Sunday, July 29, 2012

Oregon Brewers Festival 2012 Day 2

Whitney thought it would be a good idea to wear fanny packs.  She was right.  That morning while I was at work she went to goodwill and got a sweet leather patchwork fanny pack.  When I go there mine was full of goodies including easy cheese and wheat thins.  After I was released from work 3 hours early to go to the beerfest I was ready to drink.  Unfortunately Friday lines were MUCH longer so  in order to reach my desired alcohol intake I had to get a full glass of most of the beers because it took so long to get through the lines.

Double Mountain Brewery and Taproom - Goliathon - C Rasiny barley wine nothing overwhelming just an 11% beer only wanted to try a taster because I'm not usually a big barley wine fan.

Red Rock Brewing Company - Red Rock Elephino Double IPA - B Super simcoe aroma and flavor light straw color not well balanced, too light on the body

Gigantic Brewing Co - Dynomite!  B- Golden color resiny aroma big malty mouthfeel.  Hop lingering flavor after drinking wasn't great.

Terminal Gravity Brewing - X IPA B Golden color with an earthy aroma pretty good not remarkable good body, I would drink again.

Boulder Beer Company - Mojo - B- Average IPA, little more bite than I'd like for how hoppy it is. Light gold color not super aromatic thin mouth-feel.

Hopworks Urban Brewery - Evelyn's Imperial Sunshine - B+ Pretty good IPA,strong good taste and nose golden color

Caldera Brewing Company - Hop Hash - A- Kind of like a really hoppy red, reddish color good beer I wish I was
more sober so I could give it a better review.  A very distinctive hop flavor but I can't tell what it is because I'm too drunk.

Flyers Restaurant and Brewery - Pacemaker Porter B+ Black porter rich chocolatey nose thick full mouthfeel with huge body great thick dark flavor great dark beer.  I wanted to try a dark beer and true this one as I was walking out because it had the shortest line.  Probably because it was a dark beer at a summer beer fest but a great beer.  Too bad it picked the wrong season

Friday, July 27, 2012

Oregon Brewers Festival 2012 Day 1

It's beerfest season again, so here is my annual review of the beers I have tried.  Ratings are just a review of how much I like the beer, not a comment on the quality of the beer (well sometimes it is) but mostly just how much I like it.

Ballast Point Brewing Co. -Sculpin IPA - B+ Light in color and body, tastes piney and resiny, hop flavor smells with strong pine notes. I got a full cup which was a huge mistake because this beer wrecked my pallet.

Bison Brewing - Bison Honey Basil Ale - D Definitely get the honey and basil, just not a great combo, not terrible but I wouldn't drink again. Light reddish color, light basil aroma followed by the sweet basil taste and an average light body.

Coalition Brewing - Roosters Cream Ale - C Light, almost no aroma, good for a hot day, it tasted like a really full bodied blonde ale. Really thick body for how light it is.

Boundary Bay Brewery - Double Dry Hopped Delta Pale Ale - C Does not taste double, or even single dry hopped.  A real disappointment when I was expecting a double super floral hop aroma coming from the beer. Light color, the cream ale was more bitter than this beer.  Had a really sweet aroma, not hoppy.  That being said, not a bad beer just poorly named. Minus points for misleading naming.

Colombia River Brewing - Rye Not IPA - B  Red color, definite rye aroma and flavor not too bitter, good body for an IPA (or "not IPA").  Great rye flavor and mouth-feel.  Would drink this beer again, definitely would recommend if you are into rye beers, still a good drink even if your not.

Prodigal Son Brewery -Splendor in the Grass V: Under the Stairs - F  Not a good bitter but not hoppy, tart puckering flavor, almost astringent, light color. Great marketing campaign, get a bunch of drunk people to see the beer name and think "Wow, long name must be good"

Natian Brewery - Elephants Red Ale - A- I liked this beer and my writing was starting to suffer because this is verbatim how I chose to describe this beer.  "Sweet fruity aroma, light brown color, really sweet nose incredibly sweet, holy shit sweet smelling."  Great flavor, liked this beer, hoppy tounge and finish. It did have a very pleasant sweet aroma that I enjoyed. Will definitely drink this beer again given the chance.

Rock Bottom Brewery - Teddy's Sunburn Red Kolsch - C  Reddish Brown color, smells slightly nutty, good taste and flavor. Not really what I was expecting from a Kolsch, but it was very crisp.

This is the point everyone is always excited to read.  I am now getting pretty drink because my social barriers are breaking down.  The previous night my friend Evan came into town and we watched "Snatch" so I had snatch on the mind.  I  went up and talked to a guy with a Boston terrier shirt asking if he liked " dags" I can only assume I was slurring pretty badly because he repeated what he thought I said.  Curiously he replied, "You like dicks?" and this is how the really awkward next couple minutes started.  This guy was not actually interested in Boston Terriers, he didn't own one or know anyone with one, he was just another hipster with gem of a thrift store find on his back. I explained to him how I was being clever and witty (Read: Drunk) and continued to try to find a common ground we could both converse on.  I was wearing a transformers shirt and thought since I had an interest in his shirt perhaps he might be interested in what was on my shirt.  He was not. We finally settled on both being beaver fans and I parted ways awkwardly.  In my struggle to find a common talking point I completely missed out on the finger shoes he was wearing which Evan pointed out after our awkward departure. Worst. Conversation. Ever.

Fort George - Quick Wit - C Ton of coriander, almost bubble gum in aroma. Good other than the over powering coriander flavor and aroma. Light color, cloudy.

Golden Valley Brewery - Rose de Vale - C Sweet fruity, red candy colored. Raspberry flavor and aroma, great beer for people that don't like beer.  Like a less bitter sweeter Ruby.

Alameda Brewery - Huckleberry Hound IPA - B+  Light red color, malty grapefruit aroma, tastes like a red ale, medium mouth-feel, slight berry flavor, not noticeable till I finished.

Fire Mountain Brew House - Tan Line -  Light beer, straw colored, minty aroma weird...  I forgot to review this beer. 

Omission - Omission Pale Ale - A  This Gluten free beer that actually tastes like a beer. Great for no other reason that it tastes like beer.  But on top of that it is actually a great pale ale.  I would say better than a lot of the other pale ales I have had.  Of course this isn't a true gluten free beer, it is gluten reduced by using the clarex enzyme that I have used in the past on low gluten malted barley.

I am reaching critical mass for alcohol consumption at this point, while trying to stay hydrated and be a responsible drinker. I poured beer all over myself.  I achieved this by drinking from a water bottle while holding my mug in the same hand. Idiot.

Dunedin Brewery IPA - Chronicle FL-Oregon Trail - C Super big hop aroma, defiantly not 125 IBU though. Aromatic but not overly bitter, hoppy in the smell and flavor but not the back end. Lighter, red medium mouth-feel overpowering in its initial piney hop presentation.  I wanted to try the allegedly hippest beer here. Disappointment. Not a bad beer but definitely disappointing for its 125 IBU claim.

Ninkasi Brewing Co. - Lady Avalon C- dark dark beer.   Pilsner style dark toasty, not traditional pils. Light like pilsner in body. Not that great, I was really hoping I would like this beer because I am a huge fan of Ninkasi.  

At this point I am far to drunk to operate my notepad on the phone or give any beer a fair review so I bid adieu until tomorrow to the OBF.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

White Labs Tasting Room

     White Labs has done something that I have always been interested in.  Yesterday, they opened a yeast differentiated tasting room.  After brewing several batches of the same beer and then pitch a different yeast into each one allowing you to differentiate what a specific strain of yeast will do to a beer.  They might have 10 pale ales each with a different yeast pitched and you can taste them all.  There is a total of 35 different taps/beers on site.
     Chris White (of White Labs) and Jamil Zainasheffs book YEAST: The pracitcal side to beer fermentation  is a great book on the subject of yeast and depending on which strain you choose to pitch and dramatically affect the final product.  You can see a live list of what is on tap at their website.
   I have wanted to do this type of experiment for a long time.  My method would most likely be a little different though.  I would most likely brew a single 10 gallon batch and then split it into four, three gallon carboys each with a different yeast strain.  Since I neither have the glassware for this or the space this will probably not be an endeavour that I undertake anytime soon.
     I may split a batch into two different five gallon carboys in the future just to differentiate between two strains.  I really like the California Ale (WLP 001) and have been using the San Diego Super Yeast (WLP 090) recently because it is supposed to be similar just rapid fermenting.  I may decide to split a batch with those two strains just to see what would happen.  This being a low risk, low overhead proposition it seems right up my alley.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Church Key Beer Review


     While at New Seasons Market grabbing lunch on Friday I was perusing the beer selection while my wok was... woking(?) and came across a 6 pack of Churchkey Pilsner from Churchkey Can Company.  This beer has been getting a lot of press lately because of its kitschy throwback can design.  This beer company was the brain child of former Nike designer Justin Hawkins and former Entourage actor Adrian Grenier.  I decided that since I have heard it was a decent beer, despite its obvious marketing gimmicks, I would try it.
   The $9.99 price tag was a little steep for a 4.9% pilsner beer but I thought I'd give it a try.  The first thing I noticed was the packaging, rectangular cardboard tube with two open ends.  Grabbing the beer tunnel I noticed that almost every can was dented, about 2 seconds after picking it up I discovered why.  This box, while very cool looking, is essentially useless for transporting beer cans with any success.  
Two cans fell out of one end causing an immediate imbalance on the other side forcing it to tip and dump the two beers out of the other end.  Because of the two finger holes, I was able to maintain my grasp of the middle two.  So as I stood in the middle of New Seasons beer isle with beer strewn around me I hoped nobody would see the mess I made, or what I was about to do.  I quickly returned the cans to their holster and promptly walked away.... I didn't.  I looked on the shelves for a 6 pack that hadn't been dropped because I didn't want dented cans.  Now I know what you're thinking, what so some other guy can get dented cans?  Yes.  But karma being the bitch it is when I went in search of this perfect untainted 6-pack there was none to be found.  I pulled the 5 different boxes out and to my dismay each one was just as dented if not more than mine.  Either I wasn't the only one with this problem or they come that way, "Pre-Stressed," like jeans from Abercrombie & Fitch.
     Each 6-pack comes with an attached churchkey that is barely functional  perhaps it is my in-experience with using antiquated technologies but I found it much harder to open than I though it would be.  This could also have been because the can was dented.
   I was really hoping that I would like this beer and there is nothing truly bad about it I ranked it a 2 star on UNTAPPD.  The first beer I had was out of the can so I could drink it and look cool while doing it. This pilsner has a very light and crisp flavor and goes down very smooth, the problem comes on the back end.  The aftertaste of this beer tasted tannic.  I am hesitant to say it tasted metallic because this review will be immediately dismissed, but it was kind of metallic.  I thought it might be an issue that I was drinking it from the can so for the second one I poured it into a glass so I could fully experience it, as beer is meant to be drank, in a glass. The flavor profile did not change.

    The one thing that I will forever be thankful that this beer brought to my attention is the two hole method of drinking beer.  Miller Lite is releasing something similar to this with a second hole that can be punched.  This second hole is there so the beer doesn't glug when you drink it from the can.  I know this seems like a marketing gimmick just as much as the retro cans of churchkey beer company. However,  I actually enjoyed drinking it out of the can more with the second hole punched in it.  I will have to test this at a later date with a standard can but I think I may carry a churchkey with me when on drinking outings from now on.  I would almost say that was the most enjoyable thing about this beer was how smoothly it flowed from the can while drinking.  

 This beer was meant for a very specific crowd, and yes I am talking about the hipsters.  Purposefully making things more difficult in order to seem like a trend setter or better than others is their mantra.  This beer is currently only availale in Seattle and Portland areas, arguably the hipster Mecca.  Whitney was wearing moustache necklace and a moustache t shirt and the thing that made her the most hipster-like was that she was drinking a beer with turn of the century technology.  If you go to the Wikipedia page for this beer the photo (as seen a the top of this article) is an "instagram" style photo another classic hipster merit badge, right up there with double decker bikes, ironic moustaches, and now churchkey beer.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

McMenamins Double IPA Invitational

    Yesterday (LEAP DAY!) I went to McMenamins Double IPA Invitational at Cornelus Pass Road House in Hillsboro.  This was an a competition between different McMenamins brew houses to create the best Double IPA. I had attended a beer appreciation lecture by the Cornelius Pass Roadhouse Brewers, Brady Romtvedt and Chris Oslin.  Brady was the creator of their Darkstar, one of my favorite Mcmenamins beers.  The beers they were serving were all double IPAs and had an ABV over 7%.  

About the beers (From McMenamins website):

Iron Fist IPA
Brewery: Oak Hills
Brewer: Anthony Balzola
O.G.: 1.072
T.G.: 1.013
ABV: 7.61%
Malt: Pale ale, Cara Vienne, Carapils
Hops: Citra, Chinook, Brewers Gold, Amarillo

Mad Hatter Imperial IPA
Brewery: Wilsonville
Brewer: Mark Goodwin
O.G.: 1.080
T.G.: 1.010
ABV: 9.1%
Malt: 2-row, Pale ale, Crystal, Carastan, Flaked Barley
Hops: Amarillo, Cascade, Citra, Simcoe

Sun Hammer Double IPA
Brewery: CPR
Brewers: Brady Romtvedt, Chris Oslin
O.G: 1.074
T.G: 1.014
ABV: 7.74%
Malt: 2-row, Crystal, Oat Malt
Hops: Centennial, Simcoe

Detention Blues Double IPA
Brewery: Concordia
Brewers: Matt Carter, Kevin Lee
OG: 1.075
TG: 1.012
ABV: 8.13%
Malts: Superior Pilsner & Rolled Oats
Hops: Chinook, Simcoe

All the beers were pretty good but we were supposed to vote and choose what will likely be a regular Double IPA at their restaurants.  My reviews of the beers were as follows.

Detention Blues - Piney and sweet smelling after the first taste there is a very noticeable taste of alcohol and you should at 8.1%.  A very light color, almost straw.   Thin mouthfeel due to the high alcohol I believe.  Ok to drink but my least favorite of the four.

Mad hatter - Sweeter aroma slightly piney.  A light color hint or red.  Tasted  piney with a tiny hint of citrus towards the end.  A medium to light mouthfeel with a minor bite after completion.  Could really taste the toasty carmel malts.

Sun Hammer - Light color slightly red strong citrus nose coming through on the taste with a nice full body.  When drank a noticeable citrus and grapefruit. All around a good balanced beer with a full mouthfeel.

Iron Fist - Super piney aroma with an extremely light mildly red color. Great balance with a medium to light mouthfeel and a great aftertaste.

The beer I voted for was the Sun Hammer.  I thought it was the most well rounded beer and I felt I would like to drink more of it.  My ranking of the beers were as follows.

1. Sun Hammer
2. Iron Fist
3. Mad hatter 
4. Detention Blues

After my initial round I went back for another taster the cups were much smaller this time and while still a good deal for the amount of beer you get it was not as impressive.

While at this event I was checking into Untappd receiving three badges Leap Day, I believe in IPA Level 3, and Find the Source.  I also got a message from somebody that was at the tasting he came over and said hello nice guy.

We didn't stick around long enough to find out which beer one but I hope it was the Sun Hammer.