72 / 100
Purchased from Belmont Station in Portland, OR, in an attempt to get more local Portland brews to bring hom to Sydney. This one, I shared with @tobeerornottobe.
Pours a hazed amber-red hue, with a frothy, bubbly head of off-white tending to orange if I had to pick a coloured direction. Body is pretty light and a bit dull. Lacing is spotty and patchy. Not bad overall.
Nose is mildly fruity, and hit with a pleasant, moderated roasted note, or something else grainy at least. It has a solid citrus bite to it, and a hint of something green and vegetative. Not inspired, but solid enough.
Taste is oddly sweet, with a firm malty base coming through and giving a caramel and carob character to the brew. Cutting this is a slight earthy bitterness, that does lift it slightly. It's nicely balanced, but it feels as though it's missing some complexity, or some breadth on the palate. Again, it's solid stuff, but it's firmly within the lines.
Feel is solid and smooth: it very much suits what this beer ends up being.
Overall, it's a good beer. It's even perhaps a very good beer. But it's just a bit dull. I mean, c'mon, we've seen this before from any number of other places. I'm on the lookout for standout beers now, for beers that recast a style or make me think about the whole concept of beer. This beer doesn't do it, but if you're after solid and pedestrian, go right ahead.
77 / 100
On-tap at the eponymous Brouwer's in Seattle.
Pours a deep, heavy black, with a fine but solid brown head. Lace patterns morph through different organic shapes, and there's a very deep fine carbonation when the beer is tilted. It looks really intense.
Nose is sweet, with long strings of pungent liquorice and a hint of lemon is a weird up-tilt that cuts through the big, deep, sweet roasty imperial stout characters. It's big, but there's something a little one note about it: it doesn't develop over time. It's still very good, but it doesn't hit the true heights of the style.
Smooth, prickly entry to the brew, with rounded estery tones that almost suggest Belgian yeast. Banana, hints of booze, punctured by the persistent liquorice. This anise tone melds into the booze at the back, giving a lacing of sambuca or ouzo. Feel is very smooth, but the liquorice character almost numbs the palate after a while.
No doubt this is an impressive beer. It has big intense flavours (or at least one flavour, numbing and anaesthetic as it is). You wouldn't want more than one of these.