Itchy Fingers & Lupulin Harvest

I have had one beer made with hops from Sow A Heart Farm (read about the farm in this months Beer Paper). It was a California Common from Boomtown Brewery.

Now time to check a couple more….

Lupulin Harvest from Frogtown Brewing – Pours shimmery orange in color. Sharp bitterness to it. Earthy. Has some navel orange notes to it. A bit one note to me. 

Itchy Fingers from MacLeod Ales – Now this is more like it. Yes, I did pick some of the hops in this beer, so there is a bias but this has a punchy hop of grapefruit and earth to it.

Up From the Cellar – La Suerte from Eagle Rock Brewery

Taking the beer Tardis back to 2018 for Eagle Rock Brewery’s 7th Anniversary beer, La Suerte. “Imperial Mexican Stout, brewed with Flaked Maize, Chocolate, Vanilla, Chile, and Cinnamon.”

For being 5+ years old and in a can, La Suerte has held up quite well. The chile is still there, prickling the tongue and lips with a touch of heat. There is a slight wine sour note and a bit of thinness in the mouthfeel but the flavors promised on the can – chocolate, vanilla and cinnamon are there if in smaller intensity than the chile. It is a 14% beer but the chile heat covers any of that burn.

Reviews – Two from Ventura Coast Brewing

Today, I picked two beers from Ventura Coast Brew Co. from two far apart styles.

We start with the Hazy IPA collaboration with Seaward Brewing (also from Ventura). It pours a light yellow with a bit of haze to it. There is a bright sugar candy Sweet Tart aroma to it. Doesn’t have the softness I would expect from a hazy. Light bodied but with a firm hit of earthy / piney bitterness. If just called an IPA, I would rate higher.

Earth Day Dopplebock pours a dark brown garnet color. Lovely foam at top too. Very pretty to look at. Lovely cereal malt smell, like being in a brewery. Big and simple taste here. Getting a bit of Kix cereal. Full mouthfeel without being heavy or cloying. Tiny touches of sweetness and smoke add to the whole.

Review – Modelo Especial

It has been big news that Modelo has overtaken Bud Light in recent months as best selling beer in the U.S. Will it stay king of the hill, who knows. Maybe Bud Light will stop shooting themselves in the foot and regain the top selling spot.

Until then, best to taste the beer and see for myself.

Looks real pretty in the bottle. Lovely bright yellow. The aroma is classic pilsner. Gave me a memory of being at a baseball game. This has a good taste to it. Has a bit of a cross between a pilsner and a Mexican lager to it which gives it a bit more complexity than you have in your Industrial pilsner. It also isn’t as super watery as that ilk. Which makes me a little hopeful that the flavor is taking hold of the American palate.

Review – Grüvi Mocha Nitro Stout

Not a big fan of the un-groovy name, Grüvi but I was interested in a N/A Nitro Mocha Stout. “This creamy non-alcoholic brew is a smooth yet full-bodied ale with notes of coffee and chocolate. The addition of nitrogen makes tiny bubbles and helps us create an ultra-creamy beer that pours like a dream.” It even shows how to do an aggressive pour.

Did not get a big nitro pour from the can. Maybe it needs that widget that I did not hear in the bottom of the can. As with most non-alcoholic beers, this is pretty thin, which is really evident in a stout. Past that, there is a bit of a Mexican Hot Chocolate vibe off of this. Of the three adjectives on the packaging, it is a bit creamy, kind of smooth and roasted for sure. Overall, kind of disappointing.

Review – Skyduster IPA

Still trying to catch a bead on who or what Skyduster Beer is or where they are. No idea where Mission Junction is. But it is the liquid that matters, so let’s test out their West Coast IPA…

Described as “firm, yet restrained bitterness, this beer is aggressively hopped with Citra and Mosaic.”

Packaged in the stovepipe 19.2oz can and weighing in at 7% abv, this is a pretty good West Coast IPA. Did not know what to expect from this brewery. Has an initial bright and grassy aroma with a hint of citrus to it. Initial taste is a pleasing leafy and vegetal with a nice level of bitterness to it, A bit pillowy but as it warms takes up more West Coast notes.

Review – Kumquat Saison from Smog City

I have been looking forward to the 2023 version of Smog City’s Kumquat Saison for a bit of time. And now, is the time to take from the ‘fridge and taste it.

2023 marks the 8th year that Smog City Brewing Co. has joined forces with Food Forward for the release of Kumquat Saison. 600 pounds of kumquats were plucked from fruit trees in backyards that otherwise would not have been used.

Food Forwards’ efforts to end food insecurity are helped with each can sold as a portion of the proceeds from each 4-pack of Kumquat Saison will be donated to Food Forward as part of Smog City’s 1% for the Planet Community Impact Series.

The saison pours a bright yellow color.  Nice and tart on the tongue as that kumquat citrusy flavor shines through. Light on the palate with a bare hint of the Saison yeast coming through.  The malt base is right where it needs to be to let the fruit lead the way.

Hood River Beer Review – Summer IPA from Ferment Brewing

Next Oregon beer review is Ferment Brewing’s Summer IPA. Described as, “Summer IPA offers big citrus and mango hop character in a refreshing unfiltered golden ale topped with a billowy head of foam.”

From the “top ferment” series at the Columbia River waterfront brewery, this IPA has a bright citrus aromatic profile along with a Saison-y first sip flavor. Tang meets Belgium. The mango comes in after the orange for a big one-two fruit punch. Bitterness plays a minor key in this but it is the note that lingers at the end.

PDX Beer Review – YPA from Shimai Toshi

We start the Portland beer reviews with YPA from Shimai Toshi which means Sister City in Japanese.  They focus on Yuzu which has flavors of Meyer lemon, mandarin, and grapefruit.

Time to try their Hazy Yuzu…

YPA isn’t hazy hazy.  Great citrus aroma and very bright.  It has a hoppy burst up front that fades into softness.  A bit of piney bitterness lingers. 

Review – Two from Hop Secret

Time to get hoppy with Monrovia’s Hop Secret Brewing. Hitting up a hazy and a DIPA from their colorfully labeled cans.

Fistful of Haze – had a bit of sediment in this can. Not super hazy or murky. Yellow with an orange tint. Mostly tropical fruity. Soft on the palate with a good level of bitterness.

Hoppa Stoppa – tastes more like a regular IPA. kind of flat overall. There is a little bit of fruit flavor to this, but overall not bunny with glasses cool.