Tuesday Tastings: Donkey Deux, Pamplemousse, Urban Farmhouse

Here’s the second installment in my weekly Tuesday Tastings series. Today I’m reviewing a Seattle beer and two Portland beers. On to it!

Georgetown Brewing Donkey DeuxGeorgetown Brewing Donkey Deux

This was a bottle I picked up from Seattle’s Georgetown Brewing last October when visiting for Elysian Brewing’s Great Pumpkin Beer Festival; Georgetown is basically around the corner from Elysian, so it was a convenient and fruitful stop. Because Georgetown is strictly a production brewery with a tasting room, they offer all of your tastes for free (I don’t recall if this is a quirk in Washington state law, or just how Georgetown does it). You can buy beer to go (mostly growlers of course), but they also had a bottled beer available for sale, a Belgian-style Dubbel that’s 8.4% abv named Donkey Deux. Here’s their quick description:

A Belgian Dubbel style ale brewed with 110lbs of Candi Sugar, fermented with traditional Belgian yeast and bottle conditioned, DD is big on classic Belgian flavor.

Appearance: Dark brown in color, with chestnut highlights and a light tan head. It’s thick enough to be almost opaque.

Smell: Toasty malts, candi sugar, prunes, raisins. A touch of dark toast (rye or pumpernickel). Hints of molasses. The Belgian yeast characters is present, though mellow and restrained.

Taste: Rich and malty with toasty-crusty sweet bread, dark fruits (prunes again), fig, and a nice, sweet roastiness from the Special B malt. Balanced.

Mouthfeel: Medium-full body, a nice sweetness in the finish without being cloying.

Overall: Very nice, a well-brewed and balanced Dubbel (perhaps one of the better American versions I’ve had).

Untappd, BeerAdvocate, RateBeer

Lompoc Brewing Pamplemousse Citrus IPALompoc Brewing Pamplemousse Citrus IPA

Lompoc’s IPA built upon grapefruit had been sent out to me a little while back, in a package that not only included two bottles of the beer but also a pint glass, grapefruit, and bottle opener/USB stick. I did in fact drink it around that time, and enjoyed it; at 5.8% abv it’s a little on the lower end of the American IPA spectrum but makes up for it with the 70 IBUs. Lompoc says:

This deep golden, medium bodied Citrus IPA offers up refreshment that will satisfy all your senses. Four hop varieties along with real grapefruit juice build a solid hop bitterness highlighted by citrus notes, both on the tongue and in the nose.

Appearance: Copper-gold color, bright and clear. Effervescent; the slightly off-white head is fizzy.

Smell: Hoppy citrus, as advertised, with grapefruit zest. Hints of juice, a clean green hoppiness punctuated by hints of sweet crystal malts.

Taste: Bitter right up front and it’s all citrus peel and pith and rind—kind of reminds me of that oily bitterness you get from the peel of an orange or grapefruit as it coats the tongue. The malt is clean, light, and neutral, serving primarily (and very well) to highlight that bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Light-to-medium-bodied, with an oily citrus peel bitter aftertaste that lingers.

Overall: Bitter, yet clean. While not nearly as citrus/grapefruit as Ballast Point Grapefruit Sculpin (which has become my new benchmark), it’s very drinkable and on the light(ish) side, and I’m enjoying the flavors.

Untappd, BeerAdvocate, RateBeer

The Commons Brewery Urban Farmhouse AleThe Commons Brewery Urban Farmhouse Ale

I had this awhile ago, and it’s high time I posted notes and commented on it. Urban Farmhouse is The Commons’ flagship beer, a traditionally-styled farmhouse ale that has garnered many accolades—with good reason.

It’s very easy drinking at 5.3% abv, meaning you can put down a full 750ml bottle of it by yourself (probably), though this is a great beer for sharing. Their description:

Traditionally, Farmhouse Ales were brewed on farms in the French and Flemish regions of Belgium. These beers were born out of necessity as most water was not potable and the farmers needed a refreshing beverage to offer the hardworking farmhands. Our rendition was developed in the spirit of that tradition. The beer pours golden with a floral nose and a soft underlying hop bitterness with a crisp finish.

Appearance: Hazy straw yellow with lacy, beaten egg white head. Fine effervescence yields tiny bubbles constantly and continuously rising as I drank.

Smell: Herbal, slightly phenolic, crisp wheat notes, spicy Noble(ish) hops. Nicely Belgian-y without overloading the senses in any particular direction.

Taste: Crisp, herbal, wheat and corn graininess which is quite nice. Clean bitterness that’s neutral with a hint of spiciness. Light for a straight-up saison but that makes for a nicely light presence on the tongue, making it eminently drinkable.

Mouthfeel: Light-to-medium body, highly carbonated (tingly on the tongue), very clean and crisp with a lightly bitter finish.

Overall: Excellent example of the style, and one I wish I could get more often. The Commons has it going on.

Untappd, BeerAdvocate, RateBeer

Oregon Beer News, 03/03/2015

Oregon BeerHere is the Tuesday edition of the Oregon beer news for the 3rd of March. As usual, I’ll be periodically updating this post throughout the day, so check back often for the latest news. If you have news to share, please contact me and I can get that updated as well.

McMenamins Fulton Pub & Brewery (Portland) has a limited-edition tasting today starting at 5pm, featuring Sweet Briar Golden Ale: “As the name suggests, there is a pleasant, sweet quality to this refreshing golden ale. Sweet Briar Golden Ale is fermented with Scottish ale yeast that gives it a crisp bready quality as well. An interesting flowery tartness arises from the use of rose hips in the latter stage of the boiling process. Sweet Briar is moderately bitter, with the hops playing a subtle role in the floral hoppy aroma and finish. Over-all this beer is designed to be light and refreshing without compromising flavor.” At 5.03% abv, this sounds pretty easy drinking.

Wild River Brewing (Grants Pass): Last week on their Grants Pass Facebook page they posted about a new beer coming out today: “We are preparing another beer release party. On March 3 we will be releasing our Imperial IPA. Come by and enjoy some beer and good conversation. Let’s make it another hit. See ya there.” Wish I had more info—not sure if it’s at the restaurant or the Pub in Grants Pass (yes, there are two locations)—but if/when I find out more I will post it.

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Oregon Beer News, 03/02/2015

Oregon BeerAre you ready to tackle a new week and month? Yes indeed, it’s Monday and it’s the 2nd of March already! Here is the news in Oregon beer—as usual, I’ll be periodically updating this post throughout the day with the latest news as I find it, so check back often. And if you have news to share, please contact me and I can get that posted as well.

Deschutes Brewery (Bend): Have you ever had a chance to taste their Pinedrops IPA? Perhaps not, it’s only been available on draft—until now. (Or soon from “now.”) Deschutes is releasing Pinedrops in six-packs on a year-round basis, hitting in early April. “Beginning as a locals favorite in our pubs, we decided to bottle this crisp and hoppy ale made with Nugget, Northern Brewer, Chinook, Centennial and Experimental hops. We can’t wait to have this IPA available year round!” They’ve put together some cool-looking packaging too.

This weekend is one of Portland’s longer-running and highly-regarded events: The Lucky Lab‘s 18th(!) annual Barleywine & Big Beer Tastival. (Facebook event page here.) Taking place at their Quimby Beerhall, it runs this Friday and Saturday from noon to 10pm each day, and the focus is exclusively on barleywines and other rare and aged “big beers.” I don’t see a taplist online (yet) but they say: “We have over 50 beers so far! We will have about 25 on tap at any one time and we will rotate through as the event progresses. An event glass and four tasting tokens are just $15 and extra tickets are $2.00 each.” This is definitely a must-attend event if you can make it to Portland, so plan accordingly!

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Oregon Beer News, 02/27/2015

Oregon BeerTGIF! Here’s hoping everyone will have a good final February weekend, and here’s the news in Oregon beer for said weekend. As usual, I’ll be periodically updating this post throughout the day with the latest news, so check back often. If you have news to share, please contact me and I can get that posted as well.

Tomorrow (Saturday) the Portland Mercury’s annual Malt Ball, pairing up bands with breweries for a great event: “What happens when you put together the two best things in the world: delicious beer and rocking bands? You get the fourth annual Malt Ball, a day long fest that celebrates the staggering abundance of terrific music in our city AND the finest craft breweries that the Portland area has to offer. Your pals at the Mercury have partnered with the Oregon Brewers Guild to bring you the best-sounding beer festival in town, or the best-tasting music fest — whichever way you want to look at it.” Tickets are $25 and you can get them online here.

StormBreaker Brewing (Portland) is hosting their Brewstillery Festival all day on Saturday, beer paired with spirits: “Breweries and Distilleries teaming up to create the perfect pairings. Advance tix on sale now on our website for $20, $25 day of the event, which includes tasting glass and 10 tickets.” Tickets can be purchased on their website here. With 18 breweries and 12 distilleries, it should make for an interesting event!

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Oregon Beer News, 02/26/2015

Oregon BeerHere’s to the penultimate day of the (work) week—Thursday! Here’s the Oregon beer news for February 26 (also winding down the month!) As usual, I’ll be periodically updating this post throughout the day, so check back often. And if you have news to share, please contact me and I can get that updated as well.

Big congrats to Portland’s The BeerMongers for their 2000th day open in a row! That is quite a feat! “Today marks the 2000th day in a row that The BeerMongers has been open. We never imagined we would be open everyday but it has been so much fun and we do it for the people. We will have some great beers on draft, some special bottles to share and to sell and snacks too. Thanks for all the support over the past 5 years and help us get to 3000!” They have some great beers listed for the day, make sure to stop by and help them celebrate!

McMenamins Highland Pub & Brewery (Gresham) has a special beer tasting and meet the brewer today starting at 5pm, featuring Pirate’s Heaven, a Golden Ale with Rum-Infused American Oak Spirals. No particular description on the page but they did post to Facebook this: “join us for the same brew this Thursday at the Highland and our brewer will be more than happy to sling some samples and pints your way from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. These are 7.5 gallon kegs and when they’re gone they’re gone forever.” So get down there.

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