Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Huskies & Hop Valley Brewing Co.

Here is a video of a short trip I took my father on up to Husky Stadium in Seattle, Washington for the opening game of the 2011 college football season. The first part of the video is a few clips from the game against Eastern Washington University, the 2010 FCS (former 1-AA) National Champions. He is a life long Husky fan and I am an Oregon Duck, but it doesn't matter when it comes to this, we had a great time! On the way home to San Diego, however, we stopped in Eugene, Oregon- Duck country- for some VooDoo Doughnuts and picked up some fine brews from Hop Valley Brewing Company in Springfield, Oregon. Cheers!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Beer Review: Scuttlebutt Porter

Scuttlebutt Brewing Co. 
Everett, WA.
22 ounce bottle
Pint glass
5.5% ABV

Appearance/Color:  pours a very dark brown edged by deep ruby hues. Head is thin, about a quarter inch thick, but keeps a nice satin-like layer on top and a light lacing around the inside of the glass. Carbonation is low-moderate.

Aroma:  notes of chocolate make up the profile with hints of a dry breadiness, some toffee, and a tad roasty. There is also a faint hint of smokiness and perhaps molasses. Little to no hop aroma, at least I cannot pick any up, but chocolate malt is definitely present.

Taste/Mouthfeel:  I mentioned that the aroma carried a slight smokiness to it, but it is more evident in the taste. It's not overpowering, but it is there and I only say that because I don't think this beer is brewed with any smoked malts. Once again though, chocolate makes up the profile along with a low, but pleasant roast character. It has kind of a rugged character at first as it hits my palate along with a mild peppery feel. A bready character backs up the chocolate malt with very slight hints of toffee and molasses. It finishes moderately dry with a nutty, satin-like smoothness. Very tasty and delicious. Cheers!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Bump in the Night CDA, Full Sail Brewing Co.

Bump in the Night
Cascadian Dark Ale
Hood River, OR
22 oz bottle
Served in 20oz pub glass 
6.5% ABV

Color/Appearance:  Pours a dark brown color with deep ruby tints edging the body as it is held up to light. The head is slightly off-white, half to one inch thick, with tiny bubbles tightly compacted underneath a creamy lather on top, vibrant and lacing the interior of the glass as it slowly deteriorates. Moderate carbonation flows up the center of the glass with little to no haze. Overall, this a very attractive and inviting beer.

Aroma:  Bottle label indicates a big floral and citrus nose, but what I get is a dose of fresh northwest pine, which, for me, is not a bad thing. There is a mild floral note and little citrus to speak of, but definitely lots of good piney scents. As I allow the beer to sit longer there are more malty aromas coming through; mild hints of caramel, chocolate, and perhaps a biscuit like character. The pine, however, is the star of the aroma.

Taste/Mouthfeel:  Right away, a piney hop bitterness and a moderate roasted malt flavor are backed up nicely with a creamy medium body texture as it splashes my palate. A light, but noticeable citrus flavor creeps in as it goes down; somewhat grapefruit like that adds a pleasant sharpness. The hop flavors are pretty forward in the taste, but that good roasted malt character cuts in nicely with small notes of caramel, chocolate and a dry biscuit flavor. The finish is dry with a mild spicy hop and roasty goodness that does nothing except entice you to take another drink. 

The flavors in this CDA appear very clean and clear as they present themselves to my tastebuds. The head also continues to maintain a good consistency, maybe a 1/8 inch thickness is always present and leaving a good lacing inside the glass. To me, always a sign of a solid beer and these days I find myself leaving the bottle shop with more Full Sail beers. Cheers!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Anvil ESB, AleSmith Brewing Co.

Anvil ESB
AleSmith Brewing Co.
San Diego, CA.
5.5% ABV
22oz bottle

Color/Appearance:  The Anvil pours a very bright and vibrant copper color, almost a ruby red nearing brown. A slight haze appears as I lift the glass up to the light, but that is expected as it is a live ale, or bottle conditioned beer. The head was quite sizeable at first, maybe nearing 1-1/2 to 2 inches high and off-white in color, and rocky with a creamy top layer. The carbonation flow upwards is light. Overall, an outstanding and rich looking beer in appearance.

Aroma:  A nice malty nose up front; kind of a sweet and savory profile at the same time. Notes of tangy hops balance out the caramel and toffee aromas that mix well. There is almost a mild sour like character to the beer as well- nothing fruity, just a mild sourness....well maybe something of a dark fruit, like figs or prunes do come through. A different and very particular strain of yeast is sometimes used by some breweries for bottle conditioning. This could be the case in why the beer has a slighty sour character.

Taste/Mouthfeel:  From just the first sip there seems to be a lot going on. I don't really know how to describe it other than it tastes traditional. On the back of the bottle they describe the ales of Burton-on-Trent, England as being some of the most savory ales in the world. Thats the best way to describe it, savory. There is a mild malt sweetness there, but it is definitely more of a savory character. Just like in the aroma though, you get the tangy hops and that mild sour note. Hints of caramel and toffee also round out this medium bodied Extra Special Bitter right before it's spicy velvet rich finish.

AleSmith began back in 1995 in San Diego, CA. The Anvil ESB was the very first ale they produced and still remains their flagship beer. It has won numerous awards including both silver and gold medals at the world beer championships. The Anvil ESB is also thought to be one of the most traditional like bitters produced by an American brewer; very much similar to the traditional English bitters you find in Great Britain. I myself feel that AleSmith brews some of the most legendary beers available in the United States.
Pick up an Anvil sometime and taste the craftsmenship. Cheers!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Hop Monkey I.P.A.

Hop Monkey I.P.A.
Laurelwood Brewpub
Portland, Oregon
22 ounce bottle
ABV: Unknown

Appearance: pours a straight amber color with a slightly off-white head, about one inch thick. Carbonation appears low-medium and a light lacing coats the inside.

Aroma: a nice bouquet of citrus and floral hops on the nose are immediately backed by a moderate malt sweetness, nutty and toffee like in character. Perhaps some good earthiness to it as well.

Taste / mouthfeel: light to moderate bitterness and citrusy. Malt is a tad sweeter than I anticipated, but the beer is quite old, maybe close to a year. The balance is still pleasant on the palate, telling me that the Hop Monkey has held up pretty well. The mouthfeel, to me, comes off as creamy, mildly spicy, smooth, and medium body. The finish is moderately sweet with a light bitterness that lingers. That suits me!

All in all, a solid IPA from Laurelwood. For a beer that is likely pushing a year old (purchased in November 2010) it has held up pretty well. It still has a nice complexity of hop and malt flavors. I should have had this beer fresh when I was at PDX not long ago, as I did indeed, pay a visit to the new establishment inside the Horizon terminal at Portland International Airport. Regardless, I enjoyed this bomber of India Pale Ale and will be visiting Portland again soon. Cheers!