Monday, September 28, 2009

hood river

(pale rider IPA at Big Horse Brewing in Hood River)

Yesterday I went on a little fishing trip into the gorge with a friend to catch some small mouth; which ended up not happening. After several hours of casting, but no catching, we made our way to Hood River to drown our sorrows at Big Horse and Double Mountain.

At Big Horse, I was excited to see Vernon the Rabbit Slayer on the taplist. Vernon is their fresh hop imperial IPA. Unfortunately, to make the beer last, they're only tapping one keg of it per week, and keg tapping day is monday, meaning we didn't stand a chance of trying a pint on a sunday on the first week it was available. I hope to get to try some next weekend, at the first of the three Oregon Fresh Hop festivals, but we'll see. Instead of Vernon, I had a nightmare oatmeal stout (no correct listing to link to), and a Pale Rider IPA. I've had both beers before, and enjoyed each very much. The Pale Rider has a really beautiful orange glow that was especially apparent yesterday as I drank my pint at the side bar, with the sun shining through the window and my glass. Appropriately, the nightmare was black as night, not letting any light show through the pint. Sipping the nightmare reminded me of how long it had been since I had a stout. My preference over the summer was to focus on lighter belgians, sours, and IPA's. The weather (and my palate) hasn't quite turned enough for stouts just yet, but having the beer helped raise my enthusiasm about the changing of the seasons.

After 2 pints at Big Horse, we made our way down to double mountain for a couple more beers. I started with a terrible two, a special bourbon barrel aged, thick, rich concoction, served in a 12 ounce pour into a branded double mountain tulip glass. I had tasted a very similar beer before, but I couldn't quite place it until it was suggested that maybe I was thinking about one of the full sail bourbon aged reserve series beers. I think that was it. It was a rich, but pretty one dimentional. Hot bourbon. I'd say I enjoyed this beer, but a 12 ounce pour was certainly enough. From the terrible two, I moved on to an old favorite, the Devil's Kriek (it appears that they're no longer serving the funkier rainier kriek, which I prefer). Because I don't think I've written about it before, the Devil's Kriek is a crayon red colored Kriek made by aging a belgian style tripel on bing cherries that were harvested from the brewer's own cherry orchards. The bings color the beer, impart their tart flavor on it, and provide the beer with wild yeast and more fermentable sugars. The resulting beer is then first poured one year from the original brewing. This year I first had the Devil's along with it's funkier brother the Rainier Kriek, at Belmont Station. The two krieks were then served with fresh bing and rainier cherries that were part of this year's harvest (which will be used for next year's beer). Finally, after the Devil's Kriek, I tried one last new beer for the day. It was a belgian style beer that they described as somewhere between a single and a dubbel, it was named after a famous Abbie, I want to say Abbie Hoffman, but my memory got a bit cloudy by this part of the evening. In any case, it was delicious and strong for their description, weighing in at 7.5 ABV. I wish I could recall more, but it's hard to take tasting seriously after drinking bourbon barrel aged anything.

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