Category Archives: The Nectar

Alameda East Village Amber

The Alameda Brewhouse has released their ales in bottles to ease general consumption. Which is really nice because that way I don’t have to actually go to their brewhouse to enjoy their tasty beers.

The brewhouse is a family-friendly joint on NE Fremont in Portland. Sometimes a bit too family-friendly for my taste, a fact that may change someday, but its foundation remains solid so far.

The East Village Amber pours a thick but temporary head out of the bottle. Photos seconds aparts looked showed a dramatic difference in thickness, like time lapsed flowers opening. The beer is amber-hued and lightly clouded.

This beer is extremely drinkable. Its body is fairly light, and exhibits almost no stickiness. After passing my tongue, the flavor disipates quickly, leaving a light hint of lemon that makes my mouth water. The amber malt is the primary scent and flavor, but there is definately a fair hop presence. It might be just a bit sweet, but it works really well.

Overall, this is a really tasty beer. Well-flavored, not over the top, and easily consumed for a broad audience.

Broadway Brewery & Grill: Experience the westside on the eastside

Something’s wrong with NE Broadway. There are a lot of cool little businesses along there. I love the Rose and Thistle. But for the most part, they are underperforming. Almost every stop along NE Broadway is a bit too…bland. I gave this some thought awhile ago, and my conclusion then was that Broadway and its surrounding area is the westside invasion. A few weeks later the Broadway Brewery and Grill opened up. The BB&G is an offshoot of the Old Market Pub, a microbrew joint down off SW Garden Home, and one that I’d never been ecstatic about. Mostly the food is extraordinarily bland.

I’d managed to avoid the BB&G since it opened a few months ago, but cruised in there Saturday afternoon with my brother. It is extremely typical, with birch veneer and flatscreen TVs. The bartender was very nice. We split a calzone. The crust was baked perfectly, kudos to the chef, but, the calzone was very bland. Just like with the Old Market Pub, they are able to take something that sounds fabulous and make it very white bread.

I won’t say much about the beers, except that I got a bloody mary instead of a beer today. We sampled the Granny Smith, which I’d thought would be a cider (instead an apple-brewed beer), but it wasn’t inspiring as a beer either.

So this started out as a rant about Broadway catalyzed by a visit to the Broadway Bar & Grill, but it turned into a bit of review. Overall, the BB&G is a fine sports bar, but not a destination for me.

Hair of the Dog Fred

Fredbeer. That’s how I’ve always known this classic Portland microbrew. You could easily swap classic for potent because holy crap this baby’s got bite…it’s tempting to order Fred on the rocks.

The aroma is rich and amazing, scented smoothly of light malts. Fred pours a rich, beautiful head that lasts and lasts. The body is a a bit heavy, giving it a slightly syrupy character. My first tastes of HOTD’s Golden Special Ale, I find that the strength is a bit of an affront. These guys go big. Serious hops, strong, big malt That’s how Hair of the Dog rolls. Big. Continuing to sip, however, Fred opens up some subtlety. A light spice, caramel, strong bitterness that melds to the malts nicely.

Batch number 69, btw. And notice the dog’s helmet in the picture. You can almost make it out if you click on the picture above and then maximize it, the emblem is a pair of swim fins. To be square, I wasn’t paying attention and poured straight into my glass, a nice firm pour. Well, this is bottle conditioned, so there’s sediment at the bottom, hence I should really go get myself another bottle for a solid review. In the meantime, you can see what Fred has to say.

St. Peter’s English Ale

St. Peter’s English Ale comes in a sweet old-style medicine bottle. This organic ale from England opens with a nicely rounded bitterness and has an interesing fruity finish. It drinks clean, not syrupy at all, and has a nice light carbonation with the medium body. This beer is less sweet than typical English ales, and a bit more bittered than I typically find in the genre. No complaints here.

The aroma is lightly malty and fruity, with a nice hoppy aroma from the Hallertau hops. The flavor runs a bit towards a Belgian as well, which is pretty fun.

Overall, this is an enjoyable English ale. And it’s really a nice English ale to checkout if you’re a fan of the West Coast IPAs. The bottle’s pretty cool too.

Lazy Boy Brewing IPA

Lazy Boy…just jumped out at me tonite as I picked up some veggies to make a lentil curry. “Locally Brewed,” they claimed. Where the heck is local because I’ve never heard of you. Everett, WA. I guess it’s kind of local. But what about those guys getting their Vermont bottle deposit back? Enough of that crap…I’m caring about what’s inside the bottle.

A lightly amber-hued IPA is what I found. The first taste had a slightly unpleasant sharpness to the bitter, but it really wasn’t overpowering, and I’m finding this IPA to be pleasant and refreshing. It is definitely not one of the uber-hopped mega IPAs, which is totally fine for me. The flavor does not linger, that bitterness slowly but surely fades to black.

Pretty good, the Lazy Boy is a great option to check out as an alternative to your standby IPA.

The Bye and Bye

For weeks I’ve been anxiously watching a space on Alberta at about 10th. They were working hard to convert a pretty dismal spot into what would clearly become a bar. It looked like they were pouring some serious heart and soul into their work.

A buddy of mine was at Binks having a pint when he saw someone he knew walking past. Not uncommon in NE Portland, except that he knew him from Georgia. They got to talking, and it turned out that he’d moved here to help his friend open up a new place down the street. The scoop I got was patio, vegan, full bar, sweet open spot, good people.

My brother was at the Vida Cafe and met a fellow named John. They got to talking, and John was working on a project down the street called the Bye and Bye. Good times.

Tonight we put these vicious rumors to the test. We met down at the Bye and Bye for some beverages. As I walked into the open space, my first impression was that there was a lot of cool stuff going on. From nifty nicknacks to weird attic-find art, and some really nice space, this place was done well. Not overstated, just chill. Talking to John, one of the honchos, and a super guy and storyteller with a light Georgia accent, it seems that nearly everything in the place has a story.

The Bye and Bye is clearly a labor of love. They were fairly busy, so I didn’t get down to the nitty-gritty, but it’s clearly a place where I’d like to.

I was with my brother, which lately means that I sampled some mixed beverages rather than the beers. Weird, I know. I got a tall and tasty combination of Maker’s Mark, ginger beer, and lemon. Quite refreshing. I followed that with a Jameson (w/piece of ice) and Hales.

We also had the meatball sandwich. It’s a sad statement about a town when one of the tastiest meatball sandwiches is vegan (btw…always on the hunt if you know a good one). If the rest of the food here wasn’t so damn good I’d be a bit peeved.

The place was pretty busy for a Tuesday night. Though I suppose that it doesn’t really matter what day it is here, does it? The crowd was pretty funky, young, and tattooed. Pretty damn hip. The tunes were good, mild punk and alternative, maybe satellite radio…actually, be sure to notice the stereo they mounted above the bar.

Bye and bye, I say congrats. You’ve opened up a sweet bar with a good feel, tasty food, and solid beverages. The prices were reasonable, the atmosphere good. Cheers, and Godspeed.

Update: I didn’t use the can, but apparently there’s a jukebox back near it.

The Bye and Bye, 1011 NE Alberta St, Portland, OR

Lagunitas Kill Ugly Radio

Beautiful Frank Freakin’ Zappa. You’d wish anyway, staring at that mug on the bottle, trying to figure out what the heck you’re going to get when you open it. Well, you don’t have to step too far onto a limb…those Petaluma brewers are pretty consistent at putting something together that’s in your face, but well integrated. The Kill Ugly Radio does not stray. Very fruity in its aroma, stinking pleasantly of apricot, this IPA (I think) guides you through the whole drinking process. BAM! I smell good! BAM! There’s a lot of flavor! Bam! oops, more flavor! BAM! I’m stickin’ around for awhile after you swallow…make your mouth water, boy! The aromatic and bittering hops both lean towards the heavy side. The body is a bit lighter than comparable Lagunitas beers, resembling a pale ale in presentation.

Kill Ugly Radio isn’t ground-breaking, it’s not, astounding, it’s not even a huge shift for Lagunitas (or me, for that matter), but it is a tasty freakin’ beer that is serious about being a beer. cheers.

UPDATE: Well, it looks like this is the second in the Zappa series, the first was Freak Out. This one is commemorating the album “Absolutely Free,” and the artwork is the stuff from the inside jacket.

Beerfest vs Ikea

Okay, this is going to sound like heresy, but I did not attend the beerfest this weekend. At some point I made a hasty promise to the lady that we could hit Ikea on Friday in the afternoon. And I made good, got out of work early, and we cruised over to the massive furniture store. And we had a good time. It was pretty exhausting examining 4 billion pieces of furniture, but I really enjoy Ikea. They do small spaces well, and the house is fairly small. Or we just have too much crap. But the kitchen and bathroom are constant struggles for us, and we’ve got visions/dreams of making those spaces work better.

On the other hand, I love beer. And a bunch of friends were heading down there. Explaining to them that I was eating Swedish meatballs at a giant home furnishing store rather than quaffing delicious and exotic beers was a bit of a struggle for me. And comprehending that I’d rather wander the self-service warehouse trying to find a Kiflikener rather than check off my favorite IPA was a struggle for them.

And this beerdrinker doesn’t dig crowds too much. I avoid the winter brewfest like the plague, it’s just painful. And the best time to hit the International Brewer’s Festival is Friday afternoon, followed by early Saturday. Since Friday didn’t happen, I just had to bite the bullet. But I’m drinking my buddy’s homebrew now, and it is super tasty.

Oh, and I’m not weird or anything, but I had to cruise by Ikea on the eve of its grand opening, and got a coupla shots.

Organic Brewfest

plagerized from an email Nader sent me:

This Friday & Saturday (June 8th & 9th) Roots Organic Brewing presents the 2007 North American Organic Brewers Festival, at Overlook Park on N. Interstate and Fremont.

Similar to many other pdx beer fests, admission is free and tasting cups are just $5 (you can get $1 off if you bring a validated Tri-met pass – handy since this is right on the MAX yellow line, and you don’t want to drive home after tasting a ton of good beers – or a can of food for the Oregon Food Bank); 4oz. tastes are $1 each (I don’t know if they’re doing tokens, tickets, or straight pay as you go).

Full Sail LTD Limited Light Lager

Go Full Sail. A yummy lager with multiple layers of flavor but not trying to mimic anything German or Czech I’ve ever had. Golden, light, bubbly, slighty sweet. Delightful but not challenging. It get on the tongue and jumps right off. This one will also work for your friends who won’t touch a bitter beer, though I think it would be helped with just a little more bitterness. But if you’re looking for a beer to share at a BBQ this summer, this one could be the perfect choice. It really found a nice spot on the fence between the lighter lagers and craft beers. In fact, I’ll be showing up at a BBQ with a 5-pack of this in just a bit.

me and my cast enjoying an LTD in the backyard

Bear Republic Racer 5 IPA

This cloudy beer is a treat for a broken wrist. Easily opened using my wall-mounted bottle opener, I managed to pour it gently down the side of the glass, extracting only a slightamount of head. Which is fine because I can’t (or won’t) shave and less head keeps the foam out of my ‘stache. The Republic consistently turns out hoppy heavy hitters, and this is certainly big. A mouthful of hoppiness with a nice body to boot, this golden-hued ale is of medium bitterness and fairly aromatic. Get out and get some.

Butte Creek Brewing’s 10th Anniversary Imperial IPA

The label tells us to “Go big or go home,” but at 9.1% ABV, this certified organic 22ozer out of Chico, CA is more likely to send you home. Big certainly describes this Imperial IPA well. Big and potent. And pretty enjoyable. If you like your beers strong, and you’re fond of IPAs (I’m guessing you probably are), you will dig BCB’s X IPA.
The aroma is surprisingly meek in introducing this ale. Lacking almost entirely of a hoppy scent, there is only a hint of sweet malt. But once it’s on its way in, you quickly realize the deception. This baby’s a heavy hitter. Most of the hoppiness is bittering, but it offsets the maltiness nicely, mounting a two-pronged attack on the tongue. That is, while it evades the over-potent alcohol flavor, which doesn’t meld quite well enough for my taste. It takes an excellent beer to taste smooth over 8% or so, and while this one’s pretty good, I don’t think it quite pulls off the potency. Perhaps if it were a bit heavier on flavoring hops.

The body is medium-heavy, with a slight, not unpleasant tendency towards the syrupy texture I often find in higher gravity ales. It has a decent, quickly dissipating head and a golden hue with copper highlights.

Overall, this is a good beer, great for jump-starting the evening (helloooo Saturday night!) or for somebody into those heavier IPAs, or just as an alternative to your regular IPA.

Rogue Morimoto Soba Ale

Score today!  N prepped up some provencal braised cod (ala Test Kitchen cookbook) and potato-leek gratin (from The Modern Vegetarian Kitchen, my current favorite cooking tome), and I spoiled myself with a 22oz bottle of Rogue’s Morimoto Soba Ale, “A perfect accompaniment to lighter cuisine.”

It’s meals like that that just make you stop and think and blog that Life is Good.   Even better, the meal is over and the ale lives on.  It is light, but it’s definitely not shy.  Mellow on the intake, the soba ale carries a light and slightly bitter nutty flavor through the palate, and stays with you for a bit.

Rogue is correct that the beer was a nice matchup with a lighter meal, but I think it would carry itself well with most standard bar offerings, or even some tacos.  But I won’t pretend to have much clue when it comes to pairing foods with life-enhancing nectars.  All I can say is that this one worked out nicely.

And the beer is really tasty.  It opens up a fair amount around ounce 16 I’m finding, as well, so don’t short yourself by buying just a pint!  Well, I have to go watch 24 now or else I’d tell you about all the wonderful flavors I’m discovering!  Cheers.

Homebrewed Honey Wheat Ale

Kegged up my honey wheat ale this week and tossed it into the kegerator yesterday. You’re looking at a tasting of it. Well, unfortunately, I have to say I wouldn’t buy this one myself. It’s a bit too sweet, I think the yeast didn’t convert as much of the malted wheat as I’d like. It definitely has wheat beer characteristics, and some honey love going on. At this time it’s lacking body. It’s opened up a bit since yesterday, but it’s still pretty flat. For me sweet need body. So, I think I’ll turn up the CO2 to get some forced carbonation into it. More later.

On the other hand, between yesterday and today I made my third batch of sourdough bread. This one turned out really well. The others were good, but I think I got to the next level here. The crust is great, the flavor is gently soured, and the bread is consistently light but full. Sweet!

I also made sourdough waffles this morning, and they turned out great.  More soury than previous.  I needed to turn up the waffle iron to get them browned properly.  I was also able to mow the lawn and fertilize it.  We need to do some work on the landscape, but we’re building a vision.  Cheers!

Full Sail Pale Ale

Ah, Full Sail, we’ve had out ups and our down, good times and bad. We’ve been through a lot together, and though we don’t see a lot of each other lately, it’s always nice to sit down and catch up. Full Sail beers are good. Not really spectacular, but good. Potentially really good. Depending on what you’re into. And right now I’m pretty into this pale ale I’m drinking. It’s light and refreshing, and hitting the spot after riding home. Not too sticky sweet, but it has a bit of sweet malty goodness. It comes and it goes, so there’s not so much aftertaste. That means you can try feeding it to those “I had beers with aftertaste” people (read: aftertaste as flavor, so be prepared with some pbr, or Session if you feel generous). It’s a good gateway beer to the microbrews (as is Full Sail Amber), but it’s also good enough to sit down and play canasta with on a hot day.

Oh, and in case you’re interested, here’s a pic of my latest batch of sourdough bread.

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!

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.