Friday, July 25, 2008

An update from your humble Beer Geek

Spokane Falls from the Monroe St. bridge downtown

I have recently (days ago) moved to Spokane, Washington(don't worry, I stopped at plenty breweries along the way) in pursuit of better career(and beer) opportunities. I've already seen a wealth of beer I could never get in the Sooner State. There are a couple of local breweries and the solid "Laughing Dog" brewery is relatively close in the Idaho panhandle. I will do my best to cover all the new beers and breweries I encounter. The grocery stores here are also quite stellar, so expect some new beer-infused food recipes.

I will miss my friends and acquaintances back in Oklahoma, you folks are exceptional! To all of you: keep hope alive. Oklahoma is one of the most repressive beer states in the nation, it is your challenge to expand beer culture in the state, one pint at a time.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Avery Karma Ale

The Beer:
Karma Ale
The Brewery: Avery Brewing Company of Boulder, Colorado
The Style: Belgian (Pale) Ale
ABV: 5.2%

Brewer's Description: We believe in Karma. We suspect most of you do, too. It truly is a global concept. Very simply put, "you get what you give." Inspired by this principle and the wonderful farmhouse and pale ales of Belgium, we've created Karma Ale, a decidedly fruity and estery ale, intricate in body and nose, all driven by a unique Belgian yeast strain. Remember, good things DO happen to good people. Here's to being good!

Color: Poured into whiskey glass, transparent gold with minimal white head
Aroma: sour vinegar, apples.
Taste/mouthfeel: high carbonation, light mouthfeel. Flavors of pilsner malt, some light honey, apple esters, and cedar. Taste is not as sour as aroma would lead one to believe, but there is still a small amount of farmhouse "funk".
Finish: surprisingly bitter and dry finish.

Notes: Purchased at Publix grocery in Tampa, FL. I am not sure if the funky/sour/vinegar notes were intended in this beer or not. Regardless, I was not a fan of this beer. The beer tastes awkward and has little personality beyond a slightly off-putting aroma. It feels like it doesn't know if it wants to be a quenching, light belgian ale or a dry Flemish-style sour ale.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Stoudt's American Pale Ale

The Beer:
American Pale Ale
The Brewery: Stoudt's Brewing Company of Adamstown, Pennsylvania
The Style: APA
ABV: 5.0%

Brewer's Description: This uniquely American beer offers a crisp, medium-body with a light amber color. It is assertively hopped with Pacific Northwest Cascades for a firm bitterness and delightfully floral aroma.

Color: Poured into whiskey glass, slightly hazy orange with minimal white lacing
Aroma: grapefruit peel and some lemon zest
Taste/mouthfeel: medium carbonation, assertive grapefruit bitternesss up front, very faint malt balance
Finish: bitter, ample hop resins, finish is medium-dry

Notes: Purchased at "Wine and Boos" in Tampa, FL. This was a very solid, if not incredibly outstanding, example of an American pale ale. Typical cascade hop aromas and bitterness (Cascade is the most commonly used hop in amongst craft brewers, although this is beginning to change due to the recent hop shortages) abound. Very drinkable beer, would go great with burgers and a summer cookout.

Lagunitas Lucky #13

The Beer:
Lucky #13
The Brewery: Lagunitas Brewing Company of Petaluma, California
The Style: Imperial Amber Ale
ABV: 8.3%

Brewer's Description: From the first day of the first mash of the first recipe in the first space to this oasis 13 years on the road; We have worked hard to walk in the footsteps of our hero brewers. The Esteemed brewer of California's best Pale Ale, the Noble Brewer of the planet's only legal Steam Beer, and Oregon's Rebel Brewer from Newport. Thirteen years down the road, we have found our own voice as brewers but our admiration for the Great Ones has not dimmed one bit. If we walked well down the hero's path ourselves, perhaps we too have been an inspiration for others. Beer is a Bronze Age business and we feel honored to have left our footprints on its path into history, at the same time leaving our flavors on your buds. Thanks for your trust over the years and we hope you enjoy this specially brewed Hi-Gravity Auburn offering. Beer Speaks. People Mumble! O.G. 1.085 76.92 IBU

Color: Poured into whiskey glass (best I could do at the hotel). Bright polished amber with very thin white head that leaves lace.
Aroma: Sweet malt, caramel, tangy hops
Taste/mouthfeel: medium full, caramel malts up front with some very faint toffee. Soft carbonation gives way to pleasant hoppy bitterness in the finish, assertive but not at all harsh.
Finish: malts and hops are in very good balance although the gregarious additions of citrusy hops win out in the end.

Notes: Purchased at ABC Liquor near Anna Maria Island, FL. The American amber ale can usually be thought of as a slightly darker, maltier APA. The APA has always had stronger versions in the form of IPAs and double or "imperial" IPAs. Recently a new style has emerged among craft brewers, the "Imperial Amber Ale". Lucky #13 is one such example. This beer has a great balance of malts and hops, the caramel maltiness plays nicely with the punchy Pacific NW hops. That said, this is not a perfectly balanced beer (nor should it be) such as an ESB. This is a strong beer with assertive maltiness and even more assertive hoppiness. A very well-crafted ale.