Saturday, September 26, 2015

McMenamins Breweries - Thundercone Fresh Hop Ale 2015

As fresh as it gets...
I'm all about supporting local. Hey, don't get me started! It's not like I've got some kind of highfalutin political agenda or anything like that. I just like thinking that the money I spend on important things--and nothing could be more important than beer--goes pretty much into the pockets of people who live in my own community. There is no shortage of premium craft beer in Portland, Oregon, that's for sure. Why would I need to buy beer brewed anywhere else?

When I'm talking about locally brewed beer, nothing comes close to McMenamins. Literally... McMenamins Concordia Brewery is the closest brewing operation to my NE Portland casita. I can walk there in 15 minutes. Bike there in five. It's located inside McMenamins awesome Kennedy School. To be more specific, Concordia Brewery is located inside what used to be the little girls' room of the Kennedy School, when it was a school. Established in 1997, Concordia Brewery produced 428,792 pints of beer last year. That's a lot of beer!

I picked up a gratis growlette of McMenamins Thundercone Fresh Hop Ale at the Kennedy School this AM. Yes! 32 ounces of tasty! The beer was brewed with fresh Simcoe hops just a few short hours after they were picked at Sodbuster Farms near Salem. ABV is reported at 6.19% and IBU's at 58. Dry hops added to the brew were Galina and Cascade. How was it, you inquire? I thought you'd never ask!

The beer poured from growlette to pint glass a slightly hazy, golden amber color. The off-white head rose up to a finger thick and stuck around for a while. A thin cap and light webs of lacing were left behind.

Aroma was citrus hops and a hint of pine. Tangerine. Sweet, caramel malt. Honey. Hints of tropical fruit.

Taste gave a big hit of piney, grassy, bitter, citrus hops right from the git-go. Orange and tangerine. Grapefruit rind. Robust, sweet, earthy malt. A bit of appreciable dankness in the mix.

Medium mouthfeel with moderate carbonation. A little sticky on the finish. Hops bitterness left quite a significant impression on the palate at the end, making the ol' salivary glands sting just a bit. Nice!

Overall, this is a stellar fresh hop brew. If you've never had a beer brewed with fresh-from-the-field hops, this would be a good choice for your first. If you're a hophead, you won't be disappointed. Good work, McMenamins! Thanks for slogging it out to the fields and trucking these fresh hops home for my happy taste buds! I'm giving this 2015 Thundercone a BeerGuyPDX rating of 3 1/2 crushed cans out of 4 AND a Droolie. The hops aroma of this brew made the Wonder Beagle unruly.

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