Posts Tagged ‘pale ale’

Deschutes Mirror Pond Pale Ale

Wednesday, March 21st, 2012

While in Twentynine Palms, California, my father and I had dinner at the wonderful Bistro Twenty Nine. The food was tasty and they had a wide draft beer selection, including Mirror Pond Pale Ale from Deschutes Brewery in Bend, Oregon.

This opalescent golden gamboge ale has a lasting off-white head. The hop aroma is rich with citric fruit and sage. Floral hops and some caramel malt round out the moderately complex nose.

The hop bitterness is immediate, strong yet velvety. Floral and some fruity hop flavors are followed by not quite enough toasty malt flavor. The palate is initially substantial, but remains lively and lightens quickly.

I’ve never lived anywhere I could get Deschutes regularly, but if I did I could see having Mirror Pond in my fridge a lot of the time.

+Deschutes Mirror Pond Pale Ale

3.9 (4-7-7-5-16)

Sierra Nevada 2009 Celebration Ale

Tuesday, March 2nd, 2010

2010-03-02-celebrationTonight I will be tasting the 2009 Celebration Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Company in Chico, California. This is the newest in Sierra Nevada’s venerated line of hoppy winter beers.

The 2009 Celebration Ale pours a golden amber with a healthy bottle-condition haze. The tan head is absurdly thick and creamy, like meringue. The nose is richly hoppy. A tart grapefruit aroma prevails, accompanied by lemongrass and pineapple. A hint of malty sweetness comes through, but the grapefruit makes it difficult to detect.

The flavor of the Celebration Ale is supremely hoppy. Grapefruit dominates, to a fault. Almost nothing else is noticeable besides, even the bitterness from those hops. The tart citric flavor seems a bit flat, and is refreshing for only a little while before growing impertinent. The body is full and light but can’t make up for the lack of character on the taste.

+Sierra Nevada 2009 Celebration Ale

3.4 (5-8-6-4-14)

Phoenix – Day 1: Serendipity

Wednesday, March 25th, 2009

I went to Phoenix with the dad and broski for spring break. Now, this isn’t a baseball blog so over the next few posts I’ll extract only the parts of the trip relevant to beer.

Loser's punishment

Loser's punishment

One of the first things I did when arriving was post to Twitter about the beautiful weather. Now, the beer gods were with me that I mentioned Phoenix by name, because olllllo, the Beer Hack(er) (and sometime contributor to beerporn) saw it. He quickly messaged, inviting me to an annual event at his home at the base of South Mountain which was just by chance happening that very evening. So after the watching the Cubs lose and the Suns win I made my way to his place.

Shaq and Steve Nash shooting...

Shaq and Steve Nash shooting...

Okay, ‘event’ is the wrong word. Olllllo had five homebrews on tap and three brewing friends had brought two or three beers each, so there were at least 50 gallons flowing. Also olllllo was opening bottle after bottle from his cellar. It was a party.

I wish I had had more time for tasting: I was only able to sample a few of the beers. From a man that looked suspiciously like Sam Elliot I tasted a pale ale made with summit and simcoe hops, with a big rich herbal and fruity nose. A guy whose real name was Bill but who everybody just called ‘Wild’ had two selections. First was a pedestrian roggenbier. Late in the evening he brought out his reserve keg: three gallons of bourbon porter that he’s been aging over a year on oak. It was smooth, yet rough. It was balanced, yet intense. It was fantastic. I had to find out how he got the ratio so perfect. “I had a half a fifth left and I wasn’t going to drink it, so I just threw it in.” This guy is my kind of brewer.

Me and olllllo and his kegerator

Me and olllllo and his kegerator

Ollllo himself had a few interesting selections. I had what he refers to as his “Meheeco Vienna Lager”. What can I say, it was authentic. He also had a perry (that’s pear cider for the unenlightened) that wasn’t half bad. The star of his lineup, however, was labelled simply “Centennial IPA”. While drinking the first glass of this I failed to take proper stock of the aroma, or notice that centennial is (at least according to teh internets) the principal hop in Two Hearted Ale from Bell’s, a beer you should know I love. For the lazy, my description was that “[t]he hop aroma is strong enough that you don’t even need to lean in.” After being directly informed of the attempt at cloning, I was blown away. While he can still work on the flavor a bit, ollllo’s version has exactly the nose of Two Hearted. Man I wish I could brew like that.

More southwest updates to come…

Sam Smithathon

Saturday, January 24th, 2009

Samuel Smith’s is a large independent brewery in Tadcaster, England. They are probably the most well known (in the U.S. at least), despite not being as old as Shepherd Neame nor as large as Charles Wells. Well I’ve got a couple interesting bottles to try.

Sam Smith Old Brewery Pale AleThe first bottle I have is the Old Brewery Pale Ale, Sam Smith’s classic pale ale. It pours with a light, somewhat unearthly haze. The beer is a beautiful caramel and the tan head, though thin, is creamy and lasts. The nose indicates this bottle hasn’t lasted the journey particularly well. I can detect an herbal character from noble hops, but the strongest aromas are the cider and cardboard that indicate the progression of oxidation.

The flavor is much of what I expect from the aroma: a flat, cardboardy flavor with hints of cider. I also notice a bit of the buttery flavor characteristic of many English beers. There is an unpleasant astringent bitterness and a hint of corny caramel sweetness that is not nearly enough to balance it. The palate is just a bit sticky but for the most part is reasonably creamy and full.

-Sam Smith Old Brewery Pale Ale

2.4 (3-5-4-3-9)

Sam Smith Organic LagerNext up is the Organically Produced Lager. This is a brilliantly clear very pale corn yellow with just a bit of bone white head. Like the beers it is emulating this lager has almost no aroma, just a hint of cooked corn. A bit of malt comes through as well, proving this one has quality production.

The flavor is light and refreshing. Though there is a strong character of corn, there is also plenty of malt flavor and even a hint of hop bitterness. The palate is smooth and lively, but almost approaches cloying. Overall a well executed lager from somewhere already trusted to produce quality ales.

+Sam Smith’s Organically Produced Lager Beer

3.1 (3-5-6-4-13)