If the ingredient list on this winter beer doesn’t make you want to cozy up under a blanket and watch the snow, well then, I cannot help you. I understand why this beer from de Garde is limited but I wish I could just pick one up.
Let’s start the holiday season with a classic of winter ales…
I love that each year a new artist is selected by Deschutes to design their seasonal and I love that they call it a “festive” winter ale. This is a must have for me every year.
I am not “Wowed” by many brewery taprooms but Ferment Brewing Company has designed a spectacular space I never which to drink their beers. On the Columbia River, a tough four minute walk from pFriem, the brewing space is encountered first on the ground floor. You walk up to a large outdoor space with a large rectangular gas fed fire pit spitting flames. You can gather round or take a seat and look out at the River. Once inside the smell of malt wafted up as I ordered at the bar. The furniture and fixtures were classy metal meets wood.
Onto the beer, the 12 Degrees Czech Pilsner was the best of the classic taster tray bunch. Light and floral and crisp. Neither the Pale or IPA left much of a lasting impression. Neither were super hoppy and both were low ABV. The ESB was another middle pack beer but the Dry Stout was super smoke tilted, and almost Rauchbier adjacent on a real light body. There were multiple special beers but I wanted to get a grounding of their core beers first.
In St. Helens, Oregon, Ye Ol’ Grog Distilling has created a side project with spirit. Two Birds Spirited Ice Cream and Cocktail Sorbets. They make 12 proof ice cream using mostly vodka but they have dabbled with beer. Due to liquor laws, this is a distillery only purchase but maybe or nascent but growing, L.A. scene will take note and make their own iced treats.
Not exactly sure what Full Sail’s “Atomizer technology” is other than branding but I would say that the Amber and Lager versions would be the first two out of the hop infused box for me.”
Atomizer IPA – “Since earth has become overrun with IPAs, Full Sail Brewing developed a high-tech, top-secret, hop-infusion method for this unfiltered, hoppy brew. A blend of pale and wheat malts, along with a healthy addition of oats, create a light golden base allowing Cryo Citra, Mosaic, Simcoe and Ekuanot hops to shine. Juicy aromas of tropical fruit, citrus, and melon pop in this ultra-balanced beer.”
Atomizer Pale – “Pale and light crystal malts, along with a small addition of toasted oats, add subtle complexity to this refreshing hop bomb. Bright notes of guava, papaya and citrus from Mosaic and Simcoe hops are enhanced by Full Sail’s high-tech, top-secret, hop-infusion method. This well-balanced Atomizer Pale Ale is ingeniously flavorful and super-drinkable.”
Atomizer Amber – “Brewmaster Greg Doss has always wanted to make this beer – a hoppy version of Full Sail’s flagship Amber Ale. The proprietary Atomizer technology made it achievable by delivering a pure hop note to pair with the classic malt backdrop. The combination of subtle chocolate and caramel character with citrus-forward hops makes a compelling beer. This go-to, anytime beer is the best of all worlds – complex and interesting, not bitter, not sweet, and flat-out drinkable.”
Atomizer Lager – “Atomizer Lager is an interesting concept – add tropical hop character to a light international lager. Using proprietary Atomizer technology, we did just that. Simcoe hops lend delicate citrus, tropical, and melon to this ultra-clean, super-drinkable lager delivering an increased aroma that makes Atomizer Lager stand out in a crowd.”
This month, I am featuring breweries that made the yearly Fastest Growing brewery list from the Brewers Association and out first stop is in the coastal cheese town of Tillamook in Oregon, Werner Brewing.
And here is what I would sample first….
Backroad Blonde – “a light bodied blonde ale with a sweet finish that makes it perfect for a hot summer day.”
Hazy Pale – ” our hazy hop monster creation. Well balanced and our massive addition of dry hops shines through with a dominant citrus profile.”
Coastal Brown – ” an exceptionally smooth very drinkable ale with hints of chocolate and caramel lingering in the background finished with a slight NW style hop bite.”
Trask Mountain IPA – ” a refreshing light bodied hop forward ale finished with citrus and tropical aromas.”
We’re heading to Mill Street for our last stop in Eugene, Oregon at Coldfire Brew Co. Here are my choices for the initial taster tray that I would order.
Czech Pilsner – “This pilsner is both light and soft and has notes of spice, honey and lemon. Bohemian floor malted pilsner and Czech Saaz hops give this beer the classic underpinnings inherent in the style. A well rounded easy drinking lager.”
Don’t be Bitter! an ESB – “This traditional ale is a classic in every way. We start with a water profile that fits the style and selected only the highest quality English malts and hops. This beer is fermented with West Yorkshire Ale yeast, and dry hopped with East Kent Goldings for a truly beautiful combination of nostalgia and flavor. DBB drinks as a light; but malt forward ale with a balancing, refreshing bitterness that will leave you wanting one after another.”
Pick Me! a Pale Ale – “Crafted with the best Chinook and Mosaic hops available for a bright, classic, yet modern flavor.”
St. James IRA – “Winner of the 2017 – GABF Double Red Silver Medal! A malty, biscuity red ale balanced by generous additions of dry hops.”
Affogato coffee cream ale – “This coffee cream ale was brewed with traditional ingredients; but infused with milk sugar and high-quality, cold processed Columbian coffee. All of the traditional elements of the cream ale are apparent in this creation.”
Our second stop in Eugene, Oregon is Claim 52 Brewing. The name “refers to the donation land claim settled by pioneer William Luckey in what is now part of South Eugene.”
Here are the beers that I would be ordering for my initial taster tray….
Starting with their Kolsch and then moving on to Willamette Wit before heady to hoppy with their Good Neighbor IPA, their Krispy Brut IPA and then off to their My Brother’s Farmhouse IPA. I would finish with their Voyager Strong Ale.
One of my goals for late 2018 that will bleed over into 2019, is to clear the ol’ beer cellar to a more manageable size. That means, more of this…
I have been holding onto this beer for quite a while now. Almost opened it on a couple of occasions but I finally broke through and brought it up from the cellar. With the combined knowledge of Deschutes and Hair of the Dog, my worry about how this was holding up was more allayed than for other beers. Initially, there is oak and quickly I learn that Collage #1 is still boozy after all these years.
Cherry and spice swirl around in pie formation but settle into the vicinity of a Flanders Red. For a beer so old, it really tastes bright. Not viscous or weird at all. I probably should have sipped this a bit slower to look for more flavor adjectives but my surprise at its durability had me drinking it quicker.
Our first stop in Eugene is not at a brewery. Nope, heading to Viking Braggot instead to try one of these off kilter (braggot is basically a blend of mead and beer) beverages…
Freyja Blonde – “is our light and flavorful blonde braggot. Two-row barley and wheat provide much of the body while a simple addition of Crystal and Cascade hops gives a subtle, yet present hop flavor. We’ve kept the flavors of this braggot simple in order to let the true star, honeybush, shine through. Honeybush is a South African herbal tea that we blended with local wildflower honey to create a delicate, but distinctly flavored braggot!”
Reverence – “is our take on a red ale. In this braggot, certified organic two row and specialty malts provide a strong malt profile and rich red color. Multiple hop additions, including dry-hopping, give Reverence a distinct, but not overpowering, hoppiness. The star ingredient, orange blossom honey, serves to balance out the hops while providing an inimitable aroma and truly unique taste.”
Battle Axe – “is our flagship IPA style braggot. We took the light wildflower honey and combined it with a generous amount of Chinook, Cascade, Columbus, and Centennial hops. followed by a dry hop addition of Zythosto create an extremely floral and fragrant IPA. This IPA is a balance between the bitterness of all the hop additions and the wildflower honey, that leans slightly on the hoppier end.”
Alpenglow – ” Named after the vibrant red light of high mountain sunsets, Alpenglow is a ruby red style braggot brewed with Northern California pomegranate honey. Light and sweet!”