30 Great IPAs to Drink Before You Die?

By Iron Chef Leftovers

Firstwefeast.com recently came out with a list of the 30 IPA’s to drink before you die. This list is supposedly complied by the following “beer experts”:
•Mike Lovullo, specialty brands manager for Union Beer Distributors
•Jimmy Carbone, owner of Jimmy’s No. 43; host of Beer Sessions Radio; founder of the Good Beer Seal
•Julian Kurland, Beer Director, The Cannibal Beer & Butcher
•Samuel Merritt, founder of Civilization of Beer
•Greg Doroski, brewer at Greenport Harbor Brewing Co.
•Mary Izett, beer journalist and host of Fuhmentaboudit!
•Anthony Finley, beer server at Proletariat
•John Holl, beer journalist and author of The American Craft Beer Cookbook
•Chris Schonberger, editor-in-chief of First We Feast

Do you want to guess how many Washington IPA’s made the list? Well, the answer to that would be 0. Think Oregon would fare better? You’d be wrong; exactly 0 Oregon IPA’s made the list. California dominated the list (no surprise) and I think that the beer list, because the experts all live on the east coast, really limited themselves to beers that are readily available there. Oh, and Pliny didn’t make the list, which is a huge surprise, considering Dogfish Head 120 Minute did, so they did not limit themselves to just single IPA’s. This is hardly a must drink before you die list.

The couple I agreed with –
Ballast Point Sculpin IPA – this is one of the better ones on the market.
Green Flash West Coast IPA – another great IPA from CA.

The one’s that I didn’t:
Cigar City Humidor Cedar Aged Jai Alai IPA – had it once, it was horrible.
Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA – meh, it is a fine IPA, but not one I would say that you have to run out and try.
Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale – another one that is fine, but Lagunitas Sucks is much better.
Firestone Walker Brewing Co. Wookey Jack – reviewed it a while back and it was fine, but not really going to blow you away.
Smuttynose IPA – I love Smuttynose beers, EXCEPT for their IPA. It is really non-descript.
Sierra Nevada Torpedo Extra – Really, 2 Sierra Nevada beers on the list? They aren’t that good.

I doubt that you can honestly say that the “didn’t agree” with beers are any better than say Boundary Bay, Port Townsend, Ninkasi, Deschutes, Full Sail, Diamond Knot or Elysian’s IPAs. I think this might mean it is time to set up another blind IPA tasting…

Beer of the Week: Stone Collaboration Saison Du BUFF

By Iron Chef Leftovers

Collaboration beers can be fun and produce some interesting stuff. Stone has been running a collaboration series for a couple of years now working with brewers from around the world to produce some interesting beers. One of the first ones from this series that I tried was the Saison Du BUFF, collaboration between Stone, Victory out of Pennsylvania and Dogfish Head out of Delaware. This bottle was from the second brewing and was a 12 oz. container which ran about $4.

 

From the Stone website:

Appearance: This beer pours a beautiful pale gold with a white head of foam.
Aroma: Pronounced herbal characters, a wonderful blend of sage, lemon thyme, rosemary. It has some very pleasant citrusy notes, perhaps from the lemon thyme and the Citra dry-hop. And the Belgian yeast strain contributes low level banana esters and a hint of clove.
Taste: The taste starts with the herbal blend in the forefront, and then is backed by a clean malt balance and a very nice citrus and tropical fruit-influenced finish. The finish has a substantial, but balanced hop bitterness and hop flavor. It is a very dry beer, and has a nice refreshing quality that makes it wonderful for this time of year.
Overall: This is the second time that Greg, Sam, and Bill have brewed this beer here at Stone Brewing Co., and this time we were able to get all the herbs from Stone Farms! How cool is it to brew with ingredients from your own farm? Very, very cool.

Stats: 7.7% abv, 52 IBUs

Malts: Pale Malt, Pilsner Malt, Wheat Malt, Flaked Rye
Hops: Centennial & Citra

 

BUFF pours hazy yellow in color with a white head. Lots of lemon and herbs on the nose with hints of grain and yeast – basically this beer smells like a saison should.  The initial taste starts with notes of lemon followed by a medley of herbs and a hint of hops. The finish is dry and lacking direction – some of the time it is green and unbalanced and other times it is even with a distinct progression through the herbs. It is a beer that relies heavily on the olfactory senses as well as taste and it reminds me of a liquid herb garden. The alcohol is there but it is hardly noticeable, I just wish the flavors from the herbs were more consistent throughout the beer.

Saison Du BUFF was interesting but uneven and definitely not a beer that someone who was a casual beer drinker would remotely enjoy. I had higher expectations for this beer and was unfortunately let down.

Saison du BUFF lifts into your fridge with a somewhat disappointing 2 Thymus citriodorus out of 5.

Bottle Share At Chuck's Hop Shop

By Iron Chef Leftovers

From Chuck's FB Page, what the evenining looked like. Also a rare photo of the elusive Iron Chef Leftovers in his natural habitat.
From Chuck’s FB Page, what the evenining looked like. Also a rare photo of the elusive Iron Chef Leftovers in his natural habitat.

Chuck’s Hop Shop in Greenwood recently hosted a bottle swap night. What is that you ask? Well, 24 people brought in at least 22 oz. of something rare/vintage/can’t get it in Seattle and shared it with a group of strangers. The group was split into 2 tables of 12 people each with the intention of that each table would get to taste 12 beers. Well, there was a lot of passing of bottles between tables and Chuck kept bringing out bottles from his personal stash, so, needless to say, I tasted way more than 12 beers that evening. It was an amazing opportunity to taste some stuff that I probably would not have gotten to try otherwise and there were some great conversations about the beers going on at our end of the table. It would have been nicer with a slightly smaller crowd, but based on some conversations I had with some new friends, I think we will try a CSE bottle share with fewer people at some point in the near future.
I took some brief notes on the beers, so here is an incomplete list of what I had:

Terrapin Moo-Hoo Chocolate Stout – Brought to the tasting by yours truly, so there will be a full review of this beer forthcoming.

Surly Abrasive Ale – A giant hop bomb, lots of citrus; exactly what I love in a hoppy beer.
Score : 4 out of 5 Brillo Pads

Dogfish Head Faithful – Disappointing; some currant flavor but it seemed flat. Had a weird lavender finish.
Score: 2 out of 5 Pearl Jams

Jester King RU55 – Not a fan favorite. Funky sour (but not in a good way) with hints of wood (like chewing on a 2×4, not aged in a barrel). I am wondering if the bottle was bad.
Score: 1 out of 5 Comedians

Breuery Melange– Loved this beer. Major oak with lots of vanilla and malt character. Reminded me of a fine sherry
Score: 5 out of 5 Mash-ups

Breuery Black Tuesday – More mellow oak than Melange (Melange is a component of this beer), but harsher. I think it needs to age to mellow out a bit before being fantastic.
Score: 3 out of 5 Mondays

Big Sky Ivan the Terrible – I had been looking forward to trying this one. Lots of malt, chocolate and coffee. Delicious.
Score: 4 out of 5 Czarist Swine

Troeges Nugget Nectar – lots of hops and citrus but it seemed overly fizzy, would love to retry it though.
Score: 3 out of 5 Hummingbirds

Goose Island Bourbon Country Cherry Rye Stout – very complex beer. Rye barrel and cherry dominate but there were lots of subtle character too. Would love to retry on a clean palate.
Score: 4 out of 5 Covered Bridges

Sam Adams Utopias Anniversary Edition – had Utopias once before, but this blend was even better. Not really a beer and more like a high end cognac or port.
Score: 5 out of 5 Sir Thomas More’s

Hill’s Farmstead – was looking forward to trying this one also, but it was like drinking an ashtray – smoky with no balance. Tasted like someone was burning down the Farmstead.
Score: 1 out of 5 Barns

Three Floyds Rye ‘da Tiger – gets a bonus point for the name, but was a delicious rye hop bomb. Would love to put it up against Laughing Dog, Reuben’s and Anacortes to see who would win in a blind tasting.
Score: 5 out of 5 Survivors

Cascade Bourbonic Plague – Lots of oak with a mild sour finish. Have to pick one of these up for the cellar.
Score: 4 out of 5 Bring Out Your Deads

Stone Double Bastard 2008 – the bottle was gone and tasted like wet cardboard. That is the danger of aging beer; you never know how it will turn out.
Score: 1 out of 5 Inglorious Basterds

Arcadia Big Dick’s Old Ale 2010 – Was too light for the end of the night, reminded me of an Imperial Pilsner.
Score: 3 out of 5 Too Easy, I Won’t Even Go There

I want to thank Chuck and his staff again for hosting such a wonderful evening and look forward to doing it again.

Bottle Share At Chuck’s Hop Shop

By Iron Chef Leftovers

From Chuck's FB Page, what the evenining looked like. Also a rare photo of the elusive Iron Chef Leftovers in his natural habitat.
From Chuck’s FB Page, what the evenining looked like. Also a rare photo of the elusive Iron Chef Leftovers in his natural habitat.

Chuck’s Hop Shop in Greenwood recently hosted a bottle swap night. What is that you ask? Well, 24 people brought in at least 22 oz. of something rare/vintage/can’t get it in Seattle and shared it with a group of strangers. The group was split into 2 tables of 12 people each with the intention of that each table would get to taste 12 beers. Well, there was a lot of passing of bottles between tables and Chuck kept bringing out bottles from his personal stash, so, needless to say, I tasted way more than 12 beers that evening. It was an amazing opportunity to taste some stuff that I probably would not have gotten to try otherwise and there were some great conversations about the beers going on at our end of the table. It would have been nicer with a slightly smaller crowd, but based on some conversations I had with some new friends, I think we will try a CSE bottle share with fewer people at some point in the near future.
I took some brief notes on the beers, so here is an incomplete list of what I had:

Terrapin Moo-Hoo Chocolate Stout – Brought to the tasting by yours truly, so there will be a full review of this beer forthcoming.

Surly Abrasive Ale – A giant hop bomb, lots of citrus; exactly what I love in a hoppy beer.
Score : 4 out of 5 Brillo Pads

Dogfish Head Faithful – Disappointing; some currant flavor but it seemed flat. Had a weird lavender finish.
Score: 2 out of 5 Pearl Jams

Jester King RU55 – Not a fan favorite. Funky sour (but not in a good way) with hints of wood (like chewing on a 2×4, not aged in a barrel). I am wondering if the bottle was bad.
Score: 1 out of 5 Comedians

Breuery Melange– Loved this beer. Major oak with lots of vanilla and malt character. Reminded me of a fine sherry
Score: 5 out of 5 Mash-ups

Breuery Black Tuesday – More mellow oak than Melange (Melange is a component of this beer), but harsher. I think it needs to age to mellow out a bit before being fantastic.
Score: 3 out of 5 Mondays

Big Sky Ivan the Terrible – I had been looking forward to trying this one. Lots of malt, chocolate and coffee. Delicious.
Score: 4 out of 5 Czarist Swine

Troeges Nugget Nectar – lots of hops and citrus but it seemed overly fizzy, would love to retry it though.
Score: 3 out of 5 Hummingbirds

Goose Island Bourbon Country Cherry Rye Stout – very complex beer. Rye barrel and cherry dominate but there were lots of subtle character too. Would love to retry on a clean palate.
Score: 4 out of 5 Covered Bridges

Sam Adams Utopias Anniversary Edition – had Utopias once before, but this blend was even better. Not really a beer and more like a high end cognac or port.
Score: 5 out of 5 Sir Thomas More’s

Hill’s Farmstead – was looking forward to trying this one also, but it was like drinking an ashtray – smoky with no balance. Tasted like someone was burning down the Farmstead.
Score: 1 out of 5 Barns

Three Floyds Rye ‘da Tiger – gets a bonus point for the name, but was a delicious rye hop bomb. Would love to put it up against Laughing Dog, Reuben’s and Anacortes to see who would win in a blind tasting.
Score: 5 out of 5 Survivors

Cascade Bourbonic Plague – Lots of oak with a mild sour finish. Have to pick one of these up for the cellar.
Score: 4 out of 5 Bring Out Your Deads

Stone Double Bastard 2008 – the bottle was gone and tasted like wet cardboard. That is the danger of aging beer; you never know how it will turn out.
Score: 1 out of 5 Inglorious Basterds

Arcadia Big Dick’s Old Ale 2010 – Was too light for the end of the night, reminded me of an Imperial Pilsner.
Score: 3 out of 5 Too Easy, I Won’t Even Go There

I want to thank Chuck and his staff again for hosting such a wonderful evening and look forward to doing it again.