On Oregon: July Home Brew Night Part I
Last Thirstday was the latest home brewers’ meet up at the Tasting Corner in L’Incontro, and it turned out to be a special one. That said, I decided to split this post into two, with one featuring the Oregionian craft beers we tried, and the latter on the home brews and our special guest for the evening.
The night began with some brews by Rogue Ales from Portland, Oregon. Jim opened up a ceramic bottle of Double Dead Guy Ale from Rogue to start, while Baldis tried their Irish-style Lager, since he was planning on brewing a lager next. I tried out the Dad’s Little Helper Black IPA.
The beers were good, drinkable to say the least, but nothing great. The Double Dead Guy I found a bit too sweet, perhaps more so than the standard Dead Guy Ale. The Irish Lager was at the head of the pack, as far as lagers go, but in the end, it’s still a lager. It’s hard to justify paying craft beer prices for lagers when you can get much more flavorful ales at the same price point, and equally good traditional European lagers for much cheaper.
The Dad’s Little Helper was the most interesting of the bunch. To echo Jim, this was a very dry beer – at the onset, at least. I think that once my tastebuds got used to the initial bitter black coffee taste and the beer warmed in the glass, a bit of sweetness peeked out. This, to me, was more of a medium-bodied stout or porter rather than a dark IPA. The aroma hops aren’t quite there, and compared to a beast like Stone’s Sublimely Self-Righteous Ale, the little helper shrinks in comparison. It’s good, though – comparable to Hitachino Nest’s Espresso Stout. But for Black IPAs, I’ll stick with Stone.
Overall, I’m not a big fan of Rogue’s products, but I’m a fan of the brewery. They’re a good introduction to craft beer beginners because their beers aren’t as in-your-face as a lot of other breweries. Through their sheer variety though, they entice newcomers to try the whole range of their products, which are solid – albeit less than exceptional – examples of their style.
I’ll do a bit of a jump, and go on to the end of the evening. Our nightcap was a leftover bottle of Ninkasi Tricerahops Double IPA from a previous Thirstday event. I spied it in the fridge and Jim graciously opened it and shared it with those of us milling around the bar. Ninkasi – named after the Mesopotamian goddess of beer – is another well-known Oregonian brewery. The Old Tasting Room near Greenbelt was the scene of a Ninkasi tasting almost exactly a year ago, but most of us present were underwhelmed with their beers. Tricerahops was our favorite from last year, and Jim was able to score a few bombers as pasalubong.
The Tricerahops is a solid DIPA, but not quite as aromatic and bitter as many of the IPAs and DIPAs. I guess it could be described as balanced, but I really just find it tame. There aren’t really any features that really make it stand out from the rest. Don’t get me wrong, this is an enjoyable beer. But to paraphrase our comments from last year’s Ninkasi night, their beers are good, but nothing really sets them apart from what’s already being imported by Global Beer Exchange into the Philippines. Sadly for this dinosaur, it just doesn’t make the cut for the team.
There’s a bit of a rivalry between the Northwestern and Southwestern craft breweries, primarily based in Oregon and California, respectively. I’ve written a bit on this before, with regard to their naming of the black IPA style. IPAs and stouts seem to be the battleground between the two schools, but for me, I’m going with California. I haven’t tried Deschutes though, which is the brewery in Oregon. I’m quite open to it changing my mind.
Next entry: Part II of Home Brew Night, featuring handcrafted IPAs and a surprise guest.