2015 : Start

Another year.  Things start; things end.  While 2014 was a good year, it will not be missed.  New Years, I recently decided, is my favorite holiday.  Starting all new – let the game begin; the game of trying to get all the lofty goals the attention they need.  Then, at the end of the year, or whenever the “New Year” thing becomes stale – take a look back on the work to see what it looks like from a bit of a distance.  My 2015 resolution is my hardest yet: to balance out the year.  I tend to focus intently on two or three things – leaving everything else to the side.  Once, I was all into fitness.  Good – but… I didn’t read a book.  Another time, I was all about reading – but not once paid a bill on time.   For starters.  This year – all about some balance.  This will be ultra hard for me.  But, a vague resolutions are sweet – I can bend the intentions by the middle of the year.  On the flip side – it will be easier.  Getting older means time goes by faster, and when time flies – there are less opportunities for becoming bored.  Sweetness.  Anyways.  Welcome, Me, to the new year.  2015.  If it sucks, that’s okay.  I will have the new Star Wars movie to reward me at the end regardless if I did super, or failed.

Long Trail IPA, Long Trail Brewing

Long Trail IPA

Long Trail IPA

Ah, the promising pour.  The glass held up at a shallow 20 degrees after the initial opening of the joy-sluice.  Cloudy, but not entirely.  The head was thin and white – does that mean anything?  ?  I should look that up some time.  Remember, these entries aren’t really REVIEWS… yes, there are ratings – but. the purpose for these posts is to just jot down first impressions of beer.  …that white head always throws me off..  Taste.  It immediately resonates “good”, but for not good reasons.  It reminds me more of a European Hefeweizen.  Yeah, it has that “banana” thing going on – so it wouldn’t surprise me if the brewer loads up on Weissbier yeast.  Dunno.  Decent enough beer – not the best and idea IPA.  The hops are conservative and tamed.  Drinkable.  There – I ended with a positive word.

Rating 12 out of 20.

Limbo IPA, Long Trail Brewing Company

Limbo IPA, Long Trail Brewing Company

Limbo IPA, Long Trail Brewing Company

There are three categories, so far, of IPA.  Malty (aka “swill”), floral and fruity.  Anybody want to know what a ‘fruity’ IPA is?  Does it taste like a banana?  Pineapple/mango juice?  Nope.  To calibrate, try a Limbo IPA.  This is a very good example of a fruity IPA – and like all categories, there are good, meh and bad.  Limbo is a rock-solid ‘good’.  During the pour, you will be impressed by the deep malty color and extremely foamy white head.  To pick at this one, I will focus on the lack of a deep aroma.  The hops do not jump out – at least not in your nose; it makes up for this lacking at the rear of your tongue (yes, I know the “tongue map” is poo).  I appreciate this brew, but it is just not my pint of IPA – although this did make my list for beers that I would easily buy again in the future.

Rating: 14 out of 20

Hoponius Union IPL

Hoponius Union IPL, Jack's Abbey Brewing Company

When I lived in Seattle, there was an advert trying to pawn off the idea of something called an “Indian Pale Lager”.  What the hell is that?  Zero interest.  So, here I am reviewing one.  The radio ad I first heard of this “IPL” was a local brew – maybe Pyramid?  Anyway, this one is from New England.  And, I bought it by mistake – thinking it was just a normal IPA.  After pouring beer, I take the first sip and mull on it while is smiles for a snapshot.  The realization of what I drank came after it was in my mouth, before letting it ride down to th’ gutter to the stomach.  You know…  It was good.  It tastes like a light IPA – light in taste, light in color, but talks to tongues in pure IPA-speak.  Makes for an excellent brew to have outside in the heat –  to give to new hophead recruits.  Very much a repeat drink – two or three will hit the spot.  The only complaint is a lacking of nose entertainment, there just isn’t much aroma.  Another reason why this is a good one to fill a cooler when non-IPA drinkers are present.  I think I will be giving more IPLs a chance in the near furture.

Rating: 14 out of 20

Finest Kind IPA

Finest Kind IPA, Smuttynose Brewing CompanyThis one looked promising…  Uh, oh.  That ‘past tense’ word was used – this beer is DOOMED!  Not really.  Just hard to beat the first impression: “Smuttynose”, a basic san-serif font displaying the name: “Finestkind IPA” and topped off with a cool photo of two old dudes sitting back in lawn chairs (they are drinking what looks like beer, but the bottles are strangely void of labels – so, let’s just pretend they are drinking Finestkind IPA).  Don’t pay too much attention to the head of the beer – I had left the bottle in the freezer too long for that final chill.  Got some ice crystals which were captured by the CO2 emissions.   Turns out, this beer needs to be nearly frozen to turn the volume down on the blunt maltiness.  The first wallop exceeds expectations – all the making for a Top Ten IPA.  Alas, nope.  The aftertaste is punctuated by that too-malty quality; it tells a great joke over and over in your mouth until you are sick of it.  …I hate malty IPAs…  That said, this is a solid IPA – deep glowing carmel color and hoppy aroma (this ale is dry hopped).  the only negative is a slight “home brewed” taste is simmering in there – which is not a good thing.  Think of drinking a home brew from somebody who has only made maybe five batches.  You know that taste…  Recommend for them hot summer days, served as cold as you dare.

Rating:  13 out of 20

My Watering Hole

mapleLbandgUntil very recently, I have never had a favorite go-to pub. There are plenty of fine drinking establishments in Seattle, and in every other city on the planet, for that matter. One of them is my favorite. There are only nine taps that slowly rotate, nothing hard and a list of wine I will never touch. (pub wine? ….vomit…) It is more or a restaurant than pub and the menu is rather static. The closing hours are variable. Wow, I used that word… “rather”. How high-brow was that? Maybe not – I need to say it with an elaborately bad English accent. A monocle in my eye would help, too. Anyway – this isn’t the ultimate PUB for most. What does it have? Quiet. Beer I love: Lucile IPA. A fireplace in the winter and a deck in the summer. It is a converted house with three former living and dining rooms converted into PUB dining rooms. Upstairs converted into, as the bartenders have claimed, an office area. (what else is up there?) The bar is a microscopic U-shaped hub of beer-happiness, and I like to sit between the wall and line-up of taps. Extra hiding potential, mostly. That is if I am reading a book or only playing on a phone or writing the first post of a new blog. There are two tables in the bar area – that’s good for reading and if a laptop is in order. Okay, okay.. It is the Maple Leaf Bar and Grill. It is a five minute walk away from home, a five minute drive from work. The staff are cool – and the bathroom has a photo of the cutest ass a man can gaze at. What else do I need? Yeah, it is the ultimate pub for me.



This is a bit late to the headlines, but the Maple Leaf Grill closed in May.  The end of May 23rd to be exact.  That was two months ago.   No.  So far, I do not have a replacement establishment.