Block15 Brewing Company – Sticky Hands Marmalade

I realized recently that it had been a minute since I had posted a beer review and thought what better occasion to remedy that mortal sin than upon pouring my one and perhaps only, Sticky Hands Marmalade canned pint.  Brewed by Block15 Brewing Company in the best damned college town in the USA, Corvallis, Oregon – Sticky Hands Marmalade takes the base Sticky Hands Hop Experience IIPA recipe and flips the script on the usual hopping parameters with Amarillo, Appolo, Belma, and Chinook hops.  This results in a citrusy, peachy, slightly sour marmaladeriffic Imperial IPA.  It looks hazy and mysterious as it pours and settles, deceptively calm as it waits for consumption.

Easily up there with the Tropical Slam one-off, I was absolutely gutted when I thought I was not going to get to sample this ambrosia due to a perfect storm of financial embarrassment and lack of transport.  Enter the BFF to save the day with a single pint can in the form of a late birthday present.  I even waited an additional 24 hours because my palate had been corrupted by lesser ales before the hand-off.

It.  Was.  Worth it.

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It’s Been Awhile

To the few who follow my blog I apologize for the absence!  I have been writing almost every day in the morning and then I went on vacation sans computer and internet connection.

For anyone who has never unplugged in this fashion before I highly recommend it.  And by unplug I mean only get on social media like once every other day when you happened to be somewhere that got 4G or had free WiFi.

My family and I went on our yearly 4th of July trip to Mazanita, Oregon!  It was a much needed vacation and tons of fun as always.  We did things a bit differently this year where the rest of the family and friends left after the holiday and it was just me, the wife, and the kids for Monday through yesterday.  We enjoyed plenty of beach time, meals out, and a trip up North to Astoria, Oregon.

While I would love to plug all of the delicious restaurants we dined at, this is primarily a craft beer and social justice blog.  I realize lately those types of posts have been few and far between, but I will remedy that today on the craft beer front, at least.

Whilst in Astoria I managed to drag the family to Buoy Beer Co. located in an old cannery building right up on that old Columbia River.  It was not an easy job because while Astoria is undergoing a bit of a Renaissance, it is still fairly run-down in many places and we visited on a dreary day. But inside the building was gorgeous! Fully renovated. Industrial aesthetic. Lots of reclaimed wood in true Portlandia fashion. Three features that set this brewery + restaurant apart from the rest in order of pretty cool to fucking rad:

1) The design of the taps and the sample tray. Small metal buoys with Buoy Beer Co. on the top. I will attach a picture below.

2) The four or five tables up close to the rivers edge had humongous sliding glass windows! If you were lucky enough to sit at those tables you would feel spray from the water and get an unobstructed view of the busy Columbia River mouth area.

3) In the floor is a huge glass window looking down at the underbelly of the dockside/pier complete with tide water slashing against the rocks! I would not be surprised to see some sea lions chilling out down there on any given day!

In case it is unclear, I was really excited about everything this building had to offer with the exception of the trucker cap I wanted to buy not fitting my large noggin.

Without further ado, I’ll get to the damned beers! Prior to visiting the brewery I had enjoyed Buoy IPA on tap, Cream Ale on NITRO, Kettle Demon Imperial IPA on tap, and the IPA in a 22 oz. bottle.
Needless to say I wanted try that new ish as well as the Cream Ale from just a regular tap.

Sample uno was called The Walk-In and it was a delicious Imperial Brown Ale. Smooth, subtly hopped, and clean finishing enough that even the wife enjoyed a couple of sips – I really liked this one.

My second choice their India Red Rye Ale. The flavor combination was impeccable. It was super piney on the nose which I did not except, but seeing as the rye was not overpowering I guess I can get there.

Third on deck was a NW Red. Super duper smooth, but not all that original for the style. I still gave it four of five stars on Untappd.

The fourth selection of the day was Buoy’s take on the Czech Pilsner. It was pretty strong and I would not be sad about it being sold in cans in some sort of 12 pack container.

Fifth choice was the Cream Ale. The wife loved this one too! It was very smooth and I have to say it was better from a regular tap than on Nitro. It was still very smooth, but it did not go too far as I felt the nitro did.

Last but not least, I tried Spirit Session. This was a collaboration beer with Base Camp Brewing from Portland. Collaborations seem to be all the rage of the last couple of years and I ain’t mad about it.
This one was an India Style Red Lager and it was just fine. I was honestly expecting more given the two brewing champs involved, but I guess that was just my own out of proportion expectations. A solid three of five.

Welp, that’s all I’ve got for now. Now for the photo! Love, peace, and chicken grease!

buoy beer co sampler

BCAA: Last, But Certainly Not Least

Well…the journey is at an end.

Frankly, I am proud of myself for making it last as long as it did.

Beer Camp 2014 has come to a close for this guy.

The last beer I drank does not have any special significance.  It just ended up being the last one in the box.

Myron’s Walk.  Belgian-Style Pale Ale brewed with Coriander.

Yeasty as a motherfucker, this one.  Brewed by Sierra Nevada in collaboration with Allagash out of MAINE, of all places.  West Coast Hops meet Belgian Yeast for a mildly tart pale ale with a legit profile for a hybrid such as this.

Based off of the two Belgian styles ales in this pack, I’m going to have to give the style its due.  I usually avoid it like the plague, but going forward, I plan to be much more open-minded.

Well done Sierra Nevada and all of your collaborators.  You have brought something to the people that deserves respect.

I hate goodbyes…

Beer Camp: Across America “What about elevenses?” Edition

Sierra Nevada plus New Glarus equals There and Back English Style Bitter.

This one could have tasted like stale Newcastle (I have yet to taste an unsatisfying ESB) and it would still have held a special place in my heart.

I love Tolkien.  The reference alone gives merit to this collaboration.  I had never heard of New Glarus Brrewing Co. before now.  Sadly, they have not made it out to my neck of the west coast yet.  If I ever make it to Wisconsin, I will stop in to pay my respects as There and Back is evidence they know their craft.

I could drink this beer all day.  I’m a hop guy six days of seven, but the toasty nutterific malts used in this recipe go down so smoothly, I’d be willing to convert at least two days a week.

“It comes in pints?!”

Campo de Bier Across Estados Unidos Numero Cinco

Sierra Nevada.  Cigar City Brewing out of Tampa.  Yonder Bock.  This one is billed as a tropical Maibock.  I can taste the guava and mango.  I cannot taste the passionfruit because I do not know what passionfruit tastes like.  Calypso, Azacca, and some sort of experimental 366 hops???  The fuck?  Whatever they are, they are the bomb.com  This is still a Maibock style brew.  I was a little worried that with that powerful of hop infusion I would no longer be able to taste the style.

Consider my fears groundless.  The flavor blending of this beer could not have been more perfect.  Sometimes with the fruitier flavored hops you get overpowered.  Not Yonder Bock.  The mixture perfectly combines the flavors.

Yonder Bock is truly a thing of beauty and at 7.7% ABV it gives you that oh so special feeling after imbibibation (I made up that word just now).

Salud!  Viva Cuba!

Beeeeeer Caaaaaamp – Across Ameriiiicaaaaaa! Quad

A good pale ale is something of an anomaly these days.  Usually it’s too weak or the brewer should have called a spade, a spade and came clean that they produced a mediocre IPA.

Chico King Pale Ale is something of a God amongst mortal pale ales.  Brewed by Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. in collaboration with 3 Floyds out of the Midwest, this sucker has the perfect balance of fruity hop varietals and the malt pushback that keeps this in the pale ale category, instead of venturing down IPA way.

6.5% ABV makes this a force to be reckoned with, yet at the same time the malt profile harkens back to a strong English-style pale ale.  Out of the four brews I have tasted thus far, I deem this to be the best fit for a large batch release.  Not too strong, but providing a plethora of flavors – I could handle a sixer of this night after night.

Bow down before the king.