Tuesday Tastings: Harvest Season

For this week’s Tuesday Tastings I’m going very seasonal, with a selection of harvest beers appropriate for the autumn.

Gilgamesh Brewing Fresh Prince of Ales

Gilgamesh Brewing Fresh Prince of AlesGilgamesh Brewing out of Salem, Oregon, brews a number of unusual ales (including Mamba—not hopped but steeped instead with black tea, which is not my favorite) and has several with punny names. Case in point: they have a wheat beer they named DJ Jazzy Hef, so it’s only natural they have a Fresh Prince, right? Hence, Fresh Prince of Ales—a fresh hop IPA. They say:

A double IPA brewed with copious amounts of Centennial hops fresh off the vines. This triple wet-hopped ale has a golden color, short-lived bitterness, and an astounding aroma.

It’s 7.8% abv with 87 IBUs, which doesn’t really push it into “Double IPA” territory by my reckoning—just an upper-tier IPA.

Appearance: Orange, relatively clear, a bit golden amber when held to the light. Off white eggshell head.

Smell: Pungent with fruity hop sweetness, juicy, with mango and dried pineapple, and makes me think “hop candy.” A bit of fresh-cut grass as well.

Taste: It’s on the maltier side of an American IPA, with a nice green, lightly vegetal hop presence. Peppery arugula notes. Malt goes old-school with caramel flavors but it works. Mellow and subtle.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied and a touch cake-y.

Overall: Nice done; one of the better Gilgamesh beers I’ve had (in general) and a good fresh hop beer for the season.

Untappd, BeerAdvocate, RateBeer

Fish Brewing Leavenworth Oktoberfest

Fish Brewing Leavenworth OktoberfestFish Brewing out of Olympia, Washington has a series of German-styled beers dubbed their Leavenworth Biers—which for a while I thought was a separate brewery out of Leavenworth, Washington. Or, they originated in Leavenworth but are now contract brewed by Fish; I’m not entirely clear on what’s going on there. Regardless, they make nice-tasting lagers and I couldn’t resist picking up the Oktoberfest when in Washington last month.

Released in celebration of autumn’s arrival, Oktoberfest is a medium-bodied bier crafted in the Leavenworth tradition. This richly amber seasonal owes its smooth, malty flavor to a large percentage of Munich malt. In the classic German tradition, we add both noble Tettnanger and imported Tradition hops for an authentic Oktoberfest hop aroma.

It’s an easy-drinking 5.5% abv.

Appearance: Rich red-amber color, very clear, with lots of bubbles continuously rising to feed the lacy off-white head.

Smell: Nicely caramel in the nose, some toffee, and a hint of old leather. Clean, though maybe there’s just a touch of DMS… sulfur.

Taste: There’s some roasty malt bitterness that kicks through at the back, some nice Vienna malt flavors, a bit honey-sweet. Grassy hops, where they’re detectable. Almost clean.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied, with a not-quite-so-clean finish in that roasted malt character.

Overall: Decent, a sweet and drinkable version of the style.

Untappd, BeerAdvocate, RateBeer

Buffalo Bill’s Brewery Black Pumpkin Oatmeal Stout

Buffalo Bill's Black PumpkinOf course a pumpkin beer! Buffalo Bill’s is widely credited with brewing the first modern American pumpkin ale back in the 1980s, in doing so setting the precedent for the pumpkin-spiced pale/amber formula used by many breweries today. When I first discovered their Pumpkin Ale way back in the 90s I thought it was a great example of the “style”; these days, not so much—I find it to be a much thinner, too-sharply spiced beer.

However when I found this beer in Washington I was intrigued, and had to pick it up. It’s definitely a departure from their traditional offering.

A creamy oatmeal stout layered with pumpkin, spice, and chocolate accents. Black Pumpkin Oatmeal Stout boasts a rich roasted malt flavor, subtle sweetness and 7.5% ABV.

Appearance: Deep cola brown pour with amply fizzy brown head. Opaque.

Smell: Chocolate with warming spices; cinnamon and allspice along with a touch of chili? A dusting of cocoa powder and some burnt marshmallow round it out.

Taste: Toasty, dry spices, bittersweet chocolate with a maple sweetness. Some nice roastiness in the malts here. Looking for the pumpkin, though, it’s not immediately apparent; a bit of squashy vegetal character comes out a bit as it warms. Nicely spiced without overdoing it.

Mouthfeel: Mostly full-bodied with a nice bit of creaminess, it finished dry(ish).

Overall: This is a nice one from Buffalo Bill’s, compared to the current state of their regular Pumpkin Ale.

Untappd, BeerAdvocate, RateBeer

One comment

  1. Fish acquired Leavenworth in 2001, and all brewing is in Olympia. I think the old Leavenworth space in Leavenworth is now occupied by Icicle Brewing.

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