Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Spring has Sprung at Lompoc

The most recent media preview of Lompoc beers at Side Bar was a stark contrast to the last one that was chock full of appropriately wintery beers. This time around the seven beer line up was full of beers that leave you begging for the sun-filled days Portland enjoyed last weekend. With nothing rising above 6.2% ABV and one even coming in at a mere 4.1% you have a range of styles to choose from, none of which will be the cause for blotto-ness.

Heaven's Helles - "Heaven's Helles is a golden straw-colored German style pale lager with a floral aroma and a clean, crisp finish. 5.3% ABV" - For those that remember this beer from last year, the grain bill and the hops are the same, however the yeast is a new Mexican lager yeast strain. Not being a German beer fan no lager yeast fan myself, it wasn't a beer for me. However comments from others who enjoy the style were complimentary so if Helles is your thing, make sure to seek it out when it goes on tap as none will be bottled.

1060 EZ Taxation Ale - "1060 EZ Taxation Ale is made with pale malt and corn, using Noble hops in the kettle. It's light straw in color, with a malty nose and a mildly sweet mid-mouthfeel provided by the corn. It has a light, dry, crisp finish. 6% ABV" - The aroma, color and flavor are all very light, making it a great gateway beer for your BMC-drinking friends. The plus is that you could enjoy it right along side them. Be careful though because even though it's only 6%, you'd be hard pressed to think you were drinking anything above a 3.2% beer. For the beer geeks who might be wondering, there is 30% corn used and only 1 1/2 lbs of hops per six barrel batch.

Cherry Bomb - "Cherry Bomb is our Proletariat Red fermented in Maryhill Winery Port barrels with 40 lbs of sour cherries. It has a big cherry aroma with a fruit forward flavor, finishing dry with a touch of oak. 6.2% ABV" - This was the biggest beer of the set and my favorite. True to the description, the tart cherry aroma jumped out of the glass to my nose. While the flavor didn't carry as much tart flavor as this sour beer lover would prefer, the tartness did build throughout the glass and I think that after a pint or two I'd enjoy it even more. If you're planning to attend the Portland Fruit Beer Fest, look for this one in the special "buzz tent" area.

Kick Axe Dry Hopped Pale Ale - "Our tribute to the Timber's Army, Kick Axe is a crisp, easy drinking pale ale that was dry hopped in the fermenter with Cascades, giving off a huge hop aroma. 5.2%" - This was the second time I'd had this beer and I enjoyed it much more than the first go 'round, possibly because of the increased amount of hops used over last year's version. It's a favorite of both Jerry, who quipped, "In my own personal alcoholism, this fits the niche," and Brian who likens it to Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, his "go-to camping beer."

Valley of Hops IPA - "Valley of Hops is a classic NW style IPA with a mild body and tons of hops. Hopped with Centennial, Cascade, Cluster, Meridian, Perle and Crystal hops throughout, it has a huge hop aroma with a spicy finish. This pleasant IPA is deliciously drinkable. 5.8%." - This beer was made while Zach was still part of the Lompoc crew with the Meridian hops sourced through Indie Hops. While I had a hard time locating any aroma, there was a pleasant peppery, spicy flavor to be found in the glass.

Ryeteous Badger Belgian Style Red - "Ryeteous Badger is a very spicy, full flavored and intense Belgian style ale. The extreme spiciness comes from the addition of malted rye and a ton of hops. It is full-bodied, yet easy drinking. 5.2%" - As with the Helles, it wasn't a style I'm a fan of but again garnered compliments from others. It can be found at the Cheers to Belgian Beers festival later this month.

Stout Out Loud - "Stout Out Loud is a mix between a Dry Irish stout and an Oatmeal Stout. It is pitch black in color with slight hints of coffee, chocolate and roast flavors, and features a creamy mouthfeel. 4.1%" - This was the lowest ABV beer of the set and before tasting it I was skeptical that it was possible to successfully straddle the Dry Irish stout-Oatmeal stout fence. I was wrong. The aroma was all Dry stout to my nose but with the mouthfeel of an Oatmeal Stout. This is one I'd love to try on nitro, which I understand might be possible.

Take a listen as owner, Jerry Fechter, talks about the building that New Old Lompoc has been inhabiting for years and the new building that will rise from its ashes, better than ever.

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