1001 Beers: Workhorse India Pale Ale

Beer Number 76: Laurelwood Work Horse IPA

So this beer is actually a replacement beer for one that has been discontinued. It is the only beer from this brewery and it is also the only IPA they have on their menu. Originally I wanted to pay the brewery a visit to get their Hop Monkey IPA, but after finding this bottle. I figured that would be good enough for the time being.

So, originally I thought putting the story behind the beer was pointless because it is not the same beer, but I think that it still may hold true, so...
Hop Monkey IPA was originally going to be called "Cellarman," in honor of the people who work the physical, entry-level job at breweries. But the name needed too much explanation for the layperson and became awkward on the bottle's label.
I have not talked to anyone at the brewery, but I feel Work Horse may be along the same lines. Even the imagery on the bottle shows a working man. This must be his IPA.

This beer has 1.5% more alcohol by volume and a few more IBU's than the Hop Monkey but I don't think all that much has changed... Work Horse poured a bit hazy with some floaties in it. Making me wonder if it is bottle conditioned or something... A very resiny nose with notes of grapefruit throughout.

A lot of citrus comes through in this beer and the lower level of carbonation works while setting the stage for the beautiful, clean body with a nice level of bitterness that lingers into the finish and drys out your mouth. The perfect balance for the working man.

925 Bottles Of Beer To Go!



1001 Beers: Moose Drool

Beer Number 75: Big Sky Moose Drool

This beer has been a favorite of mine for years but since leaving the Pacific Northwest, I have not seen it once. Luckily for me on the night that Silva threw away his title, a buddy of mine happened to have some at his house and I snagged up a bottle as fast as I could.
Missoula, where the brewery is based,is a magnet for outdoors enthusiast: attracting hikers, mountain bikers, white-water enthusiast, and those tracing the Lewis and Clark Trail. By first packaging beer in aluminum bottles in 2003 and by installing a canning line in 2009, Big Sky made its beers more portable for such consumers.

More into the reading of this beer, apparently they were sued multiple times over the name and its name was inspired by a painting. A lot of cool facts about this beer.

The first sip was way better than I remember. The upfront rush of chocolate and toasted malts followed by a nice sweet caramel stream of flavor. Roasty and the perfect hop presence and you swallow it down. I remembered why I loved this one so and I would love to have some cans... scratch that, aluminum bottles... that is interesting... to take on a trip or two with me.

926 Bottles Of Beer To Go!



1001 Beers: Ruination

Beer Number 74: Stone Ruination Ale

So, I wanted to do this review a year ago but totally failed at it. Not by my own doing... well, you know. But because I was not able to find Ruination X. I got lucky and they released RuinTen this year because it did so awesome last year and now I can finally do this. The reason I missed it last year is because of the beer wasteland I live in.

I tried to get up to Raleigh when it was released but things just did not work out... and not much of it made it here in the first place. I had a few guys saying they were going to mail me some, but that did not work out either... damn... so anyway, Stone Ruination Ale.
From the start, Wagner gave Stone's beers a different taste by forgoing the use of Cascade hops. "When I brewed at Pyramid Brewery (in Washington) we made a Cascade Pale Ale, and I was a little sensitive about redoing what we'd done at Pyramid," he says. So Stone declared itself completely Cascade free and charted its own happy hoppy way.
I wonder if this is still true, does Stone not use Cascade in any of their beers? Hmm... Just thinking of all the IPAs they have released along the years... hmmm... I mean, Stone has their taste, and it is unlike any other. Maybe the exclusion of Cascade is one of the keys...

This is just an awesome beer to begin with. Interesting to think how the Ruination X and RuinTen would even improve on that. Hop nectar on the nose, an in your face bitterness to open up, sweet caramel, grassy, citrusy, a bit floral and more hop nectar in your mouth. A very clean and fantastic beer.

Now, the "improvement" on an already great beer. I have no idea how this could even be thought of. I guess it comes down to the geniuses in the brewhouse.

Deep gold/amber with a small golden head. Very clean and bright, so sweet and sticky on the nose. Tropical and mango sweetness in your mouth, very thick! I found this to be very mellow compared in the bittereness department but it packed a ton more flavor. Juicy, resiny, delicious!!!

Honestly, a big improvement. Crazy to think. I hope they do bring this back year after year. It was hinted at on the blog, but some people at Stone say it is just a rumor at the moment... I hope they are just pulling my leg... 927 Bottles Of Beer To Go!



1001 Beers: Pelican Pub & Brewery

1001 Beers: Imperial Pelican Ale & Kiwanda Cream Ale

Oregon has only one or two breweries, as you all know, so it is kind of a beer wasteland...................................... I knew you would buy that. Then again, Pelican is quite a bit different from the rest. I wish I would have been able to go down to the brewery and try the beers, but it was a long drive from where I live. Not worth it on this trip.
What's more important--the beer or the food? We say both. In fact, The Pelican Pub & Brewery is a world leader in the pairing of food and beer. After all, we've been doing it for 16 years. Our executive chef and brewmaster make it their daily mission to understand how food and beer flavors complement one another.
Beer Number 72: Imperial Pelican Ale
India Pelican Ale was first brewed as a seasonal beer. After the second batch was brewd a year later, demad for it was so overwhelming that india Pelican Ale was moved into regular production.
Wait... Did I grab the wrong beer? NO! After looking up their beers, either they changed the name or no longer produce the "India" version.

Imperial Pelican was very bright and golden. It had that classic cascade flavor to it. Quite hoppy and bitter, which seems like the backbone of the West Coast IPA. Citrus notes and grassy throughout and linger into the finish. A nice medium bodied beer.

Beer Number 73: Kiwanda Cream Ale
Kiwanda Cream Ale was named for Cape Kiwanda State Natural Area, which is located in the same town as teh brewpub, Pacific City, Oregon. The beer has garnered numerous awards including three gold medals at the Great American Beer Festival, together with a gold and silver medal at the World Beer Cup.

This one I was not big on. It reminded me of everything a cream ale should be... Creamy, green apples, light bodied, low carbonation, a little peppery... I call this one, pass. I wonder what food they pair it with at the brewery.

928 Bottles Of Beer To Go!



1001 Beers: Survival "7-Grain" Stout

Beer Number 71: Hopworks Urban Brewery Survival "7-Grain" Stout

I'm disappointed that there was only one beer from this brewery in the book. I have never had any from them before, but the idea of this trip was to "only" drink beers from the list... ok, so we know that was not going to happen, but for the most part that is all I did. I have heard great things about HUB and look forward to trying others.
Survival "7-Grain" Stout is like a Swiss Army knife; it could be all you need to endure just about any situation. "The concept for Survival Stout is that it's everything you need to survive in one bottle," says Hopworks Urban Brewery's Ben Love. "We took the idea that beer is 'liquid bread' one step further."
I thought this one was alright. Did not really live up to the greatness I have heard of this brewery but I guess it's cool. I will have to make a stop to the brewery next time I am home or something.

7-Grain has quite a bit of coffee and sweet roasted notes on the nose. Poured a small brown head and the ale appeared ruby through the light. This beer even had a coffee-esque flavor and mouthfeel. Quite roasty and light bodied. It was not bad, but I hear their other beers are quite a bit better. I need to try them.

930 Bottles Of Beer To Go!



1001 Beers: Pike Brewing

1001 Beers: Pike IPA & Monk's Uncle Triple

I have started every other blog post about this place with this image, so I figured there was no reason to change things up now. I have been to this brewery a few more times than I ever thought, but apparently there is a ton of history behind both it, and the owners. I wish I would have planned things out better in order to try and talk to them. I mean, a Saturday is not the best day to go to Pike Place. Though, being from the Seattle Area, I already knew this.

Beer Number 69: Pike IPA
"We start with sea water from the 18th century, flown over from England," quips Pike Brewing Company's founder Charles Finkel. "We were one of the first to do an IPA on the West Coast. We wanted, as much as possible, to create an 18th-century India Pale Ale, but with local flavor as well."
I feel they pretty much accomplished their goal when it came to the ideals behind this IPA. It may have been wild 5-10 years ago, but it was fairly mellow and had an awesome balance despite the hop presence. Grassy with tropical fruits in the finish. Very easy drinking.

Beer Number 70: Monk's Uncle Triple
Pike Monk's Uncle Tripel was originally brewed in 2006 to celebrate the fact that the Finkels had re-aquired the Pike Brewing Company after an eight-year absence. A total of 500 limited-edition bottles were given to key accounts and friends of the brewery to say thank you for their support.
I have had a few Triples, some quite a bit better than others but thisone was not bad. Spicy, fruity, sweet and sticky. A high carbonation level and a bit of hops in the finish. They said it was 9% abv, but I couldn't really feel it until I stood up. Good thing I only had to walk around the packed market.

931 Bottles Of Beer To Go!



The Session: IPA: What's the Big Deal?

IPA: What's the Big Deal?

So, I don't really know where all of the other bloggers are going to be going with this one, but I have my very own take on this whole IPA and IPA Day thing. I made a post about it a couple years back, not exactly about it, but kind of close. I did fail in my mission though... Kind of.

I am a very big advocate of "Drink What You Damn Well Please Day", otherwise known as "West Coast Circle Jerk Day", or simply as "IPA Day". Now, don't get me wrong. I do love and thoroughly enjoy IPA's. They are not my favorite style but I do brew a few insane ones. What I do not understand is; Who was the person, (I know the person/people responsible), that decided the India Pale Ale was the best beer style to get non-craft drinkers to make the switch to craft?

Now, I am not saying I have the perfect answer or style to get someone to like beer. Hell, there is so much out there and everyone is different. That makes it very subjective. For me, the magical style of beer was anything Belgian. Granted, that is pretty broad but when I first got into beer I hated every IPA I tried. I used to complain and tell everyone how crappy they were as a style. You would not believe it. Especially knowing me now.

One thing I hate about the India Pale Ale is that everyone brews one and they they think are so good at it. Sure, that might be the beer elitist in me coming out, but after I got into them, you have no idea how many bad IPA's I have tasted. And I don't mean bad as in they are not to my taste, I feel I am able to distinguish between a good one that I do not like and one that is good that I do like. I mean straight up bad IPA's. Commonly bad. Determined bad by people on all of those beer rating sites that I hate. But everyone feels that it is their right to brew one.

When you go to one of those breweries you notice how bad the other beers they serve there are because it seems as if they were hoping the IPA would be their flagship beer. They spent no time on the other styles that they feel define their brewery. I feel this is a bunch of BS. There have been places I went, and spent very little time at because the staff kept pushing the higher ABV and higher IBU beers onto me when I asked about their line up or said I wanted one of the lower ABV or IBU beers on their menu. Then people want to get up into a fit when certain social media/beer bloggers get into a fit about the culture and the demoralization of "craft" beer in America.

It is sad when those breweries do not last long, but they should have been thinking more of their product and not just trying to get into the business. Sure, there are over 2500 breweries in The United States now, but there is still a lot of bad beer out there. And out of those 2500 how many are going to fall off because they cannot turn a profit? I guess those people get into any business that they see growing and believe they can make a quick buck on, beer not being excluded.

Back to the IPA Day thing... I think IPA's, to a non-craft drinker, are pretty offensive and have no place at being the beer of choice to convert the masses. Granted some people will taste an IPA and love beer from then on out, but generally, I find that is not the case. The most simple, in our minds, non-bitter IPA's may be more than some can handle. For me Dogfish Head 120 was the first IPA I truly appreciated. Then followed by Racer 5. Kind of bizarre for someone who hated every single one he tried. It took me a good 2 years before I did get into them and then, that is all I wanted.

It is about finding what the person likes, what fits their taste, and trying different things. There are 70+ recognized styles of beer. Not one single style is going to catch everyone's attention. But that is where education comes in. There are a great number of educated beer people out there and not just certified one, but then again, there are a ton that care nothing about what they are tasting so long as it is good... or it gets them drunk. Now consider those people... continue to preach the glories of the India Pale Ale, or just move on because you know it is a lost cause? Hell, they aren't even listening to you.
I had very little information about either of these beers but, as the name would imply, The SourPatch was sour and as for The Honey Badger, that beer was aged in Jack Daniel Barrels and clocked in at 13% ABV. I told the waitress I hated it and to bring me a glass of the SourPatch. She told me The Honey Badger was one of their most popular recently... Yeah, at 13% and from what I know of the people that live in this town, NO SURPRISE!
The choice is yours. I know my stance. And I feel you should make your own decision rather than have it forced fed down your throat.



Mead Making

I have been wanting to do this for a while. I have had the honey and everything just sitting there... I don't know what was really keeping me. No excuses but hey, I finally jumped on it and started to make it!

Not really exciting I know, but here is a bowl full of honey. I decided to make three different kinds of Mead. Nothing special just a few standard recipes. A dry, a semi-sweet, and a hydromel semi-sweet... whatever that mean? I discovered that this is a bit easier than I first believed. I mean, I am not brewing for a competition or anything, just for my own enjoyment and to further the limits of my essentially limitless hobby. I am sure things get a bit more difficult with specific plans in mind or when trying to perfect a recipe for judging, but for me... right now, nah.

They are all 1 gallon batches and in the first one after I was chilling the must? Whatever it is you call the mixture of honey and water... I should probably learn this terminology... I walked away for a minute to check on further directions. I left the water running since I was creating an ice bath like mixture... I guess my kettle thought it would be a good idea to start floating and it ended up getting a bit of water inside the kettle. I decided to boil it down to the volume I wanted. No idea how this will effect the mead but hey, at least I messed up early and not when it mattered.

I did not use any Mead yeast, just some champagne yeast that I picked up along with some nutrients. I decided to use two different kinds of yeast because the last recipe was exactly the same besides the yeast decision. Rehydrated as I would for beer and pitched. Very simple right?

I got all of it into the carboys and into my fermentation chamber. I was instructed to release excess CO2 every other day or so... While I have not been very on my game when it came to that, I did it two day after I pitched the yeast...

Funny story, eh, I just picked up the jugs and swirled them around. The first two went without flaw. Perfect, airlock just bubbled and I moved on...

Did I mention I did this on my lunch break?

The third one I used the exact same swirl method, the one that had the green yeast packet in it, and BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOMMMMMMMMMMMMM!!!!!!!!!!!!! All over me! All over the ceiling!! All over the room!!! I guess maybe I should have known better but oh, well. I went back to work smelling like straight alcohol. No one noticed... or said anything to me but I did feel quite sticky. Not to mention that I had to mop the ceiling! I went my whole brewing career without having to do that. Damn...

I will post back with tasting notes, etc, but I have no idea how long I am going to keep in the fermentation vessels before bottling. Only time will tell.



Hop Kitchen: French Aramis

I recently had the first beer in the New Belgium Hop Kitchen Series and was excited to see the next one in their line up was so close to release. I was lucky to get my hands on this beer as fast as I did. Beer Drinker Rob over at Daily Beer Review got quite a sampling of beer from New Belgium as they are currently entering their market and sent me over a bottle.

I really owe him one... but that is because of another bottle he sent me. You will see about that one in due time... Just need to figure out when to crack it open. Back to French Aramis, they say you need to drink IPA's fresh, so I guess before it is officially released qualifies quite well, no?

French Aramis poured pretty hazy and the gold color it gave off made it look a little milky in combination, with a fluffy white head. The nose was pretty light. That one threw me for a surprise, granted I have no idea what a French Aramis hop is like, so maybe this are all properly in place. Grassy and a little oniony... or something, maybe this is an herbal hop? The descriptions on the bottle lead me to believe that.

An interesting presence of bitterness, a light carbonation, a bit dry in the finish, lemon flavors and that onion I thought I picked up in the nose stuck with me, too. I thought this was an odd beer, I was not alone in my thoughts, though. I guess for now I wait for the next beers in the Lips Of Faith series and new Hop Kitchen releases.