Posts Tagged bitter
Nothing like a glass full of mystery to finish the year off right! Alpine Brewing recently opened a tasting room not too far from their old location, thanks to their acquisition by Green Flash. This allowed the addition of a rather nice tasting room with a back-woodsy lodge feel to it. Lots of open space on the patio, with a pretty standard tasting room and restaurant inside. I got no pictures, but I’ll be back.
Instead of touring the place, I ordered a beer that had just come out and was not described anywhere on the menu as a result. Mysteriously called Alpine HFS IPA (6.5% abv), I knew only that it would likely be hoppy. With Mosaic, Citra and Simcoe hops, hoppy it was, according to our server. “Mosaic” was all I needed to hear and I was in.
It poured a rich golden color with small bubbles and light thin white head. It smelled fruity and fresh, with a touch of bitter hoppiness. It tasted piney and reminded me of being in nature at the first sip. Some of the hop bitterness followed, with pine flavors returning toward the middle and a slight maltiness. Light body and medium carbonation kept it fresh into a somewhat malty finish, with the same piney flavor lingering.
Just a bit too much nature in a glass for me:
With Halloween behind us, we welcome the holiday beers, which include lots of vanilla stouts, coffee porters and pumpkin beers. A lot of people bemoan this time of year for the beers it brings about, but I fully support it. Like the inexplicable excitement for Starbucks’ Pumpkin Spice Latte, I happen to think it gets people more into the holiday spirit. So, it is with excitement and hope that I find some worthwhile seasonal flavors out there that I embark on another holiday beer season.
In my seemingly never-ending quest to find a non-pie tasting pumpkin beer, I happened across a good one at Mission Brewing. They were pouring a seasonal brew “creatively” called Mission Pumpkin Amber (5% abv): It poured rich amber in color, with tiny bubbles and creamy white head. It smelled mild, malty and slightly bitter. My hope was that this bitterness came from the pumpkin, of course. It tasted just as mild and malty as the smell led me to believe. A sort of vegetal bitterness came next (again hopes were for pumpkin). The middle was still mild and light-medium-bodied, with light carbonation. It finished light and was quite refreshing, with a bit of the vegetable-like bitterness trailing. Naturally, I was amazed that flavors like cinnamon, nutmeg and the like were not allowed to the party.
A little late to the party, after I promised a series celebrating Oktoberfest, I give you one from a great local brewery, Rough Draft. They are starting to send their bottles and kegs out more, so if you see it, pick some up and support the locals! I always do, though I got Rough Draft Oktoberfest Lager direct from the brewery because it’s always better from the source.
This one poured a clean medium brown, with light carbonation and foamy head that stuck around a pleasing amount of time. It did not smell like much; very mild and slightly bready was about all I could smell. The first thing I tasted was a lot of bitterness up front, then that faded to a mildness that was almost no taste at all. There was a slight pick up of malty notes toward the end, but that was about it. There really was no finish to speak of.
I would give this beer:
In my continuing celebration of fall, I came across one from one of my favorite breweries. Coronado’s Punk’in Drublic Imperial Pumpkin Ale is just an ok example of this paragon of the fall season. I have had a number of regular pumpkin ales, but never the “imperial” kind. Turns out, this makes little difference to the actual taste, at least in this case.
Punk’in Drublic pours a pleasing dark red color with large bubbles in the carbonation and the quickly dissolving head that is characteristic of this kind of beer. The first thing I smelled was a sweetness. “Uh oh,” I thought. “This is the standard pumpkin pie ale I always seem to find, instead of one that actually tastes like pumpkin.” Luckily, I was wrong on that, though it did not necessarily make it a better beer.
It didn’t taste as sweet as the smell indicated it might be. It was very mild, with some bitterness up front. Then a little malty sweetness came through, moving back to the bitterness lasting through the finish. That was about it for the experience of this beer.
There is a local brewery right down the street from my work called Rough Draft Brewing Company. They don’t seem to distribute very widely, but I only started going to their brewery/tasting room a couple of months ago, so their brews very could well be in your neck of the woods.
As you can see, it’s just a pretty nondescript industrial office space. That is mostly the norm, though, for small brewery startups. Inside, however, is where the magic happens.
They display all of their wares in the lobby for visitors’ perusal. Directly behind where the picture to the right was taken is a hallway leading to a couple private party/meeting rooms and the warehouse where they store all the goodies that go into their beers.
Their tasting room is really well laid out: all the beer making going on right in front of the tasting counter area, with stools and comfortable couches. It’s a cool thing to be able to sit among the making of what you’re drinking. It makes me appreciate the work that went into it just that much more. After all, that’s what craft beer is all about: making and sharing this stuff we all love so much.
The beer selection is pretty good, considering the apparent size of the operation. They usually have about 10 beers on draft, ranging from a blond to a stout and the ever-present IPA. The draft board always includes at least one nitro selection, as well. For this event, they included two others: their second anniversary special called 2nd Draft Manhattan and a casked IPA called Group Project.
First up, I tried the 2nd Draft Manhattan. This one was a strong ale, clocking in at 9.3% abv. It poured a rich caramel brown color, with fine, slightly off white head. It smelled slightly sweet, though that could have been from the cherry they included with it. It also gave sour and grainy scents. The first sip brought all the alcohol this beer had to bear. It mellowed a bit after to the bourbon flavor you would expect in a Manhattan mixed drink. That was followed by a bitterness I did not expect, thought that could have been the masking effect of the alcohol content. It finished bitter with the lingering bourbon booziness leaving a warmth at the back of my throat.
I would rate this beer:
I am a sucker for anything served in a cask, so next I went for their other special brew: Cask Group Project IPA. This one is made with three kinds of hops: Amarillo, Cascade and Citra. Now, I have to admit ignorance when it comes to hops, considering my previous aversion to beers made with a bunch of them, but I couldn’t help myself. This one poured a deep cloudy golden. It actually reminded me of a wheat beer. It had fine off white head that coated the glass evenly.Putting my sniffer to the glass about knocked me over due to the copious hop content of this beer. After that subsided, it actually smelled pretty mild and only slightly floral. Tasting it, I was surprised at the slight sourness. Then all the hops slowly drifted back along my palate to the back, finishing with a hoppy kick. The aftertaste was a bit bitter with some interesting floral flavors.
All in all, not a bad beer. I was impressed by how they were able to pack so many hops into this beer without absolutely knocking out my taste buds.
I would rate this beer: