I visited Dos Desperados after Stumblefoot Brewing Company on the same day. Thankfully my husband was driving so I was able to try everything I wanted to at the time. In total I tried the Fugitive farmhouse, Outlaw oatmeal stout, Jailbreak IPA, Habeerneos IPA, Pancho Villa double IPA, Brett double IPA, and ghost pepper stout.
The Fugitive farmhouse had a nice mild pepper pepper kick (hot pepper) that joins the usual saison taste. The pepper flavors balanced nice with the fruit and funk. Though it was very different from the usual saison, I quite liked it. The Outlaw oatmeal stout was a solid stout with a smooth flavor from the oatmeal. This was the only stout on the menu and it should satisfy those who don’t like hops.
The Jailbreak ipa starts off with some intense bitterness and a good citrus flavor. It is a solid IPA. It is used as the background for the Habanero version. Like the Ballast Point Habanero Sculpin, this one is quite hot and really burns going down leaving a big back of throat burn. I would have a hard time having more than a taster of this.
The Pancho Villa double IPA is a double IPA that focuses on tropical fruit and citrus flavors with some light mango flavor. It is very hop forward and tasty, a fantastic example of a double IPA. The Brett version was also quite tasty and if I hadn’t already had a full two sets of tasters I might have ordered more of it. The brett yeast adds some nice peach flavors and gives it a cloudy look. Finally, the ghost pepper stout was not as hot as the Habanero IPA. The heat hides in the background more and sneaks up on you because it is more balanced with the beer.
Overall I enjoyed what I had at Dos Desperados and liked to see the brett and other experimental beers they had on tap. The addition of spicy peppers seems to be done well like others locally though stay away if you don’t like hot. This is certainly a brewery geared more towards hops than a few of the others I tried in the area.
Pancho Villa Double IPA
Brett Double IPA
I visited Seattle recently and recently with the hope of visiting some local breweries. Sadly, I only ended up visiting four. Still, I will provide my thoughts here on Bellevue Brewing, Redhook, Triple Horn, and Fremont Brewing.
Bellevue Brewing was the first place I visited near Seattle and some of the beers were quite impressive. I tasted the pale ale, ESB, scotch ale, oatmeal stout, IPA, Triple Wheat Ale, and Malt Liquor.
The pale ale was slightly sweet with a nice citrus back to go along with the typical pine hop flavors. The beer was nicely balanced so that the malts did not dominate like they do in some pale ales. The ESB was a bit too light on the flavor for my tastes. It didn’t have any interesting flavors that I noticed.
The scotch ale was interesting because the first thing I tasted was a sort of sweet grape juice flavor. I didn’t really detect much of the caramel and toffee flavors the brewery described it as having. The oatmeal stout was quite nice on the lighter end of the stout spectrum. It was good and creamy and sported some light caramel flavors.
The IPA was bursting with flavors. I found out that this beer is brewed fresh every six days, which explains why it had that fresh taste. The IPA was on the lighter side and bursting with citrus and floral flavors. It reminded me of the San Diego style of IPA I had previously missed while visiting Seattle.
The triple wheat IPA was a powerful brew and had plenty of intense flavors from similar hops as the IPA. I also got a nice tropical fruit flavor from it. The use of wheat malts kept it from being overly malty like many triple IPAs tend to get. The malt liquor was very strange because despite its 8% alcohol it was very light in bitterness and had almost no body to it. Perhaps some people will enjoy having a strong beer that has very little taste but it seemed like a total waste to me.
Overall Bellevue Brewing was a fun place to visit and had some fantastic IPAs. When I found out that my sister had not yet visited there despite living in Seattle for quite some time now we stopped in for a pint a few days later. They had added a rye version of the IPA by then and it impressed me so much that I had a pint of that rather than the regular IPA.
Laurelwood came up a lot in my search for must-try Portland beers. Because I had quite a few beers at Velo Cult before hand, I stuck with four tasters and some happy hour food. I tried the IPA, Tree Hugger Porter, Oatmeal Stout, and Double IPA.
The IPA was a solid entry with plenty of pine, citrus, and grapefruit flavors. The Tree Hugger Porter was good and mellow with primary oatmeal and chocolate flavors. I liked the oatmeal stout slightly better than the porter, with some stronger chocolate flavors smoothed out by the oatmeal. Probably my favorite was the double IPA, with a good bitterness and plenty of citrus and pine. I might have ordered a pint of this one if I hadn’t just come from Velo Cult. Also, compared to the Boneyard Triple IPA I had just before it is hard to impress.
I really enjoyed the happy hour food we ordered at Laurelwood. The fish and chips were nice and crispy and yet the fish was good and flaky. With a little malt vinegar the fish went great with the beers.
Council Brewing is currently in a soft opening phase but you wouldn’t know it from visiting. They are already offering a good variety of brews that will satisfy the majority of beer fans who show up and have a professional look inside.
With the gavels for tap heads you’d be excused for assuming it has something to do with the law. When I asked, I was told that the brewers wanted to set up a place for having debate and discussion. It just happened that the name made sense to include some gavels. They also have free Wi-Fi that is properly secured.
Beer wise, I was quite impressed with the lineup at Council. Small breweries come in all shapes and sizes but I think Council is going to become big very quickly. Not only do they have a fantastic stout and IPA but some of the other beers are very solid as well.
I decided to get a flight of six tasters so that I could try every beer currently offered. This meant that I had a taste of the Farmer’s Gold Saison, Lively Banter Hoppy Wheat, America’s Finest Pale Ale, Gavel Drop IPA, Imperial Oatmeal Stout, and Belgian Triple. Even though some of the lighter offerings didn’t blow me away, I was still quite impressed with the lineup on the whole.
Saison farmers gold
I’m not normally a fan of this style of beer but this is a tasty one. The beer has a little sweet flavor and not too sour. I think the higher alcohol content helps to mellow it out a bit compared to the typical Saison.
Lively banter (hoppy wheat)
Hop flavors come primarily from Centennial. This beer isn’t as insanely hopped as the modern times beer in a similar style. It won’t satisfy those looking for a session ipa style but it has some solid flavor. Flavors of the wheat still hang around, giving it a balanced flavor.
America’s finest pale ale
Delicious crisp flavor and not as heavy as the green flash pale. Great citrus flavor and not too heavy on the malt. The brewers said that this was supposed to be closer to 5.5% but ended up 6.1 by the time it was brewed so future versions should be a little lighter on the alcohol.
Gavel drop ipa
This beer has the quintessential San Diego IPA flavors from the Nelson hops. This beer was so popular that the brewery almost ran out of the first batch before the second batch was done. Hard to say if it is going to last much longer. If you aren’t familiar with Nelson hops this is likely to make you a convert. The grapefruit flavors it offers have become popular among hop addicts like myself. San Diego beer fans who can’t seem to find the Nelson IPA from Alpine Brewing should come by and check this out.
Imperial oatmeal stout
Thick and sweet this should satisfy fans of stouts and porters. Flavors of milk chocolate are clear and a little caramel. Little alcohol sweetness finishes it out. Very impressive. I left here with a 32oz growler full of the stout because it really impressed me. I think my husband would really like this one.
Bright citrus flavors and a bit sweet. Not too heavy. Great flavor. Though it is a little sweet like you would expect from a Belgian beer, it isn’t overly so. This beer was also a bit different than the typical beer of the style you might see around San Diego.
In the end, I was quite impressed by Council Brewing and I think they will have great success once they officially open sometime in June. For now you should make your way over to try the stout or the IPA. Both are excellent and likely to draw large followings.
UPDATE New Beers on May 30, 2014
I returned to Council brewing a few weeks after my first visit to introduce some friends to the beers and I noticed they added three beers that weren’t available when I was last there. Here is what I thought of each.
Chazzam! IPA is a lighter colored IPA that uses a number of piney and citrusy hops in a deliciously crisp brew. It is also a little cheaper per glass than the Gavel Drop because it doesn’t use those elusive Nelson hops. The new Imperial Red is not what you would expect. This is not some overly sweet brew but instead a smoky beer with a light hop kick. I really enjoyed it. Finally the Belgian Dubbel was a solid representation of the style with plenty of plum malts and the spice flavors that come from the Belgian yeast. Some time soon they should be debuting their ESB so stay tuned and come back to Council.
Thorn Street Brewing has a relaxing atmosphere and many delicious beers for every taste. I decided to stop by after a failed attempt to visit Mission Beach left me frustrated and in need of a beer. With so many beers on tap, I didn’t get to try every one but the ones I tried gave me a good taste of the selection.
To start with, I tried their Session IPA, a Spicy Session IPA, and the Oatmeal Stout. The session IPA had a nice pine flavor with some nice citrus, similar to the Lagunitas Session. It is mellow enough that it should be nice to drink on the beach. The spicy session was a bit on the hot side, which surprised me. It wasn’t as hot as the Habanero Sculpin but still hotter than a lot of other similar beers. The oatmeal stout had a nice mellow flavor with some sweet caramel and hints of chocolate. This one would likely satisfy fans of the style.
Next I got tasters of the Relay IPA, Tropic Daze IPA, and Red Headed Hop Child. The Relay had a nice crisp flavor to match the light color. It was more piney than citrus though it did have a light citrus on the back. The Tropical Daze had a heavy tropical fruit flavor with a bit of pineapple flavor up front. This was one of my favorites of the night. The Red Headed Hop Child disappointed me because it was a lot heavier on the malts than the hops. I thought it could use a lot more hops so what I had didn’t satisfy me at all.
To finish it off, I had some Rye Stafari, Menace, and the Barrel Aged Imperial Porter. The Rye Stafari gave me a heavy dose of smoke with roasted malts up front. It was pretty boring and dry tasting and didn’t impress. The Menace was almost a double version of the Tropic Daze though it did have some other varieties of hops to give it a different flavor. This was an impressive double IPA that went down smooth. The Barrel Aged Imperial Porter had the right amount of bourbon flavor to match the sweet coconut and went down smooth.