Sep 102011

WTF FTW, LOL. While in Spokane this weekend to watch 3 of my kids run the Tracy Walters Cross Country Meet I stopped into the local Albertson’s to see if they had any interesting craft beers to try out. I was pleasantly surprised to find a couple of beers I could bring home to sample. Tonight’s beer is Wilco Tango Foxtrot (WTF) by Lagunitas. One of Lagunitas Brewing’s five seasonal releases scheduled to be released this year, WTF described itself as a “A Malty, Robust, Jobless Recovery Ale.” Last year Lagunitas had released the 2009 Correction Ale and were planning to label this years version the ‘2010 Recovery Ale’ but since there was no recovery they decided, WFT, and named it the Wilco Tango Foxtrot.

This is one of the new style ‘Black’ IPAs. As soon as the cap comes off you can smell the hops and know that this is not your dad’s nut brown ale. It pours a translucent brown that shows hints of red when held up to the light with a nice tan head that holds well. With eyes closed you would definitely put this in the IPA camp, but open your eyes and the dark color makes you second guess.

It has a great ‘mouth feel’ while drinking. So many beers have about as much ‘body’ as a Coke or Pepsi, but beer is supposed to be liquid nutrition, and should have some body to it. This beer does. I may not be much of an IPA fan, and there are many dark beers that I would prefer, but this is one beer I would buy and enjoy again.

Feb 112011


Nestled in an alley of downtown Prosser, the Horse Heaven Hills Brewery is a nice little brew pub offering 11 different brews from their light Honey Girl to a Dark Cherry Stout.

On this trip I ordered a pint of their Saison, a Belgium Ale, that I remembered from the tasting tray from last time I was here. The menu describes it as:

Pilsen, wheat, chocholate, and crystal malts brewed with Belgium candy and coriander.

BeerAdvocate describes the Saison style as:

Saisons are sturdy farmhouse ale that was traditionally brewed in the winter, to be consumed throughout the summer months. Not so long ago it was close to being an endangered style, but over recent years there’s been a massive revival; especially in the US.

This is a very complex style; many are very fruity in the aroma and flavor. Look for earthy yeast tones, mild to moderate tartness. Lots of spice and with a medium bitterness. They tend to be semi-dry with many only having touch of sweetness.

I am not familiar with this style to so cannot judge how it compares with others of this family but the description above fits this beer well. It would not be my first choice of brews but I definitely would not turn it down if you are buying.

Horse Heaven Hills Brewery
1118 Meade Ave
Prosser, Wa 99350
(509) 781-6400

– Live Long in Prosser

Jan 172011


When travelling it is always fun to visit the local grocery store to see what kind of micro brews they carry. After checking into the hotel in Twin Falls, I headed over to Fred Meyers. Freddy’s always seems to have a better selection than any other grocery store. Sure enough, Looking through the selection I found one I had not noticed before, Lagunitas Cappuccino Stout. The 22 oz. bomber bottle was priced at $4.19 so into the cart it went (along with a Ninkasi Believer Double Red Ale, Ninkasi Oatis Oatmeal Stout, and a case of Session Black).

The Cappuccino Stout is Lagunitas’ December 2010 seasonal. Their list of Seasonal Ales describes it as:

Big, Dark and Scary Imperial-esque Stout Brewed With Plenty of Dark Malts and Roast Barley And Loads of Sebastopol’s Hardcore Coffee for Even Bigger Roasty Flavors and that Extra Krunk.
ABV: 9.2%

That list of Lagunitas seasonals has a couple of others I hope to check out sometime just because of their name, Hairy Eyeball Ale and Brown Shugga.

I looked forward to opening the bottle in the hotel room after a long day in the car but I was going to have to work for this. The hotel room did not have a bottle opener, a call to the desk was unfruitful and, since we were driving my wife’s car, my trusty opener was on the key ring I had left at home. Time to improvise. I worked the bottle cap open using a pair of tweezers, lol.

Pouring the dark beverage into the hotel glass, the coffee aroma was evident but not overpowering. The light tan head dissolved into nice lacing as I drank the first glass. The drink had a great taste, the beer and coffee working together yet the mouth feel was more of an ale than what I expect in a stout. Disappointed? How could I be disappointed with such a great tasting beer.  Will definitely keep an eye out for this to try again, with a bottle opener and a proper beer glass.

Lagunitas is located about 40 miles north of San Francisco in Petaluma, California and they seem to have a great sense of humor:

From our earliest days of striving to make consistently good beer, and instead making beer that ranged from vile, to barely drinkable, to wonderful, to elegant, to questionable-at-best. From being castigated by our West Marin neighbors to finally suffering an ‘eviction’ by our West Marin septic system. From landing in the welcoming arms of Petaluma, and actually getting our beer into bottles, onto the streets, and into the hands of sympathetic beer geeks, to steadily losing less money each month. From all this and more, Lagunitas Brewing Company is emerging as a battle-tested brewery capable of making great beer out of goat’s milk, brambles, and asphalt on the surface of the Moon, if need be.

As the poet once said, ‘Where, but for the grace of God and the kindness of strangers, go I’. Where go we indeed, whatever that means.

Sep 202010

Terminal Gravity Brewery Terminal Gravity Brewery

On our drive to check out Wallowa Lake, I noticed a sign saying, “Terminal Gravity Brewery – 1 block”. I was sure I had heard of it before and even if I hadn’t we would have to stop on our way back down.

So, after cheking out the Oregon State Campground for a future adventure and taking photographs of the spawning Kokanee salmon, we returned to Enterprise, Oregon and Terminal Gravity Brewery. Although they seem to have a large facility, they must not receive too many visitors. Besides a few picnic tables outside, inside they have only 4 stools at the bar and 2 tables.

I ordered a pint of Breakfast Porter and Von had a cup of coffee (sometimes it is good to have a non beer drinker with you). The porter was delicious and was quite satisfying as a liquid lunch especially since we had a very late (and large) breakfast.

Terminal Gravity Brewery Terminal Gravity Brewery

Before leaving I asked about their Barley Wine since it is a style I am not familiar with. The waitress brought me a sample to try. On the palate the Barley Wine had quite a lot of body with a citrus-fruity taste that was balanced by the +11% alcohol content. I decided to bring a growler of this home and to pick up a 6-pack of their IPA for my oldest son.

Terminal Gravity Brewery Now there is one more reason to go camping next year at Wallowa Lake.

(You can click on any photo above to see a larger version)

Sep 072010

Sheaf Stout

I picked up this 750ml bottle of Sheaf Stout at Albertson’s on Clearwater Ave. in Kennewick this weekend. Albertson’s has this beer priced at a very respectable $2.79 for the 25oz. bottle with an above average 5.70% ABV. Sheaf Stout is an Australian import from a subsidiary of Foster’s Group.

The company website says Sheaf Stout “is a classic Australian stout with a tantalizing dry finish and a medium body.” labels this stout as a Milk/Sweet Stout, which, according to Wikipedia is “a stout containing lactose, a sugar derived from milk. Because lactose is unfermentable by beer yeast, it adds sweetness, body, and calories to the finished beer.”


Appearance – Pours a nice dark black with a full frothy head that lingers for a couple minutes, finally dissipating to a layer of bubbles across the top that clung to the side of the glass as it emptied.

Smell – I could only catch a hint of chocolate in the aroma.

Taste – I was surprised by the hoppy taste of this stout. Tasted more like a heavy lager than I would have expected for a milk stout. Taste seemed to improve as either the beer warmed or as I consumed more. Guess I will have to try it again and let it approach room temperature before drinking it.

Mouthfeel – Nice feel in the mouth. Carbonation kept it alive but not overly so.

Drinkability – I look for a smoother taste in a stout, especially a milk stout. This might be good at a bbq where you have strong taste of grilled meat and salty chips.