Beer of the Week: Reuben’s Brews Triple Hop Imperial IPA

By Iron Chef Leftovers

untitled2It is always nice when Reuben’s throws out a new IPA or a variation of one of their existing ones. There have been some fun versions of the Imperial Rye, Blimey and Imperial on cask and randalls, adding new depth of flavors to already tasty beers. A recent experiment with their Imperial IPA lead to triple hopping (and sadly I did not write down what that actually entailed), but it did produce an 80+ IBU, 8.4% ABV monster.

The beer pours golden orange in color with a creamy white head. Strong notes of citrus and citrus peel with hints of lemon and pine appear on the nose. The beer starts out with a touch of sweetness and grain before moving into a strong citrus middle with notes of orange, lemon and tangerine that linger pleasantly before the bitterness sets in with notes of orange peel. The finish is a combination of fruit and peel with hints of resin and just a touch of alcohol, which disappears after the first couple of sips. Very layered and complex with deep fruit notes and enough bitterness to round them out, yes surprisingly easy to drink.

Reuben’s Triple Hop Imperial IPA throws a strike with 4 turkeys out of 5.

Beer of the Week: Laughing Dog Sneaky Pete Imperial IPA

By Iron Chef Leftovers

If you live in the Northwest, you have probably seen Laughing Dog’s beers in most places, including your local megamart, and just not bothered with them. If you are doing that, then you are definitely missing out on one of the better breweries in the Northwest and one that, despite wide distribution, really seems to fly under the radar. They make some killer IPA’s and a few years back, they started putting out an Imperial IPA, available in 12 oz. bottles for around $4. Knowing that I love their other beers, it was time to give the imperial a shot, especially since I found out that this beer was finished with honey.

From the Laughing Dog website:

 Sneaky Pete is a blend of five hop types: Simcoe, Glacier, Centennial, Vanguard and Hallertauer, with Simcoe playing the dominate role at 30%. In addition, three separate malts were used: Honey Malt, Rye Malt, and Munich Malt. The brew has a copious aroma of white grapefruit, citrus overtones, a complex rich middle and long flavors in the finish; a real beauty. Finished with wild clover honey. 89 IBU’s, 10% ABV

sneaky-pete-ipaThe beer pours deep amber red in color with a tan head. Notes of honey, caramel and hops dominate the nose with floral notes and light hints of toffee in the background. The beer starts off fairly mild on the palate with light malt sweetness before quickly moving into what you would expect from an Imperial IPA – strong notes of citrus and grapefruit with hints of resin first make an appearance before yielding to a significant pleasant bitterness that fades into a spectacular finally where the hop character is joined by a touch of sweetness and a touch of caramel that lingers and intermingles with the citrus bitterness, creating a sweet and bitter dynamic.  The balance on this beer is superb and the layering complex with the added bonus of the 10% alcohol being completely unnoticeable, making this beer surprisingly easy to drink. My biggest surprise with this beer is that they honey adds a noticeable depth and very light earthiness and manages to not be overpowered by the bold hop flavor in this beer.

Laughing Dog Sneaky Pete grabs its leash and takes you out for a walk with 5 big dogs out of 5.

Beer of the Week: Stoup T2R Haymaker III IPA

By Iron Chef Leftovers

Back a few months ago, a bunch of breweries got together and decided to each brew an Imperial IPA and then take them on the road. Most were good, a few were great and a couple, well, let’s just say that I won’t be drinking them again. Stoup was one of the breweries that participated in the Road Show with their T2R Haymaker III IPA (say that three times fast).

From the Stoup Website:

ABV: 10.5 IBU: 90 SRM: 6

Hops: Lots of “C” hops (Chinook, Centennial, Cascade, Columbus and some Simcoe for good measure).

Malt bill: Pale, Pils, cara Pils, C15 caramel and a little kettle sugar.

Given our love of science, it should be no surprise that we named our first-ever triple IPA after T2R, a class of bitter receptors on your tongue. We had a little fun with the hopping procedures, Mill hops, mash hops, kettle hops, hop bursting, hop imploding, hop exploding, hop back, dry hops, hop missiles and rockets. We slept on hop pillows the night before the brew. We prayed to the hop gods and even the hop devil, just to cover our bases! Ultimately, we decided to go for balance in the beer. You can put some T2R on your T2Rs at the Stoup tap room and a few select events and locales around town.

untitlasedThe beer pours golden orange in color with a fizzy white head. Strong notes of citrus and candied fruit peel dominate the nose with hints of grain and minimal floral notes showing. The beer starts off slightly sweet before quickly moving into a light bitterness coupled with plenty of citrus and burnt citrus peel. The finish is a touch hot with strong bitter hop and bitter citrus components which linger pleasantly. The alcohol burn, while present, dissipates quickly and enhances the hop bitterness, and completely disappears as you get further into the beer. This is a big and flavorful beer with many complex flavors but it also drinks easily and well balanced, assuming that you love hops.

Stoup  T2R Haymaker III IPA delivers the knockout punch with 4 body blows out of 5.

Beer of the Week: Boundary Bay Imperial IPA

By Iron Chef Leftovers

Boundary Bay up in Bellingham, Wa, makes some of the finest IPA’s in the country. So much so that in a blind tasting a couple of years ago, their REGULAR IPA actually beat Pliny the Elder. So needless to say, I was excited when I came across an Imperial IPA by Boundary Bay, which I had no idea they made. I picked up the beer in a 22 oz. bottle for about $9. From what I have been able to gather online, the beer was actually pretty low in alcohol for an imperial, coming in at just 8.5%.

From the BB website:

A full bodied, copper colored India Pale Ale. Strong alcohol content and an agressive fresh hop finish. Only in the great Northwest can you find such a well balanced, over the top, highly hopped draft ale. Original Gravity 1.086

untit84006ledThe beer pours orange in color with a light cream colored head. There are significant hop notes on the nose with hints of grain and citrus supporting. The beer starts off with a touch of malt sweetness before quickly transitioning to a pleasantly bitter component with touches of hop resin and citrus before finishing long with pleasant burnt citrus peel and juicy citrus, which linger for quite a long time. The balance is nice and layered with no alcohol perceptible on the finish. The beer is slightly fruitier as it warms with a touch more burn from the resin, but still nicely balanced and very drinkable for an Imperial IPA, but with enough hop character to let you know this is a hop monster.

Boundary Bay Imperial IPA hoists up the mainsail with 3 Sloop John-B’s 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: 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: Reuben’s Brews Blimey That’s Bitter

By Iron Chef Leftovers

xazxA bunch of Seattle breweries got together this winter and decided to go one the road with something they are calling the Hop Mob Road Show (coming to Naked City on March 13th). Each brewery decided to produce a Triple or Imperial IPA. What makes it a Triple you might ask? Well, basically it is a high alcohol (9.5% +), highly hopped IPA, probably made most famous by Pliny the Younger. If I remember correctly (I really need to write these things down), the beer was dry hopped 4 times during the process of making it and clocks in at 10.5% ABV and 80+ IBU. The beer was available (very limited) in 22 oz. bottles, on tap and on cask. This review is for the tap version.

Now that I think about it, I wonder if the name Blimey That’s Bitter might be a play on the name of that Russian River beer…

The beer pours golden orange in color with significant citrus and hop resin on the nose combined with slightly floral hints and subtle grain. A hop monster on the palate, the beer quickly shows tons of citrus and citrus peel up front with just a touch of sweetness before the bitterness sets in. There are big bitter notes, but in a balanced, not palate blowing way, with touches of resin. The beer finishes incredibly long with juicy citrus and major citrus peel with a lingering bitterness and an ever so slight alcohol burn at the very end, not surprising for a beer this big – it is there but barely noticeable and not unpleasant and brings just a touch of heat to the party, cutting the tremendous hop character of this beer. This beer was amazing, making me joke that maybe this should be renamed “Blimey, That’s Fantastic.”

Hopefully you will still have a chance to try Blimey before it goes away until next year.

Reuben’s Blimey That’s Bitter drives on the wrong side of the street and picks you up with 5 black cabs out of 5.

Beer of the Week: Reuben’s Chocolate Orange Imperial Oatmeal Stout Randall

By Iron Chef Leftovers

untitled2I love that Reuben’s is doing randalls now – it allows you to infuse some interesting flavors into the beer without having to brew it that way and it means that they can turn a beer into something really complex and different with a minimal effort. A recent trip brought us face to face with an Imperial Oatmeal Stout (already a great beer) infused with cocoa nibs and orange zest. Chocolate, orange and stout? I am there.

The beer pours jet black with a nice brown head. The nose shows very mild notes of chocolate roast and slightly floral orange, surprisingly subtle for a big beer. The beer starts with light lactic notes before the chocolate and roast show with mild sweetness and roast, lingering through the end. The deep flavors are joined by very subtle orange and just a hint of bitterness in a long finish. The orange flavors become slightly more pronounced as the beer warms, but never overpowering and it drinks more like milk chocolate than dark chocolate. Reminds me of a really good chocolate bar and had great layered flavors and complexity without being overpowering with any of the flavors or alcohol.

On a side note Mrs. Iron Chef tried this beer (she dislikes all dark beers) and really liked it, so much that my glass of it disappeared for a while. She described it as a liquid Terry’s Chocolate Orange.

Reuben’s Chocolate Orange Imperial Oatmeal Stout rolls in with a perfect 5 orange groves out of 5.

Beer of the Week: Reuben’s Imperial Porter

By Iron Chef Leftovers

untitled2Hey, how about this – a new beer from Reuben’s and I am posting it when it is still available on tap. They decided to do an Imperial Porter which is exciting since I love porters and I don’t think I have ever tried and imperial version of one.  This is a hefty beer, clocking in at 9.0% ABV and 53 IBU, so not for the faint of heart.

The beer pours jet black with a creamy brown head. Notes of dark chocolate and roasted malt dominate the nose with hints of caramel and sugar. The beer starts out with just a hint of sugar before moving into strong flavors of chocolate and roast with a pleasant bitterness and very light coffee and vanilla notes. The finish lingers like a nice cup of coffee. Deep and complex, the beer drinks like a stellar coffee with an incredible richness and just a hint of bitterness that compliments rather than detracts from the beer. The most amazing part is that the alcohol is not noticeable at all, making this beer just a bit too easy going down for my own good – it is definitely one that I could easily find myself ordering 2 or 3.

Reuben’s Imperial Porters meets me in the lobby and carries my luggage to my room with a perfect 5 luxury hotels out of 5.

Beer of the Week: Skookum Brewery Imperial Breakfast Stout

By Iron Chef Leftovers

skdSkookum is a funny sounding word, but I really solid (albeit small) brewery up in Arlington, WA. For the longest time, if you wanted their beers, you needed to make the trek up I-5 and wind your way through Arlington to get to their brewery, which kept inconsistent hours. Things have changed and their beers occasionally make the trip down to Seattle and show up on tap at various places. Seeing the Imperial Breakfast Stout on tap at Chuck’s, I decided to take advantage of the opportunity to try it.

The beer pours jet black in color with a coffee colored head and shows off with lots of dark roasted malt and coffee – definitely reminded me of my morning cup of coffee. The beer starts out slightly sweet before moving on to its heavier flavors of toffee and dark chocolate with a hint of cocoa nibs before finishing with a light bitterness couple with black coffee and roasted grains. The bitterness is just enough to give it a little bite without being off-putting and really made it remind me of a good cup of black coffee (as far as I can tell, there is no actual coffee in the beer). Well balanced with deep and bold flavors, the Imperial Breakfast Stout is a great beer to have with your toast and morning paper instead of your regular cup of joe.

Skookum Brewery’s Imperial Breakfast Stout draws in with a strong 3 double espresso shots out of 5.