Tag Archives: brew review

Brew Review #21 (and #20!)

OMG, my bloggy beer drinkers! Can you believe that I haven’t posted a brew review since August?  CRAZY!

So, since then, there have been two brew reviews.

The first, on October 1, 2010, was at Hair of the Dog.

I cannot find my notes, and I know I didn’t take any pictures, so let me sum up thusly.

1. The beer was fine.

2. The food was fine.

3. The service was completely & totally atrocious.

4. The best tasting beer (of course, I don’t remember the name) was not available as a full pour, only a sample.

5. The location/ambiance was good! I’d been there in May for Fred Fest when they weren’t quite street legal yet, and it’s turned out really cute! I’ll go back in a few months to see if they’ve gotten their service act together.

AND, Brew Review #21 – at the new Columbia River Brewing (they are located in the old Laurelwood Hollywood location) on December 10, 2010.

First off, this was my third (possibly fourth) trip here. I love the location. I volunteer near there. And I love everything else about them, too.

The line-up

I, of course, started off with the sampler tray. And here are our reactions! (I am including the brewery’s description of the beer by the name…

  • Vienna Lager (78 IBU’s, 5.5% ABV)
    • The gazelle: warm, crisp winter beer; hints of caramel, slightly smokey
    • A.S.: (This may not be an accurate interpretation) Young, crisp; nice crisp mouthful
  • Double Vision (Belgian Dubbel Style Ale) –  Brilliant deep reddish in color with a moderately strong malty complex taste.  It has malty nutty flavor with a fruity aroma.  23:IBU, ABV: 7.8%
    • The gazelle: Overly sweet, not a lot of body; mild malt
    • The architect: The gazelle is dead wrong; very good, highly recommended; nice dark & smoky flavor.
  • ESB (Extra Special Bitter) – A nice balance between Malt and hops designed around the old English Style beers.  37.6:IBU’s, 5.7%:ABV
    • The gazelle: Rather weak, not very bitter at all; unbalanced; bad aftertaste
  • Ground & Pound (Double IPA) – An American style IPA with a combination of 6 malts, 4 hop additions and 2 dry hop combinations.  This beer has a brilliant amber-copper appearance, and smooth medium bodied mouth feel with out the hop derived astringency associated with higher hop beers.   86 IBU’s, 7.7% ABV.  This one is worth fighting over.
    • The gazelle: Nice, full hop; nice caramel malt balance
    • A.S.: Very drinkable; floral overtones; good & hoppy; thumbs up!
  • Hop Heaven (IPA) – Another Great American IPA with 5 malts, 5 hop additions and 2 dry hop blends.  Classical citrus aroma and light in color.   78 IBU’s, 7.5% ABV.
    • The gazelle: Grapefruity, crisp hoppy flaovr; not as rich as the other IPA, but still very good

A.S. & L.S.

And, the big hit of the night!

  • Paddler’s Porter (Baltic Porter) – This will be a special treat we will feature for the first time in this year’s Portland Holiday Ale Festival December 1st through December 5th at Pioneer Square.   Paddlers Porter is a Chocolate, Vanilla Bean Baltic Porter with a 8.4% ABV. It’s one smooth and creamy Ale.  Hope to see you at the festival!
    • The gazelle: One of the best porters ever, vanilla 7 chocolate – melts in your mouth!
    • S.L.: Hello!! Soooo delicious. Tasty wonderful melty goodness.
    • A.S.: Velvety chocolate goodness! Tastes like a smoother version of Rogue’s Chocolate Stout. Add a scopop of vanilla ice cream & you’ve got a kickass float!

Vienna Lager

And others concurred. That porter was fantastico! The only thing I’ve had to rival that was Old Market’s Maple Vanilla Stout…..might have to make a special trip to Multnomah Village just to have some more of that! YUM!

The architect & M.P.

Other beers were consumed, but not written about.

L.F. & M.C.

Food was eaten, and lo! It was good.

M.P. & S.L.

I would say, a good time was had by all. This is definitely one brewpub I’ll be frequenting!

The gazelle & the architect

And – next up! Breakside Brewery! See you there (I’ll try to do better at posting these in a timely fashion).

Brew Review #19 – Migration Brewing

Our 19th Brew Review (holy crap! 19!) was at Migration Brewing in NE. Due to a number of factors, I have neither photos NOR tasting notes. (Those factors include: my camera is still broken, it was 1 million degrees & I was in a hurry, thus forgetting both paper & pens, and I kind of suck.)

Fortunately, there were few enough people and few enough beers that I think, since it’s been less than a week, that I can do a fairly decent job of it.

Migration is a fairly new brewery in Portland (which is why we didn’t hit them during the Ms – they weren’t quite ready yet), but I sincerely hope they make it.

The space is fantastic. Truly, truly great. They have great outdoor seating which flows from the indoor seating really well – Amnesia-ish style.

I didn’t eat, but the food looked great (and my friends who did eat seemed to enjoy it). Their menu is kinda awesome – a brie plate & the caprese sandwich were the most popular at my table.

They had three of their own beers on tap:

  1. Migration Pale – it was amber-ish and only mildly hoppy. This is the only one that I didn’t have a full pint of, although it was quite tasty. Everyone who had it liked it!
  2. Cream Ale – I had two pints of this; it was perfect for the 1 frillion degree weather; it wasn’t quite as flavorful as one could’ve hoped, but for someone who doesn’t generally like pales/creams, I have to say, I really did enjoy it.
  3. The Honeydew Pale – this was a lot better than I thought it was going to be. I hate fruity beers. But this? This was good. It could’ve been the bajilliion degree temps, but it was cold & refreshing & so, so tasting.

Jeff over at Beervana just review the same three beers, and his descriptions are full of much more knowledge than mine (he is a professions beer reviewer – I’m just an amateur), and he has much better critiques! However, his critique of the honeydew kind of covered why I liked it instead of hated (I don’t want any more sweet fruityness in my beers!).

They also have a number of interesting guest taps – in case their beer isn’t your cup of tea…errr…beer.

AND – they have movie nights every Wednesday – last night was Strange Brew. Next week? The Three Amigos.

This place is pretty awesome!

I am really anxious to make another trip back there – so if anyone is super sad that they missed this review & wants to go check it out, let me know. I’d love to meet you there!

Next up is another step back in the alphabet – Hair of the Dog has (finally) opened their tasting room, so we’ll be checking it out in September. I usually send the invites out over Facebook – let me know if you want to be included!

Brew Review #18 – Rogue

July 9, 2010 was the 18th (!) Brew Review.

A few of us gathered at Rogue for the usual beer tasting, food eating, and camaraderie.

For some reason, I took almost no pictures this time – including NONE of the beer sampler! For shame!

The beers:


  • The gazelle: super delicious, all oregon-ingredients, very good
  • The architect: very good

Brutal IPA

  • The gazelle: hoppy, not too strong
  • Emily: too much!

Menage a Frog

  • The gazelle: ewwww…..too weet, too much honey
  • Andrew: I like it!

Double Dead

  • The gazelle: not as good as the original

John John

  • the gazelle: I like it! It’s fresh & green tasting!

Hazelnut Brown

  • YUM! from everyone
  • Emily – it tastes like Christmas

Snickers (1/2 hazelnut + 1/2 chocolate stout)

  • OMG! Thanks for the recommendation, Lisa!

Brew Review #17 – Roots Organic Brewery

Holy crap, beer drinkers! It has been a looooong time since I have updated you on my beer-swilling adventures!

The last brew review took place on May 14 at Roots Brewing Company. It was that one beautifully hot weekend in May (there was just the one, I think), and we all sat outside on three tiny tables drinking our cold organic brews.

The architect was architecting (for money! it was fancy!) that week, so I rode my bike to the bar to meet everyone. The bike mappy tool told me it would take close to 75 minutes to get there, so I left by 3:30 to make sure I was there in time.

I got there at about 4:00.

I think the next person to arrive (the architect) got there close to 5. Oops.

Me & my bike - drinking alone

After the architect arrived, we (of course) ordered the sampler tray – and then (as per usual) I solicited everyone’s opinion on the beers they drank. So – in no particular order – here’s the recap! (The descriptions in parentheses are the brewery’s descriptions.)

Island Red (We call this a RED stout. Very full bodied complex ale brewed with a good amount of oats and barley, which lend to the nice bread and malt flavors and help Give this RED a very rich & creamy head)

  • The gazelle – I LOVE this beer; it’s good & caramelly, full of malty deliciousness
  • The architect – Really good; nice beer
  • The former co-worker – Hoppy, refreshing & delicious
  • Mr Pi – A good red, but not really my style

Woody IPA (Not your classic N.W. I.P.A., it’s BETTER! Dry hopped with an abundance of whole magnum hops to get your attention- and hold it.)

  • The architect – Good; wouldn’t necessarily want a whole pint
  • The gazelle – not overwhelmingly hoppy (which is a bad thing)

Roots Organic Pale (A nice example of an English style Pale. Light amber in color, light body and a creamy head makes this our perfect session beer. Four additions of Whole Amarillo hops give it a pleasant nose.)

  • The architect – really good
  • The gazelle – good, clean, crisp
  • The Ambitious One – nose = rubbery; taste = good
  • Mr. A – very floral

Epic Ale (We hand smoked 55#’s of Munich malt over cherry wood soaked in Glenlivet, Cognac & Cherry’s that lends wonderful Smokey Toffee & cherry notes both to the pallet & nose with a warm bittersweet finish. With over 1,700 lb’s of malt and 65 lb’s of hops, it makes this a truly “EPIC ALE”.)

Note: This is the one beer I was super disappointed that I didn’t get to try at Fred Fest, so I was really excited to see it on my sampler tray.

  • The architect – Too much weird
  • The gazelle – I should’ve known, but it’s too brandy-winey-fruity…SAD!
  • Mr. A – Do not like

Belgian Something or other (can’t find this one on the website – it’s not the Abbey)

  • The architect – Good; especially if it was winter
  • The gazelle – I almost like it, but not quite; maybe it’s to sweet
  • The former co-worker – Really good; and once I found out it was 13% alcohol, even better!
  • Mr. A – Favorite one here – great belgian + sour notes
  • Ms. L – full-bodied; like a porter + wheat or a black & tan

EXXXCalibur Stout (Brewed in the imperial style using a variety of specialty malts and Noble Hops. This Stout has wonderful chocolate and coffee notes and a smooth, hearty & complex body. Try this Stout and you will become a stout lover forever!)

  • The architect – really good for stout; another great winter beer
  • The gazelle – really rich & earthy; not too much coffee flavor

The food was pretty good! I think everyone enjoyed what they ate. The jerk chicken strips & the nachos (both off the happy hour menu) were pretty tasty!

I can’t even believe it’s been so long since the last one! June filled up waaay too fast, but I do think it was the first month since April 2009 that there hasn’t been a brew review. Sadness! If it makes you feel better (I know it makes me feel better), I was out there drinking beer in June just to keep on my toes!

Next Brew Review (#18 already!) will be at Rogue. I do love their beers, so it should be tasty!

Brew Review – #16, 16a & 16b

On April 23, Brew Review #16 took place at Fifth Quadrant (the New Old Lompoc location in North Portland).

For some reason, I didn’t take many pictures, but I did sample some beer!


  • The architect – Man, that’s yummy
  • The gazelle – Really good, light, full-flavored; great for hot days outside
  • A – Good
  • L – Really smooth; a celebration in my mouth


  • The architect – Better than the Taxation
  • The gazelle – Great Saison, but a little too floral for me
  • The cousin – Pretty good
  • A – Good, very Belgian
  • L – mmmmm…….


  • The architect – Really good, although not as good on the 2nd sip
  • The gazelle – Weak hop taste
  • L – Not an IPA fan


  • The architect – Not my favorite
  • The gazelle – Great hop combo
  • L – Not an IPA fan

Fool’s Golden

  • The architect – Also good – hints of vanilla
  • The gazelle – A little weak, not much flavor
  • The cousin – Really good; light & tasty
  • L – Makes no impression; decent for a pale; better on the 2nd sip


  • The architect – Good, but I like the Condor more
  • The gazelle – Love the hoppiness; nicely bitter
  • The cousin – Good
  • L – Too hoppy, not my style


  • The architect – Really smoky & dense; a good winter beer
  • The gazelle – Smoky, rich
  • The cousin -Not a fan
  • A – Good
  • L – Good beer, but not my style


  • The architect – Not very good
  • The gazelle – Too much coffee flavor (a bit beyond UNDERTONES)
  • A – Just OK – reminds me of the taste of roasted barley tea

Spring Bock

  • The gazelle – Too sweet.

Overall – good beer, good food, excellent company.

(Not pictured: the architect, me, A, or the former co-worker…WTF was I doing with the camera? At least I got a picture of the nachos, right?)

Brew Review 16A (5/2/10)

Steelhead brewery in Eugene

I didn’t take notes, but I can tell you that the Raging Rhino Red was good, as was the seasonal Hopasaurus Rex.

The food was decent. The service was slow – but they were PACKED with post marathoners. I’d like to go back when we didn’t have to order drinks as soon as the last one was delivered.

Brew Review 16B (5/10/10)

Fred Fest – Hair of the Dog

About 6 weeks ago, I decided that I wanted to go to Fred Fest. It was expensive, but the cost included food & unlimited tastings of beer.

Had the beer list been published when I was buying tickets – well, I wouldn’t have bought tickets.

There was definitely a theme going on. That theme seemed to be “cherry,” “sour,” and “barley wine.” If you know anything about my beer tastes, you KNOW that I pretty much hate all fruity, sour & barley wines. So, yeah….not as much fun as it could’ve been. (The prime rib sandwiches were freaking awesome, though. As was the unlimited cheese & chocolate table for palate cleansing.)

The architect & I tried most of the 24 beers. We did not get to try #24, because the line for that was out of control. Everyone said it was awesome. I wasn’t sold on waiting in line for a Barleywine, though, even if it was 7 years old. We also didn’t take notes , so this is purely from memory.

  1. Barley Browns Brew Pub -Cherry wood Smoked Rye whiskey – didn’t try
  2. Bend Brewing Company – Rocksy Stein Lager [ European Strong Lager/Stein Bier brewed with hot stones] – not bad
  3. BridgePort Brewing Company – Firkin 2008 Fallen Friar[Belgian Triple with 35% aged in oak wine barrels] – again, not bad (this was one of the last ones I tasted, and my standards had dropped, so I don’t know how ‘not bad’ it really was.)
  4. Cascade Brewing Company –  The Vine 2010 [Blended Sour with white wine grapes, barrel aged] – This was freaking terrible.
  5. Deschutes Brewery – Wood Aged Double Black [Barrel-aged imperial bourbon porter] – disappointing
  6. Double Mountain Brewery & Taproom – Cask Empire Strikes Back [English Pale Ale brewed w/ all British ingredients] – fine…one of the better ones
  7. Firestone Walker Brewing Company – Parabola [Imperial Stout] – very, very stouty.
  8. Full Sail Brewing Company – Barrel aged Old Boardhead 1998 – then – 1999 – didn’t try, couldn’t deal with another barley wine
  9. Hair of the Dog Brewing Company – Cherry Fred from the wood – [barley wine, aged in new, medium-toast American oak barrels] – I hate you barley wine!
  10. Hopworks Urban Brewery (HUB) – Organic Radkeller [HUB Lager blended with lemonade] – intriguing, but no….
  11. Laurelwood Brewing Company – Altenberg Smoked Pilsner [Pilsner brewed with German beechwood smoked malt] – the first one I tasted, thought it blah, little did I know that it would end up being one of my favorites.
  12. Lucky Labrador Brewing Company – Barrel aged Son of Old Yeller [Barrel-Aged barley wine] – I hate you, barley wines
  13. McMenamins -( Fulton St. ) –  The Monkey Puzzle Triple [Belgian-Style tripel] – nothing to write home about
  14. Midnight Sun Brewing Company – 3767 [Belgian stylep IPA collaboration brew w/ Ballast Point] – this one was GREAT!
  15. New Belgium Brewing Company The Trip # V [Brown Ales brewed with vanilla, cherries & cocoa] – extra blah
  16. New Old Lompoc Brewery – Flamingo [Wine barrel-aged Condor Pale Ale with cherries] – blah, also, why?
  17. Ninkasi Brewing Company – PK – N’ICE [Extra cold-conditioned malt liquor] – fine, surprisingly not bad for the description. But then again, it is Ninkasi.
  18. Oregon Trail Brewing – SoBoChePo [Sour Bourbon Cherry Porter] – BARF
  19. Rock Bottom Brewery – Maude Flanders [Flemish Sour blended from 3 & 5-year barrel aged sour beers] – Double BARF
  20. Rogue Ales – John John Juniper [American Pale Ale with juniper aged in spruce gin barrels] – I loved this one; beer aged in gin barrels? A dream come true!
  21. Roots Organic Brewing – 2006 Epic Ale [American Strong Ale made from an Epic amount of crazy stuff.] based on that description, it made me sad that I didn’t get to try this one. 🙁
  22. Stone Brewing – Imperial Russian Stout / Old Guardian [Barley Wine/Imperial Stout] – this was rather terrible….
  23. Widmer Brothers Brewing Company – 8409  25th anniversary Double Alt 2008 [Alt] – this probably would’ve been good, but I didn’t try it.
  24. SPECIAL- Toby Day’s 2003 Wild Duck Brewing Old Gnarley Head Barley Wine [Barley Wine owned by {the late} Toby Day.] – This was the one with the line. Also Barley Wine. Didn’t try it.

I had forgotten about this event until about 10 AM the morning of, so sadly, didn’t have a camera. It was a fun event, but based on ticket price & lack of beers I like (and the fact that I didn’t win any prizes), I probably wouldn’t go back, unless it was an all IPA or all Red (or brown or amber or SOMETHING GOOD) event.

Next brew review – Roots! (I’m hoping they’ll have a little extra of that Epic Ale lying about.)