Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Alameda Brewing Company - My Bloody Valentine

There will be blood!
Oranges, that is.
I've been meaning to get to this beer since, well, Valentine's Day, but I've been seriously slackin' on my beer drinkin'. I recently had another beer that goes by the same moniker. I reviewed it here somewhere...oh, nevermind. Two totally different beers.

Alameda Brewing Company's My Bloody Valentine is a Farmhouse Saison brewed with Blood Oranges and orange peel. It has an ABV of 5.5%.

The beer poured into my tulip glass a slightly hazy, reddish/amber color. The bright white head came up more than a finger thick and dissipated to a respectable cap of lacing.

Aroma is spicy citrus and sweet malt. There's a mild, bready yeast scent in the background.

Taste is bitter orange over sweet tropical fruit. Mild Belgian spice and hops. The finish is pleasantly dry, giving this beer a sophistication that contradicts its kitschy name. That bitter orange flavor is left on the palate with a tasty malt aftertaste.

This is a really delicious beer and I could drink a gallon of it. It went quite well with the chicken enchiladas my wife made for dinner. I'm giving My Bloody Valentine a BeerGuyPDX rating of 3 crushed cans out of 4. Actually, more like 3 1/2. Nice.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Widmer Brothers Brewing Company - O'Ryely IPA

The life of O'Ryely?
I have a pretty good variety of bombers to sample and review this week. The fridge is loaded. The first brew up--only because  it was the first bottle I grabbed--is Widmer Brothers O'Ryely IPA. I am surmising from the name that it is brewed with rye. I hope that's the case and not just an unfortunate spelling error.

The beer poured into my Shaker pint a reddish amber color with a thick, off-white head. The head rose up to almost two fingers thick and left a prodigious amount of lacing behind all over the glass.

Aroma is citrus hops with a faint grassy smell in the background. Also present is the very sweet aroma of tropical fruit. Pineapple, for the most part.

Taste is pleasantly bitter, citrus hops. Orange and grapefruit. Not too heavy on the grapefruit, like a lot of Northwest IPA's. It's a little different and I like it. There's a nice spicy zing to the stuff. The finish is very clean. The hop bitterness drops off rather quickly and the earthy rye flavor is left rolling around on the palate.

Medium mouthfeel with medium carbonation. The body is a bit heavier than I expected, but it's not a tonsil coater by any means.

Nice one! I'm not sure what I was expecting. When I drink whiskey, I prefer a rye. I just find the flavor to be more...interesting. This brew presented a similar nuance. O'Ryely IPA gets a BeerGuyPDX rating of 3 crushed cans out of 4.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Wolf's Chili

My chili pot kicks your
chili pot's ASS.

Tomorrow is the annual chili cook-off at my office. I've won the contest twice. Last year I was dethroned in what I still believe was a rigged vote count. It was a conspiracy, I tell ya! A conspiracy!

This year, I had some help in the kitchen--from my #1 son. I learned how to make chili from my old man and I'm passing down the tradition to my own progeny. Hey, it's probably the only "inheritance" the poor kid is ever going to get. Good thing he's a chili-lover.

Yup, nothing warms the stomach and the soul quite like a steaming bowl of hot, spicy, homemade chili, especially on a dreary day. I have developed many different recipes after years of tweaking and experimentation. (Yes many of them are secret recipes that I'm taking with me to the grave.) My Jamaican Jerk Chicken Chili is always quite a crowd pleaser, but the recipe that gets the most requests from family and friends is my good ol' basic "Wolf's Chili"

Naturally, there's beer in my recipe. Come on, there's beer involved whenever I'm cooking, even if it's just going inside the cook. For this recipe, you'll want to use something on the lighter side--a nice pilsner, hefeweizen, or wit. A big, flavorful brew won't do. No hop bomb for this recipe, please. My suggestion is that you buy a six pack of something delicious and a single can of blah beer for the chili. In any case, here's the recipe:

2 pounds beef chuck, cubed and slightly ground in food processor or blender
2 pounds pork shoulder, sliced into small 1/2 inch cubes
2 - 3 large Vidalia onions, chopped
4 large garlic cloves, chopped
4 large tomatoes, seeded and diced
1 (12 fluid ounce) bottle or can of beer
2 (15 ounce) cans chili beans, kidney beans or black beans (whatever your preference or no beans if you're a chili purist)
4 - 5 dried Pasilla chiles
1 cup vegetable broth
2 fresh Pasilla chiles, seeded and chopped
4 fresh Jalapeno chiles, seeded and chopped
2 or MORE fresh Habanero chiles, seeded and chopped (only if you want it really HOT)
2 tablespoons flour - 1/3 cup chili powder - 2 tablespoons ground cumin - 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves - 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon - 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste (optional)

1. Seed the dried Pasilla chiles and break them into pieces in a mixing bowl. Heat the veggie broth to a boil and pour over the chiles. You can use water, but I think the veggie broth adds a nice flavor. Let the chiles sit until they soften. It takes about 20 minutes, so you can prep other stuff while you wait. When soft, drain most of the broth and run the chiles through a blender or food processor until it's a smooth sauce.
2. Brown the pork in a very large skillet or wok over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally until evenly browned. Add the beef and the dry spices. Drain the grease when the meat is fully cooked and add the fresh peppers, onions and garlic—cook until onions are just getting transparent. Transfer the meat/veggie mixture to a large soup pot. (If you have a giant, cast iron chili pot like mine, no transfer is necessary.) Add the beer, except for a ¼ cup and heat until it boils. Turn the heat down slightly and add the Pasilla chile sauce you made in step #1.
3. Mix the flour with the remaining beer in a small bowl or measuring cup and whisk until smooth. Form a pocket of liquid in the middle of the meat mixture and pour in the beer/flour mix. Stir vigorously until it thickens. Add the tomatoes.
4. Cover the pot, and simmer over low heat for 2 hours. Add the canned beans during the last 1/2 hour, if you want them. Turn off heat and let it sit for an hour or so. Reheat and serve.

Full Sail Brewing Company - Vendell's Veizen Weizen Bock

Gunter Glieben Glauchen Globen
It's Oscar Night! Big whoop. Sounds like the perfect time to catch up on my beer reviews. Seriously, if I want to watch a bunch of miscreants babble incoherently about nothing particularly important or interesting, I'll just go for a ride on a city bus at midnight.

Earlier this evening, I popped open a bottle of Full Sail Brewing Company's Vendell's Veizen Weizen Bock. Say that three times  really fast.

The beer poured into my lil' tulip glass a clear, dark brown/amber color. The tan head came up a full finger thick but dissipated very quickly. Minimal lacing was left behind. The head came back immediately when I refreshed the glass.

Aroma is bready malt with some brown sugar sweetness in the background. Interesting spice scent with some tropical fruit: banana and pineapple.

Taste is toasted malt with a light, pleasant hop bitterness backing it up. A very muted spiciness and just the slightest alcohol sting to this 7.2% ABV beer.

Medium mouthfeel with some lively carbonation. There's just a bit of a wateriness to the finish. Wish it was a bit more creamy and substantial at the end.

All in all, this is a pretty solid beer. Very drinkable and I could knock back a few without complaint. I'm giving Vendell's Veizen a BeerGuyPDX rating of 3 crushed cans out of 4.

Rusty Truck Brewing Company - Pedal to the Metal IIPA

I can't drive 55.
I found this brew on tap at Bailey's Taproom yesterday. My boy was in town to watch the UFC fights with me and we had to stop somewhere for a beer...or two.

The first beer to hit my coaster was a Pedal to the Metal Imperial IPA by Rusty Truck Brewing Company in Lincoln City, Oregon. Now, one thing you should know about me is that I am a huge fan of Northwest IPA's. Love me a good IPA, so what could possibly be better? How about a double IPA?

Pedal to the Metal was presented in a 10 oz. glass (I went small to start off--moderation means more beers) a slightly hazy, bright orange color with a creamy, foamy, white head that lasted a good long time. An appreciable amount of lacing stuck around until the last drop was drunk.

Aroma was big on citrus and piney hops. Sweet caramel malt and floral scents floated around in the background.

Taste is grapefruit and orange, with a big, bitter hop sting. Lots of pine notes seeping through the backdoor. I didn't get the ABV off the board, but I didn't pick up any significant alcohol sting from this beer. This beer doesn't scrimp on flavor, that's for sure.

Mouthfeel is medium to slightly full. Good carbonation and a creamy finish.

This is a fine IIPA. I was wishing I had gone with the 22 oz. glass. Good stuff. Pedal to the Metal deserves a BeerGuyPDX rating of 4 crushed cans out of 4.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

pFriem Family Brewers - Belgian Imperial Stout

It's pFreaking delicious...
Stopped in at Bailey's Taproom for a few brews the other day. Bailey's Taproom is a beer geek's paradise, absolutely. The minute you step through the door, you know there's some serious beer drinking going on. They have taps galore, all pouring some of the most sought after and awesome craft beers to be found anywhere.

On this trip, I got myself a pFriem Belgian Imperial Stout. 11.0% ABV according to the DigitalPour big screen mounted behind the bar.

The beer was presented to me in a little snifter. It was pitch black in color and had the most attractive mocha head. Just look at the photo. That's the actual beer I drank. The head was frothy, creamy and took a while to dissipate. My 'stache got a good coating and a good amount of lacing was left behind throughout the entire drink.

Aroma was big and boozy. Chocolate with hints of dark fruit. Fig, raisin and ripe cherries.

Taste follows the nose. Belgian yeast and spices with chocolate and toffee backing it up. You can definitely taste the booze, especially as the beer warms up a bit. This is some wonderful stuff.

Medium to full mouthfeel with a pleasant, slightly bitter finish.

This is the first beer I've tried from this Hood River brewer and I intent to seek out more of their wares. I'm also giving this Belgian Imperial Stout a BeerGuyPDX rating of 4 crushed cans out of 4.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Hopworks Urban Brewery - Deluxe Organic Ale (DOA)

Took my lady to the movies. We went to Living Room Theaters and saw an indie film. I like Living Room Theaters because, well, you can drink a beer or two while you watch the movie. Sometimes, I really need that beer, especially if the movie totally sucks.

In addition to serving deviled eggs with caviar, Living Room Theaters have some pretty nice local craft beers on tap. I went with the Hopworks Urban Brewery (HUB) Deluxe Organic Ale (DOA).

The beer was delivered to the table a reddish-orange amber color. The white head was minimal because the beer was over-poured.

<RANT> Portland beer servers: Please stop over-pouring beers from the tap! I'm watching you and it drives me crazy! I'll gladly show you how it's done. You start with a tilted glass. Hold the tap right up against the glass. Pour slowly and gradually decrease the angle as it fills. RIGHT AT THE END, hold the glass upright and let the head rise up to the rim. If there's not much foam, give that tap just a little goose. It's not that hard. Nothing bugs me more than getting a wet glass delivered to my coaster that has more foam running down the side than it has on top! ARRRRGH!</RANT>

Where was I? Oh, yeah, the DOA. Aroma is citrus and sweet tropical fruit. The smell of caramel malt is hanging around there in the back.

Taste is caramel malt and citrus hops. Orange and tropical fruit. Melon and pineapple. There's a pleasant earthiness that lingers on the palate after the sweetness and mildly bitter hops finish battling it out on the tongue. Tasty.

Medium mouthfeel with some lively carbonation. Creamy finish. The respectable 6.9% ABV surprises me. There's no appreciable alcohol taste at all.

This beer is a keeper and just the ticket when you're suffering from hop bomb burnout. I'm giving this one a BeerGuyPDX rating of 4 crushed cans out of 4.

Calapooia Brewing Company - Chili Beer

Spice is nice
C-H-I-L-E. E. The word ends in E. Please refer to my prior post about another "chili" beer. Anyway, I'm sure I sound like a bitchy, old fusspot, but come on, people. CHILE.

It also appears I'm on a kick, but that's how I do things. Last week, it was oyster stouts. This week, it's chile beers.

Calapooia Chili Beer poured into my pint glass a slightly hazy amber color. The white head came up to a full finger thick and dissipated very quickly. No lacing was left behind.

Aroma is straight up chiles: smells like a freshly chopped Jalapeno. Very slight citrus and malt notes way in the background.

Taste is big on the chiles, too. Jalapeno or Serrano. Nice. There's a little bit of heat, but not so much that it spoils the experience. Unless you are a total chile wimp, this brew won't have you running for a spoonful of ice cream. I'm not picking up any hops, but my hop lovin' beagle is sitting here drooling like crazy. She only drools for hops, so there must be some in there that her hounddog nose is smelling. The chile flavor does calm down as the beer warms up and there's a pleasant maltiness left on the palate.

Thin to medium mouthfeel. Medium carbonation. No detectable alcohol taste from this 4.8% ABV beer.

I like this one. Really nice, well-defined chile flavor makes it a winner. Calapooia Chili Beer gets a BeerGuyPDX rating of 3 crushed cans out of 4, and a Droolie for making the dog slime the sofa.

My Portland Shortlist

Here's my shortlist of must visit breweries, brewpubs and taprooms in Portland, Oregon. If you take a trip to my burg, you must go here:

  1. Hopworks Urban Brewery (HUB) – These folks have two locations in town. Although the BikeBar on N. Williams is closer to home, I prefer the big location on SE Powell. Hopworks beers are organic and the brewery and pubs are state of the art and eco-friendly. They always have 10 of their own beers on tap and those beers are typically quite exceptional. The pubs have a cycling theme throughout, providing what I think is the quintessential Portland beer experience. It's all about bikes and beers here in Stumptown. Hopworks IPA is one of my go-to beers. You'll always find a few cans of it in my fridge. They also make some exceptional seasonal brews. Abominable Winter Ale is out right now and I bet they have some aging in bourbon barrels somewhere. Can't wait. The food is pretty good, too. Pizza, sandwiches and burgers. The main dining area at the SE Powell location is kid friendly.
  2. Breakside Brewery – The beers brewed at Breakside are sophisticated and unique. Take the Aztec Ale, for example. It's an American Strong Ale brewed with cocoa and Serrano and Habanero peppers. It's spicy, delicious, and at 9.4% ABV, packs a wallop. It seems they are always brewing up something new and interesting at Breakside. The food they serve also keeps me coming back for more. It's far above your standard pub grub in taste, quality and presentation. The service has always been friendly and efficient whenever I've been in. A singular, large, open, multi-level room makes up the bar and dining area. You can observe the brewery operation down in the lower region. When the weather is nice (short window of opportunity for sunshine here in Portland), they have some big picnic tables out on the sidewalk. Good for larger groups.
  3. Hair of the Dog – The big, bold beers they brew at Hair of the Dog probably aren't for everybody, but if you're a real beer geek, you MUST stop here. I love the stuff. My personal favorite is the “Fred”. Yes, many of the Hair of the Dog beers have human names: Fred, Bob, Adam, Matt. Many of the beers also have big ABV's, so consider yourself warned. Go here with a DD or take the bus. They have a unique take on pub grub, too. I recommend the Beef Brisket. The brewery/pub is located in an old building in an industrial area near the riverfront. Don't be put off by the surroundings—you're in the right place.
  4. Bailey's Taproom – Not a brewery, but Bailey's Taproom will give you the ultimate Northwest craftbeer tour right from the safety of your barstool. They have 20 rotating taps of just about any style of beer you could possibly want. With an emphasis on Oregon breweries and Northwest beer styles, Bailey's won't disappoint the visiting beer tourist. No food served, but there are a bunch of eateries in close proximity. I love the big screen TV behind the bar that not only presents a detailed taplist, but also tells you when the keg is going to blow. How cool is that?
  5. Alameda Brewhouse – Here's another great brewpub close to my neighborhood. It's on NE Fremont and you can't miss the giant hop sculpture hanging over the front door. That big hop flower is telling you precisely what's in store for you inside. Nice, big, open space.  Huge old-time bar runs almost the entire length of the pub. I really like the huge booths that surround the perimeter of the dining room. You can see the operational brewing equipment in the background. My favorite Alameda brews are the seasonals, especially their Papa Noel's Olde Ale. The Bad Bunny Barleywine is amazing, too. Food is your typical pub fare. I highly recommend the nachos. They really load them up with goodies. Trust me, you'll need to share.
  6. Cascade Brewing Barrel House – In addition to some topnotch IPA's and traditional Northwest beer styles, Cascade Brewing specializes in sour beers—some tapped straight from the barrel. Their eclectic taplist is as long as my arm and it's almost a certainty that they will have something you've never tried before. Tasters are only two bucks and you will want to try them all, trust me. Interesting Euro-style appetizers served.
  7. Roscoe's - The place looks pretty divey from the street but once you get through the door, you'll be impressed, especially by the huge taplist behind the bar. Believe me, I wouldn't recommend just any old dive bar. Roscoe's is a diamond in the rough and they take beer seriously. I'm talking Pliny the Elder and similar rarities that you hardly ever find on tap. The food is pretty good, too. I highly recommend the catfish sliders.
  8. The Beermongers - I love this place because IT'S A BEER STORE! A nice selection fills several cold cases. I like the way the beers are arranged in categories. Looking for a barleywine? An Imperial IPA? A seasonal winter brew? It's easy to find what you're looking for at Beermongers. Friendly service, too. The proprietor seemed genuinely interested in my story about Merry the Hop-loving Wonder Beagle, and didn't roll his eyes or try to hustle me out the door. They usually have something tasty on tap and there are a few tables scattered about where you can enjoy some beer with friends.
  9. Upright Brewing – The tasting room is in a crowded little space in the middle of a basement brewery. The beer is fantastic and the experience will give you a true sense of Oregon brewing craftsmanship. There are people close by making beer; it's all around you in various stages of production, and you get to drink it as soon as it's ready. It almost feels like you shouldn't be there, but you've been given a very special privilege.
  10. McMenamins – These folks are like the McDonald's of pubs around these parts. Seriously, all roads seem to lead to a McMenamins. Nevertheless, I have to say that McMenamins has some the most scrumptious pub locales and amazing boutique hotels I've ever seen, anywhere. The McMenamins are expert at taking old, derelict eyesore buildings and restoring them to their original architectural beauty—and then some. The Crystal Hotel, The Kennedy School, The Edgefield, just to name a few, are beautiful places to stay and decent spots to have a beer. Every attention to detail goes into the refurbishing of these buildings and the results are truly grand. Original artwork adorns the walls, folk/craft art embellishments go into every fixture, and the grounds are meticulously tended. McMenamins does brew their own. They are original Oregon craftbeer pioneers, so they deserve props for that. Their Terminator Stout is pretty good. If you want the full Portland experience, avoid the Hilton and stay at a McMenamins.
  11. Gigantic Brewing - These guys are one of the newer brewers (haha, that rhymes) in Stumptown, but they sure know their way around a mash tun. I have yet to drink a Gigantic beer that I didn't love. That's the stuff, Maynard. No food available in the taproom, but there's a really good taco truck across the street.
  12. Base Camp Brewing - Another newer kid on the block, but they put out some mighty fine brews. The taproom is bright and inviting and you won't be disappointed. Their flagship IPL (India Pale Lager) is terrific. Once again, they don't serve any food, but there's a pizza cart right outside the door. 
  13. Apex - 50 taps! One look at the big screen menu hanging behind the bar and you'll know ASAP that Apex doesn't f**k around. These folks know beer and they serve up an eclectic mix of some of the best craft brews anywhere. The outside patio is huge with lots of umbrellas for shade and places to lock up your bike, if you arrived on two wheels. The atmosphere is chill and the service is friendly.
  14. Imperial Bottle Shop & Taproom - The newest shop in town at this writing, but with a unique twist that makes it a must for any hardcore beer geek. These folks will sell you a 16 oz. bottle (or growler) of any of the 16 beers and ciders they have on tap. Nobody else does that. Great atmosphere and extremely friendly, knowledgeable people behind the counter.
  15. The Commons Brewery - A small craft brewery that produces some amazing, European inspired beers. This is a must-visit tasting room. Trust me on this one.

If you're a beer lover, or if you're just looking for a bargain vacation, you really can't go wrong making Portland, Oregon your destination. You do get a lot for your buck in Stumptown. (No sales tax!) This list is just a few of the great places in town. There are so many, many more. 50 plus breweries and counting!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Flat Tail Brewing - NO Ghost Chili Porter

The NO is for NO heat.

Man, isn't it a bummer when you really, really, really want to like a beer, but it's just not gonna happen? Nope, just not feelin' the love.

I love hot chiles almost as much as I love a fine craft beer. (It is spelled C-H-I-L-E, by the way. C-H-I-L-I is a spicy brown stew made popular in the Southwestern USA. The Ghost Chile (aka, the Bhut Jolokia) is one of the hottest chiles on earth. It's a real tonsil blazer and I'm proud to say I ate a whole Ghost Chile once--with painful, disastrous results, of course, but I ate it. Thus, when I saw a Ghost Chile beer in the cold case at the market today, I had to try it.

The beer poured into my Shaker pint a deep, dark brown/black color. There was really no head to speak of. The tiny bit of foam I coaxed out of the pour disappeared immediately and left no lacing behind.

Aroma was cocoa and brown sugar. Light roasted malt in the background. No noticeable chile smell.

Taste was sweet chocolate and mild coffee. Sweet roasted malt. Kind of too sweet for my liking. There is just a bit of pepper bite. Seriously, though, the chile favor is not very pronounced. From my experience with the Ghost Chile, it's all heat and very little flavor. Other well-known peppers give a distinct flavor to food--or beer. The Jalapeno has an easily recognizable pungency, especially in it's smoked Chipotle form. The Habanero has some big heat, but a pleasant citrus flavor. The Ghost Chile? The one I ate was just painfully hot. 

Medium mouthfeel and low carbonation. Seemed a little flat to me.

Dang it, I really wanted to like this beer! But I just can't. I'm giving this one a BeerguyPDX rating of 1 crushed can out of 4.

Lagunitas Brewing Company - Maximus IPA

Maximus-ly delicious

I needed an appropriate beer to drink while watching the SOTU address. Now, I certainly don't have access to the President's private homebrew, so I had to settle for whatever I had in the fridge.

I reached inside the trusty Kenmore and pulled out a bomber of Lagunitas Maximus India Pale Ale. This brew is clearly an Imperial IPA, but it doesn't say so on the label. However, ABV is 8.2% and it is a heavy hitter.

The beer poured into my glass a clear, deep orange color with a clumpy, creamy, off-white head that came up more than a finger  thick. The head dissipated slowly and left copious amounts of frothy lacing behind throughout the entire drink.

Aroma is pine and citrus hops with a big maltiness right in the mix, too. Floral and tropical fruit hints in the background.

Taste is a massive hop bomb right from the get go. Big bitter sock to the jaw with the pine and citrus flavors you'd expect. Orange and grapefruit. Sweet caramel malt is balanced to perfection with the hops. So good. There's just the slightest tinge of funkiness and alcohol sting. Really good.

Medium mouthful. Decent carbonation and a creamy finish.

I love Lagunitas beers and so does Merry the Wonder Beagle. She was drooling up a storm and refused to leave my side the entire time I was drinking this wonderful stuff. Maximus gets a BeerguyPDX rating of 4 crushed cans out of 4 AND a Droolie.

Portland Brewing Company - MacTarnahan's Amber Ale

New label, same beer

MacTarnahan's Amber Ale is now going under the banner of Portland Brewing Company. It's nice to see that the new logo hasn't resulted in a new and improved price. The MacTarnahan brews have always been some of the most affordable craft beers in the cold case. I purchased this bomber of Amber Ale for $1.88 at WinCo. That's hard--no, impossible--to beat.

The beer poured into my pint glass a clear amber color with a thick, off-white head. The head came up to more than a full inch high and dissipated quickly. A thin cap of lacing was left behind.

Aroma was sweet caramel malt with floral and citrus hops in the background.

Taste was pleasant maltiness with a nice bready quality. Bitter citrus hops round out the flavor. Not much of a hop sting to this one, but the bitterness lingers on the palate.

A really thin mouthfeel with good carbonation. The finish is just a bit watery, which is my only real disappoint with this beer.

MacTarnahan's Amber Ale is very drinkable. 5.10% ABV, so it's a respectable session beer. You certainly can't beat the price of admission. I'm giving this on a BeerguyPDX rating of 3 crushed cans out of 4.

Gigantic Brewing Company - The Time Traveler Beer

Better than a Delorean...

I guess this beer was recently released by Gigantic. I really had no idea what style of beer it was when I pulled it out of the cold case. This brewery has managed to hit a homer with every one of their beers I've tried so far. I'm not quite as excited as I was whenever a new Beatles album came out, but almost. I really look forward to any new brew from these folks.

The label is kind of busy, with really tiny print, so I didn't have any clue as to what kind of beer I was about drink, until I popped the cap. Hey! It's a porter! ABV is 5.8%. That was big enough to read on the label.

The beer poured into my pint glass from the 22 oz. bomber a very dark brown/black color. The mocha head was minimal and dissipated quickly, leaving just a thin span of lacing around the edges.

Aroma is coffee and cocoa with roasted dark malt in the background.

Taste is bitter chocolate and strong coffee. There's also a hint of vanilla.

Medium mouthfeel with nice carbonation on the tongue.

Not a what I would call a particularly complex beer, but I like it.  A nice coffee taste is left sitting on the palate after a sip or two.

A good effort, but not a homerun this time. I'm giving The Time Traveler a BeerguyPDX rating of 3 crushed cans out of 4.

Portland Brewing Company - Oyster Stout

I'd share with you, but I'm shellfish.

I visited Portland Brewing's taproom today. It used to be MacTarnahan's or Pyramid, but they changed the name. Portland Brewing is probably a good choice. The beer brewed in Portland has a stellar reputation everywhere.

I came to this establishment with the singular purpose of trying the Oyster Stout. I have to admit, it sounds kind of gross--a beer brewed with oysters? However, after sampling my first oyster stout a couple of weeks ago (21st Amendment's Marooned on Hog Island), I've had a hankerin' for more. Did I really just use the word "hankerin'? Sorry, that's just my hillbilly DNA coming through.

The beer was presented to my table looking pitch black with a beautiful tan head. (Yeah! Somebody knows how to pour a beer!) The head lasted a good, long time and dissipated to a small amount of lacing across the top.

Aroma is dark roasted malt, coffee, cocoa and molasses. Hints of dark fruit in the background.

Taste follows the nose pretty much to the letter. Nice creamy finish with a pleasant hop bitterness, and then there's just the most delicious, subtle hint of oyster flavor left rolling around on the palate.

Medium mouthfeel with decent carbonation.

The thing I like the most about eating oysters is that slightly salty, mildly metallic, subtle ocean aftertaste. This beer captures that aftertaste beautifully. The taste is barely there, so don't be afraid, there's no oyster flavor over-powering the brew at all. I like it. A lot.

I'm giving Portland Brewing's Oyster Stout a BeerguyPDX rating of 4 crushed cans out of 4. Good stuff!

Boneyard Beer Company - RPM IPA

All revved up...

It's payday date night! That means me and the missus go out for dinner and spend about an hour or so across the table from each other saying, "I don't know, what do you want to do?"

I don't know, what do YOU want to do?"

So on and so forth and then we usually trundle home and go to bed--and that's for sleepin'. Hey, BeerGuyPDX isn't as young as he used to be.

Gratefully, our neighborhood bar has some pretty damn good beer on tap. I got myself a Boneyard RPM IPA.

The beer was presented in a shaker pint a hazy, golden orange with a teenie weenie white head. See photo. The beer was over-poured. The minimal head disappeared and left a minimal amount of lacing behind.

Aroma is citrus hops and pine with floral and tropical fruit notes in the background.

Taste is grapefruit right up front with bready malt in the finish. Nice bitter zing with just a touch of funkiness in the back.

Medium mouthfeel with good carbonation. A pleasant creaminess is left on the palate.

This is a very drinkable beer with a lot of character. If you like big hop bombs, this one is for you. I DO like big hop bombs, so this IPA gets a top spot on my list. I'd drink one of these anytime, anywhere. RPM IPA gets a BeerguyPDX rating of 4 crushed cans out of 4.

Speakeasy Ales & Lagers - Chai Payback Porter

Bye, bye my American Chai...

I was running a bunch of errands this afternoon and I said to myself, "Self, your deserve a re-ward for doing all these here errands.Yee-hoo!" (I sound like a hillbilly when I talk to myself.)

"Yes, yes you do, Self," I answered myself. "Yes...you...do."

Thus, I ended up on a barstool at one of the local beer halls. They had quite a few tasty brews on tap. It was  bit early in the afternoon, so I opted for a darker beer. Dark beers just seem more appropriate for breakfast to me for some reason. I selected the Chai Payback Porter from Speakeasy Ales & Lagers.

The beer was presented in a Shaker pint a 10w30 black with a tiny mocha head (over-poured). The head disappeared quickly and left no lacing behind.

Aroma is straight up Chai. This brew smells like Chai tea. Chocolate, coffee and brown sugar in the background.

Taste follows the nose. Lots of Chai spices. Roasted malt is in there, too, with some vanilla bean, cocoa and espresso bouncing around a bit.

Full mouthfeel and no appreciable alcohol taste to this 7.5% ABV brew.

I'm thinking the Chai profile is just a bit too over-powering in this beer for me. It's tasty, but I don't see myself ordering it ever again. Nothing really wrong with the stuff, it's just not my thing. I'm giving this one a BeerguyPDX rating of 2 crushed cans our of 4.

Portland Brewing Company - Rose Hip Gold

Everything's coming up roses...

I picked up a 12 oz. bottle of Portland Brewing's Rose Hip Gold at a local bottle shop the other day. It's a Belgian-style Blonde Ale with an ABV of 6% and it's brewed with rose hips. I'm not really familiar with rose hips. Don't they make herbal tea out of the stuff? 

Looking it up on the ol' reliable Wikipedia, I see that rose hips are the actual fruit of the rose plant. Hmmm, I never really thought about rose plants having fruit. Wiki says there's even a type of mead made from rose hips--in Sweden. Interesting. You learn something new everyday.

The beer poured into my lil' tulip glass a bright, clear golden color with a slight ruby tint. The white head foamed up to almost two fingers thick and then dissipated very quickly. Virtually no lacing was left behind.

Aroma is Belgian spice. Sweet malt with citrus undertones. Just a hint of tropical fruit.

Taste is sweet malt with Belgian yeast and spice. There is a pleasant citrus flavor that isn't coming from hops. Must be those rose hips.

Medium mouthfeel with generous carbonation. The finish is dry and subtle fruitiness is left on the palate.

Good stuff this local beer. I like it. I'm giving Rose Hip Gold a BeerguyPDX rating of 3 crushed cans out of 4.

21st Amendment Brewery - Sneak Attack Saison

How do you catch a unique beer?
Unique up on it...

First, let me apologize for the poor quality of the photo I took of this beer. Don't EVER buy a Motorola Razr. What a crappy, crappy phone that takes crappy, crappy photos. My wife's iPhone 5 takes AWESOME pictures. Wish I had gone with the iPhone when I updated. But NOOOOOO, I had to stick with the Droid. Crap, crap, crappity crap.

Anyway, this is my second beer review of the night. It's a Sneak Attack Saison by 21st Amendment Brewery. I previously mentioned that I really like the art these folks put on their cans. It always seems to be something of historical significance. Kind of like History Rocks for grown ups. I also like the fact that they package their beer in cans instead of bottles.

I lost a bottle of Stone/Evil Twin collab The Perfect Crime today. It fell through a hole in the bottom of the flimsy, cheap-a$$ paper bag the store gave me and exploded on the curb. Yeah, my fault for forgetting my canvas bag in the car. Nonetheless, if that beer had been in a CAN, I would be drinking it right now.

Sneak Attack poured into my glass a hazy, pale yellow color. The white head was almost a finger thick and dissipated very quickly. Virtually no lacing was left behind.

Aroma is big on cardamom and other spices. Belgian yeast and mild malt in the background, along with some lemon peel.

Taste follows the nose. Very herbal with a bit of a peppery bite. Cardamom and coriander. Belgian yeast and generic citrus. The finish is very dry and the flavor immediately drops right off. The cardamom flavor is left rolling around on the palate. There is no sweetness to this beer, but the bitterness is very well balanced.

I wasn't so sure about this one at first sip, but it really grew on me throughout the drink. This brew would go great with spicy food. Wish I had some killer hot Thai food to go with it. I'm thinking this one would go great with some panang curry from the joint down the street. What time is it?

Nice beer and I'm giving it a BeerguyPDX rating of 4 crushed cans out of 4.

AleSmith Brewing Company - My Bloody Valentine Ale

Happy Violent Times Day!

Argh! Valentine's Day. I hate it. Even though everybody KNOWS Hallmark and FTD Florists conspired to create this lame, fake-a$$ celebration of love, all of us chump husbands and boyfriends give in to the emotional blackmail and shell out bookoo bucks to keep our significant others happy and off our backs on February 14. Pish-posh and poppycock!

Anyway, I think you can see why I was immediately attracted to this beer. My Bloody Valentine Ale is an American Red Ale with an ABV of 6.66% (ha). I'm already a fan.

The beer poured into my pint glass a dark brown/reddish color. The tan head was quite prodigious, coming up at two fingers thick. It lasted and lasted, leaving copious amounts of lacing behind.

Aroma is toasted malt with citrus and piney hops. There's a sweet floral and tropical fruit scent in the background. Brown sugar, too.

Taste is a big bitter hop bite right up front. Flavors of orange and caramel malt round everything out quite nicely. More of a bready, yeasty flavor comes out as the beer warms up. A pleasant sourdough-like taste is left on the palate.

Medium mouthfeel with nice carbonation. The finish is smooth and creamy. Not too heavy and no noticeable alcohol taste.

This is an excellent, highly drinkable beer. Wish I had another bomber of it. I'm giving My Bloody Valentine Ale a BeerguyPDX rating of 3 crushed cans out of 4. It also earns a Droolie because the Wonder Beagle went crazy for the smell.

21st Amendment Brewery - Bitter American Session Ale

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I admit I can be easily influenced by packaging. 21st Amendment Brewery packages their beers in aluminum cans with some pretty cool artwork. I bought a can of Bitter American because it depicts a chimpanzee in a spacesuit. Like I said, pretty cool. I guess there's also a history lesson in there somewhere.

Bitter American is proclaimed a "session ale" on the label. For the uninitiated, a session beer is typically one with a lower ABV--under 5%--which allows the imbiber to down a large number of them in one drinking "session" without getting totally slosh-faced. Bitter American has an ABV at 4.5%.

The beer poured into my glass a light, golden orange color. A significant amount of lively bubbles could be seen floating up the side. The white head came up to more than a finger thick and dissipated quickly. A minimal amount of lacing was left behind.

Aroma is sweet malt, along with light citrus and pine. There are floral notes and the smell of tropical fruit in the background.

Taste is orange and lemon. There's a hoppy bitterness up front with a light, malty, breadiness following it up. 

Medium to thin mouthfeel with a lot of carbonation. The finish is just a bit too flat and watery for my taste. Once again, this is a low ABV "session" beer, so I suppose the wimpiness comes with the territory. A hop bomb this beer is NOT.

Still, I guess it does what it sets out to do. It doesn't come in a 12 pack, however. In fact, I believe it actually comes in a 4 pack. That's not much of a session in my book. I'm giving Bitter American a BeerguyPDX rating of 2 crushed cans out of 4.

21st Amendment Brewery - Marooned on Hog Island Oyster Stout

Pretty, pretty beer.

Watching the Super Bowl! Meh, big deal. I'm just not that excited about it this year. I am excited about eating a big ol' plate of nachos and knocking back a few tasty beers. I picked up some cans of beer put out by 21st Amendment Brewery. They make some pretty decent brews--some of the best you'll ever find in a can, anyway. My first pour was their Marooned on Hog Island Oyster Stout.

I've heard about oyster stouts and this was my very first time tasting one. Sounds weird, and I'm not sure what I was expecting really. Certainly, they wouldn't make a beer that tastes like shellfish...would they? **shudder**

The beer poured into my glass a dark inky black with a thick, mocha/tan head. Just look at the photo. Have you ever seen a more beautiful beer poured out of a can? I haven't. The head dissipated slowly and left a good amount of lacing behind.

Aroma is roasted malt, chocolate and molasses. There's a faint metallic-like smell way in the back.

Taste is chocolate, coffee with hints of dark fruit. There's a slight hop bitterness, but the finish is very smooth and creamy.

Medium mouthfeel with nice carbonation. That creamy smoothness is left on the palate.

Well, no fishiness to speak of. ABV is 7.9% but there's no noticeable alcohol bite. I like it. I'm giving this beer a BeerguyPDX rating of 3 crushed cans out of 4.

10 Barrel Brewing Company - Hop Rye'It IPA

There's a riot going on...
in my mouth.

Stopped by the Grocery Outlet today because, well, I'm a broke-a$$ loser. Truthfully, shopping at Whole Foods and New Seasons has my checking account balance down lower than a hipster's waistband. I'm broke.

Gratefully, Grocery Outlet knows that having next to no money makes poor people want to drink--a lot. Thus, they have quite a collection of fine, local craft beer on stock. The prices aren't bottom basement low, but they sure beat the cost of anything in the cold cases at those aforementioned zillionaire stores.

Today, I picked up a bomber of 10 Barrel Brewing's Hop Rye'It IPA. It set me back $3.29. Not bad. I really like the beer these folks put out. Typically tasty and satisfying. This brew was no exception.

The beer poured into my pint glass a slightly cloudy, golden orange. The white head was a finger thick and looked quite clumpy and foamy. It dissipated at a normal rate and left behind light lacing from rim to rim.

Aroma is citrus hops with tropical fruit and floral notes in the background. Didn't pick up much malt in the nose.

Taste is tangerine and lemon. Not the typical IPA grapefruit flavor. The hops bitterness fades away to a very interesting spicy zing. Kind of peppery. This beer is going GREAT with my wife's homemade samosas and coconut chutney. As with the aroma, the malt flavor is somewhat muted but it's there in the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel is medium with very nice carbonation. 6.5% ABV and there is just the slightest alcohol taste there at the end of a sip.

Wow, I really like the beer. This is the kind of beer that goes great with a meal. It is really complimenting the flavors of my wife's Indian cooking without overpowering. Excellent. Just excellent.

I'm giving Hop Rye'It a BeerguyPDX rating of 4 crushed cans out of 4.

Captured by Porches - Blackbird Stout

They literally put a bird on it.

I took Merry the Wonder Beagle for a very long walk today. The sun came out shining for the first time in I don't know how long. Portland, Oregon is a wonderful city to live in, but if you're  thinking about making a move here, you really should spend some time in Stumptown in the winter. It rains...and rains...and rains. Seriously, it rains from October to July with barely a break in the soggy. Days like today are as rare as finding a gold nugget in a dog park.

We wandered down NE Alberta Street, which is the main drag in my neighborhood. We stopped by the pet supply store and a food cart called the The Grilled Cheese Grill. The pooch was very well behaved.

On the way back home, we stopped into a food cart pod that contains one of my favorite spots: the Captured by Porches beer wagon. I ordered a Blackbird Stout and we got comfortable at a picnic table. Well, I got comfortable. The ground cover at the pod is crushed rock. It was a little too much for the dog's delicate backside, so she sat on my boot instead.

The beer was presented in a Mason jar (adorned with bird and feather stickers) and was a deep, dark brown/black. The mocha head was more than a finger thick and lasted a good long time. Spotty lacing was left behind when the head finally disappeared.

Aroma is roasted malt with subtle hints of chocolate and toffee.

Taste is lightly smokey, roasted malt. Coffee and chocolate. Not at all bitter but with a some hop character coming through in the back. Ah, that hit the spot.

Mouthfeel is medium with average carbonation.

Very, very drinkable beer and I'm giving Blackbird Stout a very respectable BeerguyPDX rating of 3 crushed cans out of 4.

I was very disappointed to hear that Captured by :Porches will be closing down their Alberta Street beer cart AGAIN on Sunday. It appears the city won't renew their permit. WTF, Portland? That beer wagon was the best thing happening on my street! I'll have to find somebody to yell at down at City Hall.

Lagunitas Brewing Company - Cappuccino Stout

How about a cuppa joe?

Lagunitas Brewing Company puts out some mighty fine beers at some very affordable prices. I picked up a bomber of their Cappuccino Stout for $3.49. That's pretty reasonable when you consider that the average price for a 22 oz. bottle of craft beer is about five bucks or more. Let's face it, with today's "contracting" economy, it's getting harder to afford luxury items like tasty, tasty beer. The sticker price absolutely affects my selection at the cold case. Of course, I'd rather die than drink cheap crap beer.

Cappuccino Stout is an Imperial with an ABV of 9.2% It poured into my Lagunitas Mason jar-like glass a deep, dark brown color. Practically black, actually. The mocha head foamed up to about an inch thick but quickly dissipated. Minimal lacing was left behind.

Aroma is straight up coffee and booze. There is almost a wine-like quality to the smell. Roasted malt and subtle hops round out the background.

Taste is heavy hitting espresso and bitter dark chocolate. There's an interesting spicy, peppery note with the flavors of dark ripe fruit coming alive as the beer warms up. When the hop bitterness fades, rich roasted malt flavor is left on the palate. Alcohol is definitely present but not overly harsh.

Mouthfeel is surprisingly thinner than expected. Carbonation also feels lively in the mouth. Still, it doesn't water down the impact or lessen the pungency of the big coffee profile. This one is an easy drink, in spite of all the flavor action going on. I like it.

Of course, this is a Lagunitas brew and Merry the Wonder Beagle started drooling the second I popped the cap off the bomber. I'm giving Cappuccino Stout a BeerguyPDX rating of 4 crushed cans out of 4 and a Droolie.

Ninkasi Brewing Company - Allies Win the War!

Extra, extra! Drink all about it!

Looks like this is a stay-at-home, drink and review a few beers kind of night. That's what I'm doing anyway.

I found a bomber of Allies Win the War! on sale at Whole Foods for $3.49. It is apparently a collaboration brew between Ninkasi Brewing and 21st Amendment. To tell you the truth, I couldn't read much of the teeny, tiny, itty bitty print on the label. With or without my glasses, I was only able to determine the that ABV is 8.5%. I had to go to Ninkasi's website to obtain additional information.

The beer is brewed with California dates and a variety of Northwest hops. It appears to be an English Strong Ale. Beats me. It certainly is different.

The beer poured into my pint glass a deep brown/amber color with a thick, tan head. The head came up more than a finger tall and dissipated slowly to copious amounts of lacing all over the glass.

Aroma is sweet malt and tropical fruit: pineapple and tangerine. Honey and subtle hops in the background.

Taste is really, really interesting. There is a significant fruity sweetness right up front. There's honey and banana followed immediately by bitter citrus and piney hops. Wow, how dey do dat? Usually, you get the big hops bitterness up front and the sweet fruitiness in the back. This beer does it in reverse. The finish leaves the hops zinging the tastebuds. Take another sip and the fruity sweetness is right back on the palate.

Medium mouthfeel, creamy and smooth with light carbonation.

This is a complex and intriguing brew. It's actually fun to drink. I'd like to know the brewers' specific intention when they created it. I've never tasted anything like it and this is the kind of thing that keeps me excited about craft beer. Delicious and a mouthful of adventure.

I'm giving Allies Win the War! a BeerguyPDX rating of 4 crushed cans out of 4. Sorry, no Droolie. The Wonder Beagle was already in bed when I popped the cap on this one.