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Beer Club 20: Witbier

Witbier Beer Club

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!

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.

Snoqualmie Avalanche

November 22, 2011 Leave a comment

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Here’s a local winter warmer from Snoqualmie. This beer features Chinook and Cascade hops, but the website doesn’t list the malts. You’ll be seeing a lot of winter warmers in the next couple of months, so let’s how this one compares.

Stats:
Winter Warmer. 6.8% ABV. 48 IBUs. Washington. Winter Seasonal.

Dark copper in color. Nice head and lacing.

Nice grainy, malty nose. A little bit of dark fruits, but it’s just got this nice grainy sweetness that invites you to drink it.

Nice, full body. Just what I want in a winter beer.

It’s all about the malt here, and it has a nice grainy and bready flavor that give way, slightly, to some brown sugar and plums. It’s balanced with enough hop bitterness, but doesn’t bring much hop flavor.

Decent brew, if a bit boring, but worth a purchase. 88 points

Snoqualmie Harvest Moon

October 2, 2011 Leave a comment

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This is a Fall seasonal from one of my favorite Washington breweries. This beer features Munich malt and German Spalt hops. Let’s see how this domestic example compares.

Stats:
Marzen. 5.3% ABV. 24 IBUs. Washington. Available September-October.

They describe this beer as fire-orange, which is actually perfect. Not too much head here.

The nose is pretty closed. I’m just getting a little bit of malt and sweetness.

Mouthfeel isn’t bad. It’s medium bodied with quite a bit of carbonation.

The palate is better than the nose, but it’s not overwhelmingly flavorful. I get some sweet malts that bring an apple and vanilla component. Just a hair of bready-ness. It does have a nice malty length.

Not a bad beer, but doesn’t excite me too much either. Worth a buy in my opinion. 86 points

Snoqualmie Plant 1 Powerhouse IPA

September 14, 2011 Leave a comment

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This is a recent release from one of my favorite Washington breweries. It’s named after the power plant at Snoqualmie Falls.

Stats:
American India Pale Ale. 7.5% ABV. 85 IBUs. Washington. Spring Release.

Orange, not as coppery as most. Head is decent, but it leaves fantastic lacing.

The nose has a nice malt and hop profile. It’s got a bit of grain and a nice citrus, piney hop profile. I’m getting this cigar component that I like quite a bit, but a bit of diacetyl does come through.

Mouthfeel is perfect, it borders on full body, with a nice level of carbonation.

Heavy pine, a little bit of citrus, lovely grain. Diacetyl does make an appearance, but it’s not obnoxious. Good all around flavor with good length, as well.

This is just your classic PNW IPA. It’s a bit aggressive, but doesn’t knock out the malt. It’s got flavor to fill the palate, and length to keep the flavor there, all while still being well-balanced. It’s really not all that bitter. Just a solid brew. 88 points.

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Snoqualmie PGA

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This is Snoqualmie’s amber. I’ve been a pretty big fan of their stuff in the past, so I’m hoping this one will be a winner too.

Stats:
American Amber Ale. 4.0% ABV. Washington.

Caramel color with fine sediment. A little bit of head and some decent lacing.

The nose is very closed. It’s slightly nutty with brown sugar and peaches.

Mouthfeel is great, nice body and drinkability.

Caramel is the first thing I notice with a little bit of nutty-ness and some slight hop presence that gives it an even nuttier taste. There are some brown sugar, honey, and vanilla notes that I often get on this style.

The flavors are nice, but this beer is just way too delicate. If they could somehow just amplify everything, this beer would be fantastic. As it stands, it’s okay, but cannot be paired with food as it’ll just taste like water. 81 points.

Snoqualmie Summer Beer

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Well this is an interesting one. Snoqualmie calls this one a pre-prohibition Pilsner brewed Alt-style. So you can kind of think of this as an ale version of a Pils if that makes sense. It’s also brewed with a little bit of corn and Czech Saaz hops.

Stats:
Czech Pilsner. 5.6% ABV. Washington.

Light orange to yellow with an actually very nice head. The lacing is ridiculous. It’s also pretty full of sediment.

The nose is lighter than many Pils, but this one has a more spicy hop aroma than grain.

Mouthfeel is light to medium bodied, with a frothy carbonation. Not bad.

Snoqualmie didn’t shy away from hops here, and I like that. This is the opposite of a crisp, clean Pils. It’s got a ton of hops that bring a floral and light fruit note with a hint of black pepper. There are some peaches, apricots, and other light fruits. The finish is quite bitter with a hint of cracker malt, but the hops are a bit heavy handed which cover up a lot of the malt.

I’m surprised this Pils is so hoppy. I like it for what it is, but I actually prefer a more crisp Pils. This isn’t bad though, and certainly worth a purchase. I think this is just gonna be way too bitter for a lot of people. 87 points.

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