Just got back from a conference in Vegas.  I played hard and learned a lot.  And I drank a bunch of crappy light beer.  At the craps table one time, asked what I’d like to drink I responded “light beer.”  I had a brief out of body experience as the words escaped between my lips.  She returned with some form of Miller.  We have it really good here in the Northwest.

Elysian Bifrost

Ah, the first day of Spring. Flowers blooming, the sun is shining. A perfect day to drink my last winter ale, the offering from Elysian. A gorgeous gold hue, this one pours a lot like so many ales not of the winter ilk, only a bit bigger. In fact, this one is drinkable any time of year, so yay Spring! And yay Elysian for producing a winter ale that isn’t packed full of nutmeg and other odds and ends to drown the an overly strong beer. To me, it takes real talent to brew something much more than 6% (though, that number is on its way up), and Elysian Brewing keeps it mellow at 6.25%. Enough to warm you up on those cold nights, but loose enough to play tennis in when the sun peeks through.

Overall, it’s a pretty good beer. I bet there are folks out there who if they tasted it they’d say it was their favorite beer ever. That’s not me. It wouldn’t make my desert island list even. It’s a bit too sticky for me. Not offensively so, but somewhat. And it doesn’t offer a whole lot that I find in some other beers, but better. But…if I were placed in front of three doors, each containing a different winter ale, I would hope that Bifrost was behind the door that I picked. If not Bifrost, Ebeneezer or Jubel.

In any case, you probably missed your chance at the Bifrost. But in case you have one in your fridge and you’re deciding whether to drink it or pass it on to a favorite nephew, I’d say go ahead and drink it. It’s actually pretty good in case the last paragraph steered you in a different direction. cheers.

Anchor Bock Beer

I’m always excited to see something new come out of Anchor Brewing. Their steam beer is fantastic, and I just love the small beer. They are extraordinary at putting out varieties other American breweries don’t. While you’ll see some bocks around (Shiner? Go back to Texas 😉 Anchor’s bock pours dark, with a light head, colored with a hint of chocolate.

Its body is full in the mouth, and is warming me up wonderfully on this happy equinox eve after running the dog in the chill air. The malty flavor is very smooth and well-integrated, only lightly hopped. The taste lingers on the tongue gently for a little while after passing, hints of chocolate in this beautiful blend of roasted malts.

Okay, I’m a supporter. Get out and pickup a 6-pack of Anchor’s bock, dump it carressingly into a nice heavy mug and drink the heck out of it. Cheers!


Went with some friends to Bend this weekend for some sweet skiing and casual times. We stayed at the Holiday Inn (express?) Thursday night, checked into our place at the 7th Mountain Friday morning, and hit the slopes for an absolutely gorgeous day. The snow was pleasant but well-worn. The day was gorgeous, I started off with a sweatshirt, T-shirt, and windbreaker, but dumped the sweatshirt after sweating down two runs. After lunch, I lost the windbreaker also. Felt great, skied hard, had fun. Sadly, that night I aggravated my badly pulled calf jumping into the freakin’ swimming pool, so no skiing Saturday. But N and I cruised around Bend and had a good’ole time.

I need to call out three fabulous places for food down there. First, we returned the The Grove Friday night. We’d eaten there last year, and had a great experience. Friendly, pleasant, and really good, reasonably priced food. It seemed that the prices had shot up somewhat since a year ago, but it was still not too bad. Last year I got a steak with chimmichurri sauce and loved it. This time around I got the fish tacos and a caesar salad. The caeser was excellent. The fish tacos were good, but not great. I tried the mongolian beef also, and that was really nice. So check out The Grove.

Second, I got to eat at Pizza Mondo since I couldn’t ski on Saturday. They have really great pizza. It’s billed as New York-style, and having never been to the big apple, I’m not really one to dispute that claim. It seems like New York with a bit of West Coast gourmet to me, but who am I to say? Except that it’s really stinking good pizza.

And lastly, the gang went to La Rosa for some green St. Paddy’s Margaritas (tequila infused with apple and grape). They were really good…maybe a bit sweet, but not like some crappy margarita you find at My Father’s Place (they’re good for other things…). And the food was really good too. Anners was happy with her vegetarian option, my chile verde was good, and everyone else liked theirs a lot. Except N, but she just
got a taco salad and if you just get a taco salad, you’re not really getting your hands dirty.

All of the places I mentioned are very vegetarian friendly.
Thank you Bend, Oregon! Oh, and I drank some beer.

Duchesse De Bourgogne

This is not a session beer. It’s not that it’s heavy or dark. It is a bit spendy. But really, it’s not a session beer because it tastes quite a bit like vinegar. But I love this beer. It is totally unique. It doesn’t taste like any beer I know of brewed in the States. Or any other beer at all. But somehow it satisfies like a beer. The Duchesse is Flemish. I don’t know if it’s a chick beer or not. It is a Flemish red ale.

The Duchesse De Bourgogne is light and somewhat creamy, you can see that its head is the real deal. It actually expanded after I finished pouring to the thickness you see in the image. And it retains the head pretty well.

This ale is very aromatic. I keep expecting a syrupy feel to it, but somehow the liquid avoids that entirely, remaining more airy. There is a light cherry taste to it, and it is behind or in front of the vinegar flavor, depending on the temperature and accompanying flavors.

The Dutchess is very unique, and very very good. I highly recommend that you get out there right now and pickup a bottle. I’ve found her at New Seasons and Pix. By the way, drink this from a Belgian glass or a wine snifter, it really helps open up the flavors.

Also, for more reading on the Dutchess De Bourgogne, check this out.

Trappistes Rochefort 8

From Beers

I got a bottle of Trappistes Rochefort 8 tonite down at New Season on a lark. I’ve been drinking more Belgians lately, and this one was grubbin. Pretty potent at 9.2%, it’s fruity and full-flavored. The aroma is fantastic, a bit sweet and malty, it’s got something that many winter ales strive for but do not achieve. Try not to serve it too cold, and sip at it because the flavors change significantly over the course of a glass, though I’m finding that it’s flattening out just a bit towards the end. Definitely a thumbs up for this Belgian.

MacTarnahan’s Brewing Company Oregon Honeybeer

My next batch of beer will be a honey wheat beer. Consequently, I picked up a 6-pack of Mac’s Honeybeer to get warmed up. The ale is colored a very light gold, nearly tranparent hue, with a light head. I do not detect any honey in the nose as a take a sip, and only the slightest hint of it on tasting. Something seems amiss so I jam my nose into the now empty bottle and there I do detect a hint of the honey I expected.

Overall, Mac’s Oregon Honeybeer is uninspiring. It is somewhat bland, and the addition of honey to the recipe strikes me as more of a gimmick in this case. It’s not bad, I’d say comparable to the flagship ale of whatever pseudo-microbrewery is featured at whatever airport pub you are visiting. Easy-drinking, light, and well-balanced, but that last is due to the lack of any to balance.