Sunday, August 31, 2014

Micheladas Antojitos Drink Mix

I stopped by the little tienda down the street from my house to pick up a bag of chips for our chili dog BBQ tonight. Now, this little convenience store, similar to many just like it everywhere, is NOT the place you want to do your regular grocery shopping. The prices are far from reasonable, the selection is meager, and the freshness of most items is...dubious. Still, if you're out of toilet paper, craving a Snickers bar, or you need to stop on the way home for an emergency beer, this is your place.

While perusing one of the little aisles, I spied Micheladas Antojitos Drink Mix. Wha? It appeared to be a large Styrofoam cup with a salted/chile powdered rim. I shook it. There was something inside the shrink-wrapped cup. Whatever could it be? I assumed it was some kind of Chelada mix. The price was $2.25. I could buy a Chelada from the cold case for $1.99. Oh, what the hell! I'll try anything once!

No real instructions on the label. Once again, I assumed you're supposed to add a beer. I grabbed a can of craft lager...and a little can of Bloody Mary mix from the fridge. Inside the styro cup, I found a little spice packet. I opened the packet and tasted it. Salt, chile powder and citric acid, I believe.

I emptied the spice packet into the cup and added the beer and Bloody Mary mix. Man, I felt kind of guilty using a fine craft beer for this experiment, but I didn't have anything else. 

I slowly approached the cup and took a sip. I lived!

Okay, There's nothing to this stuff that you couldn't whip up from a moderately stocked spice rack. I'm just sayin'. It didn't taste terrible but it sure was salty. If you have high blood pressure or you're on a low sodium diet, uh, you should probably avoid this stuff.

I also can't recommend drinking anything from a salt-rimmed styro cup. Still, there's an iguana wearing a pair of board shorts on the label. I'm going to go ahead and give this product the coveted BeerGuyPDX Golden Turd Award. It's so bad, it's GOOD!

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Alameda Brewing Company - Wolfenstein Imperial IPA

Halten sie!
Here's another awesome beer name: Alameda Brewing Company's Wolfenstein Imperial IPA. Ah, I used to love playing Wolfenstein 3D. What is that you ask, youngster? Wolfenstein 3D is the grandpappy of first person shooter video games. I played it way back in the early 1990's when a 386 32-bit CPU was the hottest gaming machine around.

The premise of the game was simple: you played a WWII Allied spy, BJ Blazkowicz, trying to escape from Castle Wolfenstein, a Nazi stronghold. Basically, you just ran around shooting Nazis before they shot you. In the end, you got to kill Hitler! Good, clean fun!

Wolfenstein IIPA is good, clean fun, too. It comes with an ABV of 9.0%, and at 100 IBU's, it packs a wallop bigger than a howitzer. Yowitzer! I got it on tap at the Alameda Brewing pub. Did you know that my full name is Wolfenstein? Just kidding. Or am I? I am.

The beer was delivered to my table in a teeny, tiny snifter. It was a slightly hazy, golden orange color with a foamy, white head. The head dissipated at a moderate rate and left a thin cap of lacing behind.

Aroma was big on citrus hops up front. Grapefruit. Pine resin. Herbal  notes. Sweet malt.

Taste followed the nose. Dank, bitter hops. Big pucker from the get-go. Grapefruit. Pine. Tropical fruit in the mix. Sweet, earthy malt. The tropical fruit flavor perked up as it warmed.

Bit of a sticky, chewy mouthfeel. Good carbonation. Smooth finish but the alcohol did not go unnoticed.

Overall, this is big flavored beer with a lot of character. Nice to sip on. I like it! Good stuff! I'm giving Wolfenstein a BeerGuyPDX rating of 3 1/2 crushed cans out of 4. 1/2 a can is for the cool name.

Pipeworks Brewing Company - Brief Relief

It's bloody good!
"What's in a name?" What did Shakespeare say about that?  In a previous post, I discussed how difficult it must be for brewers to keep coming up with new, unique beer names. Today, I encountered a beer that pretty much proves my point.

Pipeworks Brewing Company (in collaboration with Harebrained) has created an American Red Ale, brewed with Blood Oranges, that is apparently...wait for it...menses themed. Yup, you can't make this stuff up. Brief Relief is dedicated to Period Panties, a product that...oh, just check them out here.

Now, I'm not particularly squeamish, but there are just some things I don't want to think about when I'm drinking or eating. Know what I'm saying? There's even a bloody pair of panties depicted on the Brief Relief label. Okay, enough. This beer was purchased in Chicago and brought to a bottle share I attended today. Bravo for the conversation starter! How was the beer, you ask?

Brief Relief poured into the taster glass a dark, reddish-orange color with an off-white head. The head demonstrated some good retention.

Aroma was sweet caramel malt, tropical fruit and a big nose full of citrus. Orange peel. Herbal notes.

Taste followed the nose. Bitter blood orange flavor was present and accounted for. Bready, biscuity malt. A bit boozy.

Medium mouthfeel with good carbonation. The 9.0% ABV is noticeable but there's no alcohol burn.

Hey! This is a darn good beer! A very unique Imperial Red Ale. Wish I had more than a taster glass. I could easily put down the bomber by myself. Weird name, odd theme, but a tasty, tasty beer. I'm giving Brief Relief a BeerGuyPDX rating of 3 crushed cans out of 4.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Laurelwood Brewing Company - Megafauna Imperial IPA

Prehistoric flavor?
If you've read my blog, you already know that I'm a big fan of Laurelwood Brewing Company. Solid. Dependable. They rarely disappoint. I picked up a bomber of their Megafauna Imperial IPA at Grocery Outlet the other day. Sorry, I don't remember what I paid for it, but I know it was a good deal. It's hard to go wrong with the beer prices at Grocery Outlet. Huge selection, too.

The label boasts an ABV of 9.5%. Yup, that's an IIPA. No mention of exactly what hops were used--just that they are "experimental". Interesting.

The beer poured into my pint glass a hazy, orange amber color with an off-white head. The head rose up to a full finger thick and was quite creamy and clumpy. Like you could eat it with a spoon. Lovely stuff. Retention was excellent, with a full cap of lacing present throughout most of the drink.

Aroma was a big nose full of citrus and pine. Dang! My wife said she could smell it from across the room. Loads of tropical fruit. Orange, grapefruit, ripe pineapple. Floral notes. Sweet, earthy caramel malt.

Taste followed the nose with a big bite of resinous pine that segued into ripe orange and grapefruit. Pineapple and mango. Tangerine. The flavors just didn't back off. Appropriately bitter with some lingering dankness right at the end. Excellent malt/hops balance.

Medium to full mouthfeel. A bit oily, a little sticky but with excellent carbonation. Boozy warmth at the finish, but not at all raspy with the alcohol. A medley of fruit flavor left behind on the palate.

Damn! Megafauna is excellent! Seriously, It's a keeper in my book. I'm giving this brew a BeerGuyPDX rating of 4 crushed cans out of 4. No Droolie, ony because the Wonder Beagle was busy obsessing over the opossums under our deck. I love this beer and highly recommend. Go get you some!

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Speakeasy Ales & Lagers - Vendetta IPA

Don't get mad, get even.
Speakeasy Ales & Lagers typically sticks with an old school gangster theme when naming their beers. The label art is always pretty cool and film noir inspired, too. I picked up a bomber of their Vendetta IPA yesterday at New Seasons. 

The label depicts a gangster who is clearly in a very bad mood. The copy advises that this IPA comes with an ABV of 7.6% and that it was brewed with Citra and Amarillo hops. "As the fire rages on, an enduring rivalry reaches the breaking point," the label proclaims. Hmmm, there's a story in there somewhere. How's the beer?

Vendetta poured into my glass a semi-hazy, coppery orange color with an off-white head. That head rose up to almost two fingers thick and was quite lumpy and clumpy. It dissipated slowly and left copious amounts of lacing behind on the glass. Quite an attractive beer, I must say.

Aroma was citrus and pine. Tropical fruit: mango and pineapple. Subtle hints of dankness mixed in with some earthy, bready malt.

Taste followed the nose. Big pine and citrus hops. Orange and tangerine. Respectable bitterness but not over the top. Smooth malt flavor. Very well balanced. Pleasant herbal notes.

Medium to slightly full mouthfeel with appropriate carbonation. Creamy finish with that hops bitterness left on the palate at the end.

Overall, this is a nice, big, well-balanced West Coast IPA. I like! I'm giving Vendetta a BeerGuyPDX rating of 3 crushed cans out of 4.

Fort George Brewery - The Optimist IPA

Is that can half empty...or half full?
Some breweries never disappointment me. Take for example Fort George Brewery in beautiful Astoria, Oregon. They make some mighty tasty beer and their taproom is top notch. Seriously, if you're ever even close to Astoria, you owe it to yourself to stop at Fort George. Fun times, nice people and fantastic beer. That's a winning combo, right there.

The most recent Fort George beer to hit the cold case of my local supermarket is The Optimist IPA. I found it in a six pack of 12 oz. cans. Now, I'm often reluctant to invest almost 9 bucks in a sixer of an unknown beer. You know...because what if it sucks? Then I have to save it for a party or something. Pass it off to unsuspecting house guests. However, that has never been the case with Fort George. I had no problem plunking down my hard-earned cash for a six pack of The Optimist. So, how was it, you ask?

The beer poured into my IPA glass a slightly hazy, light golden orange color. The white head rose up to a full finger thick and dissipated slowly. Loads of webby, sudsy lacing was left behind.

Aroma was citrus hops and tropical fruit. Pleasant grassy, floral notes on top of sweet, pale malt. Interesting lavender-like aroma.

Taste followed the nose. Not a hop bomb, this beer, but with plenty of juicy, fruity flavor. Orange, melon and stone fruit. Light, biscuity malt. Not too sweet. The mildly bitter hops flavor lingered throughout the entire drink, balancing the sweet floral and tropical fruitiness quite nicely.

Medium mouthfeel with good carbonation. No alcohol detected in this 6.2% ABV brew. Mild, semi-dry finish.

Overall, this is an exceedingly drinkable IPA. The 12 oz. can six pack is the appropriate packaging, in my opinion, because you can easily knock back several of these while manning the BBQ.

I am a big-time hophead. I crave the big, bitter pucker of an outrageously hoppy IPA...but not always. Sometimes, it's nice to have a solid IPA that you can enjoy out on the deck. Something that delivers the hops but doesn't coat your tonsils or significantly sting your taste buds. Something you can share with your non-hophead friends that won't leave them running for a Bud Light. The Optimist fills that bill quite nicely.

I'm giving The Optimist a BeerGuyPDX rating of 3 1/2 crushed cans out of 4. Good stuff that will always be welcome in my weekend cooler.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Beards and Beers

Wax on!
I took a brewery tour at Lagunitas Brewing in Petaluma, CA a while back. Awesome brewery and I highly recommend stopping there whenever you are cruising through NorCal. During the tour, the guide asked if anyone in the group was a brewer or homebrewer. No one raised their hand. I was busy with a taster, and truthfully, my homebrewing skills are nothing worth bragging about.

"Really? Because there's usually one or two in the group," continued our friendly, young host. "And they usually have big beards like this guy..." He was pointing at me.

I guess that's accurate. For whatever reason, growing and grooming massive amounts of facial hair seems to be de rigueur for brewers of the liquid bread. I certainly see a lot of shaggy gents working in breweries, that's for sure. Me? No, I'm not trying to make any kind of fashion statement. To tell you the truth, I'm just lazy. I hate shaving in the morning and my facial hair comes in so fast you can almost see it grow. Also, that bushy beard hides the pathetically weak chin that I inherited from my father's side of the family. Sad, but true.

So, perhaps we can surmise that brewers are either 1) fashionable, 2) lazy, or 3) they have pathetically weak chins. Hmmmm...

In any case, the connection between beards and beers came to an odd pinnacle earlier this year when Rogue Ales put out a beer brewed with yeast collected from the brewer's beard. What the f**k, you ask? Yeah, it's true. I reviewed Beard Beer in May. It was actually pretty good. However, I certainly hope this form of yeast collection doesn't become an expanding trend. Arnie's Armpit Ale? Paul's Pubic Porter? No thanks!

I found another unique and awesome beard/beer connection recently: a beard grooming aid made with hops! Lesher's Beard Balm can be found for $15.99 at This hop-infused beard conditioning balm comes in two different hop varieties: Citra and Cascade. I bought the Cascade. Great stuff. It smells grassy, earthy and is much more pleasant than some of the other scented beard conditioners and mustache waxes I have in my "collection". I highly recommend!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Worthy Brewing Company - Eruption Imperial Red Ale

Do I lava this beer?
Man, do I love beer! I guess that's obvious. I drink a lot of it. I blog about it. On occasion, I even try to brew it. However, I certainly don't consider myself to be any kind of beer expert. No, no, no. That term conveys a certain amount of geeky, scientific-y smarts that I just do not possess. Nope, no real expertise here. I suppose you could call me a "beer enthusiast". Yeah, I like that.

I started this blog as a way to chronicle my beer adventures--which typically just entails me sitting on the couch, drinking a new-to-me bomber of something I picked up from the supermarket cold case on the way home from the cube farm. I'm not trying to impress anybody. Not hanging out a shingle as some kind of authority. I certainly don't make any money doing this.

Beer just fascinates and amazes me. It's agriculture, art and alchemy, all combined into a tasty, potable beverage. Some brainy archaeologist types even go so far as proclaiming the invention of beer to be the nexus of civilization. Don't believe me? Watch this video.

In any case, I've rambled on way too much. I've got a new (to me) beer to review. Tonight's brew is Worthy Brewing Company's Imperial Red Ale. It comes with an ABV of 8% and an reported 100 IBU's. Intriguing. How did it do paired with my homemade sloppy joe's and chips?

The beer poured into my pint glass a reddish amber color with an off-white head. The creamy, clumpy head rose up to almost two fingers thick and dissipated slowly. Copious amounts of webby lacing left behind throughout the drink.

Aroma was citrus hops. Grapefruit and orange. Pine and floral notes on top of sweet, earthy malt.

Taste followed the nose. Lots of citrus hops with a good bitter bite to it. Nice spiciness, too. Good hops/malt balance to this beer. The malt didn't get lost in the mix behind all that hoppy goodness.

Medium mouthfeel with good carbonation. No noticeable alcohol taste. A bit of a creamy finish. I like!

I'm giving Eruption a BeerGuyPDX rating of 3 crushed cans out of 4. I'd definitely do this one again. Merry the Wonder Beagle drooled up a storm over this one, so it gets a Droolie, too.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Locals Only!

My beer, baby!
Locals only! When I was a surfer, way back in the '80's, "localism" was a big problem. Hardcore surfers would fanatically--and sometimes violently--protect their local surf spots. Surfers from out of the area were considered nothing more than invading barbarians, and treated as such. Every once in a while, fists would fly on the beach, but more often than not, a nomadic surfer out hunting for waves beyond his normal purview would simply find his car vandalized in the parking lot. Locals were also quick to tell anyone who would listen exactly how their precious surf breaks were better than any other beach anywhere.

So, what's this got to do with BEER, you ask? Well, I've met a few folks who are almost as fanatical about their local beer as those surfers were about their local waves. I'm personally acquainted with a couple of folks who won't drink anything but that one beer they love from that one brewer they always visit. Every t-shirt, hat and growler they own has that brewery's logo on it.  Of course, I've never seen anybody lay a North Shore style beatdown on somebody over their beer preference, but I imagine it could happen someday. 

This "Beer Localism" is a relatively new phenomenon. Until the craft beer revolution, almost all Americans drank mass-produced, macro-beers manufactured in mega-breweries far, far, away from their neighborhood pubs--hell, most still do! 80% of all beer consumed in this country is produced by brewing giants AB InBev or MillerCoors. Craft beer is gaining on them, though! In 2013, craft beer reached 7.8% of the US beer market, up from 6.5% the previous year. The number of craft brewers across the nation also rose to more than 3000! That means more and more people have access to craft beer produced very close to home. (This info was pulled off the Internet, primarily from press releases from The Brewers Association.)

There are now a lot of folks like me who have developed a very sincere loyalty toward their favorite local breweries. That's very easy to do here in Portland, Oregon, the city with more breweries within its borders than any other in the world. Yes, some of my favorite beers are produced within a few miles from my front porch--and it's world-class brew, I'm telling you. Laurelwood Brewery, Hopworks Urban Brewery, Ecliptic Brewing, Burnside Brewing, Breakside Brewing, Base Camp Brewing, Cascade Brewing and several others are actually within a reasonable walking distance. Don't hate me.

Most of my Portland drinking chums have their clear favorites, and they won't be shy telling you their preferences when asked. Personally, I have to admit my own preference for local beer, which waxes a bit political, but still has a solid foundation built on taste. My local beer is... FREAKING AWESOME! The fact that I can do my part to support a major cornerstone of our local economy with my beer money is another awesome thing. 

Are you a loyal supporter of a favorite, local, craft beer? When someone brings a sixer from some out-of-state brewery to your backyard BBQ, do you jump up and shout LOCALS ONLY? If so, I'd like to know! Drop me a line and let me know why your local beer is the best. Of course, it's not better than my local beer, but then, nothing is...

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Burnside Brewing Company - Lime Kölsch

You should be (lime) green with envy...
The summer heat continues grinding down the unairconditioned masses of Portland and everyone just wants some relief. Gratefully, the local craft brewers are totally and harmoniously in tune with the desires of the denizens of Stumptown. We're talking refreshing summer seasonals, folks, and I think I've found my new favorite.

Burnside Brewing Company's Lime Kölsch is brewed with lime zest, kaffir lime leaves (Did you know the word "kaffir" is considered offensive to people of color is some parts of the world? Well, it is.) and lemongrass. The beer comes with an ABV of 5.4%.

The beer poured from bomber into pint glass a hazy, golden yellow color with a bright, white head. The head rose up more than a finger high and dissipated at a moderate rate. Spots of thin, webby lacing were left behind. A good amount of pinpoint carbonation was seen rising from the bottom of the glass throughout the entire drink.

Aroma was lime and mild, grassy hops. Smell of lemongrass and other herbal notes in the background.

Taste was followed the nose and was certainly true to the name and description of this brew. Lime and more lime, but without tasting fake--no Starburst taste to this one. Fresh, clean citrus. Light, sweet, biscuity malt was not lost in the mix, in spite of the very prominent lime flavor. Nice!

Medium mouthfeel with lots of carbonation. Crisp, clean and refreshing with a semi-dry finish.

Overall, this beer is a great summer heat buster. Cuts right through the dusty crud at the back of your throat. Perfect brew for manning the BBQ grill. I like it! I'm giving Lime Kölsch a BeerGuyPDX rating of 3 1/2 crushed cans out of 4.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Deschutes Brewery - Armory XPA

Add caption
I'll be the first to admit that when I'm shopping for a new craft beer to try, one of the deciding factors for me is price. Look me up on Untappd and you'll see that I've logged in more than 1000 unique beers--and trust me, I forget to check in about half the time. I spend A LOT of money on beer, and I ain't no millionaire. I'm on a budget and a prohibitive price tag will definitely keep a beer out of my fridge.

Today, I found Deschutes brews on sale at Safeway. I also found a beer that I've never tried before: Armory XPA. The "X" stands for "Experimental". Experimental Pale Ale. Intriguing. The beer reportedly comes with an ABV of 6.0%. The label also boasts of a bounty of hops, including Cascade, Centennial and Citra. Hey, it's hard to lose with that trifecta of "C" hops. How was it, you ask?

The beer poured from bomber into pint glass a bright amber color with an off-white head. The head was creamy, clumpy and rose up to almost two fingers thick. The suds dissipated slowly and a persistent amount of webby lace was left behind.

Aroma was citrus hops and biscuity malt. Juicy fruit and floral notes in the mix, too.

Taste followed the nose. Lots for citrus flavor: orange and grapefruit rind. Tropical fruit: pineapple. Not much malt flavor coming through, as you would expect in a pale ale. A lot of IPA characteristics to this one.

Medium mouthfeel with good carbonation. Somewhat of a creamy finish. No noticeable alcohol taste.

Overall, this is a pleasant, easy drinker. I'm giving Armory XPA a BeerGuyPDX rating of 3 crushed cans out of 4.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Bayern Brewing, Inc. - Pilsener Lager

A perfect BBQ brew?
And the heat goes on! My gosh, it's too hot to cook inside... because it's already cookin' inside! It's about 90 degrees in my living room right now. I think the dog is melting into the floor. No way am I firing up the stove, and no way am I drinking a heavy, tonsil-coater of a beer. This weather calls for outdoor grilling and a nice, light bodied beer...or four.

Bayern Brewing out of Missoula, Montana makes some mighty fine, German-style beers. One such brew is their Pilsener Lager. I bought a six pack of 12 oz. bottles at New Seasons for about $10. It comes with an ABV of 5% and, according to Bayern Brewing's website, it is "one of the very few authenic pilseners brewed in America." How does it stack up?

The beer poured into my glass a clear, light, golden yellow color with a foamy white head. The head made it up to about a 1/2 inch tall and dissipated at a moderate rate. A thin cap of lacing was left behind. Lots of pinpoint carbonation could be seen rising up from the bottom of the glass.

Aroma was mild, grassy hops, light, biscuity yeast and malt.

Taste was pale malt up front. Mildly bitter hops. Herbal, grassy, floral notes. Light lemon zest.

Medium to thin mouthfeel with good carbonation. Crisp, clean finish. Just a little touch of creaminess at the end. Very drinkable. Herbal notes left behind on the palate.

Overall, this is a highly drinkable beer. Perfect for a hot summer day. Great flavor that just shouts "quality" at your taste buds. Excellent and I'm inclined to give Bayern Pilsener a BeerGuyPDX rating of 3 crushed cans out of 4.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Full Sail Brewing Company - Session Premium Lager

A Pacific NW original.
If you've ever been to party in Portland, Oregon, chances are you've encountered Full Sail Brewing Company's Session Premium Lager. It's not craft beer. It's not a macro brew. It comes in a stubby 11 oz. bottle that fits neatly in your hand. The stuff is typically sold in 12 packs, which can be had for under 12 bucks--sometimes even less if you find it on sale.

Let's face it. Times are tough everywhere. While I'd love to treat my weekend BBQ guests to oodles of fine, premium, craft beer, I just can't afford it. I usually save the expensive brews for my own selfish self-indulgence. Of course, there's no way I'm going to serve crap beer at Casa de Wolfgang, either. I have a reputation to uphold. Thank gawd they make this nice little beer! And right nearby in Hood River, Oregon, too!

Full Sail's website says that Session is "a classic all-malt pre-Prohibition style lager that reminds us of what American lagers used to taste like. It's flavorful, refreshing, and has a touch of that import-style taste. (Which, once upon a time, you didn't have to buy an 'import' to get.)" It comes with an ABV of 5.1%, which makes it a true "session" beer. Low alcohol content, easy to drink AND easy on the wallet. You can fill your party cooler without having to take out a second mortgage. But, how does it taste? Really?

Truthfully, I just drink this beer straight from the bottle. (I also like to avoid washing a mountain of glassware after a Sunday BBQ. So, sue me.) Nevertheless, if you do pour Session into a glass, it's the typical straw yellow color of most every other American lager. The white, bubbly head makes it up to a finger thick and dissipates quickly to a thin ring of lacing.

Aroma is sweet malt and mild, grassy hops. Nothing offensive. No cat piss or corn smell, like you get from so many macros.

Taste is sweet, biscuity malt. A hint of lemony hops. Once again, no corn, rice or foul urine-like flavor.

Thin, light mouthfeel. It goes down easy. Crisp, clean finish. No nasty aftertaste. No alcohol taste at all. 

Overall, the only complaint I have about Session is that it is just a tad too sweet for my taste. Otherwise, it is a solid, affordable cooler brew. The brown, stubby bottle and clean, simple label graphics add to the classic appeal. I'm giving Session Premium Lager a BeerGuyPDX rating of 3 crushed cans out of 4. No droolie. Ha. Merry the Wonder doesn't care for Session one little bit.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

10 Barrel Brewing Beer Recall

Fire in the hole?
The Internet was abuzz this week about the voluntary recall of every bottle of 10 Barrel Brewing Company's Swill American Radler. Seems there was a problem with some secondary fermentation, which was making the brew excessively carbonated--and potentially explosive. Yikes!

I had a bomber of kombucha explode under my bar once. My gawd, that was one helluva mess! It also took out half of my glassware. Little shards of glass and sticky liquid landed all over the room. No, that's not something you want to play around with and I was very grateful no one was home when the explosion happened. If you have a bottle of Swill sitting around, you should dispose of it ASAP.

Unfortunately, 10 Barrel has also expanded the recall to include their Cherry Tart Beer #1. Here's the notice from their Facebook page:

Update on Swill Recall Notice 
After two days of continuous testing, researching, and investigating by our entire team (including outside help), we have been able to discover the root cause of the issue. We used a unique and specific enzyme in the brewing process thats purpose is to break down complex starch strains and reinvigorate early fermentation in some of our sour beers. This enzyme is the cause of the issue we are having. It's important to note that there are no health concerns if this product has been consumed.

With this discovery comes an ADDITIONAL RECALL notice. This enzyme was also used in the first beer of our number series, a Cherry Tart named Beer #1. Though this beer was brewed and sold a couple of months ago, we fear that there is still some remaining in your beer cellars, refrigerators, or other storage areas. Please, if you still have Beer #1, dispose of it in the same method that we asked for Swill in the below post.

To contact the brewery regarding a refund, please call or email the same information for the Swill recall. or (541) 678-5427.

We apologize greatly for these issues and inconveniences. We are absolutely confident that this discovery will prevent this issue from happening in the future in any of our beers. We thank you all for following the instructions of the recall, as well as your support.

10 Barrel Brewing Company
Kudos to 10 Barrel Brewing for getting the word out there and making it right for their customers with a refund. I'm sure this kind of thing is every brewer's worst nightmare. I wish them good luck and a full financial recovery from this unfortunate circumstance. I really enjoy Swill a lot and hope it makes it back on the shelves soon!

Laurelwood Brewing Company - Green Elephant IPA

Elephant in the room?
It's no secret that the India Pale Ale (IPA) is my favorite beer style, and it's my opinion that IPA's produced here in the Pacific Northwest are the absolute best. Trust me, I've sampled a LOT of IPA's from all over the country and I know what I like. What was it Dorothy said at the end of "The Wizard of OZ"?

If I ever go looking for my heart's desire again, I won't look any further than my own back yard. Because if it isn't there, I never really lost it to begin with!

Yeah, that's kind of how I feel about beer. The best beer in the world can literally be found within blocks from my own back yard...well, I don't have a back yard, but you get what I'm talking about.

One of the local brewery/brew pubs I visit with some regularity is Laurelwood Brewing Company. Minutes from my house, these folks quietly put out some of the finest beer on the planet. Their Workhouse IPA is my go-to brew. Love that stuff, as you can tell from my review. Of course, Laurelwood doesn't just rest on their...laurels (heard you groan--sorry about that). No, they produce many other amazing beers, and I'm drinking one of them right now!

Green Elephant is described on the label as "a relative of the American IPA that takes big hop flavor to the next level." I would say that is an accurate description. This Pacfic Northwest IPA uses Cascade, Ahthanum and Amarillo hops and comes with an ABV of 6.9%. IBU's are at a reported 68. How is it, you ask?

The beer poured from bomber to pint glass a hazy, orange copper color with an off-white head. That head rose  up to almost two fingers thick and was impressively creamy and clumpy. The foam dissipated slowly and left a massive amount of sudsy lacing all over the glass. Quite a lovely beer and I'm glad I poured it myself so I could get the most out of the presentation.

Aroma was big citrus, pine and tropical fruit. Huge aroma to this brew, actually. My wife was sitting next to me on the couch and she even remarked about how good it smelled. Sweet, earthy malt, stone fruit and floral notes came through in the background.!

Taste followed the nose with delicious orange and tangy grapefruit right up front. Pine notes with a ton of tropical and stone fruit flavors following it up. The huge hops flavor and bitterness did not overwhelm the delicious malt taste in this beer, which is amazing. A perfect balance was still achieved, in my opinion.

Medium mouthfeel with good carbonation. Not too chewy, which is a good thing. If this beer came with a thicker body, I think the flavor would be too much of a palate-coater. It finished thin enough to make it highly drinkable and still left some tasty citrus and tropical fruit rolling around on my taste buds. Seriously, I could handle a pitcher of Green Elephant with no complaint.

Overall, I may have found my new favorite Laurelwood IPA. Tasty, tasty, tasty, stuff, with a boatload of complexity and fantastic flavor. Merry the Wonder Beagle sought it out as soon as I opened the bottle and left a big puddle of drool at my feet while I drank it. Green Elephant earns a prefect BeerGuyPDX rating of 4 crushed cans AND a Droolie.