Tag Archives: Wild Ale

American Solera Brewing Tulsa Oklahoma

American Solera was named best new brewery in 2016 by Ratebeer. So naturally I had to visit to try for myself. The hype is well placed. Thanks to recent changes in Oklahoma laws they can now have a tap room and serve beer. The beers are on the expensive side on tap but so good I didn’t care. This probably has something to do with local taxes. Thankfully to-go prices are very reasonable. American Solera is in an area of town by itself but people have no problems finding it. I visited twice in a row because the main other Tulsa attraction is Prairie Brewpub. Thursday was of course much less crowded than Friday, with lines out the door at times on Friday.

Beer wise, I tried most of the things on tap and a few bottles for on-site consumption. The Foeder Apricot was tart and not too acidic, pretty standard for the style. The blackberry sour was jammy and not too acidic. The beer had tons of berry flavor. I left with two bottles for myself. The Brett ESB was earthy with citrus and fruit notes and a mild tart kick. I didn’t love this one but it wasn’t bad. The barrel aged pale was tasty with tons of funk and citrus notes

The Terp Surp IPA was one of the best IPAs I’ve had in a while. Tons of hop flavor coming through with tropical fruits and melon without much bitterness. The beer is soft and juicy. I rarely bring home IPAs to San Diego but this one was worth it. The IPA is up there with Cellarmaker and Fieldwork quality. The Mocha Dilema was thick and packed with chocolate, fudge, and coffee notes. Despite the high alcohol it had very little alcohol taste. When I came back later I ordered two bottles to drink on site. The foeder golden was an excellent example of the style. Their spontaneous fermented lambic-inspired ale was true to the Belgian style and excellent with tons of funk.

Thankfully American Solera beers have been coming to San Diego on occasion but it is worth visiting them at the source to hang out with a crowd of beer enthusiasts. The tap room is laid back at times and then gets really busy on Friday nights as most places do. With excellent beers across the board there is something for everyone. The quality is high enough to warrant a visit to taste these beers on site and bring home a suitcase full of bottles and crowlers.

Top 3:
Terp Surp IPA
Mocha Dilema
Blackberry sour

Paul McGuire

Paul McGuire is a craft beer enthusiast. He likes to travel with his husband and enjoy the great outdoors. In his day job, Paul is a divorce attorney focusing on serving the San Diego LGBT community.

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Seattle Breweries – Reuben’s Brews, Stoup, Lucky Envelope, and Holy Mountain

The breweries in the neighborhood of Ballard in Seattle have exploded recently such that they are close enough together that you can walk to a number of them after parking. For me this meant visiting Reuben’s Brews, Stoup, and Lucky Envelope in one monday afternoon. I wanted to visit Populux as well but they were closed that day. Each brewery had a few tasty beers but nothing to the level that would justify the hype behind them.

Reuben’s Brews

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Reuben’s Brews is the first one I wanted to visit due to reading about it online from another blogger. They had a massive tap list but the seven beers I ordered didn’t impress me enough to get me to order another flight. I tried three sours, three IPAs and one stout. The three sours were all very interesting though my favorite was the Kentucky Common. It was really smooth with notes of caramel and some mild tartness. It had a delightful smooth finish that I don’t get much. My sister really liked the dry-hopped sour because it exhibits tons of lemon with a mild tart kick. I also enjoyed the fruited sour I had because I thought it had some good balance, just the right amount of fruit, and a good tart finish.

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I picked my IPAs to try by the two varieties they had available in cans. Both seemed to exhibit bitterness over aroma and both also seemed to have a wheat malt base that I didn’t really care for. Though one of them had some nice tropical fruit and pine after it warmed up, it was just fairly average. The experimental IPA was really off-putting and the flavors reminded me of Sorachi Ace hops. Neither one of us liked that one at all. I later told the bartender they should put a note that it tastes similar to Sorachi ace because that hop is very polarizing. The Porter was really tasty with lots of caramel, roast, and mild smoke.

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For such a new brewery, I was surprised that they had almost 20 beers on tap. It seemed to me like they need to spend more time coming up with some killer core beers but I hear their IPAs are quite popular around the area. If you like kettle sours, it should be an interesting place to stop by but I wouldn’t recommend trying everything on the board. They have a nice open atmosphere and tons of outdoor seating and street parking.

Top 3:
Kentucky Common Sour
Fruited SOur
Porter

Stoup Brewing

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Just a short walk from Rueuben’s is Stoup, where they have a shorter tap list and the IPAs are more flavorful. I did not care for the ESB I tried. It was really pretty tasteless and thin. Their seasonal witbeer was pretty good with lots of spice, some mild fruit, and hints of lime. The Mosaic Pale was quite popular there and my sister really liked it. I thought it was well done and had a good amount of citrus and fruits. It also had some notes of green peppers, which was a bit strange. I preferred the Citra IPA instead, which had a lot of tropical fruit notes. The North West IPA was an interesting take on the style, lots of sticky, dank pine character that dominated over the malts. The porter was solid but lacked the sweetness that I enjoyed in the one at Reuben’s.

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Seattle Breweries 05

Stoup seems to have a good start on finding the right flavors for their IPAs but the hops weren’t bursting as much as they could have been. They also have a nice open ambience and a good amount of outdoor seating.

Top 2:
Citra IPA
Mosaic Pale

Lucky Envelope

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I started with a helles at Lucky Envelope and really liked the fruity apricot hop character and crisp helles taste. The Session IPA was smooth and fruity, and done well. The IPA was nice and fruity without a ton of bitterness and exhibited lots of tropical fruit. The grapefruit version was quite tasty, with a bitterness to the beer that suggested lots of zest was added to the beer. Their Peanut Butter Stout was also quite delicious with tons of nutty flavor and a smooth finish without being too sweet.

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Seattle Breweries 09

Top 2:
Helles
Peanut Butter Porter

Each of the three Ballard area breweries I visited had something tasty available. They make for a fun walk between the three. Then my husband drove us to Holy Mountain for our last stop of the evening (almost!)

Holy Mountain

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Known for lagers and wild ales (lagers?) Holy Mountain has developed quite a reputation very quickly. Many of their bottle releases sell out incredibly fast. Thankfully they have plenty of other good beers available for those who happen to stop by without planning like myself. I won’t bother describing the specific style of most of the beers since they are almost all wild. Though they didn’t offer tasters, we were able to do half pours of everything and create a flight still. I also left with a few bottles to go.

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I started with Kiln & Cone their pale ale, which was really smooth and quite fruity. After everything else we tried their Three Fates lager, which we should have started with as well. It was quite tasty lager with an earthy back and some floral hops. Ceremony has the unique flavor of cake frosting and coconut while finishing with some mild funk. My sister liked it more than I did but it was interesting for sure.

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Demon Teller was a nice mix of brett and funk with some mild tart and a nice dry finish. Fellowcraft was a bit more fruity than the demon teller and had some nice grapefruit notes. Witchfinder was hoppy and mineral forward, solidly fruity, and good and funky. I got a bottle of this one. Most of the brett beers were tasty though none of them stuck out either as really bad or clearly the best. They are a bit isolated as far as breweries go and my sister tells me not very easy to get to by public transit. If you want anything special, follow their social media for the extremely limited releases.

Overall, I would highly recommend Holy Mountain but the three other breweries didn’t knock off Fremont Brewing or Bellvue Brewing from my previous favorites from an earlier trip.

Paul McGuire

Paul McGuire is a craft beer enthusiast. He likes to travel with his husband and enjoy the great outdoors. In his day job, Paul is a divorce attorney focusing on serving the San Diego LGBT community.

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A Visit to Dallas: Deep Ellum, Brain Dead, and Community Brewing

I visited Dallas recently and went to a few breweries. Because I didn’t get to do flights at two of my three locations I decided to write about all three breweries in one long post. First stop was Deep Ellum brewing, in a neighborhood that many of the locals I met around there said is their favorite neighborhood. It was very nice when we were there because we parked the rental car once and walked from Deep Ellum Brewing to Brain Dead Brewing and then had BBQ at Pecan Lodge, all without having to move the car. Then my husband┬ádrove me on to Community Brewing.

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Tap list at Deep Ellum when I visited.
Tap list at Deep Ellum when I visited.

Deep Ellum Brewing has a fairly large indoor tasting room and around equal amount of space outside in the back. The tasting room has a very modern feel like any big tasting room in San Diego although they don’t allow visitors to order flights on Saturdays. I could see why, because they were quite busy and perhaps they didn’t want to have to deal with washing all the taster glasses when they have such a large crowd. Because I couldn’t order tasters, I went for their deal of 3 pints and keep the pint glass for $15. I tried the house IPA, sour blonde, and barrel aged coffee ale.

Deep Ellum IPA.
Deep Ellum IPA.
Sour Blonde.
Sour Blonde.

The Deep Ellum IPA is very balanced and the malts support the earthy hops nicely, making it very easy drinking despite being 7%. It isn’t particularly bitter and hides the alcohol very well. This is neither a crazy malt bomb, all bitter and no aroma, nor a beer that focuses primarily on hop aromas. One thing I expect is that the beer ages well and that is always helpful. The sour blonde was mildly tart and quite tasty. I mostly tasted notes of passion fruit and lemon. Everything balanced nicely and made for an easy drinking sour blonde. The barrel aged coffee ale was just over 7% and had a nice mix of vanilla from the barrel, mild spices, and nutty coffee. It had just the right amount of thickness so that it wasn’t watery but also wasn’t thick like an imperial stout. I would have liked to have tried some of their other hop-forward offerings but from what I tasted, I found Deep Ellum to be quite impressive. They also offer cans and bottles of a few of the beers.

Barrel aged coffee ale.
Barrel aged coffee ale.

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My next stop was Brain Dead Brewing. I did not have this on my list prior to my visit but the best way to find out where to go next is to ask the people who sit near you at one brewery because the locals often know of places that may not have gotten popular outside of the area. Brain Dead was offering flights so I was able to try a few more beers at this stop. Brain Dead is a brewpub and has their own food available. It seemed like many of the people around me were enjoying the food. In typical brewpub fashion, the flight available was already set. I tasted the blonde, red ale, English IPA, stout, and wild ale. The blonde was light and crisp with a mild hop bitterness and subtle hints of a Saison on the back from the yeast.

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Braindead Tap List Part 1.
Brain Dead Tap List Part 1.
Brain Dead tap list part 2.
Brain Dead tap list part 2.

The red ale had a caramel malt background with hop kick with flavors of citrus and pine and a bitter finish. I had a hard time finishing this one because I thought that the flavors didn’t blend together all too well. The English IPA had a nice apricot flavor from the hops at the front without much bitterness. It ended with a mild citrus hop kick. The flavors worked really nicely, making a nice mild yet flavorful IPA. The stout was medium bitter and smoky with a fairly light body. It was a fairly standard stout but well done. My favorite was the wild ale, bursting with flavors of mango and peach. The beer wasn’t very funky or tart, just light, crisp, and fruity. If I wasn’t going to one more stop and quite hungry by that time I would have ordered a full pour of this one.

Brain Dead flight.
Brain Dead flight.
Inside of Brain Dead.
Inside of Brain Dead.

My last stop was Community Brewing, where I hung out in possibly the biggest tasting room I have ever been in. Not only is the room fairly large in floor space, it has quite high ceilings. At this point I was not interested in doing more tasters and because I saw the highly rated Bourbon Barrel Aged Legion on tap I went straight for a full pour of that. I had to request a glass to avoid getting this served in a plastic cup. While I sipped this thick delicious beer I watched people playing corn hole and groups of people cheering at the various games shown on large projected screens on the wall. The beer itself was thick and sweet with vanilla from the barrels and a smoky after taste. The beer also had flavors of coffee and chocolate that blended nicely. Though it was not as impressive as Firestone Walker’s similar offerings, it is a great example of a tasty bourbon barrel aged beer and well worth seeking out.

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Barrel aged Legion
Barrel aged Legion
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The massive tasting room at Community Brewing.

Though not a brewery, I also visited Bishop Cider Company in the Bishop Arts District while I was in Dallas. I wasn’t expecting to visit them but they were right next to my second BBQ spot of the visit, Lockhart Smoke House. They had a fairly broad range of ciders on tap. I almost left without tasting much but then the bartender suggested I try the dry-hopped cider, hopped with Amarillo and Simcoe hops. The taste I had was delicious so I ordered a larger pour. The cider worked nicely as a base to the familiar hop flavors, adding some mild tart backing to typically citrus-flavored hops. It was the perfect drink for that time of my trip. If you are a big cider fan, it is worth checking out Bishop Cider Company in Dallas.

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Dallas Breweries 19

Paul McGuire

Paul McGuire is a craft beer enthusiast. He likes to travel with his husband and enjoy the great outdoors. In his day job, Paul is a divorce attorney focusing on serving the San Diego LGBT community.

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