Update. Next Publication is: Under Strange Suns, available digitally August 2015, print version due December 2015, Twilight Times Books.

Battle for the Belt 2015

I’m once again hijacking this website for beer blogging purposes. Beer was sampled, it must now be written about. That’s how it works.

Yesterday I attended the annual McMenamins Battle for the Belt. Again. It’s like a duck migrating, it’s just what he does. Every year. McMenamins puts on this festival. So I go. Every year. The various McMenamins each brew a beer and bring it to the Hillsdale McMenamins for judging via ballot. The following is essentially a transcription of my raw tasting notes from both trays of beer, including the grade I gave the beer on a scale of one to ten. I’m curious to see if I can read my handwriting from the later entries.

Enough ado. Here we go.

Yellow Tray.

Thompson Brewery. Czech it Out. Decent Czech style pilsner. Can see having more than one. 6.

Concordia Brewery. Black Days Dark Lager. Or as like to call it, Black liquorish Budweiser. 4.

Spar Brewery. Hot Break Habanero Extra Pale Ale. I believe I’ve made my view on pepper beers clear, but to reiterate: I’m opposed. However, this one is unobjectionable, verrrry lightly spiced, the habanero merely waved above the brew kettle while the brewer chants Spanish abjurations against spice fiends. 4.5

John Barleycorn. Day Tripster Oatmeal Pale. Taste does not live up to the aroma. Over-hopped for a pale without compensating with flavor. 3.5

McMenamins on the Columbia. Apple Jack Ale. Nice concept: Apples, spice, cinnamon, Jack Daniels barrel aging. But it underwhelms. Not crisp enough for cider, too cloying for beer. 3.

Hillsdale Brewery. Daydream IPA. I’m not quite a daydream believer. Tolerably good IPA. Not much more to report. 5.5

Queen Anne Brewery. Confined Spaces DIPA. It’s a double IPA hitting a triple instead of a home run. Best so far. 6.5

Oak Hills. L-Train Cascadian Dark Ale. Initially flavorless. Then you wish it had remained so. (For basketball fans: Would not be on my All-Star ballot.)

East Vancouver. Cherrysh the Moment. Not like a box of chocolates: I knew exactly what I was going to get. Does not make for a good beer flavor profile. 3.75.

Edgefield. Cerberus Wild Ale. Tart Belgian style. Slightly too thin to give my full approval. 6.5? Supplement – unpleasant aftertaste. 6.25.

Cornelius Pass. Death Star. This is now the ultimate power in the beer-verse. This beer goes to Eleven – to mix movie metaphors – 11.09% ABV to be precise. A thick, dark, barleywine. I’m inclined to switch my allegiance to Lord Vader and the Empire, hokey religion or no.

Blue Tray.

Roseburg Brewery. Vienna Lager. What does Roseburg have against Vienna? Tastes like salted PBR. 2.75.

Wilsonville Old Church. Lumber-Sexual IPL. Slightly soapy version of the IPL style. Borderline. I give it a 4.

McMenamins on Monroe. Pepperhead. Ahh…peppers again. I smelled it. Now I don’t want to drink it. But for you, readers, I did. Now I don’t like you readers very much. 1.25.

Fulton. Lost Frisbee Dry Hopped Amber Rye. A lot going on here. Too much. Needs a more malt-forward body.

Mill Creek. Blueberry Doughboy. Fruit beers, see Pepper beers. 2.25.

Lighthouse Brewery. The Admiral’s IPA. Solid entry in the IPA category. 6.5.

Old St. Francis. HIgh Top Double IPA. Promising start ruined by a poor finish. Lesser entry in the DIPA category.

High Street. Boysenberry Cream Stout. It makes a fine soda. Beer? Not so much. 4.

West Linn. Nutella Porter. Might be good over vanilla ice cream. As the bar did not serve it with ice cream, can’t recommend it. 4.5

Crystal. Boudicca’s Revenge. Phenomenal. A braggot: an ale/mead cross. One senses honey flower and berry without either being present. If you have the opportunity to sample a braggot, take it. 7.

Highland. The Spud-nik Russian Imperial Stout. More flavorful beer than I expected. Not a session beer. A trifle overwhelming. 6.25