Beer of the Week: Reuben’s Zwickelbier

By Iron Chef Leftovers

untitled2It has been a rough stretch of hot weather for Seattle, considering that most places don’t have air conditioning. That means a shift in my beer drinking habits – what is usually orders of IPA have lately been pints of lighter beers with a milder flavor profile and low hops as I am looking for something more refreshing. Reuben’s put on their Zwickelbier, which is an unfiltered lager and a style you don’t see really in the US. The beer clocked in at just 5.0% ABV and 24 IBU making it perfect on an 80 degree day.

The beer pours cloudy yellow in color with a white head. Notes of grain, pear and grapes show on the nose with hints of fresh cut grass and lemon hide in the background. The beer starts off with a nice grain not before bringing fruit to the party – green grape and pear give way to light apple and lemon with just a hint of bitter lemon peel. The finish is smooth with all of the flavors melding together in a crisp and slightly dry lager finish. Clean and refreshing, this is definitely a beer you want to be ordering on a hot day.

Reuben’s Zwickelbier keeps its true identity cloaked with 4 disguises out of 5. (There is an inside joke there, maybe some day I will tell it)

Beer of the Week: Double Mountain Kolsch

By Iron Chef Leftovers

Double Mountain Brewing out of Hood River, Oregon has been around since 2007, but is a recent newcomer to the Seattle beer market. The have a small lineup of beer that are available year-round in bottles at your local bottle shop and can occasionally be found on tap at your local watering hold. Loyal reader Annie S. was kind enough to bring over a bottle of the kolsch a while back and share it with me.

From the Double Mountain Website:

In Cologne, many a brewery produces a light-bodied ale with a delicate fruitiness and rounded maltiness, attributable to the unique yeast strain commonly used. Our Kölsch is unfiltered and more generously hopped than its German cousin.
Brewed with Gambrinus Pilsner and Munich malt and
Perle hops. 5.2% ABV, 40 BU

zsThe beer pours hazy yellow in color with strong notes of lemon and yeast, supported by touches of grain and malt. The beer starts out dry and crisp with traces of sweetness up front and a short grain finish in the back. Notes of lemon hide at various points in this beer, providing a nice contrast to the grain and adding a touch of hop character to the beer. This is a pretty easy drinking beer with no remarkable flavors, as it should be for the style, but just a touch more character than what you normally find in a kolsch.

Double Mountain Kolsch builds up a solid 3 cathedrals out of 5.

Beer of the Week: Populuxe Kolsch

By Iron Chef Leftovers

imagesCAAR87MMI am not a big fan of kolsch. Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with the style, it is just one that I tend to find a bit plain and boring, even when it is done correctly. I tend to want something with more depth of flavor and character when I am drinking a beer unless the weather is warm and I want something that is a background beer. Populuxe took a stab at a kolsch with some pretty good results.

The beer pours pale yellow in color with lots of yeast and grain on the nose with hints of lemon in the background. The beer starts out on the palate softly with subtle grain before moving into more pronounced flavors from the yeast. The beer starts out slowly and has a long build of floor without being overpowering before finishing crisp and clean with a very slight sweetness from the grain. The beer lacks a dominating flavor and is an excellent example of how the style should be done, making it an easy drinking beer perfect for a warm day.

Populuxe Kolsch rocks in with 3 hammocks under the tree out of 5.

Beer of the Week: Reuben’s Brews Cask Kolsch

By Iron Chef Leftovers

untitled2Kolsch is a style that you normally would not find done in a cask, so when Reuben’s decided to give it a shot, I of course had to be there to try it.

The beer pours pale yellow in color and surprisingly cloudy – reminds me of a hefeweisen, with lots of grain, slightly floral notes and hints of grapefruit and citrus on the nose. The initial taste yields a significant amount of very mild grapefruit with hints of spice and grain playing hide and seek among the hop flavors. The beer fades in a long and subtle finish with very little bitterness and just a touch of sweet grain and yeast character. Very easy drinking and smooth, probably more hoppy than a light beer drinker would enjoy but a pleasant hop character coupled with the subtlety of the kolsch make this a beer which you could be happy with drinking all day on a warm summer afternoon.

Reuben’s Cask Kolsch surprises with a refreshing 4 summer winds out of 5.

Beer of the Week: NW Peaks Kyes Kolsch

By Iron Chef Leftovers

We are into October, which usually means Fresh Hop and Pumpkin beers, but there are still a few straggling summerish brews out there, one of which is still on tap at NW Peaks – their Kyes Kolsch. I am not a huge fan of kolsch, it is fine, but it is rarely my “go to” style of beer as it lacks much of what I love about beer – bold flavors and complexity.  Would NW Peaks change my mind, we shall see.

From the NW Peaks website:

The name. The mountain. Kyes Peak is a lesser known peak located in the Monte Cristo group. It is rises from one of my favorite lakes in the North Cascades: Blanca lake. Blanca lake offers a wonderful day hike on nice trail with Kyes and the other mountains in the Monte Cristo group offering some nice scrambles of varying difficulties and exposures.

The beer. Like the mountain, the kolsch style is lesser known amongst the US audience, but gaining popularity. Our interpretation is light, refreshing, and contains some fruity notes from the yeast fermentation on top of a very bready backbone. Compared to other examples of the style, Kyes is slightly lower in alcohol and strength, and hence the lighter fruity notes from the yeast. This is a light, refreshing, crisp, straw colored beer, perfect for quenching the thirst on a hot summer afternoon. Original gravity: 1.043. Finishing gravity: 1.008.

ABV 4.5%. Malts: pils, wheat. Hops: Hallertau.


untitle8dThe beer pours very pale yellow in color, almost clear but with a heady amount of yeast and grain on the nose interspersed with touches of lemon. The beer is surprisingly bold for such a light beer – plenty of yeast and grain at the beginning before transitioning to a slightly fruity middle and finishing off with light hops and a slightly sweet/bitter slide of bread, yeast and hops. The finish is long and delicious and slightly Belgian as the beer warms – there were very light notes of cloves and banana that were barely detectable. The beer has a great deal of complexity and layered flavors and could stand up on its own on either a warm summer day or a chilly rainy one.

NW Peaks Kyes Kolsch alters my perceptions of the style with a strong 4 mindbenders out of 5.