Wednesday, January 18, 2017

The Best Things We Drank: January 9-15

Last week was a challenging one weather-wise and although that meant we spent way more time at home than usual it didn't stop us from getting out, primarily to our Cheers/Winchester to share some beer with our friends. Here's the best of what we drank.

Brouwerij Rodenbach Vintage 2014 (Barrel No. 192) - Shared with us by Chris (congrats on reaching Untappd Uber level!), this is what I refer to as a "SweeTarts" style of sour and it showcases the best of the best in the world of fruity sours. To achieve this level of amazing the Flemish red-brown sour ale spent two years in their 61-year-old foeder no. 192.

Alpine Beer Company Windows Up - A moderate ABV IPA (7%) the stanky goodness from the Citra and Mosaic hops are just up this hophead's alley.

Firestone Walker Sour Opal - Back to the sour well we go with this one. Firestone knows what they're doing with both sours and IPAs, a combination of talents that is quite endearing. An American Gueuze, this sour was another that took time to become what it is, spending two years in Viognier barrels.

Ordnance Brewing Blรคckfisk - 'Tis the season for imperial stouts and while we can't drink them all the live long day, this is one that makes us reconsider. Smooth, dark and delicious, this 9.5% beer is the kind that makes one jealously want to take to a quiet corner and keep to one's self.

Sour beers dominated our picks slightly this week in contrast to last week's more hop-heavy best beers. Being our two favorite styles that will probably be a trend it's nice to run across stellar ones of other styles to remind us not to get into a rut.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

The Best Things We Drank: January 2-9

An epic snow day seems like a good day to talk about beer, specifically the best beers we drank last week. If you have any of them at your place, dig in! Otherwise, hopefully you have something tasty sitting around or a bar within walking distance that it open because what else are you going to do when the city is shut down?

Deschutes The Abyss (2009) - Opened at a friend's annual Abyss vertical party, this was my favorite of the night which ranged from 2008-2015 bottles, including the 2015 cognac and rye variants. If you are familiar with the series this was a year where some of the bottles soured and although this bottle unfortunately didn't completely sour there was a hint of it in the flavor and it was deliciously drinkable at 11% ABV.

Loowit Snow's Ghost - We stopped at Loowit before the Abyss party and this golden stout floored me. The aroma and flavor of this beer was flat out fantastic and there was something...possibly the addition of coconut and marshmallow...that set this apart from and above other similar beers. Get some if you can!

pFriem Double IPA - Described as having a flavor profile of "ripe papaya, baked grapefruit and hoppy goodness" it drinks very smooth with the perfect amount of hops. Definitely one of my favorites from this brewery.

Block 15 Hoppy New Year! - I continue to be impressed by Block 15 and this imperial IPA continues the trend. Brewed with "citrusy and tropical hops" and generous "late-additions of Azacca, Citra, Amarillo and Mosaic hops" the result is a smooth and yummy 8.75% seasonal beer. Hopefully it portends a great year ahead.

Fremont Lush IPA - The beer inside the can is as delicious as the artwork is beautiful. Using "lush, tropical hops" this hit all the right notes for me and I hope to get my lips on more before its seasonal window (January 1 - March 31) closes.

"Big" (although not huge) was the theme of the best beers consumed during this first week of the new year with all but one clocking in at 8.75% or better and a sub-theme of "tropical." Perhaps it's the combination of recent crappy weather and my broken ankle-induced immobility causing cabin fever but I seem particularly susceptible to being transported to a better, tropical place at least for the duration of a pint.

Thanks to Chris for his pictures of The Abyss and Hoppy New Year! Sometimes we get so caught up in the beer that we need our friends to help with the picture taking.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

What's Ahead For 2017?

Since 2017 started I've been contemplating what this year will hold for Beer Musings. As of late I've not felt very inspired...for multiple reasons. I briefly let the idea of calling it quits roll around in my head but it didn't seem to take hold. Hopefully inspiration will return and you'll see more content than I've been posting lately. Perhaps committing to a weekly post...let's call it "The Best Things We Drank Last Week"...will be the momentum needed to get this ball rolling again. Expect to see it mid-week and while there may be some out-of-market beers listed with the wealth that surrounds us you'll likely be able to find most of it up around town.

Clearly we're mid-weekend, not mid-week but as to not put off what can be done today and also because of the snow/ice/cold those of you in Portland are experiencing (hopefully weathering safely at home) here's a recap of the five best things we drank during the final week of 2016.

Surly Pentagram (2015) - Cracked during our New Year's Eve gathering this sour, wine barrel aged beer is still outstanding. And at 6.66% ABV it's not gonna knock you down if you scurry off into a corner and drink the whole bottle yourself.

Alesong Shake Your Tree - Matt, formerly of Oakshire, has been killing it with what I've tasted from his new venture so far.  This sour ale aged with peaches smells and tastes like summer, something I need to be reminded will eventually come as we make our way through the darkness of winter.

Phantom Carriage Deadly Harvest - Relatively new to the Portland market, they've made an impression on me. Another fruitted sour, this one is a barrel aged blonde made with boysenberries, a fruit that transports me back to the carefree days of gobbling down pancakes soaked in Smucker's Boysenberry syrup.

The Commons Trillium - Easily one of my favorite Portland breweries, they know what they're doing with farmhouse beers and hit particularly high notes when they make sour ones. "Sweet Tarts in a glass without being gimmicky" was my impression as I thoroughly enjoyed it with the friends who so graciously shared it.

Perennial Savant Beersel - I do love me some Brett and this beer, made with wine grapes and aged in French oak Cabernet barrels is "all that and a bag of chips."

Clearly sours are one of my favorite styles and I had a wealth of delicious ones to close out a year that most of us can agree was quite sour. Thank goodness "sour" beers like these are the polar opposite of a "sour" year. Cheers to more delicious beers in 2017 and a year that is hoppy...happy...whatever!