Level Beer opened last summer in an old barn near the Portland airport. It’s a strange location, but a I’m sure welcome change from the usual industrial office parks. The brewery coats everything in retro video game visuals. At this point, Level doesn’t seem to have a particular beery niche in mind, but their tagline is “brewed with balance.”
Game On! their first bottled IPA is incredibly balanced, if a little dated. It’s a deep gold without a trace of haze. This is not one of those fruity IPAs. No Mosaic hops here. It’s actually bitter and a bit malty. The hops notes present as citrus, but not in your face with juice. If I had to guess, I’d say there are classic Cascade hops in there. The bitterness is bracing, but it’s balanced by a golden malt syrup sweetness.
Let’s Play! is equally balanced. The dry-hopped Pilsner has a great fresh and floral scent.The body is snappy and fizzy. The malt is crisp and the finish has a great dried herbal flavor. Let’s Play! is not exactly a traditional pilsner, but it’s not completely out of a left field either.
They also offer a canned Saison and the current seasonal is a chocolate Stout, which I cannot bring myself to buy. They bottled it in clear glass, and all my geek senses tell me that is a huge mistake. But these guys are veteran brewers, maybe they know something I don’t. They definitely know how to make beer.