Yes, this is a cellphone pic, and yes, that’s my girlfriend hiding behind a pillow. Moving on…
This month was all about Witbiers, those spiced Belgian wheats so popular these days.
You can’t talk about Wits, unless you talk about Hoegaarden. It’s a nice, light beer, but has more complexity and finesse than many of the others after it. Still a classic.
Blue Moon was next in line. I think it’s an important beer because it really helped to popularize the style being from a big brewery. Everyone has had this beer and it was certainly a “gateway” beer for me. I still think it’s a solid beer.
Might as well try the other big brand version, Shock Top. Blue Moon is considerably better.
Another mass market beer was after that with the R.J. King WingWalker. Some liked this beer, but I personally think it’s garbage.
The Lost Coast Great White is the first American craft beer for us to try. It was also bad.
Luckily, the Alaskan White was pretty damn good. It was my favorite of the night with the possible exception of Hoegaarden, and was liked all around.
Unibroue Blanche De Chambly had great flavor, but for some reason this bottle wasn’t very carbonated. Not sure what the deal was there.
For something a little different, I threw in the Chainbreaker from Deschutes. They call it a White IPA. Basically, it’s a hopped up Wit. I’m not a huge fan of this beer, and others didn’t enjoy the added hops.
The tasting ended with a non-Witbier. The Snoqualmie Spring Fever was a darker Belgian beer with coriander added. It was a nice way to finish the tasting with another look at how coriander comes through in a different style.
This was one of the most unimpressive Beer Clubs we’ve had. It’s a bit unfortunate as it doesn’t do the style justice. But I do think it’s important to taste what the rest of America is drinking. Hybrid Styles next month!
This is Coors newest “crafty” lager. As usual, the website spews nothing but marketing mumbo-jumbo and says very little about the beer itself.
Vienna Lager. 5.3% ABV. Colorado.
Amber golden color. Nice fluffy head, not much lacing.
Some sweet malts on the nose with a bit of honey and toasted nuts.
The mouthfeel is ridiculously refreshing. Lots of carbonation, but has some body, not much but enough.
Sweet malts with a honey flavor, slightly papery and toasty after that. Just a little bit of bitterness and ends on a nice grainy note.
It’s really not too bad of a beer. There are far better choices, but I wouldn’t turn this down. 83 points.
This is a tasting that was long requested by a club member and she finally got her wish.
We started the evening off by tasting the last two vintages of Stone Old Guardian. Some liked the rounded flavor of last years, while others preferred the more aggressive and sweet tasting fresh version.
Avery’s Hog Heaven was decent, but relatively forgettable.
The Bridgeport Old Knucklehead was a favorite. It has a nice bit of oak, but not overwhelming. I personally thought the oak in this beer was perfect and had better balance than some of the others.
I was really excited to try the 2011 Ninkasi Critical Hit. I love Ninkasi and this was no exception.
The 2012 Rogue Old Crustacean was next and was one of my favorites. It was well-rounded and balanced, lacking the aggression of some.
The clear favorite of the night was the Firestone Walker Sucaba. One club member said it may be his favorite beer ever. I personally found the oak to be a bit too over-the-top, but otherwise an amazing beer.
We ended on the biggest beer of the night. The Midnight Sun Arctic Devil weighs in close to 14%. It was definitely on the aggressive side, but delicious none-the-less.
Thanks to the happy couple for hosting our loud-asses.
Only Summit hops find their way into this beer. I’m not sure that’s such a great idea, but we’ll see the turnout. The malts only include 2-Row, Dark Munich, and Rye malt. Very interesting.
Imperial India Pale Ale. 10.0% ABV. 100 IBUs. Colorado.
Dark orange color, but fairly bright looking. Fluffy head.
You actually need to get your nose in the glass to get a good whiff, but you’ll notice a whole lot of hops and alcohol. A bit of citrus and a lot of green aromas. Hint of vanilla and sweetness.
Huge body with prickly carbonation.
This tastes like my backyard. It’s green and bitter with a little bit of sweetness that tries to keep up, but it doesn’t work. Hint of vanilla and oak. I take oak back, hint of a 2×4.
I just don’t get it. 83 points.
So there was a lot of demand to do pumpkin beers for Beer Club. Since I had already planned out the next few months, we decided to go ahead and just have a Halloween party with pumpkin beers. It was a blast (the next day wasn’t so fun). The costumes were pretty great even though many of us are generally unenthusiastic people. The best costume, of course, was David being me. He pulled it off pretty well, but lacked the fairly obnoxious side I have when drinking. Before I get to the tasting I wanna give some shout outs. Thanks to Tiffany and Kevin for hosting us all and decorating the place up. It was awesome! And special thanks goes to Alex for running the tasting. He picked, poured and averaged the scores for the rest of us.
The tasting consisted of the 13 beers above. Each was poured blind in a random order. I was feeling pretty confident going into the tasting, but I gotta say, I got my ass kicked. I only guessed about half of them correctly. The results below were rather surprising, but that’s why you do blind tastings.
- Elysian Night Owl
- Sam Adams Harvest Pumpkin Ale
- Blue Moon Harvest Pumpkin Ale
- Elysian Dark O’ The Moon
- Stone Collaboration La Citrueille Celeste De Citracado
- Southern Tier Pumpking
- Chatoe Rogue Pumpkin Patch Ale
- Pike Harlot’s Harvest
- Two Beers Pumpin Spice Ale
- Elysian The Great Pumpkin
- Shock Top Pumpkin Wheat
- Buffalo Bill’s Pumpkin Ale
- Elysian Hansel & Gretel
Pretty interesting, no? The Elysian ginger pilsner was absolutely hated. The ginger was too overpowering for everyone. The Buffalo Bill’s was expected to be near the bottom. I found it interesting that the Shock Top wasn’t liked nearly as much as the Blue Moon which showed up as number 3. Also, the fact that Sam Adams and Blue Moon made the top 3 was pretty amazing. The Night Owl apparently hit all the right places. A previous favorite of a lot of people was The Great Pumpkin which placed near the bottom. Blind tastings may become more of a regular thing at beer club. Keep in mind that tastings have a lot of bias as you are more comparing than anything else. If you changed the tasting order, I wouldn’t be surprised if the results change. Just one of those things, but it was a ton of fun.
This was a lot of fun. Most everyone really enjoyed these beers and there were some clear winners. Our taste order was from left to right in the photo.
First up was Full Sail’s new limited release Berliner Weiss. People LOVED this beer and was one of the most liked of the night. Professor Fritz Briem 1809 Berliner Weiss was after, but wasn’t as well liked as the Full Sail, though I enjoyed it more.
The only red of the night was Rodenbach. This was the most liked beer of the night. This beer blew everyone away.
Three Oud Bruins were up after, starting with the Monk’s Cafe Flemish Sour Ale and the Petrus Aged Pale, both good beers, but relatively forgettable in comparison. The Liefmans Goudenband that we had after was one of my favorites. One of the most refreshing beers I’ve ever had. It was nearly a perfect beer in my opinion.
I believe I switched the order and opened the Supplication after. This was another of the biggest hits of the night, and truly one of the World’s greatest beverages.
The only Lambic of the night was the Timmermans Oude Gueuze. I glossed over the Lambics as we will have a tasting dedicated to them in the future. I was very excited about this beer and was hoping it would be a giant stink bomb. It wasn’t as funky as I was expecting. Definitely some funk on the nose, but the palate was light, lemony, and extremely refreshing. Another great beer.
New Belgium’s Lips of Faith Brett Beer was next, but really didn’t need to be in this tasting as it wasn’t sour at all. It did showcase the Brett which was nice and it was actually pretty well liked.
Flanders Fred is a collaboration between Hair of the Dog and De Proefbrouwerij. Basically, it’s a blend of Fred and a Lambic. Quite good, but was one of the biggest beers of the night.
The Bruery’s Tart of Darkness was up next. A sour stout and it was amazing. There wasn’t anything terribly stout-like about it other than the color. Very light mouthfeel and again, another refreshing beer. It was also the most sour out of any of the beers, which was interesting. This one will pucker you up.
Finishing up the tasting was Silver City’s Le Fat. It’s a sour Belgian Scotch ale aged in oak. You heard me. Wasn’t terribly sour, and at 10% it wasn’t refreshing in the least. Some liked this. I thought it was okay.
That’s a $150 worth of beer that we went through, but it turned out to be a perfect amount with the crowd we had at this Beer Club. It was a lot of fun to host and I think it was a lot of fun for everyone else, too. Dubbels next month!
If there weren’t enough hop puns in the world, New Belgium has giving us another one. This is a new seasonal that features Pale and C-80 malts with Target, Nugget, Cascade, Centennial, and El Dorado hops.
American Red Ale. 6.0% ABV. Colorado. Seasonal.
Brownish-red in color with a pretty fluffy off-white head. Some lacing is stuck around the rim of the glass.
I’m mostly getting dark malts on the nose, which has a caramel to chocolate aroma. There’s also a fresh citrusy hop component. It’s like I just opened the bag of Cascades I have in my freezer.
The mouthfeel is quite nice. Medium body with medium carbonation. Drinkable but has plenty of body.
Lovely chocolate with a little bit of caramel and a really fresh hop flavor that brings an orange and grapefruit component. Some grain on the finish with medium bitterness.
This is my new favorite beer. I love the chocolate flavor mixed with that really fresh hop component. It’s just delicious. 91 points.
This marks the 12th Beer Club. A whole year has already gone by already. I want to get into some Belgian styles, and I think they will be a big hit at Beer Club. Tripel is a good place to start, with it’s low bitterness and often fruity ester yeast profile. Our first beer was my home brewed tripel. I’m going to start having a home brew at every beer club for the style we are doing as my friends seem to get a kick out of trying my own creations.
My pictures aren’t in order of the tasting. We started with the St. Bernardus, as the Westmalle was chilling. Tripel Karmeliet was after, followed by the Maredsous to show the more traditional beers of the style. After that, the La Fin Du Monde, and Canadian tripel with spices added. I wanted to also show some domestic examples, this being Seattle, I picked up three Washington beers. The Sound Tripel Entendre was first, followed by the Elysian Bete Blanche, and finally Pike’s Monk’s Uncle. Last beer was the New Belgian Trippel, also flavored with spices.
I think the Tripels were a big hit all around, particularly the Belgian examples. There were definitely some interesting takes on the style. Tripel Karmeliet in particular, had this spice component that the other beers lacked. The Westmalle, even being the original, actually came across as the most boozy one, which I found surprising. The 10% Maredsous tasted more like a 7% beer. I would say the other standout was the Elysian Bete Blanche, which was clearly the most “American” of the American beers with a fairly clean yeast profile and a heavier malty-ness.
A new one in the Lips of Faith series, this wild ale includes 44% ale brewed with lychee fruit puree and cinnamon sticks and 56% aged in oak. That sounds like a very interesting combination to me. The other ingredients include Target hops and Pale, Caramel-80, Carapils, wheat malts, and oats.
American Wild Ale. 7.5% ABV. Colorado. Limited Release.
Nice dark yellow color with a fluffy head.
Very interesting nose. It’s got some sour funk going on, but with a lot of fruit. Reminds me a bit of a saison. There is a bit of a spice component, but I wouldn’t guess cinnamon.
It has a light-medium body with medium carbonation.
The sour and fruity-ness hit you first and this will make you pucker a bit. It’s a little more than just tart, but it’s not over-the-top for me. The sourness is balanced by a fairly heavy sweetnes. Now that cinnamon comes through just a bit. It ends on a slight vanilla and honey note.
This is one of New Belgiums finer efforts in my humble opinion. I do have 2 problems with it, but it’s on the personal side. Firstly, it’s too sweet for me. If it was cut down, this would be tremendously more drinkable. Also, I don’t really get why they put cinnamon in here. It’s kinda there in the background, but doesn’t add a thing for me. 91 points.
Well this was an interesting tasting. Strange beers, lots of people, and half of us were sick. This beer club was inspired by the Rogue Voodoo beer, but I’ve been wanting to do a smoked beer tasting for a long time. I love these beers and the pairings they make with food. Several cheeses were brought to pair, and I think it was awesome…but I could barely taste anything.
I found some funky brews for this one. We started off with the Piwo Grodziskie, which is a sour smoked wheat beer. Yeah, strange, but very cool. The locally made Three Skulls Buccaneer Bacon was next. It’s a bacon lager, but the bacon didn’t seem to come through much. The Stone Smoked Porter has been a disappointment for me every time I’ve had it, and I think this tasting mirrored my opinion. The classic Alaskan Smoked Porter ended up being a favorite for many that night. The Schlenkerla Marzen also seemed to be liked. It’s definitely one of my favorite beers of all time. Now something a little different. I found this beer called Bog from Epic Ales in Seattle. They specialize in weird brews. The beer featured smoked malts and Shiitake mushrooms. Yep. The reactions to this beer were the best I’ve ever seen. It ended up being very tart, but I’m not sure how. Some liked it, some hated it. The Left Hand Smoke Jumper seemed to also be universally liked. The Evil Twin Ashtray Heart did not get off to a good start. Some found the name alone to be appalling. When they actually drank it, they nearly marched out of Beer Club. The most hated beer ever at Beer Club. I liked it. The Sam Adams Cinder Bock was next to last, and was actually an easy drinking beer despite the ABV. It was a welcome change. Last, but not least was the Rogue Voodoo Doughnut Bacon Maple Ale. The notorious beer was a hit and miss. Some enjoyed it, some did not. As I’ve recently posted, I really enjoyed this beer.
A bunch of people came out for this Beer Club and I got to see some folks I havn’t seen in ages. It was an awesome time that ended on some home brews and a game called Cards for Humanity, which is the best game ever. Unfortunately, some of the people there won’t be able to come back to a Beer Club for a long while. Namely Jackie, who’s been to every single Beer Club since I started it. She’s pretty awesome and will surely be missed.