Archive for December, 2009

2009 – The year of the Beer!

Posted in Beer Reviews with tags , , , , , , , on December 31, 2009 by bumpcitybrews

ATTENTION BEER LOVERS!!!

2009 is quickly coming to an end…As my first Blog post, EVER, (so bear with me) I felt that it would only be fitting to launch a blog about what I am most passionate about in life that’s not my wife, Beer. I felt there would be no better way to start off my Beer Blog and New Years Resolution of “blogging about beer”, than to make a bold statement by answering a question such as “WHAT WAS THE BEST BEER I DRANK IN 2009?” Wow, almost fainted (or farted), trying to grasp the thought of labeling just ONE beer my absolute #1 favorite beer of the year. A near impossible task that will likely come down to what I am in the mood to drink at this very moment. After all, how can one who loves beer as much as I do, label just one fermented beverage as my favorite? To me, that is like a parent telling their youngest child that they are the most prized child of all the children in the family. For me, this is not an easy selection by any means…2009 was filled with many different beers flowing through my taste buds, into my stomach, with an end result of my head benefiting from a slight tipsy feel.

To give you an idea of the amount of diverse beers I was fortunate enough to sample in 2009 and how hard it will be to limit my choice to one beer check out the events/accomplishments I remember from 2009.

• WABL Beer Bus Tour (Chuckanut Brewery, Boundary Bay Brewery, Skookum Brewery, Lazy Boy Brewing Co.)
• 2009 WABL Washington Brewers Festival
• 2009 Seattle International Beer Festival
• 2009 WABL Winter Beer Festival
• 3 week tour through Eastern Australia sampling 52 different beers
• Homebrewed 10 different beers since 06/09
• Filled my WABL passport up with over the required 15 visits to different breweries since becoming a member in 06/09

THE SELECTION

Enough chit-chat and bragging about my awesome Beer tasting events, lets get down to the selection process…There are so many different factors I would have to consider when picking a beer, so I think it would only be appropriate, due to time constraints (less than 12 hours remaining in 2009), to limit the style of beer to Ales…Immediately eliminating a good 50% of the great beers that I drank in 2009. I chose to limit my selection to Ales because I live in Seattle and here in the Northwest, Ales make up a majority of the beers that the local micro-breweries brew. Being a WABL (Washington Beer Lover), member and strong supporter of micro-brews I have probably consumed mostly Ales in 2009. I am a self-proclaimed Hop Head and proud of it. So my choice may be a little biased because of my love for hops. I try to treat every beer I drink like a person I meet and not pass judgment on them until I have met them twice or as with beer, sampled them twice.

My 2009 Winners!

My Ideal IPA:

Aroma: Sweet Powerful Citrus Blossom Aroma
Appearance: Light Amber with a white head
Taste: Slight Caramel Malt Sweetness with a powerful hoppy citrus body (almost grapefruity)
Palate: Long Crisp Hoppy aftertaste, gets your taste buds going fast
IBUs: At a minimum 75+ (it should make my wife cringe when she tastes it)

 

Winner: Stone Ruination IPA (Stone Brewing Co. – Escondido, CA)
Stats: IBUs – 77
ABV – 6.9%
Hop Variety – Columbus, Chinook, and Centennial

My Ideal Pale Ale:

Aroma: Sweet Citrus Blossom Aroma
Appearance: Medium Amber with a white head
Taste: Medium/Rich Caramel Malt Sweetness balanced with a crisp citrus body
Palate: Bitterness from Hops should be crisp and present, but not overwhelming in the aftertaste, a very sessionable beer on a hot or rainy day
IBUs: At a minimum 35+

Winner: Manny’s Pale Ale (Georgetown Brewing Co. – Seattle, WA)
Stats: IBUs – 37
ABV – 5.5%
Hop Variety – Magnum and Cascade

My Ideal ESB Ale (Extra Special Bitter):

Aroma: More Malty than Floral or Citrusy
Appearance: Copper with a light brown head
Taste: Earthy and Malt notes with hints of hoppiness throughout (Coffee & Caramel)
Palate: Finishing with a pronounced bitterness, great happy hour beer
IBUs: At a minimum 30+

Winner: ESB by 4 Pines Brewery (Sydney, Australia)
Stats: IBUs – 40
ABV – 5.6%
Hop Variety – Undisclosed

My Ideal Seasonal Ale:

Aroma: Varies by Season, Slight Floral Aroma
Appearance: Varies by Season, Dark Red to Brown with white head
Taste: Varies by Season, Rich Malty Body with a spicy hop to it
Palate: Varies by Season, Smooth finish, leaves you craving for more
IBUs: Varies by Season

Winner: Cabin Fever Strong Ale (Boundary Bay Brewing Co. – Bellingham, WA)
Stats: IBUs – Undisclosed
ABV – 7.0% (A true Winter Warmer)
Hop Variety – Undisclosed

My Ideal Porter:

Aroma: Hints of Bourbon mixed with a light floral aroma
Appearance: Black with an off-white head
Taste: A Rich and Robust Chocolately flavor with hints of bourbon throughout (Aged in a woodford reserve barrel for 120 days…can’t match that!)
Palate: Smooth, Malty Finish, one and your hooked
IBUs: At a minimum 25+

Winner: Bourbon Barrel Rye Porter (Bluegrass Brewing Co., Louisville, KY)
Stats: IBUs – 31
ABV – 7.5%
Hop Variety – Undisclosed

Well, so much for honoring just one beer. My love for all beers resulted in me being unable to select just one. It is utterly impossible to choose just one beer as ones favorite (Unless of course you have dull taste buds and no appreciation for the individual personalities that each beer possesses and chooses a macro-light, with added chemicals for your drinking pleasure – triple hopped my ass!). Amazingly, I did manage to keep it limited to Ale selections and even more amazingly narrow it down to five very qualified choices. I think the beauty of beer and the lesson here is that there are so many different varieties of beer out there…countless beers all appreciated in their own ways. There are so many different variables that brewers must recognize when brewing a beer that you could give two different brewers the exact same ingredients and the end result would be two significantly different tasting and looking beers.

As 2010 approaches us quickly and I try my luck at blogging about new beers I’ve tasted and my homebrew experiments, I challenge you, my fellow beer lovers, when you look at the beer list or ask your server what is on draft, expand your horizons and seek out a tasty beer from a brewery that you have not had before…when you receive your prized beer, give it a big whiff and try to distinguish what aroma this beer is similar to, appreciate the color of the beer that the brewers specifically tried to achieve, try to distinguish the different types of malt flavors that are present in the body of the beer and how well or poorly they are balanced…take a second to think about your palate and the aftertaste that the beer leaves in your mouth…these are all characteristics of the beer that our local brewers thought up and designed for our drinking pleasure.

Fellow Beer Lovers, as I close my first beer blog post I want to wish anyone reading this a happy 2010 (or 2011 depending on when you read this). Challenge yourself and your taste buds to seek out what you remember being your most favorite beer of 2009…if you can pick just one.

Cheers and Happy Beer Drinking!