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Beer Pick of the Week

Fresh Hop Free Range Red   Laurelwood Brewing Co. Portland, Oregon Style: Red Ale Alcohol: 6.1% IBUs: 69 Serving Style: Bottles and kegs (our sample from draft) Availability: Throughout the Northwest, also Alaska and Pennsylvania   Appearance:   “Like a cloudy amber-orange color.” Aroma:   “There’s really not much aroma. I can’t pick up any definable smell.” Taste:   “A nice mildly hoppy flavor. It’s well-balanced. The flavor lasts through the swallow, from front-to-back. Laurelwood does their regular Free Range Red, but this one is slightly different. The (addition of) fresh hops adds just a little bit of bitterness, which gives this a…
Great Pumpkin   Elysian Brewing Co. Seattle Style: Imperial Pumpkin Ale Alcohol: 8.1% IBUs: 20 Serving Style: 22-ounce bottles, kegs (our sample from draft) Availability: Seasonal throughout the West   Appearance:   “Amber color with a cream-colored head.” Aroma:   “Pumpkin pie spices—cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and . . . ?” Taste:   “Lively—good carbonation. Nice mouthfeel, there’s a creaminess offset by all that carbonation. There’s definitely a pumpkiney personality, but not overwhelmingly so. A fun diversion appropriate for the season.” Food Affinity:   “Baked goods that aren’t too sweet and contain a bit of anise. Meat dishes prepared with cumin.”     --Guest Reviewer…
Pintail Pale Ale   Karl Strauss Brewing Co. San Diego Style: American Pale Ale Alcohol: 5.3% IBUs: 47 Serving Style: 12 and 22-ounce bottles and kegs (our sample from draft) Availability: Year around in most of California   Appearance:   “I’d say amber or maybe copper-colored.” Aroma:   “There seems a good balance of hops and malt in the nose. I get a good whiff of citrus—grapefruit and maybe orange peel.” Taste:   “Has more carbonation than an English-style Pale Ale, but isn't fizzy. Good body with some roasted malt in the background. Hoppy in the American style, but not overly so.” Food…
Jubelale   Deschutes Brewery Deschutes, Oregon Style: American Strong Ale Alcohol: 6.7% IBUs: 65 Serving Style: 12-ounce bottles Availability: Seasonal, October through December, in most of the U.S.   Appearance:   “Mahogany color with long-lasting, light tan head.” Aroma:   “Toffee, buttered whole-wheat toast.” Taste:   “Good carbonation is first impression. Soon, the toffee or caramel quality appears. Billed on the bottle as “a festive winter ale,” it didn’t taste inappropriate on a fall afternoon at the start of October. Substantial, but not syrupy or too alcoholic. Finishes cleanly.” Food Affinity:   “Would go well with the combination of spices and sweetness of onions…
Oktoberfestbier Bayerische Staatsbrauerei Weihenstephan Freising in Bavaria (Germany) Style: Märzen/Oktoberfest Alcohol: 5.8% IBUs: Unknown Serving style: 12-ounce bottles and kegs (our sample from draft) Availability: Year-round worldwide distribution   Appearance:   “It’s a pale-colored Oktoberfest. Yellow or golden color.” Aroma:   “Not real strongly-aromaed. It’s a lighter style similar to the Oktoberfest from Hofbräu.” Taste:   “It’s smooth and well-balanced and isn’t particularly sweet like many of the harvest style beers. It’s slightly heavier than the typical lager or pilsner from Weihenstephan.” Food Affinity:   “Would be good with weisswurst. Or, since it’s Oktoberfest time try with a kartoffelsalat and sauerkraut with a sausage…
Mermaid’s Red   Coronado Brewing Co. San Diego Style: Amber Ale Alcohol: 5.7% IBUs: 46 Serving Style: 12 and 22-ounce bottles, kegs (our sample from bottle) Availability: Wide, year-round availability in California   Appearance:  “Dark amber with reddish overtones. Big creamy head.” Aroma:   “Floral—I’d guess Cascade hops are in there, but there’s also a malt presence to this nose.” Taste:   “In spite of the big initial head, the carbonation is on the restrained side. It feels substantial in the mouth. Slightly more malty than hoppy to me, but it’s a good balance—maybe 60/40. There’s subtlety here—some spice and caramel toward…
Samuel Adams Octoberfest   Boston Beer Company Boston, Mass. Style: American Märzen Alcohol: 5.3% IBUs: 16 Serving Style: 12-ounce bottles and kegs (our sample from bottle) Availability: Throughout fall season across the U.S.   Appearance:   “It’s a dark reddish brown color with a tall, creamy, off-white head.” Aroma:   “Reminds me of breakfast—I think I smell coffee and toast.” Taste:   “There’s a lot of caramel influence here. There’s just a little biscuit quality like you find in real Champagne. Clearly, the malt is a strong presence here, but there’s just enough hoppiness to offset and balance the beer. There’s a lot…
Hop Hammer   Paradise Creek Brewery Pullman, Washington Style: Double IPA Alcohol: 9.4% IBUs: 100 Serving Style: 22-ounce bottles and kegs (our sample from draft) Availability:   Central and eastern Washington   Appearance:   “It’s a light amber color and is a bit cloudy. I like it to be a little cloudy with a good head which gives it the aroma—there needs to be at least half an inch or more. “ Aroma:   “Pretty hoppy but it has enough malt in it that it doesn’t come across as too bitter.” Taste:   “Taste is excellent. There’s the taste and then there’s the aftertaste.…
Pale Ale 2.0   Stone Brewing Co. Escondido, California Style: Pale Ale Alcohol: 6% IBUs: Unknown Serving Style: bottles and kegs (our sample from draft) Availability: Good year around national distribution   Appearance:   “Deep amber color, almost copper-hued. Nearly inch high head, but it dissipates fairly quickly. Nice lacing.” Aroma:   “There’s a hoppiness, but it comes across as almost fruity—citrussy maybe or even apricot and peach scents.” (Editor’s note:  After 19 years, Stone has changed the recipe for its Pale Ale, hence the 2.0 designation. The new version makes use of Mandarina Bavaria hops from Germany, which may be the…
Pilsner   Chuckanut Brewery Bellingham, WA Style: German-style Pilsner Alcohol: 5% IBUs: 38 Serving Style: Bottles and kegs (our sample from draft) Availability: Widely available in W. Washington, less so elsewhere   Appearance:   “Popcorn light, golden, yellow hue.” Aroma:   “Graceful censer. Argentinian mate. Crisp aromas of pine nuts, rosemary.” Taste:   “Dissolved CO2 is perfectly balanced with volume and flavor. As soon as It comes, it goes in a brief, Pilsen-like meeting. Clean flavors of grain, autumn walks in the rain and bitter Aspen tree bark.” Food Affinity:   “Sushi. Salmon roe. Raw oysters on the half-shell. Braised beef crusted in Italian…
Big Eye   Ballast Point Brewery San Diego Style: IPA Alcohol: 7% IBUs: 71 Serving Style: 22-ounce bottles, 12-ounce bottles and cans and kegs (our sample from draft) Availability: Widely available on the West Coast   Appearance:   “Amber or dark copper color. Cream-colored medium head.” Aroma:   “Caramel and citrus and some of the piney hoppiness.” Taste:   “Malt and hops seem in good balance. There’s a richness in the mouth and the hops at the end leave a long and positive finish.” Food affinity:   “Seared Ahi tuna with a ground almond dusting. Sweet and sour chicken with peapods and water chestnuts.…
Summer Pale Ale/SPA   Port Brewing San Marcos, California Style: American Pale Ale Alcohol: 6% IBUs: Unknown Serving style: Bottles and kegs (our sample from draft) Availability: Seasonal, but widely distributed on the West Coast, less so nationally   Appearance:   “I’d say it was a deep gold or maybe copper color. Medium depth white head. Good lacing.” Aroma:   “Quite fruity. Big hop presence here (brewery website says Amarillo, Cacade, Chinook, Columbus and Simcoe are the hops), evidenced by pine and citrus notes.” Taste:   “Nice balance of malt, followed by the hops. Crisp and refreshing, rather than heavy. Nothing cloying here.…
Citrus Mistress   Hop Valley Brewing Co. Eugene, Oregon Style: IPA Alcohol: 6.5% IBUs: 80 Serving Style: Bottles and kegs (our sample from draft) Availability: Seasonal in the Pacific Northwest   Appearance:   “Dark gold or amber color.” Aroma:   “Lightly hoppy. Citrussy” Taste:   “Smooth. Slightly mild taste with a moderate hoppy finish. I’m not really an IPA drinker, but I like this. I’d drink this again.” Food Affinity:   "Barbecued salmon with a lemon glaze.”       Reviewer Bill Easterday is a metal fabricating consultant
Summer Love   Victory Brewing Co. Downington, PA Style: American Blond Ale Alcohol: 5.2% IBUs: unknown Serving Style: Bottles, cans and kegs (our sample from draft) Availability: Pennsylvania brewery gets some national distribution. We found it on draft on the West Coast.   Appearance:   “Clear and bright yellow color. Good white head that does fade.” Aroma:   “Some hoppiness and floral notes. A bit of malt appears eventually.” Taste:   “At first this might seem like a simple beer in a lighter style, but if you’re paying attention you can tell the taste gives you some subtle citrus followed by malt and…
Baby Daddy   Speakeasy Ales & Lagers San Francisco Style: Session IPA Alcohol: 4.7% IBUs: 35 Serving Style: Kegs and 12-ounce cans (our sample from can)  Availability: Year-round   Appearance:   “Pale yellow color. White head that dissipates somewhat quickly.” Aroma:   “Very mild hop aroma. Somewhat of a clean smell.” Taste:   “More bitter than I was expecting (given the low IBUs), but it’s still smooth. If you like a beer with somewhat of a bitter flavor—yet not overwhelming—you would like this beer. The more you drink, the easier it goes down.” Food Affinity:   “Spicy food. Something with bold flavors. This Baby…
Bohemia   Cerveceria Cuauhtémoc Moctezuma Monterrey, Mexico Style: German Pilsner Alcohol: 5.3% IBUs: Unknown Serving style: 12-ounce bottles Availability: Mexico and throughout the U.S.   Appearance:   “Golden straw color, white head that dissipates fairly quickly.” Aroma:   “Malty with some of that biscuity quality that comes from real Czech and German Pilsners.” Taste:   “Crisp and well-carbonated, there’s enough hoppiness to elevate the overall experience without going into mega-IPA mode. Finishes cleanly. Food Affinity:   “Well, chips and a good salsa would be tasty, no matter how predictable that might sound. However, the clean and bright qualities of Bohemia would make it a…
Grunion   Ballast Point BrewerySan DiegoStyle: American Pale AleAlcohol: 5.5%IBUs: 35Serving Style: 12 ounce bottles and kegs (our sample from draft)Availability: Year around on the West Coast   Appearance:   “Very light copper shade. Good creamy white head.”Aroma:   “Smells much hoppier than the 35 IBUs would suggest. Hops are American Mosaic and Calypso varieties. Fruity—pineapple and maybe melon.”Taste:   “Hoppiness persists. More tropical fruit and grapefruit. Quite good carbonation. Maybe not something to drink all day long, but fairly refreshing for the first one or two pints.”Food Affinity:   “Ceviche. Grilled fish with fruit salsa. Curried scallops.”     --reviewed by Stirling Dennis,…
Naughty Nellie   The Pike Brewing Company Seattle, Washington Style: Blond, session-ale Alcohol: 5.5% IBUs: 24 Serving Style: 12 and 22-ounce bottles and kegs (our sample from draft) Availability: Widely distributed in Alaska and the Pacific Northwest   Appearance:   “Dark golden color tending toward copper or amber hue. Fluffy white head that dissipates fairly quickly.” Aroma:   “Mildly hoppy with maybe just a bit of pear and lemon zest.” Taste:   “Opens with inviting malt notes, followed closely by a full mouth of carbonation and hops (Centennial and Cascade). Finishes cleanly and crisply. A lighter summertime brew, but not insufficient at all.…
Diamond Knot ESB   Diamond Knot Brewing Co. Mukilteo, Washington Style: English Bitter Alcohol: 5.9% IBUs: 41 Serving Style: Kegs   Availability:   Throughout state of Washington Appearance:   “An amber color with a tinge of red. Nice, well-behaved head.” Aroma:   “Very subtle.” Taste:   “There’s a refreshing taste, but it’s not overwhelming. Slightly bitter finish.” Food Affinity:   “Would go very well with a bratwurst.”      Reviewed by Bill Easterday, a metal fabricating consultant
  Kölsch   Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. Chico, California Style: German-style ale Alcohol: 5% IBUs: 34 Serving Style: Kegs and 12-oz bottles as part of a “seasonal sampler pack” Availability: Distributed in California and much of the U.S. throughout the summer   Appearance:   “Clear, light golden color. Fluffy ivory head.” Aroma:   “Citrus, somewhat spicy and floral.” Flavor:   “Clean and crisp. More hoppiness in its personality than in most beers of this Germanic style. Dry finish with just a hint of sour.” Food Affinity:   “The crisp finish lends itself to harmonies with many summer foods. Maybe serve with grilled bratwurst or…
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