Posts tagged ‘Eric’

June 3, 2014

The Pint is Mightier: Reuben’s Brews

(Beer Connoisseur Eric Peters contributed to this post)

Recent followers of Rosemary Renaissance may not know this, but in addition to recipes this blog is also home to Quinn and Eric’s reviews of Pacific Northwest breweries. It’s been more than a year since we ran a post in our “The Pint is Mightier” series, but we finally got our act together and have a new write-up of local Seattle brewery: Reuben’s Brews.

Our tasting notes and Untappd scores for individual beers are below. Overall, we thought that Reuben’s was a strong brewery with an ample variety of consistently tasty beers. Their space was nice, with a neat loft area up top and covered outdoor seating. Out only wish was for the fortitude to taste more beers during our excursion. Consider this on our list of breweries to revisit.

Reuben’s Brews:

Reubens Brews

Eric’s first beer – American Rye (4/5 caps on Untappd)

I have had a few Reuben’s Brews beers in the past and so I was excited to try them out in a more official capacity. I went with what any patriot would choose: the American Rye. This beer poured an opaque golden yellow color and really lacked any sort of strong aroma. When discussing these beers, Quinn noted that the aroma was almost lager-esque in nature.

Upon taking my first sip, it was very apparent how carbonated this beer was. The huge rye flavor blasted my taste buds with a marvelous balancing act that tempered the hops. The beer had a great mouthfeel and went down quite easily. Interestingly, after drinking about a third of a pint, I could taste a bit of lingering yeastiness on my tongue from the beer. This was not a bad thing, and I think helped highlight just how delicate and well balanced this brew is.

This beer was great – anyone who likes rye beers should give it a try. If you are not used to the rye flavor, you might be put off by how bold this beer is, but I think you will quickly come to enjoy it. For me, this is a great standby beer. If I am ever in a pub and I don’t know what to order and they have Reuben’s American Rye – well, I guess I would know what to order at that point.

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June 20, 2013

The Pint is Mightier: Outlander Brewing

(Beer Connoisseur Eric Peters contributed to this post)

After playing some serious catch up with our previous review of Skagit River Brewery, we’re ready to stay ahead of the game with our latest review! From the Center of the Universe in Seattle, WA….

Outlander Brewing

Although this brewery has only been open for about six months, we would hardly be surprised if it wound up taking off in the near future. With a prime spot in Seattle’s Fremont neighborhood, a stylish location in a converted old home, and a line up of well-crafted, creative beers, Outlander is one to watch.

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The first beer that we tried was Outlander’s Peanut Butter Stout. It was quite dark with mild carbonation and a light scent of peanut butter on the nose. The beer itself had nice, roasted notes in the flavor with just a hint of chocolate. We felt it had a mouthfeel more similar porter, but that’s semantics. The peanut butter flavor was very subtle, but was just enough to add that special something to the brew. It’s just a slight tease, enticing the drinker to go back for more and more until, before they knows it, their glass is empty and it’s time for another beer. Evil geniuses, those Outlander folks are.

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May 14, 2013

The Pint is Mightier: Skagit River Brewery

(Beer Connoisseur Eric Peters contributed to this post)

We confess: this brewery review is from almost a year ago. It got buried in the to-do stack and we just got around to finishing it up. A blast from the past, and from Mount Vernon, WA…

Skagit River Brewery

Tired – and definitely not hung over – we were on our way back from Bellingham when we drawn in by the siren’s call of another brewery. Although occasionally disrupted by a loud train careening by right outside, Skagit River generally held the same sleepy, relaxed atmosphere as the town around it. Digging the laid back attitude, we settled in for some reviewing.

Our first beer was the Highwater Porter, which poured a thick, dark black with no head to it. The aroma was light, but carried hints of the roasted malt flavor that made up the base of the flavor. A sip revealed mild grassy and earthy notes as well, but not in any unpleasant sense. There was a hint of strength, but nothing to suggest the actual potency of the brew – 7.2 percent. Overall the Highwater was good and well fortified porter, but nothing to shout from the mountaintops about.

The next beer that we tried was the Sculler’s IPA, a dark amber beaut. It had poured with a relatively small head, and had a rather see-through appearance for an IPA. The beer had a characteristically fruity-hop aroma that was quite enjoyable. The first sip revealed an incredibly power hop flavor, a hop-hurricane (patent pending) you might even say. It wasn’t until the aftertaste that the citrus hops really shone through however. This IPA was tasty and strong, but somewhat unremarkable. You’ll enjoy it if you like IPAs, but it won’t hook you on the style if you don’t.

We were not very impressed with our first sip of the Gospel IPA, with it’s faint banana undertones and overly bitter finish. Something about the hops, malts and yeast were out of whack.  There wasn’t enough body to make up for the force of the hops, which themselves were too weighted towards floral tones without any hint of bitter or earthy notes.  Although we found that this deep amber, medium carbonation beer did grow on us somewhat towards the end, we think that probably had more to do with our taste buds acclimating than anything else.

We concluded our daydrinking session with the Farm to Market Bitter. We don’t often have the chance to review an ESB, much less a regular old bitter (if you don’t know the distinction, don’t be troubled, it’s minor). It poured an amber color with a delightful half inch of head, with a malty and mildly hoppy aroma. It lacked opacity and appeared quite bubbly and carbonated. Just as it smelled, this beer had a good malty flavor with a perfect level of bitterness to balance out the flavor. At 5 percent ABV wasn’t a weak beer, unlike other bitters. We were quite pleased with this beer, judging it to be better than the similar but more widely imbibed Redhook ESB and Mac and Jack’s African Amber. If you like either of those beers, you ought to give this one a try.

The Skagit River Brewery was a fairly pleasant place. It has a good atmosphere, and we imagine that it’s a great local spot for those who live in and around Mount Vernon. While it would be worth your while to stop by if you’re passing through, we don’t recommend an expedition unless you’re as crazy about trying new breweries as we are.

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December 28, 2012

The Pint Is Mightier: Two Beers Brewing Co.

(Beer Connoisseur Eric Peters contributed to this post)

Long time, no brew. We know.

It’s not because we haven’t been drinking beer. Oh no. We’ve just been lazy in writing about it. But we’re roaring back into the Pint is Mightier with a new review from south Seattle…

Two Beers Brewing Co.

Two Beers Tour

Two Beers Brewing is an unassuming craft brewery located just off 99 in Seattle’s SoDo District (that’s south of the dome, for those of you who aren’t from around these parts/don’t remember the Kingdome). The small business park where it’s located is easily accessible by car or public transit, so there’s no excuse not to check it out.

There were quite a few beers to choose from, but being the connoisseurs it’s our job to be decisive. The first beer up was the Back Country Cascadian Brown Ale. Some of you have probably heard of a Cascadian Dark Ale (CDA), but for those of you who haven’t, here’s the scoop – it’s a dark IPA with lots of roast and lots of hops. Two Beers took the CDA concept and applied to the traditionally sweeter brown ale. Preposterous, you say? Pshaw! They very much pulled off the brown ale with big hop flavor. This dark brown ale of medium opacity had all the best parts of a brown ale on top of a perfectly balanced hop profile. Combined with solid carbonation, this beer was highly drinkable. And it comes from us highly recommended. Drink up!

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June 28, 2012

Coming Soon: The Pint is Mighter Bracket!

Okay, we’re about four months late to the whole bracket game, but it makes a little more sense when we explain it.

One year ago (more or less) we started review breweries. It’s taken us all over the state, to old spots and places we never would have imagined going to, to dives and swank joints. Most importantly, it’s taken us to a lot of good beer.We could think of no better way to celebrate our beeriversay than to pit our favorites against one another.

That’s right, we’re putting together a bracket.

There are only two rules: neither of us can have the same beer and no two beers can come from the same brewery. Beyond that, no holds barred. We’re going to have guest judges, an audience to provide the heckling, and live blog the whole showdown right here on this humble blog.

The lineup is still being set, but here’s a preview of a few of the competitors!

    

Look forward to the full lineup, bracket, a competition soon!

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June 2, 2012

The Pint is Mightier: Chuckanut Brewing Co.

(Beer Connoisseur Eric Peters contributed to this post)

After night one at Boundary Bay, we traipsed over to the other side of Bellingham to check out the city’s other major brewery…

Chuckanut Brewing Co.

Often overshadowed by Boundary Bay, Chuckanut Brewing Co. is the spot of some splendid brews. Unlike most breweries in the region that specialize in the Northwest styles we know and love, they stocked a wide variety of German inspired and styled beers. We settled into a booth

The first beer we tried was their Alt. It poured a small head and was not cloudy at all. It had a pleasantly zesty hop aroma, not as strong as an IPA but more akin to what one might expect from a pale ale. The beer itself had a classic German filtered taste and a crisp finish. The hop notes were evident, but not overpowering, while the bitterness lingered ever so slightly on the tongue. We found this beer to be light-bodied but rather refreshing with its somewhat carbonated mouthfeel. Overall it was a pleasant German-style beer with a bit of a Northwest Hop twist.

We took a shot at the Smoke Porter after that. Now introducing smoke flavor to a beer is a tricky thing to do. Much like adding fruit or other flavor additives, it’s very easy to go too far, overwhelming and ruining the original profile of the beer. Smoke, in particular, is very powerful. But Chuckanut got it right with this porter. The smoke flavor was subtle and seamlessly woven into the roasty profile of the beer. It carries through in the scent and in the aftertaste, but never too strongly. In profile, this porter was quite dark with a light white head. We found this to be an exceptionally well-craft and well-balanced beer.

Next up was the Chuckanut Pilsner. What Chuckanut lacked in creative naming it more than made up for in crafting very drinkable beers, in styles we don’t enjoy no less. This pilsner is one of the best we’ve had in our illustrious drinking careers. It poured a small head and had no opacity. The color was golden, while the taste had just a hint of a bite at the end. The beer was straightforward and simple, which are not necessarily bad things and served this style particularly well. The Pilsner had a very crisp, clean finish and was quite refreshing – definitely a reason to check out this brewery.

The final stop on our tour de Chuckanut was their IPA. It poured uncharacteristically for an IPA, with a reddish amber hue and no hop aroma. Despite lacking any strong smell, the flavor profile was hop-heavy with a decidedly earthy and floral lean. The malt influence was very minimal, although hints of rye peaked through into the flavor palette. As you transition to the aftertaste, the flavors peel away leaving just faint floral notes. We thought the IPA was solid, but nothing exceptional.

If you’re looking for a little break from traditional Pacific Northwest brews, then Chuckanut is a great place to stop by. Their German-influenced beers are quite a pleasant, and the pub friendly and inviting. It may not have the same reputation as Boundary Bay, but its worth swinging by if you’re in the area.

March 24, 2012

The Pint is Mightier: Boundary Bay Brewery and Bistro

(Beer Connoisseur Eric Peters contributed to this post)

Ground zero for four of the eight years of our misguided youth (aka college), our next review comes from the great white north of Bellingham, WA.

Boundary Bay Brewery and Bistro

Located in downtown Bellingham, Boundary Bay is a popular spot for locals and visitors alike. Anyone on the street could have told us that what an amazing brewery it was, but asking other people isn’t how we roll. For us, tasting is believing.

First up was the Belgian Trippel. It poured an amber color into a tulip glass with zero head. It possesed a yeasty Belgian aroma with fruity undertones; a definite precursor to the flavor of this beer. The Trippel had many sweet esters and a very fruity taste, while faintest hint of hoppiness lingered on the end of your tongue long after the sip had been taken. It held an interesting combination of hops and malts that emulated a very good old-world Belgian flavor. It was very drinkable and had a good deal of complexity, which became apparent as honey flavors emerged halfway through the pint. In the end we felt the hoppiness clashed mildly with the other flavors in the aftertaste, but overall it was good, complex, and original Belgian style ale.

The Imperial Oatmeal Stout was next on our list. It had a very dark profile, maintaining its opacity even as a thin spindle being poured.  The pint was lightly carbonated with no head and little aroma. The flavor opened robustly, with a strong, dark roastiness that was also vaguely sweet. Despite a strong first impression, the stout unfortunately never moved beyond that single note. The aftertaste lingered, but never developed any additional flavors. Ultimately the lack of complexity in this beer made it rather boring as time went on. The rest of Boundary Bay’s lineup was much stronger; we recommend sticking to their many other great beers.

Speaking of great beers, next in line was Boundary’s Winter style ale: the Cabin Fever. It was dark and completely opaque in color with a surprisingly mild aroma. Upon the first taste we noticed the excellent balance of roastiness and hoppiness, a rare. Winter seasonals from this region usually either play heavily on the hops or heavily on the roast. Although both were strong in this particular brew, they were also wel balanced, setting it apart from others in its class. Overall a delicious beer this is one of the best winter seasonals we have had in our travels.

We rounded out our evening with the Boundary Bay IPA, a mighty good night to be sure. As with all our beers this evening, this pint had no head and has just a bit of carbonation. It was darker than most other IPAs with a amber hue, though the malts were relatively mild. This IPA had a great hop profile that was well balanced between bitter, fruity and floral notes. The lingering aftertaste was leaned more towards the bitter hop flavor, but in an entirely pleasant fashion. Overall this beer was a great medium-bodied, well balanced IPA worth trying whether you’re a hop-head or a hop-hesitant.

Excellent beer, tasty food and cozy atmosphere make Boundary Bay a must-visit for any beer aficionado.

March 1, 2012

Microbrew Micro-review: Fish Brewing Co.

(Beer Connoisseur Eric Peters contributed to this post)

With Quinn being a frequent patron of the Fish Brewery when he was living in Olympia, his only regret when reviewing it was that it was done over the summer. However, our recent excursion to Bellingham (reviews are on the way!) offered us a shot at redemption – Chuckanut Brewing was featuring Winterfish as their guest tap.

That’s right, it’s time for another Microbrew Micro-review!

The Winterfish Seasonal Ale poured a golden amber color with very little head and a surprising amount of cloudiness to it. The lack of aroma belied a delightfully flavorful brew. The hop profile was robust, with multiple fruity notes and a moderate amount of bitterness. The malt background was subtle but noticeable. The most interested element of the beer though was the yeast strain, which gave it a distinctive, floral finish. The result was a bold, hoppy and unique beer that had both of us itching for more.

While our weren’t overly impressed during our initial visit, the Winterfish more than redeemed Fish Brewing. This ale was the best winter IPA that we’ve tasted, and a standout among every category. Even alone, it’s more than enough of a reason to nip out to Olympia or Everett for a pint. Or two.

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February 4, 2012

The Pint is Mightier: Naked City Brewery and Taphouse

(Beer Connoisseur Eric Peters contributed to this post)

From the heart of Seattle’s Greenwood neighborhood, our next review is…

Naked City Brewery and Taphouse

Based on the film noir movie by the same name, Naked City is a cozy, dimly-lit establishment. They have a broad selection of delicious microbrews on tap, which alone would be more than enough of a reason to patron the establishment. More important for our purposes, however, is the handful of beers they brew in-house. Strolling in with our trench coats and fedoras (note: there were no actual trench coats or fedoras) we took a break from the crime beat for a nice cold one.

After looking over the in-house choices, we started with the Duplicity Belgian Dubbel style ale. This beer was served in a goblet and had a dark brown color with a creamy looking head. The aroma was mild, but distinctly Belgian. The beer lacked any sort of bitterness and was extremely malty, as Belgians often are. The minimal carbonation made drinking it incredibly smooth, and the taste was creamy, sweet and quite authentic. The one downside of this otherwise excellent beer was that it lacked much of an aftertaste. Overall this beer was a great Belgian style, done the way it should be done.

Next up was an out-of-the-ordinary brew: the Naked City Peach Hefeweizen. The beer had a golden hue and definite cloudiness to it, with no noticeable head. It had a strong peach aroma that wafted outward from the glass.  Despite the intense smell the flavor was actually quite subtle; it was heavy in traditional wheat flavors with faint notes of peach that frolicked about in the aftertaste. Fruit-infused beers should occupy a small middle ground between underwhelming and overly fruity; this beer definitely hit that (not-too) sweet spot.

Our third beer was the Night and the City Black Ale. The beer was very dark in color and almost entirely opaque, with a very dark roasted aroma. The flavor was an intriguing mix, akin to combining a porter and a brown ale. This black ale went down smoothly and consequently was quite drinkable. The profile was well balanced and, after drinking it a while longer, we noticed some of the roasts coming out and lingering in the aftertaste, a pleasant thing indeed. While this beer was good, it didn’t quite distinguish itself amongst the many that we’ve tried.

We closed out our evening with the Smoked Porter. For all intents and purposes it looked like a traditional porter – dark and vaguely opaque – but the first sip revealed noticeable differences in the flavor profile. The best way to put it: Damn, this beer is smoky. The initial notes of porter were quickly overpowered by char and hickory; it was as though someone had emptied a small vial of liquid smoke into the pint. It wasn’t until the aftertaste emerge that the flavors became more balanced, countering smokiness with sweetness and roasted porter notes. It was a bit too much like barbecue for us, but if you’re in the mood for some smoke then this is exactly what you’re looking for.

Naked City pairs a classic theme with some good in-house brews and dozens of microbrew taps to create a spot that’s definitely worth checking out. In addition to generally being a nice place to grab a pint, they regular host events and movies in keeping with the film noir atmosphere. If you decide to go, let us know. Chances are we might already be planning a trip back.

January 13, 2012

The Pint is Mightier: Fremont Brewing Co.

(Beer Connoisseur Eric Peters contributed to this post)

Nestled in the heart of the center of the universe, WA, our next review is none other than…

Fremont Brewing Co.

The Fremont Brewing Co. is a quaint, quirky place to grab a pint. It has an “urban beer garden” complete with concrete floors, florescent lights, benches made out of kegs, etc. The atmosphere is colorful and inviting – and more than a bit cold, prompting one of us to remark “I think they keep it chilly in here so you’ll drink more beer to get warm.” (The December winter and lack of insulation may have also been contributing factors)

The first beer up was the Dark Star Oatmeal Stout. This incredibly dark beer poured blacker than the blackest black – times infinity. It had exactly the aroma one would expect from an oatmeal stout, pungently roasty. It wasn’t particularly carbonated, and interestingly enough it was not nearly as heavy-bodied as other stouts that we have tasted. The malts were well toasted and brought out notes of coffee that lingered in the aftertaste. The beer also had a good amount of yeastiness to it, which helped build on the complexity of flavor. Overall the Dark Star was a pretty good beer, and if you are fan of stouts, or dark beers in general, we recommend it.

The Sisters Imperial IPA was our next brew. Almost rubyish in color, quite cloudy and served in broad-topped snifter, this definitely didn’t look like your daddy’s IPA. One taste revealed that it didn’t taste like it either. The Sisters possessed a perfect balance of bitter, citrus and floral hops, but the most unique element was the way the flavors intermingled. Normally, different flavors of beer proceed in a linear fashion – that’s why you always see us use the words ‘precede’, ‘follow’ and aftertaste – but in this beer the flavors shifted in and out so many times that we lost track. Neither us have ever had an IPA, or any other kind of beer, like it. The Sisters is a must-try, bottom line.

We moved on (begrudgingly) to the Universale Pale Ale. It was a golden, translucent pint of beer with very little aroma to it. This beer had firm, malty base that was balanced by a lightly bitter hop finish. The most interesting element of the Universale Pale was the mildly filtered taste of it, almost like a lager. The flavor was firmly grounded in the Pale camp, but this gave it some depth and complexity compared to other Pales that we have tried.

We finished the evening with the Interurban IPA, a Fremont mainstay. The first thing we noticed was the pleasant hop aroma wafting into our nostrils as soon as the bartender handed it to us. It was golden in hue and had a low opacity for an IPA. The base of this beer was a light malt taste, but the real flavor came from the hops. The profile leaned towards bitterness, but the citrus hops emerged strongly in the aftertaste. Overall the strongest element of this beer was the balance between the variety of different flavors. After some discussion we both agreed that it doesn’t hold a candle to The Sister Imperial IPA. It’s not the Interurban’s fault – it’s a damn good beer – the competition was simply too fierce.

Fremont Brewing Co. is a fun, unique brewery in one of Seattle’s most upbeat and interesting neighborhoods. More importantly, they have some damn good beer and a good variety of it. It’s definitely one of Seattle’s top microbreweries, and we highly recommend checking it out – although it wouldn’t hurt to wait until it’s a bit warmer out.

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