Monday, September 16, 2019

FORT GEORGE SKIES OF WONDER IMPERIAL IPA (2019)

9/16/2019
AP RATING: 98 PTS

Not often that I get blown away by a beer, let alone a beer in a can. I'm one to believe that beer on tap or in a growler is always best. It's freshest...and that's probably correct, but man did this beer stop me dead in my tracks. 

I get tons of new beers every year, every week from reps who want to sell me on the next best thing. I usually let Leif Erickson run through them either before me or after me or at the same time. One way or another, we're both plowing through them. This time, we didn't even get these cans as supplier samples. One of our reps came in, simply told us to get a case and when it came in, he went straight for it. Didn't even take an order!! Straight to the case, grabbed a 4 pack, ran to the registers, paid for it and came back to the beer department. Split-off 2 cans and handed Leif and I one and said, "You gotta try this!". 


Leif tried his immediately that night at home, came back in the next day and asked me if I had tried it. I told him I had so many others to try that I hadn't even put it in fridge. That day, Leif bought a 4-pack...a $22 four-pack. $22!!!!! Leif, doesn't spend that much on his girlfriend, let alone beer. That got my attention, but not enough to try it immediately that night. 

 Fort George Brewing Company makes some amazing beers. I first discovered them in March of 2017 when my wife and I took a long weekend to Cannon Beach in Oregon. As we were driving back home to Seattle, we stopped at the Brewery in Astoria, Oregon. That was the weekend they had an open-house and the release of the much anticipated 2017 3-Way IPA. That beer was good too!! Actually, I personally think it was the best 3-way yet. Anyway, Fort George Vortex IPA is definitely in my TOP 5 "GO-TO" IPA's of all time. Maybe I'll blog about those later, but for now...Skies of Wonder.

Last night, I told my wife that I was having a beer. I told her I'd be having a full 16 oz. Imperial. She was immediately intrigued as I don't usually have a whole beer. I usually take a few sips, micro-blog on Untappd, take a few photos and then dump the rest in the sink. Too many beers!! I cracked this beautifully designed 16 oz. can and started pouring it in my new "Mac & Jack" Pint glass. I immediately recognized the solid-looking froth creating this unmistaken head in the glass. It wasn't expanding beyond control, it wasn't inconsistent in tiny bubbles, it was really really well balanced and just perfect. The beer itself was golden with a tinge of lime green color and thick almost as if it wasn't filtered. I knew I was in for a meal. I immediately let out a "Woah!!" Nikki (Mrs. Winos) looked up from the football game on TV and asked if she could see. I walked it over to her, left hand with the glass, right hand with the can. I handed her the can knowing she couldn't have a drink cuz of work early in the morning. 😏😏. She looked at me and looked at the glass, handed me the can and took the glass. Looked at it and took a tiny sip...won't kill anyone. I believe that too. Her face lit up and she shook it, "Wow! That's good!". My turn...Sat down, beer in hand, Eagles in the 4th had just scored a 2-point conversion, I was good, I was ready to try it, but I was still looking at how perfect this head in the glass was. 


Screw the head...the smell was over-whelming of pineapple, citrusy sweet grapefruit, almost like lemon/orange sherbet or orange cream-sicle. The taste, was thick with citrus flavors, a full on blast of medium-bodied hops, "HOLY SHIT!!" I said, "Goddamn, that's a good beer!" It had this amazingly long finish that didn't stop, I could taste the fucker 45 seconds to a full minute later. Who cares if in the span of time it took me to drink it the Eagles had managed to lose the game to the Falcons! This beer had my attention! I picked up the phone and called Leif. "Dude, that fucking beer is a 5", I told him. He had no clue what I was talking about. Then, I told him what I had just tasted. He said, "Finally!" and "I fully agree!". I told him to get more. He said, that's all they had and that it was gone. I told him to get a keg...we'll see if that happens today (9/16/2019) That'll be an expensive pour, but shit, this beer's that good. 

Best beer this year for sure. I UntappD it at 5.0 Stars. I've never done that before. I'm SO looking forward to finding more from Fort George. First 3-Way, although the 2019 3-Way wasn't the best I've had, and now Skies of Wonder. What's next?!?

Thursday, September 5, 2019

FRONTERA CONCH Y TORO MALBEC 2017

(09/05/2019) AP 88 Pts. 


OK...I'm not looking for anything fancy, and I'm a bit repulsed by comments from people saying that I'm a wine snob!! Look what I'm drinking tonight!!!!!! It's Frontera! I had to look for a vintage! 

There's a good reason why I'm meddling with jug wine. That's because I'm looking for one. Three years ago, I carried Robert Mondavi 1.5 Liter bottles, and then they went to Constellation Brands and I said, "Bye-Bye!". Now I carry CK Mondavi and I'm feeling that they're getting a bit stale. So why not find something new before the holidays!?! 

I like it!! Actually, I'm on my second glass! I'M ON MY SECOND GLASS of this once considered "SHIT WINE!" I really kinda like it. I'm able to have 2 glasses. It's fruit forward, tastes like a Malbec and is BARGAIN for the large format price! Maybe the only thing it's missing is a bit of tannin, but shit....!!! What can you expect for a $14 large format bottle of wine. This wine is really good. I will ABSOLUTELY buy it!

LAGUNITAS LAGUR *SUMMER LAGER

(9/5/2019)

While the wifey watches Opening Night NFL football and I sit back waiting for my dinner to reconstitute into an edible thing, I poured myself a class of the first random beer available to me in the refrigerator. That beer being the bright red can of Lagunitas Lagur. 

Being from the east coast, I may have already mention this, but still, being from the east coast, I do miss my Yuengling Lager. So...if this beer thinks it deserve

s the right to call itself a Lager., then it better taste like one. Actually, I'm a bit happy that they misspelled it. You don't spell Lager with a U!?!? 

The color in my glass, doesn't even look like a Lager's Lagur, maybe it looks like a Lagur, but how do I compare this Lager with Lagurs when I don't even know what type of Lager a Lagur is!!?!? Soooo, confusing!! First taste, blech!! Hopped up pee! Gross, the wifey says from the comfort of the couch. I mean, meh, it's not really what I'd consider a Lager's Lager. This is a Lagur's Lagur. It's light, and I could probably kick back three quarter's of a dozen in one sitting while watching my birds destroy the Giants, but man...there's WAY BETTER BEER I'd want to be drinking. 

So, not a poor attempt from one of the finest craft brewers in the country. Just not my style!! They can keep their Lagur

AP Rating: 76 Pts.

Sunday, August 25, 2019

SQUARE MILE ROSÉ APPLE CIDER

AP 88 PTS (08/25/2019)

Last week I tasted a Mango Hefe from Golden Road Brewing that was not that bad. It was good enough for me to replace Schoffenhoffer Radler with. This week, I'm tasting Square Mile Rose Apple Cider and this is actually good enough to beat out ACE Pink Cider and replace Angry Orchard Rose Apple Cider. So, hmm, yep...that's what I'm going to do. 

There's something much more interesting about these two brands that is not known by many people. That is that they're both owned by Anheuser-Busch...or Budweiser...or Inbev...or the Belgians. Since Inbev has owned Budweiser, they've been on a tear to buy out anyone that wants that is greedy enough to sell-out for $10 million. Anyone!...from 10 Barrel, to Red Hook, to Elysian, Golden Road, Goose Island, and now Square Mile. At first I was repulsed by all this, but now I'm starting to open my eyes a bit and at least open-minded enough to give them a taste. So far, I've only found 2, out of about 20. 

This Square Mile cider is one to one and a half sided. It tastes like apples and has this zest of an apple cider, but it's also got this bright red rose feel to it mid to end of the palate. I actually dig this. It's refreshing and sure of itself and not sweet nor is it too dry. Right down the middle. If I can drink an entire 12 ounce bottle, then it's good enough for my guests. 

ROGUE PARADISE PUCKER

AP 88 PTS (08/25/2019)

My wife and I live 468 paces from our front door to the Rogue Ales Issaquah Alehouse just to the east of Seattle. 468 paces!! This makes us not only Rogue Nation citizens, but we're also Pint Club Members. So, we love our Rogue!! My go-to Rogue ale is the Outta Line IPA. It used to be the 7 Hop, but the Outta Line is a bit more on the crisp side. Just really well made. My wife is a fan of the Brutal IPA. A much darker IPA with a multi-layered finish. I was recently presented to a Rogue Paradise Pucker bottle. I know this product sells well in my store and I know it's got a local cult following, so I was excited to taste it. 

I've recently been interested in trying goses or sours or cysers or whatever you wanna call them! This Paradise Pucker isn't by any means the best I've ever had, but man is it quenching. Off the top, I get guava and orange and all throughout I get residuals of passionfruit and guava. Long, long tail end makes this sour, the kinda sour I won't just pour down the drain. So, if you want a refreshing sour that's not super complex or not the best that you've ever had but you just want something that's solid and exactly what it tells you it will be, this is the sour for you. 

SNOQUALMIE BREWING MAILBOX PEAK HAZY IPA

AP 84 PTS (08/25/2019)

Living in the Seattle metro area, we are awarded to the great outdoors like no other place in America. Lush green forests, big wide oceans, peaks up to the top of volcanos to ridge-lines that span for miles and miles. One of those hikes is Mailbox Peak. Just 35 minutes east of Seattle in the foothills of the cascades. Mailbox 4,822 feet above sea level. It's a tough climb. Kick-your-butt climb...and it used to be harder, kick-you-ass climb with a final 1/4 mile scramble straight up. I've climbed Mailbox twice and both times got my ass handed to me by the mountain. What's this have to do with this beer? Well....

I've never been a real big fan of Snoqualmie Brewing. All their beer tastes the same. Recently my good friend Fezz started working there and I started hearing really positive things about what the new owners at Snoqualmie have been intending to do or have begun to do. New canning line-up, a hazy, events...I mean, really putting time and effort into this brewery. Awesome!! I asked Fezzie if he could bring me something interesting that Snoqualmie was currently making. His eyes popped wide open! This is because he's known that I'm not a fan of the brewery and that I wouldn't carry their products, so when I asked for something new from them, all Fezzie saw was an opportunity. 

Fezz brought me the Snoqualmie Brewing Mailbox Peak Hazy IPA. Just like the mountain near this brewery, this beer was a kick-in-the-butt. All it's trying to do is kick me in my ass! It's totally one sided and all you get is a frozen hop mash. On the flip side, they've managed to make it hazy. Which should help with the sales cuz I'm still not buying it. 


NOMINÉ-RENARD BRUT CHAMPAGNE

AP 94 PTS ( 08/24/2019 )


Not every day we get to pop into a true french Champagne. Well...that's not true! We do this more often than most people. But actually bust into one for reasons other that sampling or reviewing...not often. 

Last night, we were invited over for dinner at Powerpop and the Chewie abode. Where Mr. Pop and I had planned to drink an entire bottle of Elmer T. Lee. It was a special occasion. We found out we were new soon-to-be parents and Mr. and Mrs. Pop had just celebrated their 30th wedding anniversary and bought a house in the center of Issaquah just across the street from our apartment. Good occasion for a good red wine, a good champagne and a great bourbon. 

I wasn't quite sure of this champagne and being that I'm quite particular to specific Champagne, i.e. Moutard, Bollinger, Pol Roger, Louis Roederer Brut Vintage, and Laurent-Perrier. I've had a bad experience in the past with Moet and Gosset, so something new was on my mind. 

We popped it and poured it. It had very rapid ascending tiny bubbles that Nikki noticed immediately. The nose was of the white lemon pulp that sits between the rind and the actual lemon itself. The mouth, oh boy the mouth. I'll remember what it felt like for a bit of time. It wasn't super fizzy where it would sting the tip of your nose. It was super smooth and easy to get into. Not super earthy, nor was it extremely aciditic. Very well rounded and balanced. This wine is FAR BETTER than Veuve. Which I strongly believe that every time you buy one of those bottles, the orange label gets more orange. You're literally paying for the label on that bottle. A waste of money. This Nominé-Renard...I will carry this. As soon as I'm back in at work, I'll look to see who carries it so that I can order it this week. Nice Wine! 


Friday, August 16, 2019

LUCIEN ALBRECHT PINOT GRIS

AP 90 PTS (8/15/2019)
Well, Leif Erikson and I had a pretty good day. Got a lot done. From beer, to wine, to cider, back to beer, some growlers, liquor, a tasting in the middle and back to beer, wine and spirits. A good day overall. By the end of the day, I had almost forgotten about some wine that needed to be tasted. I had this bottle of Alsacian Pinot Gris ready to be cracked into. 

Alsace: Alsace produces some incredible elligant traditional Pinot Gris' , Rieslings and Gewurtztraminers in the world. Nestled along the western banks of the Rhine River in the northeastern most corner of France, right along the German border, are rolling hills of lush green grapevines. These wines are so perfect that there's no spiciness in the Gris and not bitterness in the wurtz. Just "true                                                                                  grape" wines. 

I finally get home and dig into the 2017 Pinot Gris by Lucien Albrecht (Cuvee Romanus). A quick flick of the screw-cap and into a stemless it goes. On the nose is a very light lemon smell with something reminiscent to Lemon Pound Cake batter. Yep, took me a minute to figure that one out, but that's really exactly what I get. Now I'm really looking forward to this glass of wine!! That's almost exactly what I get on the whirl. Lemon Pound Cake Batter with a very slight oak spice finish. I really like this wine. The labels on these wines from Alsace never do them justice. Therefore, I encourage anyone reading this to pick up a bottle of a Pinot Gris from Alsace!! Just try it!! Well worth it, I think!. 

Thursday, August 15, 2019

REVEREND NAT'S SAINT CITRON CIDER

A.Pin: 91 PTS. (08/15/2019) 

After a long day at work, a late day appointment with a pharmacist that ran longer than normal, a puzzle geocache found in the greenbelts of Factoria and a frantic search for keys that we're only to be found at home on the bar waiting for me to take them to work...doh, I came home to find a cold cider in the fridge. Apple cider with a flavor. Now-a-days, everyone's doing it. Tieton has a really good one called Bourbon Peach Cider, Locust has another called the Vanilla Bean Hard Apple Cider, and then there's Reverend Nat's from Portland Oregon. 

Since 2004, Rev Nat's has been producing creative ciders that showcase flavor pairings such as Citron (Lemon) and Apple or a Hopricot Cider that takes hops and apricots and morphs them together. I must admit that for quite some time, I didn't get what they were doing. I was in this "traditional" cider state of mind and believe you me, I found some good "traditional" ciders. MIssion Trail from central California has one of the best dry ciders out there. Dragon Head from Vashon Island Washington has one of the best local hard ciders. Tieton's Wild Washington Apple Cider...MMMmmm Mmmm, good! So this one from Nat's was a bit hard to crack. But I was advised to pop it by my trusty beer assistant Leif Erikson! 

Leif, being from a different world, suggested I branch off from my "traditional" hard cider head-space and find things that are outta-this-world. He thought this cider would be a good start. I popped it open, poured it into my new Mac & Jack's pint glass and gave it a whiff. Not much of anything, at first. I then simply tried it. YEEEEESH!! Lemon, tart, lemon, tart, Citron, tart, then bland, a long bland and here comes the citron again!! "Weird!", I thought. Not sure what Leif was thinking about!?!? I let it sit while I looked at the Reverend Nat's website. Read a few things, downloaded a photo and without thinking I picked up the glass and tried it again. Not more than 2 minutes after first trying it. Oh boy, was it different!!

My second round of Reverend Nat's Saint Citron was much more pleasureful. Big medium european citron flavors that wouldn't stop beating up against the sides of my tongue midway through my mouth, the long long well balanced apple-lemon finish, still sitting there for about 40 seconds after I had swallowed it. "Yep!", I thought, "I can dig this!" Leif was right and I can stand behind it too. Good cider! Cheers! 




Sunday, August 11, 2019

GEORGETOWN BREWING: JOHNNY UTAH PALE ALE (HAZY)

93 PTS (08/10/2019)

I love beer and when a good beer comes along, I usually retire with that one. Let me explain...I usually get anywhere between 6 to 20 beer samples per week. That's a lot of beer. It's really hard tasting through all of these. I sip most of them and move on. A good amount of them end up in the sink and the can into recycling. My neighbors must think I'm an alcoholic, LOL! 

This beer was great! I mean, good enough for me to actually buy a six-pack and enjoy it over the course of the week. I even gave one to my assistant and left a can for my neighbor in front of his door. Damn good beer. 

I'm not a big fan of Manny's simply because I always get heckled by people that want me to have it on tap. Every bar in the Seattle area has this on tap!! "Go get a pint or a growler there.", I keep thinking to myself. Georgetown's Bodhizafa is really good, but canning issues at Georgetown has plagued it and is never always in stock at the distributor. The Johnny Utah is brand new. I was only allocated 10 cases and believe it or not, it's almost gone. Two days and it's almost gone. Sheesh!! 

The package is solid. Bright sky blue with that same Bodhizafa orange. Sharp!! Couldn't be any better. I kept this 6-pack cold and brought it home and couldn't wait to try it. Crack!!! I didn't even wait to pour it into a glass. 

Tasting it was an experience. One that I don't often get from beer. A few have struck me like this beer in the past, but it's really far and few between. This hazy pale ale is NO JOKE!! A blast of grapefruit essence that didn't forcefully pound the inside of my mouth with hops. It was very very well balanced. Medium-hoppiness, lots of flavor, grapefruit, hazy action. I decided to look at the beer in a pint glass. One pour and you could see the qualify in this beer., Beautiful light hazy greenish-yellow. The smell of this beer overwhelmed my ability to analyze the beer's color some more. I had to try it in the glass....Awesome! "Forget the review.", I thought. And so I did. 

This is a great beer! Stacks up with the Belching Beaver Phantom Bride, the 2017 Fort George 3-way IPA, the Old Schoolhouse RUUD Awakening IPA. Damn good beer. Get it while it lasts.