roblog - Official Blog of Rob Hurvitz

30 Sep 2010 - 1:14:28 PM
Powerhouse Restaurant and Brewery

During a fairly long bike ride on one of the hottest days of the summer, a friend and I stopped by the Powerhouse, where about a block away I managed to pedal over some broken glass and get a flat tire. Doh! Fortunately, I had a patch kit. Unfortunately, neither of us had a pump. Double doh! My friend graciously strapped my wounded tire to the back of his bike and pedaled to a nearby bike shop to get it fixed while I lounged inside the air-conditioned restaurant and sampled their beer. I'm still not quite sure how I managed to swing that deal, but I ain't complaining.

Powerhouse had ten beers on tap and offered five-glass samplers. The lovely waitress suggested we order two samplers to try all their beer, but we had too much biking left to do. A nearby table did opt for that -- I should have invited myself over, squeezed in all sweaty from the ride -- I'm sure they would have been very accommodating.

Update! (10-Sep-2011) - A friend of mine and I stopped by the Powerhouse after hiking at Mt Rainier, and we sampled three more of their beers.

    Rob's Picks
  • Belgian White - 4.2% - nice bready blonde with a hop bite and bit of a spicy/lemony finish
  • Roasted Porter - 6.1% - Good strong roasted coffee/chocolate aroma and flavor. Subtle alcohol flavor, too. Slightly oily on the tongue but tasty and quite drinkable.
  • Scottish Ale - really smooth, good caramel flavor, not too flat. Very nice.
  • Imperial Pale Ale - seasonal - good taste, smooth, hoppy. I like.
    The Rest
  • Honey Wheat Ale - 4.5% - Server recommended this one. I was nervous, but ordered it anyway, unfortunately. Suspicious peach color. Sour and somewhat bitter and that's about it. Very little flavor. Did they forget the honey? Couldn't finish it. Server asked me if I liked it, and I said, "No." He charged me for it, anyway.
  • Powerhouse Pale Ale - okay, but pretty hoppy. Not that that's a bad thing, but I've gotten used to less hoppy pale ales. Go figure.
  • IPA - a bit hoppier version of the Pale Ale. I would prefer it to be a little crisper, but it's okay.
  • Four Alarm Stout - interesting. Initially very light, but then has a good, complex finish. Decent but could be better...
Powerhouse Brewing
Powerhouse Brewing sampler tray -- Puyallup, WA

Nice spot, the Powerhouse. One of the best things going for Puyallup, as far as I can tell. But then I had to put my tire back on and hit the road.

bike maintenance 101
Bike Maintenance 101: re-attaching rear quick-release tire
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30 Sep 2010 - 11:27:43 AM
Naked City Brewery and Taphouse

Naked City Brewery is onto something. Who doesn't want to get naked and drink beer? Sadly, however, when I showed up all naked and thirsty, they made me put my clothes back on. Oh well. Probably for the best.

Anyway, Naked City mostly serves all sorts of interesting beers from other local breweries, but they do have three taps of their own beer, which change a couple times a year. I think they've brewed three new ones since I visited -- I'll have to go back (fully clothed) and check them out again soon. And they don't do samplers. You either have to order three pints (or schooners, if you're a wimp) or get three meager sips (if you're cheap, like me). I did follow up with a pint of the porter, though.

Update! 11/June/11 - Biked here with Wayne, and they had six -- count 'em, six -- of their own brews on tap. Another Belgian-style, too, but after my time in Europe I think I may have become something of a Belgian beer snob. Oh well. Also had the Field Roast BBQ sandwich, which was pretty darn tasty. Followed up the tastes with a pint of the Strong. Still haven't had their Hoptrocity IPA, so I'll have to come back...

    Rob's Picks
  • Cry me a River - 8.5% - Naked City's consolation beer if you didn't get a glass of Pliny the Younger. Double IPA with great piney/hoppy aroma. Really good piney and citrusy hoppiness with just enough maltiness. Smooth, too. Strong caramel flavor as it warmed up. A very fine beer.
  • Screening Room Strong Ale - 8.2% - Good hoppy beer, nice citrus/floral combination. No sweetness, which is a welcome change from European beers, but it still has an underlying malty taste. Subtle alcohol taste, too.
  • Czech Point Chickie - 4.2% - Bubbly and light, but it has a hoppy kick. Color is very light. Not watery at all for such a light-colored beer. Nicely done.
  • Black Maria Cascadian Dark Ale - 6.2% - Good toasty caramel hoppiness. Fairly dark in color, but light on the tongue.
  • NC-17 Malt Liquor - 8.8% - Pretty dangerous -- doesn't taste strong. Not too hoppy, very drinkable. Fairly malty, but not too sweet. Bit of caramel, too. Sort of tastes like a light amber. Never thought I'd be a fan of malt liquor...
  • Ferocity - Belgian-style tripel. Quite smooth. Slightly strong alcohol taste but otherwise really good. 9% -- schooner only, to be safe...
  • Piper's Watershed Porter - pretty solid. Kinda dry, kinda chocolatey. 5.5%
    The Rest
  • Schokoladen Weizenbier - 5.5% - Chocolate aroma. Strong chocolate flavor, with light toasty hefeweizen finish, but kind of watery. A touch tart, too. Chocolate/hefeweizen mix didn't quite jibe with me, unfortunately, but it could make for a nice light dessert beer.
  • Jersey DevAle - 8.5% - Belgian-style tripel - Has the strong caramel flavor, but not as much of the alcohol flavor, plus a bit of a honey taste. Also quite effervescent for a Belgian. Extra points for the name, though. Well-made, but I gotta cling to my new-found Belgian beer snobbiness.
  • Cluster Cuss Barley Wine - 12% - Interesting. Strong scotch-like aroma. Strong alcohol flavor, less strong oak/scotch flavor. Very smooth -- nitro tap. Good, but I don't think I could drink a whole schooner.
  • Ginger Peach Wheat - sweet start, wheat finish. Interesting but not really my style. 4.5%
Naked City samples
Several sips of Naked City brews -- Seattle, WA

According to their web site, they now have an IPA brewed up. Seems like good motivation for me to catch up with the brewery posts. Still have four more to go (with a fifth planned for this Saturday...).
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29 Sep 2010 - 6:02:47 PM
Flaming Lips

Finally saw The Flaming Lips again after ten years or so. Their shows have become much bigger than the xmas lights extravaganzas of yesteryear. They played mostly stuff from Embryonic and three or four songs from earlier albums. I like the new album well enough, but it would've been nice to have heard a few more earlier songs. Ah well. It was a resplendent show regardless.

Wayne in the Space Ball rolling over the audience

keep on rollin'
Space Ball rolling my way

Confetti cannons and balloons galore

laser hands
Laser hands on the mirror balls

Freaky eye video

I hope it's not so long till the next Lips album and tour...
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18 Sep 2010 - 2:29:52 PM
Odd Side Ales

Okay, so sort of a long story, but I ended up at this little brewpub in Grand Haven, MI, called Odd Side Ales, and I had one of their six-shot taster trays, even though in theory they have 14 beers on tap (they were out of a couple when I sauntered in). Won't be going back to catch up on the other beers anytime soon, though, so these six will have to do.

    Rob's Picks
  • IP Wheat - sweet and hoppy, nice
  • Sucker Punch - black IPA - good. Light but dark. Or would that be, dark but light? Great balance.
  • Amber Rye - smooth. Bit of an apple edge. Pretty good.
    The Rest
  • Jackalope - American amber - kinda big. Flavors are all over the place. Citrusy, which I find kind of odd for an amber. Not so great, but it did seem to get better the more of it I drank.
  • American Brown - not bad. Sort of a sour edge. Hmm.
  • Grand River - nut brown ale - cloudier, less sour American Brown. Not your usual nut brown ale, but I'd get this over the American Brown.
Odd Side Ales
Odd Side Ales homemade taster tray -- Grand Haven, MI

Oh yeah, the taster tray itself was a little odd. Looked like they'd made it themselves, and the tops of the little taster glasses just barely touched the wood. I thought they were going to slip right through and spill beer all over at first, but the cute bartender chick assured me it would be okay. And it was, but it still made me nervous. On the plus side, they had logo pint glasses for sale. Take that, Trade Route!
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16 Sep 2010 - 11:39:10 PM
Big Al Brewing

I've had a bit of a brewery posting blockage because of Big Al Brewing, but it's time to purge the system. When my friend and I showed up, they were out of four of their standard brews (!), so most of the taster tray consisted of seasonal and "local hero" beers. I've been meaning to return and try out the Irish Red, Smoked Porter, IPA, and Abbey Wheat before writing up this post, but haven't gotten around to it. When I do, though, I'll update this post.

    Rob's Picks
  • Papa Charlie's Pale Ale - pretty standard pale ale, but good. 4.2%
  • Tutta Bella Amber - nice and drinkable (goes right down), but again, pretty standard. 5%
  • Local Hero #7, Belgian Pale - really nice! Smooth, to a great finish. 6.6%
  • Belgian-style Tripel - Similar to LH7. Not quite as good, but still good. Doesn't have the great finish. Doesn't taste like it's 9%. Dangerous!
  • Winter Warmer - nice little winter brew, but once again, pretty standard. 7%
    The Rest
  • Winter Mint - Minty fresh! No need to brush in the morning. Actually, the mintiness isn't too strong. It's interesting as a taster, I think, but I'd probably get sick of it if I had a whole pint. 7%
Big Al Brewing
Big Al Brewing taster tray -- Seattle, WA

So, Big Al seems to have pretty strong seasonal/small batch beers and standard but good year-rounders. (I'll see if this theory holds up on my next visit...) Ahhh, feels good to get that out. Now I have only five or six more brewery posts to write, and I'll be feeling regular again.
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