Tag Archives: Saison

Santa Rosa Breweries – Henhouse, Moonlight, and Woodfour

Henhouse Brewery

Henhouse Brewery was our first stop on our second day. After visiting the main brewery location, I was told that they have a sour brewery location elsewhere although this is only a review of the main brewery location. They have a large building which has a decent amount of indoor seating and fairly large outdoor seating area. Like other breweries in the area, pints were a better deal than tasters so that is what I stuck to here and elsewhere.

I started with their house saison which was super dry with lingering notes of black pepper, mild bitterness, and hints of pear. After that I ordered their beer titled independent AF IPA. The beer was hazy thanks to the addition of wheat malt. It was hazy in appearance but not particularly juicy. The beer had tons of hop aroma with notes of papaya and an herbal bitter finish. I left with cans and they have been enjoyable once I returned home.

Moonlight Brewery

Moonlight is known primarily for their dark lager titled death and taxes. It was strangely cold in their tasting room when we stopped by and there was also a painting class going on so we didn’t stay too long although the few beers that I had were quite excellent.

I started with their Pilsner which was nice and traditional, classic and dry with notes of hay and overall easy drinking. The beer is served as a full half liter. I had tried their death and taxes beer before so when I saw that they had a beer called boney fingers, a slightly stronger version they make for Halloween, I ordered that immediately. The beer was roasting and mildly smoky with notes of dark chocolate and perfectly balanced. I grabbed a four pack before I left and am glad I did because the two I have opened so far were quite excellent.

I finished with a low alcohol saison called Wee Nibble. The beer was dry and lightly herbal with hints of lemon and banana. It was a solid version of the style. Moonlight seems to make some of the more traditional beers of the breweries I visited and so would make a good spot for someone to visit who is there for Russian River primarily.

Woodfour Brewery

Before leaving town, we made our way to a brewery called woodfour, known for its barrel aged beers and sours. They have a spacious indoor seating area and large outdoor deck with covered seating.

I started with their Berliner weisse, a beer that they spontaneously ferment. It was hazy yellow with subdued tartness and notes of peach and mild funk. If I had any room left in my suitcase, I would have bought some cans to bring home because it was quite excellent. Rather than having a version with fruit added, they offer you to order the beer with syrup although I prefer to drink plain.

Next was there wild Saison called Brett mother. It was intensely funky with notes of acorns, mild lemon, and grapefruit that comes out as it warms up. The first few sips took some getting used to but I grew to enjoy the beer before I finished the glass. I finished with their sour farmhouse ale which was intensely tart with notes of green papaya and peach and as you get used to the beer the funky base comes through with notes of earthy malts and hints of acorns. I don’t know if it was this particular beer or the fact that I was drinking three sour beers in a row, but I was unable to finish my third beer. I think perhaps their house yeast didn’t agree with my stomach in such large quantities.

Woodfour has a special style slightly different from other sour breweries out there so it’s hard to compare them to my favorites. They certainly have achieved a nice house yeast flavor that is distinguishable between their sours. They also had a lovely dark lager with coffee that my husband enjoyed while he was there.

Known for:
Visit Woodfour if you are interested in trying some unique sour and funky beers.

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 serving clients in San Diego California.

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Columbus Ohio Breweries – Wolf’s Ridge and Seventh Son

Wolf’s Ridge Brewing Company


My first stop on my visit was Wolf’s Ridge brewing Company where sadly I was not able to try any Hoppy beers because they had run out recently. The brewery felt more like a restaurant and bar than a brewery but I got the vibe of a proper place that respects good cocktails and knows quality beer.

I tried two Saison beers while I was there. The regular version had prominent herbal dry hop character with fairly viscous mouth feel and was under-carbonated. It seemed to focus more on the herbal hop character than on the yeast or the malts. This was not really my style of Saison. The barrel aged version on the other hand was bright with notes of lemon lime effervescence with citrus peel bitterness on the finish. The beer delightfully danced on the border between citrusy and juicy.

The barleywine I tried had a nice soft mouthfeel with a fairly thin body and stayed more on the sweet side without being overly bitter. The beer had flavors of caramel and plum with mild rye spice sweetness to finish it off. This definitely one of the better barley wines I have had recently. The coffee milk stout was tasty with strong coffee roast on the nose and flavors blending nicely with burnt toffee, roasted coffee and a smoky finish that lingers on the tongue. While the beer was well done, I found the smoky finish a bit too much for me.

I finished with the Imperial Stout which was quite nice and blended nicely with flavors of bitter chocolate, marshmallow, and subtle cherry notes. The beer hid its alcohol quite well and had a nice soft and creamy body. This was quite the excellent Imperial Stout and along with the version at seventh son, was up there as my favorite for this trip. Overall I had some solid beers at Wolfs Ridge although I wish I could have tried some of their IPAs. I ended up bringing some of the Imperial Stout home from my trip and made sure to only give my husband two of the 4 bottles because it has a thick chocolate character to it that I rarely find in my local stouts.

Top Three:
Barrel Aged Saison
Barleywine
Imperial Stout

Seventh Son Brewing


In contrast with Wolf’s Ridge, Seventh Son is much more open and the only food available is with a food truck. They had fairly large amount of seating outside in the sun and a fairly open bar area as well. They had quite the variety of beers on tap so I went with the ones that sounded most interesting to me to get a good sampling.

I started with Gleen IPA, which was resinous and had a nice dry finish. The beer had mild notes of citrus hops and white wine. The beer was somewhat subdued in hop aromas but it was nicely balanced and easy drinking. Similarly, the double IPA, though slightly higher in alcohol was just as dry. It had notes of marijuana on the nose and the beer did not have significant noticeable bitterness on the finish or prominent hop aromas. Still I could tell it was excellently made.

The Brett pale ale had a cloudy orange color with some mild funk from the Brett. The beer was also super dry and not particularly bitter, showing a nice balance between everything. The Imperial Stout was thick with notes of bitter chocolate, mild raisins, and a mild lingering sweetness. This beer also hid the alcohol quite well and was my other top favorite Imperial Stout of the trip. I was overall impressed with the ability of the Brewers to make such bone dry IPAs.

Top 2:
Imperial Stout
Brett Pale

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 serving clients in San Diego California.

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Boise Breweries – Lost Grove and Payette

Lost Grove Brewing

I started with the Golden ale which was crisp and easy drinking with mild fruit. While not particularly flavorful, this was a delicious beer that would be easy to drink pint of. The lemonade stout, milk stout made with lemon zest, was so mild in the lemon department that I would not have known the added any if it was not listed on the menu. It was fairly standard for milk stout and had a nice amount of roast while not being overly sweet.

Their first site IPA was strongly herbal with lingering lemon zest character on the finish. While the beer was somewhat soft in body, it was not particularly hoppy or dry and fairly disappointing to me. The second chance IPA, was also fairly lemon forward and while nicely balanced with the pine and bitterness at the finish, it did not have the level of aroma to make the beer particularly appealing.

The Saison with sour sop had some light notes of vanilla, mild funk, and a nice dry finish. The beer was overall nicely balanced and had a light fruity character, making it one of the better beers of this brewery. The kettle sour, was creamy and had hints of white cake, though it was not particularly tart. The beer had hints of citrus and guava overall too mild in flavor for me.

Overall, I was not particularly impressed by the beers at Lost Grove though the Saison was one beer that stood out as better than the rest. The beers were all fairly middle-of-the-road, nothing to recommend visiting over other breweries in the area.

Top choice:
Saison with Sour Sop

Payette Brewing


I tried four tasters during my visit to Payette brewing and decided to leave it at that. They had a nice wide open tasting room with fairly expansive outdoor area. The top list was also quite expensive, though I went for what sounded most interesting to me to get a quick taste.

The Pilsner was quite light in body and lacking in flavor. Though drinkable, it was not particularly flavorful. The pale ale was easy drinking with fruity hops. Though not bitter, the beer was lacking in hop aroma and did not have the flavor I would’ve expected for a beer highlighting mosaic hops.

The Porter was fruit forward and fairly thin with a lingering finish that I did not care for. The Porter was fairly below average. The hazy IPA, was very lightly hazy with notes of tropical fruit and lemon. It was fairly light bodied and light in bitterness with hints of melon and bubblegum on the finish. It was fairly average for a first attempt at a hazy. I can’t even tell from my photo which one was the hazy because none of them is hazy.

Nothing at Payette that I tried was particularly good or exciting. Even if this had been my first stop of the day, I would likely have stopped after these four tasters.

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 serving clients in San Diego California.

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Tenaya Creek Brewery – Las Vegas NV

Tenaya Creek has been around since 1999 though only recently moved to their location in downtown Las Vegas. They have a spacious tasting room with excellent air conditioning and a wide variety of guest taps besides their own house beers. I tried seven different beers while I was there and overall quite satisfied.

I started with Hop Ride, their flagship IPA. It was dank and resinous with a bitter bite and notes of pineapple and banana on the finish. While it was tasty, it had a lingering bitterness that I didn’t care for. The Gypsy Fade IPA was much more modern with a minimal bitterness and bright fruity hops that blended nicely with herbal hops on the base. I quite liked this one.

The Magnum Rye was a nice fruity saison with notes of white cake and mild floral and herbal hop character and hints of bubblegum on the finish. The hops are quite subtle here and not anywhere near as powerful as I would have assumed but they work nicely with the base beer. The Howling Oats oatmeal stout blended notes of cherry malt base with tons of roast and finished with a bitter bite. I enjoyed the chewy body and how the cherry flavor didn’t dominate.

The Old Jackalope barley wine had notes of caramel but the hops overpower it with a strong bitter finish that I didn’t care for. I did not finish the taster. The silencer double IPA had a nice caramel malt base that blended nicely with sweet candied mango notes on the finish. Hops were mostly subdued and blended nicely with the flavor of the mango. The Baltic porter was thick and roasty with bitter chocolate and mild notes of smoke. The flavors balanced nicely with hints of cherry giving it a cherry chocolate flavor. This is one of the more complex and delicious Baltic porters I have tried.

If you are in Las Vegas for the weekend and crave some good beers, stop by for a flight and grab some cans to bring back to your hotel room. They had six pack cans of many of their core beers.

Top 2:
Gypsy Fade IPA
Baltic Porter

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 serving clients in San Diego California.

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Seattle Breweries – Populuxe and Cloudburst,

I missed both Populuxe and Cloudburst during my previous Seattle visit because they were closed the one day I had to visit breweries. Populuxe is in Ballard near a number of other breweries. Cloudburst is much closer to Pike’s Place Market in an old building with somewhat limited seating.

Populuxe

Populuxe has a nice outdoor area with picnic tables and room for food trucks to set up. I didn’t get to try their IPAs because they had run out. From the beers I had, many of the lower alcohol styles I expected to be nice and balanced were too intensely bitter.

The summer ale on nitro was quite subtle with light fruit notes and a creamy body from the nitro. This isn’t one that you would really sip but more something you would drink down quickly. I drank it so quickly that I forgot to take a photo of it when the glass was full. The hoppy wheat was quite bitter with notes of grapefruit rind and mild grassy hops. The bitterness overpowered the rest of the beer and I didn’t get much hop aroma.

The oatmeal stout was bitter and roasty with a dry finish. With the low alcohol it lacked the punch of stronger stouts. It might have been better on nitro. The ESB had a biscuit malt base with intense citrus and herb hops. Like the wheat, the bitterness was too much for the style. The one beer I enjoyed the most was the saison. It had some notes of orange peel with light brett funk and some light white wine character. I didn’t get to try their IPAs but based on the other beers I expect they would be similarly bitter.

I recommend visiting populuxe for the saison and otherwise passing them in favor of other local breweries.

Cloudburst


Cloudburst was highly recommended because they are run by one of the brewers who brewed for Elysian for some time before they sold out. I only tried three beers because they don’t serve taster flights. I was quite disappointed right off the bat because they charge $5 for a 10 ounce pour and $6 for a 16 ounce pour making it more expensive if you want to try multiple beers.

Such off-putting glasses to serve beer in. I couldn’t believe they used these glasses.

I tried one pilsner and two IPAs. The pilsner was crisp and fruity with light floral hop character. It was a tasty pilsner. The Whenever IPA was a light orange hazy color. Hops were herbal and bitter with notes of onion and garlic and a light salty finish. I didn’t much care for this one. The Lip Sync IPA had some notes of orange peel and citrus with a soft body but a salty/mineral finish. Both were decent IPAs but neither had the intensity of hop aroma that makes the style so much fun.

I wasn’t particularly impressed by what they had at cloudburst. I can understand that they want to recommend ordering a full pint but this doesn’t work very well when trying to visit multiple breweries in one day. There are other seattle breweries that were more impressive on the IPA front. Cloudburst seems to be all hype to me.

Known for: People rave about their IPAs though I didn’t find them to be particularly standout in that area.

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 serving clients in San Diego California.

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