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Beer Review #214 Nelson Imperial IPA

I’ve reviewed a few different beers from the Widmer Brothers Brewing Company of Portland, Oregon in the past with mixed reviews. My father-in-law bought me this beer for Christmas among a few other beers. This is a review that has been sitting on the back burner for some time as I drank and wrote this review shortly after New Years. I’m finally getting caught up with beer reviews and I’m getting these old reviews flush out more quickly now. Now back to the beer. Nelson Imperial IPA is clearly an Imperial IPA, or IIPA for those of you who like abbreviations, and rocks in at an impressive 8.6%. O yeah, it comes in 22’s as well. Needless to say, this is a “you’re staying home tonight” kind of beer.

Nelson Imperial IPA pours a nice clear orange color and comes with a medium white head. The nose is full of bright hops that are a good mix of citrus and pine. Behind the hops you can really smell the malt sweetness on this beer. Higher ABV beers tend to be a bit thicker and generally smell the same. This beer has that type of feeling.

On my first taste my thoughts about this being a thick beer were correct. This beer has a chewy quality to it. The malt, while thick feeling, is very nice and has some light caramels. Just as the malt is getting overly sweet as good solid kick of hops come in to clean this one up. The hops have a grapefruit and pine flavor which interact well with the malt base. I would love to say more about this beer, but it is pretty straightforward.

This beer tastes exactly like what you would expect from an Imperial IPA. If you have had an Imperial IPA before, I don’t think this one will blow you way. That is not to say that this is a bad beer by any means, but I feel like this has more of a “standard” taste to it. I would put this beer down for the benchmark of what an Imperial IPA should be. (more…)

Beer Review #122 Citra Blonde Summer Brew

Today’s beer review, a summer ale, comes from Widmer Brothers Brewing Company out of Portland, OR. When I originally saw this beer in the store I thought twice about purchasing it. The “citra” in the name made me think that they added some extra citrus flavor to the beer which can be a good or bad thing. I grabbed it anyway and decided to give it a chance.

Citra Blonde Summer Brew pours an orange color unlike what the name indicates. It has a white head and I halfway expected this beer to be hazy, but it was perfectly clear. The nose gives off some super citrus notes, with a touch of sweetness. It smells more like a health drink than a beer, but then again you could argue that beer is a healthy drink.

On my first taste I was kind of confused on what just went over my taste buds. There isn’t a lot of flavor upfront but then the citrus kicks in on the back-end. The flavor is not light like you would have in a Blue Moon or something of the like, but it felt more like an orange juice. Do you know what your mouth feels like just after you take a drink of orange juice? Well this beer will leave you with the same feeling. I honestly wasn’t expecting it to be as strong as it was.

I didn’t really care for this beer all that much. The citrus kicks in so oddly for a beer that it threw me off. I could only handle a bottle of this one per sitting, and at that, I was burping citrus all night long. If you like that kind of flavor in your beer I suggest you try it. I think there are other summer selections that are more refreshing out there. (more…)

Beer Review #62 Drop Top Amber Ale

Widmer Brothers Brewing Company was one of the few Portland, OR breweries that my wife and I did not visit or taste on our honeymoon. I’m not sure why exactly we missed it, but we did. Perhaps it was because the town offers more breweries than one can visit in four days, but who knows. Anyway it is a brewery that is talked about a fair amount and when I saw one of their offerings in the store I decided to take a shot.

Drop Top Amber Ale pours an orange amber color and is perfectly clear. The color should not be to much of a surprise for a beer that has “Amber Ale” in it’s name. It also pours with a slight, off-white head. The nose on the beer is malty, fruity, and has a slight hop odor at the end. There are also hints of grape and orange in there as well. Not a super complex nose, but interesting.

The taste is malty upfront. Then some orange and fruity flavors follow. There isn’t much hop there, but the helps dry the finish out and adds a bit of crispness to it. Citrus also makes a delicate appearance in there. There is a strange malty aftertaste in the beer. I couldn’t put my finger on it, but it was an odd flavor to have in a beer. Maybe it was the fruit flavors rolling off the tongue but I didn’t really dig it to much.

Overall I think the beer is drinkable. It is not a normal amber ale. The malt and lack of hops is there, but it is much more fruity than what you would normally expect from the style. It comes in at 5.0% ABV so it is very sessionalable and great for summer. If you like fruit beers this one is not going to blow you away with fruit and if you like amber ales this one is going to throw another flavor combination at you, but it is a drinkable beer for most craft beer drinkers. Give it a try, it might not blow your mind but it is a good stepping stone beer if you are just getting into the hobby. (more…)