Archive for the Beer Reviews Category

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. 


 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


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).


 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


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.


 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


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

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. 


 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:  ??


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.


 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:  ??


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.


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


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

Trumpeter Imperial Stout (Skagit River Brewery)

Posted in Beer Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , on February 6, 2010 by bumpcitybrews

I think Facebook is letting me get the most out of my beer drinking/brewing/researching obsession.  I think I have become a fan of anything beer related on Facebook…if I see someone holding what looks like a craft beer, I try to befriend them.  Most of the time it turns out that they are a beer fanatic like myself, but other times, I de-friend them.   The fact that my local Bottle Shops have fan pages and are constantly updating me with the most recent deliveries that they receive has allowed me to always be able to pick out the beer I want to purchase before driving out to pick it up, a convenient feature for me and free marketing for them.  I won’t bore you with my beer related Facebook stalking though, let’s get back to what matters, Beer.


A little bit about Skagit River Brewery…

This commitment to Yakima Valley hops, northwest grown barley and wheat and the purity of our water source combine to produce outstanding beers. Skagit “Steelie” Brown Ale and Dutch Girl Lager, are truly American-made versions of traditional English and German beers. Our other beers each draw on their own sources of inspiration to provide for seasonal individual tastes.

Bump City Brews thoughts…

Pour:  Black as one would expect for an Imperial Stout.   Medium-light, creamy head with a light amber tint to it, but more importantly (to me) the head retention lasts throughout the entire session. The lacing left on the glass with this beer was very nice as well. 

Aroma:  Sweet, dark roasted caramel notes are the dominant flavors present.  Followed by a slight hint of chocolate.  No overwhelming coffee aromas present in this Stout as one might find in other stouts.  I wanted topoint out that as this stout comes closer to room temperature, the sweet caramel aroma becomes more mild allowing the roasted notes to come through, which balance it nicely.   

Taste:  Rich, sweet caramel flavors are the forefront with the dark roasted malt serving more as a shadow and not a partner.  Notes of chocolate are present with each taste as well.  Hints of licorice are present on the back of my palate as an aftertaste.

Overall:  This is a full-bodied stout, almost a little to cloying for my taste.  I would prefer a little more hops and roasted malt to balance out the overwhelming sweetness from the caramel and chocolate malts.  My lips are still sticky from drinking this one… 

Will I buy more of it?:  Nah, probably not, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t.  As you have probably noticed, its a little too sweet for my taste buds and it’s making me fuller and fuller by the minute…I might not need to eat dinner tonight after this one.

Vintage:  2010


Name:  Trumpeter

Style:  Imperial Stout

Brewery:  Skagit River

City:  Mount Vernon

Country:  USA

Container:  22 oz

Malts:  Chocolate, Caramel, Roasted

Hops:  Unknown

ABV:  10%

IBUs:  ?

Date:  2.5.2010

Sea Dogs Blue Paw Ale vs. Bump City Brews Blue Ball Ale

Posted in Beer Reviews with tags , , , , , , on January 22, 2010 by bumpcitybrews

So one of my favorite beers to drink on a hot summer day is a refreshing Blue Paw Ale brewed by Sea Dogs Brewery in Portland, Maine.  After a lot of googling, I found a replica recipe on BYO (Brew Your Own) magazine online.  I brewed it up once in August of ’09 and the result was a nice tasting wheat ale, but didn’t have the same aroma profile as I anticipated.  I brewed it again in December of ’09 and the result this time around was noticeably better.  Personally, I think the secret was letting the Blueberry extract that I added to the secondary carboy sit for an extra week before kegging.  The body of the beer turned out the same as the first batch, but the added blueberry aroma got me one step closer to what I was looking for. 

Last weekend, while I was browsing though the thousands of beers at Full Throttle Bottles, I actually found Sea Dogs Blue Paw available for $2.  Great!  I can compare my brew with theirs and more importantly improve mine to mimic Sea Dogs but also add a little Bump City twist to it (im thinking hints of Biscuit).

Alright – let’s get drinking! 


Blue Paw – Fizzy Head that disappears quickly after the pour.  Light Golden and Clear. 

Blue Ball – Moderate off-white head, that also disappears soon after the pour.  Amber in color and hazy body…most likely from not cooling the wort quick enough after the boil and might add some irish moss or whirfloc tablet next time to get more clarity.


Blue Paw – Prevailing fresh sweet wild Blueberries on a spring day in Maine – the only smell is that of blueberry, no hop aromas noticeable.

Blue Ball – Mild Blueberry aroma, present, but not overwhelming.  No hop aromas present.


Blue Paw – Starts off with a mild blueberry flavor that is due in part to the favorable blueberry aroma.  Finishes like a wheat ale and won’t leave your breath smelling of blueberry bubble gum.  Very refreshing and sessionable beer.

Blue Ball – Starts off with a light hint of blueberry flavor and quickly changes to the flavor profile of a wheat beer.  Has what seem like a hint of hay flavor notes to it as well.  Still refreshing and sessionable although it is a little heavier than the Blue Paw.


Blue Paw – Still the winner and only “Fruit” style wheat ale that I’ll drink.  The blueberry adds to the refreshing flavor of the beer rather than overwhelm it.  I can attest to the fact that it is a great beer to drink while sitting on a dock in Maine fishing for striped Bass. 

Blue Ball – Very good contender and definitely not bad for being only the second time I have tried to clone the Blue Paw.  The aroma improved dramatically compared to the first batch and the flavor was an improvement as well.  Taste great on draft and is a crowd pleaser at Bump City Brews.

Would I buy/brew more of it?

Yes and Yes!  Love my Blue Paw and am always trying to work on my Blue Balls…


Name:  Blue Paw

Style:  Wild Blueberry Wheat Ale

Brewery:  Sea Dog Brewing Company

City:  Portland, ME

Country:  USA

Container:  12 oz. Bottle

Malts:  ??

Hops:  ??

ABV:  4.6% (Very low – Did not reach targeted O.G. or F.G. – should be around 5%)

IBUs:  ??

Date Brewed:  Unknown

Date Critiqued:  1.21.10

Description from Sea Dog Brewing Co’s website:

“Our unique contribution to the fruit ale category features the nutty quench of wheat ale combined with the delightful aromatics and subtle fruit flavor contributed by Maine wild blueberries.”

Name:  Blue Ball

Style:  Blueberry Wheat Ale

Brewery:  Bump City Brews

City:  Seattle, WA

Country:  USA

Container:  Cornelius Keg

Malts:  Unhopped Wheat LME, 2 Row Pale Malt, Wheat Malt, Munich Malt

Hops:  Hallertau & Williamette

ABV:  3.6% (Very low – Did not reach targeted O.G. or F.G. – should be around 5%)

IBUs:  16

Date Brewed:  12.12.09

Date Critiqued:  1.21.10


Smoked Porter (Alaskan Brewing Co.)

Posted in Beer Reviews with tags , , , , , , on January 10, 2010 by bumpcitybrews

I visited Full Throttle Bottles today in Georgetown district of Seattle.  A nice little bottle shop with lots of different craft beers available for purchase. 


From Alaskan Brewing Co. website…

 Smoked Beer. Known as “rauchbier” in Germany, smoke-flavored beers were virtually unknown in the U.S. until Alaskan Smoked Porter was developed in 1988.  Introduced in 1988, Alaskan Smoked Porter has been credited with helping inspire an American revival of smoked beers. Alaskan Smoked Porter is one of the most award-winning beers in the history of the Great American Beer Festival and a perennial winner at the World Beer Cup.  Alaskan Smoked Porter may be enjoyed with smoked seafood, cheese and other robust foods and as an after-dinner drink. It pairs beautifully with everything from bleu cheese to vanilla ice cream and raspberries. This unique beer is also a wonderful flavoring ingredient in sauces, seafood dishes and even cheesecake.”

Bump City Brews thoughts:

Pour:  Midnight Black pour, true to the style of a Porter.  Thick, creamy head with a light Amber tint to it that does not diminish minutes after the pour.

Aroma:  Distinct smokey roast aroma with a light caramel malt that accents the smoke once the smoke clears.

Taste:  smooth mouthfeel.  Rich, smokey,and roasted malt body…A hint of chocolate in the body helps balance the smokeyness as does the punch from the bitterness of the hops that helps tie it all together. 

Overall:  Alaskan achieved their goal of making a smoked porter…this Rich smokey beer goes down easy and leaves your palate wanting more. 

Will I buy more of it?:  Yes…this beer instantly took me back to the cold nights camping and sitting around the campfire.  (Note to self, bring with me next fall camping trip) I think I would like to cellar this beer and then try this beer in 5 years and then again in 10 to let more subtle flavors develop…long term planning.  Not sure I will make it 5 weeks…

Vintage:  2009


Name:  Smoked Porter

Style:  Specialty Beer (Porter)

Brewery:  Alaskan Brewing Company

City:  Juneau

Country:  USA

Container:  22 oz

Malts:  Unknown

Hops:  Unknown

ABV:  6.5%

IBUs:  45

Date:  1.9.2010

2009 – The year of the Beer!

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


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


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!