July 21st, 2010 beckel
While this is the first beer from Deschutes Brewery I have gotten around toÂ writingÂ about it is certainly not the first I have enjoyed. Hailing from Bend, Oregon Deschutes first hit our market a few months ago and has been a welcome addition with tasty year round brews such as their Mirror Pond Pale Ale and Black Butte Porter which are available in both 6-packs and very reasonably priced bombers at around $3. Today I have a brew from their Bond Street Series, a series of hoppy ales that started at their brewpub. Cascadian Dark Ales, India Brown Ales, India Black Ales; whatever we want to call them areÂ definitelyÂ the style of the moment but simply from the aroma I already have high hopes for this ale. Lets see how it goes. This very carbonated ale quickly produces over four fingers of tight light chocolate bubbles that quickly open up into large bubbles even when carefully poured down the side of a glass. Color is a very dark brown hue that isÂ completely opaque. Aroma is a lovely contrast of dark roasted malts and bright bursts of citrus and floral hops that can be smelt from a foot away. The play between aromas creates a variety of esters from chocolate to bitter dark malts that is quite enjoyable. Consumed at room temperature diverse notes of plum, grapefruit, lemon, orange, roasted malts, coffee, and a solid bitterness are present. Making for oneÂ diverselyÂ flavored ale. I put the bottle back in the fridge to see how the flavor would change served a bit colder and I must say the balance between smooth roasted malt and wonderful grapefruit forward citrus is much cleaner and more well defined. The contrast between gently sweet but equally bitter roasted malt and the wonderful bitterness and vast variety of citrus esters produced by the Cascade, Centennial and Citra Hops used in this ale are really quite fantastic. Body is full but not overly heavy with a slightly syrupy mouthfeel. At 6.5% ABV this ale is full of flavor, but not so strong you can’t have a few. For those interested in the style I think this was a very enjoyable and approachable take on it. If you enjoyÂ buoyantlyÂ hoppy ales and roasted malts you might just be in heaven. Give it a shot and ride your bike.
July 14th, 2010 beckel
Boy has it been far too long. June was a very busy month for me with charity bike rides the second and third weekend and the National Homebrewers Conference the last weekend of the month. All of these events were wonderful and made the month pass by amazingly quickly, so quickly in fact I didn’t even get around to writing about the 2nd anniversary of this website. Though the fact that I was in the middle of a 150 mile bike ride at the time didn’t exactly help. But all of that isÂ irrelevant, this is about beer.
With all the cycling i did last month what better beer to return with than one called Fixed Gear. When I read about this beer a few months ago I couldn’t help but laugh. As an avid cyclist and proponent of fixed gear and single speed bicycles the title of this ale certainly hit home. While part of me can’t help but think of this ale as aÂ gimmickÂ my respect for the quality ales that Lakefront Brewery produces entices me. It also doesn’t hurt that it is touted to be a hopped up Red Ale, a style I am all for. After hearing good things about this brew from Alvey of The Four Firkins I am even more excited to sample it. Pours a deep red hue that is very opaque and similar to the color of dates when away from light. Quite carbonated with about three fingers of off white head being produced and a good deal of small bubbles swirling through the glass for some time. After settling there is a small amount of lacing and a ring of about twoÂ millimetersÂ around the surface of the beer. Smells ofÂ resinousÂ bitter hops, a variety of citrus esters; particularly grapefruit, Â moderate alcohol, and gentle fruit notes including passion fruit. Flavor is very hop forward with fruity, floral and bitter hop notes immediately hitting your palate and never fading. A solid malt backbone is present and adds Â a nice sweetness mid palate that contrasts the bitterness well enough as to not overwhelm, yet little enough to allow the hops to shine through the whole sip. Overall this ale is quite bitter, with lovely grapefruit esters and related citrus notes, full flavored and almost tart fruit esters as well as modestly sweet malt that rounds off the ale nicely. Body is medium and the mouthfeel is very smooth and relatively clean.Â At 6.5% ABV this is one easy drinker that can be consumed by the 22oz bottle with no problem, provided you don’t mind bitterness. While not overly complex I really enjoyed this hoppy Amber Ale and would happily drink it regularly, particularly as it is reasonably priced for being packaged in 22oz bottles. If you enjoy bitter, hoppy ales that this brew should be right up your alley. If you prefer less bitterness I would suggest enjoying this ale more on the room temperature side as the sweetness comes out a lot more and helps distract from some of the serious bitterness present. If your not a fan of bitterness I would obviously stay away. Year round cyclist, seasonal cyclist, recreational riders and even those who don’t own a bike…you should all give it a shot, make up your own mind, and ride a damn bike.