A Short Pseudo Hiatus…

Just a quick message about the state of the blog.

I haven’t had a lot of time this week, or last week to put towards writing articles here. I’ll get something up soon. I’m not going anywhere, but I’ve just been too busy to maintain the blog, and write new or finish any articles. But the good news is, Oregon Craft Beer Month is only a few days away.

With that said, if any of you beer enthusiasts out there want to contribute or share your own beer discoveries and opinions, please leave your comments.  I’d be very interested in reading about what you’ve recently had, or what beers you frequently enjoy.

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Beer Impressions: Full Sail LTD Series 03

I have a confession to make. I love good pilsners. I like them a lot. Unfortunately, they are one of the most difficult beers to craft due to the nature of the yeast to make lagers – especially small batch lagers. Someone shared with me a great example of Pilsner Urquell, and in my personal experiences with it, I have to agree. In a paraphrase, it is one of the best beers when it is fresh and it is one of the worst beers when it’s not stored properly.

Hood River, OR brewer Full Sail cycles 3 of their 4 seasonal beers throughout the year as “LTD” or Limited Edition. The number signifies their current recipe in the LTD cycle. Full Sail is a good craft brewer. On Beer Advocate, their lowest public rated beer currently is a B-. When the public says their worst is a bit above average, that’s quite a statement to their consistency.

LTD 03 is in a baby blue label with a featured summary of what it is, and it says “Well looky here, a crisp new pilsner style Limited Edition Lager all ready to rock your tastebuds’ little world.” with a contrasting red “03”. It’s hard to miss this in the stores.

The Impression: It’s floral. It’s hoppy. It’s an assassin of flavor, meaning it snuck up and then assaulted my mouth with flavor. It’s a subtle opening and a pleasant crisp layered with complexity.

6 out of 8 completely rocked tastebuds. If you don’t care for Pilsner style beer or you don’t really have an acquired pallet for beer, I wouldn’t recommend this. If you do have an acquired pallet and/or like Pilsners and haven’t tried this, give it a shot when you see it. Give it a try on a hot summer day.

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Beer Impressions: Double Take Amber Ale

Image from doubletakebrewing.com

“It’s a head snapper” is plastered all over the bottle of this Rochester New York brewed Ale. I haven’t ever had anything from this brewery, nor have I even heard of it. That’s in large part why I purchased it. I’ve been on the hunt for a new decent Amber Ale for a while. I’m hoping this one might rescue me. I’m a bit turned off by the old school watermark of “Genuine Craft Ale BREWED in the USA”.

The Impression: The first thing that happens before I even drink it is that it smells a little like PBR. I decided to take another big whiff just to be sure, and there is a definite PBR smell with an additional waft of a more traditional Amber Ale scent.

Not too bad. I wouldn’t call it a “head snapper”. A very roasted malt flavor. It has some bitter chocolate aftertaste that eventually just kind of leaves a bitter flavor in my mouth. It also doesn’t really set well on my pallet.

3 out of 8 snapped heads. Compared to other amber ales that I’ve had, this is subpar, but it didn’t make me want to throw it out the door either.

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Beer Impressions: Guinness Foreign Extra Stout

This is not your typical Irish Stout export. But you can see that they are related. Image by puamelia, flickr.

Everyone has heard of Guinness. The popular Irish import is a religion for some, and the hatred of others. For me, it was my gateway beer. Today, I just find it to be an okay beer. I had their 250th Anniversary Stout a couple years ago, and it was a bit better. But looking at various forums and beer editorials, this brewery’s apex brew is their Guinness Foreign Extra Stout. To my delight, it was being served at my local Old Chicago restaurant.

The Impression: Silky smooth and apparent roasted malts. A bit smokey too. This is like a mud bath for your tongue. I’ve got to agree, this is both a great beer, and the best beer I’ve had from Guinness.

I’ll have to keep an eye out for places that sell this. From what I’ve researched, it’s apparently only been in the United States for a few months, while other countries have been enjoying it for a few years.

6 out of 8 whatevers. I’ll be honest, I expected this to only be slightly better than Guinness or Guinness Extra Stout. This was quite a bit better than either.

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Beer Impressions: Alameda Klickitat Pale Ale

Klickitat Pale Ale can be smelled immediately after entering this building.

Alameda Brewhouse is one of those local small distribution beers that you can find available on tap at local pizza restaurants. It isn’t uncommon to find a couple 22oz bottles sitting on the shelf at an area Grocery store, but they also tend to get a bit overlooked too. I’d probably point at them being one of the more underrated breweries in the Portland area. With big local brewery names like Widmer, Bridgeport, Rogue, Deschutes, Full Sail filling the shelves- it is easy to see how Alameda takes a backseat.

However, if you find yourself in North Portland, I’d highly recommend visiting this place for lunch or dinner. I’ve walked away highly impressed with the food every visit I’ve had there. Any fan of Fish & Chips will be happy with their offerings.

The Impression: Simple and hoppy. It doesn’t make me jump with excitement, but it’s a solid Pale Ale. If you focus, you can taste a little pine and a little citrus. Definite caramel malts in its foundation.

5 out of 8 Hop Clusters. It’s a an above average brew when compared to other Pale Ales. This will always be on my list of beers to order when I see it on tap. You Pale Ale lovers should reach for this when they see it. It probably won’t knock your socks off, but I think you’ll be pleased with the taste. A nice change of pace from the northwest go-to Pale Ale, Mirror Pond. It’s a bit lower on the hop level for most Pale Ales, but it is solid either way.

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Beer Impressions: Chimay Première (Red)

Trappist Monks worked hard on this for you to enjoy. Image by puamelia, flickr.

Belgium is often considered to be the Garden of Beerden. This is no doubt in part because of Bières de Chimay. They are located inside the Scoutmont Abbey, a Trappist monastery. This Chimay Première, also called “Chimay Rouge” and “Chimay Red”, is a more unique style of beer, especially in the United States. This one is a Belgian Dubbel, a type of Trappist Ale. It’s similar in style of porters, stouts, or Dark Ales, only not nearly as thick, dark or heavy, and has more spice to it.

The Impression: Delicious. It’s malty with mild hops. It’s crisp, but not light. It has a dozen subtle complexities that bounce around. It’s a little fruity and a little bitter, but neither are particularly overpowering which makes it for a nice balanced beer with great subtle flavors.

7 out of 8 Monks. I highly recommend this for beer lovers, and I would be a bit cautious recommending this to picky beer drinkers. The complexity could be a bit overpowering for someone without an acquired pallet, but those that do have it – will rejoice.

The Chimay Monks have a good thing going on, and to those that have tried their beers will find that as no surprise.

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What are you drinking?

One of the great things about the internet is that the community can often provide just as much insight and valuable input as any blogger. There’s so much out there to try and enjoy, I simply can’t keep up with it. So maybe if we share what we’ve all been drinking, we might be able to pass on a few suggestions along the way! Maybe you’re even taking a break from the beer, and you’re sipping a whiskey, enjoying a pinot noir, or a some oolong tea.

So I ask you two simple questions:

1. What are you drinking?

2. What do you think of it?

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