Posted: November 4th, 2008 | Author: Stacy | Filed under: Beer Reviews, Seasonal | No Comments »
I don’t usually like pumpkin ales. They can be over-spiced, or weirdly tangy and heavy on citrus flavors, or just downright gross and better used as a marinade for meat than a beer for drinking. Elysian’s Night Owl is the rare exception to the rule!
It’s a gorgeous, clear copper with citrus, anise, and clove aromas. The brewers at Elysian actually use pumpkin and roasted pumpkin seeds in the brewing! I think the secret to their success is that they add the spices in the conditioning rather than in the mash. There’s no bitter too-much-cinnamon flavor at all.
If you think this will be a sweet, heavy beer, guess again. It’s crisp, medium-bodied like an amber ale, with a malty touch to the finish and arom that’s balanced by the slight tang of hops and spices. It has a finely-carbonated mouthfeel – not too velvety, not too bubbly. And there’s no bitter or sweet aftertaste, just a hint of malt and hops with a slightly estery edge.
This is a great beer in the bottle, but an awesome beer on tap if you can find it. It’s crisp and refreshing like a fall evening, but warm and cozy like a night next to the fire. Next October, I’m going to try to head to Seattle for the Great Pumpkin Beer Festival at Elysian Brewing.
Posted: November 2nd, 2008 | Author: Stacy | Filed under: Beer Reviews, Seasonal | 2 Comments »
While it may have been sunny and 70 in Portland last week (freakish!), some of my favorite seasonal beers are available again despite the unseasonably warm weather.
I found Bridgeport Brewing’s Ebenezer on sale for $6.99, so of course I had to buy some. Bad news: this isn’t a great Ebenezer year. The brew has an every-other-year success rate as far as I can tell, and this year the beer has a strangely bitter tangy finish that wasn’t there last year. I’ve tried it with sweet foods, savory foods, cheese, you name it – nothing clears out the strange finish. It seems to be at its best tonight… and I burned half the tastebuds on my tongue on some hot soup a few hours ago. Sorry, Bridgeport!
New Belgium’s 2º Below was on sale for $13.99/case, so I couldn’t resist! The good news is that 2 Below is every bit as delicious this year as last year. Not too heavy, not too sweet, a little caramely and malty in the finish, a hint of cream soda flavor but not so much that it’s weird. It’s really well balanced, like a crisp fall night with the scent of wood smoke in the air. I could drink this all night long! And I sure won’t waste any on my burned tastebuds tonight.
And of course, there’s Elysian’s Night Owl pumpkin ale. Yum! I don’t even like pumpkin beer, but this one is just so darn good that it surpasses the nature of the style and sets a new standard of deliciousness. That one warrants a review all its own.
I haven’t gotten around to buying any Deschute’s Jubelale yet, but it’s never my favorite seasonal. There’s something too hoppy and floral about it for my palate.
I’ll have more seasonal favorites soon, as fall has just begun and there’s plenty of great beer to try this season.
Posted: April 27th, 2008 | Author: Stacy | Filed under: Ale, Beer Reviews, Brewpubs, Craft Brew, Seasonal, What's that in your fridge? | 1 Comment »
AVB does seasonal ales right!AVB’s Summer Solstice Cerveza Crema
is one of my all-time favorite beers. It’s a real treat to find it on tap, but I’m just as happy when spring arrives and the local store stocks the Summer Solstice. As a seasonal beer, it’ll probably be available from late April through August, then gone until next spring.
What I love about it is that it’s flavorful and interesting, but so drinkable that you could have several pints of it in a day and not mind the repetition. On pouring, it has a clear coppery golden color with a light head that quickly disappates. I love the velvety smooth mouthfeel, the malty, light cream soda flavor that brings a mild but not overwhelming sweetness. The finish is clean, smooth, just enough hops to keep the beer from being sweet. And it gets better as the beer warms up a little, allowing the maltiness and creaminess come through, with the sweetness taking a back seat.
It’s certainly not a beer for everyone, though! I convinced a friend to try it at a bar and she thought it was too weird—too much like cream soda. I hate cream soda, yet I love that taste in this beer. Go figure!
If you happen upon the Summer Solstice at a pub or in the store, really do try it! It’s delicious and unlike any other beer on the market. It will also cost a pretty penny at $9.29/6 pack, but it’s worth the money!