Outlander

There always seems to be something new and interesting on tap at Outlander Brewery & Pub. I’ve visited several times, either as a pit stop during a casual in-town bike ride or on the way back from the climbing gym, and it’s about time I got around to writing this little review. The longer I wait, the more of their beers I’ll have tried, and the more daunting it’ll then feel to get this post done. So let’s see, Outlander is two guys, Nigel and Dragan, and is in a cool old house (brewery’s in the basement) at the western end of the Fremont strip. They started out small, and in six months or so have become somewhat less small. When Naked City expanded and upgraded, some of their previous equipment went to Northwest Peaks, which in turn sold a couple fermenters to Outlander. They also got a couple of old bourbon barrels from Redhook. Trickle down beer economics in action.

Now, instead of having two or three of their beers on tap at any given time, they have six or seven. In theory this should make me happy, but it means I’m missing out on quite a few of their beers (they like to experiment and brew new things rather than have a fixed set of year-round offerings). Oh well. On the up side, I can pass on the beers I probably won’t like (e.g. their Strawberry Wheat, or Organic Ginger and Apple) and instead focus on the ones I probably will.

Update! 9/9/2013: I’ve been back to Outlander many times since publishing this post, and it’s about time I updated it before there are too many beer notes to type in. Their one year anniversary was in August, and they threw a pretty great party. Good beer, free food, live music, really crowded. I didn’t try the Biggus Dikkus Barley Wine but probably should’ve. I’m just not usually a barley wine fan. And did I really need a mega-strong beer before biking home? Anyway, it was good to see Dragan and Nigel are making a go of it, although I think they might be outgrowing the current space. It’ll be interesting to see what they do in the next year.

Outlander

Retro swank at Outlander Brewery & Pub — Seattle, WA

    Rob’s Picks

  • Jamaican Stout – 7.9% – Coffee/chocolate flavors with a bit of sweetness. Some dryness, and a touch of astringency.
  • Lovely Jubbly English IPA – 5.7% – Smooth maltiness with somewhat sharp herbal hoppiness. Medium lingering bitterness that blends back in well.
  • Belgian Strong – 8.7% – Sweet, funky, lemony aroma. Good sweet (turbinado sugar) and banana funk flavor mix. Nice little spiciness on the tongue.
  • Bourbon Barrel Double IPA – 9.4% – Bourbon flavor was surprisingly complementary to the fairly floral and somewhat spicy hop character, giving it extra punch. Just enough malt base and a nice bitter finish.
  • Rooibos 70 – 4.4% – Tannic/tea aroma. Dry, tannic, slightly fruity, with a bit of breadiness. Really easy drinking.
  • Goats n’ Roses – 5.4% – Valentine’s Day beer made with horny goat weed and rose petals. Light, smooth, with a touch of honey sweetness. Almost the usual amber but with interesting subtle flavors going on and a dry finish. Hope they make this one every February.
  • Astragalus and Shisandra Berry – 7.4% – Healing of the Nation #2. Light and somewhat tea-like. Some floral hoppiness, subtle ginger flavor, and a white wine thing going on, too.
  • Hop Bomb Double IPA – 9% – Good strong citrus/piney aroma and flavors with well-balanced malty backbone. Decent lingering bitterness.
  • Rauch n’ Maple – 7.2% – Made with maple syrup. Strong smoky flavor. Has that smoked gouda taste that takes a moment to wrap your brain around. Full, smooth mouthfeel. Bit of maple syrup sweetness on the finish when served, but as it warms up the maple flavor comes out more — interesting mix. Fun beer.
  • Reishi Mushroom Stout – 7.8% – Healing of the Nation #1. Made without hops — bitterness comes from the lingzhi/reishi mushrooms, some sort of traditional Chinese/Japanese medicinal fungus. Alcohol and chocolate aroma. Good mix of flavors: chocolate, a bit of alcohol, and an earthy mushroom that really rounded out the stout. Lingering bitter, earthy, woody mushroom flavor, and a little tingling in the throat — pretty cool. Not so much carbonation, but very drinkable.
  • Rye Pale Ale – 5.2% – Sweet aroma. Really smooth, with nice dry rye backbone, good caramel maltiness, and a touch of floral bitterness on the finish.
  • Peanut Butter Stout – 6.1% – Thick and crisp stout. Strong roasty malt and dark chocolate flavors, with a touch of alcohol. Peanut butter pretty subtle at first — needs to warm up a little to bring it out, and then the peanut butter and chocolate mix quite nicely. Fairly complex but very drinkable.
  • Tesla Wizard – 10.5% – Bourbon barrel-aged imperial stout. Good strong bourbon aroma and flavor, but can still taste the stout. Some coffee/chocolate flavors, as well as alcohol and sweet caramel edges. Carbonation pretty minimal but has enough flavor to compensate. Very smooth for 10.5%
  • Are U Nut? Brown Ale – Sweet alcohol aroma. Big smooth malty/nutty flavor, with caramel, too.
  • Presidential Ale – 6% – Honey ale from Obama recipe. Nice sweet honey flavor balanced by good maltiness and subtle bitterness. Some of the heavy, sharp barley wine flavor — pretty cool mix. Really drinkable.
  • Foreign IPA – 6.8% – Really nice, almost whiskey-like aroma. Light and crisp. Good mix of hoppy flavors, with a sweet edge and subtle malty base. Closest thing they have to a year-round beer.
  • Vanilla Jasmine Porter – 7% – Subtle vanilla aroma, sweet. Vanilla and jasmine flavors are pretty subtle at first, too, but the vanilla becomes more prominent as it warms up. Caramel sweetness. Quite smooth. They also offered this with a scoop of ice cream, but I passed on that.
    The Rest

  • Rye and Sorghum – 7% – Sweet fruity aroma. Interesting flavor mix of banana and rye. Herbal hoppiness. Maybe a little too much going on. Found out the grain bill was 80% rye, 15% barley, 5% sorghum.
  • Yerba, Ginseng, Ashwaganda – 8.2% – Healing of the Nation #3. Interesting. Woody, cardboard aroma and flavor, with some other subtle spiciness. Balancing caramel maltiness. Smooth.
  • Lord Byron’s Darkness – 8.2% – Belgian Dark Ale. Sharp, dark malty aroma. Sweet malty start to dry fruitiness, with a wine-like finish. Big, crazy beer. More of the fruit, including some raisin flavor, comes out as it warms up.
  • Del Boy English Mild – 4.9% – Cidery aroma. Sweet cidery flavor, bitter. Bready finish. Touch of honey, too.

If you sit at the bar, with the various regulars and Dragan working the taps, there’s a good chance you’ll get to help name one of their upcoming beers. Have a pint or two and let the creative juices flow.

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