Monday, November 8, 2010

Great Beers out Right Now

I had a few beers over the weekend, but three of them stood out as so tasty that it seems worthwhile to point them out. They're all of somewhat limited or sporadic availability, so you should look for them right away.

Sierra Nevada 30th Anniversary Grand Cru

Of course you've been watching -- and hopefully tasting -- Sierra Nevada's 30th Anniversary series. The Helles Bock that Portland's own Fred Eckhardt had a hand in, the Black Barleywine, the Imperial Stout... those were very well-done beers, everything in balance, clean flavors, but nothing I'd stock up on.

The Grand Cru that just came out is different. It's a beautiful beer, a wall of hops on a firm foundation of malt. It walks the line between barleywine and imperial IPA, with kind of that barleywine intensity, but without the sweeter notes. Tons of hops, but not intensely bitter (not that it would be a bad thing). Do yourself a favor and pick up some of this beer -- it was under $9 at Beermongers Friday. You might be tempted to cellar it, but it's delicious right now.

By the way, I am disappointed that Sierra Nevada is extending their abuse of the term "fresh hop" to Celebration, which is now subtitled "Fresh Hop Ale". Cut it out! If there's a glimmer of hope, it's that the little band on the neck of the bottle explains that the beer features "the first hops of the growing season". "First Hops" would be a suitable term for all you brewers who don't want to use un-kilned hops but still want the fresh flavor from newly-dried hops. Just stop calling dried hops fresh.

Caldera Dry-Hopped Red

It's not too unusual to see Caldera's Dry-Hopped Orange in Portland, but I've always been a little disappointed in that beer, probably because years ago I ran into the Dry-Hopped Red first. Dave maneuvered me down to Vincente's Saturday afternoon, we were happy to see Caldera's Red on tap there. It's a classic of the NW red style -- full-bodied but on the dry side, and lots of hops without getting out of balance. For some reason, it doesn't show up in Portland all that often -- maybe it's a winter seasonal for them -- but if you like the big reds from Ninkasi, Laurelwood, or Hopworks, seek this one out. It's good stuff.

Terminal Gravity Cascade Single-Hopped DIPA

Carla and I snuck away to Accanto (the bistro side of Genoa) for a rare dinner date Saturday. Dr. Wort had me in the mood for a martini before dinner -- and Accanto will take good care of you on that account -- but with the meal I happily ordered the Cascade variant of TG's single-hop series. It was delicious. Nice floral hops, just a little citrusy, on top of a very hearty double IPA. I would have liked to try it against the other C-hop variants that came out a few months ago, but maybe this means some more batches are on the way. Please leave a comment if you see them around town.

1 comment:

  1. SV's Grand Cru had a pretty vinegary nose, but nice flavor... dug it on tap last week down here in Eugene.