This year will mark our third year attending HopScotch- a beer and scotch festival at Fremont Studios in Seattle. Although I do not go for the scotch (or tequila), the vibe is always great, the beers are flowing and you are guaranteed to have a good time. What more could you ask for?
Oh you want some information? Below are some festival facts from the HopScotch official website:
Hop Scotch Spring Beer & Scotch Festival is a premier beer, Scotch, wine and spirit tasting experience benefiting the Seattle International Film Festival (SIFF). On April 1 and 2, Fremont Studios transforms into a swanky beverage tasting lounge featuring over 80 libations to swirl, sniff and sip.
Entrance includes tokens to sample beer and wine. For an expanded tasting experience, optional spirit samplers of Scotch or tequila may be purchased as well as an hour-long Scotch Seminar with the Master of Whisky. Develop your sense of taste at the stylish indoor setting of Fremont Studios on April 1st and 2nd, 2011 at Hop Scotch Spring Beer and Scotch Festival.
Hop Scotch is a benefit for the Seattle International Film Festival (SIFF). SIFF’s mission is to create experiences that bring people together to discover extraordinary films from around the world. It is through the art of cinema that we foster a community that is more informed, awake and alive.
Hours are Friday, April 1 from 5PM-12AM and Saturday, April 2 from 1PM-12AM. Admission is as follows:
- $30 General Admission: Admission, 5 oz. commemorative tasting glass and five beer/wine tasting tokens. $25 in Advance
- $35 Grand Admission: Admission, 5 oz. commemorative tasting glass and ten beer/wine tasting tokens. $30 in Advance
- $15 Non-Tasting Admission: Admission and four tickets good for water or soda redeemable at the Hop Stop booth. Available at the door and online in Advance
Most importantly what breweries will be there- I have bolded and starred the ones to go for.
#1 Heineken | Lager
A horizontal fermentation process results in unsurpassed clarity and brightness, and makes Heineken’s characteristic taste as good on draught as it is in a bottle. The smooth, full-bodied lager has a complexity that balances between fruity notes and a distinctive bitter taste.
#2 Heineken Light | Lager
Heineken Light is a light-tasting, refreshing beer that maintains the subtle cues of the original Heineken signature flavor. With only 99 calories and 6.8 grams of carbohydrates per bottle, it represents the perfect opportunity to up-sell to domestic light beer drinkers.
#3 Dos Equis Lager | Lager
Dos Equis Lager is a crisp, golden, and refreshing beer. It is brewed with pure malt, hops, and water to deliver a unique taste with a dramatic, bracing quality.
#4 Newcastle Brown Ale | Brown Ale
Golden brown in color, with rich, full-bodied flavor, Newcastle is a dark beer unlike any other: an unparalleled combination of character and drinkability.
21st Amendment Brewery
At the 21st Amendment, they celebrate the culture of the great breweries of old, making unique, hand crafted beers, great food, and providing a comfortable, welcoming atmosphere that invites conversation, interaction and a sense of community.
#1 Back in Black | Black IPA
Brewed like an American IPA but with the addition of rich, dark malts, this beer has all the flavor and hop character you expect with a smooth, mellow finish.
#2 Bitter American | Pale Ale
Our extra Pale Ale has lower alcohol but all the flavor and hop aroma you expect from a much bigger beer.
Alaskan Brewing Co.
Alaska has a rich history of brewing. From the explorers of the 1700s through the Gold Rush, many a thirsty Alaskan has been able to enjoy locally made beers. In 1986, 28-year-olds Marcy and Geoff Larson reignited that tradition when they opened the Alaskan Brewing Company, the 67th brewery in the country and the first brewery in Juneau since Prohibition. Alaskan beers reflect many of the same characteristics of beers that were brewed here during the gold rush era. From the historically based Alaskan Amber recipe to alder-smoked malts and Sitka spruce tips, Alaskan beers reflect Juneau’s local brewing history and innovation.
#1 Alaskan Summer Ale | Other Ale
Alaskan Summer Ale is a Kolsch style ale that balances a softly malted palate with the clean freshness of hops. In the tradition of the style, neither overpowers the other. Both hops and malt come together to refresh and renew the palate. The straw-gold color and easy drinkability are an enjoyable way to celebrate summer.
#2 Alaskan Imperial IPA | IPA
Rich in color and full in flavor, Alaskan Imperial IPA is Packed with Northwest hops over a sturdy malt body. The Latest from our “Pilot Series” is brewed in small batches.
BridgePort Brewing Co
Oregon’s oldest Craft Brewery. BridgePort means: “Bridges of Portland.”
#1 BridgePort KingPin | Double Red Ale
Triple hopped, Double Red Ale that has the unique flavor of rye malt.
#2 BridgePort Café Negro | Coffee Infused Porter***
The perfect blend of Porter with a bold flavor of roasted coffee. Rich and creamy.
All natural hard apple cider. Made from fresh pressed Northwest fruit, not concentrate.
#1 Crispin Cider
A classically styled, but untraditional hard apple cider. Fruit forward, with a fresh, crunchy appley nose and a deliciously creamy, refreshingly crisp mouth feel. Gluten Free. Where to Buy: Whole Foods, QFC, Marketime Foods
#2 Fox Barrel Pear Cider
This delicately balanced cider is like biting into a ripe pear. The hand crafted subtlety of this 100% natural beverage pays homage to finer French ciders. Our remarkably versatile Pear Cider is consistently awarded gold medals at national and regional competitions. Gluten Free. Where to Buy: Fred Meyer
Deschutes Brewery, located in Central Oregon along the banks of the wild and scenic Deschutes River, has brewed a family of handcrafted ales since 1988. Starting out as a small brewpub in the heart of downtown Bend, Deschutes’ first beers were Black Butte Porter, Bachelor Bitter and Cascade Golden Ale.
#1 Red Chair Northwest Pale Ale | Pale Ale
Red Chair NWPA is named after the oldest operating lift at Mt. Bachelor here in Central Oregon. As a debut Northwest Pale Ale, it’s an adventure all its own. It has a plush body with satiny caramel flavors derived from seven varieties of malt. Yet, despite it all, it remains a hop-forward ale with that distinctive citrusy punch. Just minus any mouth-puckering bitterness. Where to Buy: Grocery Stores that Sell Craft Beer
#2 Hop Henge Experimental IPA | IPA***
Several pounds of Centennial & Cascade hops are in each barrel with a heavy dry-hop presence to top it off. A blend of crystal, pale and carastan malts creates an overall biscuity characteristic that is dense and muscular, building the alcohol base to support the monstrous hop profile. Where to Buy: Pubs and Grocery Stores that Sell 22 oz. Bottles
Diamond Knot Brewing Co.
Since our humble beginnings in 1994, Diamond Knot has seen huge growth thanks to our loyal fans. We’re known for our Northwest-style IPA’s, but we also produce everything from a light Blonde Ale to a Dry Irish-style Stout. We currently offer four retail locations, three in Mukilteo and one on Camano Island, for patrons to enjoy fine food and our handcrafted ales.
#1 Diamond Knot India Pale Ale | India Pale Ale***
6.2%, IBU: 40
Copper-colored with a malty character up front. Intensely bitter with hints of grapefruit and cedar imparted by heavy-handed additions of Galena and Columbus hops. Where to Buy: Pubs and Groceries Throughout the Puget Sound
#2 Slane’s Irish-Style Red Ale | Irish-Style Red
6.6%, IBU: 30
A sweet, caramelly aroma gives way to a distinct malty flavor and a smooth, creamy finish that will leave you thirsty for more! Where to Buy: Pubs and Groceries Throughout the Puget Sound
Firestone Walker Brewing Company
At Firestone Walker Brewing Co. we integrate traditional brewing discipline, a fascination with wooden barrels and a passion for the craft to create some of the most awarded pale ales in the world. We believe our commitment to balanced and unique beers has helped fuel the revolution in taste that is sweeping across America.
#1 Double Barrel Ale | Pale Ale
We’ve honored the traditions of the great British Pale brewers of Burton-on-Trent using our patented Firestone Union oak barrels. You’re left with a mild blend of vanilla and toasted oak flavor touched with an elegant hint of English noble hops. DBA is the flagship of our company and wildly popular. Where to Buy: Whole Foods
#2 Union Jack | IPA***
Union Jack is the recipient of numerous awards including back to back wins at the Great American Beer Festival. Bold citrus and pineapple aromas meet savory malt flavors resulting in a truly balanced effort. A beer true to its origins; deeply hopped and bolstered for a long voyage. Where to Buy: Whole Foods and Local Liquor Stores
Flyers Restaurant and Brewery
Full Restaurant and Bar. The restaurant features a fresh menu with everything from soups, salads, burgers and sandwiches to steaks and seafood. The bar has 14 taps with several rotating guest beers to compliment Flyers’ house brews and a full bar with premium spirits and cocktails. There are over 100 seats available with both inside and outside seating.
#1 Pacemaker Porter | Porter
Robust Porter in style, this dark, full bodied ale has notes of roasted barley, coffee and bitter sweet chocolate. Fast becoming Flyers’ flagship beer. Where to Buy: On Tap and in Bottles in WA, OR and ID.
#2 Afterburner IPA | IPA
A hop lover’s delight! Our I.P.A. is loaded from start to finish with five hop additions and balanced by English and German malts. Where to Buy: On Tap and in Bottles in WA, OR and ID
Fremont Brewing Company
We are a small, family-owned microbrewery founded in 2008 to brew small-batch artisan beers made with the best local ingredients we can find. We use barley from the Okanogan Valley in British Columbia, hops from a 4th generation hop-growing family in the Yakima Valley and water from the Cedar River Watershed in the Cascade Mountains. Located in the historic Fremont neighborhood of Seattle, you can drink our beer at our Urban Beer Garden, on draft at many fine bars and restaurants in the area — or pick up a keg or growler to go.
#1 Universale Pale Ale | Pale Ale***
Fremont is the self-proclaimed “Center of the Universe” and Universale, our flagship product, honors the namesake of our unique location. Universale Pale Ale offers a distinctive Northwest twist on the classic pale ale, using a select blend of Gambrinus pale roasted malt and Old World malts balanced with classic Northwest hops to achieve a heavenly beer of rich malt flavor and subtle hop spice. This is beer. Enjoy. Where to Buy: Brewery, Seattle, Spokane, Bellingham, Tacoma
#2 Interurban IPA | IPA***
Named after Fremont’s most famous outdoor sculpture, Waiting for the Interurban, Interurban India Pale Ale offers the adventurous beer lover a warm embrace of Gambrinus roasted pale malt swirled with a hand-selected blend of flavor malts and filled with the rich spice of Chinook, Centennial and Cascade hops. Interurban India Pale is a session beer, eminently drinkable throughout the year. Where to Buy: Brewery, Seattle, Spokane, Bellingham, Tacoma
Georgetown Brewing Co.
Founded by Manny Chao and Roger Bialous in September 2002, Georgetown Brewing Co. is located in south Seattle’s historic Georgetown neighborhood. We are a true, local craft brewery, with all of our ingredients coming from the Northwest.
#1 Manny’s Pale Ale | Pale Ale
5.3%, IBU: 38
A careful selection of Northwest hops, premium barley, and our unique yeast give this ale a rich and complex malty middle with a snappy hop finish. It’s truly a micro that finishes crisp, clean, and smooth. Where to Buy: On Draught at Local Pubs
#2 Lucille IPA | IPA***
6.9%, IBU: 85
Columbus, Centennial, Amarillo and Cascade hops. Floral, citrusy and awesome. Anything so innocent and built like that just gotta be named Lucille. Where to Buy: On Draught at Local Pubs
Kona Brewing Co.
In 1994, Kona Brewing Co. became the first craft brewery to take root on Hawaii (the Big Island). Since then, Kona Brewing Company has been committed to making handcrafted ales and lagers of uncompromised quality.
#1 Longboard Lager | Island Style Lager
Longboard Lager is a beer originally introduced by Kona Brewing Company in Hawaii. It is a crisp and moderately hopped pale lager, with an exceptionally smooth after flavor. Longboard takes over four weeks to ferment and cold condition, more than twice the time of Kona’s ales.
#2 Koko Brown | Brown Ale
5.5%, IBU: 28
Is there anything more iconic of the lush tropics than the coconut? The delicious heart of this island treasure has a nutty, toffee flavor and aroma that sends you straight to the beaches of Paradise. Kick back with a Koko brewed with real toasted coconut and savor the mahogany color and smooth, roasty malt taste.
Lagunitas Brewing Company
From our earliest days of striving to make consistently good beer, and instead making beer that ranged from vile, to barely drinkable, to wonderful, to elegant, to questionable-at-best. From being castigated by our West Marin neighbors to finally suffering an ‘eviction’ by our West Marin septic system. From landing in the welcoming arms of Petaluma, and actually getting our beer into bottles, onto the streets, and into the hands of sympathatic beer geeks, to steadily losing less money each month. From all this and more, Lagunitas Brewing Company is emerging as a battle-tested brewery capable of making great beer out of goat’s milk, brambles, and asphalt on the surface of the Moon, if need be.
#1 Little Sumpin Wild | Other Ale****
7.8%, IBU: 65
Another Big Sister of the Little Sumpin’ Sumpin’ Ale…. Loads of Malted Wheat for a Curious Malt Foundation and a Light Color, But Our Belgian Yeast Leaves a Huge Flavor and Complexishness. Where to Buy: Your Friendly Neighborhood Grocery Stores
#2 Brown Shugga | Other Ale
How Come you Taste So Good?? Boatloads of Pure Brown Sugar in Each Batch, That’s How! The Rich, Roasty and Mysteriously Drinkable Ale might best be described as… Irresponsible. It Leaves a Lot of Stories in it’s Wake. Where to Buy: Your Friendly Neighborhood Grocery Stores
Lazy Boy Brewing
Lazy Boy is a small family owned brewery. We pride ourselves in using the freshest ingredients to create delicious products.
#1 Lazy Boy Bavarian Hef | Hefeweizen
German style hef that boasts the traditional flavors of banana and clove. Refreshing and delicious. Where to Buy: Local QFCs and Markets
#2 Lazy Boy Dry Hop IPA | IPA***
This is new for us and has been well recieved. IPA infused with aromatics from dried oranges and corriander. A wonderful blend of hops and citrus. yum yum. Where to Buy: At the Brewery
Mac and Jack’s Brewery
We are a draft only brewery located in Redmond Washington.
#1 Two Tun IPA | IPA
Mac & Jack’s IPA is a refreshing, smooth, & balanced India Pale Ale. Using a variety of specialty malts and plenty of locally grown Yakima valley hops, we have created an IPA that has great hop flavor without being bitter. Pale roasted malts give our IPA a deep golden hue, and solid malt backbone, which nicely compliments its crisp hop finish. Copious quantities of hops are added very late in the boil giving the beer its floral aroma and hop forward character. Where to Buy: Bars & Restaurants
#2 Serengeti Wheat | Hefeweizen
A crisp, refreshing American style Hefeweizen that is brewed with the best ingredients the Northwest has to offer. We use 50% locally sourced two-row pale malt and 50% locally grown northwest malted wheat well above the required 30% wheat additions to be called a wheat beer. This Northwest style Hefeweizen is unfiltered for a “cloudy” appearance and brewed with plenty of Yakima valley hops yielding a wonderful citrus finish, delicious with or without a lemon garnish. Where to Buy: Bars & Restaurants
Mad River Brewing Company
Mad River Brewing Company is located in the beautiful small town of Blue Lake, California in the heart of Humboldt County. Now in our third decade we continue our commitment to producing award winning fine ales combining the most traditional brewing methods with an environmentally sound approach.
#1 Steelhead Double IPA | IPA
Malty, hoppy and strong, Double IPA is dry hopped with Amarillo hops for a fresh piney and citrus flavor and aroma. Aggressive, but perfectly balanced.
#2 Jamaica Red Ale | Amber
Our legendary red ale. This mahogany hued ale brings an intense spectrum of spicy aromatic hop character balanced by a full-bodied caramel richness.
New Belgium Brewing
Employee owned and 100% alternatively powered, New Belgium Brewing was started in the Basement of Jeff Lebesch and Kim Jordan back in 1991. Fast forward a few decades and now New Belgium brews are sold in 26 states and are about to celebrate it’s 20th anniversary.
#1 Ranger IPA | IPA***
6.5%, IBU: 70
This clear amber beauty bursts at the starting gate with an abundance of hops: Cascade (citrus), Chinook (floral/citrus), and Simcoe (fruity) lead off the beer, with Cascade added again for an intense dry hop flavor. Brewed with pale and dark caramel malts that harmonize the hop flavor from start to finish, Ranger is a sessionable splendor for all you hopinistas. Where to Buy: Major Chain Stores and Bottle Shops
#2 1554 Brussels Style Black Lager | Other Lager
5.6%, IBU: 21
1554 Enlightened Black Lager uses a light lager yeast strain and dark chocolaty malts to redefine what dark beer can be. In 1997, a Fort Collins flood destroyed the original recipe our researcher, Phil Benstein, found in the library. So Phil and brew master, Peter Bouckaert, traveled to Belgium to retrieve this unique style lost to the ages. Their first challenge was deciphering antiquated script and outdated units of measurement, but trial and error (and many months of in-house sampling) culminated in 1554, a highly quaffable dark beer with a moderate body and mouthfeel.
#1 Mac’s Amber | Amber
One taste of Macs and you’ll taste the tradition of a true Portland Original. Since the beginning of the craft beer revolution, MacTarnahan’s has been producing bold and flavorful brews . MacTarnahan’s is a deep copper-hued Amber Ale balanced with fresh Cascade hops from the great Northwest. Distinct, Bold and Original It’s hard to beat a Mac. It is damn good beer! Where to Buy: Everywhere
#2 Sling Shot | Pale Ale
You always know better, but sometimes you just don’t care. Mischief is just creativity stretching its legs. Sling Shot is a seasonal Extra Pale Ale for the spring with rich golden color. Its lively hopped flavor makes for a mischievously good and refreshing ale that “hits the spot!”
Ninkasi Brewing Co.
Oregon’s Ninkasi is one the nation’s fastest-growing breweries, thanks in large part to an unsubtly named beer (Ninkasi was the ancient Sumerian goddess of brewing)-Total Domination, a potent, aggressive IPA with pungent hops and flavors of citrus rind and carmel.
#1 Total Domination | IPA***
Multiple hops collide in balanced perfection, dominating the senses, achieving total satisfaction. Where to Buy: On Draught and in 22 oz. Bottles
#2 Spring Reign | Pale Ale
Notes of toasted malt up front, with a bright and crisp Northwest hop finish, it’s a session beer that everyone can enjoy! Where to Buy: On Draught and in 22 oz. Bottles
The Seattle Alehouse, our original location, offers a world of extraordinary tastes waiting to be explored on draft including our year-round beers, rotating seasonals, as well as a few unique Pyramid offerings you won’t find anywhere else. Enjoy a pint, explore a Pyramid Sampler, or order a growler of brewery fresh beer to go. Pair your brew with a tasty selection off of our full menu of classic brew house cuisine.
#1 Live Wire | Hefeweizen
The first in the Series, Live Wire, is a bountiful Imperial Hefeweizen that takes Pyramid’s gold medal Haywire® Hefeweizen to impressive new heights. The gratifying result delivers a rich and full-bodied wheat character, robust hop balance, and punched-up alcohol content. Where to Buy: Pyramid Ale House and Local Restaurants, Bars and Stores
#2 Curve Ball | Blonde or Golden
Our deceptively drinkable golden summer seasonal is a crisp, clean-tasting, cold lagered ale. This frosty thirst quencher is the perfect accompaniment to summer adventures. Where to Buy: Everywhere
Redhook Ale Brewery
Redhook has been brewing quality beers for 30 years! From its humble origins in Seattle’s Ballard & Fremont neighborhoods to a state-of-the-art brewery in Washington, Redhook continues to deliver outstanding craft beers to consumers. In July 1994, Redhook completed its Woodinville WA brewery, just 20 miles east of Seattle. The beautiful facility features expansive grounds and the Forecasters Public House, where you can sample all of the Redhook brews and pub-style meals. Forecasters Pub is open daily please see our website for detailed hours.
#1 Redhook Pilsner | Pilsner
5.3%, IBU: 25
May not look it but has a dark side. Redhook Pilsner is brewed in a traditional Czech style. It offers a very soft palate and malt flavors that are offset by a medium dose of distinct Czech hops to bring out its authentic flavors. Available year round beginning March 21, 2011.
#2 Redhook Wit | Other Ale
5.2%, IBU: 12
Made with ginger but still has his place in his heart for Mary Ann. Redhook Wit is a twist on the traditional Belgian brew. A balanced mixture of spices, orange peel, coriander and ginger give this wheat beer a smooth yet distinct flavor. It is brewed with Kolsch yeast, and we decided to steep the spices in the whirlpool for 15 mins just prior to cooling and fermentation; similar to a finishing hop addition. As with cooking, this method keeps the spice flavors and aromas intact, and soft/subtle.
The Boston Beer Company began in 1984 with a generations-old family recipe that Founder and Brewer Jim Koch uncovered in his father’s attic. After bringing the recipe to life in his kitchen, Jim brought it to bars with the belief that drinkers would appreciate a complex, full-flavored beer, brewed fresh in America. That beer was Samuel Adams Boston Lager®. Today, the Company brews more than 21 styles of beer. The Company uses the traditional four vessel brewing process and often takes extra steps like dry-hopping and a secondary fermentation known as krausening.
#1 Samuel Adams Wee Heavy | Wee Heavy
Was inspired by both traditional Scotch ales and Scotch whiskies, for a combination of deep roasted flavor and earthy smoke character. Traditional Scottish ales vary in intensity with the strong ales known as Scotch Ale or “Wee Heavy”. To create our own version of the style we added peat smoked malt to bring the unique flavor of Scotland to this complex and satisfying brew.
#2 Samuel Adams Rustic Saison | Saison
An incredibly complex yet refreshing beer in the classic style of Belgian farmhouse ales, traditionally brewed to quench the thirst of farmers throughout the summer months. The unique character of our brew comes from its Belgian yeast that imparts floral, fruity, and estery flavors. These flavors are layered with slightly sweet herbal notes and a citrusy hop character for a bright and satisfying summer brew.
#1 Seattle Weekly Voracious Brew | Imperial Red Ale
Brewed by Lazy Boy Brewing, the Voracious Brew is an Imperial Red made exclusively for the fine people at the Seattle Weekly. Lazy Boy has used four different kinds of malts to brew this bodacious beer. The hop flavors are a combination of Palisades and Magnum in the dry hopping stage. This 8.2% beverage is powerful yet remarkably smooth to drink. Enjoy!
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
Founded in 1980, Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. is one of America’s first craft breweries and is highly regarded for their use of only whole-cone hops, and for the spirit of quality, and craftsmanship in everything they do. This pioneering spirit continues though their decades of innovation in the brewhouse, and through advances in environmental sustainability. Sierra Nevada sets the standard for artisan brewers worldwide with their broad line of beers including their iconic flagship Pale Ale.
#1 Pale Ale | Pale Ale
5.6%, IBU: 38
Inspired by the Sierra Nevada mountains, we created a unique beer highlighting the bold flavors and piney-citrus aromas of whole cone hops. Today, our all natural, bottle conditioned Pale Ale is recognized worldwide as a classic. Where to Buy: Just About Anywhere Beer is Sold
#2 Summerfest | Other Lager
5%, IBU: 28
Summerfest is a Pilsner-style lager brewed for your enjoyment on a warm summer days-featuring a slight malt sweetness, delicate spicy and floral hop flavor, and a crisp, refreshing finish. Where to Buy: Just About Anywhere Seasonal Beer is Sold
Silver City Brewery
Silver City Restaurant & Brewery is the Kitsap Peninsula’s premier destination for award-winning, handcrafted beers, outstanding food, excellent customer service, and great memories in a fun, friendly environment. Silver City was started in 1996 by Co-owners Steve & Scott Houmes, and it remains a locally owned and operated family establishment. Silver City Brewery’s award-winning, handcrafted beers are available at more than 350 Puget Sound area bars, restaurants, and grocery stores throughout Kitsap, Jefferson, King, and Pierce counties.
#1 Whoop Pass Double IPA | IPA***
8.5%, IBU: 85
Without a doubt the boldest and hoppiest mother of a brew Silver City has ever created. More than 50 lbs. of Washington State Columbus and Cascade hops are infused, injected or otherwise inflicted upon a single 15 barrel batch. Welcome to hop country! Where to Buy: Whole Foods
#2 Fat Woody Scotch Ale | Other Ale***
What happens when Silver City brewers take a world class beer like Fat Scotch Ale and age it for over a month on American white oak? A completely unique and wonderful beer emerges. The slight peaty, intensely malty scotch ale and the complex vanilla character of the oak meld over time to create an exceptional beer.
Snoqualmie Falls Brewing
Proudly making fine, hand crafted ales in Washington since 1997.
#1 Wildcat IPA | IPA
6.7%, IBU: 77
The balanced hop monster! This is one IPA with enough malt backbone to stand up to its 77 IBU’s from 100% Columbus hops. Where to Buy: Select Grocery Outlets
#2 Triskaidekaphobia | Other Ale
8.6%, IBU: 36
There is no need to be afraid of the number 13, we have actually created this Belgian style tripel in celebration of our 13th anniversary. Triskaidekaphobia is a great balance of crisp clean malt, lemony hops and spice. Unfiltered but clear to the eye, Trisky is made from 100% German pilsner malt, Belgian candy sugar, 100% Czech Saaz hops and Belgian ale yeast. Where to Buy: Select Grocery Stores in the Seattle Area
Stone Brewing Co.
#1 Arrogant Bastard Ale | Other Ale
This is an aggressive beer. You probably won’t like it. It is quite doubtful that you have the taste or sophistication to appreciate an ale of this quality and depth. Where to Buy: Most Stores
#2 Stone IPA | IPA***
6.9%, IBU: 77
An “India Pale Ale” by definition is highly hopped and high in alcohol – you’ll find our Stone India Pale Ale to be true to style with a huge hop aroma, flavor and bitterness throughout. If you’re a hop-head like us, then you’ll love our Stone India Pale Ale! Medium malt character with a heavy dose of over the top hops! Generous “dry hopping” gives this beer its abundant hop aroma and crisp hop flavor. Where to Buy: Everywhere
Trade Route Brewing
Trade Route Brewing was established in 2007 to explore the beer frontier. Their taproom in Pacific, WA pours beer for the adventurous made with a bounty of ingredients from around the world.
#1 Joker Ale | Pacific Northwest Amber
6%, IBU: 40
This bold amber is hoppy and unfiltered in the classic Pacific Northwest Style. We combine premium pale and crystal malts to form a pleasant malty base, then add enough Cascade and Centennial hops to create a balanced beer with a citrusy hop finish. This beer is easy to enjoy by itself and pairs well with most foods. Where to Buy: On Draught in Washington
#2 Mango Weizen | Wheat Beer***
5%, IBU: 3
A refreshing beer with the subtle aroma and flavor of mangos. We use 50% wheat malt in the brew, along with premium barley and a touch of Saaz hops. Fresh mango puree is added after fermentation to create a beverage great when enjoyed by itself or paired with your favorite barbecue. Where to Buy: On Draught and in 22 oz. Bottles in Washington
Widmer Brothers Brewing
“I quit!” In 1984, brothers Kurt and Rob Widmer, in the midst of dual quarter-life crises, decided to quit their jobs, follow their dreams and devote themselves to their true passion—brewing beer full-time. To this day, that rebellious spirit and love for all things beer define Widmer Brothers Brewing. Prost! to doing what you love.
#1 X114 IPA | IPA
6.2%, IBU: 50
Named for the experimental hop that came to be known as Citra, this aromatic IPA balances perfect proportions of big fruit and citrus flavor with hints of peppery spice, caramel malt sweetness and a bitter, but smooth finish. It’s one experiment that bears repeating. Often
#2 W’11 Russian Imperial Stout | Stout***
9.3%, IBU: 65
An extremely rich and complex beer with tremendous body and mouthfeel. Spicy hop aromas are apparent. As well as Chocolate and Coffee aromas. The generous use of roasted barley and other specialty malts, such as Midnight Wheat result in a deep opaque black beer and thick brown beer foam. Well hidden in this complex beer is nice layer of alcohol.
It is a blast every year. Expect some solid IPAs at this event. Enjoy! Cheers!
Enjoyed on 1/11/2011
Brewery: Bend Brewing Co.
Location: Bend, OR
Beer: Hop Head Imperial India Pale Ale
Presentation: 22 oz. – Brown Glass Bottle – Capped
Style: American Style Double India Pale Ale
Commercial Description: Unavailable
Beer Advocate: A- (4.17)
Rate Beer: 98 (3.92)
My mother lives in Bend, OR. Periodically, I visit. When I do, you better believe that I’m going to makes stops at Deschutes, Cascade Lakes and Bend Brewing. Ever since I learned that Hop Head won a bronze metal at the 2008 GABF, I knew I had to have it. Unfortunately, it’s a seasonal for Bend, and every time I’ve gone there, it has been the wrong season. This year BBC bottled the hoppy wonder, and they still had some left when I was there for Christmas.
This beer fills my pint glass with a very clear, light amber color. In fact, I’d say that it’s one of the lightest colored IPAs out there. Though I recently purchased this beer from the brewery, I believe that it’s a summer, or at best fall seasonal for them, so I have a slight fear that the lack of freshness could have negative effects tonight.
I did get a slight hiss when the cap was unhinged, but there wasn’t much of a head on the pour. There is, however, a respectable rising of bubbles from the depths. What head is produced on the pour quickly dwindles to a ring and faint wisps, but lacing is evident as I drink.
The nose is fairly subtle in volume but with effort, an intensely pungent odor is detected. There is an earthy, almost skunky nature to it, but that seems to come in waves, where the receding tides allow for a citrusy aroma to bloom. Tangerine and grapefruit rind stake claim, and a balancing effect is noted with a buried and exhumed malty sweetness. As the beer warms it’s as though our seemingly endless paddling has finally propelled us beyond the breakers, and a much-needed calm inundates the scene.
Here we find a melding of seas, or, as it were, scents. At this point I’d say that the grapefruit dominates and that carries enough earthiness with it to legitimize earlier notions. The malt side is not playing a major role and only really imparts a sugar-coating on top of the hop flavors. I guess, with that being said, age is more likely than not… not an issue here.
The mouthfeel is nice with this one. The carbonation is appropriate and the viscosity is within the range that I expect. It goes down easy and lingers for just the right amount of time.
Unlike the nose, the flavor is better at colder temperatures. The bitterness seems more subdued, as does the maltiness. Pine flavors were most prevalent to me, which played as a pleasant contrast to the fruity nose. At warmer temperatures the bitterness becomes overwhelming. The flavors shift more toward earthy presenting an almost wood like experience. It becomes more like chewing on grapefruit peel than simply enjoying the zest’s essence. Yes, there is a shit ton of hops in this beer, but I don’t know how successful they were blended.
The malts are present early on and accent the experience with powdered sugar dustings, but later, as the beer warms, they become uber-pronounced in their grainy, biscuity nature. I’m not surprised that there isn’t much of a caramel or candy-coated element to speak of. The color of the fluid did its part to foreshadow this. I’d much prefer to see some higher lovibond crystal malt in the grain bill. To use the word balanced would be accurate, but for my tastes, this is a bitter bomb with too much of the wrong grains.
The aftertaste is a well blended bitter and malty existence. Thankfully, it’s not completely dried out by the IBUs, but they are doing all that they can. It all lingers for quite some time, reminding you that you just sipped down a pretty bold IPA, but the 9% continues to be mostly hidden, even into near ambient temperatures.
This one has its fair share of bumps in the road, but it finishes on a high note, and in the grand scheme of things, I wouldn’t mind having it in my corner to represent just how the Northwest rolls when it comes to hop monsters.
Admittedly, I am giving this beer a pretty low score. One important thing that I’d like to state, no matter how obvious it may seem, is that I have a fairly unique take on what makes a stellar IPA. Apperantly, what makes my palate most happy is in stark opposition to what the BJCP says an IPA should be like. I can only assume that because of the award that was given to BBC at GABF. It is always healthy to question the authorities that be, but it’s also important to realize that the standards and rules are there for a reason. I guess my point is that I can respect this beer and the brewers deeply, but Hop Head just isn’t for me. The question then becomes, is it the one for you? Let me know at email@example.com
Color/Head/Retention [maximum of 1.00 point possible]: 0.85
Odor [maximum of 2.00 points possible]: 1.78
Carbonation/Mouthfeel [maximum of 1.00 point possible]: 0.95
Hop Flavor [maximum of 3.00 points possible]: 2.58
Malt Flavor/Balance [maximum of 2.00 points possible]: 1.58
Finish/Aftertaste [maximum of 1.00 point possible]: 0.93
Total [maximum of 10.00 points possible]: 8.67
Written by our in-house cellar dweller, Timperial Stout.
When it comes to big, specialty releases that make waves on a national level, the Northwest is painfully lacking. Washington state, more specifically, pretty much has none. We don’t have a Dark Lord or a Black Tuesday or a Kate the Great or a Sexual Chocolate…
I can’t think of a single time that I rushed out to the bottle shop for a WA release. I have rushed out to bars to catch WA beers while they were on draft, but that is such a fleeting pursuit. I want to be able to add a bottle to the cellar and age it and show it off and pretend that I’m cool that I have a crazy barrel-aged imperial stout that’s 4 years old and nearly impossible to get. I have low self-esteem so if I don’t have an impressive cellar I have nothing.
But seriously, why can’t Washington brewers do this for me. I guess I do have that Black Raven wheat wine that they made for Malt and Vine‘s anniversary. Oh yeah, and those Pike Entires. Both are wax-dipped and shit, totally impressive. Well, whatever…I want more.
Our neighbors to the south are doing a little bit better than us on this front, but it’s by no means a landslide. Hair of the Dog and Cascade bottles are pretty sweet trophies to show off. I’ve got a New Old Lompoc Oak Aged Dopplebock down in my cellar. Pretty cool huh? I know.
The ultimate bottled prizes in the PNW come from Deschutes in Bend, OR. I know you know what they are. I know you are jealous of my ’07 Abyss. Your best bet to rival me in supremacy is to camp outside of your local bottle shop tonight, and every subsequent night until more bottle of The Dissident hit Western Washington (if we are so lucky). Then do the same thing in mid-December for The Abyss. Buy as many as they will allow, drink one of each on New Years and hide the rest in the deepest recesses of your cellar. In 15 years when your first-born turns twentyfun, make his/her first ‘legal’ beer be one of paramount class.
Friday, November 19th
We are super excited to officially announce the release of The Dissident, our sour brown ale brewed with Washington cherries, that takes 18 plus months to reach near perfection. A limited amount of bottles will go on sale at both Brew Pubs and our Tasting Room on Friday, November 19th at 11 am. Fans will be able to pick up six bottles of this beloved brew at a time.
Wednesday, December 1st
The wait is finally over for the fifth release of The Abyss, our imperial stout brewed with molasses and licorice aged in bourbon and oak wine barrels. Join us at our Brew Pubs on December 1st as we tap the first kegs and make the 2010 bottles available for you to add to your collection.
…Also of note, here is information on those two beers and other upcoming releases as it was received this morning from a brewery representative…
When: End of November
What: Reserve Series (22-ounce wax-dipped bottles and draft)
Finally…. perfection. After nearly two years aging in isolation, the 2010 Dissident has reached its pinnacle. Deschutes Brewery’s only wild yeast beer, brettanomyces and lactobacillus “critters” (a technical brewing term) create a distinctive Oud Bruin, Flanders-style sour brown ale, with a fruity aroma and flavor. To make things even more interesting, whole Central Washington cherries – pits, stems and all were also added to the mix. The result? A beer that’s anything but conventional.
Where: Very limited available in most states where Deschutes is sold
Beer Geek Information:
10.5% Alcohol by Volume (ABV)
What: Reserve Series (22-ounce wax-dipped bottles and draft)
The Abyss has immeasurable depth inviting you to explore and discover its rich, complex profile. Hints of molasses, licorice and other alluring flavors draw you in further and further with each sip. And at 11% alcohol by volume, you will want to slowly savor each and every ounce.
2010 marks the fifth release of this dark and mysterious imperial stout rated the 4th best beer on planet earth by BeerAdvocate.com.
Where: Available in most states where Deschutes is sold
Beer Geek Information:
~11% Alcohol by Volume (ABV)
In case you missed Part 1, check it out here. I’m just going to get right into it.
Pint Glass – Brasserie McAuslan St. Ambroise Oatmeal Stout
This strange one pours black with a tan rusty head. The smells rising from the liquid are 100% mesquite. I’m immediately reminded of the one and only other beer that I’ve had that could be described in that way, Arcadia’s Imperial Stout. This beer is smokey and sweet at the same time. Did they add barbecued wood to the boil? The mouthfeel is a bit watery and thin, which seems odd considering the fact that the brewery went as far as to say that this is an oatmeal stout. Oatmeal, being the key word. I’d expect more luxury from the oats. The aftertaste, however, is very lingering and allows for some chocolate and coffee notes to be uncovered. At 5% abv, this beer feigns strength, but has no lack of intriguing flavor. Good stuff from north of the border.
We drank this beer, out of a pint glass, and it was good. If you want to know what it’s like, read my full review of it here.
Mug – Bell’s Special Double Cream Stout
Ah Bell’s Brewing, a Mid-West stalwart. There will never be a time that I’m not excited to swill some of their precious nectars, unless of course they are spoiled. That’s what happened here. Most likely, the store that we bought this from did not take proper care of the merchandise. The 10 malts that are used to brew Double Cream Stout push the abv to a level that is probably a bit low for cellaring, 6.1%, but we have only had it down there for a little over 6 months. I’m fairly confident that it wasn’t our doing, but who really know.
Everything started out just dandy. It poured with a very attractive head of tan that rose an average height and then eventually settled completely. There was coffee and some dark chocolate in the nose. Though the smell was not necessarily exciting, it didn’t put me off. The flavor, however, did put me off. I found it to be bitter, oily and acidic, with some mal-brewed coffee lingering in the midst. Then, as it lingered on my tongue, things went tart and I was assured that this was absolutely not what Bell’s intended. Frustrating, to say the least. We better move on.
Snifter – Traquair House Ale
This 7.2% Scottish brew departs its bottle with a clear brown, near red color and possesses a stark white, thin head. I found it to smell exactly like Juicy Juice. I guess that means it’s like a plethora of fruits mashed into one indistinguishable, homogeneous piece of produce. Grape and cranberry might have been most prevalent, but it’s hard to say for sure. The fluid has a very striking smoothness. On the back of the tongue there is a lot of Belgian yeast fruitiness, possibly some bubble gum. There is a very pleasant, sweet aftertaste. In summation, this beer is just plain juicy, and it works…well.
The snifter is my favorite of glasses. I like the way it looks, distinguished. I like the way it feels in my hand, rounded and organic. The way the circumference of the lip is slightly smaller than the apex of its width, it really allows for a slight “trapping” of the precious odors, all the better for me to smell my dear…
Chalice – Brouwerij Haacht Gildenbier
I really shouldn’t be in charge of writing about this beer. This little gem that we brought back from Belgium with us is DSR’s little baby. If you are ever in his presence, just mention Gildenbier, or “the archer beer”, or the beer we discovered in the underground, dungeon like brick lair that is Pelgrom in downtown Antwerp. He may demand your attention for about the next hour with his tales, but believe me, it will be time well spent. The man is passionate about Gildenbier, and I can’t blame him in the slightest. It exists in a very special corner of our collective hearts. It is Belgium in a bottle. Let’s see how it tastes.
When the great archer is inverted, out pours a clear brown liquid with a subdued white head that soon dwindles to a spotty foam. It has a very pronounced date aroma, but distinctly of Belgian descent. There is a lot of malt depth to be found here, with some roasty, grain sweetness providing a sturdy body. That all too familiar Belgian yeast fruitiness is very prevalent, and for me it mostly manifests into a very recognizable pear essence. Ever so delightful.
Chalice – Brouwerij De Bie Stoute Bie
This is another little nugget that survived the long flight back from Europe. Our tongues first became acclimated with the work of De Bie in a pretty bad ass beer bar in Brugge called Cambrinus. As time passed after Cambrinus, we realized that their beers were surprisingly hard to come across in Belgium, so when we found a bottle, we snagged it. This, like the above Gildenbier, was slightly difficult for us to open. In a perfect world we could keep them for years and years to come and eventually open them in a much more ceremonious way, where reminiscence may stand long overdue. But we know better, and with Stoute Bie’s 5.5%, it would surely not last such a span of time. So here we are, and here’s what it was like.
Stoute Bie pours black in color with the most glorious head ever. The foam is crazy fluffy with orange, red, and brown highlights. The nose is very, very complex. It is wildly sweet and sour. There is a fruitiness within that plays with the sour, lending thought of sour cherries. Also in the nose, an oily coffee bitterness, and vinegar. How perplexing? The flavor is intensely sweet up front with many of the scents translating over. The only flaw here is found in the aftertaste, which is plagued by that metallic flavor that we have previously discussed finding in many beers of Belgium. We still don’t really get how that comes to pass. If there is any redeeming aspect here with the Bie, it’s that the metal is slathered in a super sweet syrup. Not enough to mask it completely, but enough to prevent it from spoiling the experience.
Snifter – Deschutes The Abyss
You see that snifter next to The Abyss over there? Yeah, that little puppy is made of crystal. That gold rim, that is some high carat, real deal gold. When Beer Blotter busts out the vintage Abyss, they drink it in styzile.
Just as a reminder, this beer is brewed with molasses and licorice and 33% of it is aged in oak and oak bourbon barrels. It fills the crystal glassware with pure black oil liquid and a tan head that settles to a wisp and ring. It is very earthy in the nose. There is very little sweetness to be noted. The wood and licorice come out in the nose, as do roasted malts, all of which seem to impart a barren dryness. The flavor is very peppery up front, shifting into molasses soaked wood. I can only think to call the flavor “mature”. It reminds me, in a way, to Pu-erh tea. It’s just so earthy that I feel it’s much more of an acquired taste than most beers. So very dry. In the exhale following the swallow, the booze and licorice mingle expertly. Some salty pretzel notes simmer to the surface as the beer warms. This beer is really unique and deserves it’s notoriety.
***Notes of a Beer Nerd is a column written by resident cellar dwelling mammal, Timperial Stout. Feel free to e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions, concerns or comments***
Enjoyed on 10/20/2010
Brewery: Brooklyn Brewery
Location: Brooklyn, New York
Beer: Black Ops
Presentation: 750ml – Blown Glass Bottle – Corked and Caged
Style: Imperial Stout
Recommended Serving Temp: 55 degrees
Brooklyn Black Ops does not exist. However, if it did exist, it would be a robust stout concocted by the Brooklyn brewing team under cover of secrecy and hidden from everyone else at the brewery. Supposedly “Black ops” was aged for four months in bourbon barrels, bottled flat, and re-fermented with Champagne yeast, creating big chocolate and coffee flavors with a rich underpinning of vanilla-like oat notes. They say there are only 1,000 cases. We have no idea what they’re talking about.
Food Pairings: Grilled meat, ice cream, brownies
Cheese Pairings: Aged Gouda, Cheddar, Parmesan
Music Pairing: Small Black from Brooklyn
Beer Advocate: A- (4.25)
Rate Beer: 100 (4.00)
Being from Philadelphia, I have had pretty much every beer that Brooklyn makes. Well, at least the ones that were available before I moved to Seattle three and a half years ago. In PA, there are some very odd laws based around beer. As a consumer, you have to buy any beer that you want to take home with you from either a bar (six-packs only) or a distributor (full cases only). You cannot buy beer at a grocery store, convenience store, etc. There are a few bottle shops around that sell individual bottles, but they are few and far between. With this in mind, many larger breweries end up producing “variety” cases, almost exclusively for PA consumers. Most of the time, these include 4 different six-packs, but sometimes there’s even more variety.
Brooklyn was one of the breweries that offered the variety case and I purchased it quite often. For me, this was one of the few variety options where I liked every beer, even the lager, and that fact stuck with me. I have always respected Garret Oliver and Brooklyn since those burgeoning days of beer nerdiness. As that nerdiness reached full bloom, I abandoned the variety case all together and exclusively shopped at the bottle shops, despite the inconvenience. Those days allowed me to find Brooklyn’s Black Chocolate Stout. To this day, that beer is one of the beers I most miss from the East coast. It’s just like what you think it would be like, chocolatey, sweet, smooth and warming.
Once I heard that the brewery that made one of my favorite East coast stouts was doing a limited run of bourbon barrel aged imperial stout, I flipped out. But, alas, I quickly excepted the fact that I would probably never get a chance to try it, being so far away from the distribution area. But then, the other 2/3 of beerblotter took a trip to NYC. I said to them before they departed, “If there is one bottle that you return with, for the love of god make it be Black Ops!” Yadda, yadda, yadda, here we are today.
This monster pours with a huge head of brown and a slight hint of clay color. It should go without saying that the liquid itself is oil black. As the head dwindles, which takes quite a while I may add, there is some serious lacing left on the glass that seems to be caramelized or heated to crystallization on the inside of the glass. It’s a sight to see! The head never does fully dissipate, leaving an impressive 1/8 of an inch to the very end.
The scent is outrageously smooth and complex. Notes of bourbon, pretzels, vanilla, white cookie or white cake batter, wood, tobacco and a medicinal booziness exist. As it warms, there is a sense of saltiness that is produced in the nose, possibly a suggestion from the pretzel connotation, or possibly the other way around. Maybe the scent really is of salt and the baked, malty notes bring pretzels to mind. The world may never know. Also uncovered: Burnt sugar, creme brulee, brown sugar, rum, almond biscotti…did I mention that this is complex?
This is smooth without being too cloying or syrupy. The champagne yeast is not as active as I suspected it would feel in the mouth, but it must play a massive role in the body, which is super unique. The use of champagne yeast in beer is rare, but it has produced fantastic results here.
Many of the bourbon flavors are realized on the tongue, which I feel is unique – I generally just get the odors. The dark, roasted malts seem to be most prevalent near the end of the flavor profile. They impart a chocolate nib bitterness, but there is no dryness to be found. Vinous and a bit juicy (read: not drying) with an intense mouth watering nature, but not overly sweet. It’s perplexing how the flavor lingers forever and is not dry but it’s simultaneously not very sweet. Many of the flavors associated with the scents listed above come and go as the liquid washes over the taste buds. The experience is like eating a slurry of every desert ever made, and it’s awesome!
There is a whole butt load of booze in the aftertaste, which makes it a bit challenging to pinpoint the subtle nuances. There is definitely some licorice in there, I did get that.
This beer was shared amongst the three beerblotter members, and each one of us was completely smitten by it. It is, without a doubt, one of the best bourbon barrel aged imperial stouts we have ever had. This beer is not easy to find, especially on the West Coast, but hear me now: do WHATEVER you must to get this!
If you like Brooklyn Black Ops, you should try…
Disclaimer: This beer was purchased on my own with my own hard-earned money at a local bottle shop, and aged to perfection by yours truly.
Yup, we plod on. The journey continues, down the beautiful path of beerdom, through the expansive pages of Timperial’s beer journal.
Introduction: Just in case you are new to the blotter, here is the link to follow if you need an explanation of what in the hell this column is all about. In a nutshell, the archive is a time machine that takes us back a few years to the initial days of my beer journaling. I’ve drank a lot of good beers through the years, and I’d like to share my thoughts on how they tasted. Hopefully I’ll whet your appetite and you will give these beers a try for yourself. If I’m lucky enough to make that happen for you, please tell us about your experience and how it tasted in your words.
The last installment left us in the waning days of 2007. Let’s pick up with a beer that was enjoyed on the day after Christmas.
Dogfish Head Craft Brewed Ales (Milton, DE) – Golden Era Imperial Pilsner
9%. The label says that it uses all continental pilsner malt and noble hops in a Czech brewing tradition, or in the Reinheitsgebot tradition? Translucent yellow color and minimal head consistent with the style. Nice carbonation though, when coupled with the alcohol and hop spicy, citrusy bitterness tingles the back of the tongue. Hops are also present in the nose, as well as a cereal smell. Malt is also present. This is a really, really good beer. I didn’t really expect greatness from a pilsner, though I should have known from the brewer. It’s amazing what one of the best American brewers can do with classic ingredients.
Timperial Commentary: I remember this experience quite well actually, because it made a serious impression on me. I was truly taken aback that I liked a pilsner. From that moment on, I have tried each and every imperial pilsner that I have found, and have enjoyed almost all of them. Who knows, had I not taken a crack at Golden Era back in ’07, maybe I would have never given the rest a chance and missed out on a lot of excellent beers.
Unibroue (Chambly, Quebec, Canada) – Terrible
10% abv limited dark ale. Very dark indeed. Black, tan head, light barely makes it through on the edges. It smells fantastic…Belgian yeast, raspberries, nuts, candy. It’s pretty cold and the flavors are still glorious. No one thing is standing out, glorious like all Unibroue treats. Candied or dried fruits most notable. As it warms, a more defined date or fig flavor emerges. The alcohol really comes out and burns in a wine-like way. Very sweet, very, very good.
Timperial Commentary: This is another one of those situations where I am so thankful that I write this column, that I periodically sift through my archives. This is precisely why I write notes about beers that I drink. There is no doubt that I have a profound respect for what Unibroue does. In fact, just this past Monday I celebrated Canadian Thanksgiving with three bottles of Quebec’s finest. The thing is, I have totally glossed over Terrible lately, mostly because I couldn’t remember if it was good. Next time I’m in the bottle shop, I’ll be sure to pick one up.
Deschutes Brewery (Bend, OR) – The Abyss
11%. 22oz wax dipped bottle. 2007 reserve. A stout brewed with licorice and molasses with 33% aged in oak and oak bourbon barrels. This is one of the blackest beers I have ever seen. No light passed through. The color of the head is amazing. Burnt, bronzy, red color…dissipates fairly quickly leaving wispy in the center and bubbly near the glass. It smells very meaty, coffee and licorice. I see the reason for all of the hype. This is the best stout I have ever had. Slightly warming but no evident alcohol despite the abv. Very smooth, coating aftertaste. Perfect in every way.
Timperial Commentary: Wow! This was, apparently, a very big moment for me. “This is the best stout I have ever had.” That line is impossibly loaded with ways to be interpreted. Nearly 3 years later, I can admit that I don’t remember writing that, so I can only make assumptions like anyone would. Over the past year of Beer Blotter’s existence, I have always been known as Timperial Stout. Why? Because imperial stout is my favorite beer style, and it just works so well in conjunction with my real name. I do know that that has not always been true (that impy stout was my favorite), and that it was actually a fairly recent realization for me, but now it seems that I can directly trace the ascension of my love for the style in my history to this experience with The Abyss in early ’08. I still have a bottle of the ’07 in my cellar. I always knew that it would have to be a very special occasion for me to crack that bottle open, but now…an occasion may not exist that it worthy enough.
Enjoyed on 10/6/2010
Location: Portland, OR
Beer: Fresh Hop Mirror Pond
Presentation: This is not bottled. Brown glass flip-top growler.
Style: Fresh Hop American Style Pale Ale
Hops: Fresh Cascade
Commercial Description: Our favorite pale ale plus our favorite time of year (hop harvest!) equals one of the staff’s most loved beers. This pale is tawny colored and full-bodied with a distinctive lingering hop flavor attained by adding copious quantities of fresh Cascade hops.
Beer Advocate: B+ (3.8) (1 review)
Rate Beer: Unrated
Ahh the fresh hop beer. What a marvelous creation. Us West Coast dwellers are very lucky to be close to the source. Remember, the Yakima Valley is home to nearly 80% of the U.S. hop crop. Though fresh hop beers are quickly growing in popularity and are now being brewed all over the country thanks to overnight shipping, there is little doubt that we have the most prolific access to beer of the style. I once read a top 5 list of the best beer festivals in the world. The Yakima Fresh Hop Fest was on the list. Why? Because there is no other place in the world that could host such a thing. Uniqueness wins massive points, and I think it’s valid.
Autumn is one of my favorite times to be a beer drinker. The harvest season brings about both wet hop beers and pumpkin beers. Since these brews have such limited availability, there is sometimes a sense of urgency to take them all in before they go away for another year. Thus, I have been running around like a chicken with its head cut off trying to gather in as much harvest beers as possible. After hearing how much Geoff of Seattle Beer News enjoyed this beer on his blog, I knew that I needed to make a trip to Portland before it was all gone. When Hair of the Dog and Cascade decided to coincide the opening of their long-awaited tap rooms with fresh hop season, the stars aligned…and here I sit, sipping down that “greenest” of beer pleasures.
I strongly feel that one must approach fresh hop beers in a much different way than traditional beers bittered with dried hops. It’s actually surprising how different of an animal wet hops are versus dried hops. Of course, the brewing process must vary with the use of such a different ingredient, so why shouldn’t the tasting experience differ as well. When a brewer decides to craft one of these little delights, he or she is making a serious commitment. First of all, the hops need to go from vine to brew in less than 24 hours. The shorter the delay the better. You don’t want those little nuggets to start to wilt or lose acidity. Secondly, since fresh hops contain about 60% water, you have to use about 5 times more of them to produce the same effect as dried hops. That, on top of any shipping costs you may be forced to incur if you aren’t close enough to the source to pick them up yourself, can substantially increase your monetary commitment. Finally, fresh hops need room to fully infuse and unfurl in the wort. Unlike pellet hops that simply dissolve or dried hops that can be dunked using a hop bag, a hopback is generally required for full exposure. Not every brewery has one of those. The mash tun can be used, but this will add a lot of risk and time to the brewing process. It’s clear that brewers are dispensing a lot of effort to put a little bit of unprocessed (mostly) Earth into a beer.
So how should we, as drinkers, properly calibrate our palettes in preparation? Well, for me, it’s about that ‘bit of natural earth’ within. Fresh hop beers are generally not super bitter. The hops give off a much more subtle, greener flavor. Maybe it’s hard to explain. I guess you just know it when you taste it.
Let’s see if the extended efforts of Oregon’s Deschutes Brewery paid off.
Pouring out of a growler is often awkward and my initial serving was no exception. The brew met my glass with much vigor and I felt forced to cease the onslaught after the glass was about half full. My instinct served me right. The top half of the glass quickly became inundated with white foam built of mostly minuscule bubbles. It didn’t take very long for the mighty cap to subside, and in doing so, a picturesque slathering of lace was left on the inside wall of the glass. After all settling was complete, a potent ring of those tiny bubbles remained where the beer met the glass and a few globs of larger bubbles floated on the surface. The fluid itself displays a foggy, orange tinged amber that is very inviting indeed.
My initial impression of the scent, while the beer was still quite chilled, was of a very earthy, resinous, skunky hop attribute. As it warms a bit, more of the biscuit or cracker-like maltiness can be distinguished. The hop profile becomes less pungent as well, but the earthy quality is further solidified. It’s not to far from sticking your nose up to a honeysuckle bush. I get a nondescript floral essence, but also the odors of the actual green of the plant – the leaves and the stems. There is melon rind and unripened pear. Definitely honeysuckle…and honeydew.
The mouthfeel is thin and the carbonation is minimal, but I feel it unsubstantiated to make a proper judgment here considering that my growler was filled on Sunday and it is now Wednesday. Yes, chances are good that all is untainted, but for scoring purposes, I must give the benefit of the doubt. That is why this is the first time that I have ever properly reviewed a beer on this site that isn’t from a bottle. Actually, with that being said and upon further reflection, these potentially negative aspects can actually play to the advantage of the beer, or possibly more specifically, the hops. After re-reading Geoff’s thoughts, he is right about nothing standing in the way of the true essence of the hop. This is surely not hop candy in my hand, but hop juice, or water squeezed from a freshly picked hop flower it is.
The flavor, in many ways, matches the scent and is overwhelmingly of melon and flowers. It’s juicy, clean and crisp, like a massive bite out of a perfectly ripe piece of fruit, when the juices just trickle down the corners of your mouth. I am also reminded of an iced, flavored white tea…which is something that I am very fond of. The most enticing element of the hoppy front-end of the taste is the idea that this is what cascade hops truly and utterly taste like, and it’s delicious natural.
This beer has a low ABV, manageable IBUs, and is incredibly refreshing. It’s sessionable and infused with the bounty of the best part of our great country. I’m delighted with every sip. Any bitterness is very subtle and mostly found well after the swallow. Without a doubt, the malts play a role, but this is a fresh hop pale ale and we are dealing in subtlety. They mostly exist in the aftertaste, which is the most full flavored and beer-like…the best part in my opinion. The hop qualities linger, the biscuit sweetness creeps up and the bitterness drys…all at once.
Is this beer more flavor transcendent than America’s most highly heralded imperial IPAs? Simply put, no. But, there is so much more to fresh hop beers than the cut-and-dry flavor profile. There is history, geography, heart and soul… There is the absolute core of the Humulus Lupulus plant that we all adore so intensely. This is the beer that Mother Earth drinks, and tonight, I feel her presence within.
Color/Head/Retention [maximum of 1.00 point possible]: 0.98
Odor [maximum of 2.00 points possible]: 1.86
Carbonation/Mouthfeel [maximum of 1.00 point possible]: 0.85
Hop Flavor [maximum of 3.00 points possible]: 3.00
Malt Flavor/Balance [maximum of 2.00 points possible]: 1.66
Finish/Aftertaste [maximum of 1.00 point possible]: 0.96
Total [maximum of 10.00 points possible]: 9.31