Red Hook Audible Ale

redhook_audibleBrewer: Red Hook Brewery, Woodinville, WA
Style: Pale Ale
ABV: 4.7%
IBUs: 22

Description: The latest addition to the brewery’s regular lineup, the Audible Ale is the result of a collaboration with sportscaster Dan Patrick to create the ultimate sports-friendly craft beer. Combining a lighter alcohol content with a mild hopping, this pale ale is brewed with drinkability in mind.

Tasting Notes: This beer was a bit on the light side for my taste, but given the focus on drinkability, this was not surprising. While the hop flavor is a bit subdued, it does have a pleasant malt character that is in keeping with a good session ale. It also finishes clean and is quite refreshing. This is the third and final beer from the Red Hook sample pack, and it was an all-around good drinking experience!

Appearance: Light orange, clear, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Good malt, dry, mild floral and citrus hops, minerals
Taste: Smooth malt, slightly crisp, light, dry hops, hint of grass, minerals
Aftertaste: Lingering mild malt flavor, mineral tang, clean finish
Overall: 7.8/10

Red Hook Long Hammer IPA

redhook_ipaBrewer: Red Hook Brewery, Woodinville, WA
Style: India Pale Ale
ABV: 6.2%
IBUs: 44

Description: As part of their regular lineup, Red Hook has been brewing this classic Northwestern-style India Pale Ale since 1984. Moderate in terms of alcohol and hop content, this beer is bittered twice – both during the boil and then dry-hopped for a dry finish.

Tasting Notes: This here IPA is the second offering from my sample pack, and it is the firs time I have ever sampled it. On the lighter side, this beer still has everything one would expect from a Pacific Northwestern IPA. This includes a rich, semi-sweet malt base and a good dose of citrus and piney hops. And of course, the dry-hopping adds an extra dimension of drier, grassy notes. Two down, one to go!

Appearance: Golden/amber, clear, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Rich malt, notes of citrus, pine, and grassy hops
Taste: Crisp malt, sweet bread, medium notes of citrus, pine, dry grassy-hop finish
Aftertaste: Lingering malt sweetness, hop bitterness and citrus rind
Overall: 8.2/10

Red Hook ESB

redhook_esbBrewer: Red Hook Brewery, Woodinville, WA
Style: Extra Special Bitter
ABV: 5.8%
IBUs: 28

Description: As part of their regular lineup, this brew is fashioned in the style of a traditional British ESB. A mainstay of the brewery since 1987, it is fashioned using (what I assume are) caramel and amber malt, and lightly bittered with a combination of dry, earthy, and citrus hops.

Tasting Notes: This is the second time I’ve tried Red Hook’s ESB, which I first drank while visiting family in Seattle back in 2011. This time around, I am drinking it as part of a sample pack sent to me in exchange for an honest review. And honestly, I was quite pleased with the natural balance it struck. Smooth caramel malts mingle with dry, earthy and mildly citrus hop flavor, before finishing with a tang of minerals. In may ways, I was reminded of a Marzen. And, given my predilection for that style, that’s not a bad thing.

Appearance: Amber/orange, clear, medium foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Rich malt, syrup, caramel, mild floral and citrus notes
Taste: Smooth, semi-sweet malt, tang, English shortbread, citrus and earthy hops
Aftertaste: Lingering malt flavors and mineral tang
Overall: 8/10

Maui Big Swell IPA

maui_ipaBrewery: Maui Brewing, Lahaina, HI
Style: India Pale Ale
ABV: 6.8%
IBU: 82

Description: As part of their Flagship Beer (aka. regular lineup), the Big Swell is a classic example of a Northwestern IPA. It combines pale malt with four different Pacific northwest hop varieties, which are added both during and after the boil to add an additional layer of dry-hopped flavor to the mix.

Tasting Notes: This is my first sampling of the Maui brewery, and given my soft spot for IPAs I naturally I had to start with theirs. And this one definitely delivered in all departments. The malt was smooth and rich, the hop flavor was powerful, explosive and at once citrusy, grassy, herbal and dry on the tongue. Definitely a faithful Northwestern IPA! Onto the next Maui brew!

Appearance: Light amber, clear, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Rich malt, mixed nose of hops – grassy, piny, floral, lots of citrus
Taste: Smooth malt, syrupy, grassy, dry hop and powerful notes of citrus, and grapefruit
Aftertaste: Lingering hop bitterness, citrus rind and mild malt sweetness
Overall: 8.8/10

Parallel 49 Ugly Sweater Milk Stout

P49_milkstoutBrewer: Parallel 49 Brewery, Vancouver BC
Style: Milk Stout
ABV: 5%
IBU: 30

Description: As part of their seasonal lineup, this stout is a North American take on the traditional British stout. The name derives from the presence of lactose, which is added to provide a smooth balance to the dark, roasted malts.

Tasting Notes: While this was not my first taste of milk stout, it is a good example of this increasingly popular style. The addition of lactose provides some smooth, slightly sweet and milky notes, which are well-balanced when paired with the notes of espresso, cocoa and roasted malt flavor.

Appearance: Black, opaque, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Smooth, dark roasted malt, hints of coffee, warm milk, hot chocolate
Taste: Smooth start, roasted malts, tang, hint of espresso, chocolate, milk
Aftertaste: Lingering roasted malt flavor, lactose and milk flavor
Overall: 8/10

Lighthouse Barque Belgian Golden Strong Ale

belgian_blondeBrewer: Lighthouse Brewery, Esquimalt, BC
Style: Belgian-style Strong Ale
ABV: 8.2%
IBUs: Unlisted

Description: The latest in Lighthouse’s Uncharted Series, this Belgian-style strong ale is named in honor of the class of sailing ship that once served as the workhorse of the Pacific – including Captain Cooke’s HM Endeavour. This beer is brewed with a Pilsner malt and bittered with a combination of Saaz, Styrian Golding, and South Pacific Wai-iti hops.

Tasting Notes: I’ve always loved the Uncharted Series, mainly because of its emphasis on big flavor and strength. And this was certainly a big flavor-take on the traditional Belgian Blonde, employing rich malts, lots of candi sugar, notes of honey, white grape and other sweet fruits, and plenty of yeasty effervescence.

Appearance: Light gold, clear, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Strong malt, candi sugar, yeast, grapes, citrus, floral hops
Taste: Rich malt, honey, sugars, yeast, white grapes and fruity esters
Aftertaste: Lingering malt flavor, yeasty bitterness, fruity esters
Overall: 8.5/10