Tag Archives: belgian beer

Basketball and Beer

23 Mar


Wednesday is basketball night.  And what does one do after an hour hustling on the court for an hour?  Rehydrate with beer, of course!  For the winter we have been playing at Creston Elementary and enjoying a couple of pints just down the road at C-bar on SE Gladstone.  In Portland we are lucky that good beer bars are a dime a dozen.  The C-bar is a good example of one of these beer bars.  They have twenty rotating taps, covering a wide selection of beer styles, including two nitro taps.  Speaking of  nitro taps, a few weeks ago they had Deschutes’s Jubelale on nitro.  Jubelale is a nice, medium winter ale, but on nitro…well, that is the best way to drink that beer.  But winter is over and it may be hard to find it on nitro these days.

Usually I just go enjoy my beer and conversation but on the last day before the gym closed for spring break, I scribbled down a few notes on a napkin about that evenings’ beers.  The first beer of the night was New Belgium’s Trip XV.   Continue reading


The taxman cometh

2 Mar
Proper glassware and everything

Proper glassware and everything

The last two years were brutal for us.  This whole process required beer drinking because of the depression I felt when I filed.  But this time, Ol’ Uncle Sam owes me!  This is probably the last time I will ever say that my 2nd child actually saved me money, but I’ll take it.  Time to celebrate.  I am feeling pretty Euro-zone with that extra ching in my wallet, so I go with the Royale from Gigantic.  I have had this beer at their tasting room, and I have to say that the bottle is just as good (that is not always the case).  Definitely a French/Belgian inspired ale, with all the requisite sweetness and yeast flavors you would expect from the style.  It poured light-orange and had a nice, soapy head on it.  The smell was a mix of citrusy hops and a bit of flowery-ness, with a hint of bread.  I love how this beer is put together.  The hops don’t dominate, and the Belgian yeasts don’t overpower.  There are peaches and some apricots in the flavor as well, which is awesomeness.  Sometimes with Belgians I get a cloying flavor of fruit, but this one is not that way.  Everything in balance.  Everything working the way it should.  The body is a little bigger than I would like for drinking in the summer, but with this weather it’s perfect.

As for the taxes?  I’ll pay them gladly each year.  I got it too good in this country to complain about what it takes to keep it all running smoothly.

The Flavors of GABF: Day 1

29 Oct

Well, once again I have shown I type slower than a turtle in the arctic, so I am breaking the list of the beers down by day. Day one is about as complete a list of tasting notes as can be when faced with over 2200 beers in a room with 20,000 people. My notes are short and to the point but I took them seriously. I definitely plan to use this list on my next trip to Belmont Station or Bridgetown Beerhouse, and I hope it is useful to you as well. I know taste is very subjective and this represents my opinion only, so if you have tried one of the beers in the past, or take my advice and disagree with me, tell me. Let me know which beer and why in the comments.

Brooklyn Brewery, Brooklyn NY
Sorachi Ace
Light Belgian saison made with the Japanese hop Sorachi Ace. Complex, medium body beer with the mustiness of a saison. The beer had a very nice flavor but did lack a bit of the nice lemoniness the sorachi ace provides, which I was hoping for. Side note, Brian and I made a similar beer this year and while I can’t say it is better, we definitely stood our ground with a professional brewer.

Monocacy Brewing Company, Frederick MD
Riot Rye Pale
All citrus hop nose that carries through in flavor and finishing rye and dry. I like this beer very much. Note: Miranda tried this beer (and she offered it to me) toward the end of the GABF and it was not nearly as good with a strong diacetyl (buttery) flavor.

Sean Kelso spending a little bit of time at his old booth

Barley Brown’s Brew Pub, Baker City OR
A CDA or black IPA – whatever you want to call it – this is one fucking good beer!! Seek out this beer and drink 2 or 3 pints.
Another damn good beer, hell just go to Barley Brown’s and taste all their beers.

Bend Brewing Co. Bend, OR
One Loudah
A slightly sweet nose but all hop flavor. This is not to say this beer was not balanced. Nice dry finish. Another good beer from Bend.

Goose Island Beer Company, Chicago IL
Sweet and spicy, cloves, cinnamon?, but that all there is, generally a one dimensional beer. Generally unimpressive. I guess I expected more as I have had some good beer from Goose Island in the past, stouts especially, and this one does not stand up.

Christmas ale
Spicy, slightly sweet, and big bodied beer. Definitely a winter beer. I liked it but understand this beer will be too sweet for some.  So I didn’t write down the brewery, which I understand makes it impossible to find again, but give me a break, it is hard to hold a glass, write, and have 20 knuckleheads bump into you all at the same time.

Flat 12 Bierworks, Indianapolis, IN
Half cycle IPA
Light, crisp, hoppy and balanced.  Awesome beer.

Nola Brewing Company, New Orleans, LA
This imperial IPA had a real nice and strong hop nose. This beer is notably dry for a double IPA. The beer is balanced and showed off a very good use of hops. With family in the south it is always good to find a good beer from this area of the country.  Now do they distribute to Arkansas?

Left Coast Brewery Co., San Clemente CA
Left Coast Rye IPA
Rye is very prominent in this beer, something I like. Nice hop bitter and finish, wrapped up in a large bodied beer. A very good rye.

Ska Brewing, Durango CO
Steel toe Stout
Strong tobacco nose, interesting. Rich, medium dry stout, a good beer.

I told you it was crowded

Strange Brewing Company, Denver CO
Farmhouse ale
I know this style of beer can be musty, but the nose on this beer was awful, like piss.  Was it poured into a dirty pitcher before it went into my glass?  The flavor was better, hoppier than most farmhouse, making a bit different. A good start, but then finished yeasty. I would not have two tastes.

Uncommon Brewers, Santa Cruz CA
Bacon Brown Ale
An unimpressive brown, I have no more to say.

Mad Fox Brewing Company, Falls Church VA
Pale Ale
Nice bright floral hop, a very drinkable pale ale.

Weyerbacher Brewing Company, Easton PA
Black Sour
Holy shit this is a very good sour beer. Sour but very drinkable, rich for a sour. I could have multiple pints.
Double Simcoe
I smell pickles. Is this a funny smelling beer or did I not rinse well enough? This is clearly bittered with simcoe but I expect a 1000x more when someone is using the awesome, simcoe hop. This beer was thin and unimpressive.

Santa Fe brewing Co., Santa Fe NM
Happy Camper IPA
An all malt nose, I couldn’t detected any hop. The flavor is better, the hop is clearly there and good. A decent IPA.

Big Choice Brewing, Broomfield CO
Huge body, sweet with some hop but just not balanced. Not my pint of beer.

Asher Brewing Company, Boulder CO
Funbarrel Monstah
Big 11% beer with aromas derived from the barrel, vanilla and fruit. The nose carried through to the flavor with the addition of bourbon to finish it out. A good barrel aged beer but I have high standards for this kind of beer, and it is not up with the best.

Marble Brewery, Albuquerque, NM
Cuvee d’Apricot
Dried apricot nose hides the sour and let me tell you this is a sour beer. A delicious summer time sour.
From the Wood
Sour nose. Rich and complex in flavor, yet less so than the apricot. Assuming From the Wood is a barrel aging reference, I did not detect any obvious flavors from the wood. But again, it was another delicious beer from Marble.
Imperial Red (Silver medal winner)
Hop nose (heavily dry hopped I suspect) and strong hop flavor, yet very balanced. One top-notch beer, I could have five pints (except the beer is 9%).  Across the board an excellent brewery. I will be looking for their beer to show up one day at my local bottle shop.

There was more to check out than just beer!

Uncle Billy’s Brew & Que – Lake Travis, Austin, TX
Bitchin’ Camaro
Awesome name, shitty beer. Malty sweet, unbalanced. The first beer I poured out tonight.

Uncle Billy’s Brew & Que, Austin, TX
Bride of Zombie
Light in color and bodied, very citrusy, tasty IPA
Hop zombie
Nice standard IPA.  For you Oregon beer drinkers, it reminds me of Double Mountain’s Hop Lava with bright hops, light body, and a dry finish.  A nice standard IPA. I am starting to believe tasting multiple beers from each brewery is the way to go at GABF. If I had stopped at Bichin’ Camaro I would have said stay away from Uncle Billy but what can I say his Zombies are tasty.

Stewart’s Brewing Company, Bear DE
Oyster stout (Silver medal winner)
Roast malt nose with a hint of coffee. Good stout with a slight briny note, lighter body and dry finish, like an Irish Stout. I have had a few oyster stouts and generally like them, and this is a tasty representative of the style.

Beer Valley Brewing, Ontario OR
Fresh hop Leafer Madness Imperial Pale Ale
A very good IPA but frankly not as good as the standard Leafer which is excellent.

10 Barrel Brewing Co., Bend OR
Crosby Farm Fresh hop
Nice Pale Ale that showcases what fresh hop can bring to a beer. The flavors are hard to describe but if you have ever picked hops you know what I am talking about.

Boundary Bay Brewery, Bellingham, WA
Nice standard IPA, now can we get them to be more creative with the name?

The flavors of day one as I recorded them.  I didn’t really put a dent in the larger list of beers at GABF but there is always day two.


18 Oct

As you know by now, I recently found myself in Hood River and finally made it to Pfriem, one of the newest breweries to open their doors here in Oregon.  I had heard rumors that they specialize in Belgian-style beers, so I wasn’t sure this would be my thing (I have an aversion, you could say, to the candy used in brewing strong Belgian ales). But if I’ve learned anything over my beer-drinking years, it is that you cannot judge a beer by its name or its label. And I was pleasantly reminded of this at Pfriem, finding an array of beer styles, all of which were pretty damn tasty. Belgian influence? yeah. Northwest influence? yeah. The beer was great, so take the trip and grab a pint. Not convinced? Read on for more details.

Las Cruces is moving on up

1 Aug

Liquid Nap-at 9.2% ABV, the name is pretty damn appropriate

Well…sort of.  I guess if you have started from nothing, then anything new constitutes an ascension up the evolutionary chain towards becoming a beer destination.  In this case, I had been told that there were two new craft breweries in Las Cruces, meaning there were now a grand total of three in town.  I informed my brother that he was to take me to these new establishments immediately, so I could experience this expansion of beer choices for myself.  What I found was two locations that were touting their beer, but not actually brewing it in town.  A bit disappointing, but I was excited about the new choices none-the-less. Continue reading

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