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.

Christmas Beer Review – Gimme Yule, Gimme Fire from Stone

Christmas beers have been thoroughly invaded by IPAs but the holiday still brings wintry styles such as the bock beer. Stone Brewing has a new One Batch Dispatch holiday bock.

Here is my take on Gimme Yule, Gimme Fire: It is nice and malty. Very Germanic. The barrel char is not coming through in the typical Stone mega proportions. I was expecting ash and charcoal and whiskey but this is a pleasant little bock that does not taste 9% at all with a touch of sweetness to it. If it was labeled a Christmas bock, I would probably have viewed it in higher esteem.

Review – Widmer 30th Anniversary Bockbier

First off, thanks to mi madre for hitting up multiple stores in the Portland area to find me not one, but two Widmer beers from the 30th anniversary beer series.

We start with the year 1989 and the Bockbier. And boy does the label scream the ’80’s.


The Bockbier pours a light orange color. There is some nice lacing on the glass as well. But from a non aroma distance, you could mistake this beer for many un-bockish styles.

Honey is first to the nose. Followed by a bit of vanilla. The taste adds a bit of medicinal qualities and some bitterness. The finish has a bit of dryness to it but is more subtle than pronounced. There is a bit of hop character here as well but I don’t think there is enough to push it out of the style boundaries.

This beer was a very limited release and is probably only found in Portland or a beer hoarders cellar. If you want to try a bock to acquaint or re-acquaint yourself with the style, La Trappe makes a bock that is highly rated and would make a good start.


Review – Doppel Dinkel Bock from Deschutes

For some reason, I am enamored of the random releases and random styles of the Conflux series of collaborations from Deschutes.  # 2, a white IPA brewed with Boulevard came out before # 1 which was still being aged with Hair of the Dog.  Fast forward and now # 3 has slowly come out and it is a bock with Distelhauser which is on the Tauber River in Germany.

That being said.  How does DoppDink taste?  (OK, that is a horrible short name).  This is like a mixture of pie and an amped up hefeweizen.  It pours an almost reddish color and the nose has a bit of sawdust to it.  Very pleasant woody-ness with a bit of pepper.  But then you get a hit of clove mixed with bubblegum and a small dose of banana.  But it has a bigger malt profile and sticks around.  Very hearty this drink is.


It is such a change of pace from the lighter beers of summer and will probably leave Session IPA fans in the dust.  As it warms up in the glass, notes of cola and caramel start to expand and add to the flavor profile.  I could easily picture this beer with a beef stew or maybe a non-BBQ presentation of pork.  This is a big beer but also one with delicate flavors that you don’t want to stun with a spicy meal.


Irish Brewery # 2 – Messrs Maguire

Our second stop in Ireland courtesy of interwebs help at the Beoir site is at Messrs Maguire

But there are not going to be any stouts, Irish or otherwise for me, if I visit. I will be heading straight to two German styles.

“A classic of the style, winner of the Best Overall Beer Award at the Independent Irish Beer & Whiskey Festival 2009. This strong beer is easy drinking, with a mild malty aroma and a medium body. Reasonably sweet for a stronger beer, this finishes clean and crisp and leaves you wanting more.”

“A classic European pilsner-style lager, hopped with specially imported continental hops – Czech Saaz and Bavarian Hersbrucker – to impart a crisp, moderately bitter flavour. This beer has a dry, subtle maltiness with a nice floral aroma.

Sierra Nevada 2010 release

Some news for next year from Chico, CA“Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. is proud to announce the release of Glissade Golden Bock as its newest seasonal beer. Glissade celebrates the slow slide of winter into spring with a full-bodied beer that is delicately balanced, yet bold enough to brace against the last cold nights in the foothills of the Sierras. Glissade will be available in 6-packs, 12-packs, 24-ounce bottles, and on draft starting in January, 2010.

“We have been making versions of bock beers for our local fans for years, and with every release we get people clamoring for us to make it more widely available. Spring for us is the season for bocks, so we finally decided to do it,” said brewery founder Ken Grossman. “Glissade is something new for us–and something different from the other bock beers out there. We’re using the best German malts we can find, together with interesting and flavorful European hops.”

This zealous consumer demand inspired the brewery to make a change to its seasonal lineup. Glissade will be replacing the brewery’s ESB (Early Spring Beer) and will add an interesting new dimension to the popular seasonal offerings.

Glissade Golden Bock is the brewery’s take on the traditional pale bocks of Germany. The beer is remarkably mellow, with layers of subtle malt flavors and a more restrained sweetness than many of its continental cousins. Glissade emphasizes layers of malt, with flavors reminiscent of freshly-baked bread and toasted nuts held in perfect balance by a touch of spicy and floral European hops. This delicate balance helps the beer slide across the palate and welcomes another sip.

2010 marks the 30th anniversary for Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. Glissade is the first step into this auspicious year, which promises to be filled with events, celebrations, and specialty beer releases.”

Anchor Steam – Our Barrel Aged

Wow! I had the pleasure of sampling this on Sunday and I was blown away. I am not a big fan of the whisky/bourbon aged beers. To my palate the vanilla and oak tastes tend to obliterate the actual beer. But this was something else. It is a mix of Old Foghorn, Liberty Ale and Anchor Bock. And it is almost like dessert. Roasty and whiskey notes dominate but not overpower and at around a skosh over 8% abv it is not going to drop you under the table.

What I am Drinking now

Grimbergen DoublePricewise, this is a good deal for a mild Belgian / bock style. Sweet and a bit malty. Not overpowering. Could use a little more malt to boost the flavor profile up. What I would call a borderline good beer.