Sunday, November 22, 2009
I met up with Ian and Bryan, one last time before Ian left to go back to California. First, the guys came back to the house to check out the beer cave. Fortunately for everyone involved, they came bearing a black tuesday. We quickly got to work on it, Ian having cracked off the excessive wax and pouring it's contents into 3 glasses. It was very much the same as I remembered from the dock sale, except I had enough to truly savor and pick apart this time. Splitting one of these bottles 3 ways is perfect. It's just too big a brew to fully enjoy in quantities larger than this I think.
What can I say that hasn't been said before? Nothing. This is a huge beer, and although the alcohol is masked exceptionally well, there's still no denying it; it's a monster. You smell and taste the bourbon without experiencing the heat on your palate. It's chocolatey, there are the hints of vanilla from the oak, it's thick and viscous. Those are descriptions you could give most barrel aged RIS's, but this one is different. Thick, velvety, smooth. You can feel the alcohol surge into your veins like a shot of hard booze. Although there's no burn on the palette, this one quickly warms you from with in. I found myself murdering the pronunciations of longer words; what's the ABV on this thing again? Oh, 19.5%, that explains it.
After sipping on our black tuesdays, we decided to open one more bottle to cut the thick malty coatings in our mouths before going to taste saisons. Ian chose my cascade cuvee du jongleur. I've had this sitting for quite some time, so I'm not sure how it compared to a fresh batch, but it was the perfect follow-up to the black tuesday. The sour acidic bite flushed the sweet boozy black tuesday coating from our mouths. This beer had all the sour I had hoped for. It delivered more of an apple like flavor than I've experienced in previous sours; similar to the flavor that Fred picks up when it's from the wood. Delicious, and a crisp clean way to end a mini session.
Next we were on our way to the Upright Brewing tasting room. None of us had ever been there, but I had read many good things about this place, and thought it would be a good way to send Ian off. We made our way out to north broadway, and although we had a bit of trouble finding the place, were still inside in pretty good time. If anything, the difficulty we had finding this brewery only stood to add to it's charm. In the basement of the relatively new (and vacant) leftbank project, in an unfinished subterranean concrete cave with make shift seating (and standing) areas, and surrounded by industrial brewing equipment and aging barrels, this place felt more like a secret speakeasy than a public brewery. We decided to start with a sample tray to share. The tray consisted of the four, five, six, pure wit, fatali four, and flora rustica. I'd had the four, five, and flora rustica before, but never side by side. It was enjoyable tasting them this way, especially since we first tasted them "blind" and then found out what we were drinking. I had a hard time picking a favorite, but to me, it came down to 4, 6, fatali 4, and flora rustica. The easiest to pick from the bunch was the fatali, which is probably one of the best done chili pepper beers I've tried to date. In the past, with things like rogue chipoltle, the peppers were present, but underrepresented I think. There was no doubt that this beer was full of hot peppery warmth. The differences between the standard 4, 6, and flora rustica were more subtle. If anything, I think that's an endorsement for the six, which had significantly more alcohol than the four, but hid it just as well.
Another great day in Portland!