For our 21st Beer Club I wanted to discuss hybrid styles. Hybrid styles are those with both ale and lager characteristics.
Our first stop on the hybrid journey is the cream ale, and we started that with the more mass-market one, the Genesee Cream Ale. This was actually far from the worst beer. It was refreshing with a nice grainy finish. Fairly well-liked.
The next beer was Henry Weinhard’s Blue Boar. This made the Genesee look like craft. Very little flavor, very forgettable.
The final cream ale was the Pelican Kiwanda Cream Ale. I really enjoyed this beer, and had a wonderful fruity-ness. Really tasty beer.
We had the Kolsch after that, and one of my favorite beers, the Sunner Kolsch. This is a fantastic beer that I’ve enjoyed many times. Good price point for a great beer.
The only other Kolsch was the Alaskan Summer. Not a bad beer, but a bit of a let down after the Sunner.
The biggest representation of hybrid’s is the Blonde Ale category. We started with the Kona Big Wave, which actually had an enjoyable fruity-ness in a crisp package. Shockingly, not a bad beer.
Widmer’s Citra was alright, but again, pretty forgettable. I don’t even think most people had any thoughts about it.
The Deschutes River Ale was a particularly unsatisfactory beer when I had it last, but in the tasting it turned out quite well. The grainy finish made this beer and became a favorite of mine during the tasting.
We had a couple locals up next, starting with the Diamond Knot Blonde Ale. It was infected. Not the first infected beer that I’ve had from them, so it’s pretty upsetting.
The American Blonde was next, but it had a surprising hop kick that didn’t vibe with the other beers. Just felt off-balanced.
Steam Beer was the second to last style we tried. Anchor Steam was first. I don’t need to tell anyone about this beer. I don’t know if it showed that well in the tasting, but I thought it was fantastic as I always do.
I’m actually pretty shocked I was able to find another Steam Beer, but luckily Widmer just released their Columbia Common. It’s a pretty tasty brew with a bit of a hop kick and a dusty malt flavor.
Bringing up the rear, and a well-liked change from the others is the Alaskan Amber which is actually an altbier. The little kick of sweetness was a welcome end to the night.
I think this tasting turned out pretty well, and it was a fantastic night. Some new faces were in the crowd and I hope they got a little taste of something new. Not bad for our 21st. We’ve got Black IPAs lined up next.
This is the newest in the Manic IPA series they have going. I’ve pretty much been a fan of all of them, and this one excites the crap out of me because it features Citra and Amarillo hops. Give me citrus or give me death!
American India Pale Ale. 7.2% ABV. Washington. Limited Release.
Burnt orange color. Lovely head on here. Lacing is just as nice.
Lots of citrus on the nose. The citra hops really come through with that lemon-y thing.
Mouthfeel is fantastic. Beautiful medium body with medium carbonation.
Grapefruit, orange, and lemon all come through with a bit of pine. A little more bitterness shows up than I’d prefer. Lots of vanilla on the finish, but it’s quite a dry one.
I love the citrusy hops, but I’d prefer the balance to be a little tighter. 88 points.
One of my favorite beers in the world is Ninkasi’s Oatis. So you can imagine my excitement for a special edition vanilla version. This beer features 2-row Pale, Chocolate, Crystal, Roasted Barley, Oats, and of course, Vanilla Beans. Nuggets to balance.
Oatmeal Stout. 7.2% ABV. 50 IBUs. Oregon. Limited Release.
Very, very dark brown. Lovely dark tan head.
Heaven. It’s got roast, vanilla, chocolate, caramel, and just a hint of sweetness.
Mouthfeel is on the medium body side. I keep forgetting this is a relatively sessionable stout. I’ve been so conditioned to see high ABV stouts when there’s some kind of special edition out. Shame on you, brewers!
Unf. Roasty, chocolatey, little bit of vanilla, hint of sweetness, caramel on the finish.
I can’t say I would go for this over the regular Oatis, because that’s how much I love the regular Oatis. Buy this beer! 92 points.
Here’s a witbier from Dogfish Head. Surprisingly, it’s not a “double witbier” as I wouldn’t be shocked to see from Sam. You’ve got some dried orange slices, lemongrass and coriander in here.
Witbier. 5.0% ABV. 20 IBUs. Delaware. Limited Release.
Hazy bright yellow color. Fluffy head.
Pretty delicate nose. Getting a little wheat and citrus. Not much else.
Mouthfeel is spritzy but with a fantastic body.
Orange and lemon up front, which transitions to a wheaty flavor. The finish features just a hint of spices, and a little bit of a vanilla honey flavor.
It’s not bad, but doesn’t blow me away. I can’t justify the expense of this beer. 87 points.
The neighborhood of Ballard in Seattle is teaming with breweries these days. The Washington Beer Commission set up a walking tour of 6 of them. I hadn’t even heard of two of them when I found out about the tour.
We started off at Reuben’s Brews. I was most excited about this place as they’ve been getting a lot of publicity for such a young brewery. I can see why. The beer was quite good. I started off with a Kolsch, which was tasty, but the stars were the selection of dark beers that my friends got. It was a good start! They just started bottling, so I’m looking forward to some proper reviews.
NW Peaks was next. This place is the very definition of Nano. You can barely fit inside, they had four beers on tap, and their beer garden was more similar to a construction site. I can’t say I was blown away by this brewery. I do have to give them credit for putting a berlinerweisse on the menu. They actually had the syrups for it too.
Hilliard’s was the next stop. I’ve had a couple of their beers before as they come in tallboy cans, which is pretty cool. Man, was I impressed with this place. Not only was the brewery big and open, they didn’t have anything sectioned off. You can get right up to the equipment and check out their barrel program. I guess they aren’t too concerned with people opening valves or start the canning line. The other reason it was cool is because of their Chardonnay Barrel Aged Saison, which was by far the most impressive beer of the day. It was fantastic.
Peddler brewing was next and was a completely new brewery for me. Fairly small tap room, but a ton of beers on tap. The brewer gave a quick tour. Most of the beers didn’t stick in my mind except their coffee saison, which was damn tasty. I’d like to check this place out again when it isn’t so crowded. We had to hold our taster tray.
Populuxe was another unheard of brewery. Another pretty small place with only a couple beers on tap. The Wit and the Bitter weren’t bad, but the CDA was off the mark.
Maritime Pacific was the last stop on the tour. They are a restaurant, so it took quite awhile before we got a seat. They make some solid beer, but the cask pale ale was quite awesome.
Yes, a new beer from Ninkasi! This excites me greatly. This double IPA features a Maris Otter base with flaked barley, Vienna, Wheat, Carahell, and Pilsner malts. The hops are East Kent Goldings, El Dorado, Fuggles, Horizon, and UK Target. Whew, that’s a lot of hops.
Double India Pale Ale. 9.1% ABV. 100 IBUs. Oregon. Limited Release.
Light copper color. Doesn’t have a huge head, but does leave just a bit of lacing on the glass.
That’s a hoppy mofo. It’s piney, but has this almost Belgian-like quality. There’s a bit of fruit and slight funk on the nose, and luckily the malt comes through here a bit too.
Mouthfeel is like velvet. Creamy and full-bodied.
Holy. That is some kinda hops going on there. If there was some semblance of balance on the nose, it’s not on the palate. It’s quite bitter, it’s quite earthy, and it’s quite palate-destroying.
I’m not sure about this one. It’s a bit over-the-top, even for a hophead like myself, but I’m still kinda enjoying it. 88 points.
This is a new year-round pale ale from Widmer named after Alchemy hops. This beer also features Pale, Caramel, Munich, Vienna, and Extra Special malts.
American Pale Ale. 5.8% ABV. 40 IBUs. Oregon.
Caramel color. Nice fluffy head with a nice sticky lacing.
The nose has a huge floral hop note coming through. Hints of citrus are also present. It smells pretty fantastic.
Mouthfeel is a bit too light, but it’s highly drinkable with a medium carbonation.
Slightly sweet malts up front with a coconut flavor appearing just after. The hops aren’t all that similar to the nose, but a more piney and earthy flavor but quite well muted. Just a bit of bitterness on the finish with a light cracker flavor.
Decent flavor, even better nose, but just not quite “there”. 86 points.