A beer specifically made for the 12th Man. Texas A&M? Naw, Seattle stole that and made it theirs. This is for you, Hawks fans. Boy, do I love me some marketing. That aside, let’s get into the beer. It’s a “session” pale ale, so a pale ale. It features Maris Otter (interesting), and Crystal malts with Cascade hops. Am I using too many commas?
American Pale Ale. 4.5% ABV. 32 IBUs. Washington.
Burnt yellow color with a really small head that doesn’t leave a trace.
Huh. It’s actually got a Belgian character. Must be using a Belgian yeast strain. Otherwise, it’s pretty malty, and a hair sweet.
Light body, high carbonation. Shotgun!
Slightly tart, slightly sweet. Definitely tastes like a Belgian strain. A bit spicey, with a half-way decent grainy finish. The hops aren’t very present, but it’s fairly bitter.
It’s okay. I don’t really see Hawks fans going crazy for it. 85 points.
This month’s Beer Club is brought to you by the rich, malty, sweet beer known as the Scotch Ale. Admittedly not a favorite style of mine. These beers are generally quite sweet, full-bodied, and usually not shy with the alcohol. They often have a long boil which creates some caramelization. That adds sweetness, body, and probably a little color.
We had the same format as the last Beer Club. The brews were ordered by ABV and everyone wrote their top 3. 5 points for a first place vote, 3 for second, and 1 for third. We had 14 beers all together. Two of them are not pictured because other folks brought them. Let’s get started!
14th: Pelican MacPelican’s Scottish Style Ale, Big Sky Heavy Horse, Hale’s Barrel Aged Wee Heavy, Orkney Skull Splitter, Silver City Fat Woody
These beers received no votes. The Big Sky Heavy Horse was actually a favorite of mine, but just couldn’t quite make it on my top 3. Most found the oaking of the Hale’s and Silver City to be over-the-top. Of course, in a tasting like this, it sticks out like a sore thumb. The Pelican was the only beer not technically a Scotch ale, but an export style Scottish ale, and was light and pretty unspectacular. The Skull Splitter had the most noticeable alcohol and was off putting to some.
9th: McEwan’s Scotch Ale, Silver City Fat Scotch Ale
The unoaked Silver City was donated and got a third place vote from me. Someone enjoyed the McEwan’s, which also got a third place vote.
7th: Boundary Bay Scotch Style Ale
A Bellingham classic got 3 votes. 2 third place and a second place vote. It was a go-to beer when I lived up there, and held up well in the tasting.
6th: Pike Kilt Lifter
Another local brew and another classic. This beer actually received a first place vote and a third place vote. It’s always interesting to see a standard hold up well.
5th: Oskar Blues Old Chub
Old Chub was on my ballot, as well as 4 others. I particularly like the balance of this beer. It’s not too sweet and cloying, and the alcohol is well hidden.
4th: Bellevue Brewing Scotch Ale
A growler of this was generously donated, and it’s a good thing, too! Fourth place is not too shabby for a new little brewery in our backyard. This beer got 2 first place votes and 2 third place votes.
3rd: Traquair Jacobite
It’s not considered “world class” for nothing. This coriander infused Scotch ale received 2 first place votes, and a second and third place vote.
2nd: AleSmith Wee Heavy
The AleSmith is our second place beer, but it actually received more first place votes than our overall winner. This was my first place. The balance on this beer is remarkable. It really was the show stopper for me. Delicious.
1st: Traquair House Ale
And our winner is the Traquair House Ale! This is their flagship beer and really is the classic example of the style. 2 first place votes and 4 second place votes.
This was one of the most challenging tastings that we’ve done. The beers really do become cloying after awhile and considering the ABV, we had all palate fatigue. It was a great night, and we got to try a few beers that the host brought out after the tasting. Lots of great beer! Next month we will be diving into Oktoberfest beers.
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 is my first beer from No Li. They’ve recently been getting a lot of buzz, mostly due to their marketing campaign. I must say, their bottles are eye-grabbing, and that can’t be a bad thing for Washington state. They don’t say what malts are in here, but do say it was brewed with Cascade, Columbus, and Chinook hops.
American India Pale Ale. 7.0% ABV. Washington.
Fairly dark on the IPA color scale. Can’t see through this one. Great head on here.
It’s got a nice nose. Lots of hops, with a mostly piney aroma. Fairly earthy and grainy on there, too. Smells like a Washington IPA should.
Wow, this has some body. Medium-full with medium-low carbonation.
Piney, earthy, with a nice bit of grapefruit and hint of orange. Grainy middle and finish. Pretty legit bitterness. Grapefruit sticks onto your palate for days.
When I think of a Washington IPA, this is what I have in mind. If this is the kind of beer this brewery is producing, then I cannot wait to taste more. 91 points.
This is the flagship beer of Schooner Exact. I’ve had it on tap, but it’s made it’s way into bottles recently. Let’s give it a taste.
American India Pale Ale. 6.7% ABV. 62 IBUs. Washington.
Burnt orange color with a fantastic head and just a beautiful ring of lacing on the glass.
The nose is really nice, too. Citrus and pine, as you would expect. I also get a pineapple play on there, as well.
Prickly carbonation and a low-medium carbonation. I’d like to see a bit more tooth.
More pine than fruit on the palate. Grainy mid-to-back. Considerable bitterness on the finish.
Not for the faint of heart. It’s a solid Washington example, if you are an IPA fan. 88 points.
This month’s Beer Club is brought to you by the Black IPA/Cascadian Dark Ale/India Black Ale/American Black Ale or whatever else you want to call it. Regardless of the name, there was some kick-ass beer in this tasting. I actually designed the order by using the average of review scores. I used my own scores, BA, and RB.
To begin the tasting, we actually started with my homebrew. It gushed, and went back into the fridge. Oops.
The Laughing Dog Dogzilla might be my first beer from Idaho. I really don’t have much to say about that beer. I’m glad it was at the beginning of the tasting.
Next up was the 21st Amendment Back in Black. I actually like this beer. It’s not over-the-top with the hops and had a nice balanced flavor with quite a bit of caramel.
The Sam Adams Dark Depths Baltic IPA was a new one for me. It’s brewed as a lager. It was oddly sweet and oddly obnoxious.
One of my favorites of the tasting was the Alaskan Black IPA. Theirs isn’t real hoppy, but man, it’s a tasty beer. I’ve been a fan in the past and it held up well in the tasting.
My friend actually brought a beer for us to try, which was the Beer Valley Half Mast. I stuck it into the tasting here, and have no idea what the ratings are on it. I thought this one was a pretty good example of the style.
Another beer that I’ve been a fan of in the past, was the Oakshire O’Dark:30. Gave it a 90 on this blog and I still liked it.
We had the Widmer Pitch Black after. Nothing of note about this beer. Tasted like water to me.
Our only Washington competitor was the Fish Swordfish out of Olympia. I gave this one a pretty high rating, and enjoyed it in the tasting. It was a bit more aggressive than the others we’d have at that point.
You can’t do black IPAs without one of the greats: Stone Sublimely Self-Righteous. Probably the most aggressive beer, but the balance is fantastic. It’s what you’d come to expect from Stone.
Probably my favorite Black IPA is the Seccession by HUB. I still love this beer. It’s the perfect marriage of piney and citrus with the chocolate. My favorite.
This tasting was the first chance that I got to try the Wookey Jack from Firestone Walker. I guess there is a reason it’s the most highly rated beer in the tasting. Exquisite balance. It’s a beer I need to review on it’s own.
That’s it folks. It was a fantastic tasting and more user friendly than I thought it would be. Some folks just don’t enjoy the hops…yet. Next month hefeweizens at a lake house. Jealous?
Pike was chosen to brew a beer for the Space Needle’s Golden Anniversary. They chose to make an IPA that boasts Cascades, Columbus, Centennial, and Summit hops. I hope it’s good, it was spendy.
American India Pale Ale. 6.5% ABV. 58 IBUs. Washington. Limited Release.
Burnt orange. Beautiful head and lacing.
Lots of hops on the nose and a strange tartness. Lots of pine and citrus like you’d expect but you can also get the malt underneath.
Mouthfeel is pretty nice. Medium body with medium carbonation.
Huge hops up front with a citrusy and earthy quality followed by a hint of raspberries and ends on a tart/bitterness note. Balance isn’t too bad if you know this is a Washington IPA.
Not bad, but I wouldn’t pay that price again. 87 points.
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.
This is the newest in the Manic IPA series they have going. I’ve pretty much been a fan of all of them, and this one excites the crap out of me because it features Citra and Amarillo hops. Give me citrus or give me death!
American India Pale Ale. 7.2% ABV. Washington. Limited Release.
Burnt orange color. Lovely head on here. Lacing is just as nice.
Lots of citrus on the nose. The citra hops really come through with that lemon-y thing.
Mouthfeel is fantastic. Beautiful medium body with medium carbonation.
Grapefruit, orange, and lemon all come through with a bit of pine. A little more bitterness shows up than I’d prefer. Lots of vanilla on the finish, but it’s quite a dry one.
I love the citrusy hops, but I’d prefer the balance to be a little tighter. 88 points.