Archive for December, 2016

Review: Full Sail Wreck The Halls

Author: Jason Harris
December 15, 2016

Full Sail Wreck The HallsEditor’s Note: Today is day three in our Twelve Days of Christmas series on Pints and Steins – where we’ll be letting you know about a winter beer every day between now and Christmas Eve.

On the third day of Christmas, my true love brought to me: Wreck The Halls for under my tree!

Today, we take a look at one of my favorite big breweries, Full Sail, out of Hood River, Oregon. The company’s annual holiday-time seasonal is called Wreck The Halls.

This holiday beer is a hybrid of an IPA and a winter warmer. Brewed with Centennial and Cascade hops, Wreck the Halls comes in at 6.5% ABV and 68 IBUs. It’s available, for the first time this year, in a 6-pack of 12 oz bottles and on draft at your local taphouse.

How does it taste?

Wreck the Halls pours a rich malty amber color and brings smells of cookies, raisins and dark wine. When you pour it, you get a frothy off white lacing. At first sip, this beer is super sweet and smells of a dry hopped IPA with a mild dry and somewhat sticky finish. When I taste this beer, I  definitely pick up on the grapefruit-like citrus notes and to me, it’s too strong.

Should I buy it?

If you like super citrus-y IPAs, yes. But for me, I’m not a fan of Wreck the Halls this year – there’s just too much competition out there with winter beers and this one is so lackluster I don’t recommend it.

Review: Gilgamesh Dark Prince

Author: Jason Harris
December 14, 2016

Editor’s Note: Today is day two in our Twelve Days of Christmas series on Pints and Steins – where we’ll be letting you know about a winter beer every day between now and Christmas Eve.

In today’s Twelve Days Of Brewing Christmas post, we highlight a brew from Gilgamesh Brewing. Gilgamesh is one of the oldest operating independent breweries in Salem, Oregon. The company started in the neighboring city of Turner, Oregon and moved to the industrial district of SE Salem a few years ago.

GIlgamesh Dark PrinceToday, let’s consider Dark Prince from Gilgamesh – a Cascadian Dark Ale, which means it’s a proprietary style of Oregon origin that’s heavy on hops and malt.

Now that we’ve established the medium where CDAs exist, let’s judge Gilgamesh’s Dark Prince. So – about that name – apparently someone at Gilgamesh has a crush on Will Smith, because it’s a thread that weaves many ales that come from the Salem brewery. “Fresh Prince” IPA, “DJ Jazzy Hef” and “Dark Prince” are all ales that stem from Will Smith roots.

 What does it taste like?

Dark Prince pours a dark amber colour. The amber colour dominates and this beer has almost no head – and the lack of carbonation in the first sip is instead dominated by nutty malty brilliance.

The dark grain backbone shows through heavily on this beer – it has almost no hoppy brilliance and instead comes through with dark grain flavors instead. In this beer, it’s almost as if the brewer chose grain and malt instead of hops, which is rare in a CDA – typically is BIG on hops at first and then rushes in the malt. Instead….Gilgamesh skipped the hoppy overtones and instead relied upon the aftertaste.

So, in a few words, Dark Prince from Gilgamesh is absolutely delicious.

Should I buy it?

Oh yes. Go now and buy thee. This beer gets two enthusiastic thumbs up from this beer nut.

You’ll find it at your local taphouse in draft. If you can’t find it. I have pity upon you.

Review: Ecliptic Filament Winter IPA

Author: Jason Harris
December 13, 2016

Editor’s Note: Today starts our Twelve Days of Christmas series on Pints and Steins – where we’ll be letting you know about a winter beer every day between now and Christmas Eve.

Filament IPAIn today’s twelve days of Christmas celebrations entry, we look at a new-ish brewery in Portland called Ecliptic Brewing. Located in North Portland, Ecliptic is known for high quality ales no matter what time of year you check out their brewing line-up.

Typically ‘winter beers’ mean dark, malty beers that are also called winter warmers. They’re strong in alcoholic content and rely upon toasted malts do drive home, big, robust flavor.

Ecliptic bucks this trend with Filament Winter IPA. Filament pours a beautiful clear-amber color that has copper hues and a white foam.

The description on the bottle puts it very well:

As the winter sun hangs low in our sky, some 93 million miles away, solar filaments, giant arcs of cool, dense plasma explode from its surface. Filament Winter IPA celebrates this cosmic wonder. Pale, Munich and Caramel malts create a rich malt character with a honey-like flavor. A bounty of Crystal, Chinook and Centennial hops combine to lend spicy, citrus hop notes.

Filament IPA comes in at 7.2% ABV and has 70 IBUs.

How does it taste?

At first sip, you pick up on a slight grapefruit and citrus scents and a bit of pine. The flavor, in a word, is outstanding – as a bread-like taste comes in and finishes with a slight caramel malt after-taste.

This beer is super drinkable – and those who don’t like hop-forward bitterness should not be put off by the 70 IBUs – this is a well balanced beer that is not hoppy at all. It’s super smooth from start to finish.

Whereas some winter beers overdo it with the spices, Filament bucks this trend with a flavorful IPA with malts that provide a symphony of malt sweetness.

Should I buy Filament IPA?

Yes, absolutely. Pick up a bomber (22 oz) bottle or if you can find it on draft – order and enjoy.

Spotlight on Santiam Brewing “Govna’s Reserve”

Author: Jason Harris
December 5, 2016

The pirates over at Santiam Brewing are up to generating really unique ales, just in time for the holiday gifting season. I had the chance to go over to the brewery on Thursday, December 1 and witness the super limited edition bottles of Govna’s Reserve being hand-dipped in wax.

I was able to wax a handful of bottles myself – it’s a time intensive but fun process!

The first step involves waxing the cap of the bottle

And step two involves waxing the the neck of the bottle as a final touch.

Govna’s Reserve is available only in kegs and in a very limited bottle release and the ale is Pirate Stout that’s barrel aged and is imperial strength.

Govna’s Reserve is aged in rum and bourbon barrels for a minimum of six months. At the end of fermentation, the beer’s infused with coconut for a warm, rich taste.

The ale was debuted over the weekend in Portalnd at the Holiday Ale Festival and received high 4+ star ratings by those who rated it on Untappd.

To catch Guvna’s Reserve, head to the Santiam Brewing taproom or look for the ale at your favorite specialty beer store.