Tag Archives: Saison

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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Tired Hands Brewing Company – Ardmore Pennsylvania

Tired Hands is located in Ardmore, a 30 minute drive or 1 hour public transit stop from Philadelphia. I opted to stay in the area to make it easier and I’m glad I did because I had to leave during one of my visits to take care of some work for a client for a few hours before going back. Being a short drive away made things easy. They have two locations very close to each other, the brewery and the Fermentaria (their version of a brewpub but with more fancy food). I stopped by the brewery the first night and had a couple of beers though I had the most variety at the Fermentaria as well as eating lunch. Both locations are quite loud both with the noise of people talking and the music played in the background.

 

I started in the evening at the brewery with their cask ESB, done old school with a smooth light body and notes of caramel malts. It was even smoother thanks to being served on cask. I also tried their wacky Birthday Cake Double Milkshake, a hazy double IPA with huge amounts of adjuncts, including chocolate, vanilla, and the addition of an actual cake. They take advantage of the super soft creamy mouthfeel of their double IPAs and it works fairly well in the same way as other breweries serve white stouts with lactose and coffee. It is a super popular style but I didn’t personally care for it and I am a bit surprised I ordered a full 10 ounce pour after tasting it.

I started trying other beers at the Fermentaria the following day. Their Hop Hands, the flagship hazy pale ale, was fairly thin with notes of citrus, grass, and pine, though a bit too bitter for the style. Their other flagship, Saison Hands, was delicious, a classic saison with notes of citrus and spice with a dry finish. It paired quite nicely with the Veggie Banh Mi and the hot peppers. I was so impressed by this that I later ordered a few other farmhouse ales they had. My husband ordered the Coffee Only Voyd, imperial stout with coffee, which was thick and smooth with tons of roasty coffee as you would expect from the style.

The Oat Tao, oat saison aged in barrels, had a funky barnyard nose and a soft and chewy mouthfeel. It was delightfully complex with earthy notes, mild citrus, and some green-apple lambic character. It reminded me of something similar from Hill Farmstead. I enjoyed it so much that I ordered a pint when I finished, though many others who visited around the same time thought it was their least-favorite.

The So It Goes red sour ale was quite funky with notes of caramel, cherry malt character, and a mild tart bite. I quite enjoyed this one I think in part to the hgher alcohol which gave it an increased sweetness that kept it from being one-note. The Tongue Extinguisher hazy DIPA was soft and pillowy with tons of pineapple and grapefruit hop flavor. It had minimal bitterness, hop acidity, or alcohol bite. It was like drinking Monkish fresh from the source, and immediately I understood where all the hype for them comes from.

If you go out to Tired Hands, I recommend planning to stay in Ardmore if you can. I loved he quiet area without the insane traffic of Philadelphia and one could easily spend days trying everything they have to offer. Since they price things to encourage ordering larger pours, I suggest trying a splash of a couple of beers to ensure you enjoy what you order. Not only was the beer a highlight of my trip but I can see myself returning to the area again to enjoy the slow, quiet feel of the surrounding town. I highly recommend the Fermentaria not just for beer but for their high quality food with plenty of vegetarian options to go with it. Just bring your ear plugs if you prefer a quiet brewery experience.

Top 3:
Tongue Extinguisher DIPA
Saison Hands
Oat Tao Saison

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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