Monday night saw the Beer Blotter Collective meet up at the blotter home base in Belltown (Seattle, WA) to share some recently acquired brews from East of the mountains.
There was much discussion about the past, present and future of the blog, and we are extremely excited about things to come. We will get into all of that in due time, but for now, here is a little peek into the beer sampling of the evening.
There is some seriously good suds to be sought out over there on the East side. If my reviews pique your interest, take a little day trip and pick some up for yourself. Best to do it now, before those might Cascades are too white with snow to traverse.
Highlander Scottish Style Ale
This Scottish Ale pours a clear amber with a very thin, white head. The scent is very complex and impressive and consists mainly of Belgian spiciness, sweet cherry essence, a lot of caramelized sugar…simply put – rich and fruity candied goodness!. The flavor is mainly of Belgian fruitiness.
The Scotch influence is completely relegated to the finish where a gorgeous, complex maltiness comes through. As it warms, there is some vegetal notes that peek through, but not enough to turn me off.
India Pale Ale
This brew possesses a surprisingly bright orange color with a minimal head of large bubbles. It couldn’t be more obvious that this one is unfiltered due to the shocking amount of sediment suspended in solution.
The nose is fantastic on this one! A lot of grapefruit with enough sweetness to really balance it out. The flavor is equally impressive. The balance is solidified immediately upon sipping. Most of the sweetness is found up front, with an intensely dry and bitter finish. Pine comes through in the flavor profile with near equal measure to the grapefruit. The more I sip on this the more I struggle to quantify the bitterness and sweetness balance. They really seem to battle for supremacy throughout my experience. My mouth is happy to be the grounds for such a clash. This is truly a great IPA!
The third brew of the night…
D2O Heavy Water Stout
This stout pours black with no head at all. The nose is telling that this is a very dry stout. Notes of coffee and earth are most prevalent. Assumptions made after witnessing the head-less pour are proved accurate once experiencing the mouthfeel, which is thin and slick.
An unbalanced bitterness is found in the flavor, mostly reminiscent of iced, black coffee. Immediately following the swallow, my mouth becomes a barren desert. Starting in the back corners of my mouth and soon spreading throughout, a dryness consumes all. The aftertaste does linger amidst it all, and thoughts of chalky, bitter cocoa powder and metallic coffee cans come to mind. Sadly, for me, it’s not entirely pleasant, though it’s worth noting that “dry” and Timperial do not go well together.
Our fourth bottle was the gem of the evening for me…
This stout pours black with a minimal head of a gorgeous rust color. The scent is deep, bold and complex. I’m astounded that this beer smells like this with such a low abv. All signs point to this being an imperial. This is a great start!
Some odors that I gather consist of oily coffee, chicory, licorice, molasses, and wood - both freshly chopped and charred. I feel as though I’m drinking a campfire. A deep waft stings the inside of the nose a bit, but not with alcohol burn, more like the intense smell of fresh mulch on a hot day.
The mouthfeel is luxurious. A very pleasurable carbonation comes through which surprises me. The flavor profile is built with nearly as many components as the nose, with just the right amount of chocolaty sweetness. Notes of coffee, mesquite and dark chocolate are most pronounced. The swallow finishes with a blissful sweetness, and then a moment later…a dash of dryness. Sweet licorice root is abound. This is an excellent brew with, apparently, some serious sessionability. I want more!
The final brewski of the night…
Friar’s Decadence – Chocolate, Chocolate Imperial Stout
The fluid emerges with a blackness and a sharply contrasting, thin white head. Oddly, when the brew is cold, the smell is so far from that of a traditional stout. I’d describe it as being grassy, with a farmhouse sensibility much like that of a saison. If you really seek, there is a little bit of sweet dessert that can be uncovered beneath it all.
As it warms, the sweet, malty attributes become much less subdued. Dark, roasty, chocolatey…all traditional elements of stout malts are at play, but there is a distinct uniqueness here that is mostly due to the Belgian influence that is never lost here. I guess the “Friar” did a little experimenting. This beer is kind of all over the place, but it keeps me interested throughout my time with it.
We also visited Horse Heaven Hill Brewery and Snipes Mountain Brewing. More on those two later this week.
Let us know if you have any East Side favorites!!