Friday, September 23, 2011

To Boldly Explore Craft Beer

I didn’t really begin drinking beer until this year. I’ve discovered I have a fondness for slightly sweet craft beers. Thus, I’ve done some research and have identified several beers I think I’d like to try.


Red Rock Amber Ale: taste is thick with toasty malts, fairly sweet with a slight dried cherry edge, maybe a touch of smoke,

Leinenkugel's Sunset Wheat: lots of orange with some spicy notes underneath,

Samuel Smith's Oatmeal Stout: tastes of sweet malts, coffee, bitter chocolate, maple syrup, & slightly bitter finish,

Anchor Porter: chocolate flavors come through the middle and finishes roasty with some light coffee notes, coffee finish,


Buffalo Bill's Brewery "Original Pumpkin Ale": modeled after the pumpkin ale George Washington is believed to have brewed, with baked and roasted pumpkins combined with cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg (September - November),

Rogue Mocha Porter: flavors start off sweet and seductive, then coffee and chocolate flavors that emerge (November - January),

Samuel Adams Cranberry Lambic: sweet, tart, and spicy with a cranberry flavor and clean vanilla (November - January),

Samuel Adams Chocolate Bock: slightly sweet, full bodied with a finish of fine chocolate (November - January),
(OK, many people don’t put Samual Adams in the craft beer category. However, since it’s a clear cut above most other corporate beers I’ve tried; Budweiser, Miller, Coors, etc…; I include it with the good stuff.)

The problem I’m running into is that it’s fiscally difficult to try new beers. Think about it for a minute. With most beers, one can either buy a six pack (six 12oz bottles), or “a forty” (one 40oz bottle). If I get the six pack, and discover I don’t like it, I'm stuck with five bottles of something I’ll never drink. The single big bottles are fine if I’m having company, but I typically drink George Thorogood style, alone. Thus, I either have to drink forty ounces in one sitting, or try to recap the bottle to keep it from going flat. Sure, I can buy a bottle capper to reseal my forties, but that seems like a lot of trouble to go to.

Some beers come in a 22oz bottle, which is essentially 2 ounces shy of 2 standard 12oz glasses of beer. That’s the perfect size to sample a new beer from. I can have 2 glasses with a meal, or as I watch boxing on TV, get to know the beer, and not feel as though I’ve drunk an excessive amount, or wasted any.

More often than not though, the 22oz option isn’t available. My only other option is to find a restaurant or bar, which serves the particular beer I want to try. I've had some success with this method recently, trying summer ales. Now that Starbucks, on NW Portland's 11th & Couch, is serving local wines & beers, I plan on sampling a few craft beers there. I also plan to visit Rogue Distillery & Public House, in November, specifically to try the aforementioned Rogue Mocha Porter .

I'm under no illusion that I'll be able to try ALL the beers I want to, or that I'll like all the beers I'll try. I do think that the ongoing exploration of the craft beer market will be a fun and educational process. As I learn what I like & dislike, I'll be sharing my experiences and novice opinions here. Frankly, I can't wait to see what I discover next.

By the way, what's your favorite beer? What beer do you want to try next? Please leave your answers & other comments below.


  1. Goodness, ma hap I will try this kind of beer again, but I am such a Pilsner girl. I love Corona and Dos Equis. I wonder if I can micro brew those types. I imagine one day, i could enjoy a crafted beer, but for now, pass me a lime and I am happy :)

  2. If you like Mexican beer, Cucapa is a micro-brewery in Baja. I've never had it, but I guess they make a decent Pale Ale.