roblog - Official Blog of Rob Hurvitz

19 Jun 2012 - 3:32:31 PM

Sorry about the silent treatment. I got distracted by a couple weddings, and then decided to move all my beer blogging to a dedicated domain name, It wasn't quite as seamless of a move as I originally thought it'd be -- ended up copying the posts over to the new site one by one. It was a little time consuming but allowed me to edit my old posts so I didn't sound too amateurish, as well as break out the posts that contained multiple write-ups so that every brewery now has its own blog entry. I also finished the posts for the five breweries visited in the Tour de Kitsap ride. Now I only have three east coast breweries to write up, and then three more Washington ones. And with the nice weather coming up this week, I may hop on the bike and visit a few more. Busy, busy, busy.

Anyway, go check out!

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24 May 2012 - 12:54:16 AM
Sound Brewing

I had been thinking about doing an overnight bike trip on the Kitsap Peninsula to visit something like seven breweries, but never got around to it. Then one of the breweries closed, and I suddenly felt a sense of urgency in getting out there. So, when a friend suggested a one day ride to Poulsbo, I suggested a few breweries we could check out, and the next morning we pedaled our bikes onto the Seattle-Bremerton ferry. The plan was to take side roads to Poulsbo, visit the three breweries there, and then decide which return ferry to take, either Bainbridge or Kingston.

We rolled into Sound Brewing around 12:30, and as we methodically made our way through their taster tray, the taproom got busier and busier. There were a few drops of rain, as well, but fortunately it stopped before we headed out.

    Rob's Picks
  • Latona IPA - 7.5% - The board above the taps said Latona IPA, but the beer info sheet said Reluctant IPA (6.4%). So, I don't know which one it was (probably should've asked...), but it was definitely an IPA. Crisp and bitter, with a nice light maltiness. Lots of citrus as it warmed up a little.
  • Humulo Nimbus - 8.5% - Double IPA. Great citrus aroma. Crisp and citrusy, with a nice malty sweetness. Really drinkable for such a strong beer.
  • Tripel Entendre - 9.9% - Sweet caramel and banana aroma. Surprisingly light, with great banana/clove and caramel flavors. No alcohol edge, but well-balanced anyway. Yum!
  • Monk's Indiscretion - 10% - Belgian specialty ale. Strong citrusy aroma. Great sweet citrusy taste. Subtle alcohol edge. Pretty amazing.
  • Poundage Porter - 5.5% - Nice and dry. Dark maltiness with a bit of bocky sweetness and slight caramel edge. Some coffee and dark chocolate notes, as well. This won some GABF award a week or two later.
  • Ursus Americanus - 6.5% - American Stout. Thick and smooth, with a good coffee flavor. Not just for breakfast.
  • Koperen Ketel - 5% - Belgian Pale Ale. Banana/clove aroma. Light on the tongue, with a bit of banana/clove start to nice breadiness. Very subtle bitterness.
  • Dubbel Entendre - 8% - Very light and drinkable, with not too much of that bocky sweetness. Slight banana/clove flavor. Dry coffee finish. Nice complex beer.
    The Rest
  • Bevrijder - 6.5% - Belgian IPA. Pretty bitter, with stronger banana/clove flavors than the Koperen Ketel.
Sound Brewing
Before the crowds arrived at Sound Brewing -- Poulsbo, WA

Most of the other customers at the taproom seemed to know each other and were pretty friendly, which gave the place a good vibe. So yeah, it was a great start to what ended up being a five brewery day, and they had some cool glassware for sale. A win-win situation.
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10 May 2012 - 3:08:12 PM
Bicycle Ale-Liance

I'm a big fan of biking to breweries, in case you hadn't noticed, and the month of May is Bike to Work Month (or just Bike Month, as now seems to be the case). To celebrate, the Bicycle Alliance of Washington and Schooner EXACT Brewing put their collective heads together and came up with the Ale-Liance IPA. The Bicycle Alliance does a lot of great bicycle advocacy work across the state, and Schooner EXACT makes a lot of great beer. I dropped in on the Ale-Liance release party for a free pint or two, and was not disappointed. So yeah, just wanted to help spread the word on all this: Go for a bike ride! Drink a fine Ale-Liance IPA! Enjoy the beautiful weather Seattle is finally getting!

Ale-Liance IPA
The limited Ale-Liance IPA from Schooner EXACT at the Bicycle Alliance office
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8 May 2012 - 5:48:18 PM
Wingman Brewers

Now that my cousin has moved to Tacoma I'm slowly but surely visiting his nearby breweries. I made my latest trek south for his housewarming/baby shower BBQ fiesta, joined by my brother, and en route we stopped at the brand new location of Wingman Brewers. Pretty convenient location, right next to the train station and bus transit center.

    Rob's Picks
  • Tripel - 9% - Nice caramel aroma. Really nice and crisp caramel and alcohol flavors to a malty finish. Subtle banana/clove flavor as it warms up.
  • Dubbel - Don't usually like dubbels, but this one's pretty good. Nice balance of malty sweetness with raisin flavor. Caramel notes, and quite crisp.
  • Ace IPA - 7.4% - Crisp and hoppy. Mostly floral, but with some grapefruit notes. Good malty base.
  • Riveter Root Beer - 0% - Cool flavors: coriander, ginger?, honey. Really fun.
    The Rest
  • Warrior Single Hop IPA - 6.8% - Also crisp and hoppy. Pretty intense and lingering hoppiness. Also has a good malty base. Hops in this one just didn't jibe with me, though.
a true flight of tasters
Cute little tasters at Wingman Brewers -- Tacoma, WA

The careful reader will notice that there's a sixth taster but only five listed. They were also pouring the Ace through a Randall with Siracha hops (but not, unfortunately, Sriracha, which was what my brother heard when it was described). It was a little smoother, sweeter, with more caramel flavor than the regular Ace. Pretty awesome. They didn't have their P-51 Porter or Stratofortress cedar-aged Belgian ale available, so I'll just have to re-visit one of these days. I have the feeling that once my cousin's kid is born, though, there won't be as many parties in T-Town.
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4 May 2012 - 7:00:43 PM
Issaquah Brewhouse

Well, it was Earth Day, and I wanted to go on a long-ish bike ride, and the Issaquah Brewhouse was in the middle of celebrating their 12 year "anniversary" (they started before that, but Rogue bought them in 2000). Seemed like the perfect time to go. Google maps said it was an 18 mile ride, one way, and would take an hour 55. As usual, I left later than I wanted, around 2:45, and so had the pleasure of pedaling there during the hottest part of the day (it was a scorcher -- 70!). Managed to arrive at 4:25, however, which made me feel pretty good. I was mighty thirsty as I walked in, and as I eyed the bar for an empty stool I saw an old friend and co-worker of mine, Ed, who I hadn't seen in several years. Originally I thought I would spend an hour there before biking home, but good times were being had catching up with Ed, and then I ordered some dinner, and then there was a brewery tour at 6:00 that had the dubious honor of being the shortest and most stationary tour I've been on (to be fair, the brewing space is not much larger than the equipment, which makes it pretty much impossible for more than one person to move around), and then I received a free beer, and then it was 7:00, and I didn't want to bike all the way back to Seattle at that point. The transit center, as it turned out, was an easy bike ride from the Brewhouse, and so I wimped out and took the bus home. One of these days I'll have to do the round trip ride, because they only had three of their beers on tap, and they were all pretty darn tasty.

    Rob's Picks
  • White Frog - Nice lemony and bready flavors that balance the slight banana flavor very well. Very refreshing after a bike ride.
  • Contraband IPA - Floral/citrus hop mix. Nice grapefruit flavor (I don't say that very often), light malty base. Really good.
  • Frosty Frog - Thick and creamy dark ale with great whiskey/alcohol flavor. Yum!
flight o' frogs
Flight o' Frogs at the Issaquah Brewhouse -- Issaquah, WA

The fourth beer in the picture is the Chatoe Rogue Single Malt Ale, which sounded a lot better than it tasted, unfortunately. The free beer was the Rogue Freedom Hop, which was good and crisp. One of these days I'll have to take another trip to the Oregon coast and do a long overdue "official" visit of the Rogue Brewery.
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1 Apr 2012 - 4:24:21 PM
Northwest Peaks

With a title like "Northwest Peaks" you'd think this would be a post about climbing or similar outdoorsy activity, but April Fools! It is, once again, about beer. Specifically, the NW Peaks Brewery, a one-man show in Ballard, just around the corner from the significantly more funded Hilliard's.

It's a nice casual vibe at the NW Peaks Base Camp. I rolled my bike right in, propped it up against the fence, grabbed a sampler, and sat down at one of the two plastic picnic tables. Other folks wandered in, and the table eventually filled up. Lots of beer talk, and one guy was also a beer biker, although he was on foot that day. Good times.

Update! 4/25/12: I happened to be in the neighborhood just as Base Camp was opening, and they had four new beers on tap. Seemed like a good time for another sampler.

    Rob's Picks
  • Redoubt Red - Nice crisp malty red, bit of bitterness. Yum.
  • Esmeralda English Pale Ale - Pretty light with really nice caramel sweetness. Interesting cherry flavor, too, and an underlying bitterness. Nice smooth body.
  • Hannegan Red - 4.7% - Pretty mellow and smooth. Good maltiness to strong bready finish. Subtle hoppiness. Quite drinkable. Slightly flat, but sometimes reds are.
  • Early Morning Stout - Good dry coffee flavor and somewhat hoppy. Fairly light on the tongue for a stout, too.
  • Oak Aged Stuart Stout - Strong oaky/bourbon start. Gives way to dry bourbon/coffee mix. Yum!
    The Rest
  • Ingalls Ginger Pale Ale - Light and crisp, with a nice 'n easy ginger flavor and underlying bitterness. Slightly watery, though.
  • Colchuck Pale Ale - Very light in color. Pretty crisp and light with subtle maltiness. Very slight sweet start but quickly replaced by a lingering bitterness. Supposedly more grapefruit notes in the hops.
  • Eldorado Pale Ale - Interesting. Lots of floral hops. Somewhat bready. Fairly bold, but light on the tongue. Lingering floral hoppiness. Pretty good, but too floral for me.
not my usual picture of northwest peaks
Easy climbing with the Northwest Peaks sampler -- Seattle, WA

NW Peaks is one of those places I'll have to re-visit periodically because they have no year-round beers -- new brews every month. There are lots of mountains to climb in the Cascades, and lots of beers to make at NW Peaks.

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