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.
This is the final release in the vertical epic series. This Belgian Dark features a spice addition that appears to be Cinnamon, Nutmeg, and Allspice. Let’s see how it goes.
Belgian Strong Dark Ale. 9.0% ABV. California. Limited Release.
Dark brown to black. Barely any head on this beer, but a little bit of a dark tan head appears when poured vigorously.
Hint of spices. It’s a bit christmas-y if that makes sense. Got some allspice, cinnamon, clove kinda thing going on.
Mouthfeel is actually fairly heavily carbonated. Decent body though.
The first thing that jumps out to me is the spices, but also a surprisingly amount of roast. The roast flavor actually over-powers this beer. The spices are alright, not over-the-top. A hint of alcohol on the finish.
I’m pretty meh on this beer. I find it fairly off balanced and boring. Maybe it’ll get better with age? 83 points.
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!
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.
How about a 10% ABV IPA. No other beer would be more Stone than something insanely hoppy and boozy. Luckily (I think), there’s some lemon-y stuff in here, so it won’t taste like eating my back yard.
Imperial India Pale Ale. 10.0% ABV. 85 IBUs. California. Limited Release.
Burnt orange to copper in color. Lovely head.
It’s hoppy, but has a lemon and herbal quality. It smells like a salad, and in the good way. There’s even a nice black pepper component. Add an anchovy and this would be a Caesar Salad.
Mouthfeel is big. Full bodied with a medium-low carbonation. Quite the sipper.
Ridiculous amount of hops that nearly rip your face off. The lemon isn’t as pronounced on the palate as the nose. Maybe that’s because the hops are ripping my face off. That herbal quality comes through with a bit of black pepper. High bitterness, and it’s got some heat.
This is about as big of a beer as you can get. It’s saving grace is the freshness of the lemon to slightly cut the heavy pine and bitterness of the hops. It’s tasty though, so if you are in the mood for a huge Imperial IPA, give this a go. 90 points.
Stone decided to change things up a bit. I’ve pretty much hated their smoked porter in the past, so I’m looking forward to trying this version with vanilla bean. They also released one with Chipotle peppers, which sounds pretty amazing. This beer features Pale, Crystal 75, Chocolate and peat-smoked malt with Columbus and Mt. Hood hops.
American Porter. 5.9% ABV. California. Limited Release.
Dark brown and slightly reddish in color. Big head as I poured, but hasn’t stayed put.
It smells chocolatey with a bit of vanilla. Not really getting any of the smoke.
Mouthfeel is actually a bit thinner than I was expecting. Light-medium body with light carbonation.
Minimal smoke, a little bit of a vanilla, but also fairly minimal. A bit of chocolate also comes through, with a surprising bitter finish.
I don’t get this beer. It’s not smokey, not overly vanilla-y. What is does have is an abundance of boringness. 79 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.
Sorry, I’m a bit behind on the blog, but I’m finally getting around to recapping the IPAs from last Beer Club. I should say first that this is really a West Coast (best coast!) tasting with a mostly WA presence. And why not? We grow all the hops. I’m not going to recap each beer itself because frankly, none of them were a huge hit. Most of my Beer Club folks havn’t gotten over that bitterness hurdle. Also, palate fatigue set in early with these beers for obvious reasons. The two Fremont beers were probably liked the most, especially the Homefront. Otherwise, I would say the Stone and Racer 5 were also liked more than the rest. Boundary Bay and American are both very WA in style and very aggressive, but I love them!
Two Beers Evolution IPA
Fremont Interurban IPA
Fremont Homefront IPA
Boundary Bay IPA
American Breakaway IPA
Pyramid Thunderhead IPA
Bear Republic Racer 5 IPA
We also had the Maui Big Swell IPA, but somehow I forgot to take a picture of that.
Just look at these jokers.
It’s actually been years since I’ve had this beer, but when it was recently shipped to my beer store, I grabbed a fresh bottle. You can read my original review here. I wasn’t impressed the first time I had it, but maybe it will win me over this time.
American Porter. 5.9% ABV. 53 IBUs. California.
Fairly light colored porter with a lot of red coming through. Really nice head on here.
Not too much happening on the nose. It’s got only a hint of smoke, but it’s mostly a chocolate malty aroma.
The mouthfeel is quite nice. It’s fairly thick with a low amount of carbonation.
Again, very little smoke on here. It’s got a lot of chocolate, and a hint of coffee. That’s about it.
Really unimpressive for Stone. The smoke is barely there, and subtle isn’t really Stone’s game. 79 points.
I somehow missed this one when it came out. This is an interesting brew. It’s described as a Belgian style Amber ale brewed with Anaheim chili and cinnamon. It will be interesting to see how the Belgian yeast plays with the cinnamon and chili flavor.
Belgian Strong Pale Ale. 9.4% ABV. California. Limited Release.
Dark copper in color with a nice head, but does fade surprisingly quickly.
Not getting too much on the nose, but there’s some sweet malts with a hint of black pepper, bell pepper, and cinnamon.
Mouthfeel is decent, it’s got some body, and the carbonation is low, but almost seems high because of the chili spice.
The flavor is bell peppers and a hint of black pepper and cinnamon, same flavor on the mid, but it starts to get a bit bitter and spicier. The back shows a bit of that malt and it’s got a sweetness to it. You can taste the cinnamon if you imagine it, but it’s not obvious.
The bell pepper taste kinda destroys this for me. It has just a tiny bit of heat and doesn’t have the lovely chili flavor that I was hoping for. I love the concept, but I’m not blown over with this effort. 86 points.