Archive for May, 2011

Hanging out in P-town

Hey guys, today I spent most of my time hanging out with Nick, a friend from Bucknell who will be travelling with me to China tomorrow. Part of our day included having lunch at Deschutes Brewery, which is my favorite brewery of all time if I was forced to pick. Nick enjoyed a sampler rack that consisted of Obsidian Stout, Black Butte Porter, Hop in the Dark, Light Year (experimental brew), Mirror Pond Pale Ale, and Hefeweizen 23.

I myself had a pint of Hop Secret IPA (experimental brew), and Benderweiss Sour Ale (also experimental, and most likely spelled wrong). Both of these beers are not listed on Beer Advocate, so I will skip my usual style of writeup and just tell you about them and what beers they resemble.

Hop Secret is an IPA that uses an experimental variety of hops which is supposed to add a “tropical” aspect to the flavor profile. I have to agree with the brewmaster on this one, but I’ll go one step further and say that this tropical taste is definitely mango. I would actually say that this beer is extremely similar to Three Floyd’s Dreadnaught, which is one of the most respected IPAs in the beer geek community. Less hop bite than Dreadnaught for sure, but the mango flavor present in both beers put them in the same spotlight.

Benderweiss is a sour ale that went under three types of fermentation with the first being of the lactic variety, with the second and third fermentations being forgotten in my excitement of trying a Deschutes experimental sour beer. This beer smells and tastes similar to Duchesse De Bourgogne with less plum flavor and more sour punch. It is extremely tasty for beer geeks who love sour, funky brews, but is definitely not for everyone. Sour beers are an acquired taste and should be approached carefully.




Drinking those beers and eating a tasty burger make for a tired beer geek, so Nick and I returned to my house to watch some Game of Thrones, where we split a HOTD Adam. I’ve reviewed this beer in a previous post, so I’m not going to bother with the posting a picture.

Nick and I also split a bomber of HOTD Blue Dot DIPA with dinner, but once again, being a beer that I’ve previously reviewed, will not waste your time and bandwidth by posting a photo.




Finally, Nick and I are heading off to China tomorrow for 6 weeks, so posts for the next month and a half are going to be a little infrequent. I have not died, or given up my love for beer, or decided to go against everything I stand for and drink Natural Light.


Nothing Like Having a Beer with Dinner

Today I decided to try Lagunitas Wilco Tango Foxtrot (WTF), mainly because a few people have asked me if I have had it yet. Lagunitas calls it an American strong ale, but it is definitely an IPA in my eyes. Lagunitas is a funny brewery, they make tons and tons of beers, but they all have a signature “Lagunitas hop profile” to them, so you can always tell which beers are Lagunitas even through a blind taste test. As a result, many people including myself think that Lagunitas is a one trick pony brewery, where the only really remarkable beers that they brew are IPA-related. This is no exception. It is a very solid darker IPA that is definitely worth trying, but don’t expect anything groundbreaking here.

Beer: Wilco Tango Foxtrot (WTF)

Brewery: Lagunitas

Location: Petaluma, CA

Style: “American strong ale” aka IPA

ABV: 7.8%

BA grade: B+

My grade: B+

Decided to Get Out of the House

Today I got to meet up with Mark, one of my best friends from high school. Our history goes back to going abroad to Spain together to going down to Pebble Beach for the Tour d’Elegance car show for two years running! Well anyways, I met up with him at Hair of the Dog Brewery in SE Portland to catch up and try Cherry Fred from the Wood, which is one of their release beers that takes several years to create. Enough talk! Here are some photos with some explantions:

This is the beast itself, Cherry Fred from the Wood. The base beer, Fred, is a Belgian strong pale ale which is a world class beer in its own right. However, the brewmaster at HOTD decided that being an awesome beer simply wasn’t enough and thought that it would be a good idea to take Fred, stick it in an oak barrel, add a million billion pounds of black cherries to it, and then let it sit for two years. The end result is one of the tastiest beers that I have ever experienced. Those of you who know me understand the seriousness when I say that this beer deserves a top 10 ranking in my favorite beers.

Beer: Cherry Fred from the Wood:

Brewery: Hair of the Dog Brewery

Location: Portland, OR

Style: I have no idea, Beer Advocate says it’s a barleywine, but there really isn’t a category that you can put this one in

ABV: No idea, but over 10%

BA grade: A+

My grade: A+


Trying an incredible beer simply isn’t enough for one that decides to travel to HOTD, so Mark and I decided to split a pickle plate with a sampler tray. The beers from left to right are as follows: Ruth (I already reviewed this one), Blue Dot, Fred, and Adam. I’m going to skip Ruth because I already covered this beer, but here are the reviews for the other brews.

Blue Dot is the HOTD DIPA (double IPA) that they brew every month or so in order to serve the freshest DIPA that they can. It comes off as one of the more aggressive DIPAs that I’ve tried, but it is definitely better than most beers of the same style that one would come across. Huge hop flavors come out in the nose and the taste, but virtually no bitterness comes out despite the unreasonable amount of hops that are added to this brew. Absolutely worth the cost at $7.50 for a 22 oz. bomber if you can manage to find one.

Beer: Blue Dot

Brewery: Hair of the Dog Brewery

Location: Portland, OR

Style: Double India Pale Ale

ABV: 7%

BA grade: A-

My grade: A-


The next beer in the lineup is Fred, which happens be a genius beer. The nose only reveals yeastiness, sugars, and a little bit of malt, but the taste shows belgian candy sugar, some yeast, moderate hop flavor, and malts. This beer happens to be my favorite Belgian strong pale ale, and those who have sampled a few bottles in at Bucknell with me can vouch for its quality. This beer can actually be found in various places on the east coast, so find yourself a good bottle shop and give it a shot at around $6 for a 12 oz. bottle.

Beer: Fred

Brewery: Hair of the Dog Brewery

Location: Portland, OR

Style: Belgian strong pale ale

ABV: 10%

BA grade: A-

My grade: A


Last in the lineup is Adam, an old world ale which means virtually nothing to me. What Adam does mean is a ridiculously tasty beer that is not only complex, but is one of the most unique beers that I have had the pleasure of experiencing. HOTD describes it with words such as “leather”, but that really makes no sense until you actually get to sample the beer yourself. I would describe the nose of this beer as slightly sweet, oakey, coffee, malt, and dark fruits. The flavor profile mirrors the nose of the beer along with other subtle flavors that I can’t even remember to put on this page. The cost of this beer is the same as Fred, but good luck finding it, because I’ve only seen it in Oregon and Washington.

Beer: Adam

Brewery: Hair of the Dog Brewery

Location: Portland, OR

Style: Old world ale

ABV: 10%

BA grade: A

My grade: A+


Finally, after finishing up my brews at HOTD with Mark, we decided to make our way to Cascade Barrel House down the street. Cascade Barrel House is a favorite place of mine, which is particularly known for producing empire destroyingly good sour beers. It was there that I decided to try Sang Royal, a wild ale that is made by taking red and double red beers, blending them with cabernet sauvingnon grapes, and then aging the mixture for 12 -24 months in port, pinot noir, and cabernet sauvignon oak barrels. The final product is an amazing sour beer that is very complex with dark fruites, tart cherries, smokiness, and toasted malts. One of the best sours from Cascade in my opinion.


Beer: Sang Royal

Brewery: Cascade Brewing

Location: Portland, OR

Style: American Wild Ale

ABV: 8.87%

BA grade: A

My grade: A+

Best Care Package Ever

It turns out that one of my good friends from school celebrated his 21st birthday today, meaning that he can finally get his own ass over to the beer store. Unfortunately, he lives in New Jersey, which lacks the quality and quantity of craft beers that Portland has to offer. Luckily for me, the birthday boy lives within 15 minutes of Matt and Dave, who are good friends, beer geeks, and B.E.N. club members. Being the supreme beer geek that I am, I can confidently say that I corrupted Matt and Dave to the dark side of craft brews. At the start of freshman year, dearest Matt didn’t even drink beer, and over the next four years went through several transitions. He went through the “I like beer, just not the dark kind” phase, to the “I just wanna get drunk” phase, to the “I like really obscure beers that you will never hear about” phase. I’m proud of you Matt, I really am.

As for Dave, he was my prodigy, meant to take over B.E.N. club after I left, but instead he decided to become a president to some random fraternity that has a bar room that smells of skunked natural light…which is somewhat contradictory to his love of bourbon barrel aged beer. To be honest though, I think he just likes the bourbon barrel part. If someone put a shoe inside a bourbon barrel for a year, Dave would definitely be all over that.

Well anyways, since Mr. Birthday boy, Dave, and Matt all live close together, I get to bundle a birthday present and two care packages into one big package!



I wonder what could be inside?! Some of the beers are shown in the beer haul post, but a few others are goodies that I snagged from my cellar.

Buying Beer is Hard Work

The title says it all, selecting and buying all of the beer shown in the previous post is draining work. So in classic Asian tradition, I re-energized by feasting on fried rice and a particularly delicious American ale. Hair of the Dog Brewing is one of my favorite breweries, and they manage to keep thousands of beer geeks happy and buzzed despite only having a staff of around 6 people. Known for their bottle conditioned beers that improve with age, Ruth is one of their more normal beers, which should be consumed as quickly as possible after bottling. Smells like hops and pine, and tastes strongly of hops and citrus, this beer is more similar to a typical IPA than an American ale in my opinion. It was a great beer to have with my several bowls of fried rice, but for those of you who do not have instant access to fried rice (that’s you, white people), I would try and pair this beer with a creamy cheese such as brie, grilled whitefish (swordfish, snapper, etc), bbq, or anything spicy.

Beer: Ruth

Brewery: Hair of the Dog

Location: Portland, OR

Style: American Ale (I call bullshit, IPA)

ABV: 5.6%

BA Grade: B

My Grade: B+

Here’s what it looks like in my favorite drinking glass (Deschutes 16 oz. snifter)

Gotta love spending monies at the bottle shop

Day 2 of jet lag, so I woke up at the not-so-awesome time of 7AM, so I decided to run over to Powells Books, and then over to Belmont Station, my favorite bottle shop, and one of the best places to buy choice brews in the United States. This beer haul contains brews that I will consume and review over the next few days/minutes and a few that I plan to send to some friends who live in the terrible, awful, smelly cesspool known as New Jersey.

w00t w0ot!

First brew!

So the first brew on the blog is Hopworks Urban Brewery’s IPA. This IPA comes out of a tiny little brewery in Portland that offers a large variety of organic beers. This particular brew uses 3 different hops and several organic malts to achieve a relatively sharp, citrusy and refreshing taste. A rather interesting characteristic about this beer is that it lacks some of the floral notes that is expected of this type of IPA. Overall, I would give it a B+ on the grade scale. As a reference, Beer Advocate rates this beer as an A/A- beer. I usually rate my beers similarly to Beer Advocate, but I guess I punished this beer for its lack of floral notes. Below is a picture of the beer itself in one of my favorite glasses (HOTD 12oz tulip).

And so it begins

Today is my first day back to Portland, OR after graduating from Bucknell University. So naturally, the first things I do is eat lunch, unpack my computer, and buy some beer. Over the life of this blog I plan to simply share my experiences trying new beer while making all of my beer-loving friends jealous of the fantastic beer-centric city of Portland. While these two photos aren’t recent, they represent the kind of thing that I’ll be doing as often as humanly possible.