Wednesday, February 29, 2012

222 Days of Deployment = 108 Beers

So when my husband left with the Navy on a 7 month deployment I decided I wanted him to come home to more beer than he would know what to do with.  He will have been gone 222 days by the time he returns.  Last time he left for 7 weeks he came home to a beer for each day he was gone.  When we realized that this would be 200+ days he made me promise not to buy him a beer for each day (crazy boy).  So instead, over the months, I managed to nearly buy him a beer for every 2 days he was gone.  Marriage is about compromise, right??  I did my best to pick up beers that were limited to certain times of the year, some that were his favorites, or just ones that I picked up for one reason or another.  It may sound strange but I looked forward to a weekly shopping trip to get him these beers - it gave me a good opportunity to think about him, what he'd like, and made me feel connected to him.  And I'm pretty sure he looked forward to the pictures I sent via email of the beers waiting for him.  Each care package that he got had a stack of all the beer magazine he subscribes to.  I'd read them first and put in sticky notes with my thoughts & comments of things I wanted him to notice, just like I'd point out to him if he was home.  Turns out beer somehow keeps us together even when we're on opposite sides of the world.

Here is the list of what he has waiting for him, now we just have to find the time to work on some this list:

  1. 7 Seas - Ballz Deep
  2. 7 Seas - British Ale
  3. 21st Amendment - Allies Win the War
  4. Alameda - Yellow Wolf Imperial IPA
  5. Alaskan - Perseverance Ale
  6. Alchemist / Ninkasi / Stone - More Brown Than Black IPA
  7. Anchor Brewing - Merry Christmas & Happy New Year
  8. American Brewing Co - Breakaway IPA
  9. Avery - Maharja
  10. Beer Valley - Delta 9 IPA
  11. Boston Brewing - Infinium 2011
  12. Bruery - 4 Calling Birds
  13. Bruery / Dogfish Head - Faster, Bigger, Better, Bolder
  14. Bruery / Elysian / Stone - La Citrueille Celeste de Citracado
  15. Buffalo Bills - Blueberry Oatmeal Stout
  16. Deschutes Brewery - Jubelale
  17. Dogfish Head - 120 Minute IPA
  18. Dogfish Head - 120 Minute IPA
  19. Dogfish Head - Burton Baton
  20. Dogfish Head - Chateau Jiahu
  21. Dogfish Head - Faithful Ale
  22. Dogfish Head - Fort
  23. Dogfish Head - Immort Ale
  24. Dogifsh Head - Life and Limb
  25. Dogfish Head - My Antonia
  26. Dogfish Head - Namaste
  27. Dogfish Head - Noble Rot
  28. Dogfish Head - Pangea
  29. Dogfish Head - Pangea
  30. Dogfish Head - Palo Santo Marron
  31. Dogfish Head - Punkin Ale
  32. Dogfish Head - Punkin Ale
  33. Dofgish Head - Ta Henket
  34. Dogfish Head - Tweasonale
  35. Dogfish Head - Tweasonale
  36. Dogfish Head - World Wide Stout
  37. Driftwood Brewing - Singularity
  38. Elysian - Dark o’ the Moon
  39. Elysian - Idiot Sauvin
  40. Elysian - Idiot Sauvin
  41. Elysian - Night Owl
  42. Elysian - Nimbru (#1 of 12 Beers of the Apocalypse)
  43. Elysian - Rapture (#2 of 12 Beers of the Apocalypse)
  44. Firestone Walker Brewing - Firestone 15 Anniversary Ale
  45. Great Divide - Hibernation Ale
  46. Fremont - Interurban IPA
  47. Full Sail - Top Sail Imperial Porter
  48. Full Sail - Wreck the Halls
  49. Hair of the Dog - Blue Dot IPA
  50. Hair of the Dog - Blue Dot IPA
  51. Hopworks - IPA
  52. Iron Horse Brewery - Cozy Sweater
  53. Iron Horse Brewery - Cinco de Drinco
  54. Iron Horse Brewery - Double Rainbow
  55. Iron Horse Brewery - Malt Bomb
  56. Iron Horse Brewery - Mocha Death
  57. Iron Horse Brewry - Mocha Death
  58. Lagunitas - Cappuchino Stout
  59. Lagunitas - Holiday Ale
  60. Laruelwood - Stingy Jack
  61. Left Coast- Hop Juice
  62. Left Hand - Fade to Black (Volume 3)
  63. MacTarnahan’s Brewing Co. - Winter Humbug
  64. Maritime Pacific Brewing - Jolly Roger Christmas Ale
  65. Midnight Sun - Arctic Devil
  66. Midnight Sun - Treat
  67. New Belgium - Frambozen
  68. New Belgium - Lips of Faith Series - Kick
  69. New Belgium - Ranger
  70. Ninkasi - Imperiale Stout
  71. Ninkasi - ReNEWale Porter
  72. North Coast - Old Rasputin XIV
  73. Pelican Pub & Brewery - Bad Santa
  74. Pike Place - IPA
  75. Pike PLace - Kilt Lifter
  76. Ridgeway Brewing - Bad Elf
  77. Ridgeway Brewing - Lump of CoalFifteen
  78. Ridgeway Brewing - Pickled Santa
  79. Ridgeway Brewing - Santa’s Butt
  80. Ridgeway Brewing - Warm Welcome
  81. Rogue (Chatoe) - First Growth Pumpkin Patch Ale
  82. Russian River Brewing - Pliny the Elder
  83. Samuel Adams - Black Lager
  84. Samuel Adams - Cream Stout
  85. Samuel Adams - Holiday Porter
  86. Samuel Adams - Irish Red
  87. Samuel Adams - Mighty Oak Ale
  88. Samuel Adams - The Vixen
  89. Samuel Adams - Whitewater IPA
  90. Samuel Adams (Imperial Series) - Imperial White
  91. Samuel Adams (Imperial Series) - Wee Heavy
  92. Shipyard Brewing - Pumpkinhead
  93. Sierra Nevada - Bigfoot Ale
  94. Sierra Nevada - Bigfoot Ale
  95. Sierra Nevada - Bigfoot Ale
  96. Sierra Nevada - Celebration
  97. Skagit River Brewing - Sculler’s IPA
  98. Smaltz Brewing - Jewbelation Fifteen
  99. Southern Oregon Brewing - Nice Rack IPA
  100. Southern Tier - Chokolat Stout
  101. Southern Tier - Harvest
  102. Southern Tier - Pumking
  103. Southern Tier - Uneartly Imperial IPA
  104. Spoetzel Brewery - Holiday Cheer
  105. Stone - Vertical Epic (11-11-11)
  106. Two Beers - IPA
  107. Unita - Punk’n
  108. Unita Crooked Line - Oak Jacked Imperial Pumpkin

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Maui Brewing Mana Wheat

This beer is ok.  I'm not a giant wheat fan.  This one kind of tasted like flowery soap to me.  I'm not sure what that soapy taste is, but frequently I think light beers taste like soap.

When I went to the description of the beer and realized there was pineapple in it, I could taste the flavor.  It's probably part of what I was tasting but not able to place until I read that.  Once I placed that taste it was less soapy and more pineapple sweet.  It still had a bit of soap taste though.

Beer Advocate calls this average.
Here's Maui Brewing's take on their beer.

Redhook Blueline Series Down Under Stout

Redhook is somewhat local.  Their brewery is up in Woodinville.  I've been there.  I went to ExBEERience there in 2011.  We ate in their restaurant.  I didn't enjoy it.  Thus, I am going to probably rate this lower based solely on my feeling of the brewery.

The beer was bought earlier in the night and was not super cold and I was not impressed with this beer.  It smelled like a generic Redhook beer.  I find they must either use the same generic hops or malts or combination and that a lot of their beers taste the same.  I was really underwhelmed.  I think I feel the same way about Redhook as I do about BJ's.  They are just another mass brewery trying to be too big and their beer quality has suffered.

Beer Advocate definitely needs more reviews!

Here's a Red Hook's site on the Blueline series, though it seems they rotate through the different beers in the series so you may not find this one on their site.

Iron Horse Irish Death

I love Iron Horse.  I love this beer.  It's incredibly drinkable.  I also love the label.  Really, Iron Horse puts out a solid product and I suggest you all give this beer a try.  Or any other beer that may suit your style more with Iron Horse.  

Beer Advocate calls this good.
Here's Iron Horse's info on the beer.

BJ's Tatonka Stout

Meh. I really kind of think places like this aren't exactly great. This location had an extensive beer menu but I feel like whenever I'm somewhere that is a "brewery" I should give their beer a try. This particular BJ's was in Southcenter Mall in Seattle.

When I was down in San Diego and tried their porter in December and wasn't impressed. I felt the same with their stout this time around. It was bland and almost tasted watered down.  I am shocked this is considered an imperial stout.  This was just terrible.

As sad as it is, I'd consider eating at BJ's again but I'd rather skip having a beer all together. The food here was ok but the service was lacking. However, I did try fried buffalo chicken wontons which may have been the best part of my visit here. I think next time I'll have a water, some wontons, and a pizookie (google it). I'd even skip the pizza as I wasn't impressed!

Beer Advocate disagrees with me.
Here's what BJ's says about their beer.

Great Divide Nomad

Ok. A little weak for a pilsner. Great divide may want to stick to the darker beers.

This is a checz style pilsner. Maybe that's the problem? I wonder if the style is different than other pilsners I've had and enjoyed. Writing this blog is going to end up educating me as well as anyone reading it!

This one is apparently a seasonal available from January-March.

Well I looked it up, and it does seem there are some slight difference.

Beer Advocate thinks this is good.
Here is Great Divide's site on all of their beers.

Carter's Chocolates made with beer!

I swung by a chocolate store called Carter's in Port Orchard. They make all of their chocolates by hand. I had never been in an was browsing their truffle selection. And what did I find? Truffles made with all sorts of lovely beer, wine, and even a mead!

I picked up this dark chocolate truffle made with Pike Place Stout. I must say the chocolate itself was delicious. The taste of the stout was faint but definitely there.

I plan on going back and picking up a set of the other beer related truffles for the husband soon. These may be perfect for the beer lover in your life.

Here's Carter's website in case you want to check them out for yourself!

Sierra Nevada Porter

This porter was kind of disappointing.  After giving Sierra Nevada's Stout a try, I was hoping to open a beer that was just as exciting and delicious.  However, this porter was weak and uninteresting.  Overall, I was a bit disappointed in it.  I wouldn't say it was bad, but definitely not on my top porter list.

Beer Advocate thinks this is good.
Here is Sierra Nevada's info on this beer.

Sierra Nevada Stout

Quite a flavorful stout.  My first sip I was a bit caught off guard.  The flavors were strong like an imperial stout, but there wasn't the same high alcohol feeling to it.  Overall it was quite a good stout.  I enjoyed it, but it's definitely not for beginners on the darker beers.  

Beer Advocate loves this stout!
Sierra Nevada's info on this stout.

Widmer Brothers Hefeweizen

Widmer is one of those breweries that I think is somewhere between mainstream beer and craft beer.  It's popular and all over the place.  Maybe that's only in the PNW, but to me, I see it everywhere.  This Hefeweizen is really lacking in flavor to me.  

This beer would make a good entry into trying something like a Hefeweizen if you had never had one before, but if you're a frequent beer drinker, this probably isn't for you.  It's drinkable and was only in the fridge because a friend was visiting and it's her beer of choice.  It will probably, however, remain there for a while until other people come over and drink it.

Beer Advocate agrees that it's pretty average.
Here's Widmer's info on this beer!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

New Belgium Fat Tire

No picture of this one (yet)!

So I was at a bar and was attempting to order beers off tap but unfortunately their system was broken or something like that.  So I was forced to drink whatever they had in bottles.  They initially brought me Fat Tire and I stuck with it for the evening.

I've had Fat Tire on and off throughout my beer drinking years.  When I was in college a friend drank Fat Tire and I thought it was the grossest thing in the world.  Then again, my beer of choice at the time was Miller High Life or Corona.  As I started getting into craft beers, I thought this one was ok, but still not my favorite.  I don't think I've hit a point where I love this, but it's a good go-to in bottles.  It's a people pleaser and pretty drinkable.

Overall, I can totally drink this beer.  But would I ever go to the store and buy it for myself  to drink?  Probably not.

Beer Advocate thinks this is good.
Check out New Belgium's site.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Butte Organic Porter

USDA certified is impressive.  It's hard to get that label!  

Not very dark but quite tasty.  The flavors are very well balanced.  This is extremely drinkable and I think would be a good beer for those not usually a porter drinker to try.

Beer Advocate likes it.
Check out Butte Creek Brewing's site!

Dogfish Head Chicory Stout

Yummy. I love chicory. I love this stout. What's not to love??  I do love Dogfish Head and I am probably a bit skewed toward the positive since I love the brewery and that makes me judge their beers a little less harsh.  Good to be honest right?

So I like the coffee taste with this stout.  I like how dark the head is.  I love that it's got a bit of a peppery taste to it without it being overwhelming.  I like that it's drinkable.  It may not be the best stout I've ever had in my life, but it's among my favorites.  And since it's seasonal it's a good reason to pick up a few when I see them around1

Beer Advocate isn't as in love as I am.
Check out Dogfish Head's page.  

Rocky Coulee Brewing Fireweed

This beer is local and great.  I love the floral smell of the honey and the sweet taste of it in this beer.  Even though you can definitely taste the honey, it is not overly sweet and is a very drinkable beer.  I could easily drink a few of these.

Checking out the brewery's website it looks like this is the only one of their beers they bottle at this time.  

Beer Advocate could use some more reviews!
Check out the Rocky Coulee Brewing site.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Dick's Cream Stout

I am not exactly sure what to expect from cream stouts.  Thus, I took a peek at Wikipedia, mostly because I was too lazy to get up and get a book to look at.  Turns out it's the same as a milk stout.  I had presumed that, but good to get some confirmation.  Here's what Wikipedia has to say:  
Milk stout (also called sweet stout or cream stout) is a stout containing lactose, a sugar derived from milk. Because lactose is unfermentable by beer yeast, it adds sweetness, body, and calories to the finished beer. Milk stout was claimed to be nutritious, and was given to nursing mothers, along with other stouts, such as Guinness. The classic surviving example of milk stout is Mackeson's, for which the original brewers claimed that "each pint contains the energising carbohydrates of 10 ounces of pure dairy milk". In the period just after the Second World War whenrationing was in place, the British government required brewers to remove the word "milk" from labels and adverts, and any imagery associated with milk.
I've only had a few other milk/cream stouts so I can't really compare to others in the genre fairly, but I'd call it middle of the road (I can think of one worse and one better).  I do like the fact that it was considered nutritious though and lets pretend this one is as well.

I really like the taste of the beer and it's quite smooth to drink.  The taste of this beer is slightly bitter at the end, but it's not unpleasant to drink.  The label on this kind of freaks me out though.  The eye really looks like it's glowing.  CREEEEPY!

Beer Advocate likes it.
Dick's Brewing is another local WA brewery!

Kona Koko Brown

ALOHA!  I could totally imagine sipping this on a beach in Hawaii.  Or on a nice sunny day like it was today in Seattle!  

After it warmed up a bit, I could definitely smell some coconut which was delightful.  I'm glad it started to smell tropical.  Along with the coconut it had a toffee type flavor that was prevalent in some sips.

I'm not a brown fan generally, but this one was great for me.  It didn't taste too dark or too light and I loved the coconut flavor in it.  

Beer Advocate says good/average.
Kona Brewing makes me want to plan a trip to Hawaii!

Friday, February 3, 2012


Washington Beer Blog is hosting this month's "session," where apparently people are encouraged to write about one specific topic related to beer.  Since I'm new to the whole blog about beer thing, I thought I'd give it a try.  Also, I've been under the weather lately and not enjoying many beers, so it's a great reason to keep on writing.  This month's topic is growlers, so here we go!

A brief note to folks stumbling upon this blog for the first time - this blog is not intended to be a mind blowing analysis of anything.  I just write to keep my thoughts and share with other people who may be interested.  This post is probably quite simple for most people who are interested enough in beer to read beer blogs, etc., but I hope you still enjoy it!

Let's start off with what a growler is.  I know some people just don't know and hate to ask.  It's a jug for your beer!  Yup, just a glass bottle waiting to be filled with beery goodness.  They come in clear and dark glass and with twist tops and with flip caps and each one is a bit different.  Typical size is 64 oz, but you can find them much bigger and smaller.  Once you open a growler the beer is good for about 24 hours typically.  It'll lose carbonation and flavor after that.  If you pick up a growler you're safe keeping it in your fridge for a while, but my general rule is no longer than 7 days before opening it.  But really, why are you taking so long to drink your beer anyway?

Growlers are great, but where do you find them?  I've found all of mine at breweries that sell their beer primarily in growlers.  Expect to pay a small extra fee on top of the cost of beer to get one, but the good news is that you get to keep them indefinitely for the most part.  If you are buying a fancy one, you could pay lots, but I've found them pretty cheap most places.

Growler fills are all over the place and tend to depend on the type of beer you're putting in them.  Most places will fill growlers that you've purchase just about anywhere.  The only problem getting them filled is if you get them in unique sizes or shapes.  If you get the standard 64 oz style (see below), you'll be fine anywhere you go.

Cleaning them can be a pain if you say forget and let it sit empty for a few days.  The solution is to just remember to rinse when you pour that last glass.  Rinse with hot water a few times, swish around good, and set it up to dry (no lid, upside down).  Don't bring dirty growlers anywhere.  Nobody will clean them and it's not a pretty sight when they sit too long.

Why would you want to use a growler?  First, there are a lot of great local breweries that don't bottle or can their beers.  Sure, you can go to the brewery and try their beer, but what happens if you want to take some home for friends to try or so that you can enjoy a bit more than you could at a brewery (especially if you're driving)!  Second, they make great things to take to parties.  My husband and I frequently fill one or two up at a local brewery and take it to friend's houses on the weekends.  It's a great way to share your favorite beer from a brewery that people may never have otherwise.  And lastly, because it's frequently cheap and convenient!

The tricky part can be traveling with those growlers.  We have a soft-sided cooler that fits 3 growlers comfortably and 4 with a squeeze.  If we're going out on a weekend and expect to be hitting breweries, we throw that in the car.  We pack our growlers with a towel between each one so they don't spend the entire trip knocking up against each other.  One important thing to keep in mind when transporting those growlers are open container laws!  Don't just throw them on your front seat.  Most breweries just screw on a top and that could be a BIG problem for you if you get pulled over.

If you've made it all the way to the end of my rambling post, please excuse if it's at all nonsensical as my fever is doing quite the number on me, here's a list of awesome places to fill a growler...ok, really, they're just some of my favorites (and keep in mind I do live out in Kitsap County):

7 Seas Brewing in Gig Harbor
99 Bottles in Federal Way
Georgetown Brewery in Seattle (Georgetown)
Slippery Pig Brewing in Poulsbo
Sound Brewery in Poulsbo

And that's not to say there's not a million more awesome places to get your growler filled, but those are places I like.  Where will you get your next growler filled?