Here is the latest weekly installment of my Tuesday Tastings series. Like last week, I’ve got notes from a beer from each Pacific Coast state.
De Garde Brewing Petit Desay
This beer, like De Garde’s Bu Weisse that I reviewed previously, is one of the (new-ish) bottle mainstays of the Tillamook, Oregon wild brewer, a tart Farmhouse-styled ale I picked up at Belmont Station for a very reasonable $4.95 (or something like that). It’s 5% alcohol by volume, and according to Ezra at the New School, it’s fermented in foeders (large oak barrels/casks). This one took me a bit longer to enjoy as their Bu Weisse, but ultimately I did.
Appearance: Opened with a hiss but it pours and presents almost completely flat. Orange color, leaning towards light brown like bottle glass.
Smell: Tart, in a lactic way, hints of barnyard (musty wet straw). Pretty mellow overall, funk, grassy, honey notes.
Taste: Super puckery with a big lactic acid kick that’s smooth and not chalky (like aspirin which I find in some lactic beers). Mellows a bit as it warms, getting more rounded, but the tart character is still the most prevalent flavor. Would be a great base for fruits and such.
Mouthfeel: Light-to-medium-bodied, puckeringly tart (dry) with a clean finish.
Overall: A little off-putting at first, but I warmed to it as it warmed up.
Yakima Craft Brewing 1982 Amber Ale
Yakima Craft Brewing, unsurprisingly located in Washington’s Yakima Valley, was one I had not heard of before finding this beer at 99 Bottles in Federal Way, Washington. I confess it was probably purchased simply because the mixtape label on the can was really kind of clever and awesome. Other than the name 1982, I didn’t really know much else about it so I was delighted to discover it was a throwback American amber ale, a malty style that I actually quite like (when brewed properly—which in this case is to say, to my nostalgic sense of what an “American Amber” should be).
The beer is 5.53% abv and 30 IBUs, and the brewery says:
1982 is our homage to the brewing history of Yakima. A mid-hopped amber ale that is clean, sessionable and easy to enjoy.
Appearance: Clear, textbook amber color, with an off-white/light tan head that’s a bit rough with big bubbles.
Smell: Caramel malts, sweet, grassy hops are mellow. Hints of brown sugar.
Taste: A touch minerally, grassy bitterness from the hops though it’s not overly hoppy, sweetly malty from the crystal malts. Good attenuation, though for an amber I’d like to see more direction toward sweet and fuller (a bit more cloying).
Mouthfeel: Well-attenuated which puts it between light and medium-bodied. I’m looking more for medium—thicker. But this does have a clean finish.
Overall: It’s a nice reproduction of the ambers of the style of yesteryear, that I like, except this one should be sweeter and thicker.
This most recent of Stone’s collaboration beers came out in September of last year, and Stone teamed up with Mexico’s Cervecería Insurgente and the winner of their AHA Homebrew Competition, Christ Banker, to brew Banker’s winning beer—an 8.1% abv Imperial Milk Stout inspired by Mexican hot chocolate. Here’s what they wrote about it:
This year’s winner of our American Homebrewers Association-sanctioned homebrewing competition, Chris Banker, helped keep us grounded to our homebrewing roots by introducing flavors consistent with our regional palate. His chocolate, cinnamon, nutmeg, chile pepper and coffee-infused milk stout was built to mimic the flavors of Mexican hot chocolate, a beloved specialty from our neighbors to the south, as our callaborators from Baja California, Cervezería Insurgente, will attest. Layered with tiers of earthiness, spice and roast, this creamy, semisweet blue-ribbon beer confirms that the spirit of the American homebrewer is not only alive and kicking, but thriving at an all-time high.
Appearance: Black, with brown-tinged highlights when held up to the light. Light brown head that reminds me of whipped coffee.
Smell: Spiced bitter dark chocolate, smoky leather (I actually underlined these words in my notes), very comforting. Thickly sweetened coffee. Smoky-spicy.
Taste: Savory spiciness reminiscent of pumpkin pie, with the barest bit of chili, dark chocolate without the bitterness, and that same smoky-leathery impression you get from the aroma. Some rich depth here, warming with a gentle sweetness tempered by savory notes.
Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied, with a rich, savory, dry finish.
Overall: Very good, lots of depth and very interesting.