Alameda Klickitat Pale Ale

alameda_klickitat-Brewer: Alameda Brewing, Portland OR
Style: Pale Ale
ABV: 5.3%
IBU: 36

Description: Named in honor of the Klickitat people of the Pacific Northwest, this pale ale is part of Alameda’s regular lineup. It is fashioned using Caramel and Munich malts, and then bittered with 3 different additions of Northwest-grown Cascade hops to emphasize the different aspects of their flavor.

Tasting Notes: All told, this was a very descent and well-balanced pale ale. The mouthfeel and smooth malt flavor reminded me a red ale, but the hop bitterness – which really comes through in a variety of flavors – was that a good solid pale. Added to that is the nice amber hue and a cloudy profile that makes it an all around pleasurable drinking experience!

Appearance: Amber, cloudy, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Rich malt, baked bread, herbal hops, grassy and citrus notes
Taste: Smooth malt, chewy mouthfeel, grassy and piney hops, mild citrus bite
Aftertaste: Lingering hop bitterness, citrus rind, smooth malt finish
Overall: 8.5/10

Rogue Morimoto Soba Ale

rogue_morimotoBrewer: Rogue Brewery, Portland, OR
Style: Buckwheat Ale
Alc/Vol: 5%
IBU: 30

Description: This beer is a specialty release from the brewery, part of their Morimoto series that pays homage to Japanese brewing. The name Soba refers to the addition of roasted buckwheat, which is combined with 2-Row, C15, Munich, and Rogue Farms proprietary Dare and Risk Malts and Rebel Hops.

Tasting Notes: I can recall having this beer over a year ago, but I never quite got around to doing a proper review. And just as I remember it, this beer was a crisp, mildly hopped ale that retains characteristics of a sharp Pilsner or a good, dry pale. The addition of roasted buckwheat adds another dimensions of flavor – one of nuts and mild sweetness – that compliments the Munich malts and hops quite well.

Appearance: Amber/Orange, slightly cloudy, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Sweet, grainy, Munich malts, notes of buckwheat, mild hops
Taste: Immediate crisp malt, tang, notes of nuts, hint of sweetness, dry, bitter hops
Aftertaste: Lingering hops, malts and nutty soba flavor
Overall: 8.5/10

Breakside Liquid Sunshine Pilsner

breakside-pilsner-breaks-22863-4zBrewer: Breakside Brewery, Portland OR
Style: Pilsner
Alc/Vol: 5.1%

Description: Located in Portland (with a second taproom/brewery in Milwauki, OR), the Breakside Brewpub has been making handcrafted beers for many years and has created a wide variety in that time. The Liquid Sunshine Pilsner is part of their current, regular lineup and is available year-round on tap at both of their locations, as well as for commercial sales and export.

Tasting Notes: This Pilsner was exceptionally crisp and refreshing and had a nice finish to it that was clean without being watery. The flavor profile was also very consistent with a good Pilsner, calling to the mind the grainy flavor of Munich malts and the sharp, grassy flavor of Saaz and Hallertau hops. Definitely a good hot weather beer, or just something for when you’re craving a good, clean lager.

Appearance: Light golden, cloudy, medium foam retention and good carbonation
Nose:  Gentle smell of Munich malts and Noble hops
Taste: Light grainy malt flavor, mild tang, crisp hop bite, mild bitterness and grassyness
Aftertaste: Mild lingering bitterness and malt flavor, very clean and refreshing
Overall: 9/10

Chatoe Rogue OREgasmic Ale

Rogue_oregasmicSome time ago, the Rogue Brewery – one of my favorite brewery’s of all time – began producing a special series that takes the term “locally sourced” to new heights. And after many months, I finally managed to secure a third sample from their growing Grow Your Own (GYO) series! Known as the OREgasmic Ale, this pale ale is made using strictly local ingredients, which include Rogue Farms Dare and Risk malts and Rogue Hopyard Revolution hops.

And much like their Dirtoire Black Lager and Roguenbier Rye Ale, this beer was rich and complex in flavor and tasted like it was from the earth. It pours a dark amber, is slightly cloudy, and has a thick, foamy head and good carbonation. The taste is reminiscent of an amber ale, with syrupy, slightly sweet malts with discernible baked bread flavor; but with some additional strong, earthy hop notes that are at once piney and citrusy in flavor.

Appearance: Dark amber, slight cloudiness, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Rich malt nose, good hop notes, citrus, grassyness and pine
Taste: Deep, slightly sweet malts, earthy hop flavor, pine and citrus rind
Aftertaste: Lingering bitterness, slightly coarse and syrupy malt flavor
Overall: 9/10

Well, that makes three beers out of the total eight in the GYO lineup that I’ve tried so far. It’s an unfortunate and wonderful thing when a craft brewing operation explodes and begins producing a seemingly endless stream of brews, with multiple series, and a ton of limited releases. But it does make for plenty of surprises and new experiences!

Hopworks Survival 7-Grain Stout

hub-organic-survival-7-g-20605-864zAnother beer from south of the border has been lingering in my fridge for some time, again due to the fact that I was saving it for my beer class. But given my affinity for Oatmeal Stouts, and the fact that this is one I had yet sample, I predictably caved. Lucky for me its not too hard to find around these parts, since it comes to BC from the great state of Oregon.

I’ve tried only one other beer by the Hopworks Urban Brewery, their organic HUB Lager. And that was a most pleasing drinking experience, so I expected good things from this beer as well. And consistent with what I’ve come to expect from an Oatmeal Stout, this beer poured a deep black, had good foam, carbonation and a creamy head. And of course, the flavor was a profile of coffee and cocoa, roasted malts and some nice hop and malt bitterness.

But what was also pleasing about this particular stout was the combination of grains – which included wheat, amaranth, quinoa, spelt and kamut in addition to Barley and oats – led to a very smooth taste and mouth feel. Hence, I give it a particularly high rating that I haven’t given to a stout since the introduction of Hoyne’s Voltage Espresso Stout.

Appearance: Black, opaque, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Roasted malt, minerals, hint of coffee, mild hop bitterness
Taste: Smooth malts, slightly bitter, creamy, hint of espresso, grassy hops
Aftertaste: Lingering coffee and roasted malt bitterness
Overall: 9/10

Onto the next tasting and the next HUB product! There are quite a few, and I’m not entirely sure about the prospects of finding them all up here, north of the 49th Parallel!

Logsdon Seizoen Bretta

logsdon_seizon_brettaToday I have a special feature, a sour ale that comes from a brewery located in Hood River, Oregon. It’s known as Logsdon, a farmhouse operation that produces handcrafted beers using locally sourced ingredients, sometimes their own. Being a fan of sour ale, I noticed this beer at one of my favorite dispensers and immediately snatched it up. It’s quite the treat when something rare and truly local pops up!

And I can say without exception that I was very impressed with this ale. Much like other fine sours I’ve had of late (namely from Driftwood’s venerable Bird of Prey series), this beer boasted a truly lovely, wild, and spicy palate that was highly reminiscent of sour cherry fruit. On top of that, there were some specific notes that put me in mind of Chimay and other Trappist ales, specifically an oaky quality that complimented it so well.

Appearance: Golden orange, cloudy, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Lactic acid, sour cherry, dry oak
Taste: Notes of oak and sour cherry, dry and spicy yeast
Aftertaste: Dry, lingering, traces of yeast and mild hops
Overall: 10/10

Yep, this beer was just that good! Like a true sour ale, which can only be produced from a farmhouse operation, it was loaded with all kinds of complimentary and complex notes. I wish I could find more from this brewery. Alas, I have a feeling the presence of this beer alone in my area was something of a rare occurrence. It was worth it!

Ninkasi Babylon Double IPA

ninkasi_babylonHello again and good day! It’s the weekend again and I am back with some more new and exciting examples of craft brewing from my local beer store. And today, it’s another visitor from south of the border, Eugene, Oregon to be specific. And I’m rather lucky in that my local store has chosen to stock tall boys of Ninkasi’s Babylon Double IPA, a special release beer which is typically available only in their mixer pack. Nothing wrong with those, but if I’m going to sample, I want to sample big!

And as the name would suggest, this double IPA is quite the heavy hitter. In addition to some high-gravity malts, it also weighs in at a hefty 9.1% alc/vol. And as could be expected, it also boasts a high concentration of hops, 100 IBUs worth to be exact. As a result, the alcohol, malts, and hops achieve a certain high-concentration balance. Rather than any one aspect of it being overpowering, it’s all overpowering at once!

Appearance: Deep orange, clear, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Rich, sweet malt, hints of grassy and tropical hops
Taste: High-gravity malty sweetness, notes of passion fruit and grassy hops
Aftertaste: Lingering coarse malt flavor, hop bitterness
Overall: 8/10

Yes, this beer is not for the faint of heart, uninitiated, or weak of taste of buds! Like anything with the words double and IPA in it, it should only ever be enjoyed by those who have a deep and enduring passion for strong ale and a hefty dose of bitterness!

Ninkasi Believer Double Red Ale and Total Domination IPA

ninkasi_breweryHello great state of Oregon! It seems I have another two-fer that is the product of mere chance and good fortune. Recently, my local beer store began carrying some of Ninkasi’s product line, and given that I’ve seen it around several of my other haunts, I decided to give it a spin. In the past week, I’ve tried two of their regular lineup, a double red and an IPA, and was pretty impressed with both.

ninkasi_believerFirst up, the Believer Double Red Ale. As I said before, I was quite impressed with this first installment from their lineup. Immediately I noticed the interesting floral and sweet bouquet, which was also present in their IPA. And the flavor was consistent, delivering a hop flavor that smacks of your traditional Centennials, plus the Summit variety which are largely used in Barley Wines (another aspect that is apparent from the get go).

Combined with a deep, rich malt profile, this beer packs a bit of a double-whammy. It begins with a deep malty taste that is slightly sweet and syrupy, also reminiscent of barley wine, and a complex hop flavor that’s both citrusy and grassy. The flavor then transitions where the malts and hops deliver in the aftertaste department, becoming coarse and bitter respectively.

Appearance:
Deep red, high gravity, transparent, good foam and carbonation

Nose: Rich malts, discernible hoppiness, floral and citrusy
Taste: Deep malt flavor, slight sweetness, citrusy and grassy, then bitter
Aftertaste: Lingering bitterness, coarse malts and citrus rind
Overall: 8.5/10

ninkasi_total_dominationSecond, there is the Total Dominion IPA. Of the two, this was my favorite, though only by a small margin. Much like the Believer, it is a complex beer boasting a good strength (6.7% compared to the red ale’s 6.9% alc/vol) and a combination of hops that lend it a distinct aroma and flavor. But unlike the Believer, it is lighter in terms of appearance and malts. Light in color, relatively light in malts, the main thrust of this customer comes through in the hops.

Rated at 85 IBUs, its no secret that this IPA has a bitter hop profile! However, said profile has many layers to it and this is noticeable in the smell as well as the taste, consisting of Summit (once again), Amarillo and Crystal hops. In terms of taste, this results in a citrus bite, followed by notes of tropical fruit (I detected passion fruit and pineapple), followed by a long, lingering bitter finish.

Appearance: Deep gold, transparent, mild foam retention, good carbonation
Nose: Floral hoppy aroma, citrus, tropical fruit
Taste: Immediate burst of bitter and citrus hops, giving way to passion fruit and pineapple
Aftertaste: Bitterness once again, long and lingering
Overall: 9/10

Not a bad start for this operation, located in Eugene, Oregon and not far from where my sister and brother-in-law live. Perhaps I shall arrange for that road trip sooner other than later 😉 And that’s all for now. One of these days, I really MUST find the remaining beers on my winter list and polish that long document off! Otherwise, I’ll be transitioning into Spring seasonal beers before I ever complete it. How humiliating would that be?