I have given shout outs to San Diego Beer News and Brandon Hernandez a few times on this blog and have used his brewery travel guides to help when visiting a beer inundated part of the country and now he has a new guide up appropriate for hop season, Walla Walla.

One of my beer bucket list items, climate change permitting, is to visit that major hop growing area during harvest, and I will book mark the Walla Walla via San Diego page for sure.

Review – Two from Aslan Brewing Co.

Today I tackle two different styles from Aslan Brewing in Washington State.

Frauenbier – This schwarzbier pours with a lovely tan foam. I am catching a bit of light rauch to it. A pretty strong near coffee bitterness. There is an additional caramel layer to this as well.

Cosmic Dreams – pours a truly hazy orangey / near brown. Tropical fruit notes. A bit of mango and pineapple. But also quite earthy as well. Bitter at the back end to boot.

February Brewery Tours – Everybody’s Brewing

Our first stop this month is on the Washington State side of the Columbia River and Everybody’s Brewing, where I can have a few hoppy beers like the following in my first taster tray (when I get a grant to visit breweries of the U.S.)…

Mountain Mama Citra Pale Ale – “She’s packed with Citra hops and balanced with rolled oats and light crystal malts. If you like a nice, hoppy pale with sweet, juicy aromas, then this one’s for you!”

The Cryo IPA – “This award-winning IPA is brewed with Cryo Hops from Yakima Chief Hop Union. Enjoy the huge aroma and juicy flavor from pounds of Mosaic lupulin powder in this experimental IPA.

Lemon Ginger Sour Ale – “Tart lemon and spicy ginger will enliven your tastebuds and quench your thirst. This snappy, sessionable sour ale is well balanced and not overly tart.”

Big Brother IIPA – “Layers of Mecca Grade Lamonta Pale Malt, Opal 44, and white wheat create a creamy mouthfeel that carries big hop flavors through to a punchy orange and pine finish. Copious amounts of Simcoe, Meridian and Amarillo throughout, but this Double IPA is all about showing off the complexity of well-balanced beer.”

Vancouver Brewery # 3 – Heathen Brewing

Any place that calls it’s tap room a Feral Public House wins points in my book.  Se let’s take a look at Heathen Brewing, our last stop in Vancouver, Washington.


Let’s go really hoppy and check out the bitter descriptions of Heathen Brewing.

Vantucky Pale Ale – “Pours a light orange color with a vague coppery hue. Subtle grapefruit, tangerine, and grassy tones assault the nose, while malty-grainy-ness eases up from the rear. This beer is firmly planted in that gray area between Pale Ale and IPA.”

Carnage Double IPA – “This golden straw-color Imperial IPA has a big bright hop flavor without harsh bitterness. Moderate clarity due to the slaughtering amount of dry hops, this low maltiness beer leaves your hop head wanting more.”

Malice Triple IPA – “Papa Malice has finally come to join the Malicious IPA family here at Heathen. We took inspiration from his son, Son of Malice, and combined even more hops, time, and evil into making this huge triple IPA.”

Son of Malice Imperial IPA – “A full bodied malt backbone dangerously balances the 95 IBUs until the bitter finish kicks in and leaves a hoppy residue that you can scrape off with your teeth. This IIPA has a sinister agenda that is best served at 50 degrees with malevolence.”

Oh and check out their Cedar-Aged Seins Belgian Tripel too.

Holiday Ale # 18 – Storm Surge from Diamond Knot

Diamond Knot Storm Surge

I get seasick just looking at this storm that is attacking this boat.  Much better to be on shore with a Diamond Knot beer in a glass than on the open sea.

“This is pretty complicated beer, at least by our standards (we normally love the old saying “Keep it simple, stupid!”).  We use 2-row pale malt, German Carared, Caramel 80, Carapils and Munich malts in the mash, then just before beginning to extract all the goodness from those malts, we sprinkle crushed Midnight Wheat over the grain bed to ‘stain’ the mash.

The effect of this little bit of brewhouse trickery is to pull only the color from the wheat while extracting just a hint of its roasty, coffee-like qualities.  Additions of a whole boatload of Chinook, Cascade, Simcoe and Columbus hops give this beer a lovely, layered bitterness that perfectly complements the complexity of the malts.  It’s very dark in color, but don’t let appearances deceive you; this beer is highly drinkable and perfect for those cold, stormy winter days when you want to dream of Spring. “

Review – Old Schoolhouse Fresh Hop IPA

When faced with smartly buying craft beer, sometimes you don’t take a flyer on a brewery that you know little about.  Luckily, I had some mad money to spend and took the risk on a fresh hop IPA from Old Schoolhouse in Winthrop, Washington.


This IPA pours a brilliant bright orange that the photo does not do justice to.  Then there is a big aroma of fruit punch and grape with a little bit of spice in there as well.  Just delightful smelling.  One of those beers that you could twirl under your nose for minutes without drinking.  The taste packs a punch.  Lots of grape notes.  The bitterness lingers and is even a little dry at the back.  This is the first bottle from a recent Let’s Pour purchase and I don’t see how the others will compare.  Though I hope they do.


Holiday Ale # 25 – Winter Warmer from No-Li Brewhouse

Winter Warmer Bottle

No-Li Brewhouse Winter Warmer / Washington

“Coming in at 35 IBUs, and 7.5% ABV, Winter Warmer is a deep ruby-red beer with a thick creamy-white head. The aroma is sweet and malty with contrasting citrus hop profiles from Columbus, Cascade and Chinook hops. The Munich and Crystal malts impart a sweet candy-like flavor, with fruity esters and a spicy hop contrast. The flavors run deep and long, showing distinctive nutty-malt flavors at the end. The beer is very smooth and soft on the pallet.”

Holiday Beer # 11 – Winter Hook from Red Hook

Redhook Winter Hook

Red Hook Winter Hook/ Washington

“Winterhook is the perfect beer to keep warm during cold months after shoveling snow, shredding some powder,  or playing hooky to can catch the game. Since it was first brewed, Redhook’s Winterhook has changed slightly each year to celebrate the season and keep everyone on their toes. After all, no one likes getting the same gift twice. The 29th version of Winterhook brewed for this year offers a rich caramel body that balances a big malt backbone with the aggressively dry hopped brew, making this year’s winter ale slightly naughty and very nice.”

Xmas 2012 – Sound Brewery / Entendez Noel

We head to my favorite new (to me) brewery of 2012, Sound Brewery for their Holiday offering…

“AKA The Mother Of All Tripels (MOAT)Entendez Noel is a unique intense Belgian-style that can be considered an imperial triple or pale quadruple. Some warming alcohols and spicy notes (from fermentation only, no spices added) make this beauty perfect for our first holiday beer. Enjoy the ever changing aroma and flavors as you and the beer warm up.”