|Stone has always been one of my favorite breweries for their over the top hop flavors and high alc content. While Ruination remains one of my favorite IPA's...the 10th Anniversary IPA wasn't quite as good. While it had amazing hop flavor, at 10% alc, it was a little too much of a good thing. Very fruity hop taste but the high alc content came thru a little too much making it too sweet and almost tasted like a barley wine. Ruination remains the best balanced of the Stone IPAs and one of the biggest hop explosion you will taste in a bottle! http://www.stonebrew.com/
Widmer Bros W'06 Hoppy Red Ale
This year Widmer is releasing a hoppy red ale instead of the brewers choice IPA of last year. This is a very hoppy red ale that is 7.0% alc. Perfect hop/malt balance that will keep you coming back for more. Stock up if you can find this at a good price because it won't last long! I'm still longing for last years IPA! I hope these guys keep these seasonals coming.
I recently found a mixed pack of Dick's Ales for a great price and thought I would give it a go. I have had the IPA on tap before but was not aware they were bottling. The best part of the mixed pack was that no beers repeated, it was a true pack of 12 different beers. I won't review all of them right now but will tell you about a few of my favorites that might interest the hopheads. Of course the most appealing would be Dick's IPA. I don't know why I didn't think the bottled version was as hoppy as the tap version I have had. The flavor is awesome though and you can't go wrong with this IPA though it doesn't pack the punch of some of the other similarly hopped IPA's at only 5% alc.
Dick's Best Bitter
I guess I expect more from NW Bitters than I should. I wish they all could be like Rogue Brutal Bitter! While this was a decent Bitter, it lacks the strenght and hop character that I would like to see in all my bitters! I know the brewer is trying to stay true to the original British style but how about a dry hopped version for us hopheads?
|Anchor Brewing Christmas Ale 2005
Definitely not the choice of Hopheads but a nice spicy winter ale. A little too sweet for my tastes but interesting flavor.
|Bear Republic Racer 5 IPA
Light in color, fruity smell and very citrusy hop flavor. Tastes like mixing half a Bridgeport IPA with half a Pyramid IPA. At 7% Alc. and in 22oz bottles, this is definitely a winner. From the looks of the awards it has won on the website, I am not the only one that thinks so!
Bison Organic IPA
This is a very malty IPA, not overly hoppy though nicely balanced. Their website claims triple digit IBUs and it does have a very nice long finish but with the malt character of this beer, it could be considered a Bitter. It comes in 22oz bottles and at 6.8% alc, it definitely does the job. I haven't seen any of their other beers but am quite curious about the Honey Basil Ale they have listed on their website.
Dogfish Head 90 Minute Imperial IPA
If you are a true hophead, you will love this beer! If not, run for your life from this! Much lighter in color than you might expect for the flavor explosion that is this brew. Incredible citrusy, hop intensity with a smooth finish. At 9% Alc. this stuff is not to be taken lightly! I had had this on tap but never seen it bottled until recently on a trip to the Central Market, a great source of exotic microbrews. If you get a chance, check out the interview with their brewer/founder in the movie American Beer. They also make a 120 Minute IPA that is 21% Alc and amazing! I have had this on tap but seriously doubt you can find it bottled anywhere in the Northwest, but if someone knows otherwise, please let me know! This beer is made in Delaware? How they got the idea and enough hops for this in Delaware is truly beyond comprehension! Very creative brewer!
Check out their very cool website and plan a trip to Delaware!
Dick's Bottleworks IPA
Bottleworks IPA is actually made by Dicks Brewing. This is one serious Imperial IPA, very dark malty flavor with a sweet carmel malt flavor and strong hop finish. Very well balanced for a beer that is 8.5% ABV. http://www.dicksbeer.com/
Deschutes Cinder Cone Red
This is a great Red beer...smooth silky goodness with a generous amount of hop flavor for a red. It is a seasonal that is only available from January til March and fans are so fanatical about this red that they have started a petition to get it to be a year round offering. http://www.pyrcc.com/
I am always up for helping a great cause so plan on lending my support on this mission! Below are some comments on this brew that I couldn't say better myself! Go stock up while it is around...the end is near!
Teeters on the brink of world-class. Gorgeous to look at, with constantly shifting coloration ranging from ripe apricot to molten magma. The slathery head gets all over the glass and stays there, while the crushed velvet texture delivers up lacquery flavors that put a shine on the palate thicker than a triple coat of Verathane. The complex, never-ending hops notes are the icing on the cake. Killer beer.
David Gadd - Patterson's Beverage Journal, February 2007
June 2005 Summer Brewfest Review
Alaska IPA: Who knew? They make a great IPA but don't bottle it and according to the hand at the tap, only sell it in Juneau Alaska. We later found out that is not true as I have seen it show up in a few pubs but anyways...it is great stuff. Smooth, mellow, not super hoppy but full flavored with a great aroma and nice finish.
Big Time Brewing Hopfest: I love Big Time's IPAs but this was more of a very hoppy pale. I was not as impressed with this as I had hoped to be but after a bunch of IPA's it was tough to downshift to this. I have since had a cask version of this at Big Time Brewery and liked that much better. Definitely worth a go for anyone wanting to gradually work up to the IPA world!
Iron Horse Loco-Motive Ale: I am always happy to see new breweries at the fest. Iron Horse is located in Ellensburg Washington and made their debut at the Brewfest this year. They were serving their brown and this brew I would call a red. It was pretty good and very flavorful for a red, a style that is not really that popular in the Northwest. I hope to make it over to Ellensburg and try their IPA someday soon.
Lang Creek Brewery Sopwith Camel London Ale: Another newcomber to the Brewfest but I have to say I was not impressed with this beer. It was sour with not much other distinguishable flavor. I guess I expected a dark strong ale and didn't get this at all!
McMenamin's Two Block Walk IPA: This was one of the highlights of the day! I have had their other IPA's and thought they were good but this one was outstanding. Great hop flavor, lingering spicy finish and very complex yet well balanced. A fellow hophead called it "beer candy"
Water Street Brewing and Alehouse Queen Nina's Imperial IPA: Another newcomber to the fest but by far the best! These guys stole the show for me and not only did I think this was the best beer at the festival, I thought their other beer was one of the best also! Major hop flavor with a spicy finish yet a very smooth aftertaste. This one packs a punch too and must be around 7% alc. My only complaint was when I tried to contact the brewer later that week to secure a keg of the stuff, I got snubbed...not even a reply!
Water Street Brewing and Alehouse Big Phatty Panama Red: Ah...maybe this name explains why I never got an e-mail back. With a name like this you expect no less than a smokey dark red ale close to 9% alc...very stoney! You don't have to be a red lover to appreciate this beer!
Elliott Bay IPA: These guys simply make great beer. A very hoppy smooth finish IPA.
Pacific Crest IPA: pretty solid IPA though a little hint of a sour that I thought odd. Very long finish.
Well...that is all I could get away with trying...even with it being Father's Day! Lets hope next year is as much fun!
|The new brew review has been slacking...but don't worry, we were drinking! We were just drinking the same stuff we usually drink and couldn't find anything new and great to write about. Well until we found out that Scuttlebutts is now bottling their Gale Force IPA! Amazingly, it is as good in the bottle as straight from the keg. Not sure where you find it though other than the brewery, the amber is in Costco and wouldn't that be a dream come true if you could buy it there? A hophead can dream, can't he? This is a top of the line IPA with a very aggressive hop flavor and great finish. Track it down!
What do southern Californians know about hoppy beer? More than I would give them credit for! Stone IPA available in 22oz bottles is 6.9% alc. and dry hopped to perfection. This super hoppy, full flavored IPA is expensive but well worth it. The smell alone from opening this bottle will make any hophead druel. If this one isn't strong enough for you, try the Ruination IPA that is an insane 100+IBU and 7.7% alc. I will never make fun of So.Cal brewers again!
Many in the beer snob world here in Washington view Redhook and Widmer as sell outs and won't drink their brews. While Redhook has gone totally mainstream, Widmer still makes some high quality brews. The W'05 IPA is a light colored but very complex IPA. Containing Chinook, Centennial, Cascade, and Columbus hops, this is a hop lovers dream. At 6% alc. it is strong, crisp and well hopped enough to make any beer snob think twice about ripping on the Widmer bros!
Elysian the Wise ESB is not your ordinaray ESB. It is a little hoppier than most and not quite as malty as most ESB's however it is a very fine ale. A very well balanced ale with a citrusy hop smell. The flavor comes from Chinook, Cascade, and Columbus hops in just the right combo. Very drinkable anytime of the year. Comes in 22oz bottles.
The Washington Summer Brewfest at scenic St.Edwards Park on Father's day weekend is the premier beer drinker event
for Washington state. Boasting 101 microbrews and now 3 days long, it was a great event for all that attended. It is also a family friendly event that not only tolerates children but encourages them to attend. Since beer is probably at least partially responsible for most of these kids, that is appropriate! Here are reviews of most of what we tasted and rated on a five star system, leaningtowards the hoppy ones!):
Snipes IPA: smooth, yet bitter, very well balanced with a very clean aftertaste. No IPA cottonmouth here!
Diamond Knot Industrial ESB: Malty, sweet, and totally unchugable. Kind of the Industrial IPA with 1/2 the hops.
Druid IPA: I am always happy to see new breweries at the fest and was very excited to try this IPA. Unfortunatley, it wasn't quite hoppy enough for me
to truly consider it an IPA. Very smooth and great flavor but I would call it a Pale.
as an IPA
as a Pale
Winthrop Brewing "Jim's Awesome IPA": Bad bitter! Very sour aftertaste. If Budweiser tried to make an IPA, this would be it! This was the worst IPA we tasted at the fest and one of the worst I have ever had!
Pacific Rim Brewing Co. Rat City IPA: dark and bitter with a short-lived aftertaste. Smooth and refreshing
Hale's Imperial IPA: bitter smooth and creamy. Awesome! Tingles on the tongue with a long hop finish.
Skagit River Brewing Co. Sculler's IPA: Justin called this the nasal molestor! Extremely hoppy and great with pizza. Long lasting finish. Cool logo.
Elliot Bay Brewery Riot Ale: 8% alc. hoppy and smooth and finishes on the roof of your mouth. They classify this as PA,
I classify it as damn good and could be called an IPA just as easily.
Elysian Brewing Co. Jasmine IPA: Funky sweet with after-hop but no major bitter taste. Good floral aroma. Very unique!
Stone Ruination IPA: (For some reason Stone was left off the guide, we guess it was because the decided to attend too late.
It definitely didn't hurt people finding them as they had the biggest line as usual and ran out of Arrogant Bastard early Sunday.)
Hop kick on the way in and smooth going down, this IPA is a sensory overload! Excellent! These guys are from San Diego?
Boundry Bay Brewing Co. Simcoe Pale Ale: Amazingly complex! Totally fruity intro with a great bitter aftertaste. This could be
Maritime Pacific Brewing Co. Imperial IPA: Smooth hoppy finish
North Coast Brewing Co. Red Seal Ale: smooth and creamy, well balanced and very nice.
Bear Creek Brewing Co. ESB: Well balanced, hoppy and malty with a long finish.
Scuttlebutt Brewing Co. Tripel 7: at almost 9%alc you would never guess it by the smooth taste. This is an amazingly smooth, clean and tasty beer that could easily get you in big trouble! Very well balanced.
Hood Canal Brewery Dabob Bay IPA: Malty and bitter with a sweet hop finish. Not a typical IPA.
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We will mention that we are happy to see Hales bottling its Mongoose IPA. We first tasted Mongoose at the Summer Brew Fest at St. Edwards Park two years ago but only within the last few months seen it in stores. It is a very hoppy dry hopped IPA very worthy of recognition and one of the better IPAs to be found in a bottle. The citrusy bitter hops will leave you wanting more and this ale goes great with all kinds of spicy foods.
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One other thing we would like to mention is the new labels on the Deschutes bottles. Still the same great beer but just a little tweaking to the graphics with a little more color. No complaints here.
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If you know of a new beer you think we should try or would like to tell us about one that you tried…please drop us an e-mail.
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