Saturday, November 17, 2012

Visiting Base Camp

Base Camp Brewing opened their doors two weeks ago but being out of town I missed their big splash onto the scene. In an effort to rectify that, I happily took the opportunity to have a meeting there earlier this week.

From the outside the building is nondescript, unless you look in the large roll up doors to see brewing equipment. The taproom, quite a large space, keeps it simple with concrete walls and roughhewn tables. The bar is the most striking part with an overturned canoe suspended above it and backlit outdoors photos behind the taps. On nicer days than when I visited I suspect their outdoor space, outfitted with picnic style tables and long, rectangular fire pits, will be a great space to enjoy their beer.

Speaking of beers, there were four of their six available when I rolled in. Of them I had tried the IPL - India Pale Lager - previously out of the bottle. Wanting the full experience as well as to have the IPL on tap I ordered up all four and settled in. Shortly the bartender arrived with a log sampler tray.

I selected the Paolshenbier as the first to try, expecting it to be the most mild in flavor and hop character. While mild, it was full of citrus flavor and a very drinkable 5.8% ABV beer. Comparing it to the memory of the IPL I'd had previously, my opinion was that it outshined its hoppier sibling.

Next up was the Out-of-Bounds Brown, which was nearly indistinguishable in color from the IPL. Like the Paolschenbier, it's an approachable and drinkable beer, perhaps far too drinkable for 6.2% ABV.

Finally it was time to have my second taste of In-Tents IPL. I was pleased to find I enjoyed it much more than my first experience with it. Was it the context? Was it the fact that it was poured out of a tap instead of a bottle? I don't know. All I know is I was happy that I gave this beer, a 6.8% ABV lager, a second chance.

The final beer, S'more Stout, had the most "curb appeal." The sample glass was garnished with a toasted mini-marshmallow and the beer inside didn't disappoint. A full-bodied and full-flavored stout, it avoided being overly heavy while weighing in at 7.7% ABV.

The other two beers, Ripstop Rye Pils and Northwest Fest, were to be released a few days after my visit. As of yet I haven't made it back to try them but look forward to doing so. If you haven't paid them a visit yet, I encourage you to make time to do so. If you've been, what was your impression of the beers?

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