Bob’s Beer Bits and Sips
Beers to Enjoy as Spring Springs Forth
Reuben’s Brews Blimey That’s Bitter
The name of this beer brings to mind the Keystone Light commercials that aired in the 1990s lambasting craft beer by depicting the bitter beer face as being the unpleasant result of drinking a beer with bitterness. Flash forward to 2017 and now bitterness in a beer is something to be proudly celebrated. And bitter this beer from the Seattle-based Reuben’s Brews brewery is, but I found after giving it a chance to warm up the bitterness smooths out. First released in 2014, at 80 IBUs, it’s loaded with flavors of pine and citrus from Amarillo, Chinook, Citra and Simcoe hops of which a total of six pounds are added per barrel, with 90% of them added in the last 10 minutes of the boil and later, providing plenty of hop flavor to go with that aforementioned bitterness. These days IPAs, the largest selling craft beer style, come in all kinds of variations: regular IPA, session IPA, black IPA, white IPA, double IPA and a style you don’t see that much of, triple IPA. This Triple IPA is loaded with 2 Row, Caramel, Munich and Wheat malt giving it its 10.5% ABV and a malt backbone to help balance the copious amounts of hops. I’m not the only who likes this beer. It won a Gold medal at the 2016 World Beer Championships and was named the Best Imperial IPA in the Pacific Northwest in the 2014 US Beer Tasting Championships.
Full Sail Session Black Cherry Black Lager
This 5.4% ABV seasonal release from the line of the Hood River, Oregon Full Sail Brewing Company featuring lower ABV session beers, is a variation of its Black Lager, but with a dash of cherry flavor. The fruit is noticeable in the aroma but subtle in the flavor and still allows the notes of roasty bittersweet chocolate to shine. The brewery suggests pairing it with lightly grilled red meats, roasted root vegetables, lighter cheeses such as brie, mozzarella and ricotta and chocolate desserts. Hurry up to check this one out; it’s available through March on draft and in the Session Mashup variety 12-pack.
Another session fruit-enhanced brew, this one comes from the 300-year-old Belgian Brouwerij Huyghe brewery, located in Melle near Ghent, which has been in the De Laet family for 100 years. As is the norm with Belgian white wheat beers, it contains crushed coriander and crushed dried orange peels. After the first top fermentation takes place and the beer is transferred into tanks, strawberry juice is added for a second fermentation. The fruit juice brings a beautiful rose appearance and enticing strawberry aroma. As for its flavor, at only 4.1% ABV it’s easy drinking and pleasantly sweet, for the bitterness of the coriander and orange peels are just enough to offset the natural sweetness of the juice and prevent it from being cloying.