Beer of the Week: Populuxe Expansion IPA

By Iron Chef Leftovers

One of the issues that Populuxe Brewing has is one of size. They make some excellent beers that don’t stick around too long on tap because they are being brewed in small batches on their 1.5 barrel system (which is about 50 gallons at a time). At some point, there is going to be a brewery expansion, but that is still a bit away. In the meantime, the brewers at Populuxe wandered off to Stoup Brewing to brew a beer on Stoup’s much larger system and the result was a 7%, hop-laden brew which has been dubbed Expansion IPA. It was just released this weekend and for the first time ever, I can say you don’t have to worry about running down to the brewery right away to try it – they have a pretty good supply on hand.

The beer pours slightly hazy orange in color with an off-white head. Strong notes of orange and grapefruit with light notes of orange peel and tangerine show on the nose with just the faintest hint of green hops. The beer starts off with a pleasant grain note on the palate before moving into a significant hop profile with strong orange and grapefruit flavors and a building citrus peel bitterness. The beer finishes long with a pleasant balance of slightly sweet citrus and a mild bitterness of citrus peel. Easy drinking without overly bitter, there is a nice, layered balance in this beer.

Populuxe Expansion IPA finds room to grow with a strong 4 annexes out of 5.

Beer of the Week: Populuxe Belgian Tripel

By Iron Chef Leftovers

imagesCAAR87MMIn the strictest sense of the word, this beer is technically not a Populuxe beer, it is something that one of their brewers brewed as a home-brew batch. It is getting put under the Populuxe category because of the connection the the brewery and I really don’t want to lose the notes that I took on the beer, especially since I love Belgian triples. The bottle was also a gift from the brewer for my birthday, so it was a one time deal.

The beer pours hazy orange in color with a nice white head. Very grain foreword on the nose with significant amounts of Belgian yeast and hints of spice and cloves on the nose. the beer stars out with just a hint of grain and boozy alcohol before moving very quickly into the realm of Belgian character – yeast and bread dominate at first before moving off into a nicely spiced middle and then bering joined with a pleasant sweetness and notes of yeast and bread that linger nicely on the finish with hints of nutmeg and cloves rounding out the beer. There is just a touch of warming alcohol at the end of the beer, reminding you that it is not a small beer to be drinking. The beer is well balanced and enjoyable throughout the experience and as the beer warms, deeper flavors of orange peel and banana come to the party making this a deep and complex beer to be enjoyed on a cool spring day.

Populuxe Belgian Tripel pulls into 3rd base standing up with 4 triples out of 5.

Beer of the Week: Populuxe Amber

By Iron Chef Leftovers

imagesCAAR87MMA long time ago, back when Populuxe first opened, there was an Amber on tap. It then disappeared for a while, only to recently resurface recently on their tap list, thanks to their ever rotating number of beers. That definitely meant I was trying it despite it just being up on the board as “Amber” with no snappy name (more on that later). The beer clocked in at 5.5% ABV.

The beer pours deep red in color with a white head. Nice notes of malt and light notes of dried fruit and hops appear on the nose with just a touch of floral perfume showing itself. The beer starts off on the palate with a nice floral hopiness and a surprising punch of bitterness (not unpleasant, just unexpected) before mellowing out with a touch of sweetness and malt. The beer finishes with a combination of malt, a touch of sweetness, just a touch of caramel and a really nice bitterness that lingers well after the other flavors have gone. This beer is incredibly easy to drink, deep and surprisingly hoppy and worth checking out if it is on the tap list.

Populuxe Amber reads the writing on the wall with 3 for a good time calls out of 5.

Ed Note: I suggested that they call this beer “For a good time call Amber” but my suggestion was shot down.

Beer of the Week: Populuxe Smoked Rye Saison

By Iron Chef Leftovers

imagesCAAR87MMSmoked beers can be pleasant and roasty with notes of smoked salmon or BBQ that really compliment the other flavors in the beer when they are done well. When they are not, the beers tend to be roughly the equivalent of chewing on a campfire log. I was excited when Populuxe brewing partnered with Bitterroot BBQ to produce the Smoked Rye Saison. I love the Populuxe Saison, I love rye beers and I was very intrigued over what the combination of smoked rye and saison would end up tasting like. The beer clocked in at 6.8% ABV.

The beer pours deep red in color with a white head. Strong notes of roasted caramel with hints of smoke and rye dominate the nose with just minor notes of grass in the background. The beer has a significant amount of smoky sweet malt up front on the palate before quickly moving into light notes of lemon and grass with hints of Belgian character before finishing with layers of rye and very light smoke coupled with lemon and Belgian yeast that lingers pleasantly for a long time. The beer reminds me of smoked salmon with lemon and dill, with the dill (in a very light way) either coming from the grassy notes or my mind inserting it because of the smoke and lemon flavors.  This beer is very well balanced and layered and is very easy to drink for a smoked beer. It would pair fantastically with just about anything grilled.

Populuxe Smoked Rye Saison grabs the blue ribbon with 5 low and slows out of 5.

Beer of the Week: Populuxe IPA

By Iron Chef Leftovers

imagesCAAR87MMThe great thing about the Populuxe IPA is that they brew it so often that you are usually drinking it really fresh and at its peak. The bad part about the Populuxe IPA is that they brew it in such small batches and it is very popular that the rarely have it on tap for long stretches of time. The guys at Populuxe are also constantly tweaking the recipe slightly between each batch, trying to get the perfect recipe dialed in, so I figured it was time to review this one again considering it was a new batch that was put on tap.

The beer pours hazy orange in color with a huge amount of citrus and citrus peel on the nose with just a hint of floral orange blossom. The beer starts out with a light sweetness before moving into a great amount of orange and tangerine before mingling in nice fresh orange peel with just a touch of bitterness, pleasantly cutting through the light sweetness on the beer. The finish is extremely long and pleasant with the citrus and hops that just don’t dissipate and a tinge of burnt orange at the end of the tongue. This is the most citrus-forward version of the IPA that I have tasted from Populuxe and the bitterness becomes more pronounced as the beer warms, adding a great deal of balance to the citrus notes. If you like a citrus-forward IPA with great balance and moderate bitterness (which I do love), you should be drinking this beer.

Populuxe IPA scores well on the retest with 5 redux out of 5.

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: Populuxe Blond IPA

By Iron Chef Leftovers

imagesCAAR87MMThe concept of a blond IPA is a bit of an American invention, combining a pretty traditional Belgian style of beer with one that has become very uniquely American. The results of the odd union can be great but at the same time I have had a few that were complete disasters. Populuxe through their hat into the ring with their Blond IPA, clocking in at 6.0% ABV.

The beer pours light orange in color with significant amounts of citrus and hints of grain and yeast on the nose. It starts out slightly sweet coupled with a nice crispness before moving into bitter citrus peel with a nice bite. The beer finishes dry with a great combination of mild resin, citrus and citrus peel with just a touch of bitterness and hints of yeast that fade in and out, depending on the sip. The bitter finish is long and lingering in a very pleasant way and the beer shows great IPA character without overwhelming the Belgian notes that subtly appear.

Populuxe Blond IPA shows its natural color with a pretty 3 Marilyn Monroes 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: 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.