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Beer Club 23: Hefeweizen

Hefeweizen Beer Club

Last Saturday’s Beer Club was brought to you by the wonder hefeweizen. This is one of my favorite styles in the Summer. I love filling up my 22 oz Weizen vase while sitting outside reading…about beer. I grabbed a few classics, and a few American modern’s.

We started out with the all time classic, Weihenstephaner. It should come as no surprise that this was the favorite beer of the tasting. Let’s just go ahead and call this a perfect beer.

One of my favorite beers is the Ayinger Brauweisse. I love this beer, but I have to say it tasted a bit flat after the first beer.

The other Great German beers were the Franziskaner and the Paulaner. Both fantastic, but not quite as good as the first two.

We were lucky enough to get a beer from a friend of mine in Minnesota. I’m so glad this made it into the tasting, because it became the second favorite beer of the night. It’s a really fantastic brew, that hits all the notes.

Going a bit more local, we then had the Widmer. This beer is available at most bars in the area and is a pretty darn good brew.

If Widmer isn’t on tap, the Pyramid Hefe probably will be. This is sweeter and fruitier than the Widmer and just isn’t doing it for me anymore.

The Leavenworth Whistling Pig Hefe is actually brewed by Fish down in Olympia. It’s an okay beer, pretty forgettable.

One of the biggest surprises for me was the Hale’s El Jefe Weizen. This was really a fantastic beer, and was one of my favorites in the tasting.

We tried my homebrew after that. Let me just say that I usually serve this as the first beer and will continue to do so.

We finished up the tasting with a slightly out of category beer. The Iron Horse High Five Hefe is a wheat brewed with honey and ginger and it was a really nice change to finish the tasting.

This was an excellent Beer Club. Lots of great beer and a relatively intimate setting. It was one of the smallest Beer Clubs ever. Oh, and we had some excellent food, as well. Next month is American Amber/Reds.

Beer Club 21: Hybrid Styles

Hybrid Styles

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.

Beer Club 13: Sours

September 11, 2012 1 comment

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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!

Beer Club 11: 7/12 Pilsner

A pils in the Summer is a wonderful thing. Only, it’s barely Summer in Seattle right now with temps around 70 degrees. Oh well. We had some low end stuff and some American craft varieties as an overview of the style. It was surprisingly difficult to find good Pilsners for some reason. I couldn’t even find Urquell. I was hoping to also have Mamma’s Little Yella Pils and Prima Pils in here as well, but it wasn’t meant to be.

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We started off with some German versions with a couple low end beers to start the tasting. I have to say that the Beck’s really wasn’t that bad. It was a little bit skunked, but the flavor was better than the nose and it was very easy drinking. I really couldn’t hate this beer and might even buy it again.

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The Becks above is actually brewed in the US, not Germany, but the Bitburger is. I was expecting to like this one more, but it just tasted like water after the Beck’s. I was pretty surprised by this.

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Now for something a little better, the LTD 03 from Full Sail had a nice orange citrus thing going on. By far had the most flavor. It’s a beer I’ve enjoyed many times and just one of the great lagers in that LTD series.

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And the Churchkey. This was one of the hoppiest pils of the night. I think it’s a solid beer and the can was a hit at Beer Club. Yes, it’s a gimmick, but isn’t that marketing?

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Now on to a couple Czech varieties. Like I mentioned, I couldn’t find Urquell, but I thought this might be a good replacement. And it was. This is actually a lovely pils with soft hop tones. The Beer Club said it tasted like Au Jus. They are weird.

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The Redhook Pils is my favorite of their lineup. I think everyone has probably had this beer already, but why not add it? It’s a decent beer, but watery and unimpressive in this lineup.

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Summerfest is a personal favorite of mine. It definitely stood apart from the pack with a more grainy flavor. It felt somehow more refreshing than the others.

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Now, I added a few oddball beers to the table, starting with this one. It’s an “Alt-style” Pilsner from Snoqualmie. They use an ale yeast for this and also add some maize. It’s a cool little hybrid of the style, but not as refreshing as the other pils.

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I found this Leavenworth beer, brewed by Fish in Olympia, WA, and decided to add it. I’m pretty sure it’s not a Pils, but considering I was having a hard enough time trying to find enough beer, I figured why not. It’s not a bad beer, but didn’t belong in the bunch. The only information that I’ve found called it a golden lager.

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Also not a Pilsner, the Ziggy Zoggy is Zwickelbier. And it’s good. So I added it. By far the hoppiest beer of the bunch, which I loved to end the session, but I seemed to be alone in that sentiment.

Pilsner has become a favorite style of mine. I’m so tired of having double IPAs, imperial stouts, and the like. I’ve got a bunch of beers just sitting around because I’m not interested in having a 9% beer. Kudos to Full Sail and similar breweries for really taking lagers to heart.

Beer Club 6/9/12 Smoke Beer

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.

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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.

Beer Club 4/28/12 Doppelbocks

May 1, 2012 1 comment

Spring calls for the bock. Those lovely lagers of so many variations and sub-genres. My original intention was to pick up a bunch of different varieties, but I found I really just bought a bunch of Doppelbocks. The heavier, sweeter, boozier big brother to the traditional bock, I figured right away that these would be a hit with this crowd.

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First of the night was the Celebrator from Ayinger. I’ve really enjoyed this beer in the past and it really presented itself as the roastiest of the night. It also seemed a bit drier than the later examples. I really liked this one, but it wasn’t a favorite with the crowd.

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The Hirschbrau Doppelhirsch ended up being a good example of what most of the beers had to offer. It was sweeter with a lot of caramel coming through. Much bigger hit than the first one.

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The Korbinian was probably the most surprising brew of the night for me. It had this lovely earthy-tobacco flavor that wasn’t present in any of the other examples. I really liked this one.

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The Schnee-Bock was a new brewery for me and it was a similar but slightly more boozy version of the Hirschbrau. Pretty solid and generally liked.

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Salvator was next, and probably the easiest to find of the beers we had. A good beer, but wasn’t noteworthy against the competition.

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The Alaskan Birch Bock was the only non-German brew we had. This presented as the sweetest of the bunch. This was not a favorite of mine.

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EKU 28 is an 11% monster of a Doppel. It drinks more like an Eisbock. The alcohol, relatively well-hidden, but was immediately picked up by the group.

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Something a little different here. The Aventinus is a Weizen Eisbock. The yeast and wheat character really set this beer apart. It was by far the fruitiest of the beers. It was a nice “light” break from the heavy caramel component of the rest.

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The Kulmbacher Eisbock brought up the rear. This was a big, but delicious way to end the night.

This tasting was a huge hit, so next month, I just may have to do IPAs!

Aecht Schlenkerla Helles Lagerbier

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I absolutely love the Schlenkerla Marzen, but I’ve always wanted to try this smoke-y, “unsmoked” lager. It’s just about the only beer they make that doesn’t have smoked malts in it, but since everything in that brewery is covered in the stuff, I’m expecting that this one bring a little bit of that flavor as well.

Stats:
Munich Helles Lager. 4.3% ABV. Germany.

Pale yellow in color with some sediment. Lots of carbonation streams and no head.

Definitely some sulfur coming through here on the nose with a little bit of smoke and a malty grain.

Mouthfeel is light body with high carbonation.

Sulfer and grain on the palate with a hint of stone fruit and smoke. Grainy finish and it’s a bit metallic.

Interesting beer, but it seems to have some off flavors going on. Even with that, it’s still fairly tasty. 84 points.

Ayinger Oktober Fest-Marzen

September 29, 2011 Leave a comment

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Here’s a traditional German fest lager. As you may know, this is one of my favorite breweries, so I was pretty excited to try this beer. Marzen isn’t really my favorite style of beer, but maybe this one will flick my bic.

Stats:
Marzen. 5.8% ABV. Germany. Fall Seasonal.

Golden to copper color. Leaves a nice little head.

The nose is very bready. The malts give you a bit of baked green apples, as well. This is all about those bready malts.

Mouthfeel is perfect. Medium to full-bodied with a nice level of carbonation to give it some bite.

Bready malts, but it’s surprisingly fruity with a ton of apples and spices coming through.

The best Marzen that I’ve had, period. 91 points

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Weihenstephaner Hefeweissbier Dark

September 18, 2011 Leave a comment

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I love dunkels, and this is a pretty legit German brewery. Supposedly, the world’s oldest brewery. I don’t think I’ve had this beer until a week or so ago, so I just had to get it. Let’s see if it’s as good as Ayinger’s

Stats:
Dunkelweizen. 5.3% ABV. Germany.

Caramel color, nice head. It’s very hazy, of course.

Fantastic nose. I’m getting some yeast, banana, clove, brown sugar, honey, wheat.

Mouthfeel is on the light side, easy drinking.

Yeast and brown sugar up front and then you start getting the phenols and esters and ends with a nice fresh corn and banana flavor. It does seem to get a bit light on the midpalate though.

Damn tasty, just wish I didn’t get that watered down taste. Otherwise, excellent beer. 87 points.

Ayinger Brau-Weisse

September 10, 2011 Leave a comment

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I love me some Ayinger. A couple of my favorite beers of all time come from this brewery, yet somehow, I’ve managed to never have this one. Time to rectify. This is their normal hefeweizen or “helles” as they call it. If you are still getting some 80 degree weather like we are in Seattle, then this should be up your alley.

Stats:
Hefeweizen. 5.1% ABV. 13 IBUs. Germany.

Yellow color and it’s completely hazy. Can’t see through it.

Amazing nose. Lots of wheat and yeast with this amazing lemon lime thing. It’s got a ton of tropical fruits. Just smells fantastic.

Mouthfeel is light to medium body with highish carbonation.

Wheat and yeast, a hint of pencil lead, lemon, spice cabinet. Does seem to get a hair watered down in the mid-palate. Amazing length and finish with a honey and baked apricot.

Ayinger is in my top 5 breweries, and this beer is another good reason why. Just delicious and a perfect Summer beer. Buy. 90 points.

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