My recent trip to Washington introduced me to a new beer, Alaskan Amber. It’s brown and sweet and delicious. Smooth and mild, it goes well with fish and chips (and probably a lot more but that’s the only thing I tried). If you’re in a region that sells it, I recommend trying this one on tap. And if you can, try their stout and smoked porter and report back to me!
Last night I had a tasty beer at a pub that led me to a quandary. I had Belhaven Scottish Cream Ale, on tap. It was tasty and dark and sweet and complex. I liked.
I came back home and looked at my massive spreadsheet o’ beer and discovered why the name looked familiar – I’ve had Belhaven Scottish Ale in the bottle. It’s dark and tart and bitter, with a hint of sweet in the middle. It wasn’t bad for a Scottish ale, but not my favorite. Granted, it’s been a while since I had the bottled version, and the name isn’t exactly the same, but the two tasted very different. Hmm, beer quandary…
Have some Irish beer this week. Happy St. Patrick’s Day!
Over the Thanksgiving holiday, we found ourselves in Savannah, GA, drinking locally brewed beer at the Moon River Brewery. We tried several, but the only dark one was their Captain’s Porter. I love beer fresh from the tap.
This porter was sweetish at first, but had a very sour aftertaste. It was not complex at all, which made it sort of boring. The hint of chocolate flavor was slightly redeeming.
This delicious beer, also known as Wake ‘n’ Bake, is smooth and rich. It tastes like coffee (appropriate, since it’s made with coffee) and a hint of cookie. It’s nearly as good as the bottled version, and it has even more coffee taste. The scrumptious flavor hits right away. There’s no strong aftertaste and no bite. An all-around winner.
My short absence has not been idle – I was on beer vacation! It was planned as a regular family reunion, but unexpectedly turned into a beer vacation, which is perfectly fine with me.
Day 1: Meet with Casey Klahn of The Colorist, who has the most beautiful backyard ever. Got to see some of his originals and his awesome new studio-in-progress. He has cute kids and gave me beer. Thumbs up!
Day 2: Family reunion in beautiful Leavenworth, WA. Found out that I have the same birthday as this handsome fellow, my great-great-grandfather the horse-wrangler.
Also found out that I’m related to an excellent botanical artist, Catherine Watters. My family rocks.
Leavenworth is a Bavarian Village, and has tons of good beer on tap. Here’s what we drank:
Elysian Perseus Porter: complex, better than Guinness. On tap at I forget which beer garden. M: 7 N: 7.5
Day 4: Visited Little Goose Dam and its fish ladder. I’ve never seen salmon so big.
Day 5: Dinner at Skye Book & Brew in Dayton. It’s an awesome little mix of cafe, coffee shop, and bookstore. Their brewmaster makes excellent beer that is only available on tap at this restaurant. They have $1 pints on Monday night. ONE DOLLAR. I love this place.
S. McTaggart Scottish Ale: dark, complex, and earthy with a hint of cocoa. Non-dark beer ratings… M: 9 N:9
Pataha Creek Porter: light for a porter, smooth, complex, and bitter. M: 7.5 N: 7
Tucannon Honey Wheat: not dark beer at all, but Grandmother liked it, so I had to try. Sweet and tasty.
Startin Starveout Stout: I had this on my last trip to Dayton, and it was delicious. They aren’t making it right now. Shame.
Day 6: Pick wild blackberries. Dinner at the Weinhard Cafe. Awesome food.
Deschutes Brewery Obsidian Stout: full, smooth, thick, nutty, and sweet. M: 9 N: 8.5
Day 7: Had beer on tap at Squatters Pub Brewery in the Salt Lake City airport while waiting on a layover.
Squatters Polygamy Porter: mild, smooth, with a small bite. M: 7 N: 5
Squatters Captain Bastard’s Oatmeal Stout: complex but verrry bitter and sour, smells like coffee. M: 6 N: 5
That’s it! Hope you enjoyed my beer vacation as much as I did.
This week’s beer is only available on tap, I believe. It was also a limited local run, and I don’t know if it’s still available. But we rated it, dammit, so I’m reviewing it, even if it’s obsolete. They might bring it back, you never know.
Sweetwater is a local Georgia brewery. I love their Sweet Georgia Brown, even though it isn’t dark. So I gladly tried Happy Ending Stout when I saw it on tap at a local tavern. It’s a high-gravity beer, which usually earns points in my book. However, this one’s taste left something to be desired.
It’s light & spicy at first. The second taste is very bitter and leaves you with a strong aftertaste. One acquaintance gave it a 6 and says it looks like Guinness but tastes more like a light beer. An astute and accurate observation.
Happy Memorial Day!
To celebrate the unofficial arrival of summer, this week’s beer is a lighter one; an ale with the soul of a dark beer. I was first introduced to Rogue Dead Guy Ale by a dear friend in Houston. I liked it. Since returning, I have only tried it on tap, so that’s the description you get.
First of all, it is dark for an ale. It has a skeleton on the tap (and on the bottle), and its black heart comes out through its dark taste. It’s fairly smooth and a bit bright. The first taste is sweet and dark, but then it gives you a small bite to remind you that it’s an ale. We didn’t rank it sky-high because it is still an ale, and is therefore competing against a tough benchmark. But saying an ale is good enough to stand up with the dark beers is saying something.
And in honor of all those who have fought or are still fighting for our right to drink whatever beer we choose, a toast. Thank you.
Last weekend, N and I went to a bar where they had about 3 million beers on tap. Well, maybe more like 54. But either way, at most bars, if you ask for a dark beer other than Guinness on tap, they may have Newcastle, or suggest Killian’s. Right.
So, needless to say, we were impressed at the North River Tavern in Sandy Springs, where they have at least half a dozen dark beers on tap. They even had a few of our favorite bottled beers. So between us, we sampled five dark beers on tap. We’d had four of them in bottles before. The differences were interesting. N discusses our experience in detail here.
I’ll be rating the beers on tap as their own entities. The four we’d had already were quite different from their bottled brothers. Today’s focus: Left Hand Milk Stout on tap. Sound familiar? It should; we rated it here.
Since I gave the bottled version a 10, I can’t rate this any higher… but I want to. It’s just as tasty as the bottle, with no bitterness at all. It’s smooth, sweet, and delicious. It’s hard to beat the freshness of a beer that’s just been drawn, and I like this one more than the bottle because of that. It also seems a bit smoother.
I’d drive the 45 minutes in a heartbeat for this beer. It’s gooood.
M: 10+ (10 bottle)
N: 9.5 (9 bottle)