We’ve never missed a Hops & Props. [2012 post here.] Our group has evolved as some younger members hit drinking age, and the event itself has changed over the years too.
The first year, it felt like nobody really knew about it. It was mostly a beer-snob crowd. The next couple of years saw a lot more “beer tourists” come to the event — the crowd got younger, more attractive, and sloppier.
The tickets aren’t cheap: $85 for non-museum members. I think that’s driving what we saw this year. The event had almost a hybrid beer-event/wine-event feel. As compared to a typical beer event the crowd was wealthier, more female, and by far better dressed. There were more than a few really expensive Cougars of the type you’d usually see at a wine thing.
It seems to me that the food has gone vaguely downhill annually since the first year. As an example, the 2012 post linked above shows full sized corn dogs. This year, one offering was a mini fringe-average corn dog. On the flip side, I think they had a broader variety of foods, from egg rolls to clam chowder to buffalo wings.
Still, a fun event, and highly recommended. Just make sure to buy tickets immediately when they’re available. This year it sold out in less than a week.
Last night I had a dream in which I invented a revolutionary new instrument. It was a sealed yellow plastic box, maybe 2′ long by 1.5′ wide by 1′ deep, with about 20 closely spaced plastic strings strung in parallel along the top. It also had around 20 buttons that when depressed would select a chord, the chord would be voiced when the strings were strummed.
The box was shaped like this:
You may have already seen one of these in real life:
The only real difference was that in the dream I had the chord-selecting buttons off to the side of the strings, rather than on top of them.
Not sure where to grab a pint? Untappd shows you popular bars nearby and what’s on tap.
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Untappd has a fun “game” element to it. You get badges for drinking different types of beer. You get badges for drinking multiples of one type of beer. You get badges for drinking beer at odd hours. At one point my traveling companion got a badge for drinking on the ferry. “Ohoy Matey!” It makes casual beer drinking a potentially entertaining surprise.
Untappd has a lot of other neat features too. It’s a giant crowdsourced look at what everyone is drinking, and where. You can search by brewery — right now I can see that people are drinking Night Owl at the Elysian. It functions as a journal of what you’ve been drinking — it allows for comments and ratings, and you can save pictures too. We’ve shown this to a few people, most of the time they’ll cackle, then download it as fast as they can.
Despite being spendy, I really do like to indulge in Midnight Sun beers when I can get them. They honestly make some of the more underrated beers out on the market and they aren’t always readily available. The chance to pick up a double IPA, Obliteration IX, was a nice treat, even if the 22 oz. bottle did set me back almost $13. It clocks in at 80IBU and 8% ABV. Was it worth it?
The beer pours golden orange in color with high amounts of citrus peel and tangerine on the nose combined with a slight backing floral note and hints of grain. The beer starts out strong with a huge amount of citrus peel and tangerine before morphing into a slight resin bitterness that pleasantly delivers a finish of building orange peel and orange blossom that linger nicely. The alcohol is virtually nonexistent in this beer and there is great balance between the bitter and floral, citrus and grain delivering a wonderfully hop-forward experience with this beer.
Midnight Sun Obliteration IX delivers on its promises leaving 4 paths of destruction out of 5 in its wake.
Thanks to the Reuben’s randall project, we have a fairly steady stream of variations on beers that they have regularly on tap. It is nice to see how flavors interact with each other and in some cases enhance what is already found in the beer. Every once in a while, they completely take it over the top with a randall, like the Nitro Chocolate Dry Stout that not only included Theo Chocolate cocoa nibs but vanilla in the process. Dry Stout, chocolate and vanilla, I am all over that. It clocked in a 4.9% ABV and 36 IBU.
The beer pours jet black with a creamy tan head. Strong notes of dark chocolate, dark roast coffee and vanilla dominate why nose with hints of malt and milk – the beer smell like an adult version of Yoo-hoo. The initial sip hits you with notes of malted milk and dark chocolate with some notes of coffee before transitioning into a slightly bitter chocolate profile. The beer finishes with a velvet mouthfeel with a wandering lingering vanilla, dark chocolate, malted milk, sugar profile. The finish is somewhere in-between a really good chocolate shake (just missing a hit of whipped cream on top) and a great dark chocolate bar.
Reuben’s Nitro Chocolate Dry Stout Randall hammers home its point with 5 six packs out of 5.
Every once in a while you will see a beer style pop up in Seattle that does not get a ton of airplay in the Northwest. Dunkelweizen is one of those that makes a rare appearance. What is a dunklelweizen? Well according to the German Beer Institute, it is this:
Dunkelweizen is the dark version of the regular golden-yellow Weissbier or Weizenbier (more commonly called Hefeweizen in North America), the spritzy, creamy Bavarian wheat beer with pronounced clove, vanilla, banana, apple, bubblegum, and sometimes nutmeg flavors.
Basically a dark wheat beer. Maritime had one on tap a few months back, calling it a dunkelweiss, and I felt the need to try it.
The beer pours cloudy brown in color and kind of looks like a root beer float. There are strong notes of roast and grain with faint hints of smoke and chocolate. The beer hits the plate as creamy with hints of grain before quickly moving into chocolate and roasted notes, reminding me of chocolate milk in both texture and flavor. The finish is odd with a fading chocolate notes, which are pleasant but dominate the beer to the point that nothing else shows. The beer really lacked a distinct fruit and grain profile that you would expect from a wheat based beer and was heavy on the roasted flavors. It was out of balance, but there are definitely times I could see myself drinking this beer because of its flavor profile.
Maritime Dunkelweiss scores a goal with 2 bianconeros out of 5.
Another review of a NW Peaks IPA? The gods must be crazy. I had actually been waiting for this one since the guys at NW Peaks told me it was one their brew schedule. I have become a huge fan of rye beers and they had tremendous success with their Cave Rye last year, so I wanted to know what they could do with a full blown rye IPA. I don’t think it is currently available at the brewery, but it clocked in at a nice 6.5% ABV.
The beer pours orange in color with a nice white head and there is an explosion of citrus on the nose when you first smell this beer, but with deeper investigation, you will find additional notes of orange peel and orange blossom, spice and rye and grain notes. The beer starts off with juicy fresh squeezed orange and tangerine with orange blossom without being cloyingly sweet before brining mild amounts of bitterness into the picture in the form of citrus peel combined with some grain and spicy heat. The beer finishes extremely long with signifiant citrus tempered with a pleasant bite of the rye and coupled with a hint of resin and spice in a moderately bitter finish. Not quite a good as my favorite rye IPA, Reuben’s Imperial Rye IPA, this beer is extremely well balanced and very easy to drink and is outstanding in its own right.
NW Peaks Rye IPA finishes strong with a perfect 5 stone mills out of 5.
It is not too often that you will see a pale ale that is pushing over the 6% abv threshold. Pales are generally lower in hops and lower in alcohol than their IPA cousins and are meant to be much more approachable. Bad Jimmy’s takes the opposite approach with their extreme beers, putting out a pale that is 7.2% and 72 IBU, putting it firmly in the range of most IPAs.
The beer pours hazy golden in color with notes of citrus and grain dominating the nose. The beer starts out bitter in an extreme way, assaulting the palate. It is a harsh bitterness that completely overwhelms any other flavor that you might find in the beer, making this extremely one note. There is no balance and a significant alcohol burn. If you are hard pressed, you might be able to find a hint of citrus note in this beer, but it is a challenge. It might have worked better if it were called an IPA, but as a pale, this beer is just plain terrible.
Bad Jimmy’s Pale needs to get out in the sun more with just 1 pasty white boy out of 5.
It has been a rough stretch of hot weather for Seattle, considering that most places don’t have air conditioning. That means a shift in my beer drinking habits – what is usually orders of IPA have lately been pints of lighter beers with a milder flavor profile and low hops as I am looking for something more refreshing. Reuben’s put on their Zwickelbier, which is an unfiltered lager and a style you don’t see really in the US. The beer clocked in at just 5.0% ABV and 24 IBU making it perfect on an 80 degree day.
The beer pours cloudy yellow in color with a white head. Notes of grain, pear and grapes show on the nose with hints of fresh cut grass and lemon hide in the background. The beer starts off with a nice grain not before bringing fruit to the party – green grape and pear give way to light apple and lemon with just a hint of bitter lemon peel. The finish is smooth with all of the flavors melding together in a crisp and slightly dry lager finish. Clean and refreshing, this is definitely a beer you want to be ordering on a hot day.
Reuben’s Zwickelbier keeps its true identity cloaked with 4 disguises out of 5. (There is an inside joke there, maybe some day I will tell it)
Way back in 2011, Fremont Brewing, along with a brewery in NC called, ironically, Center of the Universe Brewing started making Homefront IPA as a fundraiser for a group that helps veterans returning home from war. The hook of this beer was that it is an IPA aged over Louisville Slugger baseball bats. The program has expanded and now includes 11 breweries. I was lucky enough to snag a bottle of the Cigar City version in a beer swap (wish I had the Fremont version to compare it to) and it came in a 22 oz bottle clocking in a 6% ABV.
The beer pours golden orange in color with a creamy white head. Strong notes of citrus and pine with supporting notes of resin and grain permeate the nose. The beer starts off on the palate with notes of grain and hints of floral hops before building in with an increasing bitterness with light notes of citrus peel and resin with touches opt pine needles. The finish is not a big one – a pleasant fade of bitterness with very light notes of maple syrup and a touch of sweetness with a nice lingering citrus peel note at the end. As the beer warms the citrus notes are replaced by a dry woodiness that is fine but unspectacular.
Cigar City Homefront IPA does its duty with honor, bringing in 3 star generals out of 5.