Archive for the ‘Questionable’ Category

Now, I’ve gone back and looked at my old post regarding Lost Brewery, and I realized that I was really slacking off with my first few beer blog posts. At some point I’ll have to go back and redo these tastings and make them worth sitting down to. In the mean time, let me give you a brief low down on the first Californian brewery I had the pleasure to try. The year was 1986 and Barbara Groom, a pharmacist at the time, and Wendy Pound, a family counselor, after years of experiment home brewing they began to ponder what it would take to open a Brewpub. After years of research, planning, visiting various pubs over in the UK they were ready to take the plunge and turn their dream into a reality. They started out buying an old building in 1989, renovated it thru the winter and in 1990 they were ready to open their doors to the public. Since then they’ve outgrown their original facilities and upgraded to a larger building. They are currently the 33rd largest brewer in the US shipping out to 22 states, 3 provinces, and Puerto Rico. In 2009 they beat their own record and produced 50,000 barrels and have plans on moving to brew in even greater quantities.

Now, for my third beer, I’ve chosen to have their Raspberry Brown. This beer has won two “Best in California” awards, and multiple golds, silvers and bronze to go alongside it. I honestly don’t know what it is about raspberries that just goes with beer. I’ve never meet a raspberry beer I didn’t find tasty and refreshing.

This brown pours a reddish-brown with a light cappuccino colored head. The aroma was thick with brown sugar and raspberry jam. There was also a light hint of chocolate and nuttiness. The initial taste was huge with initial sweet raspberry, this slowly faded away leaving room for the chocolate and nutty malts to play on the palate. This brown is quite smooth and has a low carbonation to it. I quite enjoyed this, but if sweeter beers aren’t your thing I wouldn’t recommend going out and buying a flat.

5% Brown


The next stop on our brewery road trip was Lost Coast Brewery. Located in Eureka, California, this is where we chose to hold up for the night. The first drink I chose to have for the night was the Indiga IPA. I do remember seeing it from time to time of shelves here in Calgary. For some reason though I’ve never reached out and picked it up. I figured this was as good a time as any to give it a taste.

Once my beer arrived at the table I could see that is was crystal clear amber copper with a thin flat white head. The aroma is filled with orange citrus and pine hops. This is an excellent tasting IPA, with orange, grapefruit and pine hops taking the forefront. The taste is actually quite a bit more complex than the smell leads one to believe. The texture is creamy and clean and this is very refreshing.

6.5% IPA

Well I was at the brewery I was lucky enough to have a unique experience. I had the opportunity to have their regular Red Seal Ale as well as a fresh cask version. The Red Seal is actually one of their beers that we can find from time to time here in Calgary. It has won ten gold medals in various world championships. Also, a couple of silver medals to just round things up a touch.

As anyone would guess the Red Seal Ale pours with an amber red color. It is capped off with a white head which clings to the sides of the glass as it fades. The aroma has some spices, some grassy and piney hops, I believe I might also be picking up a small amount of caramel malt too. My initial impression of the flavor was that I found it to be quite pungent with the taste of clove. There were grassy hops right upfront but are eventually overpowered by the clove. There is a malty backbone to this to add a darkish caramel to the mix. As a final note, I’m not sure why but for some reason I thought I might have been tasting a touch of soap in the aftertaste… This seems unusual for me. I’m thinking that the glass might not have gotten a proper rinse after being washed? I could be completely wrong on this or it might have been the order I’d tried the beers.

5.5% Amber

Well, I think it’s time for a short history lesson regarding North Coast Brewing. They were a pioneer in the craft brew movement, opening their doors back in 1988 originally as a Brew pub. Under the guidance of their Brewmaster, Mark Ruedrich, they’ve won over seventy awards nationally and internationally in various competitions. They are currently shipped world-wide, yes even to Canada, though we don’t see to much of them. Okay, enough history, on to the beer.

Pouring a dark amber brown coloring, this ale has a slightly off white head. The aroma wafts with dark fruits and a heavy sweetness like brown sugar. The flavor is heavy with dark molasses and brown sugar. There is a light note of banana esters that I nearly didn’t detect. Dark roasted caramel malts darken the beer a touch but don’t help with the overly sweet taste. The dark fruits, raisins and plums, are also present throughout the taste. There is also a nasty alcoholic bite at the tail end of the after taste. I’d really like to have another bottle of this to let sit and age to see what it’d turn into 4-6 years down the road.

9.4% Belgian

My third and final beer at this fine establishment was a Poppy Jasper Amber Ale. I later found out that this brew is created by El Toro Brewing, located in Morgan Hill, California. When I first saw the name of the brew I thought it unusual for a name of the flower and the name of the town in Alberta to be thrown into the same name for a beer. I later found out, through a little research, that “Poppy Jasper” is actually a name for a semi precious stone. Apparently this stone can only be found in Morgan Hill and is believed to have been made by a unique combination of volcanic and seismic activity. Said volcanic activity would have derived from the hill named El Toro, translating into “the bull”.

Pouring a cloudy brownish amber, this brew came with a half finger of white cream head which faded quickly. The aroma is sweet and grainy with some light fruity hints. The taste is dominated by a sweet caramel malt with mild hints of floral hops. This amber was smooth going down and had just the right amount of carbonation. If anything, I found it was just a touch too sweet for my tastes.

5.3% Amber

The next pint I had at this pub was a Trumer Pilsner. Until I saw it on this list I’d never heard of it before. It turns out that they originated in Austria. The brewery originally started out as a pub in 1775 and has been passed down through seven generation of family. Slowly growing and expanding through each generation. They’ve expended so much they actually have a brewery in Berkeley, California to supply their American demand.

This pilsner pours a straw yellow with next to no head. What little head is actually there is a light white skim on top around the edges. Their aroma hints at floral and grass hops, with a side of pale, bready malts. The taste mirrors the aromas and is quite light and crisp. I could see a bunch of these going down far too easily on a scorching hot summer day.

4.8% Pilsner

After the first long leg of our road trip, getting out of bed was a little slow. Honestly, I can’t remember what time we ended up getting out of bed, but I do remember that they had already closed down the “continental breakfast.” After packing up and getting all of our proverbial ducks in a row, we headed over to Seabright Brewery for brunch. When we arrived, we realized they wouldn’t be open for another 45 minutes. So, we decided to head down to the ocean and take a stroll on the beach. To be honest, it has been years since I’ve been that close to the ocean with the waves crashing that hard. So, I dove right on in. It was cold, saltier then I remember, and I had the stirred up sand go everywhere. I’m pretty sure I had at least five pounds if sand fill my pockets. After I dried off and cleaned up we headed into the pub.

Seabright is a decent sized little pub, with quite the large patio to boost its seating potential if I recall correctly. The menu was unique and delicious. I’d go back for the food alone. Oh, who am I kidding. I’d go back for the beer too. I’m not sure how long they’ve been active, but they always have 6-8 beers on tap and usual a seasonal from what I’m told. Between the food and the two beers I tried, I was thoroughly impressed.

The Sour Cherry Stout poured dark black with no head to be had. This may have been due to it being a 6 ounce sampler glass and the waitress trying to give me the most bang for my buck. The aroma wafted with mostly a traditional oatmeal stout scent. Though I was able to pick up slight hints of cherry every second or third sniff. The first sip was a punch in the face with sour cherry. Wow! After that initial jab the sour fades smoothly into a traditional oatmeal flavoring. This stout has a clean, smooth finish, which left a thick oatmeal stout aftertaste.

?% Stout