Monday, April 30

F.H. Steinbart Co. Participates In AHA Big Brew


Boulder, CO. April 10, 2012 A celebration of National Homebrew Day, known as AHA Big Brew, is now in its 15th year. F.H. Steinbart Co. will host a local site on May 5, 2012.

Organized by the American Homebrewers Association (AHA), AHA Big Brew celebrates NationalHomebrew Day, honored on the first Saturday of May. AHA Big Brew brings together thousands of
homebrewers from around the world, all brewing the same beers simultaneously. More than 5,000
homebrewers from North America, Europe, Africa, Asia, South America and Australia are expected to participate this year.

F.H. Steinbart Co. is happy to invite anyone interested in homebrewing to stop by from 9am to 4pm on Saturday, May 5, 2012 to join the fun!

F.H. Steinbart Co.
234 SE 12th Ave. Portland, OR 97214
www.fhsteinbart.com

Call 503-232-8793 or email info@fhsteinbart.com for more information.

Homebrewers may register their AHA Big Brew sites online at HomebrewersAssociation.org. On May 5, friends and family gather to brew one or both of the two AHA Big Brew recipes. At noon Central time, homebrewers raise their glasses of homebrewed ales and lagers for a simultaneous toast to homebrewing, a hobby that hundreds of thousands of people around the world enjoy.

“AHA Big Brew highlights what is so special about homebrewers—their friendliness, interest in sharing with others, passion for beer, and of course, their affinity for having fun.” said Gary Glass, AHA Director.

For more information on AHA Big Brew, please visit the Events section of HomebrewersAssociation.org or homebrewersassociation.org/pages/events/national-homebrew-day.

The American Homebrewers Association has worked on behalf of the homebrewing community since 1978 and celebrates a membership of more than 30,000 homebrewers. TheAmericanHomebrewers Association (AHA) organizes events including the National Homebrewers Conference and National Homebrew Competition. The AHA also publishes Zymurgy magazine. The AHA is part of the Brewers Association, whose Brewers Publications division is the largest publisher of contemporary and relevant brewing literature for today’s craft brewers and homebrewers.

Follow the AHA on Twitter, and join us on Facebook.

Tuesday, April 24

Beer Review: Green Flash Brewing Grand Cru



Our Belgian-style Dark Ale is inspired by traditional Abbey Ales to deliver the richest malt flavors. Dual-yeast fermentation and spicy hops provide increased complexity and depth of flavor to satiate your palate and keep your taste buds dancing.

ALC. BY VOL. 9.1% | IBUS: 20
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Appearance: (3.5)
- Nice super dark brown brew, and can see a bit of a ruby red glow at the edges of the glass while held in the light. An off-white to gray finger of head stuck around briefly and a thin island is what is left over the brew..  slightly small bubbly ring.

Smell: (3.5)
-  This brew packs a pretty heavy barleywine-like caramel punch to the face. Sweet caramel malts, sugars, molasses, light currants, and esters. Lots of raisin, fig, and prune show through heavily with the caramel sweetness. Not so much in hops buy maybe some grassy and earthy hints. 

Taste: (3.5)
- Sweet caramel, and big on fig and prune. Raisins too of course as it is heavy and hard to decipher which. Esters, light currants, and earthy hops seem to balance this sweet puppy out a bit. Truly a nice flavor and makes me wonder why they didn't use a Belgian yeast solely? Some light spice and clove may exist, but not much. Hardly can taste its strength.

Mouth Feel: (4.0)
- Big bodied brew without being overly syrupy. It leaves a slight chalky finish, but overall is only slightly chewy and cloying. It certainly is smooth, and lends no alcohol burn or dryness.

Overall: (3.0)
- It is a big brew, and does contain some lovely esters and dark fruit in the flavor. For me many Green Flash beers are just too heavy and thick with the caramel malts. This one is quite sweet which I can't say I like rather well. I like more dry, less sweet, and more bready in a grand cru..  which isn't really a style in its own, but most often a blend, or mixed bag even. If a big Green Flash fan... worth a shot. Like sweet? Worth a shot. But otherwise, I wouldn't buy it again. 

3.45/5  rDev -9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3
(BeerAdvocate.com Rating Scale)

Beer Review: Full Sail Brewing Phil's Existential Alt (Brewers Share)


When asked what his inspiration was for Phil’s Existential Alt, Roche replied, “Altbier is indigenous to Dusseldorf and Neanderthal man is indigenous to Dusseldorf. The ancient Germans thought a lot about their existence. Early myths contain some 200 verses about the creation of the world. The ancient Germans thought even more about beer, with 400 verses about beer making. "Phil's Existential Alt" celebrates our existence through our most celebrated beverage...beer!”

According to Phil, A generous amount of Munich and Vienna malts give this beer its copper color and toasty-caramel aroma. German noble hops provide complimentary bitterness and a clean, dry finish. The beer has been cold-conditioned for six weeks and goes down smooth. ABV 5.1% IBU 43.
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Appearance: (3.5)
- This is a mostly clear dark brown ale, a slight molasses color. It is really about the color of a nice iced-tea. A finger of fluffy off-white head settled down to a bit of lacing and a thin foamy island in the glass. Overall pretty good and standard for the style.

Smell: (4.0)
- The zesty Full Sail bready yeast is certainly present. Light fruit, esters, and spice are melded well with a biscuit grainy and husky malt which is lightly sweet like honey and molasses. To me this certainly smells good.

Taste: (3.5)
- Up front this brews flavor is a biscuit malt full of grain, yeast, semi-sweet molasses, and caramel malt with a nice spice. In the finish it has a zesty and earthy bitter hop. I quite like it, and think it is a nice change, though it does contain a lot of that signature Full Sail flavor. Some esters, and even light alcohol seem present.

Mouth Feel: (3.5)
- It's a light to medium bodied brew, well carbonated and a touch chewy with some dryness in the finish from the hops. It doesn't seem thin upfront, but thins out a little in the finish. Expected from a light beer.

Overall: (3.5)
- This is a robust and full flavored brew. It packs a lot for a 5.1% abv. Alt. I like it, and it seems to mostly hit the style markers for me. It has a nice hoppy finish without the aroma craziness. Good bitterness, clean water, and a nice malt bill with that Signature yeast flavor. Solid beer, and worth the try. Bet it would be a real treat on cask at the pub.

3.6/5  rDev +4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5
(BeerAdvocate.com Rating Scale)


Lagunitas 4/20 Event Recap At The Bassanova

I was happy to receive an email inviting me to a beer release party/event Lagunita's Brewing had hosted in Portland at the Bassanova Ballroom. For one, I know Lagunitas knows how to throw a party, and two, I have never attended an event yet at the Bassanova. Today as I write this, I am scratching my head as to why I haven't.

The beer is Waldo's Special Ale. The term 'Waldo' comes from a phrase used to explain those that sit alongside the wall just hangin' such as the term 'Wallflower'. But the story is a little deeper than that, and I won't go into all the way. I have to leave something for folks to research on their own.

It is an Imperial IPA with a ton of dank hops. Many folks got together at Lagunitas to go through a massive variety of hops to see which would give this beer a resinous, dank, skunky, and chronic-like aroma and flavor. You can kind of get the hint here.

The beer was free. And it wasn't just the Waldo's Special either which is the beer I started with. Knowing Lagunita's, I somehow knew each beer would be stronger than the usual, and that many there were simply going to get wasted. I tried not too, but the night carried on. Also pouring was the Pils, WTF, and a wonderful tasting '07 Brown Sugga Barleywine. I kind of bounced around between the WTF and Brown Sugga after my Waldo's pour. I tried to nurse each and every beer. Tried.

I didn't expect the entertainment to be so much fun. Aerial Acrobatics, large multi-instrument bands, and other various artists such as a fun stoner couple reefing and munching a bag of Funions while doing a very difficult dance routine. It was fascinating.

It was also a pleasure joining up with many fellow PDXBeerGeeks and Brewers. What else could be better but talking beer and entertainment with fellow craft beer enthusiasts?

The Bassanova Ballroom was a nice joint which often hosts many live bands. On a flyer I grabbed, I noticed that DJ Quik and Celly Cel are going to be there on the 27th of April. Cool stuff. The layout in a way reminded me of the old Pine St. Theater/La Luna. There was an upper level with a bar, but there are two pool tables, and old PinBot pinball machine, and other various old school oddities such as a hockey game which many had a blast with.

Also the joint sits just right across the street from Burnside Brewing. Good spot to have some dinner and a beer before attending an event at the Bassanova.

Overall the event was just a really cool party with lots of people having fun and getting happy. I am glad I was safe and alive the next day. I was forewarned that events such as this could very easily sneak up and bite the keister.

That's about all I will write about the event. It was more of a media and industry event, and one that really just had to be seen. So I managed to finagle a few photos from my now-classic Canon Powershot which I managed to drop a few times.

The beer was very hoppy, but on tap I couldn't much tell the difference between it and their Hop Stoopid. Perhaps the malt bill is much the same, but the hops were quite different. I am guessing a lot more were used in the Waldo's Special Ale, especially in the aroma department.

Bassanova Ballroom
722 E Burnside StPortland, OR 97214


Monday, April 23

Beer Review: Elysian Brewing Peste Chocolate Chili Ale (12 Beer Apoc. Series)


Here’s the 4th beer in the Elysian Brewing 12-Beers of the Apocalypse series.  Up today we have Peste Chocolate Chili Ale.  Peste is Spanish for “over” and I’m not sure I can get over the creepy Fantagraphics caterpillar (with teeth) on the label.  Peste is 7% ABV and brewed with cocoa, cinnamon & a blend of chipotle, cayenne, ancho, guajillo & Passilla chili peppers and it will be packaged in 22oz bottles. 

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Appearance: (3.5)
- Pours a very dark murky brown with tan fluffy fingers of head that settled down quite a bit to just a scatter of light dusting over the rather still and stagnant brew. Looked very good at the start..  quickly fizzled away.

Smell: (3.5)
-  I certainly get a lot of cinnamon up front. I also get a very herbal aroma with some sweet fruit, light cocoa, and light sweet grain. Some chili may be there, but is timid in the aroma.

Taste: (3.0)
- I like the sweet and light malt backing of cocoa, sugars, and cinnamon. The cayenne and chipotle peppers strike with a vengeance and heat the rear of the tongue to very high marks. There isn't too much in the flavor of the pepper, but more in just the heat. The heat certainly strikes towards the finish. Though I like hot stuff, this is a bit too hot.

Mouth Feel: (3.0)
- This brew is a little thin, but medium bodied. It is well carbonated enough and a bit chewy. The heat rides on a blanket of it's own, which is like a fire flavored liquor sailing about a chewy medium bodied brew...  it separates itself.

Overall: (3.0)
- Too hot. It's a decent or okay tasting background brew, but it seems a mediocre beer was flipped inside and out with hot peppers...  and let's just throw in some other stuff like cinnamon (which too is overpowering) just to mix it up. This is a mixed bag, and leaves me feeling like I am missing something. For the lover of hot peppers..  this beer is for you. I just find it a little hard to enjoy. Perhaps it would pair well with vanilla iced cream?


3.13/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3
(BeerAdvocate.com Rating Scale)


Tuesday, April 17

Beer Review: Lagunitas Pils



Czech Style Pilsner
Like Adam and Eve, Issac and Ishmael,Mao and Confuscious, Good and Evil, Day and Night, Hittites and Visigoths, John and Lorena, or Groucho and Moe, Ales and Lagers are as different as can be. Still, we must love each other for who they are, seperately but equally, with liberty, and justice, for all. Cheers!

ABV: 6.2%

Sold As:
6 Packs & Kegs
Net contents:
12 fluid ounces of Malt, Hops, Yeast, and water.



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Appearance: (3.5)
- Crystal clear straw yellow with a quick fizzing finger of head that has left some light dust over the brew, as well as a few random bubble points and craters. Bubbly brew. Simple. 


Smell: (3.0)
- Quite the roasty grain. There is a bready sugary all-grain sweetness along with some crisp yeast aromas. Almost some esters and fruit. Light grassy hop, and a touch floral. Overall not too bad. 


Taste: (3.5)
- Certainly some crisp and sweet malts going on. Unique, grainy, husky, and somewhat fruity. More so there is a nice earthy and grassy bitterness and flavor. Sweet grainy sugars, bread, spice, and zest all together to make a nice bitter pilsner. 


Mouth Feel: (4.0)
- This is mostly a light bodied brew, but does pack the carbonation and sweetness of a medium bodied brew. It's certainly drying and a touch chewy. Lip smacking bitterness is kind of nice. 


Overall: (3.5)
- It is nice to have a relatively 'normal' beer from Lagunitas. This is certainly a tad more bitter than most pilsners, and also has a steeper ABV. But they did it well by getting the bitterness up there to not make such a sweet beer (which I feel they are guilty of often). Solid offering. 


3.45/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5
(BeerAdvocate.com Rating Scale)

Beer Review: Caldera Brewing Lawnmower Lager


"Lawnmower Lager: 3.9% abv American Light Lager brewed with flaked barley and flaked rice. This lager is clean and easy!"

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Appearance: (3.5)
- Nice clear straw yellow lager, rather bubbly. Finger of white foaming head quickly dissipated to a thin spotty layer over the brew. Not bad. 

Smell: (3.5)
-  Does seem to have a nice creamy biscuity malt flavor. Nice pine and grassy hops are certainly present. This smells like a full on 6% abv lager. Liking the grainy notes.

Taste: (3.0)
-  This is a simple grainy and somewhat bready lager. It's light, grassy, with a slight lager tart finish. It's simple, solid, and has the nice flavor of a heavier abv beer. Really not bad.


Mouth Feel: (3.5)
-This has an initial dry approach, hits slightly chewy in the middle, and finishes tart which makes the mouth water. It's a light bodied beer, and drinks very well..  well carbonated. 


Overall: (3.5)
- This is a solid session beer. I won't get geeky and say you can never chill a beer to fridge temps, but this is nice rather cold. Refreshing for an early day beer. Worth the try!


3.28/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5
(BeerAdvocate.com Rating Scale)



Friday, April 13

Beer Review: Eel River Brewing Earth Thirst Double IPA


Earth Thirst, a Double IPA, will be brewed with over 3 pounds of hops per barrel throughout the brewing process, giving it a fresh and intense aroma. When it comes to Double IPAs, Head Brewer Mike Smith says that “it’s all about hop flavor and aroma from the dry hops. The flavor depends on the hops that you use. Since this beer uses Cascade and Centennial hops, it has a heavy floral aroma and citrus flavor.” What makes this Double IPA unique is that it uses the highest quality, all organic ingredients – all from the Pacific Northwest. According to Smith, “The more locally produced ingredients are the more fresh they are when we get them, allowing the flavors to come out more.” Earth Thirst is not only 100% organic, but 100% sustainable also as Eel River Brewing is 100% bio-mass powered. Eel River Brewing will begin shipping out their Earth Thirst beer at the end of March with only limited quantities available since Earth Thirst is a specialty release. To help promote organics and sustainability, a portion of the proceeds of Earth Thirst will be donated to CCOF.

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Appearance: (3.5)
-  This is a rather dark amber brew. Light hue to a mostly clear brew from the bomber. Foamy thick inch of head settles to a very even thin blanket of ultra-light tan head, large spotty ring in the glass..

Smell: (4.0)
- This has a really nice smell to it. Caramel malt, husky grain, bready cinnamon dessert quality to it, while balanced with a pine, grassy, and floral hop arrangement. This smells super solid and balanced, and both the malt, and hop aromas are unique to their own.

Taste: (4.5)
- Great bready caramel malt and fine malt. This isn't as sweet as I was expecting. That is a good trait. The bitter grassy hop is just right to balance the malt forward kick. This double IPA has balance written all over it as far as flavor. Light alcohol, and still an oat-like cinnamon dessert flare which is so subtle..  but perfect. I must have got a good bottle.

Mouth Feel: (4.0)
- This is a well rounded, full bodied double IPA. Its bitterness lends a dry feel, with a cloying, and chewy finish. This is a bit of a meal in a glass. Great.

Overall: (4.0)
- This is another one of those brewers that I rarely visit a beer from. I see their bottles on the shelves often, and am afraid that when I return to those outlets, they are the same bottles. I got this one fresh and new, and really dig it. It is dangerously drinkable, and I bet is a killer treat on tap. Certainly worth the purchase.

4.2/5  rDev +22.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
(BeerAdvocate.com Rating Scale)


Beer Review: Caldera Brewing Hop Hash Ale

Different label

This beer gets its name from the Hopunion Hop Hash nuggets - pure hop lupulin extracted and scraped from the Hopunion pelletizing line, then boiled for 90 minutes in the kettle. According to the brewer, this has never been done before! Premium 2-row, Great Western Munich, Crisp 60L and rolled oats comprise the grain bill designed to carry this load. Fermented warm using American Ale yeast to bring out the fruitiness, the resulting beer is designed to be a surprise on all fronts. Even the brewer has no idea how hoppy it'll be.

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Perhaps hop kief? Let's get it on.....

Appearance: (4.0)
- Pours a rather dark malty clear amber with a fluffy inch of foamy mad head. Settles to a foamy thick blanket with bubbly lace sticking around. The brown in the color is quite rich and inviting.

Smell: (3.5)
- This brew actually has quite the malty and yeast aroma. Sweet caramel, toffee, and some esters. Quite the fruity touch, some grape, passion fruit, and perhaps mango. It does however contain a slight off-putting buttery aroma (which unfortunately I have experienced a lot from this brewer).

Taste: (4.0)
- A pleasant caramel and bread malt up front. The bitterness and grassy/earthy hops show up a little late. Some fruity hops, grassy, herbal, and a nice bitter flare. The beer tastes great, and doesn't have any buttery flavors. Resinous pine, grass, and earthy is what I get from the hops.

Mouth Feel: (4.0)
- This is a pretty heavy bodied brew..  but not quite like a strong stout or porter. It's creamy, well carbonated, and chewy. It's a touch dry, and cloying as well. The creamy malt body, and bitter hop finish really compliment the feel well.

Overall: (3.5)
- I like what they have done here. This is one of the better brews I have had from this brewer. For me they have slowly gotten better over time, but almost lost me as a common buyer. I do see their canned brews in quite a few outlets around town. Beers like this one spark my interest once again in the brewer. It's a worthy drinker, and is quite drinkable and balanced. 



3.8/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5
(BeerAdvocate.com Rating Scale)


Beer Review: Driftwood Brewery Fat Tug IPA


Brewed with the hop aficionado in mind!

Fat Tug is a northwest style India Pale Ale that is characterized by an intense hop profile of grapefruit & melon and restrained malt notes. At 7 % alc/vol and 80+ IBUs this beer delivers layers of aroma and flavor that is sure to satisfy anyone with a thirst for all things hoppy!

We like it so much, Fat Tug IPA will be a permanent part of our brewing rotation!

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I have heard this beer is supposed to be Canada's answer to Pliny The Younger from Russian River Brewing. Though technically imported, this bomber of beer was $9.36. It doesn't even touch Double IPA standards. Let's see how good this puppy is.


Appearance: (4.0)
- Perfect IPA color, slightly cloudy new shiny copper penny color. Thick fingers of white frothy head slowly settle to a spotty thin blanket of froth, and sticky thick lace all about the glass. Super good looking IPA.

Smell: (4.0)
- Nice fruity hops hit the nose. Little light spice, but more citrus, melon as stated, and a fantastic bready malt without an overbearing sweetness. Nice grassy hop presence as well.

Taste: (4.5)
- Oh yes. Lightly sweet, bready biscuit-like malt with a light caramel background. Light honey. The hops are glorious. Nice bitter pine and grass up front, and a fruity zesty finish. This puppy is hoppy, yet very balanced at the same time. I love the bitter zing punch to the tongue. This beer is damn good.

Mouth Feel: (4.5)
- Solid medium bodied brew with a mouth watering bitterness. It's balance, and lack of super sweetness make this beer unbelievably easy to drink. Perfect IPA carbonation, and a chewy feel..  just what an IPA should be like.

Overall: (4.5)
- Very impressed with this beer. It's about time I had some more Canadian goodies. Folks near this brewery are blessed people. I highly recommend this beer, and hope to perhaps see it on draft around town soon. High marks.


4.38/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
(BeerAdvocate.com Rating Scale)


Thursday, April 12

Beer Review: Omission Pale Ale (Gluten-Free)


Bold and hoppy, Omission Pale Ale is a hop-forward American Pale Ale, brewed to showcases the cascade hop profile. Amber in color, Omission Pale Ale’s floral aroma is complimented by caramel malt body, making for a delicious gluten-free craft beer.

MALTS: Pale, Caramel 10, Dark Munich, Carapils
HOPS: Cascade, Citra
IBU: 33
ABV: 5.8%
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Widmer was kind to send me one of these, and I received some at about the same time from fellow pdxbeergeek Michael. I have reviewed the Lager already, and Michael seemed to like the Lager better. Let's see if I do too. Time for the review.

Appearance: (3.5)
- This has a rather dark amber appearance, kind of like their Drifter. A little darker than I like a pale to be. It's rather clear, and had about a finger of spotty foamy head that settles to a thin spotty layer with light chunky lace about the glass. 

Smell: (3.5)
- The smell is quite simple. Light sweet caramel malt with a light zesty hop aroma. Little floral, but mainly some pine, and an earthy quality. Little biscuit and bread. Smells balanced at least. 

Taste: (3.0)
- Pretty light caramel flavor, and just lightly sweet. Certainly some big bready notes, and rather light on the hops. The hops up front have a little floral and grassy quality, and finishes with a bitter grassy touch with a zingy spice. Not bad, but pretty average. Compared to most gluten-free beers, I am sure this just smashes them.It has a certain tart flare to it.

Mouth Feel: (3.5)
- Pretty medium bodied and a touch drying. Well carbonated, and pretty basic.

Overall: (3.5)
- This is solid, and quite balanced..  and yes, it is missing something. Gluten. I am simply just judging the beer for what it is compared to all other beers, and both Omission beers are the only gluten-free beers I have had. I would be afraid to try any of the others on the market. It's a solid drinker, and I would drink one if it was handed to me. Sure to be a true delight for one whom can't enjoy a regular beer.

3.28/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5
(BeerAdvocate.com Rating Scale) 


Wednesday, April 11

Spring Lineup Of Beers At Lompoc Brewing


I had the great opportunity to hang out at a media event at the Lompoc Sidebar to sample their Spring lineup of beers. It was a fun and informative experience, and also was very cool to hear about the brews from the source: The Brewers - Lompoc owner Jerry Fechter and brewers Bryan Kielty and Irena Bierzynski. Dave Fleming wasn't there for the event as he had other things going on.




List of Spring Beers:

Heaven’s Helles, a golden, straw-colored German style pale lager that features a floral aroma and a clean, crisp finish. 5.3% ABV
1060 EZ Taxation Ale, made with pale malt and corn, using Noble hops in the kettle. It's light straw in color, with a malty nose and a mildly sweet mid-mouthfeel provided by the corn. It has a light, dry, and crisp finish. 6% ABV

Cherry Bomb, our Proletariat Red fermented in Maryhill Winery Port barrels with 40 pounds of sour cherries. It features a big cherry aroma with a fruit forward flavor, finishing dry with a touch of oak. 6.2% ABV

Valley of Hops IPA, a classic NW style IPA with a mild body and tons of hops. Centennials, Cascades, Clusters, Meridians, Perles, and Crystals  throughout provide a huge hop aroma with a spicy finish for a pleasant IPA that is deliciously drinkable. 5.8% ABV

Ryeteous Badger Belgian Style Red, a very spicy, full flavored, intense Belgian style ale. The extreme spiciness come from the addition of malted rye and a large number of hops. It is full-bodied yet easy drinking. 5.2% ABV

Stout Out Loud, a stout that falls between a dry Irish stout and an oatmeal stout. It has a pitch black color with slight hints of coffee, chocolate and roast flavors with a creamy mouthfeel. 4.1% ABV
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 Opinions:

- The Heaven's Helles was a very nice Helles which was a nice straw yellow brew, had a nice grassy bitter hop, was a very smooth and light drinker, and contained a nice little touch of spice. The bready yeast, light sulfur aspect, and pretty look made for a very tasty beer.

- The 1060 EZ taxation Ale was a nice lighter version of a corn adjunct brew they had made in previous years. This one ranked in at 6% ABV where in the past it was in the 8's. It's hid a lot in the aroma which lacked, and was quite the simple beer really. Light esters, grain, sweet corn, and a light herbal hop flavor made for an easy drinker. I suggested that perhaps with the theme, and tax time for many who may owe money..  they ought to knock the price-point down on this one. It was solid, but wasn't a big 'wow' beer for me that evening.

- Cherry Bomb was a nice clear ruby brown Belgian with fantastic port flavors, biscuit and grain, an oak character which was solid, and a hint of zingy tart cherry. This is the beer that stood out for me. Throwing their Red in the barrel actually seems to have thinned the body a little, which I think was great, because all the flavors came together very well to match the body. Really a fantastic brew.

- The Kick Axe Dry-Hopped Pale was solid as usual, and had a wonderful Cascade hop aroma and flavor. I was actually able to name the hop before I learned that it was used almost exclusively in the beer. Very drinkable brew with great zesty pine, citrus, and spicy hops. Like it much better this year than the last.

- Valley of Hops was a nice light beer which I though was a little vegetative. Light biscuit, medium body, and very bitter which I liked. The bitterness is what stood out for me most on this one. Solid beer, but again, not one of the ones that really stood out.

-  Ryeteous Badger Belgian Style Red was a nice yeasty biscuity spicy and almost smokey Belgian which had a very nice dose of rye. I am a big fan of rye beers, but not so much Belgians. They pulled this one off though. Nicely dry, grassy bitter hops balanced a nice caramel sweetness and tea-like hop. Very well carbonated.

- Stout Out Loud was fantastic. I made sure I had a full glass of this sessionable stout which had a wonderful medium body, and full flavor. For only 4.1% ABV, this stout hit high marks along with those that are from 5-7%. Light coffee malts shined through perfectly along with some nice oat and wheat flavors. It is stated that it is a mix of what I call an American Sweet Stout (Oatmeal), and an Irish Style Stout (Which is more commonly more dry and bitter). I got more of the Irish in the flavor which is perfect, because I prefer a real stout like that. If I wanted a porter, I'd buy a porter.
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Also they have a collaboration brew in the works with Breakside Brewing slated for May 10th, as well as 'Barrel Night' May 16th.
 


Beer Review: Deschutes Brewing Chainbreaker White IPA


"Deschutes is taking you into the next beer frontier. Brewed with wheat and pilsner malt; this IPA displays beautiful citrus aromas from Cascade and Citra hops that meld with the esters of Belgian yeast. Think thirst quenching hopped-up wit beer with enough IBUs to warrant the IPA name.
Malt: Pilsner, Wheat, Unmalted Wheat
Hops: Bravo, Citra, Centennial, Cascade
Other: Sweet Orange, Coriander
Alc. 5.6% | IBUs 55
180 Calories, 12 oz serving

Look for this in 6-packs, 12-packs and draft throughout the Northwest in April!"
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Appearance: (4.5)
- This is a very pretty beer. Pours a light zesty straw-yellow and is slightly cloudy with light yeasts and perhaps other unfiltered sediment. The finger of fluffy white head has slowly settled to a very spotty and creamy layer over the brew with a nice bit of lacing in the glass. Looks damn good.
Smell: (4.0)
- This beer has a wonderful citrus aroma along with a very light bready wheat and banana yeast. Some pine hops are in the mix as well. Light, zesty, lightly spicy, and a little lemony.  Smells very refreshing and balanced. There is even a light touch of wheat funk to it as well which is quite good.
Taste: (4.5)
-  Nice zesty bright citrus notes, bready wheat malts and light sweet honey. There is a nice light balanced herbal flare from the coriander which is melded in very well with the big spicy hops which seem to grasp both citrus, and pine flavors. Very solid refreshing drinker. Lovely lemon zinger in the finish.
Mouth Feel: (4.5)
- This is another  high mark for this beer. Perfectly carbonated, a little drying from the bitter hop, but yet zesty and zingy enough to wet the palate. Very light creamy flare to it from the wheat, and yet a rather light to medium bodied brew. I couldn't drink a ton of these sessionable brews on a sunny day.
Overall: (4.0)
- This is a stand-out beer. As for Spring releases, I think this one will take the cake. This beer is very solid, very balanced, very complex, and just very damn good. I highly recommend drinking a lot of these. Huge fan here.

4.3/5  rDev +17.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4
(BeerAdvocate.com Rating Scale)

 

Tuesday, April 10

Omission Beer: Brewed With Barley, Specially Crafted To Be Gluten-Free

Official Press Release and Video:

Coming Soon to Oregon
“Drinking is Believing”


PORTLAND, Ore. – March 26, 2012 – This spring, Craft Brew Alliance will launch Omission Beer, the first craft beer brand in the United States focused exclusively on brewing great-tasting craft beers with traditional beer ingredients, including malted barley, that are specially crafted to be gluten-free. Omission beers are brewed by Widmer Brothers Brewing in Portland, Ore., which uses a proprietary brewing process to reduce the gluten levels to well below the widely accepted
international gluten-free standard of 20 parts per million (ppm) for food and beverages. (The international gluten-free standard was set forth by the Codex Alimentarius Commission, which was created in 1963 by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and the World Health Organization.) Omission Beer is expected to release the first beers in its portfolio, which will be available only in Oregon, on April 2.

“Developing great-tasting, authentic craft beers that happen to be gluten-free was a personal mission for our brewmaster and me, and it’s a mission that our team really got behind. The launch of Omission Beer is a game changer for celiacs and the craft beer community,” said Terry Michaelson, CEO of Craft Brew Alliance. “As a 12-year celiac and longtime craft beer enthusiast, I’m thrilled to introduce delicious craft beers that can be enjoyed equally by those who are affected by gluten sensitivities and those who are not.”

Unlike many other gluten-free beers currently available, Omission beers are not brewed with sorghum, rice, tapioca, buckwheat or quinoa; they are brewed using traditional beer ingredients: malted barley, hops, water and yeast.

“Omission Beer has been a work in progress for the last six years,” said Joe Casey, brewmaster at Widmer Brothers Brewing. “My wife was diagnosed as a celiac in 2006, and since then, we’ve made it our mission to brew a great-tasting craft beer using traditional beer ingredients that everyone of legal drinking age could enjoy. After years of hard work, mission accomplished.”

Gluten-Free Guarantee, Every Batch Tested:
Each batch of Omission Beer is tested by an independent lab to ensure that all Omission beers contain well below 20 ppm of gluten. Gluten levels in Omission beers are tested using the R5 competitive ELISA test. Beer will not be released to consumers until test results are received and after an extended quality assurance hold.

About Omission Beer
Omission Beer is a new brand of gluten-free craft beers, available only in Oregon. Brewed by Widmer Brothers Brewing in Portland, Ore., Omission is the first craft beer brand in the United States focused exclusively on brewing great-tasting craft beers with traditional beer ingredients, including malted barley, that are specially crafted to be gluten-free. Each batch of Omission Beer is tested using the R5 competitive ELISA test to ensure that it contains gluten levels that are well below the international standard for gluten-free of 20 ppm. Drinking is believing.

About Craft Brew Alliance
Craft Brew Alliance was formed with the merger of leading Pacific Northwest craft brewers Widmer Brothers Brewing and Redhook Ale Brewery in 2008. With an eye toward preserving and growing one-of-a-kind craft beers and brands, CBA was joined by Kona Brewing Company in 2010. For more information about CBA, visit craftbrew.com.

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I have just reviewed the lager below, and will be reviewing the 5.8% ABV Pale Ale soon.

Monday, April 9

Beer Review: Omission Lager (Gluten-Free)


Omission Beer introduces the first two beers in its gluten-free craft beer portfolio: Omission Lager and Omission Pale Ale. Announced in late March by Craft Brew Alliance, Omission is the first craft beer brand in the United States focused exclusively on brewing great-tasting craft beers with traditional beer ingredients, including malted barley, that are specially crafted to be gluten-free. 

Brewed by Widmer Brothers Brewing in Portland, Ore., Omission beers are brewed using a proprietary brewing process to reduce the gluten levels to well below the widely accepted international gluten-free standard of 20 parts per million (ppm) for food and beverages. The international gluten-free standard was set forth by the Codex Alimentarius Commission, which was created in 1963 by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and the World Health Organization.

Ingredients:
Malts: Pale, Caramel 10
Hops: Citra, Sterling, Mt. Hood

Profile:
IBU: 20
ABV: 4.6%

Each batch of Omission Beer is tested by an independent lab, Eurofins Scientific, the world leader in food and pharmaceutical products testing, to ensure that all Omission beers contain well below the international gluten-free standard of 20 ppm of gluten. Gluten levels in Omission beers are tested using the R5 competitive ELISA test. Beer is not released to consumers until test results are received and after an extended quality assurance hold.


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I missed the tasting event because it was rescheduled. Fellow pdxbeergeek Michael (co-founder) handed me a 6-pack with 3 of each - the Lager, and Pale Ale. I really am interested in this, not because I have a gluten intolerance, but because they brewed this beer with barley, and have discovered a way and/or managed a way to extract the terrible gluten element that affects many with the gluten intolerance. I never have had a "gluten-free" beer. I don't need to. I have heard the taste reviews of gluten-free beers, and run from them when I see them. So behold the power of the giant Widmer Brothers. This is business at work, and they are doing very well. This is how it should be. I would never toss negative vibes towards an ever expanding business that provides exceptional distribution through AB, or one that has worked so hard over the years to be able to achieve such a beer, or beers such as Omission.

Appearance: (3.5)
- Very clear and light straw colored lager. Quickly fizzing white head settled to a bubbly almost macro-lager-like brew. Subtle spots above the brew where the bubbles chose to reside. Pretty basic. Looks like another session lager.

Smell: (3.0)
-  Crisp bittering hops, as well as a slight floral presence. There is a biscuit-like grain and light sweet malt aroma. The yeast plays a bready role while yet an adjunct presence seems only slightly likely. I only say that because I know this is a gluten-free beer, though I don't know if an adjunct exists.

Taste: (3.5)
- This tastes like a refreshing lager. Light grain, and light sweetness from the grain, and perhaps a corn maize affect. Light bitter pine and herbal hops, and a rather floral finish. This is solid, and yet again another lager that could steer a BMC fan away from the macro, and into the crafto. Being gluten-free is just a bonus, because you wouldn't guess it with this beer.

Mouth Feel: (3.5)
- A standard light bodied lager with a great dry finish. The use of hops create a nice dry finish to a beer that otherwise could be a little thin and syrupy. A little chewy yet, but cloying as well.

Overall: (4.0)
- I am astounded that this is gluten-free. Yet it is still a stand-out lager in the craft world. You could hand this beer to someone, and never mention the fact that it is gluten-free... and I bet they would still thoroughly enjoy it more so than any canned macro on the market. Kudos to Widmer. I hope they continue to stay on this awesome path they have paved.


3.5/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4
(BeerAdvocate.com Rating Scale)


Beer Review: Lompoc Brewing Batch 69 Baltic Porter


Batch 69

Baltic Porter
This strong dark beer has hints of chocolate and black licorice. It was brewed with a lager yeast giving it a much cleaner smoother finish than a traditional porter.
ABV: 7.7%

(Spring Release) 

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I was lucky and am thankful for receiving this brew for nothing at a tasting event of many fine beers tonight (which I will write on more later). I have had this beer before, but realized I have never formerly written a review of it, so here it goes! 


Appearance: (3.5)
- This porter is solid black. I can't really see any color in the edged of the glass while holding it up to the light. Finger of light gray/tan head quickly settles to a medium ring of foam around the glass, and a thin island staying put. I just get the feeling that this is a sleeper. 


Smell: (4.0)
- Big grain, light cocoa, and sweet porter goodness. Light grassy and earthy hop bitterness shows. Husky grains, bready yeast, and overall a solid aroma. 


Taste: (4.0)
- Nice esters and tart lager-like flare to a porter. Chocolate, light licorice as described, and a clean tart flare to balance and add character. Light coffee notes are present as well. I like the husky grain presence, and the grassy hops which play a big role in this beers bitterness. 


Mouth Feel: (4.0)
- This is a nice medium to heavy bodied brew. Super smooth and creamy, lightly drying, and cloying. It's a chewy number for sure. No pun intended. It finishes quite dry, which is nice, and doesn't leave a big chalky feel which is awesome. High marks on the feel. Only slight downside might be the rather foamy carbonation which can cause a filling quality. 


Overall: (4.0)
- This is a solid porter. Great taste, no off flavors, a nice spicy licorice touch, and just the right mouth feel to make this beer superb all around. I must say though that I like the monster mash a little better which was stated as really being the Ale version of this porter. Though I am sure some other small things differentiate them as well. 


3.98/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
(BeerAdvocate.com Rating Scale)


Sunday, April 8

Beer Review: S. Oregon Brewing Holy Water Maibock


Exclusively brewed with German specialty malts, our Maibock is a refreshingly crisp, spring festival beer with a pleasant malt character and a mild spicy hop twist expected from the style.  This German style lager is conditioned for 12 weeks to ensure the perfect flavor profile.

7.1% ABV, Color 6 SRM, IBUs: 30
Hops: German Magnum, Sterling
Malt: Weyermann Bohemian Pils, Light Munich type 1,
Carahell, Caramunich 2 and Melanoidin.

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This is a pretty recent release, and I saw a bomber at New Seasons, and bought it. My favorite beer from this brewer was a bourbon barrel aged barleywine which I haven't been able to find for quite some time. Hope there is another release of that one soon. 


Appearance: (3.0)
- Pours a very clear amber. Like a shiny new copper penny-like color. The quick finger of off-white head settled very fast to just some thing spotting resting to one side and a very small ring. Bubbling like the last lager I drank.

Smell: (3.5)
- A very subdued aroma. Grains, bready yeast, light brown sugar and cinnamon. Light esters and aromatic alcohol aromas without the medicine. Leaves the palate waiting, and wondering if there is more.

Taste: (4.0)
- A musky and natural bock flavor. Leather, wood, and bready wheat flour. This contains the malts needed to make a Maibock. Light caramel, and more bread. Light zesty and earthy hop is barely along for the ride, perhaps mainly early boil. This is solid, and seemingly true-to-style.

Mouth Feel: (4.0)
- This is a medium bodied brew with a somewhat thick cream-like feel. It is forcing it to be heavy, but doesn't hit it like a thick stout. Lots of grain was used obviously, and thus a cloying and chewy feel is present. Well carbonated as a lager, and slightly dry in the finish.

Overall: (4.0)
- A very unique beer. Like an import. I like the fact that this is so close to what an import would be expected to be like. It's filling, used a lot of more rare grains, and is certainly more true-to-style than other local maibocks (which are rare as can be anyway). I'm not a huge fan of the style, or of German biers for that matter, but this is something to behold.


 3.85/5  rDev 0%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
(BeerAdvocate.com Rating Scale)


Beer Review: New Belgium Brewing Shift Pale Lager


New Belgium employee-owners work in shifts to brew to life world-class beers. Those efforts are rewarded daily with a shared end-of-shift beer. We’re passing that welcomed occasion onto consumers in this lightly-hopped Shift Pale Lager. From work to play, from bottle to can, from bold and heavy to refreshing and sessionable; Shift salutes the shift in occasion, package and beer. So, go ahead and get your Shift beer, you’ve earned it!

Beer Facts: 


ABV - 5.0
IBU - 29
Calories - 210 per 16 Ounce Serving
Hops - Target, Nelson Sauvin, Liberty, Cascade
Malts - Pale, Munich, C-80
OG - 14.3
TG - 2.3


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Being Easter, The Fishers Landing New Seasons was about the only beer spot around that was open after I got off work. I never have tried this beer, and was impressed with a Spring Seasonal I had recently called Dig. This 4-pack of pint cans was under $8 so I thought that was a deal naturally. That New Seasons has a nice little beer selection.


Appearance: (3.5)
- Pours an ultra clear straw yellow bubbling lager. Couple fingers of white foaming head settle quickly to a chalky thin layer to remain. Overall a pretty standard looking craft lager. 


Smell: (4.0)
- Pretty balanced aroma. Crisp grassy hops, light floral and fruit notes. Sweet biscuity grain and common lager aromas. Nice grains and just crisp beer. Liking the smell. 


Taste: (4.0)
- Nice light bitter grassy and herbal hops with a nice little touch of zesty and spice. Balanced perfectly with a light bready sweet grain. This is a solid and refreshing drinker. 


Mouth Feel: (4.0)
- Light bodied, well carbonated brew with a slight spicy dryness and mouth watering quality. 


Overall: (4.5)
- This is a pretty simple review for a simple beer. But this beer is pretty damn good. Perfect for a hot day and as they have noted, perfect for after a shift of work. Very well balanced, and slightly better than other lagers due to their interesting and zesty combination of hops. This just proves that even the simplest of styles can still come out on top.


4.08/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5
(BeerAdvocate.com Rating Scale)


Pints Urban Taproom Grand Opening



The taproom will open at noon with burgers and brats on the grill and go all day with live music starting at 7pm. For the first time we will have all 4 of our core beers (Tavern Ale, RedBrick Rye, Steel Bridge Stout, IPA) on tap plus our spring seasonal, a malty NW red ale, and the Lompoc/Pints collaboration beer, Legalize Wit, Dave and I brewed for Cheers to Belgian Beers. There will also be specials on growler fills and plenty of other surprises.
When
Fri Apr 13, 2012 Noon - 11pm
Where
Pints Urban Taproom, 412 Northwest 5th Avenue #100, Portland, OR