Monday, September 30, 2013

HUB IPX Single Hop Centennial

Type: IPA
Origin: Portland, Oregon
Price: $5.59 per 22 oz
ABV: 6.0%
NSP: 6.98

Upon moving to the Pacific Northwest, I have been seeing HUB beer everywhere. I was a bit reluctant to try them due to being a fully organic brewery, which sounds like a good thing, but most of the organic brews have tasted off. HUB is definitely the exception to the rule, and I have yet to have a beer from them that wasn't enjoyable.

Single hop beers I have had quite a few, but I haven't made a diligent effort to note differences between the different varietals. This one has a very powerful grapefruit citrus nose that is an absolute delight. The taste: more grapefruit, with a bit of coriander coming through. It is a mighty fine IPA, and a definite must try. Everything is balanced right, and I will definitely need to try out the other varieties HUB puts out.

P.S. Here is a website that describes all the hop differences in a nice little chart. The description for Centennial is exactly the character of this beer.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Base Camp In-Tents IPL

Type: India pale lager
Origin: Portland, Oregon
Price: $5.59 per 22 oz
ABV: 6.8%
NSP: 7.90

Normally, bottle technology is reserved for the likes of Coors, so it should not surprise you that another mountain themed brewery came up with this truly brilliant bottle. They even reserve an entire panel to why this metal bottle is better than glass. All I know is the can gives me a hankering to watch Cliffhanger. I have a feeling these guys are the brewmasters.

Anyways, its what is in the bottle that matters. The IPL category is coming more and more prevalent in recent years, but I still don't have much of a baseline. I keep thinking this is an Imperial Pilsner while I'm drinking it because that really is the closest category I have experience with. It is definitely lighter than an Imperial Pilsner, but it has a similar sweetness to it. It was aged in fresh oak barrels, which I think adds a bit to the sweetness without making it overly boozy (as would be with a boubon barrel). The hops (and I guess the oak) add some earthy citrus and pine to the mix. It is both challenging and easy at the same time; challenging with regards to properly describing it but most definitely smooth and easy to drink.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Rogue Voodoo Doughnut

Type: flavored ale
Origin: Newport, Oregon
Price: $13.59 per 750 mL
ABV: 5.3%
NSP: 2.92

The Mrs. wanted me to buy this because she loves strange beers with unique flavor additives. After trying to argue her down due to me hearing this wasn't very good and the ridiculously low NSP, I finally relented. I must admit, I was quite curious since Voodoo Doughnuts is the shit (the maple bacon bar is the greatest goddamned morning food item in existence).

On the pour, looks like a cross between a brown ale and porter. The smell is dominated by the Peanut Butter part of the ale, with a wee bit of banana popping through. The taste is dominated by the Chocolate third, so much so I feel the base on this is their Chocolate Stout. A bit of mellowness is afforded to it by the other 2 players, which is totally not expected. This is actually much more enjoyable than expected, but the price is way to high for this low of ABV and this generic of a beer. The $6-8 range is more appropriate for this, especially from a rather large craft brewery that can start to play with economies of scale.  I guess the price of pink paint is too damn high.

Also, what in the fuck is 'free range coastal water'? Coastal water is seawater, and free range means it is allowed to go anywhere (watersheds work by going from high to low hydraulic head, most definitely not 'free' range). So we are dealing with seawater that doesn't follow physics. That's worth the extra 8 bucks.

at least its not Mrs. Pacman yeast...

Monday, September 23, 2013

Brendan's SIP: Airways Sky Hag IPA

Type: IPA
Origin: Kent, Washington
Price: $5.99 per 22 oz
ABV: 7.8%
NSP: 8.46

Just south of the Seatac airport in Kent lies the Airways Brewing Company, which I had not heard of until moving here. Even though they are nearby, you don't see much of their beer around town except for this one (which how could you forget a face like that). At first you think its a gimmick and this must be bad, but the more you ponder it and taste it, you realize what a brilliant idea it is. Airways made it look like a gimmick so those in the know can have all they want. Also, she looks like a bitter old hag, which does explain the hop character (well, minus the old part, but old people's houses generally smell a bit piney). You have to love the website description too: "She hates you and her job. But, she gets to go to Paris twice a month. This beer’s as bitter as she is. An abundance of Northwest “C” Hops give this beer its bite.". Completely non-pretentious = my type of brewery.

I will just cut to the chase: this is the best IPA have had in this city, and might even rival Boneyard's RPM for best in the NW. Seriously. This would also sell well in San Diego, and dare I say it, rivals Alpine's Duet. Duet has a bit more complexity on the hops whereas this is mostly piney with a bit of citrus. Still, I'm pretty damn pleased I found this and will tide me over between Alpine and Boneyard runs. I'm already planning a trip down to see them.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Left Hand 400 Pound Monkey

Type: english style IPA
Origin: Longmont, CO
Price: ?
ABV: 6.8%
NSP: ?

I got this in a mystery 6-pack at Chuck's for $9 about a week ago and I actually have never seen this one before. First of all, while the artwork is interesting, I would expect to see a completely obese monkey on the label. All I see is a slightly larger monkey than his compatriots. -1. Secondly, english style IPAs generally kinda suck. This one is no exception. The website exclaims: "Why does the world need another IPA? Because this one ain't like them others." No, this is exactly like the others. It honestly tastes like a slightly malty pilsner, and not a good pilsner. It even reeks of third-world pilsners (which is a fine smell if you're from the third world, but not Colorado). Seriously left hand, stick to milk stout because this is awful.

P.S. I noticed Chris had a taster of this in his visit to Left Hand and noticed a grassiness to it. Maybe my bottle is a bit old, but I sense no such quality. He didn't explicitly say this was good, he just said 'clean', so I will just assume he means this sucks. I guess it is a little clean, but so is bleach and you don't see me sipping on clorox.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Thomas Creek Up The Creek

Type: "extreme" IPA
Origin: Greenville, SC
Price: ?
ABV: 12.5%
NSP: ?

The Mrs. got me this on a recent trip to the east coast staying in Asheville. I think she bought it due to the high ABV and the regional uniqueness. And its also an "extreme IPA", whatever that may mean.

First impression, this pours dark. Darker than any IPA should be without a color moniker in front of it. And no, extreme is not a color. It pours with almost no head and a burst or caramel aromas waft out and punch you in the face. The taste is actually quite bourboney. The hops are there (the website claims 143 IBUs), but there is so much malt character that it does not seem so extreme. This actually reminds me most of Stone's Double Bastard, although maybe slightly more balanced. The IPA name on this I think is a bit deceiving since its so far beyond an IPA at this point that it really falls into the American Strong Ale category. Still, it is actually pretty easy drinking.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Sierra Nevada Flipside

type: India style red ale
origin: Chico, CA
price: $13/12 pack
ABV: 6.2%
NSP: 21.4

If there's any brewery that epitomizes value it has to be Sierra Nevada.  Never do you feel disappointed, and the price is almost always as competitive as the macrobrews.

This is a seasonal offering.  It's got a nose full of brown sugar and fruit; there's a slight imprint from the hops, but not much to speak of.  It's apparently hopped with Sitra, Simcoe, and Centennial, which translates to a good level of collective spiciness, earthiness, and fruitiness; but, there's a bit too much residual 'dank' to be really outstanding.  And, honestly, it's not hoppy enough.

Hop Head Red is still king of this castle, but this is certainly good enough.  I'd say this is right down the middle in terms of enjoyment, and at the top in terms of value.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Odell Double Pilsner

type: imperial pilsner
origin: Fort Collins, CO
price: ?
ABV: 8.1%
NSP: ?

Shonkmeister's 15-minutes of fame on this site came when he scoffed at the idea that anything by Magic Hat could be good.  He was especially vehement about their imperial pilsner, Over the Pils, which was the impetus for the original scoffnicity (or whatever real word I mean) and fuel for some raging ale-boner he had.  Anyway, here's why I mentioned all that:  OtP is good.  It's balanced, not too alcoholic for it's body and flavor, and generally doesn't make your body wretch to one side after the first sip.  I can't say the same for Odell's version, though.  In fact, it's essentially the Bizarro version of OtP--ass backwards.  To summarize it, I'd say it tastes a step above Mickey's malt liquor, and smells like you're going to have a real bad morning.

I'm not above drinking this because, well, it's beer.  There are also those that rave about this, and you'll find them on BA (of course); but, even if you think it's that good, I'd be shocked if the NSP came anywhere near Mickeys.  Unfortunately, I don't have a price for this, so I must recommend passing.... out... on the sidewalk.... after a spirited game of Edward Fortyhands.... with Mickey's.  And for the record, I'm not above Mickey's either.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Left Hand Polestar Pilsner

type: pilsner
origin: Longmont, CO
price: ?
ABV: 5.5%
NSP: ?

After the bout with Odell, I pretty much figured Left Hand was going to be outgunned--like pitting Marcelino's bird against Little Jerry Seinfeld.  But this is pretty damn delicious, and refreshing, to be sure.  The flavors are very clean and very simple.  It's obviously very light bodied, and the color is next to water, but also somewhat dry and nicely boozy (but not over the top).  There's very little aroma to speak of, but I wouldn't necessarily expect there to be, and it's not affecting the taste.  In fact, it's helping me smell the delicious food the neighbors are cooking up, which speaks to the food pairing potential of beer (suck it, wine).  My only issue might be the faint aftertaste that hangs around like a homeless women in Brad's living room, but overall I'd say this is a very tasty brew worth your hard earned dollars.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Nøgne Ø India-Style Saison

type: hoppy saison
origin: Grimstad, Norway
price: $9/0.5l
ABV: 7.5%
NSP: 4.2

I'm somewhat hypersensitive now to 'India-style' [whatever] beers since the rise of the IPL.  A beer like this, from a brewery like Nøgne Ø (I still have no clue how to pronounce that), is just shouting at you to try it.  Try me...  TRY me! DO IT!  OK, OK, sheesh;  chill out, Valhalla.

Smells incredible--unlike anything I can recall.  Among the classic Belgian yeast flavors I get some ripe pear and citrus, and funky sweetness.

The base of the beer seems rightly in line with a saison, but the Belgian yeast imparts tripel-style flavors too.  During your (frequent) sips the hops leave an overly grand impression on your mouth, making you feel like you've just finished chewing a hoppy zinc tablet.  Weird.  Then at the end you get that saliva-inducing peppercorn-tasting acidity that only comes with the best in class.  (When searching our posts for a good reference, I was reminded of the comments on the Dupont post.  Classic.)  And as it warms it tastes better, and better, which is a hallmark of quality beer.

This is surely intriguing, but I'll probably not purchase it again.  But that's all good because I'll finally get to abate my Norske semi-torque.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Calicraft Cali Cöast

type: Kölsch style ale
örigin: San Jöse, CA (See what I did there?)
price: $6/22oz
ABV: 5.2%
NSP: 5.6

We töök a quick jaunt up tö nörthern Califörnia för my bröther's triplets' (yes, three at önce.) birthdays and I noticed this at the fantastic Petaluma Market.  Yöu'll have tö excuse my chöice in 'glassware' cuz that's all yöu're göing tö get fröm a cheap mötel.  But, actually, they weren't all that different from the glasses yöu'd get in Cölögne (e.g. Früh).  Sö öntö the beer...

What's that?  Anöther California brewery?  Yeah sure, why nöt.  This öne is from San Jöse, and they dön't really even have a website yet, but they're making a fine Kölsch tö be certain.  Pleasant and milt arömas.  Crisp tasting, and light bödied.  Slightly malty, but rich enöugh.

This is a fairly accurate representation öf a pretty basic style of beer.  I find it very nice and refreshing, and will happily löök för more umlaut brews in the future.