Organic Pale Ale - (7.5)

name: Organic Pale Ale
% alc: 5.1
type: Pale Ale
vendor: Whole Foods, Seattle
price: $3.99 (22oz Bottle)

first impressions:
It smells delicious. It smells like flowers in an alpine forest, piney, floral hops. It tastes like it smells but is finished with a toasty malt flavor and touch of sweet. It's amazing. The way a flower looks and smells when it first blooms. Such an organic beautiful creation. 

But then it begins to wilt, it begins to fade. Just as organic things are more likely to fall away back into the earth, this ale seems to lose its initial perfection. Sadly, halfway through my glass I can't taste it all that much anymore. Aroma hops but not flavor hops? Does this opening scene waft away in to the atmosphere. At this point the beer certainly isn't decayed it just isn't what it was.

I think Laurelwood does tremendous things with their hops. They put out a nearly endless supply of seasonal IPAs each one fresher and tastier than the last and I didn't see that fail in this ale. Where it fails is in it's inability to maintain the initial balance. It's a promise vowed that means the world and doesn't quite pan out the way you expected. A dream come true after so much anticipation that you just end up feeling numb halfway through it's realisation.

review (/10): 7.5
recommended setting: Head on down to Portland for the weekend, or up or over, depending on where you are reading this from. Laurelwood has a brewpub in the Hollywood District where you can hopefully grab a pint of this while it lasts. And after you experience this fleeting bliss, grab an IPA like Hop Monkey and treat your tongue to those hops it has been missing since your first taste of Organic Pale Ale.

extraneous ramble (optional): 


A Sunny Belgian Farmhouse - (8.5)

name: Colette
% alc: 7.3
type: Farmhouse Ale
vendor: Quinns Gastropub, Seattle
price: $6.00 (12oz Bottle)

first impressions:
First of all, this is my first out of the house beverage that I'm deciding to write about. Because, well, it was a great beer, I haven't seen it in stores yet, and the environment was perfect for it. Evening sunlight was being thrown through a patterned glass making for a soft white glow. I saw this Colette from Great Divide on the menu in the bottles section with no description. The server thought it might be something dark but would have to check. I thought, well my backup plan will be this other summer session style ale but lets see what it is. I like Great Divide a great deal and she came back with a seriously exciting answer: "it's a Farmhouse Ale." "Done!"

Cut away to a quick background on this ale format...

This is one of my favorite styles of Belgian origin. It is one of those beers that just stands apart from the rest, the kid in the group who can hang with a bunch but can also be a part of several other groups. This was me in high school. But that part of my life aside, this type of ale speaks to those who think Belgian beer is generally too strong, too dark and dank, and often times too fruity or sweet. This ale is golden, with a touch of tart, and an earthy body that comes from special yeasting. This particular one had 4 strains in it. It's a little fruity but it all comes to a close with a dry, crispness. Now back to our hero...  
Colette was a great rendition of the farmhouse ale. I sipped my glass slowly, as though I didn't want it to go away. Not that I'm too cheap to order another but in the moment it seems like your only ration. Great Divide 6-pks can be pricey but most of them are worth it, so as soon as you see this on the shelf grab a single and check it out. Don't be surprised if you end up running back for the whole pack before the shelf is pillaged.

review (/10): 8.5
recommended setting: I love the idea of a Belgian farmhouse with ale being created in it or nearby. As the sun is showing its last colors I wouldn't mind being there swirling the last yeast-clouded sip and with a euphoric sigh, tipping it onto my tongue.

extraneous ramble (optional): Unfortunately I only had my phone's camera for these.


Sierra's Beer Camp Variety - (7.0)

name: The Best of Beer Camp Series (4)
vendor: QFC, Seattle
price: $14.99 (12pc)

name: Camp#8 California Common
% alc: 6.5
type: Lager/Steam Ale
Rating: (8.0)
Also known as Steam Beer, California Common style is named for the yeast used who prefer a hotter temperature to bask in and the recipe's history dating back to the mid 19th to 20th centuries. It is usually associated with San Francisco and Anchor Steam who have perhaps the most widely known Common. However, I much prefer this one. Its bright but malty make-up is complicated with a grapefruit-like citrus that bitters it nicely. It is relatively hoppy, after-all this is Sierra Nevada we're talking about, but it doesn't linger. It slips away quickly into a caramel hinted malt background. Overall this is a beautiful balancing act and I found myself wishing this was available in a 6er or 22oz. Also like its yeasts, I too would recommend a warm environment for this beverage, and what do you know, the weather is just about getting there.


name: Camp#29 Double IPA
% alc: 8.5
type: Strong India Pale Ale
Rating: (7.0)
IPA, Double IPA, Imperial IPA?
Apparently the Double is pretty much exchangeable for the Imperial. Although the terms may contain a bit of history and origin in them. The Double IPA can be considered to have been invented and coined on the west coast of the USA so quite possibly this is why Sierra Nevada might have gone this route instead... Verbal preferences aside I enjoyed this one quite a lot. I always enjoy when an imperial or double IPA of such high alcohol content leaves you none the wiser. Not too sweet, it felt nicely balanced (considering its pedigree), with plenty of piney hops. The term brawny came to mind. I would enjoy this one on a mountain in California, save a bottle for the summit and enjoy the views, smells and tastes. 


name: Camp#37 Weizenbock
% alc: 6.8
type: Weizenbock
Rating: (6.0)
This is one of those beers made for summer. Its fruity, light and looks like someone shoved the sun into a keg and poured you a fresh pint. Its a German wheat brew with some interesting other flavors: Apricot, Banana and some orange peel aroma. For a drinker of this sort of beer, I usually don't opt for the fruity types, I would think this would be a great new option to try. Hell, when I get outside I'm pretty happy drinking a beer like this. It would do nicely with some seats in the sun at a baseball game.


name: Camp#16 Juniper Black Ale
% alc: 8.0
type: Black Ale

Rating: (6.5)
I generally tend to neglect these types of beer come this time of year. I want sunshine in a glass even if this mythical Seattle sun isn't exactly shining. But this was a different type of dark beer. It seemed to me like a blend of a piney pale ale and a toasty porter. The viscosity is about equivalent to this blend as well. It was remarkably tasty and satisfying for this time of year. It also didn't bite like the 8%er it is, which is great. On an evening where you're just interested in a single pint of beer, not the marathon that is sometimes social drinking, grab this bottle and sip to enjoy, this will warm you from the core.

avg. review (/10): 7.0
recommended setting:  Grab this case and make camp of your own near to some piney trees which will compliment Sierra Nevada's hop assortment. Bring 2 friends who will enjoy something new and special to taste...
1. Pitch your tent while intermittently sipping, staking, and poling.
2. Hike to a nearby summit and enjoy a hearty Double IPA. *Note: Take time before you climb down. 
3. After relaxing back at the camp, likely eating some things, head out to a meadow and toss a frisbee in the sun with the Weizenbock in a safely sippable spot.
4. As the sky turns a luminous purple, the color on the Juniper Black Ale label, pass the bottles out round the fire and sink into the warm night.
5. That should be all the beers in the Beer Camp. Again?

extraneous ramble (optional):