Thursday, March 19, 2015

Growlers Hawthorne & Buoy Beer Company - GH Imperial IPA

There's beer in there!
Oregon has some of the most liberal growler laws in the US of A. Basically, any retail store, restaurant, bar, brewpub or winery with the proper OLCC license can fill a growler. There is no limit on the number of growlers an establishment can fill for a patron, only a limit on the size of the growler (two gallons max). What's a growler, you ask, my uninformed friend? Any refillable, securely-covered container, two gallons or less, used to transport beer, wine, or cider that has been sold to a consumer at retail. Need more info? Check out the OLCC fact sheet HERE.

Typically, a standard growler in these parts is a 64 ounce jug. A "growlette" or "grenade" is a 32 ouncer. (I recently heard a growlette referred to as a "growlita" in SoCal. I like that Spanish-influenced moniker.) I have about a dozen growlers cluttering up my house, much to my wife's chagrin. Nevertheless, I like to have plenty on hand, you know, so I can fill 'em up with cold tasty beer whenever the need arises.

There's an app!
I recently visited one of the newest growler fill shops in Portland. Growlers Hawthorne is located--where else--in the ever-popular Hawthorne District in Southeast, It's in an easy-to-spot, red brick building; nestled among the funky, fun shops and eateries on SE Hawthorne. Man, I wish this place was in my NE neighborhood! I'd be livin' there!

It was my pleasure to meet Jim Hillman, the owner of Growlers Hawthorne. Jim is a very enthusiastic guy who was more than happy to spend some time with me and show off his store. With a background in finance, Jim was able to recognize the ever-growing opportunities in the local craft beer market. He is also very interested in technology and has brought some cool, high tech innovations to his store.

40 taps are found behind the counter at Growlers Hawthorne. Those taps are monitored by the always awesome DigitalPour system that provides all the information anyone might need about the eclectic line-up of beer, cider, wine and kombucha to be filled and toted home. There is also a Growlers Hawthorne app that can be downloaded for both Android and iPhone. It gives customers remote access to the current tap list and can even keep track of specific growler fills. How cool is that?

Taps galore!
My wife was quite impressed with the bike lane that runs through the store. Yes, you can simply bring your bike inside and get your growler filled without ever disembarking from your saddle. Again, that's pretty cool.

Not satisfied with stocking the most sought after brews around, Jim has collaborated with some of Oregon's most talented brewers to create some very unique, proprietary beers that cannot be found anywhere but Growlers Hawthorne. George Washington is an historic small beer found only at GH. It is made with a Revolutionary recipe--literally! Also on tap right now is GH Imperial IPA, brewed by Astoria's Buoy Beer Company. That's the beer that brought me into the store, and I left with a growler full.

Growlers Hawthorne is located at:
3343 SE Hawthorne Blvd, Portland, OR 97214
(503) 628-8000

The exclusive GH Imperial IPA
As I said, GH Imperial IPA was brewed by Buoy Beer Company, exclusively for Growlers Hawthorne. It was brewed with Mosaic and Galaxy hops and comes with an ABV at 9.2%. IBU's are reported at a respectable 100. A 64 ounce growler is $12.99.

The beer poured from growler into my pint glass a semi-hazy, orange amber color with a bright, white head. The head rose up to a finger thick and dissipated at a moderate rate. A thin cap of lace was left behind.

Aroma was big on citrus, tropical fruit and resinous pine. All the juicy smells you would expect from a beer with this hop pedigree. Nice!

Taste followed the nose. Big bitter hops bite that mellowed on the palate to leave behind grapefruit, orange, pineapple, passion fruit and guava. A bit of that pleasant funk that the best IIPA's accomplish was present and accounted for. Mildly earthy, caramel malt balanced right in. Really nice!

(Danger! Soapbox alert! Here is yet another example of why the long lines and over-the-top hype over the recent release of a certain NorCal IIPA is just...stupid. This is an excellent, top-shelf IIPA that you can go buy RIGHT NOW! No line, it's freaking DELICIOUS and it's brewed in our own backyard. AND it's FRESH!)

Medium to slightly sticky mouthfeel. Just the slightest hint of that high alcohol content detected. Loads of flavor left behind.

This is a terrific beer. A hophead's delight. Right up my alley and I'm going to go get another growler filled tomorrow. The Wonder Beagle drooled up a massive puddle, too. Thus, I'm giving GH Imperial IPA a BeerGuyPDX rating of 4 crushed cans out of 4 AND a Droolie.

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