Sunday, March 31, 2013

Stickmen Brewery & Skewery - Iron Mountain Double IPA

Stick it - in mah belly!
On Friday afternoon, I had the pleasure of attending a little bottle sharing event with some renowned local beer bloggers at Stickmen Brewery & Skewery in Lake Oswego, OR. It was an honor to be in the presence of such knowledgeable beer folks and share some tasty, tasty brews.

Stickmen Brewery is a fairly new operation, from what I gathered. The brewers came by and said howdy while we were drinking. Unfortunately, I didn't have any of the skewers. We did have a plate of nachos at the table and that was one nice plate of nachos. They used fresh jalapenos and a ton of tasty toppings.

I am including Stickmen on my most recent Portland Beer by Bus write-up: The Number 35. They have a fantastic patio right on the lake and I can't think of a nicer place to sip a few. I'll be back to try more of their food menu and I highly recommend the place. 

I have to say that the best beer I had at Stickmen was their CDA. It was damn delicious. Unfortunately, it appears I didn't save a photo of that beer on my phone. You should know that I am rather technologically challenged. I didn't even own a smartphone until recently. My computer skills are also limited to pounding my sausage-like digits on a keyboard--kind of like those Shakespeare writing monkeys. In any case, I'll review the only Stickmen brew I have a picture of and get back there again soon to do the CDA right.

The beer I am reviewing today is Stickmen's Iron Mountain Double IPA. I believe the taplist said this brew comes in at 7.3% ABV, which is at the lower end for an IIPA.

The beer was presented to my table a hazy, golden orange color with an impressive, creamy white head. The head was more than a full finger thick and was peaking up over the rim of the glass. Too bad I couldn't get the camera fired up on my phone fast enough to snap that nice looking head. Retention was good and a significant amount of frothy lacing was left behind during the drink.

The description of the beer on the taplist told me it was brewed with Cascade and Centennial hops. My favorites. Smell was definitely what you would expect. A forward  aroma of citrus with sweet floral notes.

Taste was sweet malt, with the flavors of grapefruit and orange. The hops provide a nice bitter profile but are very tame and forgiving at the same time. Very fruity.

Medium mouthfeel with good carbonation. Finish is just a tad on the sweet side for my taste, but that's just me. It is certainly an easy drinker. I didn't notice any heavy-handed alcohol sting to this one at all.

All-in-all, this is a pretty decent IPA. I'd certainly order it again. I'm giving Iron Mountain a very respectable BeerGuyPDX rating of 3 crushed cans out of 4. Good stuff.


Oakshire Brewing - Henry the 12th

"I'm Henry the 12th, I am, I am..."
Roadtrip! Took a drive down to Eugene, OR yesterday to collect BeerGuyPDX Jr. from college. It was such a beautiful Spring day, I had to make the most of it, and for me, it wouldn't be "the  most" without some beer.

I visited some tasting rooms and had a couple of pints. One of the breweries I visited was Oakshire. It's a real brewery, located in an industrial area on the outskirts of town. The tasting room is in a loading dock but they have a number of brews on tap, including some single batch beers that you just won't find anywhere else. I like that. It makes the trip out to the middle of nowhere worth it.

My favorite brew of the day was Oakshire's Henry the 12th. It's a Northwest Red Ale with an ABV of 6% and 40 IBU's. I actually spilled this beer immediately after it was poured. I stupidly sat my 250 pounds on the far end of a picnic table and it flipped up like a catapult. That wasn't at all embarrassing. The kind folks at Oakshire gave me a replacement pint gratis. I think it was the sad "just spilled my beer" look on my face.

The beer was presented a deep reddish amber color with a lovely, foamy, white head. Really a beautiful looking beer. The head was a full finger thick and had good retention.

Smell was big on citrus hops and also very floral. There was a pleasant bready malt aroma in the background.

Taste comes right up front with bitter hops. Orange, grapefruit, pine. Lots of hops tastiness doing a happy dance in my mouth. Seemed way more than the 40 IBU's claimed. Tastes a lot like an IPA to me. Lot's of delicious malt flavor left on the palate. Really a superior hop and malt balance. Not too sweet. I like it. A lot.

Medium mouthfeel. Good carbonation. Finish is slightly dry with just a hint of earthiness there at the end.

I love this beer. It's very drinkable and if they sold it in stores, I'd buy it. Absolutely. I should have brought a growler home with me. I'm giving Henry the 12th a BeerGuyPDX rating of 4 crushed cans out of 4.


Saturday, March 30, 2013

Portland Beer by Bus - The Number 35

Another Portland, Oregon bus route that can get you to many wonderful craft beer destinations is the Number 35. This is a long, long route and there may very well be a number of awesome beer serving establishments along it's shambling path that I am missing. If you know of any that need to be added, please let me know. Of course, I highly recommend checking any or all of my directions using the TriMet Trip Planner. The good folks at TriMet can provide you with all of the complicated transfers needed to get you to your exact desired location. I'm just giving you stops located on or very near single bus routes.

I recently rode the 35 from Rose Quarter Transit Center all the way down to Lake Oswego to attend a craft beer bottle sharing event with some other beer blogging folks. (Big fun.) I highly recommend taking the bus or getting a designated driver when you're out imbibing on a semi-professional level. The whole community suffers whenever a drunk turns his Family Truckster into a 4000 pound killing machine. Don't drink and drive.

The 35-Macadam/Greeley runs North/South, connecting Oregon City, Lake Oswego, South Waterfront, Portland City Center, Old Town/Chinatown, Union Station, the Rose Quarter and North Portland (University of Portland), via Highway 43, Macadam, 5th/6th, Interstate, Greeley and Willis.

Once again, please refer to the disclaimer in all of my previous bus route posts. If you're one of those sue-happy individuals, the kind of chucklehead who takes no responsibility for his/her own actions, the kind of putz who can't even ride a city bus without f**king it up, stop reading this NOW! Also, don't sue ME for your f**k up, as I am in no way responsible. I don't even know you. I make zero guarantees that you'll successfully make it home in one piece, should you ignorantly get on this bus and venture forth to these potentially dangerous, biker-filled beer halls. Buses can be scary, dangerous and are often packed with ax-wielding maniacs of extreme size and ill-tempered disposition. (That last part isn't true, but if it is, it isn't my fault.)

Now, go enjoy some excellent Oregon beer:

Stickmen Brewery & Skewery
40 N State Street
Lake Oswego, OR
From South: Get off at S State & North Shore
Stop ID 5512
From North: Get off at N State & North Shore
Stop ID 5513

McMenamins Fulton Pub
0618 SW Nebraska Street
From South: Get off at SW Macadam & Nebraska
Stop ID 3619
From North: Get off at SW Macadam & Nebraska
Stop ID 3614

Full Sail Riverplace Brewery
307 SW Montgomery Street
From South: Get off at 200 Block SW Harrison
Stop ID 2567 (half mile walk)
From North: Get off at SW River Pkwy & River Dr
Stop ID 13180

Roque Hall
1717 Southwest Park Avenue
From South: Get off at SW Harrison & 6th
Stop ID 13305
From North: Get off at SW 5th & Clay
Stop ID 13167 (1/4 mile walk)

Bailey's Taproom
213 SW Broadway
From South: Get off at SW 6th & W Burnside
Stop ID 7751
From North: Get off at SW 5th & Pine
Stop ID 7631

Tugboat Brewing Company
711 SW Ankeny Street
From South: Get off at SW 6th & W Burnside
Stop ID 7751
From North: Get off at SW 5th & Pine
Stop ID 7631

PINTS Urban Brewery
412 NW 5th Avenue
From South: Get off at NW Everett & 5th
Stop ID 8886
From North: Get off at NW 5th & Davis
Stop ID 9301

Upright Brewing
240 N Broadway
From South: Get off at N Interstate & Larrabee
Stop ID 3365
From North: Get off at N Interstate & Larrabee
Stop ID 11845

Widmer Brothers Brewing Company
929 N Russell Street
From South: Get off at N Interstate & Graham
Stop ID 2962 (Half 1/4 walk)
From North: Get off at N Interstate & Graham
Stop ID 2964

StormBreaker Brewing
832 N Beech Street
From South: Get off at N Interstate & Graham
Stop ID 2962 (Half mile walk)
From North: Get off at N Interstate & Graham
Stop ID 2964

Lucky Labrador Taproom
1700 N Killingsworth Street
From South: Get off at N Greeley & Killingsworth
Stop ID 2208 (A little walking up Killingsworth or transfer to 72 at Stop ID 9403)
From North: Get off at N Greeley & Killingsworth
Stop ID 2209

The Hop & Vine
1914 N Killingsworth Street
From South: Get off at N Greeley & Killingsworth
Stop ID 2208 (A little walking up Killingsworth or transfer to 72 at Stop ID 9403)
From North: Get off at N Greeley & Killingsworth
Stop ID 2209


Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Oakshire Brewing - Overcast Espresso Stout

Java, java, java
I've been really tired lately. Seems like I'm dragging my next to lifeless body out of bed to work and back to bed again, in an endless loop of fatigue and funk. It's been so bad, I've even found it difficult to get excited about--hold onto your hats--beer. Oh, gawd! It's a tragedy!

Before you start feeling sorry for me, I think I've found a solution to the problem: Oakshire Brewing's Overcast Espresso Stout. It's a beer made with coffee! Bam!

The beer poured into my Shaker pint a solid black color with a creamy, mocha head. The head rose up a full finger thick but quickly dissipated. No lacing was left behind.

Aroma is big on coffee--no surprise there. There's also roasted malt and just a tad of earthy hops in the background.

Taste is strong espresso and bitter dark chocolate. Hazelnut and a hint of spiciness. Mild bitterness lingers on the palate between sips. The finish is dry.

Medium mouthfeel with carbonation on the low side. The flavor and aroma perked up as the beer warmed.

I really like this stout. Love the grown-up flavors rolling around. Good stuff and I'm giving this brew a very respectable BeerGuyPDX rating of 3 crushed cans out of 4.


Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Dogfish Head Brewery - Rhizing Bines

Double teamed...
My hops are growing. The hardy rhizomes (mass of roots) of my Cascade, Centennial and Zeus hops have been seemingly dead and dormant all winter, but they're aliiiiive. Little green buds are just starting to perk up, and pretty soon long bines will be crawling all over my house again.

Hops do not grow on vines. No, their creeping structures are bines. The difference is that vines have sticky tendrils or suckers that affix the plants to the objects they climb. Bines simply grow in a clockwise fashion and entwine the objects they grow up and over. I make a patio cover out of my hops every year. It's cool and shady and if you don't mind a few spiders dropping onto your head from time to time, it makes a great summer hang out.

Hey, Dogfish Head and Sierra Nevada called their new collaboration brew "Rhizing Bines". Get it? That's pretty cool. They had this beer on tap at Bailey's Taproom. It's a double IPA that contains Experimental Hop No. 644. I've heard a lot about this hop--so new, it doesn't even have a name yet.

The beer was delivered to my beer mat a clear, bright orange color with a very pretty, foamy white head. The head had good retention.

The aroma was very fruity and floral. Tangerine, orange and lavender. I didn't pick up much hops in the nose.

Taste was interesting. Not very hoppy. Sweet malt with a grainy, bready quality. There's a soapy taste in the background--matching that lavender aroma. Not much of an alcohol sting to this one, in spite of the 8% ABV.

Medium mouthfeel. Reasonable carbonation. The finish is a bit watery. The flavor just kind of drops off a cliff and leaves very little residual taste on the palate. 

Man, I'm glad I didn't spring for a full bottle of this stuff. I mean, it's not terrible, but it's not awesome by any stretch of the imagination. I'm giving Rhizing Bines a BeerGuyPDX rating of 2 crushed cans out of 4. One of those cans is for the cool name.


Saturday, March 23, 2013

Double Mountain Brewery - Molten Lava IIPA

Lava first sight.
My buddy Brian sent me a Popular Science article the other day about the possible addictive quality of hops. The article suggests that while there is no proven chemical addiction to lupulin, the active ingredient that gives hops their aroma and pucker power, there is probably a psychological addiction that results from a natural rush of pleasure chemicals like dopamine into the brain.

This would be similar to the effect that capsaicin, the stuff that makes chiles hot, has on chileheads--folks who can't get enough  hot pepper pain. Hey, I'm a two-time flavor stoner! I love big hoppy beers AND hot peppers!

In any case, like any good hophead, I'm always on the lookout for a hardcore double IPA that I've never tried. Tada! I found Double Mountain Brewery's Molten Lava on tap at Apex Bar last night!

The beer was presented in a 12 oz. glass and was a hazy, golden orange color. The foamy white head was a finger thick and lasted a good long time. Frothy lacing was left behind.

Smell was straight up citrus and piney hops. Just a tiny bit of skunkiness floating around in the background to give fair warning that this is a hop monster of an IIPA. Some tropical fruit and sweet malt lurking around back there, too.

Taste is a big, bitter, hoppy sock to the salivary glands. Grapefruit and orange. Peppery. A bit of an alcohol sting, which I'd expect for a brew with an ABV of 9% plus. I got a smidgen of malt flavor there right at the finish but nothing really competes with the huge hops hit. I still tasted those hops after I left the bar and was waiting at the bus stop.

Medium mouthfeel with decent carbonation.

This beer delivers. The Double Mountain website says this brew is made with Cascade and Centennial hops. My favorites and the hops I grow in my garden every summer. Good stuff and I'm giving Molten Lava a BeerGuyPDX rating of 4 crushed cans out of 4.




Alameda Brewing Company - Siberian Bear Russian Imperial Stout (nitro)

1% Teddy, 99% Grizzly
The second beer I ordered on my trip to Apex Bar yesterday was a glass of Alameda Brewing Company's Siberian Bear Russian Imperial Stout. They had it on a nitro tap and served it up in a 12 oz. stemmed glass.

I actually ordered this beer as a back-up for the Ghost Chili Golden Ale, just in case the pepper spice was really as hot as the folks around me claimed it was. It wasn't. I didn't really need a back-up drink, which was great because I really enjoyed this RIS all on it's own.

The beer was presented on my beer mat a very dark brown/black color with a beautiful, creamy tan head. Gotta love that nitro. The head dissipated slowly and a lovely film of mustache-coating lacing was left behind.

Aroma was roasted malt, coffee and chocolate. Picked up some oak there in the background with a bit of over-ripe fruit.

Taste was marvelous. Luscious, bitter dark chocolate and coffee. Over-ripe cherries. Hazelnut. A rich, roasted malt flavor is left on the palate. There was a subtle flavor explosion going on in this beer and I loved it.

Medium to full mouthfeel with a very smooth, creamy finish to it. Amazing that with a 9.8% ABV there is no alcohol burn or hard-hitting booziness. This is a delicious, dangerous brew. I could drink several pints of the stuff and easily end up in the back of a police cruiser or with a really bad tattoo.

A superlative example of this beer style and I highly recommend. If you can find it on a nitro tap, you're in for a treat. I'm giving Siberian Bear a BeerGuyPDX rating of 4 crushed cans out of 4.


El Toro Brewing Company - Ghost Chili Golden Ale

Big things can come in
small packages.
I visited Apex Bar here in my hometown of Portland, Oregon yesterday after work. How is it I have never been to Apex before? They have fifty, 5-freaking-0, taps of fine craft beer behind that bar. Be aware that Apex only takes cash into their old-timey cash register, but it's well-worth the trip to the ATM. Many, many of my fellow bearded beer geek brethren patronizing this place, and quite a few Ladies of the Brew as well.

I saw they had a Ghost Chili beer on the menu. Okay, I give up. If people want to call a "chile" a "chili", then so be it, but "chili" with an "i" is a spicy meat stew they make in Texas. "Chile" is a hot pepper. It's a Spanish word, so it's pronounced CHEE-LAY, not CHILLY like you're cold. Yeah, I know, the word has been Americanized. Yada, yada. I'm a curmudgeon-y old grouch.

Aaaaaanyway, I ordered a glass of the El Toro Ghost Chili Golden Ale and it was delivered to me in a teeny, tiny 6 oz. glass. The folks at Apex know what they're doing because a small dose of this brew goes a long, long way. It was also recommended that I have another beer on hand, so I got a stout that they had on nitro.

Now, I'm a big-time chilehead. I can handle the heat. The Ghost Pepper is also known as the Bhut Jolokia. It was discovered in some remote Indian jungle and and until recently was the undisputed hottest chile on the planet. (The Scorpion Pepper currently holds claim as the hottest. I've never had the honor of meeting the Scorpion.) I've eaten a whole--albeit tiny--Ghost Pepper and it was f@#king hot. No lie. I was in pain and started hallucinating.

Ghost Chili Golden Ale was a clear golden color with the tiniest, pretty white head. The head dissipated quickly and no lacing was left behind across the top of that mini glass.

Aroma was grainy malt with a big chile pungency in the background. It smells hot. I bet if you got some in your eye, it would sting.

Taste. Yeah, this is a spicy brew. I didn't have any problem handling it, but those less initiated may have an issue, I'm just sayin'. If you think Tabasco is hot, this is not a good beverage choice for you. I didn't pick up much more than the chile after a few sips, but it's a good flavor. I'm wondering if they used more than just the Ghost Pepper for flavor. Maybe Jalapeno? From my experience the Bhut Jolokia isn't the most tasty chile. This beer has a really nice pepper taste to it, besides the heat.

Thin to medium mouthfeel. Nice carbonation. Finish is...well, hot. You get a little lip burn from this beer, which tells you it's more than a tad spicy.

I like this balls to the walls beer. It could have been just a novelty drink--one you use to mess with your brother-in-law--but the brewer made something worth drinking more than once. Kudos for that. I'm giving Ghost Chili Golden Ale a BeerGuyPDX rating of 3 crushed cans out of 4.


Thursday, March 21, 2013

Elysian Brewing Company - Valhalla Red IPA

Viking blood.
Thursday night and I'm watching the Bellator fights and drinking some beer. I can't drink some prissy, sissy beer out of a tulip while I'm watching MMA. Doesn't work. No, I need a manly brew. Elysian's Valhalla Red IPA seemed like it would fill the bill quite nicely. Check out that label.

This beer is part of Elysian's Manic IPA Series. These are supposed to be unique, seasonal IPA's that showcase specialty hops. Valhalla features Sorachi Ace and Citra hops. Let's see how they did...

The beer poured into my pint glass a hazy deep amber color--not looking all that red to me. Hmmmm? The tan head was humongous. It rose up to two fingers thick and looked very creamy, lumpy and clumpy. The head dissipated slowly and left a ton of sudsy lacing behind.

Citrus, pine and tropical fruit aromas fill the nose. Huge hops smell that brought Merry the Wonder Beagle drooling from the other room as soon as I popped the cap. She left a massive puddle of doggie drool on the floor while she begged for a taste. That's a big compliment from my hops-loving hound.

Taste gives a big bitter pucker with the flavors of grapefruit and orange. No mistaking Valhalla as anything other than an IPA. There's a very pleasant, yeasty, bready malt flavor rounding this one out in the background. Good stuff. Nice semi-dry finish.

Medium mouthfeel with good carbonation. It's also an easy drinker--at least for me--but then my hops tolerance level is fairly well developed. I'd have no problem tipping up my pint glass and downing the whole thing in one shot. Can't do that with every IPA.

It's hard to find anything wrong with this beer. I would absolutely buy it again in a heartbeat. Damn near perfect. I'm giving Valhalla Red IPA a respectable 3 crushed cans of of four and a Droolie.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Great Divide Brewing Company - Hercules Double IPA

Hercules! Hercules! Hercules!
Tuesday, the worst day of the week. Seriously, people complain about Mondays, but I think Tuesdays suck the most. Does anything good ever happen on Tuesday? Hells, no. Wednesday is Humpday. Friday is TGIF, Thursday is the day before TGIF. Tuesday doesn't do anything except stand in the way of the downside of the work week.

Anyway, today is Tuesday and I need to pep it up with a fine craft beer. My pick from the fridge is Great Divide Brewing Company's Hercules Double IPA. It rings the bell at 10.0% ABV and 85 IBU's. Those are some respectable stats.

The beer poured into my Shaker pint a deep orange amber color with a minimal white head. The head dissipated rather quickly but left a ring of lacing behind with more than a bit of dusting across the top.

Aroma is sweet malt with ripe topical fruit. Pineapple and orange. I'm not picking up a lot of hops in the nose. Merry the Wonder beagle isn't drooling a drop. That has me worried.

Taste turns it around. Big bitter hops give a sting to the tastebuds. Pine and grapefruit. There's a fruity sweetness in the background, but every sip pushes it way, way back. That bitterness provides a good balance.

Medium mouthfeel with moderate carbonation. The finish is creamy and there is definitely a noticeable booziness to the stuff.

This is a damn good IPA. I'm giving it a BeerGuyPDX ratng of 3 crushed cans out of 4--more like 3 and 1/2.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Portland Beer by Bus - The Number 72

One more Portland bus route and the beer serving establishments that are just a hop, skip and a stagger away from where TriMet dumps you off. I present...The Number 72.

The 72-Killingsworth/82nd connects Swan Island, NE Portland, SE Portland and Clackamas Town Center, via Killingsworth, Alberta and 82nd. During the weekday morning and afternoon rush hours, buses run about every 15 minutes.

Once again, please refer to my disclaimer in the previous bus route posts. If you get yourself into some kind of pickle following my directions, well, you'll be getting what you deserve. I give no guarantees that you'll make it home in one piece if you get on this bus and venture forth to these joints. I've always made it home safely, but that's not saying you will.

Now, go have a blast:

Fire on the Mountain
4225 N Interstate Avenue
From West: Get off at N Greeley & Going Overpass
Stop ID 2195
From East/South: Get off at N Killingsworth & Interstate
Stop ID 3170

Hop & Vine
1914 N Killingsworth Street
From West: Get off at N Killingsworth & Denver
Stop ID 3162
From East/South: Get off at N Killingsworth & Denver
Stop ID 3163

Saraveza
1004 N Killingsworth Street
From West: Get off at N Killingsworth & Michigan
Stop ID 3173
From East/South: Get off at N Killingsworth & Michigan
Stop ID 3174

McMenamin's Chapel Pub
430 N Killingsworth Street
From West: Get off at N Killingsworth & Commercial
Stop ID 3156
From East/South: Get off at N Killingsworth & Commercial
Stop ID 3157

Hopworks BikeBar
3947 N Williams Avenue
From West: Get off at N Killingsworth & Williams
Stop ID 3188
From East/South: Get off at NE Killingsworth & N Williams
Stop ID 3187

Lompoc SideBar
3901 N Williams Avenue
From West: Get off at N Killingsworth & Williams
Stop ID 3188
From East/South: Get off at NE Killingsworth & N Williams
Stop ID 3187

Old Town Brewing Company
5201 NE MLK Blvd
From West: Get off at NE M L King & Killingsworth
Stop ID 5927
From East/South: Get off at NE M L King & Sumner
Stop ID 5952

1856
1465 NE Prescott Street
From West: Get off at NE Alberta & 15th
Stop ID 52
From East/South: Get off at NE Alberta & 15th
Stop ID 53

Mash Tun
2204 NE Alberta Street
From West: Get off at NE Alberta & 21st
Stop ID 11471
From East/South: Get off at NE Alberta & 21st
Stop ID 11472

Concordia Ale House
From West: Get off at NE Killingsworth & 33rd
Stop ID 3191
From East/South: Get off at NE Killingsworth & 33rd
Stop ID 3192

Roscoe's
8105 SE Stark Street
From West/North: Get off at SE 82nd & Stark
Stop ID 8048
From South: Get off at SE 82nd & Stark
Stop ID 8047

Bucket Brigade Saloon
8012 SE Powell Blvd
From West/North: Get off at SE 82nd & Powell
Stop ID 8024
From South: Get off at SE 82nd & Powell
Stop ID 8023

Oakshire Brewing - Hellshire III

What the hell is on that label?
Happy St. Patrick's Day, folks! And by folks, I clearly mean the  30 or 40 people who read my blog. You know who you are...because you're reading this... Anyway...I couldn't let this day get by without drinking a beer or few. No way would I drink anything dyed green. I decided to spend a few bucks on something special.

One of the brews I bought from the cold case at Uptown Market was Oakshire Brewing's Hellshire III. It's a stout aged in bourbon barrels. There's quite a bit of copy on the back label that probably tells a lot about the beer, but my old, tired eyes were not up for the challenge.

Hellshire III poured into my tulip glass a pitch black, used 30 weight black. It seemed a bit viscous on the pour. The mocha head came up to almost a finger thick but dissipated quickly. No lacing was left behind.

Aroma is roasted malt, brown sugar and molasses right up front. Lots of booze and oak in the background.

Taste is chocolate and vanilla with an oak smokiness. There's definitely bourbon in the flavor but no noticeable alcohol sting to this 8.5% ABV beer. A nice bitterness is left on the palate, along with a pleasant spicy bite. Cinnamon and allspice. Delicious.

Mouthfeel is medium and there is moderate carbonation. Frankly, I was surprised the stuff wasn't a thick, syrupy palate coater, based on the pour. Looks can be deceiving. This is actually quite an easy drinker. The finish is dry and invites another gulp rather than a sip.

I previously mentioned my apprehension about beers that come in wax-sealed bombers. It makes me sad and disappointed when the beer doesn't live up to the trouble it takes to get the damned cap off the bottle. Hellshire III came with pretty, steel gray wax coating the neck and cap. Gratefully, it also had a pull-string for ease of opening. The beer also lived up to the packaging--and the price. Good, good stuff.

I'm Hellshire III a BeerGuyPDX rating of 4 crushed cans out of 4. Merry the Wonder Beagle is sitting here next to me drooling away, so the beer also earns a Droolie.

Portland Beer by Bus - The Number 56

Here's another list of worthwhile brewery/beer stops near a TriMet bus route. This one is the ol' reliable Number 56.

The 56-Scholls Ferry Rd connects Washington Square, Raleigh Hills, Hillsdale and Portland City Center, via Scholls Ferry Road, Beaverton-Hillsdale Highway, Barbur and 5th/6th. During the weekday morning and afternoon rush hours, buses run about every 15 minutes between Raleigh Hills and City Center.

Once again, I'm just letting you know that it would probably be in your best interest to double check the stops and directions I've posted here. My wife teases me all the time about my horrible sense of direction--or total lack thereof. East? West? North? South? Beats the hell out of me. I can barely tell the difference between up and down. I bare no responsibility if you end up in Timbuktu, or gawd forbid, Beaverton.

Lucky Labrador Public House
7675 SW Capitol Hwy
From West: Get off at SW Beaverton-Hillsdale & 30th
Stop ID 367
From East: Get off at SW Capitol & 33rd
Stop ID 970

Raccoon Lodge
7424 SW Beaverton-Hillsdale Hwy
From West: Get off at SW Beaverton-Hillsdale & Oleson
Stop ID 348
From East: Get off at SW Scholls Ferry & BH Hwy
Stop ID 5184

Uptown Market
6620 SW Scholls Ferry Rd
From West: Get off at SW Scholls Ferry & Allen
Stop ID 5162
From East: Get off at SW Scholls Ferry & 92nd
Stop ID 5207

Sasquatch Brewing Company
6440 SW Capitol Hwy
From West: Get off at SW Capitol & Bertha Ct
Stop ID 925
From East: Get off at SW Beaverton-Hillsdale & 18th Dr
Stop ID 363

Full Sail Brewing Company
307 SW Montgomery Street
From West: Get off at 200 Block SW Harrison
Stop ID 2567

BridgePort Brewing Company
1318 NW Northrup St
From West: Get off at SW Broadway & W Burnside
Stop ID 13170

Rogue Public House
1339 NW Flanders Street
From West: Get off at SW Broadway & W Burnside
Stop ID 13170

Deschutes Brewery
210 NW 11th Avenue
From West: Get off at SW Broadway & W Burnside
Stop ID 13170

Tugboat Brewing
711 SW Ankeny Street
From West: Get off at SW Broadway & W Burnside
Stop ID 13170

Bailey's Taproom
213 SW Broadway Street
From West: Get off at SW Broadway & W Burnside
Stop ID 13170

Pints Brewing Company
412 NW Fifth Avenue
From West: Get off at SW Broadway & W Burnside
Stop ID 13170

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Ninkasi Brewing Company - Babylon IIPA

Mr. Thumb is happy.
The family sent me out to bring home burgers this afternoon. I don't know why, but it always seems to be raining when that happens. I found myself at Killer Burger and damn if the joint wasn't packed to the rafters with birthday partiers. Arrgh.

Gratefully, in addition to having some tasty, tasty burgers, Killer Burger also has some mighty fine Northwest craft beers on tap. That certainly can make a standing room only wait a wee bit more tolerable. Yes, indeedy do.

I ordered up the togo burgers and a pint of Ninkasi Babylon Imperial IPA. Yes! That was a very welcome surprise. Babylon is on my wishlist.

The beer was poured from the tap into a chilled shaker pint. It was a beautiful, hazy, copper orange/amber color. The head was almost a finger high, rising up a very foamy, creamy white above the rim of the glass. The head dissipated slowly and left a good amount of lacing around the rim with a bit of dusting across the top.

Aroma was straight up pine and citrus hops. Stone fruit and pineapple notes in the background.

Taste gives a big initial bitter hops sting. Follow up is sweet malt and tropical fruit. The sweetness is very well balanced against that pine and citrus hops punch. Finish is dry with a nice malt and bitter hops duo competing for attention on the palate.

Medium to slightly heavy mouthfeel. I'd be more inclined to sip rather than chug this one. There's a 9% ABV to this brew. The alcohol is present in the taste, but it doesn't over-power.

I truly love the beers put out by Ninkasi. These are craft beers in every sense of the word. Good, good stuff.
I'm giving Babylon IIPA a BeerGuyPDX rating of 4 crushed cans out of 4.


Boneyard Beer Company - Diablo Rojo

The devil inside...mah belly!
I like all kinds of beer, but admittedly I prefer some styles over others. There's no doubt that I love, love, love India pale ales. A well-crafted IPA always brings a party to your mouth. So much going on in the flavor department: bitter, sweet, fruity, malty; the complexity can be awesome.

Belgian styles are also a big favorite, and I'm always intrigued by the massive character of a fine barley wine ale.

The red ale is a style that I'm on the fence about. I have to be in right mood to drink a red. The earthy malt character often seems like a one trick pony to me. Just not much else going on.

I was sitting at a local bar yesterday and saw Boneyard's Diablo Rojo on tap. There was a fearsome looking red devil sitting on top of that tap handle. Kind of reminded me of that Diablo video game I used to play with my son when he was a teen. Could this red ale truly be devilish? I decided to give it a try.

The beer was delivered to my napkin a clear, red amber color with a pithy white head. The beer was over-poured.   By the time I got the camera on my phone fired up, the head had dissipated to a small ring of lacing  around the rim. Nice color, for sure.

Aroma was bready malt and brown sugar. Very faint grassy hops in the background.

Taste was as I expected. Malt with an earthy, nutty flavor. Very crisp and clean, though. The flavor never descended into that swampy, dirt taste that I've found present in some reds I've tried. A little touch of bitterness to the finish. Nice.

Thin to medium mouthfeel with good carbonation.

A very drinkable beer. No alcohol taste detected at all. ABV is 7.0%. I'm not so sure it lives up to the name. It's seems more angel than devil to me. Nevertheless, Diablo Rojo is a decent beer and I'd have no problem drinking it again. I'm giving it a respectable BeerGuyPDX rating of 3 crushed cans out of 4.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Green Flash Brewing Company - West Coast IPA

Not green or flashy...
Is there anything better than relaxing on the couch with an ice cold brewski on your day off? Naw, I don't think so. Well, maybe relaxing on the couch with an ice cold brewski and a plate of nachos...and with a some great fights on the tube...and some chocolate cake...but otherwise, it doesn't get much better than that.

This afternoon, I'm drinking a West Coast IPA from Green Flash Brewing Company. These good folks from down San Diego way make some mighty fine beers, yes they do.

This beer poured a slightly hazy, golden amber color into my pint glass. The ample white head came up a full finger thick and then some. The head dissipated slowly and left copious amounts of lacing behind.

Aroma is big pine and citrus hops. Tropical fruit and sweet malt in background.

Taste follows the nose. Nice bitter hop sting comes with mixed citrus flavors of orange, grapefruit and lemon.  There's a very pleasant spiciness to the finish. Good malt balance to this one.

Medium mouthfeel with good carbonation. In spite of the big bitterness all the way through, this IPA is a surprisingly easy drink. You could chug it or sip it, whatever your preference. I like that.

This is pretty much a perfect IPA. Nothing particularly unique or amazing about the stuff, but it hits the mark on everything it's supposed to hit. How could you complain about that? I'm giving West Coast IPA a BeerGuyPDX rating of 4 crushed cans out of 4.


Portland Beer by Bus - The Number 24

I am continuing my series of TriMet bus routes and the best beer drinking spots to be found near their various stops. This is a relatively short route, but a good one. Lot's of tasty beer to be had in a compact area. Ladies and gents, I give you the Number 24.

FYI: An all-day TriMet pass costs $5.00 and it's your best bet if you're planning on traveling by bus for most of the day. The pass is also good for the MAX (light rail) and the Portland Streetcar. There are apps for both iPhone and Android phones that give pretty good TriMet route listings and stop times. I use the PDX Transit Finder for Android.

Once again, I'm adding my disclaimer: I bear no responsibility if you're dumb enough to follow these directions without double checking the TriMet Trip Planner. Hell, I was probably more than halfway into a six pack when I posted this. If you get lost, mugged, shanghaied or eating by wolverines, it's all on you. Don't sue me.

The 24-Fremont provides service between Gateway Transit Center and Legacy Emanuel Hospital, along 102nd, Halsey, 92nd, Fremont and Williams/Vancouver. It travels in an East-West direction and back. Note that this line only runs on the weekdays, so you're out of luck if you want to do a bus/beer excursion on this route on Saturday or Sunday.

StormBreaker Brewing
832 N Beech Street
From East: Get off at N Vancouver & Ivy
Stop ID 6000

Hopworks BikeBar
3947 N Williams Avenue
From West: Get off at NE Fremont & N Williams
Stop ID 1848
From East: Get off at N Williams & NE Shaver
Stop ID 6366

Fifth Quadrant (Lompoc Brewing)
3901 N Williams Avenue
From West: Get off at NE Fremont & N Williams
Stop ID 1848
From East: Get off at N Williams & NE Shaver
Stop ID 6366

1856
1465 NE Prescott Street
From West: Get off at NE Fremont & 15th
Stop ID 1856 (a little walkin' up 15th)
From East: Get off at NE Fremont & 15th
Stop ID 1857 (walk or get on the 8)

Fifteenth Avenue Hophouse
1517 NE Brazee Street
From West: Get off at NE Fremont & 15th
Stop ID 1856 (a little walkin' down 15th)
From East: Get off at NE Fremont & 15th
Stop ID 1857 (walk or get on the 8)

Alameda Brewing Company
4765 NE Fremont Street
From West: Get off at NE Fremont & 48th
Stop ID 1882
From East: Get off at NE Fremont & 48th
Stop ID 1883

Bottles
5015 N.E. Fremont Street
From West: Get off at NE Fremont & 51st
Stop ID 10571
From East:Get off at NE Fremont & 51st
Stop ID 1887

Laurelwood Brewing
5115 NE Sandy Blvd
From West: Get off at NE Fremont & 51st
Stop ID 10571
From East: Get off at NE Fremont & 51st
Stop ID 1887

Fire on the Mountain
3443 NE 57th Avenue
From West: Get off at NE Fremont & 57th
Stop ID 1890
From East:Get off at NE Fremont & 57th
Stop ID 1891

More routes to come. Check out previous posts for the Number 8 and the Number 70.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Green Flash Brewing Company - Double Stout

Double trouble
I'm steadily whittling down the single brews I have stowed in my  fridge. I had a tough decision to make tonight--ended up doing the ol' eeny, meeny, miney, moe. Tada! The pick of the day is Green Flash Brewing Company's Double Stout. The label says it rings in at 8.8% ABV. Let's review it, shall we...

The beer poured into my tulip glass a deep, dark, brown/black color with a pretty tan head. The head looked creamy and clumpy and rose up more than a finger thick. The head dissipated slowly and left a thin film of lacing behind.

Aroma is roasted malt, chocolate and coffee. Not a lot of complexity coming up my nostrils.

Taste is bitter, strong coffee with dark chocolate in the back. Bitter finish that drops off quickly and leaves little else on the palate.

Medium mouthfeel with moderate carbonation. Just a tad watery in the end, which was a bit of a disappointment.

It's not bad, and I certainly wouldn't kick this beer out of my party cooler, but for a double stout, I was expecting just a bit more bang for my buck. I'm giving this one a BeerGuyPDX rating of 2 crushed cans out of 4.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Boulevard Brewing Company - Irish Ale

Irish I had more beer...
I bought a sack of beer singles today. Six of them. I know what you're thinking--sack? Yes, it was a poorly constructed canvas shopping bag that should absolutely be called a sack instead of a bag.

I carried the sack home, slung over my shoulder like a happy hobo, and loaded the bottom of my fridge with a wide array of craft beers from a bunch of different brewers. Unfortunately, I bought those singles at Whole Foods and some of them were quite pricey. Of course, if you shop at Whole Foods, price is no object, right? Right.

Boulevard Brewing Company's Irish Ale poured from a 12 oz. bottle into my pint glass a dark reddish brown color with a big, creamy, tan white. The head rose up to over two inches high and dissipated slowly. A significant cap of foamy suds was left behind, solid from rim to rim, and still about an 1/8 of an inch tall.

Aroma is sweet malt, brown sugar and ripe banana, with an earthiness in the background.

The taste follows the nose to some extent. There's a mild, bitter hoppiness on top of the malt and just a slight spicy, peppery aftertaste.

Medium mouthfeel with good carbonation. The finish is just a tad watery.

At 5.8% ABV, there absolutely no alcohol taste to this beer. It's highly drinkable. Not my favorite beer for this style, but I wouldn't turn one down if you offered it to me. I'm giving Irish Ale a BeerGuyPDX rating of 3 crushed cans out of 4.

Oskar Blues Brewery - Ten Fidy Imperial Stout

Sakes alive, it's 10.5!
Years ago, I would have never imagined finding a magnificently crafted beer inside a can. Times have changed for the better, you betcha.

I believe Oskar Blues Brewery packages their wares almost exclusively in cans. Hey, it may come in a poptop, but the stuff ain't cheap. I paid $3.99 for a single 12 oz. can of Ten Fidy. Ouch. Gratefully, the beer was well worth the price of admission.

Ten Fidy poured into my tulip glass a dark, bottomless pit black color with a creamy, mocha head. The head came up a full finger thick and dissipated slowly. A thin cap was left across the top, with spiderwebs of lacing all over the glass.

Aroma is overripe dark fruit and roasted malt. Chocolate and coffee in the background.

Taste is bitter dark chocolate, espresso and roasted malt. There's a big, booziness in the background. Mild smokiness and the flavor of dark cherries. Hops are present and provide a subtle balance for the malt. Nice.

Full mouthfeel with a creamy finish. There's a spreading alcohol warmth to this 10.5% ABV beer, but it doesn't adversely effect the complexity of flavors that are left on the palate.

Amazingly, Merry the Wonder Beagle was able to smell the aroma of this beer THROUGH THE UNOPENED CAN! She immediately started doing her "hoppy dance" as soon as I pulled the can out of the fridge. Amazing.

This is about a perfect as an Imperial Stout can get. Ten Fidy gets a BeerGuyPDX rating of 4 crushed cans out of 4 AND a Droolie.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Widmer Brothers Brewing Company - Green & Gold Kolsch

Gratefully, the beer is gold...
Go Timbers! Yay! Ya-hoo! Timbers are the best at kicking balls! TIMBERS! (I'm making axe chopping motions with my hands now.) YAY! 

Sorry, I'm just screwin' with ya. I don't know a damn thing about soccer and I've never been to a Timbers game. I do see lots of my fellow Portlanders sporting Timbers scarves, hats and t-shirts and stuff, so there's apparently quite a few soccer fans in this burg. I see them packed onto the MAX on game days,  and they look quite excited and anxious to see their team score--what?--one or two goals? YAY!

Hey, don't get me wrong, I'm happy those Timbers fans have something to root for, I really am. I'm also impressed that they have their own official craftbeer to chug down during all that exciting running back and forth and such.

Widmer Brother's Green & Gold is a Kolsch style brew that was apparently created by a local homebrewer. Widmer is producing the beer as an homage to the ever-popular local soccer team. Green and gold are the official colors of the Portland Timbers. YAY, TIMBERS!

The beer poured into my Shaker pint a clear, bright, golden yellow color. The fizzy white head came up to almost two fingers thick and dissipated quickly. A thin cap of lacing was left behind.

Aroma is sweet malt and light, grassy hops.

Taste is malt up front with light, pleasant citrus hops in the background. Mmmm, lemony.

Thin mouthfeel with very lively carbonation. Dry finish with maltiness left on the palate.

Nice. This is certainly a better stadium beer than you'll find anywhere else. I'm giving Green & Gold a BeerGuyPDX rating of 3 crushed cans out of 4.


Portland Beer by Bus - The Number 70

As I stated in my previous post, Portland, Oregon is a city that I'm proud to call home. Not just because the town is filled to it's overflowing brim with craft beer lovers like me, but also because it's a fantastic city to live in. The denizens of Portland generally care about the environment and the kind of world they're leaving behind. If that makes us weirdos, so be it.

I previously noted that Portland's public transportation system is top notch. You can get just about anyplace you need to be in Portland by taking the bus, train or streetcar, and if the places you want to be brew and/or serve beer, you are totally in luck. Here's another Portland bus route with 12 key breweries, brewpubs and taprooms that are worth a visit--for tourists and Portland natives alike.

Once again, I'm dropping in a disclaimer: I bear no responsibility--zip, nada, zilch--if you get lost, mugged, or end up passed out in a gutter someplace. Don't sue me. I don't have anything of value except my bus pass. I strongly suggest you put on your big boy/girl chonies and check these stops on the TriMet Trip Planner yourself. Okay, now that's out of the way, go have fun!

The Number 70 connects the Sunderland neighborhood, SE Portland, Sellwood and Milwaukie, via 33rd, Columbia, Broadway, 21st, Multnomah, 11th/12th and 17th. There's a little bit of walking between the stops and the final destinations on this one, but nothing you can't handle. Heck, if I can navigate this with a gut full of beer, so can you!

Concordia Ale House
3276 NE Killingsworth St
From South: Get off at NE 33rd & Killingsworth
Stop ID 7383
From North: Get off at NE 33rd & Killingsworth
Stop ID 7382

McMenamin's Kennedy School
5736 NE 33rd Ave
From South: NE 33rd & Jarrett
Stop ID 7380
From North: Get off at NE 33rd & Jarrett
Stop ID 7381

Hop Haven Bottle Shop
2130 NE Broadway
From South: NE 21st & Weidler
Stop ID 7138
From North: Get off at NE 21st & Weidler
Stop ID 7139

Broadway Grill & Brewery
1700 NE Broadway
From South: NE 21st & Weidler
Stop ID 7138
From North: Get off at NE 21st & Weidler
Stop ID 7139

Base Camp Brewing Company
930 SE Oak Street
From South: Get off at SE 12th & Pine
Stop ID 6589
From North: Get off at SE 11th & Stark
Stop ID 6554

Cascade Barrel Brewing House
939 SE Belmont Street
From South: Get off at SE 12th & Morrison
Stop ID 6588
From North: Get off at SE 11th & Belmont
Stop ID 6542

Commons Brewery
1810 SE 10th Avenue
From South: Get off at SE 12th & Clay
Stop ID 6576
From North: Get off at SE 11th & Stephens
Stop ID 6555

Harvester Brewing
715 SE Lincoln Street
From South: Get off at SE 12th & Harrison
Stop ID 6581
From North: Get off at SE 11th & Sherman
Stop ID 6553

Lucky Lab Brewing Company
915 SE Hawthorne Blvd
From South: Get off at SE 12th & Madison
Stop ID 6585
From North: Get off at SE 11th & Madison
Stop ID 6551

The BeerMongers
1125 SE Division Street
From South: Get off at SE 12th & Division
Stop ID 6578
From North: Get off at SE 11th & Division
Stop ID 6545

APEX
1216 SE Division Street
From South: Get off at SE 12th & Division
Stop ID 6578
From North: Get off at SE 11th & Division
Stop ID 6545

Oaks Bottom Public House (Lompoc Brewing)
1621 SE Bybee Blvd
From South: Get off at SE Bybee & Milwaukie
Stop ID 839
From North: Get off at SE 17th & Bybee
Stop ID 6847

More routes coming soon!

Portland Beer by Bus - The Number 8

I live in Portland, Oregon, which besides having the wonderful distinction of being the city with the most breweries anywhere on the planet, is also one of the most public transit friendly cities around. It's true. Even with recent route reductions and fare increases, it's hard to beat the bus and train (MAX) system here in Stumptown. I commute to work by bus and train every day, and even on the weekends, I find myself choosing TriMet (Portland's public transit system) rather than my car for most of my around town errands. Seriously, the last time I tried to start my car up, I found the battery dead from non-use. Squirrels had taken up residence in the engine compartment and the wheel wells were full of spidey webs.

Using TriMet is also the best form of transportation to use when engaged in my favorite hobby--beer drinking. No chance of a drunk driving arrest when you leave the driving to a sober professional, I'm just sayin'. If you are a beer-cationer in my fair city, PLEASE avail yourself of our public transit when you're out imbibing. There are lots of one way streets in this burg, and Portland drivers are notoriously terrible, even when sober. I just want you to enjoy yourself and come back again, and I can help.

My bus riding beer runs have left me with an odd expertise: I know where every bus and MAX line is situated near every brewpub, brewery and taproom worth visiting. It's true, and I'd like to share this obscure knowledge with my fellow beer lovers. Of course, I've usually had a few when I'm roaming around on these public transportation routes, so you'll want to double check my list with the TriMet Trip Planner. I'm also leaving off any complicated transfers. These are straight line, single bus routes--because you're going to be drinking a lot of beer and I don't want to be responsible for you ending up in the 'Couve. (Google it)

Let's begin with the Number 8 bus that runs from NE Dekum in the North, to Marquam Hill in the South. This line runs right through Portland City Center and crosses the Steel Bridge. Here are just a few of the breweries, pubs and taprooms this bus can take you to visit for your $2.50 price of admission:

Breakside Brewery
820 NE Dekum Street
From South: Get off at NE Dekum & Durham
Stop ID 1267

Mash Tun Brew Pub
2204 NE Alberta Street
From South: Get off at NE 15th & Alberta
Stop ID 6773
From North: Get off at NE 15th & Alberta
Stop ID 6774

1856
1465 NE Prescott Street
From South: Get off at NE 15th & Prescott
Stop ID 6810
From North: NE 15th & Prescott
Stop ID 6805

Fifteen Avenue Hophouse
1517 NE Brazee Street
From South: Get off at NE 15th & Brazee
Stop ID 6777
From North: Get off at NE 15th & Brazee
Stop ID 6778

Hop Haven Bottle Shop
2130 NE Broadway
From South:  Get off at NE 15th & Broadway
Stop ID 6843
From North: Get off at NE 15th & Weidler
Stop ID 6779

Broadway Grill & Brewery
1700 NE Broadway
From South: Get off at NE 15th & Broadway
Stop ID 6843
From North: Get off at NE 15th & Weidler
Stop ID 6779

Bailey's Taproom
213 SW Broadway
From South: Get off at SW 6th & W Burnside
Stop ID 7751
From North: Get off at SW 5th & Pine
Stop ID 7631

Tugboat Brewing Company
711 SW Ankeny Street
From South: Get off at SW 6th & W Burnside
Stop ID 7751
From North: Get off at SW 5th & Pine
Stop ID 7631

Deschutes Brewery
210 NW 11th Avenue
From South: Get off at NW Everett & 5th
Stop ID 8886
From North: Get off at NW 5th & Davis
Stop ID 9301

Bridgeport Brewery
1318 NW Northrup Street
From South: Get off at NW Everett & 5th
Stop ID 8886
From North: Get off at NW Glisan & 3rd
Stop ID 9311

Rogue Public House
1339 NW Flanders
From South: Get off at NW Everett & 5th
Stop ID 8886
From North: Get off at NW 5th & Davis
Stop ID 9301

Rock Bottom Restaurant & Brewery
206 SW Morrison Street
From South: Get off at SW 6th & Alder
Stop ID 7747
From North: SW 5th & Morrison
Stop ID 7625

Yes, I know that Rock Bottom is a corporate chain, but tourists like the place, so I'm listing it. Next review: The Number 70.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Portland Brewing Company - IPA

IPA or IPAin't?
If you've read any of my other beer reviews, you probably caught on pretty quickly to the fact that the Northwest India Pale Ale is one of my most favorite beer styles.  It's my go to beer. Yeah, I'm a hophead. Sue me.

IPA's are all about the hops. I grow hops in my garden every summer: Cascade, Centennial and Zeus. I put them in my own homebrew. Did you know that hops are closely related to cannabis? It's true. There's no THC in hops but I hear that there are chemical elements in them that promote a feeling of calm and well-being. I also read that eating them raw will give you a helluva nasty headache. I don't know about all that. I just know that hops make beer taste awesome.

I picked up a bomber of Portland Brewing's IPA the other day. $2.79 at Fred Meyer. That's a mighty good price and I was hoping the quality of the brew would make the purchase more than a bargain. I wasn't disappointed.

The beer poured into my Shaker pint a clear, deep copper color with an impressive white, foamy head. The head rose up to almost two fingers thick and dissipated slowly. Copious amounts of lacing was left behind.

Aroma is citrus hops and sweet malt in the background. No surprises there.

Taste is citrus right up front. More orange and lemon to this one than grapefruit. Not too bitter but there's an interesting spicy, peppery bite to the finish. I like it. Nice malt flavor in the background keeps it classic.

Medium mouthfeel with good carbonation. The head perked right back up when I refreshed the glass.

This is a very drinkable beer. Not a tastebud stinging hop bomb, but this is a perfect IPA to drink with a meal. The price is right, too. I'm giving Portland Brewing Company's IPA a BeerGuyPDX rating of 3 crushed cans out of 4.


Friday, March 8, 2013

Beer Braised Corned Beef and Cabbage

Dutch oven ready for roasting
corned beef.
It's almost St. Patrick's Day! It's one of my favorite holidays because--well, heck--it's a great excuse to drink beer and cook with beer!

Here's my Beer Braised Corned Beef and Cabbage recipe. First, I highly recommend you get a premium brisket from your local butcher shop. You do get what you pay for, generally speaking. Those slimy, gooey, plastic-packaged briskets they pile up in the meat case at Safeway once a year barely qualify as meat. Soylent Pink, maybe? Spend a little extra money. Your stomach will thank you.

This recipe calls for a stout or porter. You may want to avoid anything too hoppy, bitter or radically flavored for this job. (I'll be using my own plain jane, homebrew stout for the recipe this year. I have a case of the stuff, so might as well use it!)

The brisket is roasted in the oven, which I believe is the best method--much better than boiling all of the taste out of it. The idea is to get some flavor INTO that salty slab of cow, not make it even less palatable. Here's the recipe:

4-5 lb corned beef brisket
1 Bomber of your favorite porter or stout
1 small onion, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 medium carrot, minced
1 celery stalk, minced
1 bay leaf
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1 tablespoon caraway seeds
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 quart vegetable broth
1 head cabbage, cut into wedges, rinsed well
8-10 small red potatoes, washed and halved
1 -2 lbs carrot, peeled and cut into 3-inch pieces
1 large sweet onion, peeled and quartered 
Directions: 
1 IMPORTANT: Rinse corned beef under cold water, and pat dry.
2 Mix brown sugar with the caraway seeds, cinnamon, cloves and allspice and rub into brisket, coating both sides thoroughly.
3 Place brisket on a meat rack in a large Dutch oven or roasting pan with a cover.
4 GENTLY pour beer over the meat, making sure the brown sugar/spice mixture gets wet but stays in place. Add the vegetable broth and minced veggies on the sides.
5 Add the peppercorns and bay leaf.
6 Bake at 350 for 2 1/2 to 3 hours.
7 During the last hour of roasting, carefully turn the brisket over, and add the carrots, potatoes and sweet onion.
8 When the potatoes are just getting soft, add the cabbage wedges.
8 Cook about 15 more minutes or until the cabbage is tender.
9 Remove meat from Dutch oven and set aside for about 15 minutes before slicing.
10 Drain out the beer broth and bring to a boil in a sauce pan until it reduces. You can whisk in a little corn starch to thicken it, if you want more of a gravy.
11 Slice the corned beef across the grain and serve with the vegetables and the sauce/gravy on the side.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Dogfish Head - Saison du Buff

Are you going to Scarborough Fair...
in the buff?

Well, damn, it's still not Friday. Grrrr. I'm getting grouchy waiting for the weekend. Thursday night and not a thing worth watching on the 600+ cable TV channels we pay way too much money for. At least I have some beer...

Tonight's delight is a tasty farmhouse ale from Dogfish Head. The label says the stuff was brewed with parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme...which pretty much proves you can make a decent beer with just about anything, if you know what you're doing. Dogfish Head comes out with some very interesting experiments, and they are typically terrific.

Saison du Buff poured into my goblet a slightly hazy, golden yellow color with a bright, fizzy, white head. The head came up about a half inch high and dissipated quickly, leaving very minimal lacing behind.

Aroma filled the nose with spices: lemongrass, coriander and a hint of sage. A floral bouquet in the background--seriously reminds me of a florist shop--with light malt and yeast in there, too.

Taste delivered some lemon peel and peppery spices. Bready yeast and a nice maltiness left on the palate. Moderate bitterness. Honey. Definitely sage. There's a lot going on with the flavors in this beer, for sure.

Medium mouthfeel with lively carbonation. Kind of a creamy finish.

I really thought this brew would be weird, but I like it. Another winner from Dogfish Head. Good stuff and I would drink another in a heartbeat. Saison du Buff earns a respectable 3 crushed cans out of 4 on the BeerGuyPDX rating scale. I really do need to start giving 1/2 cans in my ratings.


Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Fort George Brewery - Roses on Roses XVIth Chapel

There's a War of the Roses goin' on...
in my mouth.
Is it really only Wednesday? DAAAAAAANNNNGGG! This is going to be one helluva long week. Thank the baby jeebus I have plenty of beer in the fridge and mass quantities of booze on the bar to help me forgot my bleak, sorry, sad existence. I'm so depressed, I can't even get myself motivated enough to cross the room to get the remote to change the TV channel--and Workaholics is on--the most annoyingly asinine show on TV. Seriously, who watches that crap? Ahhhh, people who are too depressed to get up and change the channel. It all makes sense...

AnyWAY, I was able to motivate myself to go to the kitchen and fetch back a beer. I pulled out a bomber of Fort George Brewery's Roses on Roses XVIth Chapel Belgian Style IPA, Four Roses Bourbon Barrel-aged with Rose Hips... whew! That's quite a name. For the sake of brevity, and to prevent this blogger from developing carpal tunnel syndrome, I'll simply refer to this beer as RoR for the rest of the review.

RoR poured into my tulip glass a slightly hazy, deep golden orange color. The off-white head rose up to almost two fingers thick and dissipated slowly. A prodigious amount of frothy, sudsy lacing was left behind.

Aroma is whiskey and citrus hops with a definite floral scent in the background. Tropical fruit, too: pineapple and kiwi.

Taste is much lighter on the whiskey than I was expecting. Sweet caramel malt is balanced very nicely with the bitter citrus hops. There is a unique, fruity flavor that I can only assume is the rose hips. There's barely any alcohol sting to this 9.2% ABV brew.

Medium mouthfeel with nice carbonation. The finish is fairly dry. Booze, hops and that rose hips flavor are left subtlety competing for attention on the palate.

This is a delicious beer. I'm really enjoying it...a lot. It almost made me forget that it's only Wednesday. Almost. RoR gets a BeerGuyPDX rating of 4 crushed cans out of 4.


UPDATE: Merry the Wonder Beagle was snoozing while I was drinking this beer. She woke up a few minutes ago and went absolutely batsh*t loony over the smell of the tiny droplets left in my glass. She even started reverse sneezing from the olfactory excitement. Thus, RoR has earned itself a Droolie.