business, and is recognized as one of the Best Green Companies To Work For In Oregon. In 2016 Hopworks will open a new brewpub in Vancouver, Washington. More info at

About New Deal Distillery

New Deal Distillery has been proudly crafting small-batch, award-winning spirits in Portland’s Southeast Industrial District since 2004. Visit their Tasting Room & Distiller’s Workshop to sample and see what they’re playing with, or take a hands-on whiskey-making class taught by owner and distiller, Tom Burkleaux. Find New Deal at local farmers markets, spirits event around town, or on the shelf of your local liquor store. More info at

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Hopworks Motherland Russian Imperial Stout Returns to the Northwest


Hopworks Urban Brewery is pleased to announce the return of their popular seasonal Organic Motherland Russian Imperial Stout. The release party for Motherland is on Wednesday, November 02 at 5pm at the Hopworks brewpub on Powell Blvd. In addition to Motherland, Hopworks will tap two seasonal one-off beers and serve up a Motherland-based food special.

Motherland is a deep black Russian Imperial Stout that sits at 9.8% ABV. Bittersweet chocolate flavors mingle with deep fig and plum fruitiness. The beer finishes with a lingering spiciness and heat. Motherland’s focus on a hearty organic malt bill will warm your heart during the upcoming rainy and snow-filled evenings. Motherland is available on tap and in 22oz bomber bottles throughout the Northwest

Motherland Release Party
November 02, 5pm
Hopworks Urban Brewery, 2944 SE Powell Blvd. Portland, OR

Motherland will be released at the Hopworks brewpub on Powell beginning on November 02 at 5pm. For the release, the restaurant kitchen will serve up two beer-based food specials. The first is a Motherland braised beef brisket sandwich to be paired with Motherland Russian Imperial Stout. The second special is a traditional Vienna sausage platter with horseradish mustard and curried ketchup to be paired with Wave Train Amber Ale.

Additionally, two new pub-only beers will be on tap:

Wave Train - With Wave Train our goal is to reinvent the Amber Ale. Influenced by Vienna-Style Lagers, we ferment the beer cold, gave it a beautiful caramel profile and subtle earthy and toasty flavors.

Cranberry Lemon Gose - Gose with a zesty zip from Jacobson’s Lemon Sea Salt and light tartness from Local Harvest Cranberries from Starvation Alley Farm in Long Beach, Washington.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

How to Un-Squash Your Autumn Beer Selection

Dark, Robust and PERFECT for Fall
Fall is probably my favorite season. The weather gets crisp, the Oregon trees present their spectacular color changes, and the best holiday EVER--Halloween--delivers frights and chills galore, but there's one thing about Fall that I positively dread. What could possibly ruin my awesome Autumnal vibes, you ask? PUMPKINS! I absolutely despise pumpkins! They are containers for the souls of the damned! Hard, demonic, waxy shells filled with slimy seeds and stringy guts! GAAAAAAAH!

Hey, I don't want you to think I'm some kind of wacky, out-of-control anti-pumpkin crusader. I don't mind the occasional decorative gourd or two. I can even enjoy a slice of pumpkin pie, given the right amount of whipped topping, but what I can't enjoy--and refuse to allow in my fridge--is PUMPKIN BEER! Why? Why, people? What is this desire to ruin a completely decent batch of beer by tossing copious amounts of gourd-y goo into the boil? Noooooo!

Believe me, I tried to get into this seasonal craft beer trend. Over the years, I've choked it down by the bomber and glass. I've found that the best compliment I can bestow on a pumpkin beer is that it doesn't taste like pumpkin at all. Finally, after decades of gagging and unceremonious drain-pouring, I gave up. I decided to be true to myself--and my taste buds--and just shun the stuff.

Okay, enough ranting about the horrors of pumpkin beer. I'm here to provide support for my fellow pumpkin shunners out there--and I know you're out there...somewhere. The question: what's in the cold case for US when those leaves start to fall? The answer: PLENTY!

Today, I'm featuring three local Portland beers that are more than appropriate Autumnal libations. These beers are all sufficiently dark, robust and flavorful for the season at hand, and not a pumpkin taste anywhere near these beautiful brews. 

4 & 20 Imperial Black IPA from Culmination Brewing Company. Jet black in color with a creamy mocha head. Looking into a pint of this hop-tastic beer is like staring into the abyss--and finding the abyss staring back at you. To me, this is a perfect Fall beer. The 9.5% ABV certainly helps take the chill off when the temps drop in the evening. The sweet, roasted malt is expertly balanced against an array of citrus and pine hops flavors. The Pacific Northwest hops profile of Simcoe, Chinook, Cascade and Centennial makes this the quintessential Oregon Fall beer for me.

Black Widow Porter from McMenamins. This offering truly is a Fall seasonal. I look forward to Black Widow every year and the good folks at McMenamins were kind enough to send me a bomber. Of course, Kennedy School is right down the street from my house (google it) and I love to get this beer poured from the tap. It's always superb and this year is no exception. Deep, dark brown color with a creamy, tan head, it is a lovely beer to behold. The rich, roasted malt flavor is the star of show. Robust, but smooth and highly drinkable. Hints of cocoa nibs and coffee. Once again, PERFECT for Fall.

Stubs Old Crow Hazelnut Porter from Alameda Brewing Company. This beer has an appropriately spooky, Halloween-ish label. Crows are generally creepy. Gratefully, the beer inside the bomber is not creepy at all. This porter has rich, robust, roasted malt flavor with the subtle taste of roasted hazelnuts in the mix. It's a deep, dark brown, almost black color with a dark tan head. Bitter cocoa and espresso. The nuttiness gives this beer a Fall feeling.

Alrighty! I think I have my fridge sufficiently stocked up with enough non-pumpkin beers. Perhaps I'll be much less annoyed when I see all the space those jack-o-lantern brews will be hogging up on the shelves.