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Beer Review #259 The Beast

01-10-02I’m a bit of a roller coaster nerd and when I saw the name of this beer, my mind immediately went the Beast at Kings Island, the World’s longest wooden roller coaster. Much like the roller coaster, this beer takes a long time to go through as it comes in at 16%! The Beast is brewed by Avery Brewing Company and is an “ale with raisins, dates, molasses and honey.” Holy balls. And yes, that is Ticket to Ride in the picture. If you haven’t played it, you should.

The Beast pours a reddish copper color and it is perfectly clear. It has a light tan head that fades away very quickly thanks to the high alcohol. The nose is packed with dark fruits and a surprising amount of sweetness. There are not any hops to make note of. You can tell this beer is strong after a quick whiff, but there isn’t any heat on the nose. It’s a truly amazing feat as alcohol at this percentage begs to have its presence known.

As the nose promised, there are lots of dark fruits on the first sip. The use of dates and raisins are evident when sampling. There is a little bit of sweetness upfront. It never really goes away, but it becomes less of a key player as the drink progresses. On the back end you get some aged hop flavors that balance the beer out. The beer really warms you up all the way down. It’s very nice.

I’m shocked at how smooth a big beer like this is. Unlike a lot of big beers, this one isn’t chewy. It has real beer characteristics and it makes for a really enjoyable drink. If you can find it, grab it. I’m generally not a huge fan of big, big beers, but this one is good. Really good. (more…)

07-21-01

Portland Breweries: McMenamins

07-21-01McMenamins is another chain that has dozens of locations in the Portland area. I know you are thinking that I traveled across the country to visit chain breweries; this is the last one. We went to the McMenamins Crystal Ball location. The funny thing is that have an additional bar the next block down. Weird.

McMenamins was a werid place overal, but I dug it. When Smalls and I entered there was a large bar area, and a decent seating area. Overtop the bar was a huge concoction of things. Broken glass, odd figures, bits and pieces of just about anything. It gave a folky vibe, which for an Irish place, is somewhat fitting. Smalls and I ordered our normal water and sampler.

In the sampler was a fruit beer, pale ale, stout, pilsner, wheat, and a porter. Most Portland breweries seemed to have a good selection of brews that run the gambit. To start out with we had the Pilsner called Bagdad Ale. It was a pretty tasty Pilsner with nice sutble flavors that would be perfect on a hot day. It was a great example of how you can use ale yeast for a lager. We then moved onto the wheat named Edgefield Wheat. I was alright, a typical American Wheat which some not subtle flavors but nothing to write home about.

The fruit beer was next on the list. It was called the Ruby and was pinkish in color. I never really had a beer that was that color before, so I was a little werided out. It is brewed a puree of Oregon grown raspberries as well. IF you have read this blog in the past, you know I’m not a fan of fruit beers, and this one did not agree with me. It was too sweet, to overly fruited (is that even correct english?) and there was nothing other than fruit. Not a fan.

Terminator Stout was McMenamins offering of a stout. Pretty typical flavors, mouthfeel, and aftertaste. I enjoyed it, but then again a typical tasting stout is pretty good on its own. Black Rabbit Porter was pretty excellent. It had a nice coffee flavor to it and Smalls promptly called dibs on it after tasting. Is it weird that I don’t like coffee, but I like coffee flavors in beer? Just saying. The final beer we had at McMenamins was their top seller, a pale ale, Hammerhead. It was a bit higher in hops than what I like in a pale ale but it was well balanced and fit the name. It was clean and really hit the spot.

The food wasn’t half bad at McMenamins either.  We got there for the lunch special and got all of our food and beer for under $25. Being that we had a $25 gift certificate, we each ordered another pint to finish it off. I got the Hammerhead and Smalls decided on the Pils. Pretty good place, both beer and food were not up to the standards of some of the future breweries I will write about from Portland. I would put the beer slightly behind Rock Bottom, and the food way behind it.

Sea Dog Brewing Company Blue Paw Wheat Ale Beer Review

09-04-02-03My cousin brought a case of Sea Dog’s Blue Paw Wheat Ale to Christmas this year. We had a six pack left over so I decided it was time to throw it in the fridge and give it another try. The last time I had it, I wasn’t a big fan. Now that might of been becasue I had just had several Sierra Nevada Celebration Ales, and Blue Paw is not on the same level. Here is what Sea Dog has to say about their beer:

Our unique contribution to the fruit ale category features the nutty quench of wheat ale combined with the delightful aromatics and subtle fruit flavor contributed by Maine wild blueberries.

09-04-02-03Everything about this beer is blueberry, I’m not sure where they get the nutty quench from. When you open it you are hit with the blueberry smell. This was also my first true fruit beer, so the smell took me by a bit of a surprise. It pours a golden to pale color, which I wasn’t expecting either. I thought that it would be blueish or purple. I don’t know, this whole thing was a surprise to me.

It poured with some head that quickly faded. My first sip was blueberry, blueberry, blueberry. What I’m trying to say is that there is a lot of blueberry flavor in this beer. It is actually all I could taste. It was like a super strong blueberry muffin. I really wasn’t a fan. Now I’m sure that really isn’t fair becasue I’m not a big fan of blueberries, not fruit beers in general. But if you like blueberries and want to be burping them for a few hours, try Sea Dog’s Blue Paw Wheat Ale. I however will not be, as it just isn’t my thing.

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