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: 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: Reuben’s Barrel Aged Breakfast Stout

By Iron Chef Leftovers

untitled2Reuben’s, coming up on their second anniversary, has been hugely successful. They quickly became one of the best breweries in the state, have won numerous awards and medals at beer competitions and make some of the most interesting beers you can get your hands on. One additional, but less well known place where they excel is their small barrel aging program. It has so far produced some of the best barrel aged beers I have ever had (see here) and they continue to surprise with what they can do with an old barrel. A recent release of their Bourbon Barrel Aged Breakfast Stout was no exception. This was their breakfast stout, bulked up to 10% and clocking in with 39 IBU.

The beer pours jet black in color with huge amounts of maple sugar and milk chocolate on the nose with backing notes of roasted malt, whiskey and vanilla on the nose. The beer starts out surprisingly light with just a touch of roasted malt before quickly moving into pleasant notes of sweet caramel and whiskey coupled with milk chocolate and sweet coffee. The finish is long and sweet, with notes of coffee, maple, chocolate, caramel, fruit, grain and pecans all present. This was like drinking a complete breakfast in a glass and was an incredibly complex and deep beer. The beer was well balanced with no individual flavor taking over for more than a few seconds and this beer was in that “can’t tell it is high alcohol” category because of its easiness of drinking.

Reuben’s Brews Barrel Aged Breakfast Stout is bringing breakfast back with an outstanding 5 parts of a well balanced diet out of 5.

Beer of the Week: Reuben’s Brews Yirgacheffe Rye

By Iron Chef Leftovers

untitled2One of the highlights of the last couple Seattle Beer Weeks has been Ryefest at Reuben’s. They go all out and brew a bunch of different rye based beers that many of which are generally only available that weekend since they are small batch and it is a popular event. This year’s Ryefest brought us a total of 12 rye beers including the impossible to pronounce Yirgacheffe Rye, which is a coffee from Ethiopia. The beer clocked in at 32 IBU and 5.4% ABV and I believe was based on the American Rye.

The beer pours hazy yellow in color with a touch of white on the head. Touches of coffee, rye and grain dominate the nose of this beer. It starts off on the palate with light notes of lemon peel and hops before adding a touch of sweetness from the rye, with just hints of bite, finishing with a very mild coffee note with a touch of bitterness and hints of chocolate and dried fruit. The beer is light and crisp and easy to drink with a very nice hint of coffee that does not overpower the other flavors in the beer. It is also a nice change of pace from coffee stouts and porters that allows you to drink something lighter and still enjoy the nuances of the coffee contained within the beer.

Reuben’s  Yirgacheffe Rye takes out the jeep and goes on safari with 4 Seregetis out of 5.

Beer of the Week: Reuben’s Brews Kenya Cream Ale

By Iron Chef Leftovers

untitled2Coffee beers can sometimes suffer from being too much coffee and not enough beer, even when the brewers are doing everything right and using really high quality coffee. It takes an even hand to get a balance where you can taste the subtle flavors of the coffee and still get the subtle flavors of the beer. It gets much harder when you try to make a coffee beer that is not a stout or a porter – the coffee can easily overwhelm the non-roasted flavors in lighter beers. I was intrigued when Reuben’s released their Kenya Cream, combining their Cream Ale with Kuma coffee. The beer clocked in at just 5% ABV and 17 IBU.

The beer pours hazy golden in color with light notes of stone fruit and chocolate and hints of milk and grain on the nose. The beer starts off on the palate with a creamy feel to it with notes of yeast and bread before moving into berry and stone fruit flavors with a touch of roasty chocolate – definitely complex flavors coming from the coffee. The beer finishes with a touch of bitter black coffee and plenty of fruit notes and hints of chocolate, coupled with notes of steamed milk. The beer finishes like a nice café au lait. The coffee is definitely complex with a light fruit profile that compliments the milk like qualities of the cream ale without completely dominating it. The beer is increasingly complex as it warms and the balance is superb showing dramatic flavor from both the beer and the coffee. Kenya Cream surprises with being able to pull off a light coffee beer without feeling like you are just drinking a cup of coffee.

Reuben’s Brews Kenya Cream comes out of the savanna with 4 Masai out of 5.

Beer of the Week: Reuben’s Cream Ale Randall with Belma Hops

By Iron Chef Leftovers

untitled2A few weeks back I posted about the Reuben’s Roggenbier cask with Belma and its strawberries and banana qualities. Well, about a month later, Reuben’s came up with another Belma based cask, this time with using their Cream Ale as the base, going for a strawberries and cream profile.

The beer pours pale golden in color with light notes of cream, yeast, grain and strawberries on the nose. The beer starts off crisp with a pleasant hit of grain before moving into light fruit and jam, with notes of mild strawberry and sweet hints reminding me of a nice strawberry jam, before fading out into a very crisp and creamy finish. There is just the slightest note of grapefruit on the finish as you get near the end of the beer, making for an even more interesting end of the pint. The beer is not going to present big flavors, it is a cream ale after all, but it has plenty of balance and depth and is very easy drinking and it hits the mark for exactly what they were trying to do.

Reuben’s Cream Ale Randall with Belma Hops hits the mark with 3 William Tell’s out of 5.

Beer of the Week: Reuben’s American Brown Randall with Cocoa Nibs and Raspberries

By Iron Chef Leftovers

untitled2I really have become a fan of the brown style of beer over the last year or so. Actually, that is not accurate, I have rediscovered my love of browns over the last year or so. They were a staple for me back in the late 90’s/early 2000’s before I discovered my love of hops. That, coupled with a decline in breweries making browns, I sort of forgot about them until the last year when the Ballard breweries started making them regularly. Reuben’s produces a great one and they took a shot at putting it on randall with cocoa nibs and raspberry. Couple those flavors with a nicely roasty, malty beer and we have potential for greatness.

The beer pours deep brown in color with a just a tinge of ruby color. Significant notes of malt and berries appear on the nose, with just hints of chocolate in the background. The beer is surprisingly chocolate forward with nice cocoa nib flavors coupled with hints of sweet chocolate from the malt, coupled with a light raspberry flavor, bringing a mild tartness to the picture. The beer then moves into the malt with touches of hop bitterness before finishing off slightly sweet and chocolaty with a pleasant dark chocolate bitterness and a very long chocolate finish. The chocolate and raspberry start to show more prominently as the beer warms, making this beer nice and deep with great balance and complexity, reminding me of a chocolate truffle.

Reuben’s American Brown Randall with Cocoa Nibs and Raspberries fills you days 4 worlds of pure imagination out of 5.

Beer of the Week: Reuben’s Roggenbier Dry Hopped with Belma Cask

By Iron Chef Leftovers

untitled2Belma hops are fairly obscure around the beer world and a good number of beer drinkers probably have never heard of them. Belma brings strawberry quality to the party, but they aren’t available in huge quantities, which is why you see them more in experimental or one off beers. The guys down at Reuben’s had some Belma hops and happened to have their Roggenbier, which, in case you are unaware is a rye based hefeweisen beer, so it has a good deal of banana qualities to it. Bananas and strawberries in a cask beer? Are we about to have a chocolate and peanut butter moment?

The beer pours the color of cloudy tea with light notes of rye and strawberry on the nose. The beer starts out with a nice yeast component and a mild sweetness before bringing strawberry and rye into the picture. Those flavors linger all the way to the finish with a light breadyness and sweetness joining the party with some banana notes also. The finish is surprisingly long for a cask and the beer is layered and complex with none of the flavors dominating the beer. They all play well together, feeding off each other and making the transition from one flavor to another smooth, producing something very different and delicious. At only 5.3% ABV this one is also very easy to put back a few of.

Reuben’s Roggenbier Dry Hopped with Belma Cask produces a sweet 4 fruit bowls out of 5.

Beer of the Week: Reuben’s American Rye Grapefruit and Amarillo Randall

By Iron Chef Leftovers

untitled2I have mentioned it before in this space; grapefruit in beer is a dicey proposition. If you are too heavy handed, the beer tastes like grapefruit and nothing else. If you are too light handed, the beer just completely overwhelms any grapefruit character. Generally you will find the grapefruit infused in a pale or an IPA. Reuben’s decided to take a different approach and infuse their American Rye with grapefruit and Amarillo hops. Will it work? We shall see.

The beer pours hazy yellow in color with notes of sweet grapefruit and hints of rind and rye on the nose. The beer starts off with a distinctive grapefruit note with touches of sweetness from the malt before moving into light pine and grapefruit peel with a pleasant dry mouth feel and just a slight bit of tartness. The finish is a nice combination of rye and mildly tart grapefruit with just a hint of bitterness that lingers on the tongue. The grapefruit is there without being overpowering and balances nicely with the stronger flavors of the rye.

Reuben’s American Rye Grapefruit and Amarillo Randall squeezes in with 4 juicers out of 5.

Beer of the Week: Reuben’s Randall Red

By Iron Chef Leftovers

untitled2Randalls are a fun way to infuse flavors into beer without having to brew an entire batch of beer with those ingredients. It means you can use fun stuff like fruit or obscure hops to get some additional flavor in the beer without being intimidating and making it a cask beer. Reuben’s has started its randall project thanks to their new employee, Thor (yep, that is his name), who comes to them from Fremont Brewing where he was responsible for their randalls. One of the first randalls that Reuben’s had was a simple one – their Red with centennial hops.

The beer pours deep ruby in color with a creamy, light tan head with light amounts of hops and grain on the nose. The beer has a light sweetness at the front, joined by a mild fruitiness to start before moving into pleasant grain middle and finishing with a nice light bitterness/hop character that lingers with the grain in a fairly long finish. Nicely layered and a nice progression of flavors, this beer is balanced and the subtleties are not overpowered by hops.

Reuben’s Randall Red storms into Valhalla swinging 4 Mjolnirs out of 5.