This month’s Beer Club is brought to you by the American Amber/Red Ale. It’s a bit of a catch-all category, and a fairly widely brewed style. I usually have a hard time finding enough beer for a lot of styles, but this one I had to settle on 14 examples.
We did something a little different this time. Everyone had to pick their top 3 favorites of the tasting. A first place vote was worth 5 points, second for 3 points, and third for one point. Here are the results:
14th: Anderson Valley Boont, Hale’s Red Menace, Rogue St. Rogue Red, Rogue Northwestern
These are the four beers that received no votes and hence are tied in last place. The Anderson Valley Boont tasted off to us. It was vegetal and a bit sour, so something went wrong there. The Hale’s Red Menace wasn’t too bad, but pretty thin and forgettable. The two Rogue beers were too hoppy for most of the palates involved, but the St. Rogue Red was on my top 3 until near the end of the tasting.
10th: New Belgium Fat Tire
This beer had the lowest point total, but still had some fans. Not a bad beer at all.
7th: Port Shark Attack, Laurelwood Free Range Red, Elysian Men’s Room
The Laurelwood is just a solid beer and ranked well. Some palates really liked the big, hoppy Port Shark Attack. And even the Elysian Men’s Room was fairly well-liked. I’m a big fan of this beer and happen to get it often when I’m at the bar.
6th: Full Sail Amber
I’m glad to see this one do so well. It’s been around forever, and it’s an overlooked classic in my book.
4th: Lagunitas Lucky 13, Rogue American Amber
The Lagunitas was so hoppy, it probably shouldn’t have been in the tasting, and it’s probably also why it was on my top 3. The Rogue American was a good example of the Amber style, and placed accordingly in this tasting.
3rd: Iron Horse Double Rainbow
I love this beer, I really do. I love the dark, richness of it, and I also love the bottle. This was on my number 2 beer and I’m glad the other folks were enjoying it, too.
2nd: Silver City Ridgetop Red
How about Washington placing 2 and 3 in this tasting? I wasn’t a big fan of the Ridgetop when I first had it, but every time I taste it now, I’m surprised by just how good it is.
1st: Ninkasi Believer
I’ve said this more than once: If I had say what my favorite beer in the world is, I’d be hard-pressed not to choose this one. That’s how highly I regard this beer. Personally, I think it’s a perfect beer. That may have given some weight to the voting, but I don’t think I was the only one who really liked this beer.
So there you have it. This was an awesome tasting and a favorite style of at least two people involved. It was also the 2-year anniversary of Beer Club. The night couldn’t have been better. Gorgeous day on the lake, with great friends and delicious beer. I think the top 3 voting is a lot of fun, and I’m going to continue that for future tastings. We’ve got some malt-forward beers coming up, starting with Scotch Ales next month. Cheers!
This Beer Club was a blast. It was a smaller than usual turnout, but with a couple newbies. Hopefully, we didn’t scare them off. We did drink A LOT of beer that night. Of course, I could have had more if I had a better head count. Yes, I will be rubbing that in their faces for a long time coming. I gotta say, I put together a pretty awesome tasting, so let’s get into it.
The first beer that we started with, as usual, was my own homebrew. It was more of a single IPA than a double, but it was tasty. People seemed to enjoy it, or they were just nice.
I had to pull a favor to get the Pliny. My friends now have street cred in the beer world. What else can I say about Pliny? It’s delicious, balanced, complex, oh and delicious.
Stone Ruination was up next and one of my favorite Double IPAs. Despite the name, it doesn’t destroy your palate and is actually the lowest in ABV out of the bunch, weighing in at 7.7%.
Lagunitas Hop Stoopid is another one of my favorites. It’s an ode to all your favorite citrusy hops. Again, it’s aggressive, but well balanced.
One of the biggest surprises of the night for me was the Sound Humulo Nimbus. I love this brewery, but it was a strange beer in the tasting as it wasn’t nearly as hoppy as the previous beers. Much more of the malt coming through on this one.
The second Washington beer in the tasting was the Silver City Whoop Pass. This definitely had the aggressive hop profile going on and was quite tasty in this lineup.
I wanted a couple East Coast offerings as a juxtaposition to the heavy West Coast showing. I’ve hated this beer in the past, and it wasn’t a favorite at the tasting. It’s over-the-top and lacks the balance of the other beers. It was also more carbonated than the other ones, which was surprising.
The biggest contrast was the Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA. This beer was all malt compared to the others. It just doesn’t have that punch and comes across with a dark malt profile. I got lots of chocolate and caramel on this beer.
The Firestone Double Jack became a favorite of mine in the tasting. Great hop profile, great balance, really delicious beer.
I think everyone was surprised by these beers. I know the IPA is a hard beer to get into, but with those big malt bodies to balance the hops, people found them much more enjoyable than the dry American IPAs from a previous tasting. That’s what I hope to accomplish at Beer Club. I believe it was fairly eye-opening and palate expanding for those who attended. Belgian Quads next month!
This month’s beer club was all about stouts. Nothing in particular, just a random assortment. We had our biggest beer club yet. There were about 13 or 14 people. As I suspected, this was a bit too large of a group. It was more of a party than a tasting, but those are fun too.
We started with the Deschutes Obsidian. It’s a classic, in my opinion, and I think it was still one of the better stouts of the night. Full flavored, but the most sessionable of the bunch.
Next up was the Pike XXXXX stout. I’ve really liked this beer in the past, but was amazingly shallow after the Obsidian. This was a very forgettable beer during the tasting.
We had a couple oatmeal stouts after that. The first being the American Caboose. This was the first time I got to try this beer, and it was another great offering from the Sasquatch in Edmonds. This one had a little more roast quality than the previous beers.
Ninkasi Oatis is one of my favorite stouts and the tasting didn’t change my opinion. It actually showed a huge vanilla component, and had a little bit of sweetness. I think this was one of the favorites of the night.
Another local brew, the Skagit River Trumpeter from Mt. Vernon was next. This one did not show well. It tasted very sweet, with a very heavy caramel component. Most found this beer to be overbearingly sweet and lacked the roast.
Then the Yeti attacked. I was pretty excited that the soy sauce component was recognized immediately. It’s a very common flavor profile on high ABV stouts, and this one showed it big time. Still a great beer, and was probably one of the best made beers. Very complex and delicious.
Port Brewing’s Old Viscosity is an oak aged stout. I’ve always liked this one and the oak compliments it nicely.
The Cappuccino Stout from Lagunitas was a shock to the palate. The coffee actually came across as a very green, almost salad like flavor. I got green peppers, while cilantro and lettuce was also mentioned. This wasn’t very well liked, and it really is a beer that should be enjoyed on it’s own.
We ended on a delicious note. The Mokah is very delicious, but well-balanced. The high ABV is very well hidden. This might be my favorite of the Blackwater Series.
I think I’ve had this beer once before, but it appears I never reviewed it. I picked this one up for the #IPADay. I’m a big fan of their regular IPA, so let’s see how this one does.
Double India Pale Ale. 8.0% ABV. 102 IBUs. California.
Light copper in color. Starts with a nice head, but it subsides. Some decent lacing.
Beautiful nose. Heavy hops that bring a ton of orange citrus with a fresh pine scent.
Mouthfeel is almost perfect. Nice carbonation with a medium body. Maybe a little bit too drinkable.
Huge hop flavor. Lots of fresh pine and orange citrus. The pine flavor is a bit hard to explain. It’s closer to standing in a forest than the heavy pine resin flavor you often get, if that makes any sense. Lovely orange and grapefruit show up. It’s hoppy, but has just beautiful balance. It’s not all that bitter. It has some gorgeous fruit notes. Very nice, long finish.
What can you say, this is just a fantastic beer. It’s a balanced, extremely well-made DIPA. Get this beer! 92 points.
Classic IPA. Not sure what’s in this, but if you can find Lagunitas, which should be a lot of you, this is a beer you need to try.
American India Pale Ale. 6.2% ABV. California.
Dark orange color with a nice head and great lacing.
All about citrus on this nose. Grapefruit, orange, lemon, lime, and a little bit of pine on this nose. It’s a strong smelling beer.
The mouthfeel is very crisp and actually fairly light.
Citrus and pine completely fill the palate. I seriously feel like there is an orange in this beer, that’s how much comes through. It transitions to some malt profile giving it some biscuit and grain flavor and the finish is quite long with a small amount of bitterness and grain.
This is awesome, and just my kinda beer. It’s light and crisp but completely full-flavored and beautifully balanced. If you like the 60 Minute and Stone IPA, this needs to be in your rotation. These are my favorite beers to have with food, especially some hearty red sauce Italian food! 92 points.
This imperial stout is a Summer release according to BA. Lagunitas calls it an Unlimited release, whatever that means. No information on the website other than calling this beer a hydraulic sandwich in a glass….
Russian Imperial Stout. 10.1% ABV. California.
Black with dark brown hues and a fading head.
The nose is major soy sauce. A little bit of chocolate and coffee, but soy sauce dominates.
Decent mouthfeel, but might be a bit too light for me.
Chocolate, coffee, soy sauce, orange, vanilla and dirt come through on the palate with a little bit of bitterness.
Hmm, I’m slightly undecided about this one. It’s good quality, but the soy sauce flavor just ruins it for me. 88 points.
I hope everyone has a safe and fun New Years Eve. I must say that this has been a year unlike any other for me. I’ve had some of the greatest times I’ve had. Driving from Seattle to New Orleans was the biggest highlight. But I’ve also had some of the worst, as a good friend of mine just passed away. I’m looking forward to the future. I’m blessed to be apart of this amazing beer community and changes are coming to this blog. Now let’s grab a beer.
This is another one of the Little Sumpin’ beers from Lagunitas. A Little Sumpin’ Sumpin’ is probably my favorite Summer beer, so I have high hopes for this one. This is actually brewed with the Westmalle yeast strain, so it should have a Belgian yeast character.
Belgian Strong Ale. 8.9% ABV. 73 IBUs. California.
Light amber color with a fantastic head and amazing lacing.
The nose is very Lagunitas, with a ton of hops coming through bringing a heavy citrus and slight pine component. There’s a bit of yeast coming through as well. Slightly muted, but decent nose.
Mouthfeel is good light to medium bodied.
Again, lots of hops bringing a lot of grapefruit, orange, and lemon with some balanced malts and some yeast. I really love the balance here. I also get a bit of pine and vanilla on the palate. Nice finish with a little bit of bitterness.
Another keeper from Lagunitas. I’m not quite as crazy about this one as some of their others, but it’s still a good effort worth seeking out, especially for the price that I paid for it. 89 points.
This early Winter release has generous amounts of, you guessed it, brown sugar. Apparently, this beer began as a failed attempt in 1997 making Old Gnarlywine. So they added a bunch of brown sugar to save the batch and they’ve been making it since.
American Strong Ale. 10.0% ABV. 51 IBUs. California. October Release.
Dark caramel color with a decent white head.
Lots of hops on the nose, but with quite a bit of sweetness and malts. Some barleywine aspects due to the sweetness and dark malts with a sharp, floral, and citrusy hops.
Big mouthfeel, lots of sugar.
Again, a ton of sweetness with a lot of brown sugar, molasses, but with a bunch of hops to balance it out and bring a bunch of grapefruit and floral notes.
Not generally my style of beer, due to the high sugar, but because it’s so hoppy, it just makes a delicious concoction. I like this one. 89 points.
This red ale, brewed originally for their 13th Anniversary (but now once a year, apparently), is high on dark malts and Amarillo hops. I always kind of passed up this beer for some reason, but I’ve been pretty impressed by Lagunitas lately, and have been wanting to try more of their stuff.
Red Ale. 8.3% ABV. 77 IBUs. California.
Reddish hue, but the head doesn’t last too long. The lacing, though, is fantastic.
Nice nose. It’s a bit sweet, and quite fruity with a hint of pine. There is seriously like a cornucopia of fruit in this beer, and it just smells great.
Mouthfeel has a good level of carbonation, but is quite thick. It lessens the drinkability, but makes for a velvety texture, if not slightly cloying.
It starts off quite sweet on the palate, with quite a bit of a pine burst from the hops, but then mellows into that dark, juicy fruit and drys out slightly. Just a tad bit of bitterness from the hops, but quite well balanced. Alcohol is hidden.
I quite like this beer. Admittedly, it is too sweet for my palate, but well-made beer and I love the balance. This could be a crowd pleasure as well, with the sweetness as it balances some of the hop harshness. 90 points.
This Summer beer, the last review you will see till next Summer, is a 50% wheat beer, brewed with 3 kinds of wheat. It also has every hop that starts with the letter “C”, which would be Centennial, Chinook, and Cascade.
Pale Wheat Ale. 7.3% ABV. 64 IBUs. California.
Dark golden color with a white head, but goes away quickly.
The aroma is quite hoppy. I get a lot of fruit on here with peaches, apricots, citrus, banana, with a bit of that car air freshener pine thing.
Good mouthfeel medium bodied with good carbonation, perfect for summer.
As expected, quite hoppy with the above flavors. Though there is definitely some bitterness in here, it’s fairly well contained, especially on the backend, which impresses me.
I’m quite impressed with this effort. This might now be my favorite summer beer, and I wish I’d have tried it before a couple weeks ago. It’s aggressively hoppy, but well contained and appropriate for non-hop heads. 90 points.