Beer of the Week: Populuxe Bitter with Goldings Cask

By Iron Chef Leftovers

imagesCAAR87MMI do have a love for cask beer, and, while I have a soft spot in my heart for the ‘hoppy’ casks like IPA, CDA and Pale, I do really love the more traditional casks of Mild and Bitters. I was excited then when a few weeks ago, Populuxe went very traditionally British with their cask and rolled out a Bitter with Goldings hops. I am a big fan of the Bitter and with its sub 5% ABV, it is a great beer if you are planning on bellying up to the bar for a long evening.

The beer pours hazy orange in color with hints of grain and lemon on the nose. The beer starts out with a nice light grain component with hints of caramel on the palate before moving into light lemon with hints of mild malt sweetness. The beer finishes pleasantly with just a hint of bitterness and light tannins, coupled with notes of toffee and just a touch of chocolate. The finish is surprisingly long for a cask and the beer is complex without being too deep and drinks easily and goes down smoothly. If you want a nice change of pace from the big hoppy stuff you normally find in the Northwest, this is the beer you want to be drinking.

Populuxe Bitter with Goldings brings you all the way back to the station with 5 double deckers out of 5.

Beer of the Week: Populuxe Horizon Pale Ale Cask

By Iron Chef Leftovers

As contrast, Populuxe release 2 different Pale Ale casks in consecutive weeks, one that was with Crystal hops and one with Horizon. From the site:

Horizon will add notes of a floral bouquet to the aroma, as well as provide some essence of citrus fruits. Horizon can be used from beginning to end throughout the brewing process.

imagesCAAR87MMThe beer pours hazy orange in color with significant citrus and spice on the nose. The beer starts out with light citrus before quickly moving on into an interesting spice – think of black pepper, but subtle, not spicy, before finishing off with citrus oil and orange heel that bring a light bitterness that pleasantly lingers on the front of the tongue with more subtle notes of black pepper at the back of the palate. The beer drinks well with a great deal of complexity, but it moves quickly though its range of flavors, making you want more and more.

Populuxe Horizon Pale Ale Cask sets sail for the edge of the world with 4 sunsets out of 5.

Beer of the Week: Reuben’s Roggenbier Dry Hopped with Belma Cask

By Iron Chef Leftovers

untitled2Belma hops are fairly obscure around the beer world and a good number of beer drinkers probably have never heard of them. Belma brings strawberry quality to the party, but they aren’t available in huge quantities, which is why you see them more in experimental or one off beers. The guys down at Reuben’s had some Belma hops and happened to have their Roggenbier, which, in case you are unaware is a rye based hefeweisen beer, so it has a good deal of banana qualities to it. Bananas and strawberries in a cask beer? Are we about to have a chocolate and peanut butter moment?

The beer pours the color of cloudy tea with light notes of rye and strawberry on the nose. The beer starts out with a nice yeast component and a mild sweetness before bringing strawberry and rye into the picture. Those flavors linger all the way to the finish with a light breadyness and sweetness joining the party with some banana notes also. The finish is surprisingly long for a cask and the beer is layered and complex with none of the flavors dominating the beer. They all play well together, feeding off each other and making the transition from one flavor to another smooth, producing something very different and delicious. At only 5.3% ABV this one is also very easy to put back a few of.

Reuben’s Roggenbier Dry Hopped with Belma Cask produces a sweet 4 fruit bowls out of 5.

Beer of the Week: Populuxe Crystal Pale Ale Cask

By Iron Chef Leftovers

Cask beer really affords the opportunity to understand exactly what a specific hop does to a beer, especially if you have the opportunity to taste the base beer side by side with it. Pale Ales tend to be great vehicles for this so it was nice to see Populuxe doing a Pale cask with Crystal Hops. What exactly do Crystal hops do to the beer? From

Crystal Hops was born in 1983, created in Corvallis Oregon. Drink a Rogue Brutal Bitter, and say colchicine induced tetraploid three times. This type of Hallertau was crossed with USDA 21381M, which is resistant to downy mildew.

Out comes a hops variety, which is a half sister of both Mt. Hood and Liberty Hops.Crystal Hops bears a low alpha acid rating of 3.5%-6.0%, and carries a relatively high myrcene oil content. This combination makes it ideal for aroma additions as it bring with it a mix of woody, green, some floral and fruit notes, with some herb and spice character. Crystal Hops lends itself to a number of beers like Light Ales, such as Goldens, Pale Ales, Aroma for India Pale Ales, and even Stouts and Lagers.

imagesCAAR87MMThe beer pours hazy orange in color with significant amounts of citrus and notes of spicy hops on the nose. The beer drinks light on the palate, starting off with light grain before moving into hints of hops and resin and finishing off with a nice citrus fruit and mild citrus peel bitterness that lingers pleasantly for a long time.

Very easy drinking and approachable, a great beer for just kicking back and drinking on a lazy afternoon.Populuxe Crystal Pale Ale Cask runs through and doesn’t break anything with 3 chandeliers out of 5.

Beer of the Week: Machine House Brewery Imperial Oatmeal Stout

By Iron Chef Leftovers

unti50tledI really do love oatmeal stouts, especially in the winter. The beer is hearty and warming and really just fits the bill with what I am looking for in those situations. One thing that I can say that I have never tried is a cask version of an oatmeal stout, but Machine House Brewing took care of that for me.

The beer pour jet black in color with deep chocolate and espresso notes dominating the nose, coupled with secondary notes of vanilla and malt. The beer has an interesting first sip – not as heavy as I was expecting with mild coffee notes appearing first before switching to a distinctive oat profile. I wasn’t sure of what to make of this at first – this was a very pronounced flavor, similar to uncooked rolled oats. The beer finishes long with hints of chocolate and dried cherries and just a hint of vanilla, coupled with the oat profile. That is when I got it, the oats blended with the deeper flavors to produce a rich profile with a slightly gritty mouth feel making the beer deep and complex but at the same time balanced and easy drinking. I would have liked more coffee/chocolate notes from the beer, but it was a cask and the amount of depth that this one contained made me want to go back for more.

Machine House Imperial Oatmeal Stout races in with 4 thoroughbreds out of 5.

Beer of the Week: Machine House Brewery Gold

By Iron Chef Leftovers

Machine House brewing in the Georgetown neighborhood of Seattle is fairly new to the scene and very unique among Washington breweries – they produce all English style beers and all of them are served either on a beer engine or on cask. This means that you are going to get beer that is warmer, less hoppy, less fizzy and low alcohol – a nice change of pace from the high ABV, high IBU beers that you typically find around Seattle. As an added benefit, their tasting room is interesting, located in an old warehouse space, just across the street from Full Throttle Bottles.

From the Machine House website:

Gold – 4.5% ABV

A pale-straw coloured ale, again with English hops in the ascendancy. Reasonably assertive bitterness balances a slightly sweet malty finish.

unti50tledThe beer pours golden in color with an off-white head and shows strong notes of English yeast, grain and dried fruit on the nose. The beer drinks slightly bitter on the first sip with a tea-like quality (from the hops) followed by a nice yeast and grain middle and finishing clean with touches of dried apricot and peach and just a minimal amount of hops. The beer is slightly sweet, but not cloyingly so and well-balanced and easy drinking. It is a nice change of pace from the heavier beers that I had been drinking and a great experience to have a beer you don’t readily find in Seattle.

Machine House Gold strikes it rich with 3 prospectors out of 5.

Beer of the Week: Populuxe Burke-Gillman Smoked Tea Bitter Cask

By Iron Chef Leftovers

imagesCAAR87MMYes, I figured that since I posted the Sorachi Ace Bitter, it was time to post the Smoked Tea Bitter review. This cask version used a scant one ounce of Chinese smoked black tea in the cask, something that is probably not a traditional cask ingredient, but definitely something that piqued my interest.

The beer pours the color of iced tea with significant notes of smoke on the nose with backing notes of dried fruit and malt. The beer starts out lightly tannic with hints of malt and hops before crossing into deeper tea notes before the smoke component shows up. The smoke starts strong with forest fire qualities (in a good way) before mellowing out into a pleasant campfire background without ever really disappearing. The beer finishes with a distinct black tea character showing light tannins and mild notes of dried fruit with notes of smoke and hints of caramel. The beer drinks like a light rauch beer without the heavy malt and smoke qualities, making it easier to drink. It is surprisingly balanced and deep without being ashtray like or losing the qualities of the beer in the process, and I found myself wanting to go back for another pint. It is definitely not a beer that you would enjoy if you don’t like smoked beers, but if you are looking for something very different, this would beer to try.

Populuxe Burke-Gillman Smoked Tea Bitter Cask races in with 4 mountain bikes out of 5.

Beer of the Week: Populuxe Burke-Gillman Bitter with Sorachi Ace Cask

By Iron Chef Leftovers

imagesCAAR87MMI have had some great cask beers, some good cask beers and some mediocre cask beers. The style of the beer almost doesn’t matter, some of the best casks I have had over the last couple of years have been non-traditional cask styles or casks with really non-traditional ingredients.  Populuxe has been on a roll with putting out their Burke-Gillman Bitter in cask form – a traditional beer done in a few non-traditional ways. (I have to get around to posting the Smoked Tea Bitter review). I usually try to post my reviews in chronological order, especially for one-off beers since there is no hurry to go out and drink them. This is an exception – the latest version of the Burke-Gillman Bitter, dry hopped with Sorachi Ace and Horizon hops will be available at the Cask Festival on Saturday, March 22nd and this is one that is worth seeking out there.

The beer pours cloudy brown in color with nice notes of caramel and orange with just a hint of grassy note and very light roasted notes. For a cask beer, this one has big, complex flavors. The beer starts out with a medium caramel profile with hints of roast before the hops start to kick in. The Sorachi brings a very light herbaciousness to the party and the Horizon brings a nice orange kick and just a touch of bitterness. These notes intertwine with the caramel and remain throughout the beer all the way to the finish making for an almost hard candy like profile as they are joined with just a touch of sweetness from the malt. The finish is very long for a cask beer and is incredibly pleasant and smooth. The beer drinks extremely easily and at less than 5% ABV, it goes down way too easily, leading you to want pint after pint.

Populuxe usually does a great job with their casks, but this one may be the best one they have ever done.

Populuxe Burke-Gillman Bitter with Sorachi Ace Cask lays down its cards with a perfect 5 Royal Flushes out of 5.

Get this beer early at the Cask Festival – it is worth the experience.

Beer of the Week: Reuben’s Brews Blimey That’s Bitter Cask

By Iron Chef Leftovers

xazxIt takes some guts to do an imperial IPA as a cask, not only because these beers are a monster to brew, but you run the risk of having something that is borderline undrinkable with all of the alcohol and hops involved. Reuben’s took a chance by putting Blimey on cask, of course adding more hops to the cask, because, you know, it wasn’t hoppy enough.

The beer pours hazy orange in color with a mind numbing amount of citrus and citrus peel – it smells like fresh orange rind with bare notes of orange blossom and grain. The beer starts out lighter than its carbonated cousin with a slightly sweet/floral component before moving into juice oranges, orange peel and orange blossom. The finish is incredibly smooth with significant hop bitterness with plays well with the citrus and a touch of resin at the very end. The alcohol isn’t perceptible in the cask version of the beer, but the resin is, giving the beer a touch of burn at the back of the throat at the very end.  The fruit is definitely more pronounced in the cask version, so if you like citrus dominant IPA’s, this is the one for you.

Was the cask version better than the regular? That is a tough call since they drank like 2 very different beers. Either way they were both fantastic and worthy of the 5 hop cones out of 5 that the cask version receives.

Beer of the Week: Populuxe Cask Citra Pale Ale

By Iron Chef Leftovers

imagesCAAR87MMOne of the best things about Thursday nights is cask night at Populuxe Brewing. They have had a nice variety of cask options from the strange (Smoked tea bitter) to the nice and approachable (Pale Ales and IPA). Pale ales make for really fun casks – they allow you to really give a base for what individual hop varieties taste like and you get a real appreciation for what it is about certain hop varieties that you might like. A recent cask of the Populuxe Pale with Citra really illustrated what I like about citra hops. This beer clocked in at just 4.8% ABV.

The beer pours hazy yellow-orange in color with light notes of citrus and grain on the nose with very mild notes of sugar. The beer starts off slowly with a nice grain beginning accompanied by a mild sweetness, followed by a touch of very pleasant bitterness before moving to a slightly dry finish that smacks you with a burst of citrus. Very easy drinking and well balanced – there are no dominant flavors but the beer is layered and distinct and you can really appreciate the subtle flavors of both the beer and the hops. With well integrated flavors and low alcohol, this is easily a 3-4 pint beer and a good beer to introduce someone to the wonderful experience that is craft beer.

Populuxe Cask Citra Pale Ale rolls out 4 barrels out of 5.