The Immortal IPA (Elysian Brewing Company)

Posted in Beer Reviews with tags , , , , on May 28, 2010 by bumpcitybrews

My loyal follower(s)…sorry it’s been 3 weeks since I’ve been able to post something. I know you have been bored to death not having any beer reviews to read.  Don’t get me wrong though as it definitely doesn’t mean I haven’t enjoyed any good beers lately and I hope you have had the chance to try some too.  Seattle Beer Week was this past week and I got my share of some great Ales.  On top of SBW I have been volunteering at a local brewery helping out with some odd jobs and so forth, so I’ve been busy with beer.  In the spirit of Seattle Beer Week, I felt it would only be appropriate to select a local ale for this review. 

 THE BEER:

 A little bit about the Elysian Brewing Co…

At Elysian we pride ourselves on our versatility and the variety of beers we produce. Whether classic ale and lager styles or their Northwest-themed interpretations, idiosyncratic treatments with unusual ingredients, or altogether new beers never brewed anywhere else, ever, we tend to have an astonishing array of offerings on tap.

Bump City Brews thoughts…

Pour:  A small white head that diminishes quickly after the pour, gently resting atop of a light pale straw body with brilliant clarity.  

Aroma:  Light straw-like aroma present mixed in with a light flowery aroma from the hops, almost smells like a clean farm with no animals on it.  These aromas become more prevalent as the ale warms up. No yeast-like aroma present.

Taste:  Medium body with a strong upfront bitterness as one would expect in an IPA.  Light malty/nutty back tones helps accentuate the hop bitterness.  Some hop flavor noted as well.  Finishes dry with a long-lasting bitterness on the palate, almost medicinal like.   

Overall:  Maybe it was the cloudy and rainy weather but I was less impressed with this IPA compared to other Northwest IPAs available in seattle.  While the hop bitterness was present, there was no other complexity to the ale that came forward to let this ale “wow” me.  Lets just say it didn’t leave me wanting more once I was finished…

Would I buy more of it:  Nah, it’s a standard IPA, that lacks interest.  I personally would prefer more hop flavor and aroma, this beer was just kinda “there”.  Before looking at the beer fact, my guess is that the grain bill is mostly 2-Row malt, a touch of Munich (nutty flavor) and a little C-40 for body/color. 

Vintage:  2010

BEER FACTS:

Name:  The Immortal IPA

Style:  India Pale Ale

Brewery:  Elysian Brewing Company

City:  Seattle, WA

Country:  USA

Container:  22 oz Bottle

Malts:  Pale, Munich, Crystal and Cara-hell

Hops:  Bittered with Chinook, finished with Amarillo and Centennial

ABV:  6.3%

IBUs:  54

Date:  5.21.10

8-4-1 Expedition Ale (Limited Release)

Posted in Beer Reviews with tags , , , , on May 5, 2010 by bumpcitybrews

It all started when the Redhook facebook page was having a “Name the Pig Keg” contest and the winner was to get a free t-shirt from Redhook.  I thought about a name for a minute or two and submitted my suggestion, “Hamhook”.  Suprisingly enough, there was an overwhelming positive response to the name , so they chose my suggestion for the new pig keg.  The Redhook rep contacted me for my info and while a t-shirt is a great prize, I was clever enough to finagle my way into setting up a one-on-one meeting with the Brewing Operations Manager, Kim Brusco at the Redhook Brewery in Woodinville.  I met with Kim early this spring and he was nice enough to give me a behind the scenes tour of the Redhook Brewery.  It is a huge brewery, yet the brewers still have the flexibility to be creative and brew small batches while at the same time brewing their larger batches.  Regardless of the size of the batch, each beer always turns out with the same consistency, creativity, and liquid goodness (as Redhook might say).  After the tour, we sat down and had a few beers and talked beer.  I had the 8-4-1 Expedition Ale and Big Ballard Imperial IPA (which is heaven in a bottle in its own right).

 THE BEER:

 A little bit about the Redhook approach for creating this Ale…

Hand crafted by 8 brewers working in 4 teams, this Imperial Brown Ale was developed from their individual recipes carefully blended into one distinctive ale.  Rich and flavorful, brewed with cherry wood smoked malts and brown sugar.

Bump City Brews thoughts…

Pour:  A dense tan head that rests on top of a copper-orange body with remarkable clarity.

Aroma:  My senses must have been off this day because I could only note a light malty sweetness along with a slight floral aroma.  I did detect the presence of alcohol aromatics in it as well.  As the beer came up to room temperature, some of the malt sweetness intensified, but it still wasn’t as forward as I would have expected being an Imperial Brown Ale. 

Taste:  Full bodied, sweet maltiness with brown sugar combined with a touch of roasted malt and finished smooth with a kiss of honey and a lasting bitterness that stayed with my palate with some time after.  Out of the four specialty malts listed on the Grain Bill, I was able to distinguish the Caramel (sweet), Munich (Bready), and Chocolate, but not any of the smoked malts (which isn’t a bad thing). 

Overall:  The amount of Belgium sugars and malt used in this beer could have made this beer cloying, but the hop bitterness and the extra edge from the roasted malts made it a complex and balanced ale.

Would I buy more of it:  Yes, I have another bottle sitting with my private stash.  This one is sure to age well and more character will develop as it ages.  I might detect more malt aroma from aging as well.  This is a great beer brewed by a group of great brewers.

Vintage:  2009

BEER FACTS:

Name:  8-4-1 Expedition Ale (Limited Release)

Style:  American Style Imperial Brown Ale

Brewery:  Redhook Ale Brewery

City:  Woodinville, WA

Country:  USA

Container:  22 oz Bottle

Malts:  Pale, Wheat, Munich, Caramel, Chocolate, and Smoked Malt   

Hops:  Alchemy, Cascade, Willamette, Crystal, and Sterling

ABV:  9.5%

IBUs:  55

Date:  4.29.10

Cabin Fever (Boundary Bay Brewing Company)

Posted in Beer Reviews with tags , , , , on April 14, 2010 by bumpcitybrews

I discovered Boundary Bay Brewing Company one rainy Saturday in the late spring of 2009.  I was with my wife several other friends on a Washington Beer Lovers (WABL) bus tour throughout Northern Washington.  We were fortunate enough to hit up several Breweries in the Bellingham area each with a plethora of awards for their recognized beers.  At Boundary Bay, my buddy and I got a behind the scenes look at the brewery and the Brew master even poured us a pint of one of the finest IPAs I have ever had, directly from the Bright Beer Tank.  Today was no different, a spring Saturday, overcast and rainy, just seated on my couch rather than bellied up to the bar.  I was up for a bold beer and was looking through the many IPAs I have in my fridge when I stumbled across the Cabin Fever.  I remember the first time I had a Cabin Fever was at the WABL Winter Beer Fest in December 2009, I have been searching for it in bottles ever since.  Needless to say I was pumped, as I had forgotten that I had bought a few bottles a couple weeks prior to share when my folks were in town visiting.  This was just the beer I was looking for, something to warm up my spirits and inspire my brewing philosophy.

THE BEER:

 A little bit about Boundary Bay Brewing Co…

 “The Boundary Bay approach to beer is to render excellent examples of classic styles. In some cases–such as with our IPA, Imperial IPA and Imperial Oatmeal Stout–we push the envelope and make a very big and flavorful brew. Like a new kind of music, it may take a few samplings to build your palette but soon you will be coming back for more.”

 Bump City Brews thoughts…

Pour:  Small head – light brown, toffee-like in color.  The body was a dark Red/Brownish when held up to natural light.  I couldn’t determine if there were particles present or not, but with a dark ale, it’s not an issue anyways.  Lacing was good too.

Aroma:  A pleasant dark cherry aroma, but fades quickly.  Also noticed a low aroma of alcohol present in the background, which is quite common for stronger ale such as this.  More malt aroma than hops present.   

Taste:  Rich, sweet burnt sugar flavor upfront.  Light cherry present as well…not cloying what so ever.  The presence of Roasted malts help balance the sweetness.  Not much flavor from hops, but some bitterness present that also helps balance the richness of this beer.  The complex flavors from the Sweetness, Roastiness, and hoppiness all balance and complement each other perfectly.     

Overall:  Rich, Cherry Sweetness, balanced with the use of roasted grains and a nice balance of bittering hops.  Chocolate covered cherries would pair nicely with this beer. 

 Although this beer is listed under the style of Winter Ale, I would drink this one throughout the year, summer, spring or fall – doesn’t matter.  I will definitely bring a few with me on the first camping trip of the year, when it still gets chilly in the evenings.  Cabin Fever is by far one of my favorite beers made by Boundary Bay, if not the entire state of Washington.  The rest of the U.S. must think so as well, considering it won Silver at the World Beer Cup in Chicago earlier this month. 

 Will I buy more of it?:  Already have!  I have set it aside, hoping to age it for a few years, curious to see what subtle flavors shine through over time. 

Vintage:  2009

BEER FACTS:

Name:  Cabin Fever

Style:  Winter Ale

Brewery:  Boundary Bay Brewing Company

City:  Bellingham, WA

Country:  USA

Container:  22 oz Bottle

Malts:  ??   

Hops:  Bittering – ??  Dry Hop – Cascade

ABV:  ??

IBUs:  ??

Date:  4.1.10

Want to pay more $ for Beer in Washington?

Posted in Beer Tax with tags , on April 7, 2010 by bumpcitybrews

ME NEITHER!   

Follow these three simple steps to inform our elected officals that we disapprove of the proposed tax hike on beer in Washington State.  At this point, they are proposing to tax Macro-Breweries…no big deal, right?  Wrong!! It will just be a matter of time before our Craft Breweries that we love so dearly get taxed too!    

So follow these three simple steps:   
1. Read this -  

 http://www.washingtonbeerblog.com/beer-tax-increase-follow-up-more-information/  

  
OR JUST SKIP TO STEP 2 IF YOU DON’T LIKE READING.  

2. Copy the letter below:  

To my representatives in Olympia,   

I was saddened and dismayed to learn that the Senate included a beer specific tax to help raise revenue in the Senate Revenue proposal.   

Even though it provides an exemption for the small breweries (thank you) we still oppose this legislation as it does not address the root issue of beer being singled out as a “sin” tax. This proposal practically doubles the tax burden. It raises the tax from $8.08 to $15.50 per barrel. That is a significant hit to any industry. This situation creates a dangerous precedent. If we roll over on this and don’t oppose it or stay neutral, then it will only be that much easier for legislators to choose beer as an easy target whenever they need to raise a little extra revenue. It is also interesting to note that only beer is mentioned. If beer was targeted because it contains alcohol, why were wine and spirits excluded? Why single out a specific industry and one of the only industries adding jobs in the state?   

Why beer? Why does the brewing industry get unfairly sought after to raise money to fill government coffers. Alcohol companies already pay more taxes than most other goods manufacturing industry in the country. Currently in Washington D.C. the house and senate have bills to LOWER excise taxes on beer to stimulate our industry and our related industries! It is concerning that the opposite, adversarial approach is threatened in our home state the state which grows 75% of the country’s hops!   

Beer has taken its fair share of the punches over the last few years with DRAMATIC cost of goods increases. There is only so far that we can be pushed before breweries start going out of business from restricted profit margins. If the other alcohol industries gain a larger price advantage, then more consumers will choose the affordable option instead of the quality choice.
We promote microbrew as a sustainable, local option and are actively trying to change beer’s reputation to a beverage to be paired with food that is intensely full of flavor and body.
   

A well known blogger in our industry, Jay Brooks from California had a nicely written piece on his blog the other day concerning beer tax proposals in California. Much of what is discussed concerning California is true of Washington. I think you and your colleagues may be interested. The link is here:   

<http://brookstonbeerbulletin. com/marin- institue-wagging-their-finger-at-brewers-again/>  

Please do not support the beer tax and please encourage your fellow legislators to also not support a tax on beer. A tax only hurts our growing craft beer industry.  

Thank you for your time and consideration. 

  

3. Click on the link below enter your address to find your district, click on the senator’s name, then click on the e-mail link under the office information, re-enter your address, then paste the letter into the Email of the Senator…remember to cc the other 2 reps too, 3 ears one email.  

 http://apps.leg.wa.gov/DistrictFinder/Default.aspx   

 Done…  
 

TAKES 5 MINUTES! JUST DO IT!  
 

 

 

 

 

Believer Double Red Ale (Ninkasi Brewing Company)

Posted in Beer Reviews with tags , , , , , , on March 26, 2010 by bumpcitybrews

Free Beer.  The 2 words all men or woman for that matter, love to hear.  Not only did I score “Free Beer”, but I got free beer from Ninkasi!  Not only is Ninkasi highly respected in the brewing industry for their craft ales, but they also have committed themselves to supporting homebrewers and local artists alike.  This “Free Beer” I speak of came from my wife’s quarterly Art show held at her architecture office in Seattle.  Ninkasi generously donated 3 varying 12 packs filled with 22 oz. bottles including Total Domination IPA, Spring Reign Seasonal, and Believer Double Red Ale. 

 THE BEER:

 A little bit about Ninkasi Brewing Co…

 “Ninkasi is named for the Sumerian Goddess of fermentation. The first recorded brewers were the Sumerians, who gave up their nomadic way of life to become agrarian to produce barley to make bread and beer. They were the first to write, have schools, laws and many other firsts including organized beer production. This fermented beer was able to nourish the settled people and provide potable water. It is our goal to educate the world that beer has played a significant role in the cultivation of civilization. We are proud to carry out this tradition for our community, producing the finest quality ales and lagers, and supporting community through events, education, and the social benefits of a delicious pint”

 Bump City Brews thoughts…

Pour:  Average head – frothy with a shade of light brown, almost toffee-like in color.  The body was a dark metallic-like Red when held up to natural light.  It had a medium haze to it with small particle, which would go unnoticed if you didn’t have 20/20 vision like I’ve been blessed with.  Particles are not a bad thing by any means though, just keep that in mind.  Excellent Lacing. 

Aroma:  Light sweet malty cherry aroma with a little bit of alcohol present in the background.  The sweet caramel malt aroma builds in presence as it warms.  Pleasant aroma that makes my mouth waterfall in anticipation of tasting.  Very light floral aroma from the hops.  Clean yeast character.

Taste:  Medium-High bitterness at first sip, then shares some of the spotlight with a roasted maltiness.  A caramel sweetness breaks through once you get past the bitterness from the hops and the roasted character making up the most dominant flavors in the body.  Bitterness does tend to stick to the back of your palate after drinking. 

Overall:  I think the word “Red” in the name of the beer threw me off in what to expect.  I thought I might get a rich malty beer with a gentle balance of hops.  Instead I enjoyed a hoppy, less malty, FREE, 6.9% Ale.  While the beer was well executed and I love my hops, today I was looking for a little more caramel malt background to compliment the additional hops that were added and that’s not what I got.  Don’t get me wrong, I would still recommend this beer to my friends; it’s made for a hop-head. 

Will I buy more of it?:  Yep.  If I had to, I would pay for it.  It’s a quality ale with a nice big hop profile.  Appreciate it for what it is. 

About the Style, American Red & Double Red:

“American Red Ales are often categorized with Ambers – and occasionally, with Pales. True reds should be visually unmistakable when held up to light. Infused with a ruby glow that surrounds deep walnut, striking in ruby brilliance, bitten with burgundy or valiantly crimson!

The rich color discloses an expectation of the anticipated malt profile. A defined exuberance emanates from embedded tones of toast. Light fruit esters may be detectable, with heavenly chimes of sweet toffee and nougat. In Irish Reds, this sweeter malt remains defined, with a polite hop balance. In American Reds, however, this sweetness is balanced by an aggressively hopped character that can only be achieved with the addition of distinctive hop hybrids developed in the Northwestern United States.

As you progress from Reds to Imperial (or Double) Reds, the maltiness intensifies, as does the extreme hop-personality. Complexity increases with the higher alcohol content of the Imperial. This spotlights the hop profile all the more, taking you into groves of citrus trees or pine forests nettled with softened dirt floors. You may even feel the stinging bite of the hop monster and yield in a perpetual search for extreme hop pleasures.”

Vintage:  ??

BEER FACTS:

Name:  Believer Double Red

Style:  American Double Red Ale

Brewery:  Ninkasi Brewing Company

City:  Eugene, OR

Country:  USA

Container:  22 oz Bottle

Malts:  Roasted, Caramel Malts   

Hops:  ??

ABV:  6.9%

IBUs:  60

Date:  3.17.10

V-Twelve (Victory Brewing Company)

Posted in Beer Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , on March 19, 2010 by bumpcitybrews

Generally when one is perusing the beer isle of a grocery store, you wouldn’t expect to find too many beers you haven’t heard of already.  I know there are a few exceptions out there, but for the most part, they are few and far between.  I found this beer while picking up some lump crab and filet from Whole Foods and I encourage you to do the same.  I was impressed to see a number of beers I haven’t had before including beers from both the left and right coasts, including Belgian styles and Northwest Ales, all placed on a shelf mingling amongst one another.  I was in the mood to try a Belgian ale from an East coast brewery I have never heard of before.  I tend to always support my local breweries, but thought I would support the great state of PA this time and one of its local craft breweries, Victory Brewing Company.

 THE BEER:

 A little bit about Victory Brewing Co…

 “Having trained in Germany, we appreciate the artistic freedom we have here in the US. Here creativity is embraced by a fervent core of consumers and we are happy to serve that audience with our experience in traditional methods, selection of choice, often imported ingredients, and the best processing that technology can offer us.  We relish the opportunity to please both ourselves and our audience with our flavorful creations.  We’ve invested more than our lives in this. Take a look.”     Bill Covaleski, Brewmaster & President

Bump City Brews thoughts…

 Pour:  Pale Amber with a slight tint of burnt orange in color, picture perfect.  Good, lasting, frothy, white head that surprisingly left no evidence of lacing on my pint glass.  The body was a little hazy with tiny bits of particles present, not really noticeable unless you are specifically looking for them. 

 Aroma:  My senses detected a sweet, passion fruit aroma to this beer.  Fruity combined with underlying floral tones gave this beer a nice edge to it.  At first the malt aroma present was light, but as it warmed, I noticed aromas comparable to bubble gum were present on top of the fruity and floral scents already giving way. 

 Taste:  This medium bodied belgian ale offered a complex combination of flavors.  It started with a short-lived caramel like sweetness, followed by a medium bitterness, and nicely finishing on my palate dry with a spicy and tart banana/clove combination.  For my palate it was quite complex, but the bitterness was just at the right mark to make it a nice balance.  The flavors became more intense as the beer came closer to room temperature and was a nice representation of a Belgian Strong Ale in my humble opinion. 

 Overall:  I don’t have much experience drinking as many Belgian ales, but this beer did inspire me to do so.  The components of sweet, bitter, spicy and sour all balanced very nicely together.  There wasn’t one aspect of the beer that was the most forthcoming, each one played off each other to help one another be represented in the beer.  The bitterness mellowed out the sweetness, while the spicy accentuated the tartness, and vice versa…

Will I buy more of it?:  Yes, it was a good Belgian Strong ale.  As I said earlier, I do intend to drink more Belgium beers and then I will probably buy another bottle of V-Twelve to analyze the flavor profiles again. 

 Vintage:  ??

BEER FACTS:

Name:  V-Twelve

Style:  Belgian-Style Specialty Ale

Brewery:  Victory Brewing Company

City:  Downingtown, PA

Country:  USA

Container:  25.4 oz Corked Bottle

Malts:  Imported German Malts   

Hops:  Styrian Goldings & Tettnanger whole flowers

ABV:  “Above” 12%

IBUs:  ??

Date:  3.06.2010

Hop Rod Rye (Bear Republic Brewing Co.)

Posted in Beer Reviews with tags , , , , , , on March 5, 2010 by bumpcitybrews

It was an unseasonably warm and sunny winter day in Seattle one Saturday and the only thing that would quench my thirst was a nice cold bitter beer.  I opened my fridge and looked at the nice variety of hand selected craft brews to my avail.  After briefly considering my options, I found one that would hopefully meet my thirsts desire.  A nice Rye IPA coming out of a brewery located in sunny California, the Bear Republic Brewing Co. to be exact.  At 8% and 80 IBUs, I am looking forward to this one, so lets get on to the good stuff.

THE BEER:

From the label on the bottle…

Don’t drink and Drag.  Sediment at bottom of the bottle may be a result of the truckload of hops in the non-filtered Ale.

Bump City Brews thoughts…

Pour:  Reddish-orange in color, a very good looking beer.  Produced a thin off-white head where retention lasted throughout the session…also had good lacing around the glass.  I did notice a small amount of particles in the body of the beer which was likely a result of being non-filtered as mentioned on the label by the brewer.  The sediment did not take anything away from the experience or appearance of the beer though…if anything, it made me appreciate the fact that I was drinking high quality craft ale.

Aroma:  A medium-light floral perfume nose to it as a result of the hops.  Other than that I did not detect much more aroma.  Considering the amount of hops claimed to be used in this beer, I would have expected more hop aroma present.  No malt aromas detected by me either…maybe my nose was having an off day.

Taste:  It’s obvious how the “truckload” of hops were used…bittering agent… A Crisp, grapefruit bitterness dominates this beer.  Rye is known to accentuate hop flavors in beer, and the 18% of Rye in this beer did its job right.  The aftertaste of bitterness stayed on my palate for quite some time too.  Keep this in mind if you plan on drinking beers with more delicate flavors later on, you might drink this one later on in the session. 

Overall:  I got what I wanted.  A very citrusy bitter beer with surprisingly less hop aroma that I expected.  There is a little body to the beer, probably from the Rye, but not much more that that.  By brewing a Rye IPA, the intentions of the brewer were probably to make the Hops stand out and I think he achieved his goal through this beer.  Personally, I wouldn’t start out by drinking this beer first and if you are introducing a friend to hoppy beers, this might not be a good one for beginners…but then again, we all share a different palate…so cheers!

Will I buy more of it?:  Yea, but I would by it in a 12 oz. bottle as opposed to 22 oz.  For me, it’s a great beer to drink on a lazy summer afternoon.  But be forewarned, this one will getcha if you’re not careful…weighing in at 8% ABV, this one caught me off guard and made my eyes a little droopy!

Vintage:  2009

BEER FACTS:

Name:  Hop Rod Rye

Style:  Rye IPA

Brewery:  Bear Republic

City:  Cloverdale

Country:  USA

Container:  22 oz

Malts:  Rye/?   

Hops:  Unknown

ABV:  8%

IBUs:  80

Date:  2.20.2010

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