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

Sniff, Sip, Scribble, Repeat

IMG_0852

Once again I interrupt this web log’s regular programming to write about beer. Yesterday McMenamin’s Hillsdale Pub hosted the annual competition among the kingdoms of the McMenamin’s brewing empire. I dutifully sat down with taster trays and ballots and notepad. Below is a transcript of my tasting notes, which become inexplicably more and more illegible. Each entry is followed by my ranking on a 1-10 scale.

Yellow Tray.

Highland Brewery: Highland Wheat. Sourdough pancakes, not well served by the added citrus zest. 3.25

McMenamins on the Columbia: Cowabunga Radler. Refreshing, almost like a shandy. This is a proper use of citrus. Summer session beer. Oddly, for a big beer hop-head like myself, I like it. 7

Old St. Francis: Check Yer Coffepot Pale. Immediate whiff of coffee. Tastes like bitter iced coffee. Serve with a flavored creamer and a shot of espresso and you might have something. As a straight up beer, not so much. 5

East Vancouver: Dragon Slayer Red. By St. George and Don Bluth! Has a sour beer effect going for it. Some complexity. Very drinkable for the relatively potent, +6.7 ABV longsword it is. 7.25

Hillsdale Pub: Fuzzy Barrel. I’m not partial to fruit beers. This doesn’t shift me from that prejudice. 3.5

Crystal: Perfect Timing IPA. A chewy IPA. Balanced. Raisins and molasses. A rare sub-6 ABV IPA worth drinking. 7.25

Concordia: Kilmister’s Double IPA (RIP Lemmy.) Zero hop hit upon inhalation. Sadly, the least flavorful Double IPA I’ve ever had. In a way, impressive in its innocuous blandness. 5

Roseburg: MM. A bland mess of a Christmas beer. I’ve homebrewed more flavorful winter beers and I’m a piker. 4.5

Fulton: Corellian Porter. Not stellar. Falls into a common porter trap: overly cloying 3.75

Cornelius Pass Roadhouse: Trippin’ Billy’s Barleywine. Impressive pedigree: Double IPA plus aged barleywine. Almost lives up to it. A big, hoppy red. Reminds me of Johnny Octane. 7

Thompson: Noche Cigano Stout (Dark Gypsy.) A stout with a red infusion. Delicious. 7.5

Blue Tray.

West Linn: Cinnamon Toast Wheat. Pair with ‘Check Yer Coffeepot” for breakfast drinking. A decent gimmick beer. 5.5

Lighthouse: Abraham’s American Amber. Unpleasant. Dirt-flavored cocopuffs. 3.5

McMenamins on Monroe: Penny’s Golden. A bitter mess. Like quinine peed in Corona.

High Street: Juniper Jubilation. Subtle, drinkable. An aperitif in beer form. 6.25

Edgefield” Apricot Wild Ale. Moves the needle on fruit beers. Excellent with spicy food. 6.75

Queen Anne: Atomium Belgian Pale. Barely drinkable. Muddy. (No rating recorded.)

Wilsonville Old Church: Zesty’s Best Citrus IPA. Excellent nose. Fragrant. Refreshing after cloying fruit and malt. (Apparently a comment on the preceding beers – Ken.) Delightful IPA. Could drink a few. 7.75

John Barleycorn’s: Willamette Stone Double IPA. So close. If it had that crisp, fresh hops hit it would rule. 7.5

Oak Hills: Chaton Griffes Belgian Porter. A bridge too far. The flavor combinations do not work. 2.75

Anderson School: Fire Pit Robust Porter. Sweetly cloying. Not what I want from a porter. 3

Mill Creek: Maze Maker Imperial Stout. It is possible to be too much on point. More a shot than a beer. 4

IMG_0853