Sunday, September 29, 2013

Kona Brewing Company - Longboard Island Lager

Liquid Aloha.
I made a batch of chili today. It's wet and rainy in Portland, Oregon. Well, it's typically wet and rainy in Portland, but it's been stormy as heck this weekend. Lots of downed trees and power lines. Traffic snarls and transit delays. I decided it would be more fun to stay inside--with a big pot of homemade chili.

Beer is a prime ingredient in my chili. Of course it is. My recipe calls for a lager. The beer needs to compliment the flavor of the chili, not overpower it. The beer I selected to go into my stew is Kona Brewing Company's Longboard Island Lager. It came in a 24 oz. can, which was just enough for the recipe AND to go into a glass for me.

The beer poured into my glass a clear, golden yellow color with a bright white head. The head rose up to about a 1/2 inch tall and dissipated quickly. Little to no lacing was left behind.

Aroma was sweet malt and grain. Not at all corny like a macro-lager. Lemony hops and a bready, yeasty smell in the background.

Taste was malty, bready and pleasantly spicy. Cereal grain. Lemony. Just a tinge of hops bitterness.

Thin to medium mouthfeel with a good amount of carbonation. Finish was semi-dry. Malt was the predominant flavor left on the palate at the end.

All-in-all, this is a tasty, premium lager. I liked it. Very crisp, clean and refreshing with just enough flavor and body to make it a keeper. It worked quite well in my chili recipe, too! I'm giving Longboard Island Lager a BeerGuyPDX rating of 3 crushed cans out of 4.

2 Towns Ciderhouse - Rhubarbarian

Are you stalking to me?
When I was a kid, my Grandma always had rhubarb growing in her summer garden. She made some awesome pies out of those stalks, let me tell you. Rhubarb pie was kind of like the Sour Patch Kids of my generation. Super sweet and massively sour at the same time. Man, what I wouldn't give for a big ol' slice of rhubarb pie RIGHT NOW.

Oh well, it's cold and raining in Portland today. I'm not going outside. I'll just have to make due with some 2 Towns Ciderhouse's Rhubarbarian cider. It's made with rhubarb and apples and comes with a respectable 6.9% ABV.

The cider poured into my Mason jar a clear, sparkling, golden yellow color. No foam to speak of during or after the pour.

Aroma was mildly acrid. Apple and rhubarb. 

Taste followed the nose. This cider really does taste like rhubarb and it gave a nice, solid, sour pucker right up front. Sweet apple followed behind. Great sweet and sour balance to this stuff.

Thin to medium mouthfeel with a good amount of carbonation. Rhubarb flavor sticks around on the palate at the end.

Rhubarbarian lives up to it's name. It would actually go great with a slice of Grandma's rhubarb pie--if Grandma could abide alcohol, which she couldn't. In any case, I'm giving Rhubarbarian a BeerGuyPDX rating of 3 crushed cans out of 4. Good stuff.


Saturday, September 28, 2013

Lifeline 50/50 Insulated Growler

Old School v. New School
One awesome thing about living in a city with a thriving craft beer culture like Portland is that you can get a growler filled almost anywhere in town. You'll often see bearded gents strolling down the main drag in my neighborhood, growlers in hand, headed for the nearest brew pub or bottle shop. Awesome.

The traditional growler is simply a 64 oz. glass jug with a cap. Fancier glass growlers come with a hinged porcelain gasket cap. Glass growlers are preferably amber in color. Clear glass allows too much light inside and that is not good for beer. Can you say "skunk"? Nobody wants that.

I've always used old school growlers, but lately their limitations have become a problem for me. What limitations you ask? First, that screw on cap isn't very air tight. The hinged gasket type is better at keeping the beer fresh, but both will leave you with a flat beer fairly quickly. One day in the fridge and you can tell the difference. Second, glass growlers won't keep your beer cold, unless you keep them in a fridge or submerged in an ice bucket. Enter the double-walled, vacuum growler.

I've been envying several of my friends who have premium growlers. They show up at a bottle share or party, crack open their growlers with a healthy "phsssssst!" and ice cold beer is soon poured into glasses. That's the way to do it!

I started shopping on Amazon and found the Lifeline 64 oz. 50/50 Insulated Growler for $26.88. Deal! I've seen the same growler for sale at local breweries for $40.00. Sure, those growlers have brewery logos screen-printed on them, but it's the same product. Using Amazon Prime (which I love), I got free shipping and two day delivery. The growler arrived in perfect condition, and I couldn't wait to try it out!
Got me a growler!

Heck, since I'm trying the thing out, I decided to give it a review. I drove over to Alameda Brewhouse and got a fill of their Siskiyou Golden. Alameda has a special growler fill deal on Saturday's: FIVE BUCKS! Seriously, they're giving the stuff away and you know I'm taking it. Five bucks? There isn't a better beer bargain in all of Stumptown. I'm told the deal will go on until the Saturday before the Super Bowl. I kinda wish it would go on forever...

In any case, I got the growler filled, tossed it in the backseat of my car, and went shopping. I was driving around for about an hour. The growler kept rolling back and forth--as cylindrical things are wont to do. Not a single drop of beer sprang forth from the tightly sealed cap. Good so far.

About that cap, it seems sturdy enough, but the rubberized band around the outside of the cap is not attached. It tends to spin around loosely, making it difficult to get a firm enough grip to really lock the cap down tight. Nevertheless, I was able to get a pretty good seal.
Fresh, fresh, fresh.

I waited another two hours before I opened up the growler and poured myself a glass. The cap gave off a satisfying "phssssssst!" and a head came right up when I poured. But was it still cold? Yes, indeed! That kolsh was nice and cold, tasted like it had just been poured out of the tap.

The Lifeline 50/50 also comes in a 32 oz. size. The one I bought is enameled matte black, but it also comes in unpainted stainless steel and white enamel. Prices can vary from day to day and even hour to hour on Amazon. I've seen this jug at anywhere between $26.88 to $31.00. My advise is to shop around for the best price.

All-in-all, I think I got a great deal with this growler. It has now been almost five hours since I had it filled and the beer inside is still frosty cold. I do believe I got my $26.88 worth. We will  have to see how durable the Lifeline 50/50 is before I pass final judgment. I am a bit concerned about the cap. It seems a little flimsy, but hopefully it can hold up to the abuse I'm going to lay on it. For now, I recommend it.

Update: I've been using this growler for many months now. It's had numerous fills with zero problems. No leaks. Always keeps the beer cold for hours. Get yourself one. Also, for more about local growler fills, see this blog post.

More growler reviews here.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Green Flash Brewing Company - Barleywine

Barley rhymes with GNARLY
Some San Diego brews have been making their way up to Portland. I've seen some from Ballast Point Brewing recently and today there were two offerings from Green Flash Brewing Company in the cold case at my local Freddie's. (That's Fred Meyer, for those of you uninitiated into things PNW.)

I paid $5.17 for a bomber of Green Flash's Barleywine Style Ale. That's a little pricey. Certainly not a bargain. It is a premium craft beer, so I'm not complaining about the price. I've certainly forked over a lot more for a beer in my day. I'm just saying you can expect to pay a little extra scratch for beer that's been "imported" from south of the (Oregon) border.

Barleywine poured into my tulip snifter a brownish orange color with a clumpy, tan head. The head was about a inch high and disspated slowly. A significant amount of sudsy lacing persisted throughout the entire drink.

Aroma was predominantly brown sugar and booze. This brew comes with an ABV of 10.9% and that's obvious as soon as you stick your nostrils over the rim of the glass. Bam! Carmel and burnt toffee. Malt and dark, over-ripe fruit.

Taste started out with sweet malt that was followed up with a nice, bitter hops pucker. Some citrus mixed with ripe cherries and plum. Caramel and toffee. Fruit flavor livened up as the beer warmed.

Medium to full mouthfeel. Some sticky, chewiness to it. Aftertaste was big on booze. Not a terrible alcohol sting, but you can tell it's in there. There was a bit of warming sock to the stuff right at the end. Like drinking a glass of port or sherry.

This brew wasn't the best barleywine I've ever had. Not very big on complexity, this one. Still, it's better than a punch in the nose. I'm giving Green Flash Brewing Company's Barleywine a BeerGuyPDX rating of 3 crushed cans out of 4.


Sunday, September 22, 2013

Vertigo Brewing - Super Dude

...V.I. Lenin. Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov!
Living in metropolitan Portland, I sometimes forget that the entire state of Oregon puts out some mighty fine beer. There are hundreds of awesome breweries all over Oregon. That's kind of easy to forget when I spend 99.9% of my beer drinking time in Portland proper. Hey, I'm kind of a homebody. For recreation, I do the usual. I bowl. Drive around. The occasional acid flashback. 

Vertigo Brewing Company is located in Hillsboro, Oregon, a suburb of Portland that's about a 15 minute drive from downtown (when the traffic doesn't totally suck). Vertigo recently turned five years old and I was honored to be invited to their anniversary party. They put out a mighty amazing spread--tasty food made with many of their tasty craft beers.

Of course, I was there for the beer, and I sampled quite a few. My favorite was their Super Dude Russian Imperial Stout. This brew was aged for six months in Big Bottom Whiskey Barrels and came in with an ABV of 9.2%. It was brewed with Chinook and Columbus hops. 

The beer was presented in a pint glass and I was most impressed with the deep, dark, pitch black color. The tan head was about a 1/2 inch high and dissipated at a moderate rate. A full ring of lacing was left behind.

Aroma was big and boozy. Bourbon, vanilla and dark, over-ripe fruit. Smokey.

Taste was cocoa, coffee and ripe stone fruit. Raisin and plum. Massive bourbon flavor. Roasted malt and a noticeable hops bitterness in the mix. Interesting wine-like quality. So many flavors competing for attention. Wow. The Dude abides.

Medium to full mouthfeel with appropriately moderate carbonation. Very smooth, creamy finish. This brew really popped with flavor as it warmed up.

What a great RIS. It really tied the room together. It's a winner and I'm seriously going back for more. I'm giving Super Dude a BeerGuyPDX rating of 3 1/2 crushed cans out of 4.


Now, Another Public Service Announcement...

Stay Alive, Don't Drink and Drive!
Blogs are typically vanity driven things. Most of them are written by whiny, frustrated poets who want the world to know all about their feelings. I love cats. Why can't I keep a girlfriend. Men are pigs. Blah, blah, blah. Oh, so many unhappy people. I don't want to know that stuff. I'm of German descent. We keep our feelings bottled up deep inside, where they belong, until we explode with a massive coronary. Uh, maybe blogging is the better way to go...

I started this blog as a fun way to keep track of all the wonderful beers I drink. That seemed better than keeping an Excel spreadsheet (gawd, I hate Excel). I never had any specific audience in mind. This whole deal was just a little exercise in high tech hubris. However, to my amazement, people actually read the incoherent gibberish I type up! It's even gotten to the point where folks recognize me in public. "Hey, aren't you that Beer Guy PDX guy?" How crazy is that?

Well, with a smattering of power, comes a smattering of responsibility. This blog is, after all, about drinking beer--lots of beer. What I wouldn't ever want to do is make it seem appealing or appropriate for anybody to drink irresponsibly. That's not what Beer Guy PDX is all about.

First and foremost, beer is for adults. The minimum drinking age in the state of Oregon is 21. If you are under 21, stop reading this NOW! Seriously, avert your eyes and move on to something more age appropriate--like that website with all those animated gifs of Miley Cyrus twerking. Second, it's never cool to drink and drive. Let me type that again S-L-O-W-L-Y. Do NOT drink and drive.

I drink a lot. You could call me a professional imbiber, and I've never driven my car while intoxicated. If I can avoid getting a DUI, DUII, DWI after all these years, so can you, and I have some tips to pass along for beginning beer drinkers, or those who aren't sharp enough to figure this out on their own.

1) Plan your drinking. Seems pretty simple, but this is the thing that probably gets people in trouble the most. You gotta have a plan, Stan! If you're driving out to the coast to drink some beer at that awesome brewery you've always wanted to visit, how are you getting home? Is someone going with you that isn't going to drink? Do you have enough cash to get a motel room if necessary?

If you find yourself at a party, with no way to get home other than your own automobile, make arrangements for a cab BEFORE you start drinking.

Plan ahead to use public transportation, if necessary. If you live in Portland, Oregon, I have mapped out the bus routes for many fine drinking establishments throughout the city. Check them out here. There is no shame in taking the bus home. Hell, I don't even own a car! I take the bus and MAX everywhere when I'm out drinking. If I can do it, so can you!

2) Use a dependable DD. Selecting a designated driver won't help you at all, unless that person is dependable and you know they won't be drinking. How many times have I seen the alleged DD downing more brewskis than anyone else in the group? Too many!

Lucky for me, my wife doesn't like to drink. She often accompanies me to parties and beer events. She is my dependable DD. However, we always have a CONVERSATION about our drinking before a party or event. If my wife wants to imbibe, I'll plan on limiting my drinking and curtail it early. There's that planning thing again.

In Portland, there's even a service that will pick you up and take you home IN YOUR OWN CAR for $15. RideOn Portland can be reached at 503-235 RIDE.

3) Know your limitations. Do you have a realistic idea about how much you can drink and safely drive? In this case, size does matter, as does the amount of time you've been drinking. Check out this Blood Alcohol Calculator to get an idea of how much drinking will get you over the legal limit in your state. As you'll see, it doesn't take much. Me, I'm a heavyweight. I've also been drinking for many, many years. It takes a lot of beer to get me impaired. Still, I think it's a bad idea to drink any amount of alcohol and get behind the wheel of a car. My best recommendation is that you refrain from driving if you've had ANY amount of alcohol in the past three hours.

I honestly believe that beer is one of God's greatest gifts to mankind. It's fun and delicious--in moderation. Responsible consumption will keep you enjoying beer's awesomeness for many, many years.

Cheers!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Reverend Nat's Hard Cider - Tepache

Pina Co-pilsner
And now for something completely different...

You have to mix it up sometimes, break out of your shell, try something new. Variety is the spice of life yada-yada. Luckily, we have some very creative and innovative booze makers here in Portland, Oregon. If you are truly up for trying something new and different, you don't have to look very far in this burg.

I stopped into 1856 Bottleshop the other day (they always seem to have something new) and discovered "Tepache".

"What the heck is Tepache?" I asked.

Matt, the friendly owner and counterman, told me it is a concoction created by Reverend Nat (he's a real guy, BTW) from pineapples. I had to try it.

The stuff was pretty sweet and tasted like...pineapple, for sure. Matt advised me that many people enjoy Tepache mixed with a pilsner. Kind of like a tropical shandy. Hey, sounded good to me.

I'm not going to do the whole typical tasting rundown here. Suffice it to say that the sweet, lightly carbonated Tepache complimented the crisp, malty, lightly hopped pilsner perfectly. Delicious.

I was advised that this particular batch of Tepache came in with a low ABV of 3.2%. 

A growler of Tepache would be quite fun to share and play around with at a bottle share or a weekend BBQ. Probably more of a summer drink, but who's keeping track of the seasons here in Stumptown? Everybody, but that's beside the point. Tepache is tasty and you should try it.

Is it a cider? A beer?  A wine? Beats me, but it has alcohol in it. I should have gotten more information about how it's made, but I'm a drinker, not a tinker. It's on tap right now at 1856. Go get some. I'm giving Tepache a BeerGuyPDX rating of 4 crushed cans out of 4--one of those cans is simply for having the huevos to do something out of the box. Bravo, Reverend Nat!


Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Deschutes Brewery - Black Butte Porter

It's a butte.
It's my birthday, so my lovely wife took me out for dinner to the Thai place down the street. Ah, what an awesome Portland neighborhood I live in. You should be jealous. Really, really jealous.

I got myself a blazing hot plate of Pad Kee Mao. Yum--that's an expression of gastronomic delight, not another Thai dish. Of course, I needed a nice, cold beer to wash those Thai chiles down. The restaurant didn't have very many beers on the menu--at least not many I'd drink--but they did have Deschutes Brewery's Black Butte Porter. That's a winner, right there. Score!

In my opinion, Black Butte is the standard bearer for American Porters. I can't believe I haven't reviewed it yet. ABV comes in at 5.2% for this brew and the one I had tonight was delivered to my table in a 12 oz. bottle. The shaker pint was chilled. Ehhh, not so good to pour a porter into a frozen glass. Oh, well, you can't have everything.

The beer poured into the frosty glass a deep, dark brown--almost black--color. The tan head rose up to almost an inch tall and dissipated at a moderate rate. A thin cap of lacing was left behind.

Aroma was dark roasted malt up front. Great malt smell. Chocolate, toffee and molasses. Over-ripe dark fruit. No noticeable hops aroma that I could detect.

Taste was mildly bitter coffee and cocoa. Smooth, well-rounded malt flavor. Hints of licorice and raisin. 

Medium mouthfeel with appropriate carbonation for a porter. Smooth, creamy finish with just the right amount of bitter chocolate aftertaste.

I've already let it slip that I'm a big fan of this beer. I've socked down many of them over the years. I'm giving Black Butte Porter a BeerGuyPDX rating of 4 crushed cans out of 4.


Sunday, September 15, 2013

Block 15 Brewing Company - Sticky Hands Centennial X Mosaic

Sticky, not at all icky.
DAAAAAAAAAMMMMMN! Every once in a while I stumble across a brew--purely by happenstance--that completely knocks my socks off. Block 15 Brewing Company's Sticky Hands Centennial X Mosaic is just such a brew. There's a motto in very fine print on the label: so hoppy your tongue will slap your face. Yup, that just about sums it up.

I ran across this beer at a bottle share event on Saturday. It was absolutely my favorite out of the dozens of beers shared. I loved it so much, I had to pick up a bottle for myself. I was planning on saving it for a later, more celebratory date--like my birthday on Tuesday--but having zero self-control, I opened the 750 ml bottle tonight.

This double IPA is brewed with Centennial and Mosaic hops and comes with an ABV of 8.25%. It poured into my goblet a slightly hazy amber/orange color with a creamy, white head. The head rose up to about a half inch thick and dissipated at a moderate rate. A solid ring with some spotty, webby lacing was left behind.

Aroma was big on citrus hops, which you'd fully expect. Orange, grapefruit, lemon. Sweet malt and a massive sock of tropical fruit. Pineapple, mango, passion fruit. Wow. There was so much going on in the nose, I almost didn't want to drink it. I just wanted to savor the amazing complexity of aromas forever.

Taste was as good as the smell. Nice bitter sock of pine and citrus hops. Juicy and delicious. Just the right amount of tangy hops, tropical fruit, tasty citrus and funk. It's an amazing brew.

Medium to slightly full mouthfeel. Good carbonation. Creamy finish that left a lot of flavor rolling around on the palate. That bitter sting to the taste buds at the end left the perfect, final punctuation mark.

This beer is a hophead's delight, for sure. I love it. Fantastic, awesome beer and I'm giving this version of Sticky Hands a BeerGuyPDX rating of 4 crushed cans out of 4. Unfortunately, the Wonder Beagle was snoozing when I uncapped this beauty, otherwise, I bet it would earn a Droolie as well. 


Widmer Brothers Brewing Company - Krystal Pear

Pear-y, pear-y good.
Feast Portland is coming this weekend. It's a big deal food festival held smack dab in the middle of downtown Portland--oh, the traffic. I'll be sticking close to home, but loads of Portlanders will be enjoying a wide array of tasty events. Literally stuffing their faces with Oregon's Bounty.

Even though I won't be going to Feast Portland, I did get to try a little sampling of what's in store for the attendees. Widmer Brothers Brewing has put out a special release brew that is the official beer of the event: Krystal Pear. It's a filtered wheat beer brewed with Oregon pears. It comes with an ABV of  5.8% I bought a bomber at Whole Foods last week for $3.99.

The beer poured into my shaker pint a clear, golden yellow color. A fizzy, bright white head rose up to about a 1/4 of an inch high and dissipated quickly. A minimal ring of lacing was left behind.

Aroma was apple and pear. Rather cider-like, both in appearance and smell. Light malt in the background. 

Taste followed the nose. Apple and pear with a mild spiciness. Very mild hops bitterness. Sweet malt. Almost like somebody mixed pear cider with a lager. Interesting. You could hand me a glass of this beer, tell me it's a cider, and I'd believe you.

Thin to medium mouthfeel with a good amount of carbonation. Semi-dry finish with the fruit flavor left on the palate at the end.

Seems like an odd release time for this beer to me--here in mid-September. I know it was specially brewed for Feast Portland, but on a commercial basis, I think it would be better as a summer release. It's light, refreshing and would be a nice drink on a hot summer day. Of course, it has been hotter than Hades this week, so what the hell do I know? All-in-all, this beer isn't something I'd buy regularly--just not my style--but there's probably a bunch of folks out there who would like it. I'm giving Krystal Pear a BeerGuyPDX rating of 2 1/2 crushed cans out of 4.



1856 - Specialty Bottle Shop and Bar

The best seat in the
neighborhood.
Before 1856, mankind had already been brewing delicious beer and making fine wine for centuries. They had those recipes down, yes indeed, but nobody knew HOW the fermentation process worked--scientifically, on a microbiological level. People just kind of kept their fingers crossed and hoped everything turned out okay. Then along came Louis Pasteur, a true scientific rockstar of his time. That dude had some brain power.

Among his long list of accomplishments, Pasteur was the first person to figure out that lactic fermentation is caused by microorganisms. That knowledge was the nexus of fermentation science and has brought us to where we are today, with refined techniques and processes that are enjoyed by beer and wine lovers around the world.

1856 is a specialty bottle shop and bar in NE Portland. The name, I believe,  pays homage to the year that Pasteur made his breakthrough discovery, which is fitting. The owners of this shop have a thorough understanding and appreciation of the wares they sell and it shows.

1856 sells beer, cider and wine, and you can drink those beverages inside at the bar or outside on the patio. There's not a lot of space at 1856. It's a small shop, but the expertly handpicked selections more than make up for the lack of elbow room. There is a friendly neighborhood vibe. Folks stopping in for a quick beer on the way home from work. Getting a growler filled. Picking up a bottle of fine craft beer or wine to go with a carry home dinner from Whole Foods. They remember regulars by name at 1856, too. I like that.
The jam-packed cold case at 1856.

Truthfully, I don't know anything about wine. I never drink the stuff. Gives me a headache. Thus, I'm limiting my review to the beer and cider selection. However, when I've been in for a beer, I've seen many happy wine consumers purchasing bottles of vino, so I assume the wine picks are as good as the beer.

The tap list is short at 1856, but sometimes less really is more. It's the quality, not the quantity that counts at this shop. The proprietors know beer and they stock their shop with awesomeness. I'm not kidding. If you search my reviews, you will see that I have found many, many fantastic brews on tap at 1856: Oakshire Brewing's Big Black Jack, Occidental Brewing's Lucubrator Bourbon Barrel-Aged Doppelbock, Block 15 Brewing Company's Cuvee Rouge, Fort George Brewery's 3-Way IPA and Wild Turkey Barrel-Aged Vortex IPA, and more! I haven't even reviewed them all. As you can see, these aren't the regular beer suspects that you'll find at any other bar or tap room in town. These picks are rare, special and always a delightful surprise.

The shop is bright and very clean. The decor is modern industrial, with a touch of vintage rustic. Cool. They spin real vinyl behind the counter, too. A very well-curated selection of music from classic R&B to Johnny Cash to Neil Young. Very cool.
Snacks for our bottle share event.

The bottle selection is just as superb as the tap list. An eclectic, thoughtful mix of beer and cider that keeps me coming back, just to see what treasures they've stocked since the last time I was in. I recently purchased a bottle of Block 15 Sticky Hands at 1856. It's calling my name from the fridge. We'll see if it stays there until I finish this post. Might not!

They have special tasting events at 1856 on occasion and I recommend checking their website regularly for updates. Most recently, they allowed a group of Portland beer geeks to take over the shop a hour before opening for a bottle sharing event. Yes, I was one of those geeks. The bottle share had a great turn out and was a fantastic success, in no small part due to the friendly hosting of Matt, co-owner of the 1856. It was a great time for all in attendance. 

Every neighborhood should have a bottle shop like 1856, and I'm damn grateful to have this one in mine. 1856 is located at 1465 NE Prescott, Unit A, in the best beer city in the USA, Portland, Oregon. It's right off the Number 8 bus line, if you happen to be traveling by TriMet.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Elysian Brewing Company - Dragonstooth Stout

Insert beer-related quip here...
It's hot here in Portland! It got up to 93 and it's still hotter than heck at 8:35 PM. Yeah, yeah, I know, it's been way hotter everywhere else in the country lately, but we ain't got no air conditioner here at Casa de Wolfgang. Thank gawd I have beer in the fridge...

What? I don't have any beer in the fridge! Okay, I do have several bottles of that stuff somebody brought over for our last house party... meh. Now, I don't want to sound like an ingrate--please feel free to bring beer over to my house ANYTIME--but some beers are meant for drinking and others are meant for...killing banana slugs. I'm just sayin'.

My lack of appropriate fine craft beer resulted in taking the Wonder Beagle for a walk in the general vicinity of New Seasons, where I found a bomber of Elysian Brewing Company's Dragonstooth Stout on sale for $3.99. Not the most awesome price, but cheap by New Seasons standards.

The beer poured into my pint glass a deep, solid black color with a massive, foamy, creamy, mocha colored head.  Wow! That head was impressive and lasted a long, long time. When it finally dissipated, a solid cap of suds remained from rim to rim. Lots of webby lace was left behind all over the glass.

Aroma was sweet roasted malt and cocoa. Dark, over-ripe fruit. Fig and plum. A tiny bit of booze, vanilla and coffee in the background.

Taste was smokey, smooth dark chocolate and coffee. Nice, smooth bitterness sneaked up on my taste buds and said HELLO! Delicious.

Medium to full mouthfeel with an appropriate level of carbonation. Creamy finish with a bit of an oily slickness left on the palate with an awesome smokey, mildly bitter aftertaste.

I love this stout. I bet it would be awesome barrel-aged. As it is, it's a very easy drinker. I'd buy it again in a heartbeat. Dragonstooth Stout earns a BeerGuyPDX rating of 3 1/2 crushed cans out of 4.


Monday, September 9, 2013

Block 15 Brewing Company - Cuvee Rouge

Sour power!
I stopped in at 1856 bottle shop to help them celebrate their 1st Anniversary on Sunday. Okay, I stopped in to help myself to some tasty beer, but I wished the guys a very happy anniversary. Hey, that's how I give my support--by gettin' my drank on. Some people give cards and gifts, I give many, many sincere, heartfelt toasts.

One thing I love about 1856 is that they always have something unique and special on their tap list. One of the rare brews they had up for offering on Sunday was Block 15 Brewing Company's Cuvee Rouge. It's a sour red ale aged in brandy barrels. ABV reported at 8.5%.

The beer was presented to me in a stemmed tulip glass. It was a brownish red color with a beautiful ruby hue shining through when held up to the light. A minimal, purplish head dissipated quickly and left a thin cap of spotty lace behind.

Aroma was acidic and boozy. Lots of fruit in the nose. Grapes and over-ripe cherries. Mild yeastiness in the background.

Taste was a big sock of tart right up front. Sour cherries and sweet grape. Very wine-like flavor. Nice complexity in the taste as the beer warmed up. Booze. Oak.

Medium mouthfeel with good carbonation. Dry finish with a sour pucker lingering at the end. The booze is evident but not over-powering.

I like this brew. It's a fun sipping. I'm giving Cuvee Rouge a BeerGuyPDX rating of 3 crushed cans out of 4.


Saturday, September 7, 2013

Fort George Brewery - Vortex IPA

A whirlpool of tasty.
Seriously? Seriously? I've never done a review of Fort George Brewery's Vortex IPA? How the hell did that happen? I love this beer! There's almost always a can of it in my fridge. I just poured one as a chaser for the 101 proof whiskey I was having for lunch. (Yes, whiskey for lunch. Don't judge me, and don't try this at home. I'm a professional.)

The beer poured into my Ball jar a hazy, golden orange color with a bright, white head. The head rose up to a full finger thick and dissipated at a moderate rate. A solid ring and a good amount of webby lacing was left behind all over the glass.

Aroma was pine, citrus and floral hops. Lots of citrus. Grapefruit and lemon. Sweet malt in the background with a healthy dose of tropical and stone fruit in there, too. Pineapple and peach.

Taste followed the nose. Sweet peaches and orange with a good amount of bitterness to keep the flavor from being too cloying. Great sweet, earthy malt taste. Excellent malt and hops balance. The flavors kept vying for attention. As I said, I used this brew for a chaser for a big shot of 101 proof whiskey. It did the job quite nicely.

Medium mouthfeel with good carbonation. Just a little bit of stickiness to it. Creamy finish with a really nice bitter zing left behind on the palate right at the end. 

This IPA is virtually flawless, in my humble opinion. It is a go-to NW IPA and it comes in pint-sized cans for ease of carry and storage. Awesome. I'm giving Vortex a BeerGuyPDX rating of 4 crushed cans out of 4 AND a Droolie. The Wonder Beagle was all over me as soon as I popped the can open.


Friday, September 6, 2013

Portland Brewing Company - Noble Scot Scottish Ale

If its not Scottish...
it's CRAP!
Some of the best beer values to be found in cold cases all around Portland, Oregon are the brews made by Portland Brewing Company. The bomber of Noble Scot Scottish Ale that I enjoyed this evening was purchased at the WinCo in Beaverton for an amazingly economical $1.88. You can't beat that with a stick, no siree. $1.88? Seriously, I don't know how they do it. You can't buy a can of cheap malt liquor for that much change. Hey, you won't find me complaining about a bargain.

Noble Scot poured into my tulip pint a clear, brownish amber color with a thick, creamy, off-white head. The head rose up to almost two fingers high and dissipated slowly. Lots of sudsy lacing was left behind.

Aroma was predominantly sweet, toasty malt. Lots of malt. Brown sugar and ripe fig. Cherry and nuts. Just a bit of a smokey tinge to it. Faint smell of hops in the background.

Taste delivered a robust, earthy malt flavor, punctuated with grassy, herbal hops. Nice. Not a tremendous amount of complexity, but it would be hard to find a better beer at this price.

Medium mouthfeel with good carbonation. Just a bit of a watery finish. I was expecting some more body to it. No noticeable alcohol bite to this 6.5% ABV beer.

All in all, Noble Scot is a noble effort. It's a very drinkable beer. I'd have no problem socking down a couple of bombers and with the bargain price I paid, it's as easy on the wallet as it is on the palate. Good stuff and I'm giving Noble Scot a respectable BeerGuyPDX rating of 3 crushed cans out of 4 AND a Droolie. The Wonder Beagle was groovin' on the aroma and drooling up a puddle.


Thursday, September 5, 2013

Stone Brewing Company - Enjoy By 09-13-13 IPA

Time's running out!
Stone Brewing Company has been putting out a series of "Enjoy By" IPA's with an expiration date printed boldly on the label. Heck, the expiration date is actually part of the beer's name. It's almost like the stuff will self-destruct if you don't get it out of your cooler before the drop-dead date. BOOM!

Seriously, the whole concept seems pretty gimmicky to me, and I don't like gimmicks. Just give me a straight pitch. We all know that IPA's don't age well. They are best consumed soon after they're bottled--that is if you want to get the full value of those scrumptious hop flavors. In any case, I suppose it's a highly effective little gimmick. These beers fly off the shelves and are wildly popular. I was practically forced to try one.

The beer poured into my shaker pint a clear, golden orange color. The creamy head rose up to almost a full finger high and dissipated slowly. An appropriate amount of lacing was left behind.

Aroma was big on citrus hops and tropical fruit. Orange, pineapple and passion fruit. It smelled like POG. An appreciable smell of pine and some sweet caramel malt in the background, as well.

Taste was big on citrus: orange and grapefruit. Flavors of pineapple and passion fruit. There was a sweet, bready malt taste that was very well balanced against the bitter hops. Nice spiciness in there, too.

Medium mouthfeel with good carbonation. Creamy finish with just a bit of noticeable booze. In spite of the 9.4% ABV, it was an easy drinker. I liked it.

Merry the Wonder Beagle went droolie apesh*t over this beer. I'm giving Enjoy By 09-13-13 a Beer Guy PDX rating of 3 1/2 crushed cans out of 4 AND a Droolie. I better go get another bomber. 09-13-13 is fast approaching.


Monday, September 2, 2013

Fort George Brewery - OmegaTex IIIPA

There are alphas in this omega...
I haven't posted a beer review in, like, forever. We've had a house full of awesome visitors and I've been extremely busy taking them on Oregon beer adventures.

Yesterday, we took a little trip to Astoria, Oregon. After our pilgrimage to the Goonies House, we went in search of beer. We ended the day at my favorite Astoria brew pub, Fort George. If you're looking for the quintessential Northwest  beer experience, it's hard to go wrong with a visit to Fort George Brewery, I'm just saying.

I had quite a few Fort George beers yesterday, but the one I enjoyed the most, and the subject of this review, is their OmegaTex Triple IPA.

The beer was presented in a 12 oz. snifter. It was a cloudy, orange/amber color with an off-white head. The head was about a 1/4 inch high and dissipated at a moderate rate. Spotty lacing remained across the top.

Aroma was pine and citrus hops right up front (grapefruit and orange) with a solid caramel malt smell in the background. Some tropical fruit in the mix as well.

Taste follows the nose. Big, bitter, banging hops and an awesome, sweet, earthy malt flavor hanging right in there. This is one of the best balanced IIPA's I've ever tasted. The tastes just kept bouncing back and forth across the palate and the complexity continued to build as the beer warmed up. It was a delicious sipping experience. The bitter sting to the taste buds was perfecto.

Slightly full mouthfeel. It has some stickiness to it. Creamy finish that ends with that tasty malt flavor.

I love this beer. It's awesome. I wish it came in cans. It would have a permanent place in my fridge. I'm giving OmegaTex a BeerGuyPDX rating of 4 crushed cans out of 4.