Archive for February, 2012

Neptune’s Wrath…comes with alcohol

I went over to Burnside Brewing to try Neptune’s Wrath after work today to see if an oyster strong ale would taste more like oysters than some of the oyster stouts I’ve had.

Short answer: Yes. This beer tastes a bit like oysters and the ocean. Very boozy, but it is 10.8%, with some nice belgian yeast and malt notes. But you can get those flavors elsewhere with no problem. People are going to try this beer because they want some mollusc in their tasty beer. So in that regard, people that like oyster stouts should try this one if they can get the chance.

And suddenly…drunk

My plan for my Saturday was pretty simple, go get lunch with a friend at the food carts, stop by Upright Brewing for a pint, and then go to a friend’s house to play some Settlers of Catan. What happened in between my lunch and Catan pretty much exemplifies why the Portland beer scene is awesome.

Porchetta for lunch. Fantastic way to start an afternoon.

Now off to Upright! While my friend and I were walking in, I was telling him how I can usually walk into a bottle shop or bier cafe and know at least one person that’s hanging out there. To prove my point, my friend Seth was there enjoying a brew.

Okay, pints one and two achieved.

While I was talking to Seth I found out that Midnight Sun Arctic Devil was in stock over at BeerMongers, one of my favorite bottle shops. Alright, now a second stop has suddenly made itself known on my way to my friend’s house. To make things better, while enjoying my beer at Upright 3 more people walked in and recognized us, so we chatted a bit before heading out.

Ah shit. This isn’t BeerMongers! Oh well, might as well finish this pint.

Well, to be fair, Hair of the Dog was kind of on the way to BeerMongers, and Seth told me that a sour beer by the name of “Bob” was on tap. I’d never had Bob before so we decided to drop by. Bob was tasty, but nothing spectacular in my opinion. Maybe it’s just because I was coming from Upright and had the Single Cask Four, which is phenomenal.

Whew, now to go to BeerMongers, pick up my Arctic Devil, and go play some Catan.

I finally get there, and walk into the guys I met at Upright, along with a bunch of other beer geeks that I know. Well shit…tasting beer ensues.

So what initially started out as a lunch trip and a pint before playing Catan at 2PM turned into a “let’s drink around Portland” afternoon, lasting 4 hours and change, making me arrive for Settlers at a solid 5PM and change.

What started out as this:

Turned into a less severe version of this:

I was in desperate need of recovery after that afternoon.

UPDATE: I hate my friends sometimes.

Single Cask Four

Went to Upright on Friday to try a one-off of Four, which is their year-round wheat beer. This cask was aged for a year in pinot noir barrels and cherries. It was absolutely delicious, so much that I forgot to take a photo until I was almost done with my glass. Whoops.

Also got a growler to be opened later

Growler being opened!

I passed out and woke up with my friend’s cat sleeping on my chest. It was awesome.

Bourbon Beer…OM NOM NOM

Watching Top Gear, drinking beer, and mulling over the next homebrew with my brewing buddy. Things don’t get a whole lot better than that.


I don’t understand bottle counts when the numbers go above 10,000. Or for those who are nerdier, “IT’S OVER 9000!!!!!”

Description: Based loosely on the Smokestack Series’ Sixth Glass, this abbey-style quadrupel, after fermentation on cherries, was separated into a number of oak bourbon barrels, where it aged for varying lengths of time, in some cases, as long as a year. Selected barrels were then blended for optimum flavor. The resulting ale retains only very subtle cherry characteristics, with toffee and vanilla notes coming to the fore.

Beer: Bourbon Barrel Quad

Brewery: Boulevard Brewing

Style: Quadrupel

ABV: 11.8%

Location: Kansas City, MO

Appearance: Cloudy brown with some red highlights. Varying amounts of head, but I would say 1.5 fingers with a normal pour.

Aroma: Smells a little tart, with huge notes of bourbon and oak coming through afterwards. Also dark cherries and raisins, but you really need to look for those ones.

Taste: Much less tart than the smell would make you think, with cherries, some sweet malts, and huge wood presence with a fair dose of bourbon. This is a great flavor profile for a winter beer.

Mouthfeel: Full bodied with moderate carbonation. Finishes a little sticky, but I can only expect so much out of such a thick and alcoholic beer.

Drinkability: I could definitely finish a growler in an hour and change. The only issue would be that I would be in no condition to drink another beer afterwards.

Beer Advocate Grade: A (93)

My Grade: A


Note: the homebrew that has been decided is a wheat session beer. Loosely based on Three Floyds Gumballhead.

Espresso Stout?

I’m not sure if there is a distinction between a coffee stout and an espresso stout, but I don’t think there is. I’m pretty sure they use the world “espresso” purely to seem like more of a douche. Well, douche status achieved.

Don’t mind the de-labeled bottles in the shot, I keep a book of labels for kicks.

Beer: Portland Roast Espresso Stout

Brewery: Laurelwood Brewery

Style: Stout

ABV: 6%

Location: Portland, OR

Appearance: Pitch black with a finger and a half of whitish brown head. Head quickly fades to a faint ring on the edges of the glass.

Aroma: Coffee, or is it espresso? I get a tiny bit of malt as well, but this is pretty much a one-smell ordeal

Taste: Coffee. I’m pretending that I can taste some of the malt that I got in the smell, but that would be foolish to think that that taste was actually there. The coffee flavor is quite nice, however.

Mouthfeel: Light-ish body with medium carbonation. Finishes smooth and crisp. I would have liked more of a body to the beer, but you can’t have everything.

Drinkability: Easy to drink, but I feel like I won’t be able to get to sleep now. Awesome.

Beer Advocate Grade: A-

My Grade: B+

Time to brew something different

My brewing buddy and I have brewed two stouts now, a coffee stout and a russian imperial stout. We were feeling like brewing something that would be great to drink in succession, so that definitely meant a low ABV beer that had a light body. Can you guess what kind of beer we’re cooking up?


Drinking homebrew while brewing. It’s awesome and everyone should try it.

Steeping our specialty grains at 152F

Stirring in our malt extract


Racked into a carboy and extracting as much flavor from the hops as possible!

This beer should be delicious, let’s hope it’s as good as our russian imperial stout!

Cat-sitting is dangerous.

My friend recently went on a business trip, leaving me in charge of feeding her cat. Sure, why not, how hard can it possibly be? You walk in, feed the cat, clean the litter box, and pet it a few times before retreating to the comfort of my apartment.

Miss kitty had different ideas.

I sat down to pick up some puzzle pieces that this cat had decided to scatter around the room, and while doing so, the cat ran up to me, jumped on my lap, and bit me in the face. Naturally, I was kind of shocked at this unwarranted act of aggression. To make this better, while I was probably making a shocked/confused face, miss kitty decided to bite me on the nose again just to drive the point home that she was boss.

I got the hell out there and promptly had a beer. You would too if you just got your ass handed to you by a 7 pound cat.


Beer, better than neosporin.

Description: Burnside India Pale Ale has plenty of malt body and is thoroughly hopped with 6 varieties of the herbaceous perennial. Expect to taste notes of pine and grapefruit.

Beer: India Pale Ale

Brewery: Burnside Brewing

Style: IPA

ABV: 6.6%

Location: Portland, OR

Appearance: Amber/orange, I can’t really decide which one it is, but it is pretty extreme. Zero head.

Aroma: Hops with just a little malt.

Taste: Hops, not much else.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied with high carbonation

Drinkability: I want the oatmeal pale. Want.

Beer Advocate Grade: N/A

My Grade: B

Oatmeal in a non-stout beer?!

Sure. Fuck it. Why not?

Also, watching Moneyball as I write this review. Really, really good movie.

Unfiltered. Good start.

Description: Burnside Oatmeal Pale Ale is brewed with copious amounts of Crystal, Galena, and Fuggle hop varietals. This is a clean dry Pale Ale with low bitterness and lots of hop flavor. We have chosen to add 75 pounds of locally rolled oats to increase body and give our Pale a sweet creamy finish.

Beer: Oatmeal Pale Ale

Brewery: Burnside Brewing

Style: American Pale Ale

ABV: 5.6%

Location: Portland, OR

Appearance: Reddish amber with a half finger of head. Opaque due to the unfiltered nature of the beer.

Aroma: nice and piney. Little bit of citrus as well, but I don’t really notice it unless I think about it really hard while I smell it.

Taste: Really tasty. Nice hop profile, with some sweetness and roasted flavors provided by the malts.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with moderate carbonation. The oats used in the brewing process really give this beer a smoothness not typically seen in a pale ale.

Drinkability: Almost a perfect session beer in my opinion. Lots of flavor to keep things interesting, but not too much that it would destroy your taste buds. Refreshing and moderate alcohol content make it easy to drain a few bombers. I can’t wait to have this during the summer.

Beer Advocate Grade: N/A

My Grade: A-

So many variations of Seven!

I love how Upright Brewing has been doing so many one-offs using Seven as the base beer. Seven is my favorite year-round offering from Upright, so things can only get better from there right?

Description: Barrel aged 14 months with brettanomyces

Beer: Barrel aged Seven

Brewery: Upright Brewing

Style: Saison

ABV: 8.8%

Location: Portland, OR

Appearance: Bright gold with no head, does have large bubbles that appear at the surface every now and then though

Aroma: Lots of fruit, some earthy funk from the brett, and a little bit of yeast. This beer smells absolutely fantastic!

Taste: Some nice tartness up front, with a lot of peach following up? It reminds me of a very light version of Fantasia, which is my favorite offering from Upright to date. I also get some oak from the barrel aging as well as a little bit of grassy flavor.

Mouthfeel: Light with medium carbonation. Feels nice and refreshing. I might have to save my last bottle for a hot day in the summer.

Drinkability: I’m very glad I have a bomber to finish, but I’m very sad that I only have one more bomber before it’s all gone. I could drink this all day.

Beer Advocate Grade: N/A

My Grade: A

Note: I thought Rose City Seven was my favorite iteration of Seven. I now stand corrected.

Barrel Haus!

Took my friend to the Barrel House the other day, right before he moves back to Australia. It’s a little sad that I didn’t get to take him there earlier, because he’s a lover of anything sour. Makes for a good fit for a place with a big sign that says, “house of sour”.

Another glass of Blueberry! I can’t wait for bottles to come out.

Vintage Sour Pie

I’ve never had this variety of sour pie before, so I’ll just tell you that while I like it a lot, it’s just not as good as blueberry.

Here’s the description for the beer:

This NW style sour ale is a singular vintage project that started as a strong blond that was barrel aged for nearly three years on over 120 pounds of fresh sour pie cherries. Rich, bright cherries, sweet cinnamon, and hints of cranberries greet you in the nose. Sweet and tart cherries combine on the palate with an assertive flavor of cherry tones and peppery cinnamon notes. Tart, dank notes of aged cherries and oak linger and finish with a sweet cherry burn.