In a massive west-coast sales expansion, Founders Brewing, the Michigan-based brewery, will start selling their ales at Oregon, Washington and Idaho. Founders is best known for All Day IPA, a session IPA that’s perfect for summer grilling or camping sessions. It packs a nice flavor profile and is only 4.5% ABV.
Based in Grand Rapids, MI, Founders was established in 1997 and ranks amongst the top 20 largest craft breweries in the US and the brand has been expanding aggressively in the last few years.
General Distributors, based in Oregon City, Oregon will handle distribution here in Oregon and I was lucky enough to taste three beers from Founders, thanks to a General sales rep that invited me.
The ales will be on sale in retailers such as Safeway, Albertson’s and Roth’s starting on February 6. They’ll also be available in finer taphouses in the state.
Of the beers I tasted from Founders, Azacca was my favorite. This beer pours a clear dark yellow with a sizable head and wonderful lacing on the glass. It smells of fruit, orange and lemons with mild floral notes. This beer is quite sticky in your mouth, with a high amount of carbonation which kind of burns at the end of the sip. It’s a nice bite that finishes off a floral, tasty IPA with a unique taste.
Azacca IPA is highly recommended – I suspect that even picky PNW hop heads will find Azacca to be a welcome entry into their fridges and ultimately their pint glasses.
All Day IPA
In my experience, session ales are ones that pack most, if not all of the flavor, of a ‘regular’ ale into one that’s lower in alcohol. All Day IPA pours a golden color and smells of grass, a little orange and a mild hoppy scent. Tasting it though – it’s more like a pale ale with a bit if citrus and a milt malt flavor.
Don’t buy this beer expecting IPA flavors – buy it because you want a tasty beer when you want to take it easy and enjoy a less alcohol-intensive brew.
Centennial IPA pours a murky orange color and smells of piney/citrusy hops and a hint of coffee. When you taste it, Centennial tastes malty at first with hints of caramel, with a noticeable burst of floral and citrus hop flavor that kicks in.
This beer is good, but not great – and in an area of the country where we love IPAs, Centennial is forgettable.
Editor’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.
Oakshire Brewing is a brewery based in Eugene, Oregon that has been making a name for itself in the last year or two. Most Oregon beer snobs have likely heard of them, as their ales are excellent and consistently good.
Today’s review will be of a new (to me) India Pale Ale called Watershed IPA from Oakshire Brewing. This ale is available year-round and is sold in kegs and also in 22-oz bottles, which is how I consumed it.
Watershed IPA pours very orange-y in color. I can’t find what hops are used in the ale’s brewing process, but the label says it’s 7.1% ABV and has 75 IBUs. To the nose, the beer has a fantastic scent of citrus hops with a bit of malt for a very balanced aroma. There’s a bit of carbonation in this IPA that gives it a nice bubbly appearance.
Upon first taste, you get just a hint of bitterness from those yummy hops, however it is not overpowering (read: it doesn’t cause bitter beer face – far from it). I also picked upon a nice hint of pine, herbs and maybe even slight grapefruit and then the crystal malt hits, making for a very nice drink.
Watershed is the smoothest IPA I’ve had in a very long time. Even my wife, who likes lighter beers, found it to be pleasant. I found Watershed to be so drinkable – which is a bit dangerous considering its high alcohol count. The lingering of the caramel sweetness leaves you wanting another sip.
Watershed IPA would go perfectly with a nice hamburger or steak. This beer is highly recommended if you are a fan of IPAs.
With this review, we begin a new series of reviews, this time of Lagunitas Brewing in Petaluma, California. Lagunitas is sort of a cult favorite up here in the Pacific Northwest. We are a pretty territorial bunch up here, typically preferring beers that are made locally (like within 20 miles); but the Petaluma brewery has some fans up this way.
So, with that, lets take a look at Lagunitas IPA. Their take on the India Pale Ale is an interesting one. Here’s how the brewery’s website describes their IPA:
India Pale Ale
Thanks for choosing to spend the next few minutes with this special homicidally hoppy ale. Savor the moment as the raging hop character engages the imperial qualities of the Malt foundation in mortal combat on the battlefield of your palate!
So, they describe it as super hoppy. To me, this would imply bitter and therefore uber yummy.
However, I had a 22-ounce bomber of this IPA and I was thoroughly disappointed. This beer is not very hoppy at all – in fact, it tastes like a weak pale ale. A barkeep could have served me this beer and told me it was a pilsner and I wouldn’t have flinched.
Lagunitas IPA is very pale in color. It is almost tan, again, like a pilsner.
I guess up here in the Pacific Northwest, where we grow hops and wear flannel and like our coffee strong, this IPA doesn’t cut it.
Also, I’m being brutally honest here and perhaps I’m missing something. Are you a Lagunitas fan – can you shed some light and perhaps show me the way? Or am I justified in my dislike for this IPA?
Pelican Brewing, as said before, is located on the Oregon Coast in Pacific City. This amazingly beautiful spot on the beach is augmented by the fact that there is a very strong brewing presence in town in Pelican Pub and Brewing.
Today’s Pelican ale we are evaluating is India Pelican Ale. This brew is named after the mascot of Pelican Brewing, Phil the Pelican. This IPA (amongst my favorite type of ale) is made with Cascade hops, giving it a noticeably sweet aroma. However, this isn’t a sweet citrusy beer, the hops are balanced with a mild malty flavor that provides a bit of spice.
At first sip, India Pelican Ale has a strong hoppy bitterness. You can definitely tell that Pelican Brewing uses a robust mix of hops to give an initial bitter sting. However, India Pelican Ale transitions quickly to being a smooth tasting balanced beer.
Any IPA lover (even the picky ones) will feel at home with an India Pelican Ale in their hands. It’s a familiar taste, making this brew a very good example of what any Oregon IPA should strive to me.