Monday, February 29, 2016

Portland Brewing Company - Raise the Roost Belgian-Style Red Ale

It's rustically delicious...
$2.99 for a bomber of tasty, locally-brewed beer? That's hard to beat. Portland Brewing Company certainly knows how to keep a cap on the prices, I'll give them that. They typically have something in the cold case that is affordable. If you happen to be on a tight beer budget, that means a lot. We're talking about being able to choose a palatable brew over some thin, corny, mega-corp swill. For some folks, a few bucks can mean the difference between a crafted beer and something that is really nothing more than an alcohol delivery system. I have seen bombers of Portland Brewing beers for under two bucks at WinCo. That's impossible to beat.

I recently picked up a bomber of Portland Brewing Company's Raise the Roost Belgian-style red ale. $2.99 for the 22 ounces. I can pick up two of these for the price of most other beers in the cold case. How is it, you ask? Let's find out.

Raise the Roost poured into my glass a clear, reddish-amber color with an off-white head. The head was creamy. clumpy and dissipated at a moderate rate. Webby lacing was left behind.

Aroma was Belgian yeast and bready malt. Hints of banana and clove. Notes of apple and pear.

Taste followed the nose. Subdued Belgian spice and yeast. The earthy malt flavor was prominent. No hint of alcohol.

Medium mouthfeel with good carbonation. Semi-dry finish.

Overall, this is a great Belgian-style beer for the price. Seriously, you won't find a beer of this style at this price anywhere, so it's kind of in a league of its own. Very drinkable and worth buying again. I'm giving Raise the Roost a BeerGuyPDX rating of 3 crushed cans out of 4.


Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Gigantic Brewing Company - The Business

Minding my own business...
Sometimes--every once in a while--I start to write a beer review and I just sit here, staring at the laptop screen, my twitchy fingers hovering over the keyboard...annnnd nothin'. I bet there's a blank, moronic expression on my face. Yup, there he is the mirror: Mr. Moron.

Don't get me wrong. I'm absolutely excited about the beer I'm drinking. It's just been a tough week. I've had to do a lot of other writing projects and there's just so much I can pull out of my noggin at a time. Blogger's block. There you go.

Today's beer is totally new to me. I found it in the cold case at New Seasons. I don't remember how much it set me back. Maybe five bucks? Doesn't matter. It's in my belly now. 

The beer is Gigantic Brewing Company's The Business. The label proclaims it to be a "Brit-American Pale Ale" with an ABV of 6%.

"Rich British malt and bright American hops. This beer is so damn good you'll be saying it tastes 'The Business'."

I'm not exactly sure what that "The Business" business is all about. Some reference that is completely over my head, no doubt. In any case, I'm assuming this is a British-style pale ale that is all PNW hopped up. Let's see if it's any good, shall we?

The beer poured into my glass a slightly hazy, amber/copper color with a creamy, white head. The head rose up to a good finger thick and dissipated at a moderate rate. Webs of sudsy lacing were left behind, along with a thin, spotty cap across the top.

Aroma was bready, caramel malt and citrus hops. Lemon, orange, tangerine. Herbal notes. Hints of pine. 

Taste was very hop forward. Quite IPA-ish. Bitter citrus and resinous pine. Robust, biscuity malt. Good balance. 

Medium mouthfeel. Good carbonation. Hops and malt flavors rested together pleasantly on the palate at the end. I like!

Overall, this is a solid brew. Gigantic seldom disappoints. I'm giving The Business a BeerGuyPDX rating of 3 1/2 crushed cans out of 4.


Saturday, February 13, 2016

Ninkasi Brewing Company - Hop Cooler Citrus IPA

Orange ya glad ya drank it?
Here's a prime example of why I love living in this most awesome beer city, Portland, Oregon...

I picked up a bomber of Ninkasi Brewing Company's seasonal Hop Cooler Citrus IPA at the grocery store the other day.  As the clerk was checking through my items, she asked me how I liked the Hop Cooler. I told her that it was new to me. She then proceeded to tell me that she had conducted her own side-by-side taste test between Hop Cooler and Hop Valley Brewing's Citrus Mistress.

"How did they stack up?" I inquired.

"Well, I would have to say that the Citrus Mistress is definitely more juicy than the Hop Cooler. Both are solid beers, but the Mistress delivers more on the citrus hops flavors for sure."

We then engaged in a chat comparing the two Eugene-based brewers and their regular offerings while she finished checking out my groceries.

See what I'm talking about? People in this burg know their beers. I could randomly pluck folks off the street and 50% of them would do a better job with this beer blog than me. This is a craft beer town. THE craft beer town. So, what did I think of Hop Cooler? Let's do the rundown.

The beer poured from bomber into my pint glass a slightly hazy, golden orange color with an off-white head. The head rose up to a finger thick and exhibited good retention. A full, thin cap of foam was left behind throughout the entire drink.

Aroma was --as expected-- citrus hops up front. Orange. A little grapefruit. A hint of pine. Caramel malt  and some floral notes detected with my nose stuck right down there on the rim of the glass.

Taste followed the nose. Primarily citrus hops as advertised. Not a big blast of citrus, though. I wouldn't say this beer is any more of a citrus bomb than many other IPA's that don't openly proclaim their citrusiness < whoa, is that even a word? I scare myself sometimes with the nonsensical verbiage. Orange, lemon, grapefruit. Some tropical fruit. Some leafy, herbal notes.

Medium mouthfeel. Good carbonation. Nice malt/hops balance with remnants of both left on the palate at the end.

Overall, this is a nice, well-balanced, citrusy IPA. No off-putting, fruity adjunct flavors detected. Also, no prominent alcohol detected in this 7.2% ABV beer. I like it and would definitely drink it again. I'm giving Hop Cooler a BeerGuyPDX rating of 3 crushed cans out of 4 and a rare Droolie. The Wonder Beagle was begging of this one hardcore and almost got my glass when my back was turned.


Sunday, February 7, 2016

Knee Deep Brewing Company - Midnight Hoppyness

The pursuit of hoppyness...
I love surprises, especially when they are beer-related. Yesterday, I pulled a bomber of craft beer from the bottom shelf of the trusty, rusty Kenmore and couldn't remember buying it. Where did it come from? When did I buy it? Did aliens put it there? Was I sleepwalking in a bottleshop again? I don't know!

The mysterious bottle of beer was Midnight Hoppyness from Knee Deep Brewing Company in Auburn, CA. Seriously, I really have no recollection of buying this beer. I have no idea where I bought it or why I bought it. Such is the life of a craft beer aficionado. Beers just popping up all over the place for no good reason. Let's see how this one tastes, shall we?

What the heck? I was surprised by the appearance of this brew when I poured it into the glass. I didn't inspect the label first. It's an Imperial Black Rye IPA. Oh, my. It poured into my glass an opaque, motor oil black with a creamy, clumpy, mocha-colored head. The head rose up to more than a finger thick and dissipated slowly. Lumps and chunks of sudsy lace were left behind all over the glass.

Aroma. Wow. Lots going on in the nose with this beer! Roasted malt and citrus hops. Resinous pine. Cocoa. Dank weed. Some smoky char notes. Vanilla. Toffee.

Taste delivered a big, bitter, IPA hop profile right up front. That was followed up with roasted, mildly smoky malt and a subtle rye spiciness. Grapefruit. Pine. Burnt caramel and dark chocolate. Wow, again. This is a big boy (or girl) beer, I'll tell you what.

Slightly full mouthfeel, but not nearly as viscous as it looked. Good carbonation kept it from going into the realm of a stout. Just a hint of the 9.5% ABV was detected on the finish. A sophisticated mix of roasted malt and huge hops flavors were left behind on the palate at the end.

DAY-UM! I'm sure glad I picked this beer up from wherever the heck I found it! It's awesome! What craftsmanship. Such an eclectic mix of flavors and I'm impressed that they didn't get muddled together. Instead, Midnight Hoppyness delivered a parade of taste that I absolutely enjoyed to the very last sip. This brew is probably not for everyone, but I loved it. 4 crushed cans out of 4.


Thursday, February 4, 2016

Ex Novo Brewing Company - The Most Interesting Lager in the World

Stay craft beer-y, my friends...
Do you know what I would love? Do you? Okay, you probably don't know and don't care, but I'm going to tell you anyway. What I would LOVE is to walk down the cold case aisle of my local grocery store and see dozens - nay, HUNDREDS - of fine, premium, tasty craft beers lined up in single pint cans. Holy frijole, I would fill up my cart with them! I would stack them up in my fridge like a veritable cavalcade of AWESOMENESS!

Let's face it, a 22 ounce bomber can sometimes be too much beer for a casual drink. An entire six pack, while taking down the individual serving size a notch, is a considerable investment AND commitment of valuable refrigerator real estate. For me, a pint is just right! And I've already sung the praises of craft beer in cans on many previous posts.

Cans are lighter, more easily transported, chill faster, better for the environment, easier to store, AND keep out 100% of beer-destroying light. Personally, I'm happy to see that more and more craft brewers are packaging their brews in cans. There's a tiny section of the cold case in my neighborhood New Seasons with pint-sized singles and it has slowly increased in length over the years. My dream may eventually come true!

Tonight, I am drinking a beer from Ex Novo Brewing Company that came in a pint-sized can: The Most Interesting Lager in the World. As the moniker would imply, it's a Mexican-style lager. The can advises that it was brewed with Vienna and Pilsner malts with a hint of flaked corn and Saaz hops. "Don't fear the lime," the can proclaims. ABV is 5.0% Sorry, I'm skipping the lime. I'm not afraid, but I think limes belong in margaritas, not beer.

The beer poured into my pilsner glass a light, golden yellow color with a bubbly, white head. The head dissipated quickly leaving only a thin ring around the rim of the glass. Only the thinnest film of lacing was left behind. Rows of pinpoint carbonation marched continuously up from the bottom of the glass.

Aroma was light, spicy hops with a hint of grain. No appreciable corn or sour dishrag skunkiness noted in the initial olfactory intake, which are the common scents that emanate from most adjunct lagers.

Taste was a nice, refreshing balance of grainy malt, yeast. and light, lemony hops. This beer went well with the Moroccan chicken breast I had for dinner. Perfect brew for a spicy meal, especially when you don't want a beverage to complete with the flavor of the food.

Light bodied with excellent carbonation. Smooth, crisp finish.

Overall, this is a nice little lager. I would say it's like a high-quality Corona. No lime necessary. I'm giving The Most Interesting Lager in the World a respectable BeerGuyPDX rating of 3 crushed cans out of 4.