Tuesday, May 24, 2011

May 20, 2011

Beer: 60 Minute IPA, Dogfish Head Brewery

Some of you may remember a previous post of mine regarding Dogfish Head. Back in April I had my first experience with the craft brewery when I sampled 90 Minute IPA. See my review of that beer, along with some tasty NW music, here: http://beatsandbrew.blogspot.com/2011/04/april-9-2011.html

As I explained earlier, Dogfish Head is from Milton, Delaware and specializes in creating extreme beers with unique ingredients. Their IPA series, 60 Minute, 90 Minute and 120 Minute, is made up of some their most traditional beer options. The names refer to the length of time the hops are boiled. Obviously, the longer they are boiled the more hop flavor and bitterness is imparted to the batch.

I won't repeat my review of 90 Minute, but I will say that I was underwhelmed. I tried to keep an open mind with the 60 Minute, especially because one of my cousins raved about it. Time to give Dogfish Head another shot.

60 Minute poured a surprisingly clear, golden orange and a medium-sized head. A strong, dry-hopped smell was evident...almost grassy. The taste was exactly what I hoped it would be - clean, dry, continuous flavor. I see why Dogfish Head calls this their session beer. It definitely wasn't as intense as 90 Minute, or many other IPAs for that matter. Finally, Dogfish Head isn't trying too hard.


The other day I was in the mood for some funky soul music and I stumbled upon a James Brown song (in 2 parts) I'd never heard before. It has everything: tight, funky grooves, screams and attitude. It's like someone poured hot, melted butter all over a recording.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

May 12, 2011

Beer: St. Bernardus Abt 12, Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV

This specialty brew comes from Belgium, and was listed on BeerAdvocate's legendary Top 100 list at #8.

After finally finding their website, I came across some very interesting information. All of the brewery's beers are based off of water that has been pumped from a depth of 150 meters. Apparently, scientists have proven that this water originated as rainfall during the time of Joan of Arc.

How do you prove that exactly?

The beers are also fermented twice: Once in a barrel and once in the bottle.

Abt 12 is the showpiece of their line. A smooth, creamy, fruity beer that has a surprisingly high alcohol content (10.5%). It is a Quadrupel ale, which is a Trappist specialty from Belgium that is stronger than a Dubbel or Tripel.

Abt 12 poured willingly with a thick head and sediment. The color was a deep, murky brown. It looked like a meal. I picked up dark fruit and herbal notes, like figs. The alcohol sneaks up near the end, and with the color of the beer combines to give you a meat-and-potatoes feeling.

I think I have to try this one again. It was certainly enjoyable, and my first Belgian beer. I think there is a lot going on here that I need to discover.


Today was a pretty decent day weather wise, so I drove home from my interview with the windows down. This song came on my iPod, and I had to blast it.

Perfect for cruisin' around on a sunny day.

May 8, 2011

Beer: Hop Czar, BridgePort Brewing Co.

BridgePort was created in 1984, and claims to be Oregon's oldest craft brewery. It is best know for the BridgePort IPA, which has won many medals both domestically and abroad.

On this fine Mother's Day, I went for a walk with my newly-adoptive Portland family, The Bozigars, in the West Hills. We saw a lot of interesting houses, climbed many an urban stair, and eventually ended up at the Pittock Mansion overlooking the entire city. We all got soaked on the way down because of a freak downpour.

Seeing as we were all hungry, we dropped into BridgePort for bite. I ordered Hop Czar to go with my delicious pulled pork sandwich.

Hop Czar is an Imperial IPA, or a double. However, I didn't see why exactly. It tasted like a basic IPA, with nothing aggressive or bold on the palate. I guess this makes sense though, since I remember thinking that their normal IPA was rather weak.


I heard this song as part of the warm-up mix at JELD-WEN Field when the fans were coming in for the Timbers game. I had totally forgotten about it. Enjoy "The Underdog" by Spoon.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

May 4, 2011

Beer: Weihenstephaner Hefeweissbier, Bayerische Staatsbrauerei Weihenstephan

Can you pronounce those words? Any of them? Correctly? Without using a fake-sounding, German accent?

This brewery in Bavaria, Germany can trace roots all the way back to 768, making it the world's oldest continually-operating brewery. The Weihenstephan Abbey, where the brewery is today, was originally a monastery and a school. They are known for pale lagers and wheat beers.

How did I come to hear of this beer, you ask?

I'll tell you.

Beeradvocate.com has lists, rankings and reviews of beers all over the world. These reviews by countless imbibers can be separated by the region the beer came from, the type of beer, etc. One such list is called "Beers of Fame," which shows the Top 100 best reviewed beers in the world (combining the reviews of all drinkers and The Alstrom Bros - the creators of the site). This one came in at #9 - world class.

I took a trip over to Belmont Station to check out a few beers I noticed on that Top100 list (many of which you'll be hearing about shortly on this blog!) and found this hefe.

I decided that because today's weather was so nice, warm and sunny, a light beer like this would be perfect. Weihenstephaner Hefeweissbier poured cloudy and murky - a true, unfiltered hefe. The head was spectacularly dense with stickiness all over the glass. With my nose in the glass, it smelled like fresh banana bread and lemon. One sip later I knew I had a gem in my hands. All of the perfect hefe taste characteristics were there - banana, cloves and nutty flavors so pleasant that it could make you want to drink this every day.

All hefeweizens are measured against this beer, and it's plain to see why. Weihenstephaner is truly a world-class beer, and one that I will be frequenting this summer on warm, sunny evenings. Find this beer and refresh yourself with one of life's simple pleasures.


I think that this song has been floating around my head for about a week now. "All The Young Dudes" by Mott the Hoople is often mistaken for being a David Bowie recording. The reason behind that is...well...David Bowie wrote it. Mott the Hoople was about to break up due to lack of success, and David Bowie sat down in front of them, cross-legged, and quickly penned the song. They had rejected his initial song offer - "Suffragette City" - which became one of Bowie's hits. David Bowie did record and perform "All The Young Dudes," but Mott the Hoople's version has become the most famous.

April 29, 2011

Beer: X-114 IPA, Widmer Brothers Brewing Co.

Ahh Widmer. A staple of the Portland beer scene.

Widmer was founded by brothers Kurt and Rob in 1984, and has grown to become the 7th largest brewery in the U.S., and the largest in the state of Oregon. They are best known for the Widmer Hefeweizen, which is practically the definition of the summer go-to beer.

Put a lemon on it.

Widmer has recently experimented with new packaging and naming for their beers. For instance, their summer seasonal Sunburn is now called Citra Summer Blonde Brew. Their IPA, Broken Halo, is now being replaced by a rotating series of IPAs.

This is one of those IPAs.

I tried X-114 at a bar after ordering Broken Halo and being told it didn't exist. Oooookkkkk. My beer had a small head and didn't have much going on in terms of scent besides fruitiness. The taste was quite straight-forward and middle of the road. As expected, X-114 is a session IPA. Someone could hand you a few of these at a BBQ and you'd neither complain nor praise them. Beer for beer's sake.


My sister has a wonderful music-of-the-day blog over at kelseymckinnis.blogspot.com. She has regularly featured music that I helped her discover, so I think today's the day to return the favor. Enjoy this tune by Lamppost Revival.