Archive for March, 2010

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

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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