Thursday, February 27, 2014

Hop Valley Brewing Co. - Citrus Mistress Review

Brewery: Hop Valley Brewing Co.
Location: Springfield, OR
Beer: Citrus Mistress
Style: IPA
Serving: Pint Glass (22 oz.) 
ABV: 6.5%
IBUs: 80

Hop valley is a rather smaller brewery in Springfield, OR.  Their website didn't have any information on this beer either because its new or because it's a seasonal that they didn't want to invest the time into putting on the site.

A (3/3): This beer is dark hazy orange and doesn't have much head to speak of as well as minimal lacing.

S (11/12): Probably more citrus flavor than any beer I have experienced in my life.  Both lemon and grapefruit just ooze out of this beer.  The malt backbone does not even come into play, you are only aware of it enough to know you're not smelling a bag of hops. A hint of peach presents itself after a few sniffs.  Citrus Mistress smells amazing, brewed with grapefruit zests to enhance the intense citrus character.

T (18/20): This beer taste of citrus like you read about.  Strong lemon and grapefruit similar to the aroma tickle the taste-buds with a fantastic flavor.  Munich malt was used to bring a nice balance to the beer and give it just enough substance so it's not hop tea.  Not incredibly bitter, but loads of hop flavor.

M (4/5): This medium bodied creamy beer finishes nicely, without a overly exuberant bitter bite.

O (8/10): A fantastic beer, I really loved this.  Like a lemonade on a hot day this would go great in the heat or any other time you would enjoy a summer ale.  I had this beer in one of the coldest February's we have had in Oregon in a few years but I still could really enjoy all it had to offer.


Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Ninkasi Brewing - Dawn of the Red Review

Brewery: Ninkasi Brewing
Location: Eugene, OR
Beer: Dawn of the Red
Style: India Red Ale
Serving: Pint Glass (22 oz.) 
ABV: 7.0%
IBUs: 75

A (3/3): Average white foamy head, fizzy and lasting.  The beer itself is a very clear copper color.

S (8/12): The aroma is very pleasant its lightly toasted malt profile with a bold Tropical fruit, mango and pineapple.

T (16/20): The malt aroma is rich and sweet provided by Cara-Red, Crystal and Flaked Barley. The hops make this beer smells like a Tommy Bahama shirt looks.  Juicy pineapple, mango and other tropical fruits care of the Galena, Millennium Ahtanum, El Dorado and Mosaic Hops.

M (3/5): A medium mouthfeel, creamy texture, and soft carbonation .  The beer finishes smooth with a light alcohol character.

O (8/10): Very drinkable, hoppy and malty with a smooth finish.  I really liked the logo.  The undead "Rock Hand" coming out of the ground with the dawn of the dead logo.  Ninkasi always has had pretty creative labels and this one is no exception. A nice balance of hops and malts with lots of loading on both sides.


Sunday, February 23, 2014

Black Out Beer Fest 2014

     The Black Out Beer Fest was held this last Friday February 21st throughout the Lompoc Brewery. Almost every inch of the brewery was open for festival goers to explore and drink.  The Sidebar was pouring six beers, an impromptu bar set up between conical ferementers was pouring a couple in the brewery, and there was a tent outside with another seven beers accompanied by live music.  Being able to walk around the actual brewery floor and look at the equipment really added a nice ambiance to the event.
     Lompoc brewery does not have a huge footprint so this may have just been out of necessity rather than ambiance.  The venue got very crowded as the evening progressed but not to the point that you couldn't walk.  The beer selection was very good, and the souvenir glass was also great.  An actual glass mug with the brewery logo and beer-fest title stenciled on its face.

Breakside Brewing - Salted Caramel Stout - 6.7% ABV
A collaboration with Salt and Straw ice cream shop in Portland.  The base is a stout with sea salt and caramel added to the wort before fermentation.

A: Sparse and diminishing dark tan head on a black beer.
S:  Sweet smell of cookie, molasses and caramel with a toasted character.
T: A lot of bitterness from the malts and a light coffee note.
M: A full bodied beer with a slightly gritty texture, lively carbonation and  a mildly chalky finish.
O: I didn't taste the salt at all and there was only a slight caramel sweetness.

Ecliptic Brewing - Mintaka Stout - 6% ABV

A: A very small creamy head rests on a deep black beer.
S: Sweet with roasted and toffee notes.
T: Deep roasted malt flavor, that lingers on your pallet after drank.
M: Full bodied with a a thick silky texture and average carbonation . This beer finished very dry and clean.
O:  Good beer, roasted toffee is a good summation of the beer.

Widmer Brothers Brewing - Triple Threat KGB - 9.8% ABV
This re-brew of the original KGB aged in brandy, red wine and Whiskey barrels.

A: Small brown creamy head covering the opaque black beer.
S: Red wine and oak hits you in your nose like a wooden wine-o telling you a story too close to your face.
T: Extremely complex combination of oak, red wine, molasses and raisin.
M: A full bodied beer with a moderate alcohol tinge.
O: The triple barrel aging definitely give this beer an incredibly complex character.  Bold oak and red wine permeate this beer throughout. Very good beer, unlike anything else I had at this festival.

The Commons Brewery - Boysen - 10% ABV
An imperial Belgian porter that has had boysenberries added during fermentation.

A: A unique deep purple beer, whose color can only be seen when held up to the light supports a small creamy, lasting head.
S: This beer smells like boysenberry juice almost no malt character comes through being masked by the very potent, slightly sour, berry aroma.
T: A little more malt character develops when drank.  A slightly sweet beer has a very strong sour boysenberry notes.  Strong berry like the aroma but turned down a little by the toasted malt profile.
M: Medium mouthfeel with a relatively tart finish.
O: Very unique, the pairing of the sour berry flavor with the toasted malts gives this beer a pleasant and unique flavor.

Lucky Lab Brewing - Black Sheep CDA - 6.4% ABV
Hopped with CTZ, Centennial, Fuggle and Summit Hops.

A: Clear root beer colored beverage and by far the lightest I had all night with a bubbly lasting head.
S: A toasted aroma with hints of chocolate and molasses. The malts supported a bold resiny hop aroma.
T: Definitely an CDA this beer is very hoppy, the dank resiny hops give this beer a great hop flavor to balance the malts.
M: A medium bodied beer with a thin texture and average carbonation finishes with a slight lingering bitterness.
O: A nice change from the roasted and toasted malt forward beers I have had up to this point.  Still a noticeable toasted malt character but very hop forward.

Alameda Brewing - 2012 Siberian Bear Russian Imperial Stout - 9.8% ABV
Brewed with a small amount to peat smoked malt is supposed to give this beer a smokey scotch-like flavor.

A: A small but dense creamy brown head tops this murky black beer.
S: Dark chocolate and a slight smoke and soy sauce scent dulled by the hot alcohol aroma.
T: Not as smokey as I was expecting but definitely as alcoholic as I was expecting.  A beer of 9.8% is pretty difficult to mask the alcohol.
M: Heavy bodied beer with a at thick texture and a harsh alcohol finish.
O: Very boozy beer that's almost all that I got from it was a slightly smokey stout that tasted like alcohol.

Lucky Lab Brewing - Wheat Stout - 5.8% ABV
Not originally on the docket but was put on tap when one of the other kegs was blown.

A: A sparse and fleeting head sit on a very dark root beer, almost black colored beer.
S: A very present bread-y and molasses character effervesce out of the glass.
T: Like if you put a piece of Dave's Killer Wheat bread in the toaster for too long.
M: Medium bodied with a thick texture and a smooth clean finish.
O: Pretty good, you can really taste the wheat, the grain bill is composed of 48% wheat which may contribute to that.

Lompoc Brewing - Sour Stout - 4.5% ABV

A: Almost no head sits on this clear black beer.
S: Sour grape and acidic this beer ejects aerial tartness into your nostrils
T: While there is a non neglected roasted flavor this beer is all about the acidic sourness and a noticeable grape flavor.
M: A medium bodied beer with a silky texture and soft carbonation finishes very tart.
O: This was going to be my last beer of the night but I decided to have one more since I didn't want to leave this beer fest with a "sour taste in my mouth."  A good beer though.

Lompoc Brewing - 2010 Bourbon Barrel Aged Monster Mash Imperial Porter - 8.1% ABV
Brewed in September of 2010 and then allowed to age for 2 years in Heaven Hill Bourbon barrels

A: A sparse dark brown head on a deep black beer.
S: This beers smells of nutty chocolate notes with cookie dough, vanilla and bourbon. These aromas are all present but the overriding smell coming off this beer is the woody oak aroma.
T: Tastes like malty cookie dough with a light bourbon flavor.  Great!
M: Medium bodied with a soft carbonation,smooth finish and heavy alcohol character.
O: Really great beer to finish the night with.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Bridgeport Brewing - Trilogy 1 Review

Brewery: Bridgeport Brewing
Location: Portland, OR
Beer: Trilogy 1
Style: American Pale Ale
Serving: Weizen Glass (12 oz.) 
ABV: 5.2%
IBUs: 40

Bridgeport Brewing, the oldest craft brewery in Oregon celebrates it thirtieth anniversary with a single dry hopped pale ale.  Oregon grown Crystal hops from Goschie farms in Silverton, OR give this beer its character.  This one time brew was the brainchild of Bridgeport head brewer Jeff Edgerton.  This beer will be the first of a 3 part series commemorating their thirty years in Oregon.

A (3/3): This clear bubbly beer is colored with a pale golden appearance and a long lasting creamy head.  This beer retains its off white head like a champion and coats glass all the way down

S (10/12): Very clean and bright aroma.  The Crystal hops provide a very strong tropical smell of both mango and melon.  After opening the bottle I could smell this beer before it was even poured.  Its like a hop Sentsy® in a bottle.

T (16/20): Not as hoppy as the aroma leads you to believe it will be.  A very present, but still subtle, lemon flavor is nice, complimented by the subtle cereal malt taste.

M (4/5): A light bodied beer with, lively carbonation, finishes very smooth with very little residual bitterness.

O (7/10): Trilogy 1 is definitely a dry hopped pale ale over an IPA. The aroma convinces you its a hop bomb until that first sip.  This is followed up by surprise, but not disappointment, in the lack of bitterness the nose had you expecting.  Incredibly easy to drink, definitely for those who love to smell their hops but don't want to be overpowered by bitterness.


Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Alameda Brewing Co. - Black Bear XX Stout (Nitro) Review

Brewery: Alameda Brewing Co.
Location: Portland, OR
Beer: Black Bear XX Stout (On nitro tap)
Style: Foreign / Export Stout
Serving: Pint glass (16 oz.) 
ABV: 6.8%
IBUs: 55

A (3/3): A grey colored and magnificent creamy head lay atop this ultra black beer.  This is what a stout is supposed to look like.  The nitrogen displays its characteristic "cascading bubbles" and contributes to the creaminess of the blanketed head.  Zero light passes through this beer, incredibly dark and ominous.  Foam paints the walls of the glass as it's drank, the lacing this beer does is impressive.

S (7/12): Light coffee sits alongside a mild mustiness but the aroma is primary that of burnt charcoal.

T (11/20): There is almost no residual sweetness to this beer, the burnt malt flavor would overpower any that did exist.  A light smokey flavor can be found while drinking as well.

M (1/5): Probably my least favorite part about this beer.  The body is very light, with a soft carbonation level and a slightly chalky finish.  The nitrogen may have contributed to this but it just feels like a thin beer.

O (5/10):  Black Bear XX Stout has won two medals at the GABF so I guess we can just chock this up to it not being my kind of beer.  Not what I expect in a stout, it has the mouthfeel of a Bud Light and a very present burnt bitterness from the malts.  The beer is reminiscent of a Guinness which my be the reason I didn't like it.

Total: (27/50)

Thursday, February 13, 2014

10 Barrel Brewing - Batch #3 Category #52 IPA

Brewery: 10 Barrel Brewing
Location: Bend, OR
Beer: Batch #3 Category #52 IPA
Style: IPA
Size: Pint Glass (16 oz.) 
ABV: 7.6%
IBUs: 85

This beer bears the name of the India Pale Ale category at the Great American Beer Festival (GABF) the infamous Category 52. The brewery did get to enter this beer this year, but will be entering this and "coming after the gold" next year.

A (3/3): This hazy golden ale is topped by a white frothy head that turns into a ring of bubbles shortly after being poured.

S (10/12): Strong pine aroma comes off the top of this beer with a small orange zest compliment.  The malts have a sweet caramel note that balances out the hops.  Halfway through I began to notice a slight pineapple aroma.

T (16/20): The taste of this beer has an exceptional pine character that is very well balanced with a hint of soy sauce that comes out of nowhere.  It's not enough to detract but I did detect a mild flavor.

M (3/5): A medium bodied beer with a bitter finish, it's like you can almost feel the hop cones scraping your tongue.  A light alcohol presence can be felt.

O (7/10): Pretty good beer I was not crazy about the slightly harsh finish, but it was not a huge detractor.


Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Barley Browns Brew Pub - Pallet Jack IPA Review

Brewery: Barley Browns Brew Pub
Location: Baker City, OR
Beer:  Pallet Jack IPA
Style: American IPA
Serving: Pint Glass (16 oz.)
ABV: 7.0%
IBUs: One website I found said 80 another one said 50, was not on the Barley Brown website.

I was out at Uptown Market with some friends and heard someone order half a Barley Browns Pallet Jack since he was going to be leaving soon.  I almost did a spit take, since I have been trying to find this beer for almost a month and have had no luck.  I had just ordered a beer that I would soon severely regret, both because it was terrible and because it kept be from a Pallet Jack all the way through the entire unbearable beer.

A (3/3): Very clear orange-ish beer with a fine white head. Nothing special to see here but honestly that's not what we're here for.

S (12/12): Naso-Nuclear attack on the senses this hop-splosion was just incredible.  I sat and smelled this beer for like 5 minutes before even taking a sip.  The aroma is complex and and intense with smells of pine, spruce, tropical fruit and grapefruit.  Such an aggressive nose on this beer Whitney was commenting about my breath being so hoppy after drinking it.  I was passing this beer around to everyone at the table wanting them to experience the hop-splosion that I was experiencing.  I could tell that people were starting to get annoyed about the third or fourth time I suggested they smell it.  Probably the most fragrant and aromatically intense beers I have ever had.

T (18/20): The first sip is not what I expected, much sweeter that would be expected, still heavily prejudiced towards the hops.  The aroma transitions into the flavor without skipping a beat.  Pine, spruce, tropical fruit and grapefruit are back with a vengeance along with the 2-row barley and crystal malts to perform this balancing act. This beer is heavily hopped with a blend of Columbus, Citra, Amarillo, and Simcoe Hops.

M (5/5): Medium bodied with a smooth carbonation and a smooth finish.  Incredibly easy to drink, no residual biting bitterness, really a pleasure to drink from start to finish.

O (9/10): One of the best IPA's I've ever had.  I can understand why this has won the coveted GABF Best IPA award. Really a pleasure to drink.  This beer didn't get 50/50 because I'd like to think that there is something better out there even if I may never find it.  But I can't think of a single way this beer could be improved.


Thursday, February 6, 2014

Zwickelmania 2014

Zwickelmania is an statewide annual event that allows beer patrons an opportunity to tour many of Oregon's breweries. While at the brewery it allowes them to meet the brewers and sample their favorite beers.
 This 6th iteration of the Zwickelmania will be happening Saturday, Feb. 15 between 11am and 4pm. There are several bus routes around Portland that have multiple stops that can be found here:


Northwest Portland Route 
Bus provided by Kells Brew Pub

Kells Brew Pub
Lucky Lab
Bridgeport Brew Pub
Deschutes Brewery
McMenamins Crystal Ballroom

Across Portland Route
Bus provided by Brewvana Brewery Tours

Hopworks Urban Brewery
Gigantic Brewing
Rock Bottom Brewery
Portland Brewing
Ecliptic Brewing
Old Town Brewing
Laurelwood Brewery
Coalition Brewing Co.

Northwest/Southwest Bus Route
Bus provided by Rouge

Rogue Hall
McMenamins Crystal Ballroom
Rogue Public House / Deschutes Brewery
Bridgeport Brewery
Lucky Lab

Southeast Bus Route
Bus provided by Rouge

Green Dragon
Burnside Brewing
Coalition Brewing
Migration Brewing
Hopworks Urban Brewery
Commons Brewery

East/West Bus Route
Bus provided by Rouge

Green Dragon
Basecamp Brewing
Burnside Brewing
Rogue Public House and Distillery
Deschutes Brewery
Mcmenamins Crystal Ballroom

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Heathen Brewing - Son of Malice Imperial IPA Review

Brewery: Heathen Brewing
Location: Vancouver, WA
Beer: Son of Malice Imperial IPA
Style: Imperial/Double IPA
Serving: Pint glass (16 oz.) 
ABV: 8.7%
IBUs: 90

A (3/3): Bright and subsiding foamy head rest on this cloudy orange beer.

S (8/12): Orange and grapefruit effervesces from this beer along with a diminutive earthy and dank characteristic. Hopped with Warrior and Willamette during five different additions, creates a very complex aroma.  There is a present caramel aroma from the malt that effectively balance this fragrant beer.

T (17/20): Very hop forward beer as you would expect from the nose.  Grapefruit and a light orange flavor stand out upon the first sip.  The nominal malt profile is just present enough to balance the equation.  Finishing with a more lingering bitterness, similar an actual grapefruit, than I look for, but overall excellent flavor.

M (4/5): The full mouthfeel of this ale has a somewhat slick texture, average carbonation and a bitter finish.  The alcohol can be felt on the tongue but a fair penance for the 8.7% ABV.

O (8/10): This is probably a pretty dangerous beer to have around the house, it does not taste like 8.7%.  A great beer, a little more lingering bitterness than I would care for, but the hops are exceptional, very aromatic.

Total: (40/50)

Monday, February 3, 2014

Ecliptic Brewing - Filament Winter IPA

Brewery: Ecliptic Brewing
Location: Portland, OR
Beer: Filament
Style: Winter IPA
Serving: Pint Glass (22 oz.)
ABV: 7.2%
IBUs: 70

I've been hearing a lot of buzz about Ecliptic Brewing, that has just opened up in North East Portland.  The brainchild of John Harris who left his position at Full Sail Brewing as head brew-master to venture out on his own endeavor.  Johns resume also includes such prestigious establishments as McMenamins and Deschutes Breweries.

A (3/3): A beautiful persistent meringue head, both in texture and color, blankets this amber colored beer.  A highly active curtain of bubbles rise from the bottom, visually providing an interesting aspect not found in most beers.  The leg on this beer tightly hug the walls of the glass like Susanne Sommers on a Thighmaster.

S (10/12): Rich malty nose supply you with the vase in which to place the bouquet of hops. Delivering a blast of orange citrus aroma with a light touch of spice and resin brought to you care of the Chinook, Crystal and Centennial hops. The yeast and malt give it a bready aroma that is dwarfed when presented next to the hop aroma.

T (15/20): A fantastic taste of honey and grapefruit punches your taste buds.  The super bitterness I expected never came, this beer has a relatively small bitterness. most of the hop utilization goes up your nose.  The beer finishes mostly clean with a slight resin that remains after you're done.

M (4/5): This medium bodied beer has a surprisingly average level of carbonation, considering the curtain of bubbles rising from its malty depths.

O (8/10): A great beer I would definitely drink again. Its not spiced in any way but for some reason it does say winter IPA, could just be brilliant marketing.  One aspect that I know is brilliant marketing is Ecliptic's beer naming choices.  All their beers are space themed, Filament is in reference to "the winter sun hangs low in our sky, some 93 million miles away, solar filaments, giant arcs of cool, dense plasma explode from its surface."  I think its great that they have gone with such a non-conventional naming convention; non-conventional, much like the city that Ecliptic calls home.

Total: (40/50)