The taplists at local beer festivals can tell you a lot about recent trends in brewing. Every year, our friends at Beervana breakdown the numbers at the Oregon Brewers Festival, so I don’t have to. In the last few years, the empire of IPA is on the wane, and the fruit infused beer is gaining steam. Another trend I’ve been following was confirmed this year. The fruit IPA is on the rise.
Pamplemousse is Lompoc Brewing’s entry into the new fruity pale ale category. If you speak French, you can probably guess what fruit they threw in. A little grapefruit can really pull out the hoppy flavors. Pamplemousse starts out with a bright, citrus scent like freshly squeezed grapefruit juice with just a hint of floral hops. The citrus flavor gives way to a pithy pine finish. The aftertaste is long and quite bitter, but don’t let that scare you away.
Very tasty, would drink again.
Pricey But Delicious
Hottenroth is an exemplary Berliner weisse. Pale straw color, fizzy body, bubbly head, no lacing. Dry grain smell. Lemony and really, really light, Hottenroth is just over three percent alcohol. Imagine fizzy water with a shot of fresh lemon juice, then add just enough pilsner malt flavor. High carbonation and low acid: the perfect summer beer.
The problem is the price. Ten dollars seems a little much for a beer so light and simple. I could drink a whole bottle myself with a salad or a fresh fruit pie. Ooh! Or a lemon meringue. But at that price the Six-Pack Equivalent Calculator claims the same beer would cost thirty dollars for a sixer.
When you cook food, it turns brown. Bread turns to toast; pink meat turns to seared steak; a cake left in the oven turns to an inedible puck. Frenchman Louis-Camille Maillard first explained the process chemically in the early twentieth century.
The so called Maillard reaction is also responsible for turning barley to malt. I could get into the chemistry — xylose, nitrogenous polymers —but I don’t understand it. During brewing the same reaction can darken wort as it bubbles in the kettle. A longer boil concentrates the liquid; the result is a sweeter beer with more malt flavor. You’ll often find these flavors in beers brewed via decoction.
But that’s enough science.
Maillard’s Odyssey was brewed by Sierra Nevada and Bell’s Brewing for the Beer Camp pack. The beer is called an imperial dark ale and features plenty of these complex malt flavors.
Maillard’s Odyssey has candy flavors upfront — milk chocolate and caramel — leading to dark roast and coffee in the finish. Between the two you’ll find a hint of shapeless dark fruit, not quite cherries or raisins, but in the neighborhood.
The one problem with minimal packaging: I didn’t know what sort of beer this was supposed to be. I got it in my head that 10 Barrel’s second in the BEER series was a wheat IPA. How? I’m still not sure. I blame the grocery store.
In reality, BEER No.2 is a Cascadian dark ale — blackity brown and full of deep roasted notes. That was surprising when I first poured it. After recovering from the shock, I was able to appreciate the dark roast coffee and bitter hops. I can’t say I tasted much the purported seven and a half pounds of hops per barrel. The beer was mostly roasted and bitter on my palate, but Sarah claims she smelled a tangerine.
I’ve been telling you all summer: drink yellow beer. It’s the only thing that can save you from the heat. Pilsner, helles, and Kolsch, they are all great when the mercury starts to climb. This summer in Portland has been an eternal heatwave.
So I seek refuge in Breakside’s new can, Post Time Kolsch. I liked it. It’s crisp and snappy, floral and refreshing. And then I gave Sarah a sip. She sniffed, quizzically. “Does it smell like sunscreen?” Yes. Yes it does. Post Time has a very perfumy nose not unlike lotion. And that’s all I can taste now.
If you can get that out of your mind, Post Time is quite tasty.