I had to do some grocery shopping today, and while I was there, I took advantage of the store's recently expanded beer selection. The Fred Meyer on 39th and Hawthorne finally caught up with Portland's demand for high-end beers last month with the completion of their remodel. They now boast over 1000 beers, cold and ready to go, daily. While I still prefer to visit Belmont Station for my beer runs, (better service, better selection, more knowledgeable staff, better treatment of the beer, etc...) I'm not too proud to pick up some bevies at freddie's if I'm there anyway (sorry belmont! you're still my favorite, this isn't the end of us!). I decided to pick up a couple brews for the aging shelf, and then a couple to get me through the day.
My "drink immediately" beer purchase for the day was Oskar blues' Dales Pale Ale; - available in a 6 pack of 12 ounce cans. I'm very into the microbrew shift to canning, and a full fledged foot soldier of the movement, so I was glad to try a new (to me) beer available in cans.
I'll start this review by saying that the current weather conditions might strongly be effecting my ability to judge this beer. In short; it's a cold and unoffensive beer, and it's HOT outside. But let me delve deeper.
A. I'll admit, from the first beer, I have no idea, I DRANK IT FROM THE CAN!
S. Hops, but not over the top bitter. Balanced. Fresh cut grass and a little pineapple. Sweet.
T. Well presented hops. While the hops take the lead in this beer (as they should), the malts are clearly present and and make this a very well balanced pale. When the beer first hits the mouth, I notice sweet flavors, but they're quickly overrun by the hops in the aftertaste, when the bitterness comes through.
M. Light bodied. Smooth; very good for the summer.
D. Easy to drink. I would consider this a good alternative to Caldera Pale. I little more hop forward, a little less roasty malts. Tastey and easy to knock back. Good BBQ beer, good yard work beer, good anything out in the hot sun beer. A little more subtle than the beers I tend to prefer, but it certainly has it's place.
Now to the aging shelf beers. I picked up another deschutes black butte XXI, another Rodenbach Grand Cru, another New Belgium La Folie, and a Lindemans Gueuze Cuvée René.
I still haven't opened my first black butte xxi, but I've had it several times on tap, and I feel good about having another bottle improving on the shelf. At the moment, it's the only bottle I have 2 of aging. I picked up another Rodenbach Grand Cru to age as an experiment. I've written extensively before on other pages about the differences I noticed between the Rodenbach Grand Cru available in Belgium, vs. the ones available here in the US. The concensus has been that the difference between the beer in it's native land, and the one available here, it that the US version has been pasturized. I'd imagine that the pasturized version wont change much with age, but because the original is so good for aging, I've decided to let one sit to test the theory. My latest La Folie will probably be the last I'll buy this year, as the availability is limited, and the price has gone up accordingly. I've purchased several before, but because they've remained available, I haven't let them sit on the shelf for very long. This one should break the mold. The Lindemans Gueuze Cuvee Rene is a new beer to me. I'm tempted to pop it now to try "fresh", but I think I'm better off waiting a bit. It would be nice to take notes on it's fresh attributes now to compair the aged version too later, but for the moment, I only have one, and there isn't a special enough event to warrant it's opening.
And for the tech review! I ordered a bottle pal bottle opener yesterday, and it already arrived on my door step this morning. It's a bottle opening device (of which I already have too many) but this one promises to remove the cap of your beer without denting or bending the cap. (good for collecting, especially if you plan on doing something with the caps afterwards). I had read about the opener on beeradvocate.com, and immediately ordered one (it was only 7 bucks, free shipping!). I've used it once, and it's pretty neat; certainly does a good job of opening a beer, and it has a lot more flair than using a standard opener.
Here's a video of it in action: