Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Widmer Brothers Brewing - Downward Spiral

Perfect beer to wind down with?
Another happy hump day! I'm drinking beer and catching up on Brew Dogs. I like the show, but I can't understand a word those two Scottish hosts say. I could really use some subtitles. Yeah, I know I sound like an ugly Cascadian, but seriously, I'm only comprehending every third or fourth word.

Anyway, I'm watching the Brew Dogs episode they filmed in Portland. (They pronounce it "Purtlund".) I'm glad they more or less admitted that they couldn't find any "craft beer virgins" to convert here in Stumptown. People know beer here. Duh.

I wish the program was a little more serious. The whole brewing beer on a raft or on a roof or upside down thing is kind of...stupid, if you ask me. Oh, great, now they're naked. Anyway, I'll get going on my review of the beer at hand--beer that was brewed in a brewery.

Widmer Downward Spiral is an Imperial India Pale LAGER (IIPL?) with an ABV of 9%. The label says it was aged on oak spirals. Cool.

The beer poured into my shaker pint a clear, golden orange color. The white head rose up to a full finger thick and dissipated slowly. A sudsy web of lacing was left behind.

Aroma was citrus and pine up front. Sweet malt and oak in the background. Notes of tropical and stone fruit.

Taste was citrus hops: orange and grapefruit. Malt flavor came on very sweet at first sip. Almost cloying, but the sweetness was shortly chased away by a big, spicy oak flavor and a sock of alcohol. Pineapple, guava and peach rolled around in the mix.

Medium to slightly full mouthfeel. Just a little syrupy in the finish. That oak flavor remained on the palate at the very end, along with some juicy fruit.

Downward Spiral is definitely different. I like it and was pleasantly surprised. It's not just one of the usual suspects. I'm giving it a BeerGuyPDX rating of 3 crushed cans out of 4. No reaction from the Wonder Beagle to this brew, by the way. She laid there, about two feet away, snoozing during the entire time I was drinking Downward Spiral.



Monday, October 28, 2013

The Bruery - Mischief

Best head ever!
Man, every once in a while I run across a beer that I fall in love with. The Bruery's Mischief is just such a beer. It comes with an ABV of 8.5%. It's a Belgian-style golden ale. I'm going to just jump right into the review.

The beer poured into my chalice a hazy, golden yellow color. The head. Wow! The head rose up to more than two fingers thick. It was creamy white and puffed up far above the rim of the glass. Creamy, clumpy, lumpy pillows of beautiful foam. The head dissipated slowly and came puffing back up whenever I refreshed the glass. Seriously, this was one of the most fabulous heads I've ever seen on a beer.

Aroma was lemony citrus, apples and bready, Belgian yeast. Mild spice in the background. Coriander and clove.

Taste was tart apple and pear. Lemon and sweet malt. Lots of Belgian-style yeasty goodness. Nice hops bitterness sets this brew apart from most of the true Belgian ales I've tried. Definitely a SoCal twist on the style and I like it--a lot. A lot, a lot.

Medium mouthfeel with just a bit of a chew to it. Good carbonation. Dry finish, with the hops bitterness leading the charge in the aftertaste.

I love this beer. Merry the Wonder Beagle went totally bat sh*t crazy over the smell. She howled and whined for a taste and when I gave her a drop, she howled. I'm giving Mischief a BeerGuyPDX rating of 4 crushed cans out of 4 and a Droolie.


Sunday, October 27, 2013

Iron Fist Brewing Company - Renegade Blonde

Blondes have more fun?
What a wonderful long weekend it was, but now it's over. In about 10 hours, I'll be sitting in a gray cubicle, praying for Friday again. That's the circle of life, isn't it? Work, play, work, play, work, play, die.

Gratefully, the gods gave us great beer to help stave off that inevitable finality. Hey, we're all still gonna die! It's just a lot easier (and more fun) when you have loads of delicious beer before the reaper comes for ya. That's my theory anyway.

Tonight's review brew is Iron Fist Brewing Company's Renegade Blonde. I got this bottle via bottle trade with a nice lady down San Diego way. It came in a 750 ml bottle, claiming an ABV of 5.2%. It's a Kolsch.

The beer poured into my shaker pint a hazy golden yellow color with a thin, white head. The head achieved a height of about a 1/2 inch and dissipated quickly. A minimal ring of lacing was left behind.

Aroma was lemony citrus and bready malt. Light grassy, floral smell in the background.

Taste was biscuit and yeasty malt up front. Lemon zest. Belgian-like spiciness was a pleasant surprise. Stone fruit and mild hops bitterness. Very crisp and clean flavors.

Medium mouthfeel with lively carbonation. Dry finish with the hops bitterness and spice competing on the palate at the end.

Good stuff! Quite a refreshing beer with a lot more character than I was expecting. I'm giving Renegade Blonde a BeerGuyPDX rating of 3 crushed cans out of 4.


Friday, October 25, 2013

Full Sail Brewing Company - 26 Cascade Pilsner

Buy local, buy Cascadian.
There are so many fine beers brewed right here in Oregon. Seriously, if you're an Oregonian, you don't ever have to drink beer brewed outside our awesome bioregion of Cascadia. It's all here. Every style. Every genre. Every niche. The craftsmanship of Oregon brewers is world class and world renowned.

Situated in the city of Hood River, under the constant watch of magnificent Mt. Hood, Full Sail Brewing Company brews beer that has become an Oregon standard. Their Session Lager was one of the first local "party brews" I tried when I moved to Portland and it continues to be everybody's go-to BBQ 12 pack beer.

Today, I'm drinking a Full Sail 26 Cascade Pilsner. Aptly named, it's a NW version of a traditional European classic. ABV comes in at 6.0%. The "26" represents Full Sail's 26th anniversary.

The beer poured into my pilsner glass a clear, golden yellow color with a bright, white head. The head rose up to about a 1/2 inch high and dissipated quickly. A minimal ring of lace was left behind. Lots of pinpoint carbonation could be seen rising up from the bottom of the glass.

Aroma was citrus and grassy hops. Little touch of pine. Lightly floral, slightly herbal.

Taste was lemon and light, clean, slightly biscuity malt. Pleasant hops bitterness. Mild spiciness.

Medium mouthfeel with lively carbonation. Slightly dry finish. Lemony citrus is the primary flavor left behind on the palate.

Good stuff. Crisp and clean. I liked it. I'm giving 26 Cascade Pilsner a BeerGuyPDX rating of 3 crushed cans out if 4.


Wednesday, October 23, 2013

BridgePort Brewing Company - Hop Harvest Pilsner 2013

Hop it to me.
Happy, hoppy, Humpday! Seriously, isn't Wednesday the best weekday?   It's not Monday, when the work week is just getting started. It's not Friday, when you can't wait for the whistle to blow for the weekend. It's not those other two worthless weekdays, either. Wednesday is just right, and my favorite day to review beer.

Today's new (to me) brew is BridgePort Brewing Company's Hop Harvest Double Fresh Hopped Pilsner. I brought it home in a bomber from New Seasons and it set me back $5.99. ABV is 8.0%, according to the label. The beer is described as a "Northwest spin on a traditional European flavor."

The beer poured into my pilsner glass a clear, golden yellow color with a massive, foamy, white head. The head was more than a finger thick and dissipated at a moderate rate. A thin ring of lacing was eventually left behind.

Aroma was sweet, biscuity malt up front. Citrus hops with floral notes in the background.

Taste was citrus hops, lemon and grapefruit. Mildly bitter. Spicy, grainy, grassy. Just a bit of alcohol warmth. Definitely a Northwest flavor profile, as advertised.

Medium mouthfeel with good carbonation. Dry finish with the bitter hops left on the palate at the end.

Good stuff! I really like this beer. Merry the Wonder Beagle drooled up a giant puddle the entire time I was drinking it. I'm giving Hop Harvest a BeerGuyPDX score of 3 crushed cans out of 4 and a Droolie.


Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Block 15 Brewing Company - Sticky Hands Man on the Moon

Your tongue will slap the moon.
Last month, I reviewed Block 15 Brewing Company's Sticky Hands Centennial X Mosaic. That beer would have received a perfect rating, if the Wonder Beagle hadn't been snoozing when I opened the bottle. No Droolie, but it's such an arbitrary award.

Today, however, the dog was wide awake when I popped the cap on a bottle of Sticky Hands Man on the Moon. She went appropriately nutso. She actually howled inside the house, which never happens--that's usually my job.

MotM poured into my tulip snifter a slightly hazy, orange/amber color with a bright, white head. The head rose up to about a finger thick and dissipated at a moderate rate. A scattering of webby lacing was left behind. 

Aroma was citrus and pine with tropical and stone fruit notes. Just a hint of dank funkiness along with sweet caramel malt in the background.

Taste was big on grapefruit and pine. Some orange and pineapple notes. Mango and guava. Peach. Solid bitter hops sock with that dank pungency left rolling around on the palate at the end of a sip. Caramel sweetness, but not a lot of distinct malt flavor. The tropical and stone fruit flavors really came alive as the brew warmed up a bit. Butterscotch. Nice. Do yourself a favor and savor this one for a while.

Medium to slightly full mouthfeel. Not at all boozy, even though the ABV comes in at 8.25%. Juicy, slightly creamy finish.

Another magnificent beer from Block 15 and they're going to make me drive all the way down to Corvallis once a month, if they keep this up. I'm giving Sticky Hands Man on the Moon a BeerGuyPDX rating of 4 crushed cans out of 4 AND that well-deserved Droolie. AROOOOO!


Monday, October 21, 2013

Ecliptic Brewing - Arcturus IPA

It's a total eclipse.
"There's a new kid in town just another new kid in town,  Ooh, hoo 
 Everybody's talking 'bout the new kid in town, 
Ooh, hoo 
 Everybody's walking like the new kid in town, 
 Ooh, hoo..."

Portland's newest brewery just opened, and I was fortunate enough to be there (thanks, Twitter). Ecliptic Brewing just opened its doors for business today and I have a feeling it is going to be around for a while. What makes me think that, you ask? Solid beers, a great space, and a menu filled with decent pub grub. That's what.

Ecliptic Brewing is located at 825 N. Cook Street, right off Mississippi. The brew pub and brewery both sit inside a large, renovated industrial building. There's a big bar and a lots of dining tables. Two large bay doors open up into the parking lot and let lots of fresh air and sunlight inside on a fair weather day like today. Very good.

The decor is modern industrial, with an open ceiling, but the noise level isn't adversely effected. Even with the place packed to the rafters with grand opening revelers, I didn't have a problem conversing with my table mates.

Of course, I was there to try the beer, and I wasn't disappointed. I found nothing too adventurous or profoundly unique on the smallish  taplist, but the brews Ecliptic is serving up are exceptionally well-crafted.

My favorite was the Arcturus IPA, a tasty, tasty beer brewed with Cascade, Centennial, Chinook and Columbus hops (my favorite four "C's") and honey malt. ABV comes in at 7.4%.

Arcturus was presented in a tulip pint glass a clear, golden orange color with a beautiful, foamy, white head. That head lasted a long time and left copious amounts of sudsy lacing behind.

Smell was huge on citrus hops. Grapefruit and orange. Mild scent of tropical fruit. Sweet malt aroma in the background.

Taste followed the nose. Good bitter hops punch with pine and lots of citrus. Great balance between malt and hops in this brew.

Medium mouthfeel with good carbonation. Slightly creamy finish. Hops bitterness and well-rounded malt flavor pleasantly competed for attention at the end.

Arcturus IPA is a solid, no nonsense NW IPA that doesn't disappoint. Good stuff, and I'm giving it a BeerGuyPDX rating of 3 1/2 crushed cans out of 4.


I also had pints of the Procyon Pale Ale and the TicWitTic American Sour Wit. Both brews were excellent and will have me returning for more. It's my understanding that Ecliptic Brewing is the newest venture of a Portland brewing pioneer and it shows. Somebody knows how to brew beer at this place.

I'm so glad I stopped in for the grand opening today. Although the servers were clearly slammed by the crowd that was overflowing into the parking lot, they showed no sign of cracking--which is the best you can hope to achieve on a massively busy day one. Friendly folks serving good food and great beer. That's a recipe for success in Stumptown.

I'll be back, Ecliptic!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Left Coast Brewing Company - Hop Juice

The juice is loose.
San Clemente, CA. I had many awesome adventures at a little surfing spot called "Trestles" back in the day. I'd always park my car around Carl's Jr. off the Cristianitos (sp?) exit in San Clemente and walk the long trek down to the beach. Seriously, the beach was fairly inaccessible. The only way in was a winding footpath that seemed to go on forever--especially on the way BACK.

The chug down to the surf was worth it, though. I loved the break at Lowers. I was a goofy foot and the lefts there were perfect. Man, that was more than 30 years ago. I wonder if the beach is still the same. Hope so.

Left Coast Brewing Company is located in San Clemente, and I thank them for sending me on a journey down Surfing Memory Lane. I recently received a bomber of their Hop Juice Imperial IPA via beer trade. It comes with an ABV of 9.7% and was apparently brewed with a boatload of hops.

The beer poured from bomber into my shaker pint a hazy, orange/copper color. The minimal white head disappeared almost immediately and only a small ring of lacing was left behind.

Aroma was pine and citrus hops up front. Dank, resinous and a bit funky. Sweet malt in the background.

Taste gave a pretty good bitter hops zing from the get-go. A big sock of booze, too. Lots of sweet, caramel malt. Bitter, sweet, booze. That's mostly what I got.

Fairly full mouthfeel to this one. A bit syrupy. It reminded me of a barleywine. More of a tonsil coater than I prefer. Bitter hops flavor left behind on the palate.

I wanted to like Hop Juice. I just couldn't get into it. I didn't finish the bomber and Merry the Wonder Beagle didn't even raise a nostril. I'm giving this one 2 1/2 crushed cans out of 4.


Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Port Brewing Company - Wipeout IPA

Ah, ah, ah WIPEOUT!
Craft beer nation! Yeah, baby! There are craft brewers whipping up all kinds of awesome beers all over these here United States! Gawd, I love 'Murica!

My second favorite craft beer city is San Diego, CA. (Guess which burg is my numero uno. Come on, guess.) Loads and loads of amazing brews come out of the San Diego area, but that low, low, lowest end of SoCal is probably most famous for its giant, hop monster IPA's. There are so many!

Thanks to the magic of FedEx, I was able to get my mitts on some San Diego beers. (Beer trading via Twitter hasn't let me down yet.) One of the beers I received via beermail was Port Brewing Company's Wipeout IPA. I was fortunate enough to visit Ocean Beach, CA this summer and had many, many, tasty IPA's. Port Brewing Company was one of the brewers that very much impressed me with their hop aggressive, West Coast style beers. That's some good stuff.

Wipeout IPA comes with a 7% ABV and was brewed with Amarillo, Cascade, Centennial, Simcoe and Summitt hops. Man, that's a helluva hops pedigree, I'll tell you what.

The beer poured into my shaker pint a hazy, golden orange color with a massive, off-white head. That head rose up to two fingers thick. It was clumpy and creamy and lasted for-eff-er. Wow.

Aroma was huge on citrus: grapefruit and orange. Lots of indistinct tropical fruit. Sweet malt in the background.

Taste. Big bitter zing to the taste buds right from the get go. Citrus and pine. Grapefruit, orange, tangerine and pineapple were the predominant fruit flavors. When the pucker wore off, there was a nice, light, earthy malt.

Medium mouthfeel with just a bit of a chew to it. Good carbonation kept it lively. There was just a bit of an alcohol sting--a tiny amount of astringency--but not enough to mess things up on the palate.

This is certainly a hop forward IPA. Not for beginners. It's got a punch to it. Really, really good brew. I'd drink one again any day, anytime. I'm giving Wipeout IPA a BeerGuyPDX rating of 3 1/2 crushed cans out of 4. The Wonder Beagle was interested as soon as the cap came off the bomber, thus, Wipeout also earns a Droolie.


Sunday, October 13, 2013

Occidental Brewing Company - Altbier

Lil' bit o' Germany in a can.
I'm of German ancestry but I gotta admit, I don't know much about Germans, Germany or German beer. Never been there, don't speak a word of the lingo, and it's unlikely I'll ever take a trip across the Atlantic to check it out. Vacation funds are limited and, you know, I'd rather go to Cabo or Hawaii. Sorry Grandpa Karl.

Luckily, I don't have to go to Germany to sample fresh German style beers. Occidental Brewing Company, located right here in Portland, Oregon, specializes in brews of the "Continental" style.

Tonight, I tried a can of Altbier. It's described as Occidental's "take on Dusseldorf's broad style" and "features our most complex grain bill, which produces a malty, amber beer with a lot of flavor." The ABV comes in at 5.3%.

The beer poured into my glass a clear, amber color with a bright, bubbly, white head. The head came up to about a 1/2 inch tall and dissipated quickly. A thin cap of lacing was left behind. Lots and lots of pinpoint carbonation could be seen running up the glass.

Aroma was big on sweet caramel malt. Very light lemon and hints of bready grain in the background.

Taste followed the nose. Very malt forward. Lemony hops. Nutty, grainy. A little spicy.

Medium mouthfeel with a significant amount of carbonation. Dry finish with that delicious malt flavor left behind on the palate.

Tasty brew. Very drinkable and quite refreshing. This is a great beer to have with a meal. I used it to wash down my wife's delicious beef stew. Good stuff and I'm giving Altbier a BeerGuyPDX rating of 3 crushed cans out of 4.


Oakshire Brewing - Ill-Tempered Gnome 2013

Gnome, sweet gnome.
I reviewed the 2012 version of Oakshire Brewing's Ill-Tempered Gnome last here. Check it out here.

One thing about seasonal beers is that while they may have the same name, they may be a completely different taste experience than the previous year's version. Such is the case with the 2013 Ill-Tempered Gnome.

This Winter brew is an American Brown Ale with an ABV or 6.8%. Not quite enough alcohol to count as a Winter Warmer in my book, but it's still a welcome addition to the holiday season around my house.

The beer poured into my pint glass a clear, deep brown color with reddish amber hues. The light tan head was about a 1/4 inch high and dissipated quickly. A light ring of lacing was left behind.

Aroma was sweet, earthy, toasted malt. Spice and mild, citrus hops.

Taste was big on the malt flavor up front. Different than last year's version was the big, bitter hops pucker. Indistinct citrus and pine. Chocolate and herbal spice in the background.

Medium mouthfeel with excellent carbonation. Smooth finish with the hops bitterness magnified at the end. Interesting. The taste left on the palate was more IPA-like than anything else.

There appeared to be a lot more flavor and a lot more hops involvement in the flavor profile of the 2013 Ill-Tempered Gnome than I remember from last year. I like it a lot more. I'm giving 2013 Ill-Tempered Gnome a BeerGuyPDX rating of 3 1/2 crushed cans out of 4.


Saturday, October 12, 2013

Full Sail Brewing Company - LTD Series Recipe Number 06

I'll be bock.
"There's no coffee or chocolate in the Limited Edition Lager but your mouth will insist otherwise."

That's the proclamation on the label of Full Sail Brewery's LTD Series Recipe Number 06. This brew is a seasonal holiday black bock with an ABV of 7.0%. I picked up a single 12 oz. bottle at the little tienda down the street from my house this morning.

The beer poured into my glass a dark brown/amber color with a tan/mocha head. The head rose up to about a finger thick and dissipated at a moderate rate. A thin cap of lacing remained behind.

The aroma was roasted malt, coffee and cocoa. Dark, over-ripe fruit. No distinguishable hops smell that I could detect.

Taste followed the nose. Sweet roasted malt. Brown sugar, coffee and chocolate. The label did not lie. Slightly bready, yeasty. The sweetness was nicely balanced by bitter, spicy hops.

Medium mouthfeel with good carbonation. Creamy finish. I'd have a hard time telling this is lager, if I didn't know it already. Bitter hops flavor left behind on the palate.

All-in-all, this is very tasty, well-rounded, expertly crafted beer. I like it a lot and would definitely drink it again. I'm giving Recipe Number 06 a BeerGuyPDX rating of 3 crushed cans out of 4.


Shilling & Company - Hard Cider

The best cider is hard cider.
In case you haven't noticed, there are a lot of tasty ciders to be found in your local grocer's cold case lately. Lots of local craftsmen are making good use of one of the Pacific Northwest's finest resources: apples. Awesome.

The mega-booze corporations are putting out quite a number of mass production cider-like brews, too. Every time I see a new cider on the shelf, I inspect the label to see exactly where it was made. I'm really only interested in buying cider made by local craftsmen.

Sometimes, it's hard to tell if a brewer, or in this case a cider maker, is a real homegrown craftsman, or just some figment of a PR firm's imagination. Those mega-corps are trying really hard to mask their involvement in what appear to be seat-of-the-pants start-ups. They also know what hot buttons to hit on: family, sustainability, locally sourced, etc. 

Today, I tried Schilling & Company's Hard Cider. The company hails from Seattle and there's a nice history about the co-owners on their website. The story is about two buddies working as corporate drones who decide to chuck the suits and start making cider. Interestingly, one of those besties is the great grandson of the founder of Schilling Spice Company. There's clearly a possibility of some big time corporate connections there, but hey, not everybody can be from a Nebraska trailer park like your's truly. In any case, I suppose I could do a little more research, but I'm just going to hope the history of the company is authentic. I won't even hold their MBA's against them.

The cider poured from 12 oz. can into my glass a clear, bright, golden yellow color with lots of carbonation.

Aroma was apple, apple and more apple. No alcohol smell.

Taste was crisp and sweet apple. At 6.5% ABV, I didn't detect much of a alcohol taste at all.

I prefer cider with a bit more of a dry finish, but this is a decent change up. Nice and juicy. I had it with breakfast and it went perfect with my pancakes. This would make an excellent mimosa substitute. I liked it. I'm giving Schilling Hard Cider a BeerGuyPDX rating of 3 crushed cans out of 4.


Friday, October 11, 2013

McMenamins Breweries - Black Widow Porter

This widow has a bite.
Not all Fall seasonal ales have pumpkin in them--thank goodness. McMenamins is set to release their Black Widow Porter at all of their locations from October 15th until Halloween. I was lucky enough to sample a bomber of this special Halloween brew yesterday. What a treat! 

If you live in Portland or surrounding environs, it's likely that there is a McMenamins pub near you. Therefore, I highly recommend you take a trek over there and get yourself a pint...or three. The Kennedy School is right down the street from my house. They'll be getting a visit from me soon. 

Black Widow Porter comes with an ABV of 7.35%. It's brewed with Chinook and Sterling hops and Licorice Root. It also has one of the coolest pieces of label art that I've ever seen. Check out that scary spider with the single spooky eye. Yikes!

The beer poured into my pint glass a dark, dark brown. The color was almost a solid black, but when held up to the light displayed some deep amber hues. The mocha head rose up to a full finger thick and dissipated slowly. A solid cap of creamy lacing was left behind.

Smell was roasted malt, caramel, cocoa and coffee up front. Aroma of over-ripe fruit in the background. Plums, dates and cherries. I could also detect a hint of licorice.

Taste was SMOOTH. That's how I like a porter. No sharp edges. Toasted dark malt. Espresso and chocolate. The flavors all blended together with just the right amount of hops bitterness. Delicious.

Medium to slightly full mouthfeel. There's some nice chewiness to this brew, but it doesn't coat the tonsils. It's an easy drinker. Tasty malt flavor was left on the palate.

This is a great beer that left me wanting more as soon as I polished off the bomber. Merry the Wonder Beagle really went gonzo over the smell. She pounced on me commando-style and was quite a ticked off pooch when she saw that I had finished it without offering her a sip. She was giving me stinkeye from across the room most of the night. I'm giving Black Widow Porter a BeerGuyPDX rating of 4 crushed cans out of 4 AND a Droolie.



Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Fort George Brewery - Next Adventure Black IPA

Big, green can -
big black beer
Yes, Virginia, lots of awesome craft beers come in cans nowadays. Long gone are the olden times when an aluminum tallboy belied absolute horribleness inside that can. Many craft brewers are opting for cans over bottles. Cans are lighter, easier to store, cheaper to ship and are the best recycling option. I like cans.

Fort George Brewery in Astoria, Oregon has fully embraced cans. I picked up a single pint-size can of their Next Adventure Black IPA at New Seasons today. I think the price was $2.49. Good deal. 6.2% is the ABV advertised on the label.

The beer poured into my Mason jar a deep, dark, solid black color with a massive, creamy, clumpy, tan head. That head rose up over the rim at more than two fingers thick. Excellent retention with loads of sudsy lace left behind. Quite a spectacularly beautiful brew.

Aroma was big, bold citrus hops as soon as the pop top was pulled. Hints of resinous pine. Fruity, floral hops competing with the smell of dark roasted malt, chocolate and coffee.

Taste delivered mixed citrus flavors with juicy tropical fruit. Roasted malt, cocoa and coffee. Appropriate hops bitterness offset the well-rounded, earthy malt. Interesting complexity of flavors that actually complimented each other rather than competed. Delicious.

Medium to slightly full mouthfeel with good carbonation. Creamy finish left a nice flavor coating behind on the palate, but nothing too heavy.

This is probably the best Cascadian Dark Ale I've ever had. I haven't always been a huge fan of the style--which sometimes tries to do too much in one beer--but this brew hits high marks on almost every level. I like it. Next Adventure Black IPA gets a BeerGuyPDX rating of 4 crushed cans out of 4.


Monday, October 7, 2013

Laurelwood Brewing Company - Pumpkin Ale

This is Halloween, this is
Halloween, this is...
Lord, I know I'm going to cause an uproar, but I have to say that pumpkin beer is probably the most over-rated and overly-hyped beer "style" ever. Actually, it isn't even really a style. Pumpkin is just an ingredient, and an unnecessary one at that. There, I said it. Nertz to all you pumpkin aficionados. I don't particularly care for most pumpkin beers.

If I want something that tastes like pumpkin pie, I'll go straight for the pumpkin pie. Why mess around with a pie-flavored beer? In any case, it is pumpkin beer "season", so I feel obligated to try and review at least one.  This year, it seemed like the brewers brought out their pumpkin products WAY early. That's gotta stop.

Okay, so now that you know exactly how I feel about beers of the gourd variety, you may judge my review as the piece of biased crap that it is right from the get go. That's only fair. 

The subject of tonight's review is Laurelwood Brewing Company's Pumpkin Ale. It boasts an ABV of 7.5% and has an appropriately scary jack-o-lantern on the label. I think this one used to be called "Stingy Jack". Not sure why the name was changed this year.

The beer poured into my shaker pint a brownish, orange/amber color. The tan head came up to about a finger thick and dissipated quickly. A thin cap of lacing was left behind.

Aroma was mild pumpkin pie spice and sweet malt. Cinnamon and clove. Bready. Kind of like a fresh baked cinnamon roll.

Taste followed the nose. The spice flavor was not too overwhelming, which is my big complaint with many pumpkin brews. Nice malt flavor with a slightly bitter edge. Not much of a pumpkin flavor, which was a plus for me.

Medium mouthfeel with good carbonation. Smooth finish. Not bad.

I'd drink this one again. I'm giving Laurelwood's Pumpkin Ale a BeerGuyPDX rating of 3 crushed cans out of 4.


Sunday, October 6, 2013

Double Mountain Brewery - Killer Red Fresh Hop IRA 2013

Better red than dead.
Oh, the fresh hop fun just keeps on keepin' on. Today's fresh hop brew is Double Mountain's fresh hop version of their ever popular IRA. Killer Red has been released in bottles for a limited time and I got me one. It comes with an ABV of 7.2%

The beer poured from 500 ml bottle into my pint glass a hazy, reddish amber hue, with an off-white head. The head rose up to almost two fingers thick. It was creamy, frothy and dissipated slowly. A clumpy cap of lacing was left behind.

Aroma was grassy, herbal, citrus hops right up front. Very floral and resinous. Sweet malt in the background.

Big punch of citrus hops in the initial taste. Grapefruit and lemon. A tiny tinge of bitter dankness. Big malt taste, too. Something a little salty in the background, but not in a bad way, though. Spicy, herbal. Juicy fruity. Lots of flavor complexity to this one.

Medium mouthfeel with good carbonation. Slightly dry finish with lots of grassy, herbal hops flavors left behind. Big malt aftertaste, too.

This brew is magnificent and I do like it more than the Killer Green IPA. Way better. It is perfecto. I'm giving Killer Red a BeerGuyPDX rating of 4 crushed cans out of 4. Merry the Wonder Beagle went gonzo,  nutso over the smell of this brew, so it also earns a Droolie. Perfect score.


Saturday, October 5, 2013

Double Mountain Brewery - Killer Green Fresh Hop IPA 2013

She's a Killer Green,
dynamite with a laser beam.
T'is the season for fresh hop beers in the Pacific Northwest. Up here, fresh means fresh. Hops are a big money crop around these parts. When the local brewers start putting out their fresh hop brews, everybody gets excited. Heck, we have fresh hop beer fests this time of year. There was one in Portland today, as a matter of fact.

One of my favorite seasonal fresh hop beers is Double Mountain's Killer Green. It's incredibly popular (along with it's cousin, Killer Red), so much so that they are bottling it this year. I purchased one of each.

Killer Green poured from a 16 oz. bottle into my pint glass a slightly hazy, golden orange color. The creamy, off-white head rose up to two full fingers high and dissipated slowly. A large amount of sudsy lacing was left behind.

Aroma was citrus hops with a distinctive, grassy, herbal fresh hops note. Orange and tropical fruit. Pineapple and guava. Some pine and sweet malt in the background. 

Taste followed the nose. Citrus hops with grassy, herbal, fresh hops flavors. Grapefruit, pineapple, orange. Sweet malt taste but well balanced by the hops bitterness.

Medium mouthfeel with good carbonation. Creamy finish with that spicy, herbal flavor left on the palate. Not sure about the ABV on this IPA. No alcohol in the taste that I could detect.

All in all, this brew is great and what I'd expect from Double Mountain. I like it even better than last year's version. Excellent, and I'm giving Killer Green a BeerGuyPDX rating of 3 1/2 crushed cans out of 4.


Thursday, October 3, 2013

Full Sail Brewing Company - Full Sail Amber

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It's Thursday night and I'm just not feeling very creative. See the photo on the left? I usually try to come up with some kind of appropriate caption. Something witty, something with a hook. Tonight, I got nothin'. It's not the beer's fault. I have some kind of beer blogger's block or something. Hey, if you've got a suitable caption, please let me know.

Tonight's spotlight beer is Full Sail Brewing's Amber Ale. It came in a 12 oz. bottle (from a six pack) and has an ABV of 5.5%. Full Sail is located in beautiful Hood River, Oregon--one of my favorite towns. I've always wanted to take a tour of Full Sail's brewery. You can't miss it when you roll into Hood River.

The beer poured into my glass a--surprise--deep amber color. The finger thick, beige head was quite creamy and clumpy, and dissipated slowly. Lots of sudsy lacing was left behind.

Aroma delivered lots of toasted malt. The sweet smell of caramel and toffee was backed up by light citrus hops.

Taste followed the nose. Very malt forward, which I expected. Pleasant hops bitterness. Not a lot of complexity, but certainly nothing unappealing about this beer.

Medium mouthfeel with low to medium carbonation. Slightly creamy finish with the malt flavor hanging around as the only aftertaste.

This is an easy drinker. Perhaps not especially memorable, but a good beer to use to fill up a party cooler (and party guests), for sure. I'm giving Full Sail Amber Ale a BeerGuyPDX rating of 2 1/2 crushed cans out of 4.


Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Logsdon Farmhouse Ales - Fresh Hop Seizoen

Fresh hop 'til you drop.
Every once in a while, you have to treat yourself. No guilt. You deserve it. A rare cigar, premium tickets to a sporting event, a fine craft beer, whatever trips your trigger.

Today, I've been sitting around nursing my finger and feeling sorry for myself. I smashed it up good enough to need surgery yesterday. Ow. Oh, ow. I needed something to cheer myself up. It didn't take long before I was perusing the cold case at my favorite local bottle shop. Did I find something to improve my mood? You bet I did.

Logsdon Farmhouse Ales Fresh Hop Seizoen hails from Hood River, Oregon. Their brews are all certified organic by Oregon Tilth, and this one comes with an ABV of 7.5%.

The beer poured from 750 ml bottle into my tulip snifter a hazy, golden yellow color. The sudsy white head rose up ahead of some significant carbonation and reached about a 1/2 inch high. The head dissipated slowly and left a ring of webby lace behind.

Aroma was Belgian yeast and lots of fruit. Tropical, stone and citrus fruit smells were quite abundant. Floral notes with light, grainy malt in the background.

Taste was more citrus than my nose detected. Lemon and orange. Spicy and slightly peppery. Mild hops bitterness. Bready, yeasty. No noticeable alcohol taste. Delicious.

Medium mouthfeel with lively carbonation. Sightly dry finish. Pleasant hops, malt and zingy spice flavors were all subtly left behind on the palate to savor.

Ahhhh. This beer is exactly what I needed. The fresh hops were apparent without being over-powering. Mild sour pucker and appropriate level of complexity for the price of admission. I'm giving Fresh Hop Seizoen a BeerGuyPDX rating of 3 1/2 crushed cans out of 4.