Black Raven cask report 01/27/2010 – Dry hopped Trickster IPA

•January 28, 2010 • Leave a Comment

I swear I have had a dry hopped beer before, but maybe not because I don’t ever remember any other beer having such a sweet hop aroma and taste with so little bitterness. It was absolutely delicious and the speed at which the cask was drank provided the proof.

It poured the same color as the regular Trickster but with a slight cloudiness as expected on cask. The light carbonation added to the smoothness of the flavor, along with a medium body it was practically too easy to drink.

The hop flavor easily dominated the taste, but it did not knock you over or take away from the beer like many heavily hopped beers I’ve had. I did not sense a strong alcohol content or taste, which was fine by me.

This beer gets an A+ from me and I hope they feature something similar in the upcoming weeks.

2010 Belgianfest Report

•January 26, 2010 • Leave a Comment

In summary, Belgianfest was beyond expectations. I did have some reservations about the beers, not that they would be bad, but that some would not fit my personal taste. I was pleasantly surprised to find that nearly every beer I tasted I found myself saying out loud, “mmm… this is good”. And it wasn’t just me, my wife and brother-in-law, Brian, had the same reaction. It was addicting, we ended up having to try each others beers when one would hear the other make a remark, and with the 4oz tasting glasses there was enough for each of us to get a good taste. Between the three of us we tasted at least 15 different beers.

From the start of the event we were in smiles as we handed over our tickets and each exclaimed over the 4oz snifter tasting glasses we received, nicely done! From there I was intrigued by each of the brewer’s setup with many having small bars and taps, or serving from cask.

There was a good size crowd in the room, but no lines (except to the bathroom). The brewers were standing waiting to greet you and welcomed your questions. A nice change from other festivals I’ve been to with lines and breweries swamped distributing beer and replacing kegs. We chatted with many of the brewers and it gave the event a more personal feel.

I completely forgot to bring or even print out my tasting list I had made prior, but I was able to remember both the beers and order in which I planned to taste. For the most part I stuck to this list, but changed a few and also the fact I tasted several of the beers my wife and Brian tried.

Of the beers I tasted there were definitely a few that stood out. Brian and I both enjoyed the IPA Port Townsend brought that was not on the list. The Donkey Deux from Georgetown Brewing was also really good and not what I expected and the bottle conditioning was a neat feature. The Snipes Mountain Brewery “Dark Matter” was the most interesting and really grew on you the more you drank it. The Pour Les Oiseaux from Black Raven seemed very refined, an orange hazy color with crisp taste of spices and a peppery finish.

I definitely plan to return next year and have already marked my calendar for the March 27th Cask Fest. If it’s anything like this event you will not want to miss it.

Here is a link to pictures from Belgianfest

http://trav.smugmug.com/Other/Beer/2010-Belgianfest/11049502_oeTr2

New Beer Releases From Black Raven

•January 22, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Just received this update from Black Raven! I am excited to taste the Pour Les Oiseau this Saturday at Belgianfest. Might have to make a quick stop tonight to try the Bourbon Barrel Aged Trickster.

NEW BEER RELEASES – TWO OF ‘EM!

Bourbon Barrel Aged Trickster IPA
Release date: Friday 1/22

The Bourbon Barrel Aged Trickster IPA is the latest seasonal release from Black Raven Brewing. A rare bird indeed, only a few kegs exist. This is our wildly popular Trickster IPA that has been hanging out a bit in a bourbon barrel. Based on our preview recently at the Beverage Place Pub Black Raven Brewer’s night, this one will go fast! Sorry, no growlers or kegs to go.

Pour Les Oiseaux
Release date: Tuesday 1/26

Brewed in a traditonal Saison/Farmhouse style with four grains (Barley, Wheat, Oats, and Rye) and Styrian Golding hops. After primary fermentation, the beer was then racked into four French oak white wine barrels. Two of the barrels were previously used for Viognier and the other two were used for Chardonnay. After months of aging, the four barrels were blended together into what is now “Pour Les Oiseaux”. This beer was previewed at Brouwer’s Cafe Big Wood festival last month and received great reviews. Sorry, no growlers or kegs to go.

http://www.blackravenbrewing.com

latest brewery in Bothell – Foggy Noggin

•January 22, 2010 • 1 Comment

A very small brewery is opening in Bothell called Foggy Noggin. This brewery is located in a residential area and currently only open on select Saturdays from 1-4pm, check their blog at thier web site, Foggy Noggin, for a schedule to be posted. I hope to get over and try some of their beer once the schedule is open.

And article about the brewery from the Northwest Beer GuideL

NW Beer Guide Article

Black Raven cask report 01/20/2010 – Morrighan Stout

•January 21, 2010 • Leave a Comment

This week Black Raven featured their Morrigan Stout on cask. Usually they feature something a little extra special, but as the announcement stated “Morrighan Stout: No funny stuff… straight up… no really!”. I have to wonder if Beaux is a Big Lewbowski fan with the “no funny stuff” comment.

Unfortunately I have not had a glass of their Stout prior, so could not compare  how it tasted on cask versus on tap. Never the less, I definitely enjoyed it.

Their stout follows the dry Irish Stout style, it is light in body and alcohol and extremely easy to drink.

The appearance is solid black with a beautiful tan head. Out of the cask the head was minimal, but I swirled the beer a few times to reintroduce a finger thick head. I was intrigued by the colors and texture, appearing similar to the crema of a perfect espresso.

It smelled wonderful, with  chocolate and a sort of roasted caramel readily apparent. The smell would fade, but then a slight swirl brought it back.

The taste is not as strong as the smell, but that is ok as with this style it allows you to enjoy the beer without being knocked over by intense flavor common with American stouts. The taste of chocolate and what seemed like espresso were very good.

My next growler fill at black raven might be their stout, I definitely look forward to another glass.

Beers I plan to try Saturday at Belgianfest

•January 20, 2010 • Leave a Comment

This Saturday is Belgianfest at the Engine Room in Georgetown. I have been looking forward to this event. I continue to expand my taste for beer and have been enjoying some of the unique takes from our local breweries. This festival gives an opportunity to taste some of the best artisanship of these brewers.

There are many different types of Belgian beer, such as Witbier, Trappist/Abbey, Saison, Sours, Brown Ales, Red Beers, Golden Ales, etc., etc. I use to mistakenly think that Belgian beers were limited to Trappist/Abbey beers or white beers, but not so.

Further, some of the beers at the event will be American style ales with a Belgian yeasts and flavors. I am excited to see how these taste compared to the pales, IPAs, ambers, etc. we are accustomed to drinking.

I decided to plan a list of the beers I want to try, so as follows:

Two Beers Brewing – Cask Dry Peeled Crooked Belgian Wit (Belgian Wit)
I plan to start with a white beer and this one sounds great.

Anacortes Brewery– Anacortes Golden Honey Wheat (Belgian Golden Ale)
This one just sounds tasty and refreshing.

Dick’s Brewing Co. – Centralia Silk Lady (Belgian Pale Ale)
I really like Pale Ales, so definitely have to try a Belgian style pale.

Black Raven Brewing Co. – Pour les Oiseaux (Wine Barrel Aged Saison)
I’ve been impressed with beers from Black Raven and enjoyed their Belgian inspired Vertigenwoordigen voor de Oostkant, I am definitely looking forward to their Saison.

Elysian Brewing Co. – The Red Queen (Saison Farmhouse Ale)
I figured Elysian’s Saison will be a good beer to compare to Black Ravens.

Elliott Bay Brewing Co. – Hop von Boorian (Belgian IPA)
Again, interesting to try an American style ale with a Belgian twist.

Elliott Bay Brewing Co. – Cask Red von Boorian (Tart Belgian Red Ale)

Elysian Brewing Co. – Groaning Board (Trappist-style Table Beer)
Have to try at least one Trappist style

Snoqualmie Falls Brewing Co. – Snoqualmie Spring Fever 2009 (Grand Cru)
One of the few Snoqualmie seasonal I have not had, so it’s on my list.

Boundary Bay Brewery – Bellingham Boundary Bay Tripel (Belgian Tripel)
This one looks delicious on their web site.

5 mile run with Missy

•January 16, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Missy and I got in a good 5 mile run this morning at Lord’s hill. Missy loves to run there and a great running partner… it’s motivating when a dog with 4-inch legs is kicking your ass.

For fun I took my GPS with me and made a track of the run. The trails go up and down quite a few hills