This year I managed to taste nearly 30 beers by myself. Needless to say I am worn out. But it was so worth it. I don’t have a strategy for tasting. I just jump right in and taste whatever sounds interesting. I found myself with a lot of beers that tended more toward malty than hoppy, so on Sunday I concentrated on IPAs with the occasional Pilsner or Lager.
What’s the best beer? It’s whatever you like at the moment. Though if pressed for a favorite, I’m inclined to say Russian River’s Pliny the Elder.
San Francisco CA
Is it beer that tastes like watermelon or watermelon that tastes like beer? A very wheaty fruit beer that is light and refreshing for summer. Not much body.
Eugene City Brewery
Honey Orange Wheat
Drinks like a Creamsicle: lightly orange and almost creamy. Heavy on the wheat.
Lost Coast Brewery
Great White Beer
Belgian Wit Beer
Summer in a glass – very fizzy and lightly spicy with an essence of orange. Not much depth but refreshing.
McMenamins Cocordia Brewery
White Lightning Whiskey Stout
Creamy, rich, almost too sweet, this imperial stout is a meal in a glass. Probably has your RDA of vitamins & minerals.
Redhook Ale Brewery
Nice flavor but not much staying power. Nicely fizzy and refreshing.
Russian River Brewing
Santa Rosa CA
Pliny the Elder
Hopped to the max, but well balanced. Cleans the palate – and probably your kitchen counters as well. Also a very high alcohol content. Our favorite of the festival. The best of the big-hopped beers.
Scuttlebutt Brewing Co
A light refreshing beer, with a touch of fruit. There’s not too much going on here, but plenty of fizz makes this a good summer beer.
Snipes Mountain Brewery
Indian Pale Ale
A nice all-around IPA, plenty hoppy with good flavor and balance, not overwhelming.
Sprecher Brewing Co
Lightly fizzy, slightly malty, good for cool fall evenings, despite the name.
Walking Man Brewing
Strong Pale Ale
Pleasantly hoppy and tasty, but not too strong. Complex in its own right. It doesn’t come on as strong as Pliny the Elder, another 100 IBU beer.
Dick’s Brewing Co
Dick’s Best Bitter
Nicely bitter with a hint of malt and a mild finish.
Imperial Cream Ale
Starts out mildly hopped, followed by a malty creaminess, ending with a hoppy, lingering finish.
New Belgium Brewing Co
Fort Collins CA
1554 Enlightened Black Ale
Brussels Style Black Ale
Rich & creamy, not overpowering, carbonation gives it a slight tang. Maltiness makes this a good winter beer.
New Old Lompoc
Northwest Red Ale
A pleasant balance of malt and hops, slightly leaning towards a hoppiness that quickly drops off into a long quiet finish.
Pelican Pub & Brewery
Pacific City OR
Kiwanda Cream Ale
A well-balanced blend of flavors that provide a good antidote to the over-hopped beers currently in fashion.
Belgian Wit Bier
Belgian Wit Bier
Full of flavor, this is a classic wit. Strong orange and cardomon flavors with neither dominating and a gentle finish. So far my favorite of the three witbiers at the festival.
8.5 % alcohol
This year’s Collaborator is simultaneously sweet & hoppy with a strong finish that tapers off gradually. Another fine collaboration between Widmer Bros. and the local home brewing community.
Wasco Indian Summer Ale
Flavorful, leaning towards hops, but tapering off fairly quickly. Doesn’t demand too much attention, but not without interest. Overall a good hoppy beer.
Anderson Valley Brewing
Summer Solstice Cerveza Crema
Amber Cream Ale
Tastes like Vanilla Coke. No wonder it has the longest line at the festival.
Light but not lacking in body as many mass-produced lager styles. Subtly fruity with just enough hops (though that might still be Organic Green Mammoth in my mouth.)
Boulder Beer Co
Sweaty Betty Blonde Wheat
Similar to a Belgian Witbier, very fruity and slightly spicy with lively carbonation. Good body with a quick drop off to a gradual finish.
Kansas City MO
Belgian Wit Bier
Carbonation initially dominates big orange & spice flavors, followed with a quick finish. #2 in my rankings of this year’s witbiers.
A hoppy beer that is well-balanced, not too bitter.
Green Flash Brewing
San Diego CA
West Coast IPA
Another big hopped beer with balance. Lingers long.
Laurelwood Public House & Brewery
Organic Green Mammoth
One sniff and you’re walking through a hop field. Big rounded hop flavor fills the mouth, tapering off gradually with major staying power. Merely bitter when sipped, this IPA requires whole mouth tastes. Not for the faint of heart. The biggest of the current crop of overhopped beers.
Ninkasi Brewing Co
Quantum Pale Ale
Initially malty, followed quickly by dominating hops that taper off gradually, ending with a gentle maltiness.
Moylan’s Brewing Co
Tipperary Pale Ale
At last, a well-hopped beer that isn’t over hopped. Plenty of hoppy goodness without being overwhelming.
Really red, really raspberry, nicely tart, not too wheaty. A top notch novelty beer. Good for summer. Not a Ruby Tuesday clone by any means.
An initial hit of strong hops is followed by a mellow maltiness, ending with a lingering bitterness of hops.