It is not witchcraft, it is just Open Sourcery and though I am not really buying the “wisdom of crowds” especially consisting of large group of ‘Muricans, I do dig this idea between Widmer Brothers and Firefox.
The first version of the open-source beer was a “Slightly Hazy IPA with predominant oat character, tropical flavor, golden color, moderate hop bitterness and high alcohol.” So basically, those surveyed wanted a NE DIPA.
The best part of this beer though is that All of the proceeds from the sale of ‘Open Sourcery’ were directed to “support Pints for Portland and specifically ‘Women in Tech.’”
More versions are to come, and it would be nice if it rotated breweries too. Maybe one in L.A.
I am not a huge fan of the pub series or taproom series that is fully distributed. I prefer the Eagle Rock method of having some bottles that are only sold at the brewery. Makes them more special to my mind. But, on the other hand, it would be good to see what kind of IPA Widmer is brewing now.
Widmer Brothers Brewing is kicking off the Portland Timbers campaign to repeat as MLS champions by creating two new beers for the team.
First is “First Star”, “a small-batch collaboration with Head Coach Caleb Porter and the Portland Timbers coaching staff. Named for the gold star worn by MLS Cup champion teams to signify their title wins, this being the Timbers’ first, First Star is a rye altbier that is dry hopped with Ella hops, an Australian varietal with tropical fruit notes that balance the robust maltiness of the rye altbier.” An Altbier gone hoppy sounds like a good pairing to me.
Second is Thrill of Victory Cascadian Dark Ale. Here are the details on how this beer came about – “which is the promised collaboration with Columbus Brewing that came about after a bet between the two breweries before last year’s MLS Championship game between the Timbers and the Columbus Crew. Thrill of Victory is brewed with white and chocolate wheat malts and Azacca hops and experimental X-438 hops, which give the beer a slight roastiness with notes of passion fruit and juicy fruit.”
On draft only though. But could serve as a template for the LA Galaxy for the new LAFC clubs in town.
You can tell right off the bat that this is a whiskey barrel beer that Widmer and Deschutes have put together. Wood chips and sweet caramel and a touch of the alcohol heat make this less German and more Kentucky. Back in December (and in Oregon) you could sample the barrel aged bitter next to the barrel aged alt, next to the blend of the two. I wish I had that luxury. I would love to see which beer stood up stronger against the whiskey. Because that is the main component that I get from this beer followed by a little bit of bitterness and spice. You could tell me that it is an imperial brown or an old ale and I wouldn’t be able to talk you off that opinion.
All that said, this is a a smooth and flavorful beer. I just wished that it was a little less barrel-y.
For 2014, I will be pulling up some bottles from my cellar and reviewing them. Not to be pessimistic, but I don’t have lofty expectations. Though my beers were light protected and kept at a consistent temp, beer can be fickle and some may have been better last month or next month. That being said, I am really excited to dig into the beers and see what time has wrought.
The second beer pulled up from the depths of the cellar is the Widmer Bros. Galaxy Hopped Barleywine ale But before that, the backstory on the beer from the brewer, “Limited Release #4. Spring 2011. Ale brew with huskless malt and Belgian candy sugar. Galaxy Hopped Barleywine is a new take on an old favorite. This beer pours a dark crimson, almost mahogany color. The yeast & galaxy hops deliver a big bang of red and yellow fruit aromatics like banana, pineapple, cherry, and strawberry. The experience begins with a taste of toffee and darkened sweet caramel overlaid on subtle tones of vanilla. All to be punctuated by the floral and citrus dry hop character.”
This beer pours a dark reddish brown. I got a strange whiff when opening the bottle and was worried because this is a hopped beer from 2011! But I figured that the high ABV of 9.5% and the candy sugar from Belgium would offset that. The initial aroma once in the glass is a bit of caramel, a little Werthers wrapped candy. But I also get a quick hit of bitterness and at the back the faint aroma of sawdust.
The taste is surprisingly good. This beer did hold up! There is a good sparkle to it. A little caramel which must be from the candy sugar and then a good bit of bitterness that holds on for a while. I’m also getting some notes of citrus juice too. The end dries up the palate a bit but then the next sip begins the re-hydrating process anew.
The final cellaring verdict: This was one of the beers that I was worried most about. I really feared that I had held it too long. Going on 3 years! But it held up. Because the hops probably dropped out fairly quickly, I think anything over 3 or 4 months would have been at about the same hop level as now. As it stands the candy sugar takes center stage along with the alcohol to make a pleasing glass. Maybe Widmer will make this again so I can try a fresh version to compare. Which may affect this review.
This month I pick out another grab bag of beers going from light(ish) to heavy. We start with Boulevard which is now distributing in L.A., then head to Redlands for a winter beer from Hangar 24 before getting a Widmer special release with a southwestern twist.
Along with the label re-design has come a flood of beers. Imperial Nelson. Citra Blonde, Falconer’s Flight and also on the way an oatmeal porter. If the trend of strong beers continues, I may have to make a special visit to their Portland gasthaus to see what is in the water.