Today’s Tuesday Tastings beers weren’t technically brewed in Bandon, Oregon, but they were acquired from there. And if/when you read that Bandon post you’ll see that they are thematically appropriate to the southern Oregon coastal town and representative of Bandon-ish beers to look for.
Both of these were gifted to me by Lori Osborne, owner of Bandon’s The Beverage Barn, gratis, while we were visiting their beverage annex at the Bandon farmers market.
Gilgamesh Brewing ABandon Brew
Gilgamesh is based out of Salem, the state’s capital, and I’ll be forthcoming right up front and say that I am not a fan of all of their beers—I really don’t much like Mamba, their black tea, bergamot, and tangerine peel gruit. Not to say I haven’t had some other beers I’ve enjoyed, but for me they can be hit or miss depending on their target.
That being said, this ABandon Brew is on point and is the best beer that I’ve had from them. It’s a port barrel aged cranberry ale, 10.5% alcohol by volume, brewed in 2014 and aged until bottling in 2016. The description on their website indicates an IBU of 1, which, if it’s like Mamba, means it has little to no hops, so I wonder. They say:
An imperial fruit beer aged for over two years with Bandon, Oregon cranberries in Willamette valley vineyards’ Pinot Port Barrels. Cranberries are on the forefront of the palate with a mild sweet body and slightly dry finish. Flavors of dried fruits, vanilla, and French oak compliment this original, unique brew. Available only in 22 oz. bottles, waxed dipped and stamped.
Appearance: Clear, brown-amber color that’s almost the shade of bottle glass with reddish tints. It pours almost flat, there’s very little carbonation and head.
Smell: Brandy-like port wine, walnuts, a sweet bit of charred bread, slightly cheesy in a nut-and-cheese-tray kind of way (like Gouda?). A bit of fruit and cherry pits, maybe wood. There’s an almost cloyingly sweet sticky bun aroma.
Taste: Complex, sweet, nutty, full of dried fruits and a touch of oak. The wine barrel is a pronounced presence, with red grape must, vanilla notes, fruit skins, and a buttery oakiness (think of chardonnay). It’s very port wine-like with a pleasantly sweet and thick fruit character that goes a bit cloying towards the back. Very rich.
Mouthfeel: Medium-full body with a boozy-ish alcohol note and a cloying fruit finish which still pulls off “mellow.”
Overall: Interesting and complex and I’m enjoying it, it drinks awfully easy. Best beer I’ve had from Gilgamesh. Highly recommended.
7 Devils Brewing Winter is Coming Pumpkin Ale
Let’s be clear: we found a bottle of this beer in May, and deduction based on the style and the name leads us to the conclusion that it must be at least six months old. That’s not as bad as it sounds, unless you’re talking about hoppy beers, because the pumpkin and the (presumably) maltier fall/winter style can hold up to some aging.
And in fact this deduction bears out, as they posted on Facebook last October 3: “Winter is Coming! And so is our pumpkin ale. We visited the Mahaffy Ranch on Saturday and picked up this year’s batch of pumpkins!” RateBeer also notes the addition of coffee, and indicates the ABV is 6.75% though I cannot confirm that.
Still, it’s a pumpkin ale, and you all know how much I like my pumpkin beers!
Appearance: Deep garnet red hue, fairly clear, with a light tan head. Looks pretty much like I’d expect a winter pumpkin beer to look.
Smell: Brown sugar, light pie spice though it’s difficult to tease out individual spices at its (assumed) age, lightly vegetal with a molasses roastiness. A slight burnt toast graininess.
Taste: A bit syrupy-sweet with caramel candy and brown sugar, followed by scorched squash though it’s not harsh or acrid. Roasted malts with a hint of smokiness (which, to be fair, could even be a touch of oxidation) and an underlying sweet toffee toastiness. Residual notes of creamy nutmeg. It’s fairly Old Ale-like, but thinner than you would find in a classic example of that style.
Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, with a thin middle and a faded spice finish. There’s a sweet pumpkin note that runs through it and hits the back.
Overall: It actually held up pretty well. It’s a pleasant sweet and roasty ale with a squash note that I’d like to see highlighted a bit more but otherwise a tasty tipple.