Beer of the Week: Populuxe Amber

By Iron Chef Leftovers

imagesCAAR87MMA long time ago, back when Populuxe first opened, there was an Amber on tap. It then disappeared for a while, only to recently resurface recently on their tap list, thanks to their ever rotating number of beers. That definitely meant I was trying it despite it just being up on the board as “Amber” with no snappy name (more on that later). The beer clocked in at 5.5% ABV.

The beer pours deep red in color with a white head. Nice notes of malt and light notes of dried fruit and hops appear on the nose with just a touch of floral perfume showing itself. The beer starts off on the palate with a nice floral hopiness and a surprising punch of bitterness (not unpleasant, just unexpected) before mellowing out with a touch of sweetness and malt. The beer finishes with a combination of malt, a touch of sweetness, just a touch of caramel and a really nice bitterness that lingers well after the other flavors have gone. This beer is incredibly easy to drink, deep and surprisingly hoppy and worth checking out if it is on the tap list.

Populuxe Amber reads the writing on the wall with 3 for a good time calls out of 5.

Ed Note: I suggested that they call this beer “For a good time call Amber” but my suggestion was shot down.

Beer of the Week: Bad Jimmy’s Habanero Amber

By Iron Chef Leftovers

forpinterestIt is both a good and a bad thing to be a brewery in Ballard these days. Having 10 breweries in a one mile radius means that from a consumer standpoint, I can hit multiple breweries on a single trip. The bad thing is that it leads to the inevitable comparison of beers between the breweries. The newest kid on the block is Bad Jimmy’s Brewing, tucked away in a garage behind the Bourbon and Bones BBQ restaurant, just across the street from Hales. They have been open since late last year with the idea that their mission “is to reinvent intensity as it exists in the craft beer world.” One of the beers that they produced to keep with their mission is the Habanero Amber. I am a lover of spicy foods but there have been very few pepper based beers that have been worth drinking – they all tend to be overpoweringly spicy and miss their mark.

The beer pours dark red in color and smelled like stale beer on the nose with hints of ground pepper. The beer starts out with just a hint of grain before the pepper sets in, building in quickly and completely overwhelming everything else that might be in the beer. While the spice is pronounced and dominating on the first sip, it becomes completely overwhelming on the subsequent sips through a cumulative effect – the spiciness from the previous sip lingers on the tongue and does not fade before the next sip, so it just continues to build with each subsequent sip, becoming completely intolerable, so much so that I couldn’t finish a 5 oz. taster of the beer due to the overwhelming heat. One note and completely unbalanced, this is one of the least enjoyable beers I have had in a long time.

Bad Jimmy’s Habanero Amber attacks the senses and sprays you in the eyes with just 1 pepper sprays out of 5.

Beer of the Week: Populuxe Gingersnap Amber

By Iron Chef Leftovers

imagesCAAR87MMI know I have said this before, but I don’t really like ginger in my beer. Don’t get me wrong, I love ginger, I use it frequently in my cooking, but I feel like it tends to overpower the subtle flavors of beer to the point where it is all you end up tasting. Populuxe put on tap their Gingersnap Amber recently, and I decided that I needed to try it with some reluctance. The beer clocks in at just 5.5% ABV.

The beer pours amber in color with notes of toffee, malt and gingerbread on the nose. Gingersnap drinks heavier than it smells, starting off with a mild yeastiness before moving into light toffee and caramel notes which pleasantly linger for a long time before moving into a delicious cookie like flavor with hints of sugar and very light ginger coupled with light molasses and toffee. The finish is extremely long and pleasant, reminding me of a really nice gingerbread cookie without the crumbs. Well balanced and easy drinking, this beer manages to draw some big flavors into the picture without having to empty the spice rack or overpowering the palate.

Populuxe Gingersnap Amber preps for the holidays with 4 warm cookies out of 5.

Beer of the Week: Speakeasy Prohibition Amber Ale

By Iron Chef Leftovers

Speakeasy is a long time San Francisco Brewery that recently started distributing their beer in Washington. I have been to the brewery in SF, so I was excited when Annie S. invited me over to do a tasting of Speakeasy beers. Their amber is one of the first beers that Speakeasy brewed when they started and is available on tap, six packs and in 22 oz. bottles, which run around $4. This review is for the 22 oz. bottles.

From the Speakeasy website:

Prohibition Ale is the first beer we bootlegged back in the early days of the brewery. Anything but traditional, Prohibition pours a deep reddish amber hue, with a fluffy tan head that leaves a beautiful lacing on the glass. A lush, complex aroma teases the senses with juicy grapefruit, citrus, pine, spice and candied caramel malts. Mouthfeel is creamy, with a silky, medium body and modest carbonation.
Style: American-Style Amber Ale
ABV: 6.1%
IBU: 45
Color: 15L – Copper, Dark Amber, Red
Barley: Two Row Pale, CaraMunich, Chilean Caramel
Hops: Chinook, Cascade, Centennial
Yeast: California Ale

Prohibition-6pack1-1024x1024The beer pours ruby in color with a cream head. The nose has a light malt profile with decent amounts of floral hops. The beer has a slightly sweet, upfront character which transitions into a lightly floral and bitter lingering finish. The sweetness is much more pronounced as the beer warms, which was a bit off-putting for me, but I know people who like that style of beer. If you like more hop character from the beer, serve it around 40-45 degrees. If you like more malty sweetness, serve the beer at 50-55 degrees.

Speakeasy Prohibition Amber Ale is an easy drinking beer that, considering the price point, is one you should have in your fridge when you are looking for something nice to drink but don’t want to break out the really good stuff.

Speakeasy Prohibition Amber Ale sneaks up to the hidden door and gets in with 3 secret passwords out of 5.