Thanks once more to Eric for bringing over a great selection of beers from the West Coast of America for us to try. We hear so much about these breweries but availability here in Scotland is thin on the ground so it was a rare treat to try some of these. We also tried a couple not pictured (Deschutes’ The Abyss, Yeti from Great Divide and Ebulum, an Elderberry ale from Williams Bros) and a couple of homebrews from the guys at Jim’s. And maybe a couple of others? My memory is fairly shot after those Russian Imperial Stouts.
I won’t try and give you tasting notes, I’ll leave that to Barm who had his ticker notebook and could probably wax more eloquently about them. That said, my top 5 (out of the American beers) were:
1) Hopworks Brewery – Secession Black IPA. When I heard about this one I thought it would be my least favourite. How wrong was I, a great beer in every way. It’s black, but it doesn’t taste black!
2) Laurelwood Brewery – Organic Free Range Red. Fantastic fresh American hop character and in perfect balance. I could happily drink this by the pint.
3) Dogfish Head – Indian Brown Ale. Another one that slipped down the throat with barely a hint of the substantial 7.2% alcohol content. Lethal!
4) Bear Republic – Racer 5. Not what I was expecting from this beer but very pleasant nonetheless. Not a substantial bitterness but a spicy hop flavour and aroma.
5) Ninkasi – Spring Reign. A pretty faultless pale ale. Their website describes this as a ‘session beer’ which at 6%, from a British perspective, is pretty hard to get my head around. However, I’m not complaining. It was delicious.
The Gose from Upright Brewing was very interesting too and gets an honourable mention. I love to see breweries tackle rare and unusual beer styles and come out with something good. This basically tasted like a Saison Dupont with a teaspoon of salt stirred in. A great ‘palate cleanser’. Not something I would drink on a regular basis however.
There you go, I’m surprised that my two favourite beers of the lot were both organic and from breweries I had never heard of in Portland. The black IPA in particular is a style which just seems wrong to me. I’ve never enjoyed a beer with strong roasted flavours and citrussy US hops; the flavours clash. This was a great IPA that just happened to be black. Consider me a convert!
There is still time for home brewers to get their beer brewed and entered for the Glasgow Beer and Pub Project on the 30th of April. I’m supplying 100 pints, a third each of my Vienna lager, Rauchbier, and a Hefeweizen I’ll brew next week. I hope to see some of you there.