Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Base Camp Brewing: In-Tents IPL

Coming from the east coast, I pretty much grew up on lagers. Back in the day, I'd usually be drinking Yuengling Lager, Sam Adams Boston Lager or Old Dominion Lager. Up until 8 years ago, the lagers dominated the Pale Ales. Sierra Nevada Pale Ale and Victory's Hop Devil IPA were really the only impressionable IPAs on the market.

It wasn't until I moved to Seattle that I realized IPAs where my type of beers. There were so many to choose from and believe me, I tried a lot of them. Then I realized that there weren't really any local "Lager" breweries. I only knew of one. Until last year.

Last year, I discovered Base Camp from Portland, Oregon. The Base Camp In-Tents IPL's bottle stood out like a sore thumb next to the traditional 22 ounce glass bottles. The Base Camp In-Tents IPL is a 22 ounce aluminum bottle. Tall and busy!! When I first tasted this, I was worried that it would give off this metal taste that most Bud, Miller, Heineken and Coors products give off. That didn't happen. This beer smacked me in the face and reminded me that Lager was cool again. Very well balanced malt and hops and so light that you can drink 3 to the one high alcohol content IPAs that are produced in this area of the world. This beer ended up being so popular, that the distributors couldn't keep it in stock and I can't blame them! Who wouldn't want to go camping or hiking with a killer 22 ounce aluminum bottle of IPL, especially this one!! AP Rating 90pt. 11/17/2015

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Domaine Pichot Vouvray 2014

My friend Jared doesn't like red wine. Jared likes cider, PBR, Coors Light, Vino Verdhé and believe it or not, Vouvray!?! Not just any Vouvray, french Vouvray. Vouvray is actually a small town in the center of France. About 180 km south of Paris. Vouvray (the Town) is known for it's amazing chateaus and it's delicate white wine made from Chenin Blanc. This wine tends to be semi-dry or in the words of the french demi-sec. The wine also has this sort of gnarly sweet tone derived from the particular time of harvest, the geographical direction in which the vines face and the natural acidic value of the grape itself.

As we were walking through the wine aisle at our local specialty grocery store, I spontaneously found 2 bottles of Vouvray staring me down. One was a 2012 at a price of 20 bones and the other one was this 2014 Domaine Pichot at $17. I looked at Jared and said, "hmmm, We're gonna do steak and Vouvray!". Not really the thing to do, pair a dry demi with a steak, but I know we'd enjoy it. SOLD!!

Chilled wine, steaks ready, wife home, time to pop the Vouvray. The nose was pleasant and unoffensive with some very light tones of honeydew, apple and that musky hard honey sense. The color was a subtle very light  yellow expected from Chenin Blanc. Then we tasted it...I'm not sure if it's just me, but are French, Italian and the rest of the old world wine producers making wine specifically for the American palate or did we just pick a wine that's simply too young to drink?!? I'm hoping the latter. This 2014 Vouvray was far too sweet for the steak!! It was amazingly silky, and that's a good thing, but it was like drinking a dessert wine. Not what we expected. Perfectly drinkable for after dinner. That's what ended up happening, we finished it after dinner where it was a lot more enjoyable. Perfectly paired with soft french cheese and my wife's apple crisp. AP 89 Points $17

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Gilgamesh Brewing Co. Ridgeway IPA

I recently got the opportunity to taste the Gilgamesh Brewing Ridgeway IPA. I wasn't really sure what to expect and I had just gone through 4 or 5 other IPAs from the Bend Oregon area. My mouth was a bit shot, but I found a few BBQ Pork sliders and cleared up my palate. I had never heard of this brewery prior to this tasting, but after an hour or so talking to other beer and wine buyers, the name Ridgeway IPA kept popping up. "Great medium hopped IPA!" was what kept coming up. So when I reached their table, I didn't hesitate to ask for it.

When it comes to medium palate IPAs, I'm a huge fan of Uintas Hop Nosh IPA. The Hop Nosh IPA is mellow and unoffensive, yet has this mild bite that leaves it's mark. I truly love that beer and it's become my "go-to" mild IPA...until now!!!! The Ridgeway IPA is exactly that, a mild IPA that's not forceful, yet has that kick without leaving a mark. A perfect football and beer IPA. I just hope to see it in some sort of six-pack in the future. This is a must try!! AP Rating: 92 points 11/04/15

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Kronenbourg 1664

When I asked my wife if she wanted me to pop a Bordeaux on Bastille Day, she looked at me and told me I was nuts. "It's 95 degrees outsides!" she exclaimed. Then I told her we had a few 1664s in the fridge and she nodded a sign of approval. This is how we celebrated Bastille Day this year.

The Kronenbourg 1664 has been a staple in all of western Europe since just before WWII. I remember watching my dad drink this as a little boy. Every time I'd return home to France, one of the first things I'd do is go into a bistro, order a "Seize" (16). This is still one of my favorite 'green' beers. It's crisp, has a bold back-end that keeps going and is perfect for hot summer days. Compared to it's major competitors, that being, Heineken, Carlberg and Elephant, I'd drink absolutely drink this over those. Even though it's about 10 bones a 6 pack. Easily.
AP Rating: 91 points 7/14/15

Pfriem Family Brewery Blonde IPA

When my rep. gave me this bottle, I was a bit confused. I wasn't sure if he had made a mistake. It looked like something you'd find in Germany or Belgium. The bottle is of dark brown glass, a tall sloping neck, black and dark gold-leaf label with "Pfriem Family Brewery" on the front and a small label on the neck specifying it's type. In this case, "Blonde IPA".

My wife came home from a hard days work at the hospital today and asked for a cider. Considering we didn't have a cold one ready, I just figured the hop-head she is, wouldn't mind this. I poured it into two pint glasses and found a beautiful light golden color with light frothy head. The nose to this beer was of light hops. I didn't really expect much of anything, considering the last Blonde IPA I had was absolutely horrific (Rocky Coulee Brewing Co. See blog below). We sat down and dug right in. My, oh my!! What a great little unknown beer. The front of the palate was crisp and refreshing, give it 1 second to get to the back of the palate and that changes a bit. Here come the hops, but in a good way. The hops are intense and fresh. Not freshly-squeezed, but close enough. The finish is a dry-hopped finish. Like I said, not freshly-squeezed. I have other types of this brewery's beer and I'm already looking forward to tasting them. In the meantime, I do recommend this beer. Interesting change and refreshing for these hot summer days. AP Rating: 90 Pts. 7/15/2015

Monday, July 6, 2015

Ballast Point Sculpin Grapefruit

When it comes to beer, vodka, tequila, wine and other spirits, I'm a bit of a purist. I believe beer should be beer without chicory, honey, etc...I believe whiskey should be whiskey, not maple, or apple, or caramel, etc...There are way too many temporary spirit trends that it's killing the market. I don't want to drink a half cider / half beer, I don't wanna spend $70 on a bottle of crown with a strong taste of maple. So when I when I saw that Ballast Point BrewingCompany had a Sculpin Grapefruit ale, I immediately waved it off as a joke.

I love the Sculpin IPA. Probably one of the best citric IPAs out there. It strong IBUs and citric hops makes this a hophead's favorite. The Sculpin is a true citric IPA and everyone should at least try it if that's their type of beer. On-ward to the Sculpin Grapefruit...

Where I live in Eastern Washington, we have hot summers and bitterly cold winters. Right now, it's hot!! Hot, hot, hot!! Consistent 100+ degree days. Almost a months worth. I can either drink Bud Light Lime, Coors Light or Corona to feel like I'm cooling off with light beer. But today I decided to taste beer outside the box. Hence the Sculpin Grapefruit.

This beer has exactly the same characteristics as the regular Sculpin IPA, except that it has this super well balanced unoffensive grapefruit finish. Such a breath of fresh air. Totally satisfying!!! I like grapefruit and this nails that feeling of pairing grapefruit with beer. If you like grapefruit, you'll like this! If you like IPAs, you'll like this! If you like both, you'll love this!! AP Rating: 95 Pts. 6/30/15

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Abita Brewing Co. Turbodog

One of my absolute favorite american beers of all time. Not because it's simple and/or come from Lew-ziana, but because it's complex and pairs very well with local food as well as asian foods.

I discovered this beer by accident when I was working in the beer industry in New Jersey. At first I was hesitant and one day I tried a Pete's Wicked with chicory and loved it. So the Turbodog was next. 

A great dark lager with a slight amount of hoppiness protruding through nutmeg, chicory and coffee. Great Spicy food beer. A must try!! AP Rating: 93 points 6/23/2015