HUB Organic Imperial IPA (8.5)

name: Ace of Spades
% alc: 9.5
type: Imperial IPA (Organic)
vendor: QFC, Seattle
price: $7.99 (22oz)

first impressions:
Imperial = of or pertaining to an empire.
A humble emperor this IPA was, but one who's balance of power would remain effective and lovable until the end of its term. 

It was smooth and syrupy like most Imperial IPA's but still felt bright and crisp. It drank like a more deft and lightfooted beer with that cleanliness that comes from Organic Ingredients. Hopworks brews exclusively organic beers and their pub is aesthetically littered with recycled bike parts. They also brewed an Earth Day Ale. These guys are Pacific Northwest to the max and it's brilliant. 
I wanted to share this beer with Alex my girlfriend and did, but alas she assured me although it appeared balanced to me, this was no beer for the Hop-Weary. Alternatively I will say that this is the beer for the IPA lover weary of the Imperial's often overbearing lordship.

review (/10): 8.5
recommended setting: See that motorcycle on the bottle there. No, not while riding down the highway on it, but keep the Ace of Spades in a pouch with an ice pack while you cruise by Mt. Hood on your way to the Painted Hills. Park the chopper and walk to a nice spot with a view, preferably elevated. Now enjoy a red-rock topped cap-full or two or three... or well, finish up and grab some beautiful organic food in the area if possible. Painted Hills farms some of the leading grassfed beef in the Northwest.

extraneous ramble (optional): 


Hog Heaven Barley[s]wine (7.0)

name: Hog Heaven
% alc: 9.2
type: Dry-Hopped Barleywine
vendor: QFC, Seattle
price: $7.99 (22oz)

first impressions:
Wine-like only in it's potential strength (8-12% alc.), swine-like only through its whimsical label art, this bottle was a bittered delight. I first gave it a sniff and was brought back to the days of elementary school and the tiny, tangy cello-wrapped sweethearts candies. This scent didn't translate into the flavor at all but it started me off in kind of a strange nostalgic direction. But on that note of sweet, I wouldn't claim this one to have that characteristic. Not tart, not sweet. "Intense bitter follows a brief caramel greeting," I scribbled illegibly in my notepad. 
While it did definitely remind me of an Imperial IPA, to the extent that I was interested in looking up definitions, it didn't have the sweetness usually present in these high octane beverages. So I enjoyed this balanced bitter ale without being constantly reminded of it's strength. 
The barleywine genre is certainly a loose term. It seems to be a catchall for brews in the higher alcohol range. They can come in all colors and tastes so you might have a bad one, and you may love another. Keep your eyes limber as you move down your regular beer aisle and you might find a barley-wine that's just your style.  
review (/10): 7.0
recommended setting: Well, I would say England 1777 where the first Barley-wine was coined but... ok something more realistic. Perhaps a rooftop or balcony with a view, should a flying pig decide to drift on by you'll be the sole stumbling eye witness. Once you finish your pint and tumble down the stairs no one will believe you.

extraneous ramble (optional): 


Rogue's Creek (Kriek?) Ale (5.0)

name: First Growth: Creek Ale
brewery: Rogue Brewery
% alc: 6.0?
type: Ale Brewed with Cherries
vendor: John's Market, Multnomah Village, OR
price: $6.29 (22oz)

first impressions:
You know, not that impressive. But it grew on me over time.
I initially was underwhelmed. While I didn't want a ton of cherry all up in my mouth, I wanted flavor. Aside from a little tart, a little bitter, and a little sweet malty body there wasn't much. I almost felt I was drinking apple juice at one point. As I came back to the glass, pacing around my apartment coping with the cost of this 22 ouncer and looking for insight, I liked it better upon each return. I found that it's initial weaknesses in many ways were also it's strengths. While your classic sour cherry Kriek ale is often too much by the end, this one grew more likeable. By the way, it seemed the Creek was a clever way of getting at the similarly pronounced type of ale called the Kriek.  What do you say Rogue?

So you know, not my favorite beer but we had an interesting time together. Its just hard to buy Rogue as often these days with the prices they charge. I mean help me out here: they are from Oregon (nearly local), they have good distribution (really good for a micro of their quality), and not every one of their beers is the barrel-aged, high-alcohol, special release you would expect for the price. So I'm gonna be hard on them. 
What I do really like about this series (Chatoe Rogue), is that they've grown their own ingredients (GYO). Each bottle has the Latitude and Longitude of their hops and barley yards. So in this case I can kind of rationalize the cost for the homegrown type of mark-up. This was just not my favorite from the series. The others have been pretty great though so check them out. In the meantime maybe they will become nostalgic for their days of selling affordable lovable micro ales.  
review (/10): 5.0
recommended setting: How about latitude 44, 48.2, 18.69. Longitude... Well anyway right at their "Chatoe." Why not? I bet it's beautiful and if this is the beer I gotta drink while I'm there, I'm still happy.

extraneous ramble (optional):