Archive for September, 2010

Review Laurelwood Brewing Free Range Red Ale

Author: Jason Harris
September 19, 2010

We’re beginning a new series this week, featuring a fantastic smaller brewery in Portland called Laurelwood Brewing, in NE Portland.

Laurelwood is a Pub on NE Sandy Blvd and is a hotspot for any Portland based beer lover.

We who our outside of the Portland area are lucky that Laurelwood also bottles a few select beers, including today’s highlighted beer, Laurelwood Free Range Red Ale.

Free Range Red Ale is a very colorful ale what has a really well ballanced hoppy beer.  I think Free Range Red is Laurelwood’s ‘signature’ brew and it is a good beer to carry that honor.  When you see Free Range Red, it’s rich copper-coloring stands out.  According to their website, this beer is made from organically grown malts.

At first sip, Free Range Red has a medium body and is very drinkable.  It has a nice hoppy start and a smooth malty finish, making this a perfect all-around beer to have around for any occasion.  At 5.9% and 60 IBUs, this brew will make anyone who likes a good beer happy.

The beer is so good, it won the Gold Medal at the 2004 World Beer Cup, which is a very high honor for any brewer.

My feeling on Free Range Red: I would recommend this beer to anyone who likes an Amber, Pale Ale, Bitter or anything in between.  It is so versitile and refreshing, yet flavorful authentic.

Free Range Red is a perfect way to start out my series on Laurelwood.

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.

Review: Ninkasi Believer Double Red Ale

Author: Jason Harris
September 4, 2010

Ninkasi Brewing of Eugene, Oregon is our next stop on our beer tour of Oregon.  I have seen this brewery many times as it has a kind of cult following here in the Willamette Valley.  I’ve even seen their beer in Costco and have been curious about the brand.

This review will be the first of three reviews of ales I bought that are from Ninkasi.  If there’s a specific brew you think I should check out form Ninkasi, please leave a comment below or get in touch with me otherwise.

Ninkasi Believer Double Red Ale is an interesting beast.  When I first poured it, I thought it would be IPA-like in flavor. I could immediately smell the hops and other floral scents when I poured this very dark copper colored ale into the pint glass.

For those doing their homework, Believer Double Red is 6.7% alcohol and has 60 IBUs, putting it dead center in the ‘bitterness’ category of ales.  Ninkasi started brewing this beer in 2006 and it’s one of the company’s more popular brews.

How does it taste?  In a word: majestic.  Believer Double Red has a bit of hoppyness, just enough to be present but not too much that it overwhelms.  What is most notable is the malty overtones that persist through your entire sip of this red ale.  This is not a complex tasting beer – rather it’s a very nice balance of bitterness and malty smoothness.

If you like a good, medium-strong ale, you’ll like Believer Double Red.  Any amber ale fan who craves a bit more flavor will go nuts for this beer.  I hope you enjoy it!

Review: Pyramid Thunderhead IPA

Author: Jason Harris
September 3, 2010

Readers of this website know that I’m an IPA nut.  India Pale Ale is by far one of my favorite classes of beer, because of it’s tempting color, bold hop flavor, and smooth finish.

In that spirit, it’s time to conclude the batch of Pyramid brew reviews by checking out Thunderhead India Pale Ale.  As may have already seen, we’ve already checked out Pyramid’s Haywire Hefeweizen and Curve Ball Blonde Ale.

Looking at Thunderhead, this is a bold hoppy IPA.  The reddish-pale color makes you think this IPA might have a light flavor.  The beer has a gravity of 16.7, is 6.7% in alcohol and has an IBU rating of 67.

At my first sip, this beer has a moderate punch with it’s hoppy bitterness.  It won’t knock you off your stool like Hopyard Dog IPA from Pale Horse – and has more of a malt balance than some hop-heavy IPAs, but Thunderhead is flavorful. The aftertaste is pleasant and dissipates quickly.

I would recommend Thunderhead to those new to IPAs as it is a good middle-of-the-road IPA that any beer nut would love to sample.