Monday, August 25, 2014

Laurelwood Brewing Company - Megafauna Imperial IPA

Prehistoric flavor?
If you've read my blog, you already know that I'm a big fan of Laurelwood Brewing Company. Solid. Dependable. They rarely disappoint. I picked up a bomber of their Megafauna Imperial IPA at Grocery Outlet the other day. Sorry, I don't remember what I paid for it, but I know it was a good deal. It's hard to go wrong with the beer prices at Grocery Outlet. Huge selection, too.

The label boasts an ABV of 9.5%. Yup, that's an IIPA. No mention of exactly what hops were used--just that they are "experimental". Interesting.

The beer poured into my pint glass a hazy, orange amber color with an off-white head. The head rose up to a full finger thick and was quite creamy and clumpy. Like you could eat it with a spoon. Lovely stuff. Retention was excellent, with a full cap of lacing present throughout most of the drink.

Aroma was a big nose full of citrus and pine. Dang! My wife said she could smell it from across the room. Loads of tropical fruit. Orange, grapefruit, ripe pineapple. Floral notes. Sweet, earthy caramel malt.

Taste followed the nose with a big bite of resinous pine that segued into ripe orange and grapefruit. Pineapple and mango. Tangerine. The flavors just didn't back off. Appropriately bitter with some lingering dankness right at the end. Excellent malt/hops balance.

Medium to full mouthfeel. A bit oily, a little sticky but with excellent carbonation. Boozy warmth at the finish, but not at all raspy with the alcohol. A medley of fruit flavor left behind on the palate.

Damn! Megafauna is excellent! Seriously, It's a keeper in my book. I'm giving this brew a BeerGuyPDX rating of 4 crushed cans out of 4. No Droolie, ony because the Wonder Beagle was busy obsessing over the opossums under our deck. I love this beer and highly recommend. Go get you some!

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Speakeasy Ales & Lagers - Vendetta IPA

Don't get mad, get even.
Speakeasy Ales & Lagers typically sticks with an old school gangster theme when naming their beers. The label art is always pretty cool and film noir inspired, too. I picked up a bomber of their Vendetta IPA yesterday at New Seasons. 

The label depicts a gangster who is clearly in a very bad mood. The copy advises that this IPA comes with an ABV of 7.6% and that it was brewed with Citra and Amarillo hops. "As the fire rages on, an enduring rivalry reaches the breaking point," the label proclaims. Hmmm, there's a story in there somewhere. How's the beer?

Vendetta poured into my glass a semi-hazy, coppery orange color with an off-white head. That head rose up to almost two fingers thick and was quite lumpy and clumpy. It dissipated slowly and left copious amounts of lacing behind on the glass. Quite an attractive beer, I must say.

Aroma was citrus and pine. Tropical fruit: mango and pineapple. Subtle hints of dankness mixed in with some earthy, bready malt.

Taste followed the nose. Big pine and citrus hops. Orange and tangerine. Respectable bitterness but not over the top. Smooth malt flavor. Very well balanced. Pleasant herbal notes.

Medium to slightly full mouthfeel with appropriate carbonation. Creamy finish with that hops bitterness left on the palate at the end.

Overall, this is a nice, big, well-balanced West Coast IPA. I like! I'm giving Vendetta a BeerGuyPDX rating of 3 crushed cans out of 4.

Fort George Brewery - The Optimist IPA

Is that can half empty...or half full?
Some breweries never disappointment me. Take for example Fort George Brewery in beautiful Astoria, Oregon. They make some mighty tasty beer and their taproom is top notch. Seriously, if you're ever even close to Astoria, you owe it to yourself to stop at Fort George. Fun times, nice people and fantastic beer. That's a winning combo, right there.

The most recent Fort George beer to hit the cold case of my local supermarket is The Optimist IPA. I found it in a six pack of 12 oz. cans. Now, I'm often reluctant to invest almost 9 bucks in a sixer of an unknown beer. You know...because what if it sucks? Then I have to save it for a party or something. Pass it off to unsuspecting house guests. However, that has never been the case with Fort George. I had no problem plunking down my hard-earned cash for a six pack of The Optimist. So, how was it, you ask?

The beer poured into my IPA glass a slightly hazy, light golden orange color. The white head rose up to a full finger thick and dissipated slowly. Loads of webby, sudsy lacing was left behind.

Aroma was citrus hops and tropical fruit. Pleasant grassy, floral notes on top of sweet, pale malt. Interesting lavender-like aroma.

Taste followed the nose. Not a hop bomb, this beer, but with plenty of juicy, fruity flavor. Orange, melon and stone fruit. Light, biscuity malt. Not too sweet. The mildly bitter hops flavor lingered throughout the entire drink, balancing the sweet floral and tropical fruitiness quite nicely.

Medium mouthfeel with good carbonation. No alcohol detected in this 6.2% ABV brew. Mild, semi-dry finish.

Overall, this is an exceedingly drinkable IPA. The 12 oz. can six pack is the appropriate packaging, in my opinion, because you can easily knock back several of these while manning the BBQ.

I am a big-time hophead. I crave the big, bitter pucker of an outrageously hoppy IPA...but not always. Sometimes, it's nice to have a solid IPA that you can enjoy out on the deck. Something that delivers the hops but doesn't coat your tonsils or significantly sting your taste buds. Something you can share with your non-hophead friends that won't leave them running for a Bud Light. The Optimist fills that bill quite nicely.

I'm giving The Optimist a BeerGuyPDX rating of 3 1/2 crushed cans out of 4. Good stuff that will always be welcome in my weekend cooler.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Beards and Beers

Wax on!
I took a brewery tour at Lagunitas Brewing in Petaluma, CA a while back. Awesome brewery and I highly recommend stopping there whenever you are cruising through NorCal. During the tour, the guide asked if anyone in the group was a brewer or homebrewer. No one raised their hand. I was busy with a taster, and truthfully, my homebrewing skills are nothing worth bragging about.

"Really? Because there's usually one or two in the group," continued our friendly, young host. "And they usually have big beards like this guy..." He was pointing at me.

I guess that's accurate. For whatever reason, growing and grooming massive amounts of facial hair seems to be de rigueur for brewers of the liquid bread. I certainly see a lot of shaggy gents working in breweries, that's for sure. Me? No, I'm not trying to make any kind of fashion statement. To tell you the truth, I'm just lazy. I hate shaving in the morning and my facial hair comes in so fast you can almost see it grow. Also, that bushy beard hides the pathetically weak chin that I inherited from my father's side of the family. Sad, but true.

So, perhaps we can surmise that brewers are either 1) fashionable, 2) lazy, or 3) they have pathetically weak chins. Hmmmm...

In any case, the connection between beards and beers came to an odd pinnacle earlier this year when Rogue Ales put out a beer brewed with yeast collected from the brewer's beard. What the f**k, you ask? Yeah, it's true. I reviewed Beard Beer in May. It was actually pretty good. However, I certainly hope this form of yeast collection doesn't become an expanding trend. Arnie's Armpit Ale? Paul's Pubic Porter? No thanks!

I found another unique and awesome beard/beer connection recently: a beard grooming aid made with hops! Lesher's Beard Balm can be found for $15.99 at This hop-infused beard conditioning balm comes in two different hop varieties: Citra and Cascade. I bought the Cascade. Great stuff. It smells grassy, earthy and is much more pleasant than some of the other scented beard conditioners and mustache waxes I have in my "collection". I highly recommend!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Worthy Brewing Company - Eruption Imperial Red Ale

Do I lava this beer?
Man, do I love beer! I guess that's obvious. I drink a a lot of it. I blog about it. On occasion, I even try to brew it. However, I certainly don't consider myself to be any kind of beer expert. No, no, no. That term conveys a certain amount of geeky, scientific-y smarts that I just do not possess. Nope, no real expertise here. I suppose you could call me a "beer enthusiast". Yeah, I like that.

I started this blog as a way to chronicle my beer adventures--which typically just entails me sitting on the couch, drinking a new-to-me bomber of something I picked up from the supermarket cold case on the way home from the cube farm. I'm not trying to impress anybody. Not hanging out a shingle as some kind of authority. I certainly don't make any money doing this.

Beer just fascinates and amazes me. It's agriculture, art and alchemy, all combined into a tasty, potable beverage. Some brainy archaeologist types even go so far as proclaiming the invention of beer to be the nexus of civilization. Don't believe me? Watch this video.

In any case, I've rambled on way too much. I've got a new (to me) beer to review. Tonight's brew is Worthy Brewing Company's Imperial Red Ale. It comes with an ABV of 8% and an reported 100 IBU's. Intriguing. How did it do paired with my homemade sloppy joe's and chips?

The beer poured into my pint glass a reddish amber color with an off-white head. The creamy, clumpy head rose up to almost two fingers thick and dissipated slowly. Copious amounts of webby lacing left behind throughout the drink.

Aroma was citrus hops. Grapefruit and orange. Pine and floral notes on top of sweet, earthy malt.

Taste followed the nose. Lots of citrus hops with a good bitter bite to it. Nice spiciness, too. Good hops/malt balance to this beer. The malt didn't get lost in the mix behind all that hoppy goodness.

Medium mouthfeel with good carbonation. No noticeable alcohol taste. A bit of a creamy finish. I like!

I'm giving Eruption a BeerGuyPDX rating of 3 crushed cans out of 4. I'd definitely do this one again. Merry the Wonder Beagle drooled up a storm over this one, so it gets a Droolie, too.