Time to barleywine, two ways with Smog City Brewing. Bourbon O.E.
For 2022, there is the OG O.E. aa well as a special variant that “was aged in Garrison Brothers Balmorhea Bourbon barrels and is absolutly oozing with bourbon characteristics. If you love bourbon, this variant is not to be missed.”
Bourbon Barrel – starting with the standard bearer. it has a subdued initial nose to it. the bourbon and wood is there but I also get a cherry note that is followed by a soft vanilla. There is no mistaking that this beer is nearly 14% abv but it is not heavy at all.
Balmorhea Barrel – this aroma tickled my nose literally and figuratively. Leather and vanilla are the leads and the first sip yields caramel as well. Oddly is a bit more fizzy and with much less of an alcohol burn to it.
Amazing how different these two beers are but I would nudge the Balmorhea ahead of the standard. The toned down alcohol brought the other flavors up a notch in my view.
This summer will bring a new little brewery to Colorado Boulevard in Pasadena, Wild Parrot Brewing.
You can hear more about the brewery over at the Experimental Brewing podcast with Drew Beechum and Denny Conn. Quick points are that the brewery has been a long time in the making and will aim for late July and looks to do more on the lighter side of the beer style spectrum.
Summer might be pilsner weather but it is also tropical weather some days when the humidity hovers overhead. So why not lean into it hard and go tropical and triple…
Pacific Plate has worked with these fruits before. I expect they will get that pineapple to hop ratio right.
Since I spent three whole days in Portland, I figured that I should do three whole posts, so here are a few more photos and beer talk.
Level Beer on Sandy was the main target after guisados at La Fondita. It was a wide range of beers from a super low ABV Table Saison at 2.8% to a barrel-aged imperial stout at 11.5%.
Of the six tasters the English bitter named in honor of a Supreme Court Justice, Ruth Bitter Ginsbeer. The space with changing color lights and pinball machines next to a VooDoo Donuts is nice and the beertender was super friendly.
As I always do, I bought too many to-go beers but I found a real gem in a French Pilsner, Houblon from Rosenstadt that was spectacular.
I like to see beer styles get a little reinvigorated. Blonde ale is one that fits the bill and Claremont Craft Ales has obliged by drying out their new summer release and adding yuzu as well.
Day two was split into Hood River and Southeast Portland, Older and brand newer.
Starting at Double Mountain on 4th in hilly Hood River with a single hop beer using the Zappa Hop, Blessed Relief which was different in a good way. That was a taster, followed by a short pour of the collaboration with Solera with Citra and Strata and it was super different in a not good way to me.
Next up was lunch in the river at pFriem with the family (a quorum of the fam, at least) and a sparkling IPA which was fine but I probably should have gone a sampler route or a kriek with the berries in the salad.
Back to Portland with the traffic and a stop at the former Commons, Modern Times location at the corner of Belmont that is now…
…where I had short pours of a Cerne Pivo dark lager that was excellent. Malty with depth but not weighed down. The space, if memory serves, is in the same layout with the bar at a diagonal and the seating at slices of lumber in an L shape around the windows. Plus lots of green punctuated by a cool white menu board…
…with the taps arrayed like a flock of organized birds. I also tried the Great Notion DIPA collaboration and boy was that an orange bomb. One of the most orange beers in both aroma and taste that I have had.. Maybe it was the hop hash or the Phantasm powder.
Last of the day was Chelsea pre-season on the TV at Away Days for a Post Match Italian Pilsner which was not as sprightly as I hoped but still good and the Home and Away IPA, I also have a cream ale of theirs to try. I just adore the footy names of the beers like Der Klassiker.
Label design is tough and I can be a harsh judge. Paperback Brewing has a bold dime store novel cover with super bright colors look that I don’t vibe with but they have a winner with their Surrealist beer…
…and it doesn’t hurt that the style of beer is one that I, personally, would like to see more of, the Belgian Blonde ale.
For Enegren Brewings 11th Anniversary, they have a bright L11te for you.
“For our 11th Anniversary, we brewed this extremely refreshing German-Style Leichtbier using just hops, malt, water and yeast. Save the corn for the BBQ and enjoy this full flavored light lager.”
I have not touched the ground in Portland since 2020. How would the city feel after a long time away? Would it be different post-covid or pre-post covid for the more cautious among us.
Well, I landed hard with popular Portland breweries.
Ruse Brewing at the Crust Collective across the Columbia in Vancouver on the Waterfront walk.
I had two IPAs with Star Senders a mix of Citra and Strata being the winner.
Before that a late night beer at Migration Brewing where I had a Fuji to Hood Cold IPA which was so-so to me. The pilsner my Mom had was good and they must be doing something right because they are up to four locations now.
After Ruse, was the Portland outpost of Chuckanut the excellently named P-Nut where I had the first of three, yes three, Grodziskie lagers. Lightly smoked and rarely brewed but I found two on draft and one canned version.
The P-Nut was a lovely little space near Division and a few other beer spots in the area including Baerlic Brewing. I had the Threshold “Grod” which was noticeably different from Chuckanut. Way lighter in color and smoke but interesting.
Next was Amelia from Steeplejack. The church location is really great but their Grod was way less smoky and more lemony.
I also got a Canadian lager which was a little weird whereas the Osler a DDH IPA which had a wonderful lemon chiffon flavor to it.
Sometimes breweries fly under the radar, even for beer writers. Right next door, Lit Brew has been creating beers tied to ingredients of Armenia. Time for me to taste a couple to see what is up…
Golden Tahdig is based on basmati rice with a golden, kinda hash brown crust to it. I didn’t really get rice in this beer. But it had nice bubbles while also having viscosity plus a sugary grain taste that does not go over the top.
Fuzz Hazy with farro works a little less well. It has the signature hazy look and the softness in the mouthfeel is there but this hazy IPA is too weird and woody with odd little spiky rice notes.
Lit Brew has an apricot sour and a DIPA as well. Maybe I shall review those later as well.