Posts Tagged industrial

Power to the Brewers!

Yellow Springs Pano During our New Year’s trip to Ohio, we went to Yellow Springs Brewery. This super small industrial warehouse was off a side street you would have had to be looking for to find. A standard industrial building of painted white brick on the outside (with accompanying food truck), it had yellow and orange walls inside on one side with grey cinder block on the other. There was an art exhibition going on with the art on the walls, which left painfully little room to navigate. The tasting counter at the back had corrugated metal behind it. The brewing area was to the left behind a windowed wall with a door. Tasting tables were strewn throughout, seemingly haphazardly. There also appeared to be no real system to the line, with people backed up into the entrance to the place.

Bloodsmoke Barrel Aged Imperial RedMy first sample of Yellow Springs product was the Bloodsmoke Barrel Aged Imperial Red (11% abv). This tasty concoction poured deep red in color, with thin, sudsy head. It smelled malty and sweet, with a hint of dark fruit. The taste threw all the sweetness up front, with a load of malts and some fruitiness. Light-medium body and light carbonation did little to clear the sweetness, but it was still not overpowering. It finished slightly sticky sweet and malty, with a bit of fruit trailing. Despite the sugar load, I enjoyed this one.

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Next, I got myself the Birkensocks Amber Saison (5.5% abv). This one poured cloudy red-orange, with sudsy white head. It smelled slightly sour, but that was about it. There was nothing else to distinguish the aroma. The taste was mild and tart, followed by some yeasty, bready flavor up front and a touch of fruit that could have been citrus. Light in both body and carbonation, this beer finished somewhat sticky and tart, with some fruitiness trailing.

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Framework Stout Nitro

Yes, that is Cards Against Humanity on the table to accompany our drinks

I finished the evening at the brewery with the Framework Stout Nitro (6.1% abv). This one poured black, with surprisingly thin brown head. It had very mild, bitter chocolate on the nose. The taste was just as mild. There was a chocolaty bitterness up front, with some roasted malts into the middle. It had medium-heavy body, light carbonation and finished very chocolaty and bitter. A bit too much chocolate for one beer.

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There’s Beer in My Junk!

Junk House signI recently went to a little gastropub that just opened up down the street from my house called Junk House Gastro-Pub. This was a little funky, industrial, warehouse-looking place just off the freeway. I was directed to it by a hand-painted sign (graffiti style) with a name and an arrow pointing through a neighborhood of pre-fab condos. I must have driven past this place a dozen times and never noticed it, as I thought it was just a residential area next to the freeway.

It was not much to look at walking up to the place, with lots of corrugated steel, cement and chain link. The inside was much the same, with roll-up glass doors to one side, some scattered tables on the other side and a large L-shaped bar dominating the middle of the place. Despite all the industrial grunge (not dirty, but the general theme), the tables had wood tops and had lead pipes for legs. Cool vibe, but the menu is kind of expensive.

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Looking at the beer menu, my eye stuck on one particularly raunchy-sounding one: Stubborn Jack Smoked Porter Ale from a brewery called Ass Kisser in Ukiah, CA. This beer poured black, with off white head that left some nice lacing on the glass. Smokiness and chocolate met my nose on the smell. Chocolate came through first on theAss Kisser Smoked Porter taste, with faint smoke coming afterward. It was mild and medium bodied and the smokiness was hardly overpowering. The finish was of bittersweet chocolate. I have definitely had more dynamic porters, but it was a fair example of one.

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Ass Kisser Smoked Porter top

Junk House does have good food and a moderate beer selection, but needs to come down on its prices. I would not mind if they started brewing their own beer, either.

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The Industrial Goddess

Mt Hood

I recently took a trip through beautiful Oregon and paid a too-short visit to my favorite brewery, Ninkasi Brewing. This place of wonder was not quite what I expected: it was in a very industrial part of town, which in itself is not that unusual for a brewery, but I am used to strip malls and office parks with tasting rooms. This particular section of Eugene was full of graffiti, run-down homes and factories whose products at which I could only guess. It was also laid out like it was built around the neighborhood it inhabited, with the road leading up to it leading directly to the main administrative building. I generally don’t expect to get lost at a brewery until after sampling the beer (Of course, I kid…)

Ninkasi Brewery outsideEventually winding my way back to the building where they actually brew the stuff, I was presented with a complex that reminded me of a cross between a brewery and a junkyard (just cluttered, not dirty). There was chain link and black brick surrounding what I could see of it from the front, which was not much given the small city block on which it sat. They did have a small patio area just inside the fence/wall and a fire pit beneath the grain tower. It was cozy enough for the part of that city.

Hopping inside for the main attraction, the situation was much different: bright, shiny stainless everywhere there wasn’t clean, smooth concrete. As is fairly standard across all tasting rooms I have visited, the taps were the first thing to greet me through the door. It was the middle of the day (don’t judge me…) so there were only a few people at the counter. I was excited to try something I had not had from them before, so I got the Quantum Pale Ale and Lux Helles Lager.

Quantum Pale Ale Starting out easy, I tried the Quantum Pale Ale first. This poured a rich golden color and had a thick stand of frothy foam that did not stick around long. Tropical fruits and flowers hit my nose on the smell. The taste was surprisingly mild for a pale ale, with light to medium carbonation and light mouthfeel. There was a light taste of tart, sweet fruit, with a flowery taste trailing toward and lasting through a very mild finish.

At a pretty moderate 5.6% abv, not a bad beer I could definitely see myself with after work at some point in the future.

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Lux_Helles_Lager_tasterI wanted another beer, but being on the road so long I just got a taster of another light one: the Lux Helles Lager. This one poured light pale yellow with very fizzy head that dissipated very quickly. It smelled yeasty with some lemon and grassy aromas. It reminded me very much of spring, despite the cloudy weather and cool temperature that particular afternoon. It had a very light mouthfeel, with surprisingly light carbonation, given the bubbly pour. The lemon flavor came through first on the taste, followed by a whole lot of fresh-cut grass. There really was not much else to this beer, except some lemon on the finish.

This was not a particularly dynamic beer, though I am not sure that was the point. Still:

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Funhouse of Beers

Barrelhouse 101 panoramaI hope everybody had a very merry Christmas. I certainly did. I got to try out a new place in my hometown. It is called Barrelhouse 101 and the 101 is meant to indicate that they have over one hundred beers…on tap! I thought this was great news and I had to try it.

Barrelhouse interior frontAs you can see, the outside resembles a firehouse or something on a dock. It’s also colored a little like a funhouse, with very bright blue and yellow walls, with an all but neon-colored door. Walking in, the interior gave a very industrial vibe as well, with high I-beam rafters and big halogen lights you might find in a factory hanging from the ceiling. The bar area felt a bit cluttered and crowded with tables fairly close together, not to mention close to the bar itself. I appreciated it, though, as most brewhouses are cavernous warehouses of equipment with just a tasting room. Of course, this place does not brew its own beer, so that may have something to do with the layout…

Barrelhouse interior leftThe kitchen area to the left was cool, with a red studded leather wall to separate it from the main dining area. It gave it a kind of retro diner feel, though I don’t know that is what they were aiming for. At least it was festively decorated, with all of their stockings hung along the length of it. The patio area, on the other hand, wasn’t much to look at: fairly small and narrow, with not much to look at but the street. At least it had heaters to help cut the beach wind chill.

Institution Restraint Maple BrownThey have pretty great food, but who cares about that, right? The beer selection was enough boggle the mind and confuse the eye. I was able to pick one out of the crowd, though: Institution Ale Company Restraint Maple Brown Ale. I thought it appropriate for the holiday weekend I had just celebrated. It poured a deep red-brown color, with a sudsy white head that really stuck to the glass. It had mild aromas of roasted malt and chocolate. Despite the name, no maple came through on the smell. The taste was also mild and smooth. It started with the roasted malts, moving to bitter chocolate. The finish was equally mild as the chocolate lingered.

Despite my hope for a semi-sweet holiday beer, this one underwhelmed a bit:

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Ninkasi The Devil Went Down to Oregon I was going to stop there, but I was getting on a train home in an hour, so I figured I’d have another look through the prodigious selection. I am very glad I did, as I found a beer Ninkasi let me (and the rest of their followers) know about on Instagram and it was called The Devil Went Down to Oregon Imperial Dark Rye. This is a collab Ninkasi did with Devils Backbone Brewing and it is far more appropriate for the holidays. It poured dark red with medium white head. It smelled sour, with hints of malts and a very slight sugary smell. There was also some spice to make things interesting. The taste was smooth, which surprised me for a rye. The malts came through in the beginning, with the rye spice showing up toward the middle. Medium carbonation helped break up that spice, but it came right back. It finished smooth, with the spice persisting afterward.

I enjoyed this one, despite the spiciness. Call it my Ninkasi bias:

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A great place to check out if you are in the Ventura, CA area.

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