Review: Gilgamesh DJ Jazzy Hef

Author: Jason Harris
June 14, 2012

Gilgamesh Brewing

The summer is upon us and the lighter beers are out now. For me, a nice unfiltered wheat beer is a perfect summer beer because it’s flavorful, smooth and crisp.

Gilgamesh Brewing is a local brewery here in Salem, Oregon and has been making waves in the past few months. With a very nice lounge in downtown Salem, Gilgamesh is prominent in the local beer scene.

Today’s beer review is DJ Jazzy Hef – a light colored ale that pours a cloudy wheat color. According to the Gilgamesh, this hefeweizen ale is brewed with organic ingredients and a heaping does of jasmine tea.

The smell of jasmine is pretty noticeable with DJ Jazzy Hef, and this is a good thing. This hefeweizen just glides down your throat as you take your first drink. At first the sip tastes a little empty, but then the aftertaste kicks in and it’s really rewarding.

This is a flavorful beer that leaves your mouth tingling and wanting more. DJ Jazzy Hef is the perfect summer beer for hot days that demand a flavorful but rewarding brew.

This ale has an IBU of 9 and an ABV of 5.4%.

Review: Upright Brewing Supercool IPA

Author: Jason Harris
June 8, 2012

Last week I ventured down to Upright Brewing in Portland and spoke with Alex Ganum, owner of Upright. He introduced me to Supercool IPA as a “straight up IPA”. As a huge India Pale Ale fan, that’s all I needed to hear. 🙂

Supercool IPA is a super limited release and is described this way:

(Supercool IPA has) No twists, no odd processing or ingredients, just a grip of pale malt, pinch of vienna and special roast and plenty of nugget, columbus and santiam hops. We snagged a pitch of yeast from a brewery down the street and let it rip in our conical fermenter.

I asked Alex more about the yeast and he told me it originates from Amnesia Brewing,just up the street from Upright. He went on to say it has medium intensity and they used Santiam hops because it leaves a nice floral note on the palette.

When I pour Supercool IPA from the growler, it has a hazy golden brown hue. There’s a slight white head to this beer – but it isn’t very carbonated at all.

To the tongue, Supercool IPA has a hoppy but not overly bitter taste to it. It has a definitive citrus hint to the slightly floral flavor. I would describe the taste as impactful, but not overwhelming.

Beer drinkers who don’t like a “slap you in the face” strong IPA would enjoy Supercool as it’s balanced hoppyness does not overwhelm.

Look for Supercool IPA at Portand-area pubs on tap as it’s not being bottled.

Review: Three Creeks Knotty Blonde Ale

Author: Jason Harris
May 27, 2012

Summer is almost upon us which means summer beers, such as hefeweizens, pale ales and blonde ales are on Oregonians palettes. These light ales are refreshing and crisp – and give a nice clean taste on warmer spring and summer days.

Knotty Blonde AleToday’s brew I’m trying is from Sisters, Oregon, a small Central Oregon town that is just outside of Bend, Oregon and is a bonafide member of the strong Oregon brewing community member. Three Creeks Brewing is relatively new, but they make some amazing beers.

Let’s look at Knotty Blonde Ale is a beer that pours a sunshine-yellow color. You can easily see through this beer and it has a decent head that is white and thick. To the nose, this brew has a hoppy scent that makes you excited to taste this beer.

Upon first taste, Knotty Blonde lives up to it’s color in being refreshing and crisp. You can sense the light fruity taste, but it’s backed up with enough hops to give it a moderately impactful taste. It doesn’t punch you in the face, but rather, gives you a light slap followed by a refreshing high-carbonation finish.

Traditionally, I pass on blonde ales because I like a more flavorful beer such as a strong pale or IPA, but Knotty Blonde Ale is definintely on my list of must-have summer beers. It’s crisp, hoppy and refreshing.

Knotty Blonde Ale is 4.0 ABV with an IBU rating of 18.

This beer would appeal to any ale drinker – or those making the switch from macro-beers.  Give it a try!

Review: Pyramid Snow Cap Winter Ale

Author: Jason Harris
December 17, 2011

Pyramid Brewing used to be one of my favorite breweries because it was local when I lived in Seattle for a short time long ago. However, I’ve had a few of their beers in the last few years and they haven’t been all that great.

However, let’s take a fresh look at Pyramid as I focus on their Snow Cap Winter Warmer ale as a part of the winter/holiday ale series. Snow Cap Winter Warmer is a very dark amber ale that  has a very unique taste to it. Some winter ales, as beer fans know, are dark and very malty, however, Snow Cap continues this streak of a dark bodied amber combind with roasted chocolate-tasting malt to add extra zing and a hint of sweetness.

Snow Cap Winter Warmer utilizes three different malts including Caramel, Chocolate malt and barley combined with Willamette hops and a few others. It is 7.0 ABV and has a low IBU score of 47, meaning it isn’t very bitter at all.

Snow Cap pours a dark copper/amber color and has a frothy head at the top, a little too much for my taste. When you first sip Snow Cap, the beer’s amber flavor comes through with a nice hit of malted barley providing a somewhat chocolatey taste, but not too much. This isn’t a sweet beer, but a smooth one. After you swig it around, you can taste the hops kick in a little, providing some floral zing and finishing off with the hint of caramel.

This beer is very similar to Widmer Brrr, although not as sweet on the last bit of the drink. Snow Cap is excellent. This is by far the best beer I’ve ever had form Pyramid and has restored my faith in them…I’ll be looking for more Pyramid ales for review.

Do you have a Pyramid ale that you especially like?

Review: Maui Brewing Company Big Swell IPA

Author: Jason Harris
July 17, 2011

Editor’s note: This post begins a four part series that will feature four brews from the islands, specifically Maui and the Maui Brewing Company.

I am positively a huge fan of IPAs. It’s likely my favorite style of beer. That said, I’m pretty picky on Imperial Pale Ales and I only have a handful that I get again and again.  Will Big Swell IPA from Maui Brewing Company join that list?  Let’s find out.

First of all, Maui Brewing Company comes from my most favorite vacation spot on the globe: Maui, Hawaii. I’ve heard great things about Maui Brewing Company and know of the company because they came to the Oregon Brewers Festival last year where I had a brew of theirs. This brewery has some fans in Portland, Oregon, which is why I know of them.

Big Swell IPA has a slogan that I dug from the beginning of the buying experience: “Big, Hoppy, Bold, Smooth, And Hoppy…Did We Mention Hoppy”. I mean, with expectations like that, this brew better own up.

The hops for Big Swell IPA come from the Northwest including Columbus, Chinook, Centennial, Simcoe and a few others.Big Swell IPA comes in at an ABV of 6.8%, so it’s a sipping beer and a not so bitter IBU rating of 50+

At first sip, this beer does taste very flavorful. I wouldn’t say bold, but smooth and hoppy is the way to go. Bold to me sounds overpowering and like getting a sucker punch right in the kisser.

Big Swell IPA is smooth and flavorful. As advertised, the malt is the first flavor that your mouth picks upon. Then the hop flavor, a bit floral but more just punchy, kicks and makes for a very balanced drink.

Big Swell IPA is a very nice balance of all the ingredients. I was sad when I finished my can (yes can…this beer is not bottled) I desired more of the flavor of this beer.

I can easily say that Big Swell IPA will make the shortlist mentioned above. This beer is amazing and is a very very good IPA any beer lover would enjoy.

Review: Ninkasi Total Domination IPA

Author: Jason Harris
September 17, 2010

The series on Ninkasi beers is coming to an end today with this review of this hop happy India Pale Ale from the Eugene, Oregon brewery.  After reviewing Radiant Ale and an excellent Red Ale, I was ready to move on to a bitter hoppy IPA to round out this Ninkasi series.

So, how to describe Total Domination IPA?  This is a very light colored ale that is heavy in flavor.  There are multiple blends of hops that make this a very flavorful brew.  Total Domination has only has an IBU rating of 65 and an alcohol percentage of 6.7%.

Even though the IBU rating is only 65, I almost think this is an error, based on how hoppy and bitter this beer is.  It’s very flavorful and will make serious IPA lovers happy.

Total Domination won’t leave you puckered up with absolute bitterness, but it’s a strong brew that will leave you wanting more.  I would put Total Domination in my top 5 of IPAs (right up there with Broken Halo from Widmer).

Check it out – I hope you enjoy it!

Review: Ninkasi Radiant Ale

Author: Jason Harris
September 6, 2010

The series on Ninkasi beers continues today with a refreshing summer beer for you all to check out.  Oregon summer days can be hot and sunny, and nothing goes better with summer sunshine than a light refreshing ale.  Well, you can add a good burger to the mix to make the combination complete.

Ninkasi’s Radiant Ale is a clearer ale that goes tastes exactly as it is described.  Radiant Ale  has a very low bitterness rating at 40 IBUs.  This light ale is said to have a unique hop character that is balanced by a light malty finish.

As I said, this beer tastes exactly as described.  It’s a light tasting beer, even lighter than a pale ale, such as Deschutes Brewing’s Mirror Pond Pale Ale, but not as lhtig as a blonde ale.  Radiant Ale has a slight hoppy initial taste that is followed immediately by a smooth malt-influenced finish.

Honestly speaking, Radiant Ale is a good summer beer, but it’s a bit forgettable.  If I were in a pub, I would definintely order this brew, but it’s not a summer favorite that I would go back to time after time.