Category: craftbeer

I properly love these people and their beers! …

I properly love these people and their beers! #Unboxing beers from @quantockbrewery

#quantockbrewery #quantocks #Craftbeer #RealAle #Ale #Beer #Beerporn (at Cadoxton, Vale Of Glamorgan, United Kingdom)
https://www.instagram.com/p/BvPAkZfBQV1/?utm_source=ig_tumblr_share&igshid=66pao426xso5

#ItalianCraftBeer Just arrived, let’s #U…

#ItalianCraftBeer Just arrived, let’s #Unbox it then review on www.youtube.com/realaleguide Thank you Dale for the #beers

#ItalianBeer #CraftBeer #RealAle #Ale #Beer #BeerPorn @birrificiolambrate #birrificiolambrate #Lambrate #Birra (at Cadoxton, Vale Of Glamorgan, United Kingdom)
https://www.instagram.com/p/BvJ2xUmB04g/?utm_source=ig_tumblr_share&igshid=1f2lh6k0oy1v

HUGE #PolishCraftBeer #Unboxing for you guys t…

HUGE #PolishCraftBeer #Unboxing for you guys today, these beers look incredible!! Thank you to my Polish friend for sending.

#Craftbeer #RealAle #Ale #Beer #BeerPorn @alebrowar @browarstumostow @mazurskibrowar @browar.waszczukowe @incognitobrowar @innebeczki @browar_maryensztadt @browarnajurze (at Cadoxton, Vale Of Glamorgan, United Kingdom)
https://www.instagram.com/p/Bu_2cSHBSJI/?utm_source=ig_tumblr_share&igshid=6ntn4083xd34

A BREWER SENT ME UNDERPANTS!!!! #Craftbeer #…

A BREWER SENT ME UNDERPANTS!!!!

#Craftbeer #RealAle #Ale #Beer #BeerPorn #LysefjordenMikrobryggeri #Lysefjorden #JuicySimon #RealAleCraftBeer #RealAleGuide (at Cadoxton, Vale Of Glamorgan, United Kingdom)
https://www.instagram.com/p/Bu313KtBHCe/?utm_source=ig_tumblr_share&igshid=1sv97krzj4xyr

Having a cheeky @brewdogcardiff Burger with @…

Having a cheeky @brewdogcardiff Burger with @hmadecosmetics of course hers being a @beyondmeat burger. I went for a @wanderbeyondbrewing Daydream pale ale.

#Brewdog #CraftBeer #RealAle #Ale #Beer #BeerPorn #Burger #beyondburger #BeyondMeat #BeyondMeatBurger #wanderbeyond #wanderbeyondbrewing #fritzcola #BrewdogCardiff #HandMadeCosmeticsReviews (at BrewDog Cardiff)
https://www.instagram.com/p/ButaUBwBr41/?utm_source=ig_tumblr_share&igshid=267dhi7z4xs8

The March @beersofeurope box has arrived, let&…

The March @beersofeurope box has arrived, let’s check out these tasty beers!

#Craftbeer #RealAle #Ale #Beer #BeerPorn #Kulmbacher #Kapuziner #Lauterbacher #FortunaHefeweizen #KrombacherWeuzen #Ayinger #WeltenburgerKloster #Bischofshof (at Cadoxton, Vale Of Glamorgan, United Kingdom)
https://www.instagram.com/p/Buq7LApBSlF/?utm_source=ig_tumblr_share&igshid=medosfem3ze5

What’s Your Sign?Ecliptic Brewing opened five years ago to much…

What’s Your Sign?

Ecliptic Brewing opened five years ago to much fanfare. Founder John Harris has over thirty years of experience in Oregon brewing. He helped the McMenamins’ move from extract brewing to all grain. He worked at Deschutes in the very beginning, formulating flagship beers like Black Butte and Obsidian Stout. He spent a decade at Full Sail. He had pedigree. Ecliptic’s year round beers look a lot like the stuff Harris brewed a million times before – a Northwestern IPA, a robust porter, a big old barley wine. 

But in the last few years, Ecliptic’s calling card has been fruit beer. Seasonal sours in peach and blackberry, a porter with cherries, an IPA with mango, and they are capitalizing on the rise of Brut IPA with new variations featuring lavender and lemon and with strawberry.

Pisces smells like strawberries, a good sign. The beer has a nice pinkish hue and a nice full head. The first sip is full of delicious strawberry juice. The body is as light as a classy fruit soda, crisp with a little residual sweetness. The hops come through on the back end, leaving the palate with a bitter bite that fits well with the fry finish. It’s pretty dang good. 

Staring into the AbyssI graduated college and landed in the…

Staring into the Abyss

I graduated college and landed in the depths of the “Great Recession.” At twenty-two I found myself working a shitty part time job and with plenty of time on my hands. I listened to podcasts, sat around drinking too much coffee in overpriced coffee houses, and looking for something to do. I ended up spending a lot of time in the Central Library looking for something to occupy my anxious brain. Literature was out; I’d had enough of that in school. The news was depressing. And there were only so many Mary Roach books. So I started reading about beer.

At the time, Sarah and I were living in a severely sloping fourth floor, walk up apartment a block off West Burnside. Our living room windows looked down on the parking lot of a sports bar famous for cheap gyros. Sarah was working twelve hour shifts back then, so I’d often not see here till eight or nine at night. I started this blog to fill my time. I started capturing every beer I drank along with a few witty descriptors, and I read some more. I read Michael Jackson. I searched out his “world classics.” I perused the Oxford Companion and tried to use words like diacetyl and acetic acid in my posts.

Before I found Michael Jackson and Stan Hieronymus writing about brewing monks, before poring over the Oxford Companion to Beer and trying use diacetyl and brettanomyces is in casual conversation, I read was The Naked Pint

The Naked Pint was written by a pair of knowledgeable ladies, Christina Perozzi and Hallie Beaune. It’s an introduction to beer and brewing and introduced me to the idea of beer styles. They described everything from Pale Ale to Saison and gave a few examples with tasting notes. Most of the beers they described were brewed in exotic locales like Bavaria or Flanders or San Diego. I scoured their recommendations for something closer to home. And there, among the top Imperial Stouts from around the world, was the Abyss from Oregon’s own Deschutes Brewery.

The descriptions sounded so delicious, the adjuncts so unusual. Cherry bark, blackstrap molasses, licorice, vanilla, and some of the beer was even aged in wine and bourbon barrels? Wow. Black Butte Porter may have been Deschutes’ flagship, but The Abyss was their calling card for the hardcore. It was rare; it was critically acclaimed; it was expensive. When I finally saw I bottle at the grocery store, I balked at the price. Seventeen dollars for a single bottle of beer? I could get two six-packs of Black Butte for that price (2011 was a magical time).

Our ramshackle apartment was less than a mile from Deschutes’ Portland brewpub. The brewery’s log cabin aesthetic stood out in the condo-filled restaurant-rich Pearl District. It was big, but cozy. We weren’t exactly regulars, a broke twenty-two year old can only afford so many fifteen dollar burgers, but when parents were in town, or a birthday needed celebrating, it was fun to visit Deschutes and sample some new beers.

It was at the Deschutes Pub that I bought my first bottle of the Abyss. It was spring, well past the official November release, but someone at the pub found a few extra cases in storage. I rushed down and bought a bottle. Every bottle from Deschutes’ Reserve Series is labeled best after, not best before. It’s a subtle way of encouraging people to stock up. That’s exactly what I did,  figuring I could open it and have my own vertical tasting. I didn’t open that first bottle for three years, and it was great. When the 2012 release party rolled around the next fall, I was there. 

While it didn’t necessitate blocks long queues, the Abyss release was always a big event at Deschutes. The pub was packed with nerds taking copious notes. I had my own little notebook, and a vertical flight of five samples. They ranged from bold and boozy, to mellow and fruity, with notes of tobacco and leather. I even picked up a hint of balsamic vinegar in the oldest vintage. I walked home with three more wax dipped bottles.

Last week, I finally opened the last of those bottles. It’s been a solid six years since it was released. After all that time in my closet, the beer has changed. What used to come off as dark roast coffee now tastes like the crust that forms on the bottom of the oven. There’s no barrel character to speak of, but that’s not surprising. It’s incredibly drying on the tongue. There’s none of the richness I’ve come to expect in an imperial stout.

Even more than the beer has changed, the world of beer has transformed in the last six years. The Abyss was one of the original barrel aged imperial stouts, but it’s been eclipsed. In 2012, less than a quarter of the beer was actually aged in barrels. Last year’s release was only fifty percent aged in barrels. These days, a barrel aged beer is a barrel aged beer – all the beer is literally aged in barrels.

Deschutes have tried to follow the Bourbon County model, releasing variant bottles like holofoil Pokemon cards. Cognac Abyss, Tequila Abyss, Scotch Abyss – but the novelty doesn’t justify the significant upcharge. There are so many good beers out there, for far less money. But what is a brewery to do? A beer that was edgy ten years ago seems dated now. The only way to keep the brand vibrant is to mix it up.

Personally, I haven’t purchased a bottle of the Abyss in three or four years. I can still walk into the grocery store down the street and find a bottle of the Abyss from 2018, and it will probably be very good, but it won’t have the same effect it did when the options were fewer and the beer was rarer.

So The Abyss remains a relic of an earlier age, a precursor of the beers to come. Then, the addition of cherry bark and vanilla added a new layer of interest. Now, pastry stouts made to taste exactly like the adjuncts used to brew them. Then, aging a beer in whiskey casks was innovative, and dangerous. Now a barrel aged beer is commonplace and have the kiss of bourbon in every sip. The Abyss was unimaginable in 2006; it was a revelation in 2012; But today, it’s just… meh.

@overtonebrewing just sent us a parcel, let&rs…

@overtonebrewing just sent us a parcel, let’s #Unbox it! Cheers guys

#Craftbeer #RealAle #ale #Beer #BeerPorn #overtonebrewing #Overtone (at Cadoxton, Vale Of Glamorgan, United Kingdom)
https://www.instagram.com/p/BuZRQaBhtic/?utm_source=ig_tumblr_share&igshid=l5gjo6kfxy24

Rogue Wave Now that Bridgeport is dead, it seems more important…

Rogue Wave 

Now that Bridgeport is dead, it seems more important to hold onto our old local breweries. That’s why I picked up a few cans from Rogue.

I’ve never been a fan of Rogue Brewing. They made some very boring beer in the early aughts. In pursuit of a house flavor, they used the same yeast for everything. Sorry, but you can’t make a hefe and  a chocolate stout

with the same yeast strain. Then they went hard on bizarre collaborations. Did anyone actually enjoy the Voodoo Doughnut Maple Bacon Ale? How about the beer brewed for Powell’s Books with actual pages of Moby Dick tossed in the kettle? I once drank Rogue’s Sriracha Stout on a dare. It seemed like a joke, not something anyone would actually drink. For years, it seemed like marketing was driving the brewery instead of the other way around. 

Rogue were early proponents of farm to bottle beer. They grows their own hops and barley. The distillery even makes its own oak barrels which are then used to age beer. Of course, Rogue’s marketing team took locally grown ingredients and added a dumb spin. Every ingredient Rogue uses is trademarked. They don’t use two-row malt, they have Dare® and Risk® malt. The hops are the same. Freedom, Rebel, Newport – they are rebadged commercial hops grown on Rogue’s land. 

In the last few years, Rogue has branched out. There seems to be less focus on branding and bottle design and a recalibration of the beer itself. Straight Outta Newport is the first Rogue beer in years to actually focus on the location of the brewery. The can features the iconic Yaquina Bay Bridge. And beneath the bridge we see the Rogue archetype, dudes with beards.

The beer itself is pretty good. It’s billed as a west coast double IPA. The brewery is still run by the same few old white guys, and the beer options have only slightly widened. Straight Outta ifeatures Citra and Mosaic hops, but it is no tropical unicorn. But it does has some nice citrus and mango flavors on the melody and a resin-y bassline underneath. It’s got a bit of a bite on the finish, but is not nearly as bitter as Rogue beers used to be. It’s tame and drinkable. It’s good. And an historical brewery making good beer is all I want.