For this week’s edition of Tuesday Tastings I went with an IPA theme and ended up with all Oregon-brewed versions (perhaps not really that surprising!).
Foray is the summer seasonal offering from Deschutes’ Bond Street Series making its return this year, and this bottle was one they sent me recently. It’s a tasty, balanced offering in the “Belgian IPA” style from the brewery, that is 6.5% abv and 60 IBUs. Their description:
Foray is all about the journey. Belgian yeast delivers hints of apple and pear which blend with the citrus hop aroma for a clean even finish. So no matter where you’re heading, this a trip worth taking.
Appearance: golden yellow, lacy white head, very light look to it with a touch of haziness.
Smell: Fruity, with green apple, bright citrus, grapefruit zest, and lemon blossoms, and perhaps some mango and strawberry. Bright, green, with some tannic Belgian yeast funkiness.
Taste: Bitter greens (nettles), citrus juice that goes bitter rather than sweet and sour, orange peel, clean malt, with a well-attenuated herbal dryness. Very herbally bitter but not harsh.
Mouthfeel: Light of medium-bodied, finishes with an herbal aftertaste and slightly dry.
Overall: Another well-built beer from Deschutes, fruitier and more refined than last year’s version if I remember correctly.
Block 15 Brewery Sticky Hands: The Kine
Sticky hands is Block 15’s “hop experience” India Pale Ale, a showcase beer for highlighting a variety of hops, and as such each is a limited-release beer that may or may not come back. (Or that’s how I understand it, I might be off on the details.) This particular edition, The Kine, was one I bought and drank last year so I’d been sitting on these notes for awhile. It was 8.1% abv, and I found a description on the RateBeer page:
Dank, sticky, heady, grassy, green, resinous, herbal nuggets…realistic hop character descriptors or catchy marketing? Hops and cannabis are both in the family cannabinaceae from which primary aromas are due to myrcene, beta-pinene and alpha-humulene. These similar aromatic compounds are also what give both of their buds unique aromas. This version of sticky hands was brewed and double dry hopped with hops high in these aromatic compounds and then balanced with tropical undertones. A dank, sticky, resinous beer brewed with the most kine buds grown in the Pacific Northwest.
Appearance: Deep gold color which turns honey-colored when held up to the light. A nice head, creamy, off-white, with good lacing.
Smell: Super aromatic—green and bright herbal notes blending with cotton candy and tropical fruits. Juicy, resiny, very fresh. (Doesn’t strike me as nearly as dank as the name or description would suggest.)
Taste: Big bold punch of hops up front, lots of resin and yes, sticky. Hop bomb. Yes, here is the “dank.” Big but it’s balanced, the substantial malt backbone providing a good canvas for these hops—they’re big but not overwhelming and finish juicy and herbal.
Mouthfeel: Medium-full body with a sticky, resiny coating of hop film on the tongue.
Overall: This is a really nice, well-balanced double IPA that highlights the hops amazingly well.
Two Kilts is one of the newer breweries in Oregon, having opened in 2011 in Sherwood with a six-barrel “Frankensystem” and upgrading in 2014 to a 15-barrel brewery which increased their distribution. They’ve become known for their well-regarded Scottish Ale, but of course they also have an IPA, a 6.5% abv, 75 IBU ale brewed with Meridian hops (according to Untappd). I couldn’t find an official description.
Appearance: Light orange-copper, almost golden in color. Lacy, wispy three fingers of eggshell head.
Smell: Pineapple, lemongrass, fruit juice character that is a hint boozy. Some kind of sweetness that might be malt, or even yeast. Bright.
Taste: So fruity that I get the impression of an overripe, almost rotting fruit. Not terribly bitter, though there’s a bit at the back over a light-ish, pale malt base.
Mouthfeel: Lighter than medium-bodied, with a lingering, almost cloying fruity finish, a touch tart.
Overall: Okay but not a favorite. The aroma promises more that the taste delivers but to be fair it seems to be shooting more for hop-forward (as in, end-of-boil flavor and aroma) rather than bitter-forward.