Friday, October 3, 2008

Impromptu Beerapolooza

Last week my buddy brought over a cache of beers. It is pretty sorry that I am only getting around to posting now - but the crashing financial world has taken most my time. The beer tasting was a needed break from the financial news. He had just spent a week in Oregon and brought some good beer and good swag. The beers I did not try that night were Deschutes Twilight Ale and Shasta Brewing's Shastafarian Porter. These are in my fridge for future consumption. I did not take notes during the tasting but the following are my general impressions of the beer we tried.

First up was Standing Stone Double IPA from Ashland Oregon's Standing Stone Brewing. The beer was from a growler. Here is a picture of the growler and the two pints it filled. Note that the growler was a smaller than a standard growler. The beer was an excellent Northwest-style double IPA. It was nicely balanced with strong hops and corresponding malt backbone. I thought its color was darker than the standard Double IPA but it did not relate to a heavier taste. The picture does not show it as dark as I remember. I'd like more of this beer.

The second beer was Rogue's Imperial Red Ale. Whoa! Notice its bottle - it looks like an early 20th Century tank, and the beer has the complexity of a tank - and this is a compliment. It is a serious beer and a natural progression after the double IPA. It is rich, has lots of alcohol and is a sipping beer. It is heavy in flavor and having it by itself would have done it more justice. I would recommend enjoying this beer on a cold evening and savoring it throughout the night. It is a rewarding beer and not one to be rushed.

Next we tried Coronado's Red Devil double red ale. It was, by definition, the same style as Rogue's Imperial Red Ale, but a much different beer. After the Rogue, it was much lighter and more approachable despite its dark color. It was a good beer, but no match for the Rogue in terms of depth and construction.

Finally, we got to The Bruery's Trade Winds Tripel. I have had this beer in my fridge for several weeks and I am a little disappointed that I brought it out so late in the tasting, because after the previous three beers we could not appreciate its excellence. I had tasted it once before and knew it was good. It's unique in that it is brewed with rice and basil, but I was not able to taste either, which was OK. This beer is The Bruery's summer release and I have a line on another bottle that I will try to enjoy by itself. The Belgian style was refreshing after three strong ales, and its quality showed through. This beer has serious carbonation and head retention.

This beer tasting was a needed break from the dismal market, although this week's market performance was scarier and more troubling than last weeks. I liked the double IPA and the Rogue was an excellent beer. After this week's market performance, I think I need another tasting this weekend. This market calls for Lost Abbey's Judgement Day, a 10.50% quadrupel...

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