Category Archives: New In Bottles

New Bottles of note 6.22.13

If you get  your hands on one IPA this summer, make it Deschutes Fresh Squeezed. Its bold, clear amber color is aptly followed by silky malt flavors and succulent hop chewiness. This is a beer you can judge by the label. Unlike many citrusy IPAs that scorch your tastebuds with cohumulone and alcohol, Fresh Squeezed gooses you good, then puts its arm around your shoulder. It is hopped with Nugget, Citra, and Mosaic– what a great combination! Citra is, obviously, a citrusy, tropical hop. They could have just used Citra and kept the name, but it would have been one-dimensional and harsher. Instead, Nugget adds a softer fruit and herb note, and Mosaic (the “daughter of Simcoe,” and all the rage right now) lends some  melon flavor, rounding out the tropical/citrus bouquet with grace. Some of the solo-Mosaic beers have a musky sensation similar to the “cat-pee”  (sorry) aroma often accompanying super fresh Simcoe beers; it is not the case here.

squeeze me!
squeeze me!

Anchorage Brewing’s homepage proudly declares that it is “WHERE BREWING IS AN ART & BRETTANOMYCES IS KING!” If only that were the case more often…

This Belgian-inspired brewery in southern Alaska (because of course there is) puts at least a little Brett into everything, and sometimes more. More is definitely the case with the latest bottles, Anadromous and AK Alive! (a collaboration with the crazy guys at Mikkeller). Anadromous probably has more cold-side additions than in the mash and boil kettle– it’s a black ale fermented with Belgian yeast, then aged in Pinot Barrels with Brettanomyces, Lactobacillus, and Pediococcus (does that mean it’s quintuple fermented?). The skeptic in me says “too much!” but I can see how this could go right. At the very least, drink this after a round of antibiotics to get your gut flora replenished…

Pediococcus doesn’t sound like something we should put in food, but it is actually a vital microorganism in our cultural library. It is partly responsible for fermenting cabbage into sauerkraut, for example. Ironically, Anadromous comes up as the seventh entry in a Google search for Pediococcus. Pedio is one of the fermenters of Lambic beers, often producing the bulk of lactic acid, and can generate some really funky esters (think anywhere from feet to butterscotch)– don’t fret, it generally (hopefully) plays second fiddle to more appealing flavors, while lending a particular creamy mouthfeel. Yeah!

I’ve never seen a “cover beer” before, but Anchorage seems to have done it. AK Alive! is their version of It’s Alive! And, apparently, that too is a cover beer. Converse to Anadromous, the recipe is simple, straightforward: brew a pale, hoppy Belgian ale, then bottle condition with a lively Brett strain.

New in Bottles 5.16.13

This week’s beer deliveries had quite a few gems and rarities (see previous post), but I wanted to give a fuller update here:

Widmer Citra Blonde and Alchemy Ale. In the quest for consistency, Widmer came up with Alchemy hop blend several years ago. It’s mostly Warrior and Millennium, with a couple other varieties in there. Hop blends are a good insurance policy for breweries who depend on an extremely consistent product; if one variety doesn’t do so well one year, the percentages in the blend can shift with little noticeable effect in the beer. Both the Citra Blonde and Alchemy Ale (of course) use the blend. Citra clocks in at a quaffable 4.3% abv and 20 IBUs, and Alchemy is 5.8% and 40 IBU. Here’s a really cool article about IBUs!

Schooner EXACT out of Seattle is a relatively young brewery (founded in 2006 as a nano-brewery) that has a growing reputation for solid ales; they now have a full restaurant and taproom. We got the King St. Brown, which should have full chocolate and nut flavors, but not finish too sweet. 5.5% abv, 32 IBus, just right for a brown ale.

widmer schooner stone wasatch

If you’re looking for a more culinary experience in a bottle, Stone put out Smoked Porter with Chipotle Peppers. Smoked beers are definitely an acquired taste, and the addition of peppers amplifies that fact. However! Smoked Porters are somehow way more accessible than German Rauchbiers, the smoke acting as a great complement to chocolate and darker malt flavors rather than dominating the whole thing. If you try this and like it, also check out  Alaskan’s Smoked Porter. Both these beers will pair well with grilled or smoked fish.

Last, but not least – and I will be posting more on this subject – we have craft ciders. The last few years have seen an explosion of new cideries in the region, which makes perfect sense; Oregon and Washington produce tons of apples. I’ve been thrilled with Wandering Aengus’s selection of Single Varietal ciders, like Wickson, which blurs the line between cider and riesling; crisp and acidic, but with super smooth and bright apple flavor. The Golden Russet has a more tannic aspect, with some deep honey and caramel notes. Yesterday I got to taste a couple ciders from Finn River, up in the Olympic Peninsula. Their Dry Hopped Cider uses classic Cascade hops to add an earthy and citrusy tang to sweet dessert apple flavors, with a moderately dry finish.

Cheers!

New Bottles of Note 5.14.13

Since moving into the new location, there have been deliveries of dozens of new items. This has meant a lot of puzzle-work in the cooler to keep everything in its right region, and less time to promote our new stuff– believe me, there’s a lot of new stuff coming in!

A whole array of cans, both domestic and imported, have made their shiny way onto our shelves: Occidental Kolsch (crisp and light but interesting, from Portland); Evil Twin’s Hipster Ale (those crazy Danes!); canned options of Baba Black Lager and Wyld from SLC’s Uinta.

A note about Uinta: everything I’ve had from them has been great, if offbeat at times. The Baba is a classic look at Schwarzbier– a German lager with roasted malt such as Weyermann Carafa, which imparts a hint of roast to bready Pilsner and Munich malts– a rare style in the craft beer scene (Heater Allen’s is great too).

baba black lager

Sour/wild beers have been growing steadily in popularity; many hop-heads have branched out into these similarly big-flavored beers, and they are a great way to broaden a wine-drinker’s perspective on the range of flavors in beer. Boulevard Brewing, out of St. Louis, MO, has put out several beers with Brettanomyces (a wild yeast that lends a particular funk; ranges from tropical fruit to “barnyard” flavors), and Love Child is the most recent on our shelves. It’s tart up front and finishes with a farmy Brett. funk with round malt and tart cherry notes in the middle.

boulevard-love-child-no-3-label

If you’re looking for “way out” rarities, look to the nomadic Brian Strumke of Stillwater Artisanal Ales. We’ve got a handful of his beers, most of which are brewed collaboratively in Europe (Strumke started the brewery in Baltimore, MD). He’s part of the new wave of “Farmhouse” breweries like Commons in Portland and Agrarian Ales just up the road in Coburg. The general dub Farmhouse gives the brewers some leeway when it comes to style– the beers tend to be on the ‘flight-of-fancy’ end of the spectrum. Stillwater’s are no different: Gypsy Tears, brewed at Fano Bryghus (also with Mikkeller) on an island in western Denmark, is a strong Stout brewed with wild yeast. Debauched, also brewed at Fano, is, according to the website, “brewed with whole juniper bushes, farmhouse ale yeast (brettanomyces) and a touch of smoke. Like a Viking Saison, yeah.” Crazy hippies.

debauched

I’ll publish a list of all the new beers of the week on Friday. Hopefully this will keep you drooling until then.