Archive for January, 2012

Trying out some Heater Allen

I’ve heard that they do a few tasty things, so I decided to bite the bullet and tried two of them with a friend while watching some Top Gear. Here’s the first beer.


The black coffee table rears its ugly head once again!

Beer: Coastal Common

Brewery: Heater Allen

Style: American Amber

ABV: 4.9%

Location: McMinnville, OR

Appearance: Pours a golden amber color, but due to my coffee table and my laziness you can’t tell what it looks like at all.

Aroma: Pretty basic with some malts and not much else

Taste: A little woody, earthy, and some nice malts. Very little hops in this beer, maybe girls that say “i don’t like beer because it’s bitter” might like this beer

Mouthfeel: Light with moderate/high carbonation. Very prickly, but it helps this beer out because it might be too generic otherwise.

Drinkability: I split a bomber, but you can drink a lot of it without much effort, or thought.

Beer Advocate Grade: B+ (87)

My Grade: B-

A Gathering of Geeks

I went a get-together organized by a bunch of PDX BeerAdvocate members. The whole idea is that a bunch of people meet at a beer bar or something and bring a bottle or two of a special/very tasty  brew. Tasting ensues shortly afterwards.

So instead of a geek gathering like this,

It’s more like this:

Many more bottles appeared as the afternoon went on, it was like playing whack-a-mole: alcoholics edition

Here are the beers I had the pleasure of sampling, but I showed up about half an hour after the tasting started and had to leave a little early, so this is in no way a comprehensive list.

Lost Abbey Isabelle Proximus: It’s beers like this that keep me from completely detesting Lost Abbey. They suck, but man they are capable of making delicious stuff!

Jackie O’s Funky South Paw: super weird and fruity sour. I liked it.

Pelican Bridal Ale: It was a tasty beer, but nothing about it really stood out for me

See photo: I have no idea what this beer is, or clearly remember how it tasted. Things like this happen when your palate gets repeatedly bombarded by awesome brews

Goose Island King Henry: Yes……This is definitely the best barleywine I’ve ever had after Mother of All Storms. It’s shockingly delicious. Thank god I have one coming in a trade! I think I need to get some more though. If you see this beer in a store, buy it regardless of cost and/or inconvenience. It could cost a pound of flesh and still be worth it.

Great Divide Barrel-Aged Yeti: So much whiskey in this beer. It’s basically a beer that dreamed about being whiskey when it grew up. I’m pretty pleased that I have a bottle sitting in my closet right now.

Some random New Glarus beer that had brett added to it. It was very refreshing after the big monster beers that I had before this one

Cantillon Kriek 100% Lambic: This was the beer I brought! It was delicious, but Drie Fonteinen Schaerbeekse Kriek is much tastier. One day I will learn how to pronounce that beer, but my vision goes very blurry every time I try.

Deschutes Abyss 2009: My first infected Abyss! It actually wasn’t bad, but you could definitely tell it was infected.

Cantillons! I didn’t get to try the Fou’ Foune. I cried a little bit.

Lost Abbey Veritas 09: Not really a fan of this one. Cloyingly sweet.

Barrel Roll: Really basic beer with brett added, but really well done. Perfect execution in my opinion.

Terrapin Big Daddy Vladdy: I haven’t had a Terrapin beer since I graduated college. This is a great beer though, I’m amazed I never tried it while I was at school

Midnight Sun Moscow: This beer has to be the densest beer I’ve ever tasted. I’m positive that the beer is so dense that a bottle of it would weigh significantly more than a lesser beer. It felt like I was drinking syrup. But hey, everything is forgiven because this beer is really damn good. My first Midnight Sun beer: success.

Dogfish Head Pangaea: Do NOT try this beer. It tastes like a mouse crawled into a bottle of cider and died. I kid you not. The recipe called for an ingredient from every continent, I think they took a small rodent from each continent for this one. Except for Antarctica, a penguin probably took a hit for the team on that one.

Midnight Sun Conspiracy: A second Midnight Sun beer?! It’s like Christmas! This beer is very tasty as well. I can’t remember what it tasted like, but I do know that I really liked it after my first sip.

Bell’s Sparkling Ale: Master class in Belgian yeastiness.

Midnight Sun Machu Pichu: Okay, this is just stupid. Three Midnight Sun beers in one afternoon?! What the hell is going on? I’m convinced that Midnight Sun can do no wrong at this point. Hell, I even like their brown ale, and I don’t even like brown ales normally. For the most part brown ales taste like a stack of rusty old coins. Don’t ask me how i know this.

Surly 5: One of the tastiest beers of the afternoon. It’s too bad I missed the abrasive that was opened some time after I left.

Bruery Melange 3: Another highlight of the day. This might be the first bruery beer that I’ve had that I can say is worth it’s high price. Soooo much better than Black Tuesday

Midnight Sun The New Black: I don’t even remember having this beer. I was probably blinded by all the amazingness of Midnight Sun that it resulted in short term memory loss.

Cigar City something something: Tasty, and I think it was the only IPA I had all day.

Overall an extremely successful bottle share by the PDX beer geeks! It was great hanging out with the beer crew and I can’t wait to see everyone again down in Corvallis for Block 15’s Super Nebula release.

Whoever came up with this label deserves a god damn medal.

Small batches are small

My friend’s favorite style of beer is red ale, so today I decided to split my bottle of Precursor with him. He definitely liked it. I thought it was tasty as well, but not quite worth it’s $11 price tag.

I’ll admit it, I’m a sucker for simple labels Bottle 2001 of 2600

Beer: Precursor

Brewery: 10 Barrel

Style: Imperial Red Ale

ABV: 10%

Location: Bend, OR

Appearance: Dark copper, brown. Not really red, but it does have some nice lacing after a 1 finger head dissipates.

Aroma: Booze, grapefruit, pine, malts.

Taste: Tons of sweet caramel malts, with some citrus from the hops. You can definitely taste the booze in this one as well. It’s not bad, but I think that this beer could improve with age.

Mouthfeel: Full bodied with heavy carbonation. I like it, without the carbonation, it may have come across as too malty.

Drinkability: I’m not sure I could finish a 750ml bottle of this, but I’m sure the friend I drank this with could.

Beer Advocate Grade: N/A

My Grade: B

Sidebar: Sometimes when I’m at a bottle shop, the clerk wants to tell me all about the beer I’m purchasing and whatnot. It’s cool but sometimes the below photo sums up all of my feelings.

The other beer during Futurama

I forgot to review this beer, which is actually the first beer I had while watching Futurama. My bad.

Should have taken this photo against a better background methinks.

Beer: Cappuccino Stout

Brewery: Lagunitas

Style: Stout

ABV: 8.8%

Location: Petaluma, CA

Appearance: Dark dark brown, with a little bit of tan head. Maybe that’s because I split the bottle and didn’t have an ideal pour though.

Aroma: Coffee, roast malts, some smoke, maybe a touch of booziness.

Taste: Coffee, some malts, a little bit of smoke, some cherry, and dark chocolate. Quite tasty.

Mouthfeel: Full bodied with lightish carbonation. Fits the beer pretty well

Drinkability: I split a bomber this time, but I could finish a bomber on my own

Beer Advocate Grade: B+ (87)

My Grade: B

Beer and Futurama

While watching some Futurama, I realized that the beer I was drinking had not been reviewed yet, so let’s just rectify that mistake shall we?

Beer: Abbey

Brewery: New Belgium

Style: Dubbel

ABV: 7%

Location: Fort Collins, CO

Appearance: Light brown, like a light shade of molasses. Minimal head with tiny bits of lacing.

Aroma: Malty with some cloves and other spices.

Taste: Lots of clove with some sweeter malts.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Kind of prickly

Drinkability: Pretty easy to drink, but I would want to switch it up after the first bottle.

Beer Advocate Grade: A- (90)

My Grade: B

The sweet sound of music…or in this case, beer.

Fantasia: A musical composition with a free form and an improvisatory style which may be based on earlier works.

This is the description on the label, and after trying this beer on tap, I understand why it’s here.

But there’s more.

A barrel fermented sour ale brewed with fresh preaches and rooted in a theme from the Pajottenland.

I have no idea what Pajottenland means, but it reminds me of the safety word from Eurotrip. However, the description of this beer makes it seem very plain. The truth is quite the opposite. In order to create this wonderful beer, Upright had to breed the sour yeast it planned to use ahead of time due to the slow reproduction of sour yeast strains. It then had to process hundreds of pounds of fresh peaches by hand, removing the pits and whatnot. The wort, fruit, and yeast were put into barrels, never having touched a normal fermentation tank. A few more steps occur after this, but the main idea is that this beer took more than a year to come into being, with much work and coddling performed by the brewers at Upright. This results in the slightly eye-watering price of $20 a beer, but in the world of sour beers, this is actually quite reasonable.

Beer: Fantasia

Brewery: Upright Brewing

Style: Wild Ale

ABV: 5.75%

Location: Portland, OR

Appearance: Cloudy peach with a tiny bit of pink. Not much head to speak of but forms a small ring at the edges after a while. No lacing

Aroma: Smells like a bucketload of  peaches with some tartness and funk thrown in. Since I’ve already tried this beer on tap, I’m very excited to see what the bottled-version has to offer.

Taste: Wow. This beer is quite sour for having so much peaches in it. However, as soon as the sourness fades, sweet peaches come to the front, with some funky earthiness towards the end. I got very little peach when I tried this beer on tap, but it’s definitely here in bottled form. I liked the beer on tap immensely, but this beer definitely better out of the bottle. No question.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with moderate carbonation. It feels extremely smooth, creamy even. Perfect mouthfeel to go with the taste.

Drinkability: I bought a case but am splitting it with a Beer Advocate buddy. I’m kind of regretting it now though. I want it all to myself!

Beer Advocate Grade: N/A

My Grade: A+

Notes: best beer I’ve had from Upright for sure. I love their beers, but this beer is a completely different animal. I can’t wait for it to be released again next year!

Spicy Beer

I’ve had beers that used chilies or peppers in them before, but not when the beer in question is a sour beer. I was pleasantly surprised the last time I tried this beer, but wasn’t really in the correct state of mind (drunk) to do a full review.


This is definitely one of my favorite beer labels. It’s beautiful.

Beer: Fatali Four

Brewery: Upright Brewing

Style: Saison

ABV: 4.5%

Location: Portland, OR

Appearance: Cloudy orange/yellow with a finger of lumpy head that gets lumpier as time passes.

Aroma: Lots of funk, little bit of citrus, and a punch of spices

Taste: Very tasty, lots of lime, lemon, with some earthy saison characteristics to it. The heat of the chilies doesn’t register in the taste department. It just forms a warming feeling that lingers in your throat for a few minutes. I really like it, and it’s really different from a lot of the other things out there. Definitely worth trying

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with highish carbonation. Very creamy and smooth though. I love that slight bit of heat that you get from the chilies.

Drinkability: Very easy which surprised me. A 750 ml bottle posed no problem.

Beer Advocate Grade: B+ (88)

My Grade: B+

I love showing up at a pub and being forced to wait for friends

I went to the Cascade Barrel House after buying brewing ingredients the other day to meet up with a friend at 2PM. I got there around 1:55, and proceeded to sit until about 2:20 when my friend decided to show up “around 2”. Fuckin awesome. Well, besides the lack of punctuality from some people, I did enjoy a slew of delicious sour beers.

From left to right: cranberry, blueberry, strawberry, pre-bourbonic

Cranberry Description: This NW style sour ale is a seasonal offering that is a blend of two beers that were barrel aged for seven months. the base beer was brewed with 200 lbs of cranberries, hibiscus and sweet orange peel. One quarter was additionally barrel aged on cranberries, sweet orange peel and Thai cinnamon. Light sweet floral notes of citrus and pink candy greet you in the nose. Tart dry hints of sweet cranberries and wild strawberries on the palate give way to a pronounced dryness in the finish, with notes of cranberries and vanilla and cinnamon. Fall is here and we’re guessing you will fall for this sour.

My Grade: B+     Pretty good, but cranberries just really isn’t my thing.

Blueberry Description: This NW sour style ale blends wheat and blond ales that were oak aged in barrels for sixth months, then additionally aged four months on fresh blueberries. Huge herbal notes of dense blueberries in the nose give way to hints of oak and a dusty floral note. Rich earthy notes of dark fruit on the palate lead to a tart finish that dries out to a base note of blueberry skins.

My Grade: A+ This beer is devastatingly good, and I don’t even like blueberries very much. I can’t wait for this beer to be bottled because I’m going to hoard as much as I possibly can.

Strawberry Description: This NW style sour ale is a crisp, refreshing wheat beer that was barrel aged for seven months, then additionally aged with strawberries for another eight months. Bright, sweet strawberries and light candy notes greet you in the nose. A light tartness and berry sweetness intermingle on the palate, giving way to a light sparkling fresh berry tartness in the finish. Is it better as a breakfast beer or a dessert? You decide!

My Grade: B I’d rather pound some more blueberry to be honest. One of the let down beers that I’ve had from Cascade

Pre-Bourbonic Description: This NW style sour ale is a preview of the future Bourbonic Plague. Dark malts, spices and black currants, with hints of bourbon and vanillins greet you in the nose. Big rich dark fruits, dates, black currants, oak, leather and tobacco dance on the palate. Tart dark fruits and warming bourbon flavor finish this off as only Bourbonic can.

My Grade: B+ Not nearly as tasty as Cherry Bourbonic or the normal Bourbonic, but still very enjoyable.

The wait wasn’t very long

So I got the beer I was waiting in line for! The line wasn’t bad at all, but there were some real dicks in the parking lot. One particular guy was standing in an empty parking space refusing to let me park in it because “his friend was coming”. So, a bunch of people are trying to park, and this dude is standing in an empty spot waiting for his friend who doesn’t know when he will arrive. What a dick. To make things even better, a little while later a person behind me pulled out of his spot, so I asked this guy if he could walk into that spot and stand in it so I wouldn’t have to circle around again. He said no.


Fucking asshole. What terrible beer karma is going to crash on his head. May half his beer be skunked and the other half explode when he opens it.


If you ever see any of these assholes, here’s my advice to you:

Anyways…here’s the beer I was waiting for. Expect a review sometime this weekend.

Here’s a hint: There’s a fuckton of peaches in it.


Time to wait in line again!

Going to another beer release after work. I’ll explain everything once I have my hands on many, many bottles of this tasty beer.