Beer of the Week: Reuben's Brews Doubloon's India Wheat Ale

By Iron Chef Leftovers

Yay! Another Reuben’s beer review! I admit it, I love their beer and with the ever changing tap list they have and the 5 minute walk to the brewery from the Iron Chef abode, it makes for an easy place to review their beers. One of their recent new additions was their Doubloon’s India Wheat Ale. Clocking in at 50 IBU and 6.9% ABV, I had to give it a shot.

This beer is golden in color with a nice grain and citrus nose – lots of wheat and grapefruit with hints of malt. The initial sip delivers a pleasant grain shot, yielding to grapefruit and citrus peel before finishing long and slightly bitter. Being a wheat beer, it was drier than I expected (think more like a kolsh than a wheat beer in terms of sweetness, not flavor) and showed more hop character than I expected given the IBU. Despite its higher alcohol content, the beer goes down easily and well-balanced, so it could sneak up on you if you are not careful, especially if you find yourself having 2 or 3. This beer is different than most hoppy beers on the market and is a nice change of pace if you are looking for something interesting with a great deal of hop character, but don’t want to blow out your palate with a giant hop bomb.

Doubloon’s IWA from Reuben’s eases into port on a score of 4 Spanish Galleons out of 5.

Beer of the Week: Reuben’s Brews Doubloon’s India Wheat Ale

By Iron Chef Leftovers

Yay! Another Reuben’s beer review! I admit it, I love their beer and with the ever changing tap list they have and the 5 minute walk to the brewery from the Iron Chef abode, it makes for an easy place to review their beers. One of their recent new additions was their Doubloon’s India Wheat Ale. Clocking in at 50 IBU and 6.9% ABV, I had to give it a shot.

This beer is golden in color with a nice grain and citrus nose – lots of wheat and grapefruit with hints of malt. The initial sip delivers a pleasant grain shot, yielding to grapefruit and citrus peel before finishing long and slightly bitter. Being a wheat beer, it was drier than I expected (think more like a kolsh than a wheat beer in terms of sweetness, not flavor) and showed more hop character than I expected given the IBU. Despite its higher alcohol content, the beer goes down easily and well-balanced, so it could sneak up on you if you are not careful, especially if you find yourself having 2 or 3. This beer is different than most hoppy beers on the market and is a nice change of pace if you are looking for something interesting with a great deal of hop character, but don’t want to blow out your palate with a giant hop bomb.

Doubloon’s IWA from Reuben’s eases into port on a score of 4 Spanish Galleons out of 5.

Beer of the Week: Elysian Trip XIV Imperial Fresh Hop

By Iron Chef Leftovers

beer_188108A couple of times a year, the brewers from New Belgium and Elysian get together and brew a beer in a collaboration series called “Hop Trip”. These beers are generally unusual and pretty good. In honor of fresh hop season, they brewed an Imperial Fresh Hop, basically a fresh hop double IPA. I couldn’t find much info on the beer other than it was 8.6% ABV and ran $6.99 for a 22 oz. bottle.

The beer pours hazy orange in color. There is light grain on the nose, but it is dominated by citrus and green hops with hints of spice in the background. The initial taste is potent – burnt orange peel and citrus juice on the front end followed by green hops and resin with a long, slightly bitter, grapefruit finish that lingers with a slight sweetness. This beer is a great balance of sweet and bitter with huge citrus character. This is definitely one that you don’t want to drink if you don’t like a big hoppy beer, but it is complex and assertive and should please just about any hop head.

Elysian Trip XIV Imperial Fresh Hop meanders down the road with a smooth 4 Winnebagoes out of 5.

Beer of the Week: Diamond Knot Whip Pale Ale

By Iron Chef Leftovers

I have a soft spot in my heart for Diamond Knot beers. I really like their IPA’s and I learned a significant amount of what I know about beer from the late Brian Sollenberger, one of the founders of Diamond Knot. On a beer shopping trip, I saw a new beer from DK, Whip Pale Ale and I figured what the hell, I will give it a shot, not really knowing anything about it other than the description on the bottle. The description of this beer:

Diamond Knot Brewery has been working with Seattle metal legend Michael “Whip” Wilton of Queensryche for quite some time to perfect the recipe for the new Whip Ale. Whip Ale is an American Pale Ale bittered with Nugget, Simcoe and Cascade hops. Pale, Caramel and Vienna malts provide a balance to the bright, citrusy hop flavors. American Ale Yeast generates a clean, crisp finish.

I purchased Whip in a 22 oz. bottle (it can also be found on tap) for $5. It comes in at 6% ABV and 30 IBU.

Whip pours a golden orange color. Hops, caramel, malt and spice dominate the nose – this beer smells wonderful, and really reminds me of a Belgian IPA more than an American Pale Ale, it is a really complex olfactory experience. Malt and hops dominate the palate with a long, lingering, tannic finish, showing just a hint of hop bitterness as it fades. As it begins to warm, hops dominate the front of the palate and Belgian flavors – coriander, spice and yeast, dominate the back.

I really loved this beer and would not hesitate to pick up a bottle or have a pint if I was in the mood for something with hop character without being a hop bomb.

Whip Pale Ale strums in with 4 Silent Lucidities out of 5.

Minor League Baseball Returns to PDX

By Blaidd Drwg

Minor league teams have a habit of coming up with some interesting names. Currently, you have the Winston-Salem Dash, the Kannapolis Intimidators, Mahonig Valley Scrappers, Rancho Cucamonga Quakes (I love that name) and Lansing Lug Nuts, just to name a few.

For the 2013 season, minor league baseball is coming back to the Portland area in the form of the Hillsboro Hops. The logo?

Nothing like combining two of my favorite things; baseball and beer. I might be buying myself one of their hats when they are finally available. On an interesting side note, the Hops replace the Bears in the NW league. The humor of this – Yakima is actually the largest hops producing region in the country. Oregon, specifically the Willamette Valley (close to Hillsboro), is second.

Fresh Hop Beers

By Iron Chef Leftovers

Blog friend Annie S. asked me about fresh hop beer recently while we were knocking back a few malt beverages. I mentioned that they are generally only available in the spring and fall, right around harvest time for hops.

In case you are not familiar with fresh hop beers, they tend to have a very robust and green hop flavor and need to be consumed within about 6 weeks of production before the hop flavor starts to fade. Most beers use a dried form of hops and do not suffer from this issue.

I happened to be surfing the interweb recently and noticed that our friends at Seattle Met magazine had a story about fresh hop beers.
So for Annie and any other readers out there (all 5 of you) who care, here is some info on fresh hop beer s and where/when they will be available:

Once again, Two Beers is the first out of the gate on this; the brewery’s Fresh Hop 2012 started flowing in the SoDo taproom over the weekend, and is now surfacing outside the brewery. It’s the earliest release yet for its beer. Big Al Brewing also does a fresh hop brew each fall; the Santiam hops are being picked this very morning, and are destined for a batch of Big Al Brewing Harvest Ale, a malty amber, later this afternoon.

Fremont Brewing gets its hops from a one-acre plot in Yakima Valley’s Cowiche Canyon, half of which is dedicated to its Cowiche Canyon Fresh Hop ale. The brewery is hoping to release this year’s version the first week of October, but like a restaurant opening, such matters are moving targets. Schooner Exact, 7 Seas, Big Time, and Iron Horse have also done fresh hop brews in past years.

Not surprisingly, Oregon breweries like them some fresh hop, too. Geoff Kaiser of Seattle Beer News and the excellent Noble Fir bar in Ballard put on an annual Oregon vs. Washington fresh hop throwdown, where 15 versions battle for crowd supremacy. This year’s hop bonanza happens Saturday, September 29. Get there early, brace yourself for a line, and be assured that what awaits inside is completely worth the wait. Not surprisingly, Yakima is also home to a Fresh Hop Ale Festival happening October 6.

One that I would love to get my hands on – Laughing Dog Brewing’s Fresh Hop. They picked 150 lbs. of hops by hand this past week to go into the beer. Hopefully it shows up in Washington