Chattering-Magpie-blog

Notes of a jaded beer taster.

Posted Sun Jul 31, 2011, 16:02 PM by Tracy | |

I didn’t get into the Oregon Brewer’s Festival beer tasting as much this year as previous years. It seems the novelty beers are pushing out the classics. But I have to admit that I spent as much time as anybody tasting the unusual one-off brews. I have gotten to where if I don’t like a beer, I will toss the taster. It’s just a token.

I was disappointed with the selection of witbiers this year. On top of that, I lost my credit card. It’s probably ground into the dirt of Waterfront Park, crushed under the flipflops of a bajillion semi-drunk people.

Only made it to the festival for two days, tasting a total of 14 beers with no plan, rhythm or goal other than to try unusual beer.

Beer 2011/07/29

Blue Frog Grog & Grill
Fairfield CA
Ginger & Meyer Ann
Belgian Blonde
6% alcohol
25 IBUs
Spicy and rich, with a creamy mouthfeel. A trace of hoppiness lingers, following on the bigger citrus and spice notes.

Bison Brewing Co
Berkeley CA
Bison Honey Basil Ale
Summer ale
6% alcohol
20 IBUs
A distinct aroma of basil, almost peppery. Basil hits the back of the palette while everything else gives the tongue a good working over. Savor, don’t chug. Might go well with pasta.

Caldera Brewing Co
Ashland OR
Caldera Hop Hash
American Strong Pale Ale
7% alcohol
95 IBUs
The description in the festival program sounds like the brewing equivalent of scraping the bong for pot resin and smoking it. Or so I’ve heard. The result is a very hoppy ale, big and bold.

Alaskan Brewing Co
Juneau AK
Alaskan White Ale
Witbier
5.3% alcohol
15 IBUs
Sorry to say I was disappointed. Didn’t have the brightness I expect in a Witbier. There was a kind of a dullness that made it heavier than I would have liked. The flavor profile was alright though.

Kona Brewing Co
Kailua Kona HI
Lemongrass Luau
“Quencher”
5% alcohol
17 IBUs
That is so not a beer style. Who comes up with these things? Never mind, it was refreshing and citrusy as promised, along the lines of a Witbier.

Klamath Basin Brewing
Klamath Falls OR
Crystal Springs IPA
IPA
7.1% alcohol
70 IBUs
A good strong IPA with a bit more malt than I would like. Still, it’s a well-crafted ale, solidly constructed.

7/31/2011

Hop Valley Brewing Co
Springfield OR
Alpha Centauri Binary IPA
Imperial IPA
8.6% alcohol
100 IBUs
A nice bite, not overwhelming despite the high IBUs. Very flavorful. Lingering aftertaste on the back of the tongue. Did I mention outstanding flavor?

Ale Industries
Concord CA
Orange Kush
Witbier
4.5% alcohol
22 IBUs
A tad heavier than I look for in a Witbier. Orange pushes the spice out of focus. Carbonation and overall mouthfeel is right, though.

Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
Milton DE
Black & Red
Imperial Stout
10.3% alcohol
20 IBUs
The talked-about beer of the festival. Glad I got to try it before they ran out. With an overwhelming aroma of chocolate coffee mint, it’s like drinking candy. Would make a good dessert served in a cordial glass. The fruit is subtle, serving as a solid chorus member instead of being a diva. Has a mouthfeel like Swiss chocolate.

Burnside Brewing Co
Portland OR
Grätzer
_ Grätzer_
5.7% alcohol
9 IBUs
A smoked aroma reminiscent of bacon. Light in color and slightly cloudy. An intriguing smoky flavor. Good carbonation keeps it light.

Ram Restaurant & Brewery
Happy Valley OR
Raspberry Wit
Witbier
4.8% alcohol
16 IBUs
This is more like what I look for in a wit, but the raspberry gives it a soapy taste and mouthfeel. It sounded like a good idea.

Golden Valley Brewing
McMinnville OR
Cote d’Or
Belgian Golden Ale
7% alcohol
20 IBUs
Intense, rich flavor almost to the point of being cloying. I can only take the classic Belgian flavoring in small doses.

Upright Brewing Co
Portland OR
Offen Weiss
Bavarian Hefeweizen
4.5% alcohol
12 IBUs
Very banana, very clove. I think I’ve just overdone it on these exotic flavors. Otherwise well balanced and bright.

Hazel Dell Brew Pub
Vancouver WA
Imperial IPA
Imperial IPA
6.8% alcohol
75 IBUs
A big IPA but a bit sweet. In fact, the aftertaste is quite sweet, more malty than I expect with an IPA.

Comment

Chattering-Magpie-blog

Spring (beer) at last.

Posted Sun Apr 24, 2011, 12:30 PM by Tracy | |

For one day it was gorgeous and I spent it inside tasting beer and cheese at the Spring Wine & Beer Festival. Oh, and the Blazers won.

Gilgamesh
Turner OR
Mamba
style
6.7% alcohol
0 IBUs
Can beer without hops still be beer? Apparently yes. Brewed with tangerine and black tea, this unique brew has a curious, almost soapy flat flavor.

Fort George
Astoria OR
Quick Wit
Witbier
5.3% alcohol
Negligible IBUs
A Finnish twist on the traditional Belgian Witbier, flavored with lemongrass instead of orange peel. Heartier than the usual wit as well, but still refreshing.

El Dorado
Camino CA
Gold Rush Lager
Lager
6.0% alcohol
46 IBUs
Dark in color for a lager, meatier than the run of the mill lager, almost like an ale. I don’t usually care for lagers, but this is good.

Seven Brides
Silverton OR
Maggie’s Märzen
Märzen
6.5% alcohol
34 IBUs
Nice and dark with a velvety mouthfeel. Definitively a lager but with chocolatey overtones.

10 Barrel
Bend OR
Sinistor Black Ale
Bourbon Stout
5.5% alcohol
47 IBUs
More bourbon than beer, black as night, aged for what? Six months? Sip it, don’t chug it. If you like a beer and a belt, this is premixed for you.

Widmer Bros
Portland OR
Nelson Imperial IPA
IPA
8.6% alcohol
70 IBUs
A little malty for an IPA, plenty of body, almost chewy. Pretty shallow flavor profile as IPAs go.

Laughing Dog
Sandpoint ID
Dogzilla
IPA
% alcohol IBUs
A classic, well-balanced IPA. Not overly aggressive, but with an aftertaste that lingers like a fond memory. Grips the sides and bottom of the tongue.

Double Mountain
Hood River OR
Vaporizer
Pale Ale
6% alcohol
50 IBUs
Light and sunny in color, bright in taste, flowery as an IPA. Add to that the sparkle of carbonation and this may be my favorite beer of the Spring Beer Festival. Very good for a summer refresher.

Oakshire Brewing
Eugene OR
Watershed IPA
IPA
7.5% alcohol
75 IBUs
Flowery, but a bit sharp, which is just fine for an IPA. Drops off quickly, but very refreshing.

The Pike – Seattle Brewing Co.
Seattle WA
Double IPA
IPA
8% alcohol
80 IBUs
Bright and refreshing, with plenty of hoppy flavor. Very tasty, very fun.

Southern Oregon Brewing
Ashland OR
Woodshed Red
Red ale
??% alcohol
?? IBU
Tastes, well, woody. Mostly malt with a little hops and a little tang. A long, lingering aftertaste. Very flavorful.

Comment

Chattering-Magpie-blog

Year of the Fruit Beer

Posted Sun Jul 25, 2010, 18:23 PM by Tracy | |

26 beers over 4 days. Fruit beers were strongly represented this year, as were the perennial favorites, IPAs. This would have been a good year to focus on IPAs since the crowds were flocking to the fruit beers. I tried as many as I could, then turned to IPAs on the last day. Only one witbier this year, but it was a decent one.

07/22/10

Collaborator
Portland OR
Sunstone Pilsner
Pilsner
5.6% alcohol
32 IBUs
Sunshine yellow in color, with sparkly carbonation dancing on the tongue. Just enough bitter and a tad of sweet. The flavor lingers surprisingly long for a pilsner. Refreshing.

Moylan’s Brewing Co.
Novato CA
Pomegranate Wheat
Fruited wheat
4.7% alcohol
8 IBUs
A girly beer for those of you missing your cosmos. Or consider it a health drink. Pomegranate is a “superfood”, right? Either way this is a yummy quaff with plenty of carbonation. Just be careful to not drink too much too fast – it goes down like soda pop.

Ninkasi
Eugene OR
Maiden the Shade
IPA
6.8% alcohol
70 IBUs
An almost overwhelming hop aroma, yet not overly bitter. Almost sweet, with a gentle drop-off. The flavor of flowery hops seems to build up in the center of the tongue long after the last swallow.

Laurelwood
Portland OR
Organic Deranger
Imperial Red
8.7% alcohol
100 IBUs
For an ale that proclaims 100 IBUs, this beer is surprisingly sweet. Starts out hoppy then switches to sweet malt half way through. A strong red ale with a complexity of big flavors.

Terminal Gravity Brewing
Enterprise OR
Single Hop Double IPA
Double IPA
7.9% alcohol
104 IBUs
The first thing you notice is how dark this beer is for an IPA. The initial aromatic impression is one of malt rather than hops. The flavor is about an even a balance as you could hope to achieve. Intriguing.

Buckbean Brewing Co
Reno NV
Original Orange Blossom Ale
Fruit
5.8% alcohol
35 IBUs
The Orange Blossom Special is coming your way. This fruited ale is no shrinking violet. The aroma is sweet, but the flavor is tart and slightly bitter on the way orange peel is. Unlike many other fruit ales, the orange is subtle and suggestive, rather than overt. Downright seductive.

07/23/10

Eel River Brewing
Scotia CA
Organic Acai Berry Wheat
Fruited Wheat
4% alcohol
15 IBUs
Feel free to convince yourself that beer made with Acai berries, rich in antioxidants, is good for you. This beer is not particularly demanding, which is good when you just want a refreshing summer drink. The berry flavoring is subtler than many fruit beers, neither overly sweet nor tart.

Marin Brewing Co
Larkspur CA
Bluebeery Ale
Fruit
5.3% alcohol
21 IBUs
You better like blueberries because this is chock full of them. It even smells blue. The flavor drops off pretty quickly after that first big hit. A little sweet but not too sweet.

Widmer Brothers Brewing Co
Portland OR
Captain Shaddock IPA
IPA
6.5% alcohol
60 IBUs
Here’s an ale that combines the two most popular styles at this year’s brew fest, IPA and Fruit. They actually added grapefruit peel at the end of the brewing process. The grapefruit amplifies and enhances the flowery hop flavor, as it gently grips the sides of your tongue.

Hale’s Ales Brewery
Seattle WA
Hale’s Supergoose IPA
IPA
7.5% alcohol
90 IBUs
Hoppy and fragrant, this is a good, all-around, well-balanced IPA. I don’t know why more people aren’t snapping it up. It’s plenty hoppy without being overly bitter. The taste lingers in your mouth, evenly distributed, without overstaying its welcome.

07/24/10

Fort George Brewery
Astoria OR
Vortex IPA
IPA
8% alcohol
93 IBUs
The first taste impression is of malt, which quickly jumps to the back of the palate. Then the hops come to the forefront, gripping the sides of the tongue. This is a big, complex beer with a long, lingering aftertaste.

Ram Restaurant and Brewery
Salem OR
Barefoot Wit
Wit
5.2% alcohol
12 IBUs
A nice break from the big beers, this witbier offers complexity on a different scale. Classic orange peel and coriander combine with relatively high carbonation for a taste experience that is bright and precise. Witbier remains my favorite style of beer, especially for hot summer days.

Goose Island Beer Co
Chicago IL
Sofie
Saisson
6.5% alcohol
25 IBUs
With fairly high carbonation and unique spicing, Sofie is the champagne of beer. There is something distinctly wine-like, from its initial sparkle to an aftertaste that segues into a mouthfeel remniscient of Chardonnay.

Bridgeport Brewing Co
Portland OR
Stumptown Tart
Fruit
7.7% alcohol
9 IBUs
Yet another popular fruit beer at this year’s festival. And no, this was not my nickname in my younger days. This beer has a pleasant tang that helps it live up to its name, yet retains a little sweetness of raspberry.

Caldera Brewing Co
Ashland OR
Caldera Hibiscus Ginger Beer
Herb & Spice
4.7% alcohol
Hibiscus gives this beer a pleasant tartness. The ginger definitely plays a background role, hiding behind the hibiscus. Nonetheless, it is a well-balanced, pleasant novelty beer.

Victory Brewing Co
Downingtown PA
Prima Pils
Pilsner
5.3% alcohol
42 IBUs
A good, basic pilsner with a distinctive lager flavor. A little hops, a little malt, it all blends together for a lightly refreshing brew. A bit of the hoppy bitterness lingers mid-tongue after the last swalllow.

Upright Brewing Co
Portland OR
Reggae Junkie Gruit
Gruit
5.2% alcohol
0 IBUs
You read that right: 0 IBUs as this brew has no hops. It does have a delightfully spicy aroma remniscient of a Belgian witbier. Though not sweet per se, the mouthfeel is slightly cloying. Very citrusy topnotes. Not bad, really, though I wouldn’t want to drink it in quantity.

Beer Valley Brewing Co
Ontario OR
Leafer Madness
IPA
9% alcohol
100 IBUs
A big hop beer that lives up to its name. The aroma doesn’t really suggest anything but the first mouthful delivers a big hit of flowery, bitter, hop flavor. The flavor drops off fairly quickly to leave a base level of hop taste gripping the sides of the tongue.

Steelhead Brewing Co
Eugene OR
Full Count Pale Ale
Pale Ale
5.2% alcohol
35 IBUs
When you’ve had your fill of over hopped IPAs, but you’re not ready for the thin sharpness of a lager, turn to a pale ale. This beer has a well-balanced, light touch with both the hops and malt. The aftertaste is very subtle, barely discernible.

07/25/10

Boulder Beer Co
Boulder CO
Kinda Blue
Fruited Wheat
5.1% alcohol
15 IBUs
A good entry for this year’s fruit beer extravaganza. A rich balance of hops and malt make this more ale than berry. The blueberry flavor is subtle, coming in at the end. Not a “girly” beer.

Mt Emily Ale House
LaGrande OR
Hells Canyon IPA
IPA
5.75% alcohol
100 IBUs
A well-balanced, refreshing IPA with a pleasant aroma. A little extra tasty hoppiness comes in right after the first swallow and hangs out on the flat of the tongue, slowly departing. Not overwhelmingly bitter for such high IBUs.

Laughing Dog Brewing
Ponderay ID
Dogzilla Black IPA
IPA
6.9% alcohol
68 IBUs
Strongly aromatic, redolent with hops. The hop flavor starts out strong, then drops off quickly to a long lingering finish that actually seems to strengthen with time. The malt that gives it its namesake color provides a counterpoint.

10 Barrel Brewing Co
Bend OR
India Summer Ale
IPA
6.7% alcohol
45 IBUs
With an aroma of tangerine, this light IPA offers refreshing citrus topnotes over floral hops. The flavor fades rather quickly, but it does go down nicely.

New Belgium Brewing Co
Fort Collins CO
Ranger IPA
IPA
6.5% alcohol
70 IBUs
A very decent IPA, good flavor, decently balanced. A lot of carbonation and a light hand with the hops (for an IPA) makes this a good choice for summer. Not a particularly demanding beer.

Stone Brewing Co
Escondido CA
Stone IPA
IPA
6.9% alcohol
77 IBUs
Maltier than I would expect from an IPA, the sweetness increases in the mouth. Hops form the highest topnotes, but malt dominates.

Ballast Brewing Co
San Diego CA
Big Eye IPA
IPA
7% alcohol
90 IBUs
Hops and malt are so tightly balanced, that neither is dominant. Instead the impression I get is one of grainy mash. And then the hops come sneaking up from behind.

Comment

Chattering-Magpie-blog

It's beginning to taste a lot like Christmas.

Posted Mon Dec 07, 2009, 17:43 PM by Tracy | |

Holiday ales is dangerous territory. These winter warmers tend to be heavier on the malt and much higher in alcohol. Caution is advised. Beers for sipping and enjoying slowly, not chugging.

That said, here’s the beers I and my cohorts sampled over two days.

12/05/09

Hair of the Dog
Portland OR
Jim 2009
Strong Blend
9% alcohol
Sweet but not cloying, with a rich velvety mouth-feel. The flavors play in the middle of the palate. A hint of hops in a lingering aftertaste. With a high alcohol content, best savored in small doses. Karen says, “It tastes like Christmas.”

Golden Valley Brewery
McMinnville OR
Tannen Bomb
Winter Warmer
6.1% alcohol
35 IBUs
Aging in oak barrels give it a hint of Oregon’s famous Pinot Noir. Smooth and gentle, not too sweet or too heavy. A nice accompaniment to a good meal.

Bear Republic Brewing Co
Cloverdale CA
The Grizz Barrel-Aged with Blackberries
Aromatic and tart, something different for winter. The taste of blackberries dominates all other flavors. Try it instead of port after dinner.

Vertigo Brewing
Hillsboro OR
Arctic Blast
Vanilla Porter
5.7% alcohol
25 IBUs
Like cookies with your beer? This porter combines two great flavors in one. Like crumbling vanilla wafers into Porter. Additional coffee and chocolate flavors make this a nice dessert beer.

Bear Republic Brewing Co
Cloverdale CA
Imperial Stout
Baba Yaga
11.4% alcohol
110 IBUs
Will put hair on your chest. Thick mouth-feel, creamy with espresso overtones. You can taste the high alcohol content, so watch out. The aftertaste takes a gentle hold on the sides of the tongue, keeping a firm grip.

Collaborator
Portland OR
Sled Crasher
Winter Warmer
6.8% alcohol
42 IBUs
Hoppier than most winter brews, but with a decent dose of malt for warmth. A refreshing, palate cleansing alternative to many over-malted winter beers. Overall a good balance, especially for the hop-obsessed Northwest palate.

Widmer Brothers Brewing
Portland OR
Cherry Oak Doppel Bock
Doppel Bock
9% alcohol
35 IBUs
Fruity with specific hints of cherrywood in the aftertaste. Well-balanced, flavorful, all-around good dubbel. A reliable winter beer.

Laht Neppur Brewing
Waitsburg WA
Winkle Warmer
Spiced Holiday Ale
8% alcohol
46 IBUs
The spice must flow. But perhaps not so much. This winter ale is rather heavy on the cloves. A bit of hops give it balance, but it’s still a specialty beer. You have to really like the taste of cloves and other spices usually found in pumpkin pie.

Not sure which brewer
Stout, maybe
Some beer that E found and he can’t remember where. Thick and sweet, with heavy chocolate and espresso overtones. Black as night, sweet as sin. To be savored slowly, in front of a roaring fire on a blustery night. A classic stout, whoever makes it.

12/06/09

Upright Brewing
Portland OR
Holy Herb
Farmhouse Winter Ale
6.9% alcohol
18 IBUs
A strong initial hit of mint fades out to a generally medicinal aftertaste. No wonder, given this ale is brewed with hyssop. I’ve never heard of it either. An acquired taste that is a refreshing alternative to the typically heavy sweet ales of winter.

Fort George Brewery
Astoria OR
North III Tripel
Belgian Style Tripel
8.8% alcohol
50 IBUs
Very foamy, thick, black, and bitter. Lays heavily on the breadth of the tongue.

New Belgium Brewing Co
Fort Collins CO
Trip II
Belgian style
Spicy and sweet with flavors of cardomon and orange. Lingers at the upper back of the palate. Slight bitterness clings to the sides of the tongue.

Ninkasi Brewing Co
Eugene OR
Unconventionale
Imperial Stout
10% alcohol
70 IBUs
Black and foamy as espresso, hints of flowery herbs. Thick and sweet with an aftertaste that drops off quickly to a long gradual finish. With a high alcohol content, best savored slowly.

Oskar Blues Grill & Brew
Longmont CO
Mama’s Little Yella Pils
Pilsner
5.3% alcohol
35 IBUs
When you need a break from heavy winter brews, this fizzy little pilsner is just the ticket. Very refreshing but with sufficient gravitas for the season.

Deschutes Brewery
Bend OR
Lost Barrels of Mirror Mirror
Barley Wine
10.7% alcohol
51 IBUs
Breathe in the heady aroma of grain, then a sip of sweetness. Tastes of oak and bourbon.

Redhook Ale Brewery
Woodinville WA
Roggenhammer
Imperial IPA
8.1% alcohol
57 IBUs
Big headed and hoppy, flowery, but a bit sweet. A suitable IPA for winter.

Stone Brewing Co
Escondido CA
Bourbon Barrel Arrogant Bastard Ale
American Strong Ale
7.2% alcohol
Strong, yes, with a mystery flavor. Slightly bitter with almost medicinal overtones. Plenty foamy. A slight hint of spice or minerals.

Cascade Brewing
Portland OR
Drie Zwarte Pieten “Sang Noir”
Sour Red Ale
10.2% alcohol
5 IBUs
Tart, tangy, with a high alcohol content; drinks as much as a wine as a beer. Fruity with a bare hint of sweetness.

Anchor Brewing Co
San Francisco CA
Old Foghorn
Barleywine
9% alcohol
Maltiness gives it a rounded mouth-feel. The sweetness of the malt subsides in the most gradual manner, leaving a barely perceptible bitterness on the palate. For the most part, the flavor circulates at the back of the palate.

Comment [1]

Kung-Fu-Diary

The evil mind of a black belt.

Posted Sun Oct 04, 2009, 08:20 AM by Tracy | |

I was sitting in a coffee shop with my good friend and training partner, Carol, when Jason, a black belt, sits down to join us. After chatting a little, Jason looked straight at me and said, “This is your black belt test.”

What?

More ...

Comment [1]

Magpie-Knits

Meryl's Ski Sweater

Posted Tue Sep 29, 2009, 20:32 PM by Tracy | |
This is my sister-in-law’s Christmas present. For 2008. Meryl’s mother had a blue ski sweater that Meryl inherited. She loved it, but alas, it was lost some where along the way. All I had to go on was a poor-quality scan of a 28 year-old photo. More ...

Comment

Chattering-Magpie-blog

Chaos theory of beer.

Posted Sun Jul 26, 2009, 17:03 PM by Tracy | |

A serious beer aficionado would approach an event such as the Oregon Brewers’ Fest with a plan, perhaps focusing on beers of a particular style, or following a path from malt to hop.

Whatever plan I originally had went by the wayside as soon as we started on Saturday. My plan turned into what’s nearby and has an interesting name.

No beer in particular stood out this year, overall the field was a good representation of the craft. At least it wasn’t as crowded as last year.

I promise I did not drink a full 4oz of each beer tasted. I had some help from E and our friends Gene and Gary.

7/25/09

Terminal Gravity Brewing
Enterprise OR
Festivale
British strong ale
8.3% alcohol
73 IBUs
First impression: it tastes brown, whatever that means. Pretty high IBUs for a winter beer. Nice body, a goodly amount of hops to avoid overly sweet maltiness typical of winter beers. Pleasantly bitter aftertaste.

Track Town Ales
Eugene OR
200 meter
IPA
7.5% alcohol
90 IBUs
If you want a break from overly hopped IPAs but don’t want to give up that hoppy taste, this is the ale for you. Rich golden color, plenty of hops without being overwhelming. Particularly refreshing.

Caldera Brewing
Ashland OR
Hibiscus Ginger Beer
Specialty
4.9% alcohol
Very fizzy, refreshing, and dry. Flavors are present but subtle. It doesn’t drink like beer, almost like a dry rose champagne. Ginger hits underneath the sides of the tongue.

Lost Coast Brewery
Eureka CA
Great White
Witbier
4.8% alcohol
11 IBUs
A very refreshing wit, not as strong on the orange and cardomon as other wits I’ve had. But plenty of fizz and balance. A good summer beer.

Fifty Fifty Brewing Co
Truckee CA
Manifesto
Pale ale
5.5% alcohol
35 IBUs
Reddish in color, appropriate to the name. E likes it. I’m indifferent. Reminds E of a London- style ale, using, as it does, a London ale yeast. A decent all-around beer.

Double Mountain Brewery
Hood River OR
India Red Ale
Red ale
6.5% alcohol
65 IBUs
Another nice all-around beer. E is not impressed. Hoppier than you usually get with red ale. Perhaps a bit on the sweet side but not overly so.

New Holland Brewing Co
Santa Rosa CA
Golden Cap
Belgian
6.6% alcohol
Typical Belgian-style flavoring, well-balanced, but not so sweet as Belgian beers can often be. A nice light touch on the malt. Sour finish, refreshing.

Three Creeks Brewing Co
Sisters OR
Stonefly Rye
Specialty
4.6% alcohol
28 IBUs
Another refreshing summer beer, with some body and flavor and balance.

Boulder Beer Co
Boulder CO
Flashback Anniversary Ale
Brown ale
6.8% alcohol
65 IBUs
Good body, almost meaty, with a rich flavor. Nice malt and enough hops for balance. More of a autumn quaff than a summer libation.

Widmer Bros. Brewing Co
Portland OR
KGB
Stout
9% alcohol
70 IBUs
Inky black and rich with overtones of chocolate and espresso. There’s a little something else in aftertaste that I can’t quite put my finger on. Keeps it from being overly cloying.

Port Townsend Brewing Co
Port Townsend WA
Hop Digiddy IPA
IPA
5.6% alcohol
70 IBUs
Ah, the flowery aroma of hops. Milder than a lot of IPAs, with a more rounded flavor profile. A little sweet for an IPA.

Elysian Brewing Co
Seattle WA
Loser Pale Ale
Strong Ale
7% alcohol
54 IBUs
Pretty mild for a strong ale, so-called. In fact, it’s pretty malty after the initial hit of hops. Sweet, cloying malt flavor lingers on the side of the tongue long after each sip. Perhaps more appropriate for winter. Or maybe it’s just not to my taste.

Oregon Trail Brewery
Corvallis OR
Oregon Trail Wit
Witbier
4.5% alcohols
28 IBUs
Bright and refreshing, as a good wit should be. Classic Belgian flavorings of orange and cardomon are subtle. Goes down easy on a summer’s day.

Chuckanut Brewery and Kitchen
Bellingham WA
Dortmunder
Lager
5.5% alcohol
25 IBUs
A classic lager, familiar to the American palette, but with more flavor. An easy beer to to drink.

7/26/09

Bridgeport Brewing Co
Portland OR
Stumptown Tart
Belgian
7.5% alcohol
17 IBUs
Red cherries give this unusual version of a Belgian-style beer its rosy color. The flavor is distinctly bright and dry, definitely sour. An aftertaste of cherries predominates. A refreshing summer brew, but not one to drink in quantity.

Alaskan Brewing Co
Juneau AK
Alaskan White Ale
Wheat
5.3% alcohol
15 IBUs
The aroma is promising, but doesn’t deliver. It’s plenty fizzy, but the flavor profile is flat. Not a lot of interest here, not even much of aftertaste. A little too subtle for even a white beer.

Bear Republic Brewing
Cloverdale CA
Crazy Ivan
Hybrid
7% alcohol
50 IBUs
Flavorful and strong. Hops and malt went head to head in a cage match and the hops won, but just barely. The grudge match continues on the palate long after the last sip. Not a chugging beer.

Pike Brewing
Seattle WA
Monk’s Uncle
Belgian
9% alcohol
32 IBUs
Surprisingly moderate for a beer with such a high alcohol content. Typically sweet with classic Belgian spicing, easier to drink when chilled. But at 9% ABV, drinker be warned!

Ninkasi Brewing Co
Eugene OR
Radiant Summer Ale
Light/Pale
6% alcohol
40 IBUs
The name is deceptive: I expected this beer to be both lighter in color and flavor than it is. Can definitely taste the alcohol. The hops come on stronger than 40 IBU would suggest. Nonetheless, a well-balanced, complex beer, drinkable well into autumn.

Lompoc Brewing Co
Portland OR
Flower of the Gods
IPA
6.9% alcohol
52 IBUs
Lives up to its name with a good initial hit of flowery hops. The effect is ruined, however, by a lingering maltiness that grows in the mouth after the initial swallow. Tastes more like a Belgian than an IPA.

Sprecher Brewing Co
Glendale WI
Mai Bock
Bock
6% alcohol
24 IBUs
A nice break from strongly flavored beers. With more hop flavor than your typical lager, this would be good served chilled on a hot day.

Beer Valley Brewing Co
Ontario OR
Leafer Madness
Imperial Pale Ale
9% alcohol
100 IBUs
The initial taste is not at all too bitter for such high IBUs. But just wait a moment for the hops to build up on the top of the tongue. Flowery aroma and flavor make this a very nice beer. Just watch out for the high alcohol content.

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Chattering-Magpie-blog

Don't panic, drink organic.

Posted Sat Jun 27, 2009, 18:11 PM by Tracy | |

With seventy-five beers, certified organic, and compostable cups, the North American Organic Beer Fest is a beer hippie’s paradise. Lotsa bikes parked outside make this a real Portland event.

I only tasted nine beers but that was plenty for me.

Roots Organic
Portland OR
Gruit Kölsch
Kölsch
5.5% alcohol
0 IBUs?
Beer without hops, an older beer than modern beers. Yes, there was beer before hops. Fruity, citrus overtones. Slightly cloudy. Very refreshing, though the aroma is a little offputting if you’re used to hopped beers.

Santa Cruz Mountain
Santa Cruz CA
People’s Porter
Porter
5.5% alcohol
41 IBUs
Looks like coffee. Smells like coffee. Tastes like coffee. Not too sweet, not too heavy.

Fort George
Astoria OR
Quick Wit
Belgian Wit
5.5% alcohol
<3 IBUs
A Belgian Wit with a Finnish accent. The citrus flavor is lemon instead of the traditional orange, making it taste like a Finnish fermented lemonade called sima. Slightly skunky aroma.

Fort George
Astoria OR
Spruce Ale
Ale
Subtle spicing and spruce tips combine to produce a nicely carbonated beer with no one taste dominating. Very similar to a wit.

Captured by Porches
St Helens OR
Invasive Species IPA
IPA
6.3% alcohol
72 IBUs
Cloudy amber in color, fruity aroma. Not as hoppy as we’d like in an IPA. Rather malty, even kind of spicy in fact.

Eel River Brewing
Fortuna CA
IPA
IPA
7.2% alcohol
72 IBUs
A perfectly reasonable and balanced IPA but not outstanding. Flavor profile is very even, does not stay long on the palate.

New Belgium Brewing
Fort Collins CO
Mothership Wit
Belgian Wit
4.8% alcohol
15 IBUs
A classic Belgian wit: flavors of orange and coriander and plenty of carbonation make this a perfect summer refreshment.

Nelson Brewing
Nelson BC
Paddywhack IPA
IPA
5.2% alcohol
34 IBUs
Not very hoppy for an IPA. Something a little off on first tasting, maybe too much malt. Then the hoppiness seems to increase as the flavor lingers on the palate. Oddly this beer tastes better after you’ve swallowed.

Laurelwood Brewery
Portland OR
Green Elephant IPA
IPA
One whiff and you’re transported to fields of hops. It just smells green. This is an IPA. Flowery with a bite and a tad of malt to keep it from being overly bitter. Glad I saved this till the end.

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Chattering-Magpie-blog

Spring Beer & Wine & Cheese & other crap.

Posted Sat Apr 11, 2009, 18:11 PM by Tracy | |

This spring event started out with just beer. Then they added wine. Now cheese. And whole lot of other crap. I like to keep my beer tasting and wine tasting separate, but not everyone is so picky.

I was relatively restrained, limiting myself to only a few beers. I have things to do tomorrow.

This is my first beer review posting since getting the iPhone, which makes no difference to anyone but me.

Cascades Lakes Brewing Co
Redmond OR
Blonde Bombshell
Blonde ale
4% alcohol
26 IBUs
Fizzy, sunshine yellow, citrus overtones with a subtle finish. Refreshing without being insipid.

Lost Coast Brewery
Eureka CA
Tangerine Wheat
Wheat ale
5% alcohol
No question why they call it Tangerine. Very fizzy, a little sweet but not overwhelmingly so, the flavor drops off rather quickly.

10 Barrel Brewing Co
Bend OR
Summer Ale
Golden ale
4.7% alcohol
26 IBUs
Color of light honey, a touch of carbonation and a light hoppy flavor. As promised by the name, perfect for summer.

Silver Moon
Bend OR
Panty Dropper Ale
IPA
5.9% alcohol
64 IBUs
Flavorful and flowery, not overwhelming. Drops off quickly to a lingering finish on the sides of the tongue. Hoppy flavor without being excessively bitter.

Big Sky Brewing Co
Missoula MT
Moose Drool
Brown ale
4.3% alcohol
The first time I had Moose Drool was bottled and it was true to its name. On tap, a much better experience: malty and rich, a tad dry. Too sweet for me to drink in quantity, but alright in small doses.

Mad River Brewing Co
Humboldt County CA
Steelhead Double IPA
Double IPA
8.6% alcohol
95 IBUs
High IBUs but not bitter at all. Good balanced flavor with a long finish. Very tasty.

Sierra Nevada
Chico CA
Pale Ale
Pale ale
5% alcohol
33 IBUs
Tasty, amber colored, more flavorful than your run-of-the-mill pale ale. Closer to an amber, really. A rich rounded, mouth-filling flavor.

Chimay
Bavaria Germany
Aventinus
Eisbock
12% alcohol
An aroma of wine and the alcohol content to match. A chocolaty mouth feel, this double bock is made like an eiswein. Just wow. Made in an authentic Trappist monastery they say.

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Chattering-Magpie-blog

Oh noes, the Twitter is down!

Posted Wed Mar 04, 2009, 15:06 PM by Tracy | |

E thinks Twitter is an evil addiction. He may be right. It’s down right now, not even throwing the Fail Whale, and I’m going into withdrawal.

On the other hand, one of our corporate lawyers brought in her two newly acquired Yorkshire terrier puppies. Utterly adorable. Almost as nice as cats.

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