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Beer Review #114 Pipeline Porter

It has been some time since I last reviewed a Kona Brewing Company beer. To be fair, they don’t offer a ton of beers, but I have enjoyed most of what they make. I last had Pipeline Porter when I was in Hawaii a few years ago and loved it. It is a porter that is brewed with 100% Hawaiian Kona coffee. I’m not a coffee drinker, but I really dig a coffee flavor in beers. My first 5 gallon batch of homebrew was a Kona Stout, brewed with Kona coffee I brought home from my trip to Hawaii. It is still one of my favorite creations to date. I’m not sure what it is, but normal coffee is a bit too intense, but coffee in beer, bring it on.

Pipeline Porter is a limited release in the continental US, but is a year-round brew in Hawaii. This porter pours a black color and has a tanish head. The nose is really wonderful. It has a rich coffee smell with a light touch of sweetness. The coffee really washes out everything else, but it is fresh and very nice. Another strange thing with my coffee “problem,” I love the smell of coffee.

Coffee really comes out in the flavor of this beer as well. The sweetness upfront comes out as caramel, but the coffee really dominates the flavor of this beer. I really dig this beer, even though coffee is the main player, it seems surprisingly balanced. I think a coffee drinker would like this beer as well. I was actually eating some Hershey’s caramel Kisses while I had this beer and I think they are the perfect compliment. If you see this Kona beer, grab it, I don’t think that you will be disappointed. (more…)

07-30-01

Portland Breweries: Full Sail Brewing Company

07-30-01On my visit to Texas last year I saw a few six packs of Full Sail beer at the store, but decided to go with some Fat Tire instead. On my honeymoon I got to discover what I missed all that time ago. Smalls and I decided that Full Sail was one of the many breweries that we would visit during our stay. There are a ton of breweries in Portland, and Oregon for that matter. So many in fact that our hotel gave us a brewery guide to Oregon. It was like eight pages long!

Getting back to Full Sail, we hoped on the Portland Street Car (still in fairless square) and took it down to one of the last free stops. Went towards the river and found Full Sail’s tasting room in Portland. The full brewery is located about an hour outside of the city. The tasting room is also attached to a resturant that was pretty pricy, but the beer was not.

We obviously got a sampler from their many beers and made sure to get their three main brews: Amber, IPA, and Pale Ale. They had a wheat beer, a stout, a porter, and a few other IPAs. I really wanted to try their barleywine, but they were out, darn.

I’m not going to get into all of the beers becasue they tasted as they should. Very good and stuck to the standards very nicely. I did get the stout on cask as well and it was excellent. Stouts might be my favorite beer to have in a cask. The flavors combine so nicey and the warm temperature brings out a lot of hidden flavors. They also had a Pilsner which was excellent. Really crisp and light but packed with flavor.

I would visit Full Sail again the next time I get out to Portland.

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.

07-20-01

Portland Breweries: Rock Bottom

07-20-01Coming from the Philadelphia area I have heard of Rock Bottom Brewery before. RBB is the first brewpub chain to my knowledge and they have been pretty successful at it with 35 locations at last count. My previous most local one was in King of Prussia, PA, but I never visited. I heard a bunch of mixed reviews about the beer and Victory always seemed to win out if I wanted to make a little drive from home.

Smalls and I wondered around Portland our first night there and caught the MAX light rail (free in the majority of the city by the way) to the river. Almost immediatly we spotted Rock Bottom and decided to make it our choice for dinner. They have a nice coner location and have plenty of indoor, outdoor, and bar seating. We looked over the menu before going in just to make sure it wasn’t out of this world and also to make sure they had food that we liked. Prices check. Food check. Seat please!

07-20-02Our waiter came by and we ordered two glasses of water and a sampler. Their beers included a lager, wheat, IPA, stout, porter, and an amber. For another 79 cents a sample glass you could try the two beers on cask which I don’t remember what they were. The lager, Swan Island Lager, was pretty darn good, nice and light with tons of flavor. My parents would hate it as it was a lighter lager with more flavor than water.

The wheat beer, Volksweizen, had what you expect from a beer with that name. Lots of ginger and corriander with a decent amount of balance. Not the best I’ve had, but not the worst. Sunny Day IPA was on the piney side for me, so I wasn’t too big of a fan, but if you like that taste, you might dig it. The Maltnomah Porter, named for the Multnomah Falls located about a half hour outside of the city was excellent. By far the best beer we had there. Tons of flavor, great after taste, and was a bit more complex than your typical porter.

Morrison Street Stout switches by the season. In the summer they have a cream stout which was pretty typical. If you say cream stout on CO2, you can expect to taste this beer. The final beer that I remember (the other two were on cask) was the Oregonic Amber. It was good, just a bit misbalanced with too much hops and not enough malt, and the pine was back.

Overall it was a decent place, but not somewhere that I would drive to go to. A free train ride five minutes away sure, but nothing more. The food was excellent and I would visit again just based on that. Sorry I didn’t grab any pictures, it was too much of a hassle to bring the camera out everywhere and look like more of a tourist than I already did.

Victory Brewing Company Sampler Beer Review

09-05-14-05

A few weeks ago a few friends and I went to Victory Brewing Company for a tour as part of one of our brewery tour weekends. We actaully stopped a Victory twice during the day; once to grab brunch and again to grab a drink before heading home for the day.

Victory has recently redone their enitre eating area and it looks amazing. There is copper everywhere, the bar is amazing, and the beer selection is out of this world. On our visit there were over twenty beers on tap and six beers in casks. Yeah, that’s a lot of beer. I got a sampler to split with one of my friends and we chose six wonderful beers. We had three beers from the cask and three from the tap. 09-05-14-02

Tap

  • Old Horizonal
  • Wild Devil
  • Storm King

Cask

  • Hop Wallop
  • Hop Devil
  • Baltic Thunder

09-05-14-03I’ve had most of these beers before but there is something about drinking at 11 o’clock in the morning in a brewery with the smell of yeast around you that makes everything better. Later in the day I also had a pint of Moon Glow, which was wonderful.

A few quick notes about the beers. Old Horizonalwill kick you in the mouth and the alochol is super high, even in the taste. Storm King is much better when it gets a little warmer and the roasty flavors start coming out more. Baltic Thunder is a solid beer that is a perfect fit for early spring. You can see my notes on Hop Wallop here, but it is fantastic on cask. Hop Devil on cask puts the beer into a new category. Finally Wild Devil is basically the same as Hop Devil with a few minor differences. Victory gets very crowded on weekends, esipcailly around dinner time. If you visit, I would suggest going early, when the smell of yeast is still in the air and yuppy cologne is not.

09-05-14-01

If you don’t get the last image, you need to watch Entourage on HBO.