Sunday, February 17, 2013

Hop Valley Brewing Company - Alpha Centauri Double IPA

Star of the evening.

We spent the day in Eugene, Oregon yesterday. The kid was going through his orientation at U of O. Damn proud of the boy.  (Go Ducks!) After he was finished, I took everybody out for dinner. I've been wanting to try The Bier Stein ever since we drove by the place several months ago. Frankly, with a name like The Bier Stein, I don't know how I was able to drive past without doing a Steve McQueen style, Bullit-esque, two-wheeled u-turn into the parking lot, but I somehow exercised enough self-control.

Awesome bottleshop with quite an impressive taplist, too. We had to wait a little bit for a table, but the wait staff was very friendly and assured us it would only be a couple of minutes. We were all starving. Wife and I sat through the new Bond movie, Skyfall--and at least a dozen movie trailers--without eating any popcorn while we awaited the boy's indoctrination to be completed. Now, that's self-control.

It's often a chore trying to find a place where we can all find something on the menu that suits our unique dietary requirements. Daughter is a vegetarian. The wife insists on local and organic options and the family just calls me the human garbage disposal. Gratefully, The Bier Stein's menu had plenty of meatless options for the girl and I was impressed with the prices. I settled on the Groovin' Reuben. That was one helluva nice sandwich and everyone was more than happy with the food.

Of course, I had to get a beer. It was a tough choice, but they had the Hop Valley Alpha Centauri on nitro. Interesting. I've had plenty of stouts poured from a nitro tap. Never a double IPA. I'm not quite up on the science of nitrogen gas, to tell you the truth. I know it changes the carbonation and foaming of a beer, and I'm pretty sure there's an effect on the flavor, too. This sounded fun.

Oh, yeah. Just look at those goblets of deliciousness in my photo. That's what I'm talking about. The beer was presented a golden amber color with the most fabulous, creamy white head. It stuck in my 'stache like whipped cream. The head lasted forever and left luscious amounts of suds behind.

The aroma was big on pine and citrus, as I expected. Hints of spice and tropical fruit.

Taste was also big on citrus hops. Grapefruit. The creamy feel added by the nitro is really nice with this beer and I'm wondering how much was actually from the nitro vs. how this beer would taste poured from the bottle.  I'm going to need to find that out soon.

I thinking those nitrogen bubbles probably help zoom the 8.7% ABV of Alpha Centauri straight to the brain. The kids were giggling like cheerleaders after a single glass. Nevertheless, I never really tasted much booze and there was no alcohol sting to the stuff.

I'm giving both the beer and The Bier Stein a perfect score of 4 crushed cans out of 4.

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