The Easiest Way to Pack a Bottle of Beer in a Suitcase

Author: Jason Harris
December 23, 2016

Living in the beer capital of the world, I often want to take 22 oz bomber bottles of beer with me when I travel for work. From sharing my favorite CDA or a bottle of Laurelwood’s Workhorse IPA, I love bringing beer to share with others.

But, I’m always worried about beer shattering in my bag. Fortunately, Conde Nast Traveler has a great video that’s aimed at packing wine, but there’s no reason the same method can’t be used when packing beer as well.

So, travel with beer in tow and share. Probst!

Review: Green Hour from Upright Brewing

Author: Jason Harris
December 23, 2016

Editor’s Note: Today is day eleven 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 eleventh day of Christmas, my true love gave to me, Green Hour from Upright Brewing!

Upright is one of my favorite Portland breweries, as I used to work in the building they’re housed near downtown (right across from the Rose Garden). Upright brews French Farmhouse styles and is big into complex saisons and other unique ales. If you like French or Belgian beers, Upright might be up your alley.

Green Hour is a fresh hop saison that has hops from the Willamette Valley. This beer starts with more than 100 pounds of fuggle hops picked at the height of the season with Liberty hops from the end of the season. This beer has a fruity and spicy yeast.

Green Hour comes in at 6.1% ABV.

How does it taste?

Green Hour pours a glowing orange, translucent color with a sizeable white head. There’s lacing present as the beer rests in the glass. Your nose picks up on spice, wheat-like scents with a little bit of honey. This saison has a crisp, floral taste due to the use of copious amounts of fresh hops. It’s not overly bitter and there’s no hoppy taste at all.

The aftertaste is dry with an aggressive spicy, pleasing yeast that will fascinate any saison fan. This is a fantastic alternative holiday beer.

Should I buy it?

If you like saison, yes, absolutely buy this beer.

Review: Brrr from Widmer Brewing

Author: Jason Harris
December 22, 2016

Editor’s Note: Today is day ten 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 tenth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me, Brr from Widmer Brewing!

Widmer Brrr

Widmer is, well, Widmer. They’ve been around since the 80’s, they’re brothers who defined Oregon brewing. Also, they went to Oregon State…..woop woop! I must digress.

Widmer is so big that they have defied the label of ‘microbrewery’. But, they still produce beers that are respectable and are still active in the homebrewing community within Portland, the company’s home town.

Brrr is a ‘winter warmer’ style beer that is actually just a strong red ale. Coming in at 7.2% and 50 IBUs, Widmer’s winter ale pours a deep red/brownish color with a considerable tan head.

To the nose, you pick up on Brr’s deep malty and dry fruit scent, which isn’t strong.

How does it taste?

Widmer’s Brrr is not overly-malty, instead it’s more of a slight malt with dried fruit flavors (think dried cranberries) with a medium hoppy finish. I also picked up on a light toffee taste profile combined with a touch of light citrus and molasses. The medium carobnation gives a little bit of bite to to this yummy beer.

Should I buy it?

Yes – get it in a 6 pack or on draft at your local taphouse.

Review: Winter Ale from pFriem

Author: Jason Harris
December 21, 2016

Editor’s Note: Today is day nine 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 ninth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me, Winter Ale from pFriem Brewing!

pFriem Brewing hails from Hood River, Oregon, a beer lover’s town that’s also known for Full Sail Brewing and Double Mountain Brewing. While pFriem might be slightly lesser known, the family-run brewery is known for producing high-quality ales that beer snobs all over the Pacific Northwest look forward to enjoying.

Winter Ale from pFriem pours an orangy-copper color that’s mostly see-through. There’s a very small head left at the top of the glass and moderate lacing. When you inhale Winter Ale, you pick up on some super aromatic hoppy notes with hints of spice, orange and even spruce.

pFriem Winter AlepFriem Winter Ale is 7.5% ABV and comes in at 65 IBUs.

How does it taste?

Winter Ale tastes exactly how it smells – it’s a yummy, sweet, citrusy ale with a clear pine finish. There’s a caramel sweetness that balances out this ale. This is definitely more on the IPA-side of winter warmers and is a beautiful beer with a fantastic smell and taste profile. The beer finishes with a delightful dry pine-like finish.

So, even though pFriem calls this a winter ale, this beer bucks the malty dark trend and presents a super hoppy pale ale/IPA combination that is delightful and memorable. This is an easy drinking beer that makes you want to order another to extend the joy.

Should I buy it?

Absolutely – look for it in 22 oz bombers and on draft at your local taphouse. If it’s not on tap, ask your bartender to order it so you have it on hand.

Review: High Voltage IPA from Gigantic Brewing

Author: Jason Harris
December 20, 2016

Editor’s Note: Today is day eight 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 eighth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me, High Voltage IPA  from Gigantic Brewing!

Gigantic Brewing is one of the newer breweries in Portland and hails from inner South East, just east of the Willamette River between the Ross Island and Sellwood bridges. The company is proud of their Gigantic IPA and seasonal beers that are made by the small team.

Today we look at High Voltage IPA, which is a blend of Mosaic, Citra and Cascade hops, which, according to the label, is balanced with Crystal Malt.

High Voltage IPA

High Voltage pours quite dark for an IPA – it’s barely clear and is a dark coppery amber color. It leaves no head whatsoever and hardly any lacing – meaning this beer is watery and light. Your nose picks up on hints of tropical fruit, spice and a little bit of citrus.

How does it taste?

High Voltage IPA starts out quite fruity and is quickly replaced with a roasty malt and a bit of a toffee taste. This ale is ridiculously dry throughout and the taste profile definitely matches the smells.

This beer is super flavorful but not overpowering. The trio of malts produce a taste that’s refreshing and fulfilling at the same time.

Should I buy it?

Yes. Without question. This is my second favorite beer of this twelve day series behind Ecliptic’s Filament Winter IPA.

Review: Red Elephant IRA from Laurelwood Brewing

Author: Jason Harris
December 19, 2016

Editor’s Note: Today is day seven 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 seventh day of Christmas, my true love gave to me, Red Elephant IRA from Laurelwood Brewing!

Red Elephant IRARed Elephant IPA is a hybrid between a red ale and an IPA. In this case, Red Elephant uses the malts from Laurelwood’s popular Free Range Red and the hops from Green Elephant IPA to produce a hop-forward beer that has a nice malty backbone.

Red Elephant is 7.0% ABV and 70 IBUs. The hops comprise of Nugget, Amarillo, Centennial, Citra and Ahtanum.

How does it taste?

Red Elephant pours a hazy reddish-brown colour and has a head about an inch high. To your nose, you’ll pick up on floral and piney hops. This beer doesn’t smell very malty but is more aromatic of an IPA.

When you taste Red Elephant IRA, you pick up on the caramel malts shortly followed by citrusy and piney hops and grapefruit-like citrusy smells. This beer is a well-hopped red ale. I thoroughly enjoyed this ale and would easily order it again in the Laurelwood Brewpub on NE Sandy in Portland, where I had it last night.

Should I buy it?

You’ll find Red Elephant IRA in 6-packs or on draft at the Laurelwood brewpubs and where good beer is sold in Oregon.

 

Review: Bifrost Winter Ale from Elysian

Author: Jason Harris
December 18, 2016

Editor’s Note: Today is day six 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 sixth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me, Bifrost from Elysian Brewing!

Elysian Brewing is based in Seattle and turns out really fantastic brews. The one small brewery was bought by big beer earlier in 2015, but the innovation hasn’t stopped from Elysian.

Today we take a look at their annual winter ale – BiFrost. Tale is 8.3% ABV and is brewed with Amarillo, Centennial and Styrian Goldings hops.

Elysian isn’t shy about the hop profile in this beer – it’s a strong, hoppy winter ale.

How does it taste?

I poured Bifrost from the 22 oz bomber you see here and it has a toasted bread scent – my wife reported that she immediately smelled grapefruit. I’d say it was similar to orange spice tea. Don’t let that fool you though – this is NOT an orangey tasting beer.

The beer pours a hazy orange with a big off-white head.

At first sip, you pick up on the sweet hoppiness that’s notable but not overwhelming. Then, the citrus and sweet flavors produce a lovely feel in your mouth. This is a well formulated, smooth beer that both my wife and I enjoyed.

Should I buy it?

As long as you’re ok with mild bitterness in a beer, you’ll love this holiday warmer from Elysian. I bought it at Safeway and I’ve seen it at most stores that sell bomber bottles.

Review: Santa’s Reinbeer from Vagabond Brewing

Author: Jason Harris
December 17, 2016

Editor’s Note: Today is day five 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 fifth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me, Santa’s Reinbeer from Vagabond Brewery!

Santa's ReinbeerSanta’s Reinbeer is a lesser known holiday beer because it’s not bottled and it’s only available from the Vagabond Brewing taphouse and select Salem-area taphouses during the holiday months.

Billed as a “winter warmer with spices”, Reinbeer pours a brownish mahogany color. When poured, it leaves light lacing on the glass and has a two-fingered pale head at the top of the glass.

How does it taste?

When you sip Santa’s Reinbeer, you’re immediately greeted with smooth malty, nutty overtones. This ale isn’t overly carbonated and goes down easily. Then, the spice overtones kick in and give flavors of nutmeg and allspice.

I’m a fan of this beer because it’s not too sweet and not too malty, however, if you’re one who doesn’t like overly-spicy beers, this one will not appeal to your palette.

The spice force is strong with this one, beer Jedis.

Should I buy it?

Yes, it’s a great beer that Vagabond fans will love, granted you like medium-spicy ales.

Find it at Vagabond’s Taphouse at 2195 Hyacinth St NE #172, Salem, OR. Also, I’ve seen Santa’s Reinbeer on tap at Salem taphouses such as Heroes on South Commercial.

(Photo credit: Untappd user Rich C.)

Review: Pyramid Snow Cap

Author: Jason Harris
December 16, 2016

Editor’s Note: Today is day four 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 fourth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me, Snow Cap from Pyramid Brewery!
Pyramid Snow CapToday we check out Snow Cap – a beer that is celebrating its 30th anniversary from Seattle-based Pyramid Brewery. Personally, I think Pyramid beers are hit and miss as this establishment is known for turning out beers that are universally approachable by a varying audience. Therefore, they don’t make many beers that snobs enjoy.

However, I’d argue that Snow Cap is one of their better beers and is a favorite winter beer of mine.

Available October through January, Snow Cap is a dark mahogany beer that’s 7.0% ABV and 47 IBUs. This beer pours a dark reddish brown and has no head whatsoever. It’s heavy on the caramel and roasted chocolate malts.

How does it taste?

To your nose – when poured into your pint glass, this beer smells of biscuit and light chocolate flavor. On your tongue, you’ll be surprised by the beers’ dryness.

Snow Cap starts off full and then ends with a sweet caramel malt finish that carries a sense of chocolate. This beer has a very slight hoppy aroma to your nose, but it’s super soft.

Pyramid’s Snow Cap is an easily drinkable winter warmer ale that qualifies as a must-have.

Should I buy it?

Yes, without question. I hope you love it too.

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.