10 Barrel ISA

August 29, 2013 Leave a comment


ISA stands for India Session Ale. Isn’t that a Pale Ale? Or is this supposed to be a slightly more easy-drinking IPA? Yay, marketing! This is the first beer from these folks that I’ve reviewed, so I’m kinda excited. That’s have a drinky-drink.

American India Pale Ale. 5.5% ABV. 51 IBUs. Oregon.

Nice big head as it pours. Lacing is looking good, so far. Fairly light colored IPA.

Well, this beer is off to a good start, because this nose smells great. Loads of citrus, and a surprising tropical fruit aspect that makes me think of Citra hops. Bit of pine and black pepper here, as well.

So the mouthfeel is a bit light, but considering this is supposed to be fairly sessionable, I’ll let that pass. Carbonation is a perfect medium.

Upfront flavors include orange, grapefruit, mangos, and starfruit. Pine seeps in after, with a hint of vanilla and I’m surprised by the coconut component. Grainy and dry finish, which I love to see.

Sessionable or not, it’s a good IPA. This is in my wheel house. It’s drinkable, and it’s hoppy without over-shadowing the malt. My kinda beer. Drink this. 92 points.

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Beer Club 24: American Amber/Red Ale

August 19, 2013 Leave a comment

Amber/Red Beer Club

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!

Stone R&R Coconut IPA

August 12, 2013 Leave a comment


Coconut IPA? I can dig it. This beer features 280 pounds of coconuts and some interesting hop selections.

American India Pale Ale. 7.7% ABV. 90 IBUs. California. Limited Release.

Light orange color. Decent head and lacing, but a bit thinner than I come to expect from an (D)IPA

Well, it mostly smells like a regular DIPA. Citrusy, bit of pine. There is a hint of something that I’d describe as weird. I guess that’s the coconut, but it’s not really coconut-y. Bit of sweetness, as well.

Mouthfeel is nice. Medium body, medium carbonation.

Tropical fruit hit the palate initially, followed by a bit of pine and earth, finishes on a crisp sweetness and considerable bitterness.

It’s a fine beer, but I’d never guess coconut was involved. 88 points.

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Josephs Brau PLZNR


A Czech-style Pilsner from Trader Joe’s. What else do you need to know?

Czech Pilsner. 5.4% ABV. California.

Dark yellow color. Head is nothing to write home about, because that’s something you write home about.

Nose isn’t too bad, but quite sweet. Malty with a faint spicey Noble hop aroma.

Mouthfeel is low-medium. It’s a bit carbonated, but not fizzy.

Boy, is this sweet. By far the sweetest Pils I’ve ever had. Grainy malt, caramel, hint of raspberries in chocolate. It’s got a decent finish with grainy malts and a surprising amount of bitterness.

It’s almost cloying, it’s so sweet. The aroma is far better than the palate. There are many good choices out there for a Pilsner, why bother with this? 79 points.

No-Li Born & Raised


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.

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New Belgium Fat Tire


How classic is this beer? We’ve all had this one many, many times. Yet, I’ve somehow never reviewed it. Here we go! This amber features Pale, C-80, Munich, and Victory malts with Willamette, Goldings, and Target hops. Let’s give this flagship a try.

American Amber Ale. 5.2% ABV. 19 IBUs. Colorado.

Amber color. Shocking, right? Sticky lacing, which is nice to see.

Toasted nuts and biscuit on the nose. Floral hops. Hint of sweetness.

Light-medium body. Medium carbonation. Highly drinkable.

Floral hops followed by that biscuit and toast malt flavor. Slightly dusty on the finish with a hint of chocolate. Just enough bitterness to balance the little bit of sweetness.

Nothing wrong with this brew. 89 points.

Stone Farking Wheaton w00tstout


Well this is interesting. This imperial stout is a collaboration between Greg Koch (Stone), Wil Wheaton (Star Trek dude and general geek), and Drew Curtis (Fark.com). And it’s huge: 13% ABV. This beer also features pecans, wheat and rye malt and a quarter of it is aged in Bourbon barrels. Let’s give it a taste.

Imperial Stout. 13.0% ABV. 65 IBUs. California. Limited Release.

Really, really dark brown color, so let’s say black. Dark tan head.

Holy booze. Booze, wet rocks, hint of chocolate. Slightly nutty and vanilla component on there too.

Mouthfeel is very thick and creamy.

Chocolate covered nuts, booze, vanilla, bourbon, vanilla, booze.

I shouldn’t be breathing near any flame. It’s rich and complex, but just way too over-the-top for it to be enjoyable on my palate. I might have gone crazy for this a couple years ago, but I just don’t see the point today. Perhaps age will help, or it just might turn into soy sauce. 89 points.