Most Premium Russian Imperial Stout
In the last year and a half, the team of Van Havig and Ben Love have bottled fifteen beers in their endless series of limited edition artist and artisan beers. The latest is a rich imperial stout.
Gigantic Brewing can do dark and heavy. Most Premium Russian Imperial Stout is thick and creamy like a latte brewed with the darkest roasted coffee. It’s rich with a hint of plums and molasses. Most Premium leaves a chocolaty aftertaste and a warm feeling in your tummy.
I can see why the Willamette Week voted it the best widely available imperial stout on the market.
The Black Hole
The Abyss is so black, so rich, so bitter. Deep, thick espresso. Rich velvety texture. Dark roasted grains. A fresh charcoal grill. A kiss of acid on the tongue. A warming heat in the belly.
The Abyss is Deschutes Brewery’s yearly survey of beer’s deepest darkest possibilities. The Abyss never let’s up. Black strap molasses, licorice, cherry bark, and vanilla. Aged in an assortment of fresh oak barrels, used bourbon barrels, and oak wine barrels. The Abyss is a genius blend.
Fresh, the alcohol is a bit overpowering, but with a little more time this year’s Abyss will be amazing.
I’ve had a shitty week. I haven’t been sleeping well. I wake up sore every morning. It’s freezing outside. And I have nothing to do. And I’ve been struggling with writers’ block, all the beer tastes the same lately
But last night I drank a Kodiak Brown Ale. And this morning it’s snowing.
Suddenly, everything doesn’t feel cold and dead. It’s cozy. It’s an excuse to cuddle and drink warm beer — by which I mean slightly more than ice cold. Kodiak is one of those beers that’s so simple, you wonder how it took so long to find. It’s just plain nice. It’s brown and malty, but roasted and balanced. And so creamy.
Now, if I could just find a way to keep the house warm and a new mattress, then I’d be set.
West Coast by Way of Belgium
St. Feuillien makes one of our favorite saisons. Green Flash specializes in IPAs. Together they created Belgian Coast IPA, a combination of their two strengths.
Belgian coast is a foamy little bugger with a healthy yeasty funk. It’s not quite the wild brettanomyces, but the yeast involved here has some uncivilized tendencies. The spicy yeast flavor is backed by a grapefruit and lemon grass hop punch. The beer is bitter but balanced. Yummy stuff.
A Festive Winter Ale
Jubelale is Deschutes’ annual gift to loyal customers. Every year the art changes, but the beer stays the same. There is a surprising molasses and spice character to the beer, though none go into the mash. It’s roasted with a bit of hop character in the finish. A very dry finish.
Jubelale is one of those beers that defies pigeonholing. It’s dark, but it’s not a porter nor a stout. It’s hoppy, but it is nowhere on the IPA spectrum. It’s strong, but it’s not that strong. It’s frustratingly unique, but it’s familiar.
For Franklin Delano
I didn’t like Fireside Chat this year. Last year I thought it was amazing. This year it wasn’t sweet enough, but it wasn’t dry enough either. The spices are quite bitter — allspice and clove — without the sugary sweetness to round it out. My can had a bit more hop flavor than I was expecting. It smells like fresh gingersnaps or pumpkin pies, but it doesn’t quite taste like either.
Oh, disappointment. It chases me through every beer lately.
Pink Boot Sticke
This Sticke Alt was brewed at Heater Allen Brewing in collaboration with the Northwest chapter of the Pink Boot Society, a non-profit that empowers women beer professionals with scholarships and educational opportunities.
Sticke roughly translates to “secret,” and the beer is traditionally brewed only once or twice a year at select Dusseldorf pubs. The beer is an extra strong variation on the Alt with an extra roasty, extra hoppy flavor.
Heater Allen and the Pink Boot Society’s beer has porter like roast and body, with a bitter bite. It’s hard to separate from other dark, seasonal brews, but it definitely has that special German quality — clean finish, gentle yeast character. There may still be a few kegs kicking around Portland and environs. If you see it on tap, be sure to try it out.
Our new neighborhood is filled with interesting places to find a pint and a pretzel. The Hopworks Bikebar is only a bike ride away. The pretzels come with cheesy dipping sauce and the new tripel is pretty tasty. Fruity and sweet with that signature Belgian attenuation that keeps the finish dry. I think we’ll be returning to the Bikebar eventually, but we have other places to explore first.
Drink something good; I know I will.
Hop Henge is never the same beer twice. Every year the brewers at Deschutes test out a new recipe with a new set of hops. This years version has a base of Centennial and Cascade and Citra hops that give the beer it’s familiar hoppy profile. But laid on top are strange fruity Mosaics and a brand new nameless variety. This year’s Hop Henge starts with tangerine peels, but then it goes off the rails into something sort of spicy and herby. If I had a few hours and a couple pints, I might be able to peel it apart. But right now, I just want to savor it.