Big Block Brewing

I’d been meaning to bike to the Sammamish plateau and visit Big Block Brewing (their Twitter account has more up-to-date info) but kept putting it off in favor of shorter or less hilly rides. So when they announced they’d be closing the taproom in the residential garage that still houses the brewhouse in advance of re-opening it in a more conventional location, it motivated me to make the trek out there and experience the original setup. I went on a really hot July day, though, and the unshaded, south-facing trail up to the highlands was pretty draining. But I made it, and spent some time re-hydrating in the warm garage with a few regulars. Nice vibe there, and I’m looking forward to checking out the new taproom, which is located along East Lake Sammamish Parkway (and is more convenient for biking).

blocklets of beer at big block

The original Big Block Brewing taproom in the owners’ garage — Sammamish, WA

    Rob’s Picks

  • Kolsch – 5.1% – Honey, light herbal hops. Not quite as light on the tongue as I expected but quite drinkable. Light bitter zing on finish.
  • Chocolate Porter – 5.8% – Good chocolate flavor. Fairly creamy. Lingering chocolate and coffee flavors with some dark chocolate and coffee bitterness.
  • IPA – 5.8% – Citrus, earthy aroma and flavors. Some herbal hop flavor, too. Solid caramel base. Light bitter finish.
  • “Big Woody” Oatmeal Stout – 8.5% – Creamy, with chocolate, toffee, coffee, and caramel flavors. Alcohol edge.
  • Mosaic Pale Ale – 6% – Fairly assertive tropical fruit, touch of sweetness. Underlying caramel malt. Citrus peel bitterness.
    The Rest

  • Raspberry Blonde – 5.2% – Raspberry flavor from start to finish. Underlying breadiness. Easy drinking.

My route back from the BBB garage took me to the newly upgraded portion of the East Lake Sammamish bike trail, and it was beautifully done. Can’t wait for the rest of the trail to get the same treatment. And having their taproom so close to the trail creates more brewery bike ride options.


Hellbent Brewing

I was in the mood for a slightly longer Seattle bike ride and so headed north to Hellbent Brewing, just a couple blocks north of the Lake City Way Elliott Bay Brewpub. Didn’t know too much about them except the head brewer had worked at a few other breweries, and, well, I have to say I was pretty impressed with the what they’ve done. Hellbent is in a former machine shop that’s been totally redone, with a nice long bar, lots of taps (some their beer, the rest other local brews), a view into the glassed-off brewhouse with lots of big, shiny new stainless steel equipment. There’s a better view of it, too, from the second floor, which also has a pool table, dartboard, and Big Buck Hunter. Lots of big screen tvs, a nice patio, plus food trucks pretty much daily. They went all out opening this place.

hellbent tasters

The road to Hellbent Brewing is paved with good fermentation. Ha! — Seattle, WA

    Rob’s Picks

  • Olympic Hills Spring Ale – 5.4% – Herbal and earthy hops, light biscuit malt, and some bitterness on the finish.
  • Funky RED Patina Red Ale – 5.3% – Caramel and biscuit malts with light herbal hops. Good mix.
  • First Born IPA – 6.5% – Big grapefruit and citrus, light piney hops. Bit of tropical fruit, too. Solid underlying caramel.
  • Moon Tower Stout – 6.4% – Smooth coffee and chocolate with some dark chocolate bitterness.
    The Rest

  • Fresh Hopped Pale Ale – 5.8% – Piney, minty, some grassiness, with caramel base. Somewhat bitter finish. Bit of sugary sweetness as it warms.
  • Jasmine Wheat – 5.1% – Sweet start, with a bit of bubblegum. Herbal and light earthy hops, touch of spiciness, to light bready and jasmine finish, with light bitterness.

This was my first time biking to Lake City Way. Pretty nice nine mile ride. Looking forward to doing it again.

Counterbalance Brewing

It had been a couple years since a new brewery opened in Georgetown, but Counterbalance Brewing finally put an end to that dry spell. So on a particularly hot summer day I hopped on my bike to pay them a visit. I’d worked up quite a sweat by the time I got there, and since the taproom was surprisingly quiet I was able to sit next to the fan while re-hydrating with the taster tray.

duck duck beer

Taster tray at Counterbalance Brewing — Seattle, WA

    Rob’s Picks

  • Counterbalance IPA – 6.1% – Smooth, with big tropical fruit and light earthy hops. Good caramel malt backbone.
  • Kushetka Imperial Stout – 8.9% – Coffee/chocolate aroma and flavors. Sweet molasses, too, with a bit of a dark chocolate bitter finish. Creamy mouthfeel.
  • Pogo Duck ISA – 5% – Light, with earthy hops and a little bit of sweetness. Subtle underlying caramel.
  • Maibock – 5% – Caramel and light biscuit maltiness. Some herbal hops. Pretty smooth. Nice mix of flavors.
  • Summer Wheat – 5.5% – Tropical fruit hop flavor, light underlying breadiness. Hint of bubblegum sweetness, with mellow bitterness on the finish. Unfiltered.
    The Rest

  • Abigale Blonde Ale – 5.2% – Sweet bubblegum, some herbal hops, bitter zing on the finish. Bit of lemon. Very slight breadiness.
  • Bad Wolf Dark Ale – 6.7% – Dark reddish-brown color. Roasty, light coffee/chocolate maltiness. Citrus and herbal hop edge. Interesting but a little too sweet for me.
  • Storm Cycle CDA – 7.5% – Collaboration with Flying Bike Cooperative Brewery. Chocolate, coffee, light roasty maltiness. Herbal hops. A bit creamy mouthfeel. Molasses on finish. Interesting.

There are plenty of brewery stop options now for south end rides through Sodo, Georgetown, and South Park. The only drawback is the increased likelihood of spending most of the time drinking beer instead of on the bike. This is why I always seem to end up biking home at night.

Lucky Envelope Brewing

Ballard had ten breweries for a little while, then dropped to nine when one relocated to Magnolia, but Lucky Envelope Brewing brought the count back up to ten. Whew! I visited them twice on short bike rides around town, and then they won a GABF medal for their Helles Lager. Pretty surprising for a brand new brewery, but good for them. Their taproom has a nice open feel to it, there’s a good-sized patio for the warmer months, and occasional food trucks. In addition to their regular production equipment, they make use of a small pilot system to try out new ideas, so there’s usually some interesting one-offs on tap.

drink dr. lucky

Feeling lucky at Lucky Envelope Brewing — Seattle, WA

    Rob’s Picks

  • Schwarzbier Lager – 5% – Light on the tongue, with rich chocolate/coffee and roasty maltiness. Hint of spicy hops, and a bit of underlying lemon citrus edge. Goes right down.
  • Fog Dart Pale Ale – 5.4% – Mix of citrus, pine, earthy hops with underlying caramel. Nice lingering hop flavors.
  • ENIAC Mosaic IPA – 7.3% – Pretty smooth. Light citrus and tropical fruit hops, with light pine towards the finish. Underlying caramel sweetness.
  • Spanish Cedar ENIAC – 7.3% – Small batch. Pretty similar to the above ENIAC Mosaic, but with a bit more grapefruit and more of a rounder mouthfeel. Light woody finish, as well, and a touch of smoke.
  • British Stout – 4.4% – Chocolate/coffee and roasty maltiness with some underlying sweetness. Dry finish.
  • Two Pepper Pale Ale – 5.4% – Fog Dart infused with shisito and habanero peppers. Really nice pepper flavors but without too much heat, though it does build up. Malty backbone supports the peppers well.
    The Rest

  • Helles Lager – 5.3% – Herbal and spicy hops with light biscuity malt. Touch of lemon at the end. Fair amount of bitterness.
  • Thaiger Mom Tripel – 9% – Pretty sweet. Banana, bubblegum, some lemon, some lime. Some spiciness on the tongue. Too sweet for me.
  • Citra IPA – 7.2% – Floral, citrus, earthy hops with underlying caramel. Decent, but the hop mix just wasn’t my thing.

It seems like the ten Ballard breweries are doing pretty well — I guess the neighborhood hasn’t yet hit its brewery saturation point. Will be interesting to see how many more open there.

Chainline Brewing

One of three bicycle-themed breweries in the general Seattle area, Chainline Brewing opened in early 2015 along the Cross Kirkland Corridor rail-trail just north of the Google campus. Pretty sweet location, and the southern end of the CKC is just a few blocks from the new section of the 520 trail, so it’s a pretty easy bike ride, which will be even better when the new 520 bridge with its ped/bike trail opens. Nice interior, a great deck looking out onto the trail, room to grow, and periodic food trucks out front. Not sure if they let you ride the fat tire bike hanging on the wall, though.

links in the chainline

Sampler break at Chainline Brewing while biking the Cross Kirkland Corridor — Kirkland, WA

    Rob’s Picks

  • Bar Spin Brown Porter – 4.8% – Coffee, chocolate, caramel, with sweet brown sugar edge. Crisp and bright, with a hint of citrus.
  • Hardtail Pale Ale – 5.1% – Some honey sweetness, light biscuit, with a mix of earthy and floral hops. Touch of herbal, too. Light bitter zing on the end.
  • Trail Gnome IPA – 6.2% – Fairly sweet with honey and some caramel maltiness. Floral, herbal, and light earthy hops that blend well with the sweetness.
    The Rest

  • Cyclo – 6% – Oktoberfest/Märzen. Mix of banana, light clove, caramel, toffee, toast, and bit of brown sugar.
  • OTB White IPA – 4.8% – Over The Bars. Big floral hops, with some spiciness, light breadiness, bit of toast, and hint of lemon. Fairly bitter finish.
  • Big Wheel Session Brown – 3.6% – Sweet with roasty and brown sugar maltiness. Light citrus edge. Light smoke, as well, when it warms.
  • Recumbent Red Ale – 6.2% – Biscuit and caramel malts. Light floral and herbal hops toward the end. Decent lingering bitterness.

Gotta say, the Cross Kirkland Corridor trail just whets my appetite for the whole Eastside Rail Corridor that extends north to Woodinville and south through Bellevue and all the way down to Renton. Can’t come fast enough.

Dru Bru

Snoqualmie Pass is both an odd place and a smart place for a brewery. The population that lives there year-round is pretty small, but the pass sees a lot of traffic from the Summit at Snoqualmie ski area in winter and popular hiking trails the rest of the year (not too mention the literal traffic from I-90). So I was intrigued when I heard a new townhome development with a restaurant and a brewery was being built there. Dru Bru opened during the nonexistent 2014/2015 ski season, which was a little worrying, but they managed to stick around. After a spring camping trip in eastern Washington with some friends, we all stopped in before the last stretch of driving back home. You can order food from the restaurant next door, and they’ll walk it over to the taproom for you, conveniently enough.

dru bru tasters

Post-camping taster flight at Dru Bru — Snoqualmie Pass, WA

    Rob’s Picks

  • Hop Session – 4.7% – Earthy, citrus hops. Light body but not too light. Hint of honey.
  • Alt – 4.9% – Caramel, nutty malts. Light herbal hops.
  • Schwarzbier – 4.8% – Roasty and light chocolate/coffee malts. Light body. Dark chocolate bitterness on the finish.
  • Pacific Crest Ale – 6% – Citrus, earthy hops. Good caramel malt backbone.
    The Rest

  • Wit – 4.3% – Light. Some bubblegum, light banana and clove.
  • Kolsch – 4.8% – Light. Some honey, some caramel. Subtle egginess.
  • IPA – 6.4% – Earthy, floral, and touch of herbal hops with light malts. Okay, but not too interesting.
  • Pass Life Pale – 6.6% – Earthy hops with pretty big malts, mainly caramel. Bit of herbal and floral hops at end.

There’s a fun loop bike ride I did a few years ago that can incorporate a stop here. Start at the John Wayne Pioneer Trail / Iron Horse State Park parking lot at Exit 38, hop on the rail-trail and bike to Hyak (assuming the tunnel is open (don’t forget your lights)). Make a left and do another uphill to get to the pass. Stop at Dru Bru (or the restaurant or Red Mountain Coffee). Then pass under the freeway and do the fun, twisty downhill towards Denny Creek campground. From there take a dirt road that parallels I-90 for about five miles until you have to get on the freeway, but it’s only 2-3 miles to the next exit, which takes you back to the starting point. Yeah, I’m going to have to do this ride again one of these days.

Postdoc Brewing

There have been quite a few new breweries opening on the eastside the past couple of years. The latest Redmond spot is Postdoc Brewing, located just east of Marymoor Park and close to Mac and Jack’s. Postdoc’s taproom is pretty slick, and the adjoining warehouse where the brewing equipment resides has plenty of room for growth. The Doc Brown goggles logo is pretty cool, too.

postdoc research

Gathering experimental data at Postdoc Brewing — Redmond, WA

    Rob’s Picks

  • Goldilocks Belgian Blonde – 3.9% – Golden color. Clove and light banana aroma and flavor. Touch of alcohol, hint of breadiness, very subtle coriander, with a bit of honey on the finish.
  • Kilty MacSporran Scottish Ale – 5.7% – Smooth. Big caramel and biscuit malt. Some honey on the finish. Maybe a hint of herbal hops? Very drinkable.
  • Seamus O’Brien Irish Stout – 4.4% – On nitro. Big coffee aroma and flavor. Light chocolate. Pretty smooth to dark chocolate/coffee bitter zing on finish.
  • Herbert’s Legendary ESB – 6.1% – Caramel, some biscuit. Floral and herbal hops. Nice mix.
  • Prereq Pale Ale – 5.5% – Piney, resiny hops with solid caramel backbone. Touch of honey on the finish. Yum.
  • Alpha Factor IPA – 6.8% – Piney, citrus, resiny, light earthy hops with just enough caramel malt. Some honey on the finish.
  • Hogus Maximus – 11.1% – Triple IPA. Doesn’t have the usual big malty booziness of triple IPAs; sugar added instead to up the ABV. Sweet, big piney and citrus hops, caramel, and a touch of that malty booziness.
    The Rest

  • Homeroom Belgian Rye – 5% – Amber color. Very light clove with rye dryness and some astringency. Light spiciness. Hint of floral hops on finish.
  • Postdoc Porter – 5.1% – Smooth chocolate/coffee flavors with some brown sugar. Hint of herbal hops. Bit too sweet for me.
  • Grapefruit Goldilocks – 3.9% – Goldilocks with grapefruit extract. Really different from Goldilocks. Original flavors muted but there. Bit of saccharin, then grapefruit. Weird. As it warms, more flavors come out: caramel, clove and light banana, honey, grapefruit.

While I’m happy there are more breweries on the eastside, it means more rides on the Burke-Gilman. It’s a nice trail and all, but it’s pretty crowded and I’ve ridden it countless times. Can’t wait for the new 520 bridge to open with its pedestrian/bike trail. It’ll make for some good new Seattle/eastside loop rides.

Outer Planet Brewing

For a long time, the Capitol Hill neighborhood was home to only two breweries, Elysian’s original brewpub and McMenamins Six Arms (which I always seem to forget about). So I was happy to hear that two new ones were planning to open in 2015. The smaller of the two, Outer Planet Brewing, opened first, and holds the distinction of being the closest brewery to where I live. It’s an eight minute walk uphill from my place to Outer Planet. Not bad. The brewer’s been making a few Brett beers, which is cool, but since he has a small system in a small space, is a bit risky. Hopefully he has the quality control all dialed in.


Sampler flight at Capitol Hill’s Outer Planet Brewing — Seattle, WA

    Rob’s Picks

  • IPA – 7% – Fairly big piney and citrus hops, caramel malt. Light earthiness.
  • Utopia Planitia – 6.5% – Farmhouse ale. Bubblegum, clove, some spiciness, with decent body. Bit of underlying caramel and coriander.
  • The Brett Pumpkin – 6% – Pumpkin spice aroma. Somewhat muted nutmeg, cinnamon, clove flavors. Bit of funk balances it out. Good solid body. Brewer said he might bottle a little of it to see how it develops.
  • Ghost of Jupiter – 7.5% – Wet hop ale. Citrusy, fruity aroma and flavor. Pretty juicy. Some piney hops, as well. Underlying caramel.
  • Oats and Rye Saison – 5.5% – Some sweetness, some rye, some straw, some spiciness, some coriander. Nice balance.
    The Rest

  • The Bohemian – 4.5% – I liked this when I first had it but on my October 2015 visit something was off. Light, bit of honey, hint of lemon. Light biscuit on the finish, as well as a bit of oxidation or cross-contamination Brett funk.
  • ESB – 6% – Light floral aroma. Caramel, biscuit malts. Strong bubblegum-like sweetness. Light floral hop flavor.
  • American Pale Ale – 6% – Some caramel, light honey, light herbal hops. Medium body. Some bitterness on the finish.
  • Oatmeal Brown – 6% – Chocolate, coffee aroma and flavor. Brown sugar. Some citrus and floral hops lurking about. Medium-light body.
  • Clementine Wit – 4% – Light, a bit watery. Light orange, light coriander, a touch spicy/peppery, hint of floral.

With Outer Planet’s convenient location, I’m sure I’ll be dropping in on a fairly regular basis to see what they’re up to.

Odd Otter Brewing

A few days after returning from my January 2015 Bay Area trip, I went to Tacoma to visit a couple cousins, and we decided to do some of our familial bonding at one of the new breweries in town. The cousin who lives there had been to Odd Otter Brewing a few days before and enjoyed it, so that’s where we went. The name “Odd Otter” made me a little nervous, and they go a little overboard with otter names for their beers, but they’re located in a cool space on the north end of Pacific Ave and the woman working there was pretty nice. So it all kind of balanced out.

otter pups

Sampler flight at Odd Otter Brewing — Tacoma, WA

    Rob’s Picks

  • Blind Otter – 14+% – Barleywine. Raisin and plum aroma and flavors. Some maple sweetness and bit of alcohol edge. Very warming.
  • Jolly Otter ESB – 5.7% – Caramel with a bit of floral hops. Touch of breadiness and hint of spiciness.
  • Otter Nonsense – 7.4% – IPA. There were calling this “Notteronsense” that day, but, yeah, that’s just too silly. Anyway. Creamy smooth. Caramel malt with citrus, resiny, earthy hops. Maltier than the usual NW IPA.
  • Screeching Otter – 9.2% – Double IPA. Bigger caramel, citrus, resiny, earthy flavors. Lingering bitterness that blends back in well.
  • Luck o’ the Otter – 5% – Irish Stout. Nice and dry. Light coffee and chocolate with a citrus edge. Goes right down.
  • Winterface Holiday Ale – 8% – Made with cucumber, lavender, juniper, and orange zest. Fun botanical flavors with sweet caramel base.
    The Rest

  • Comrade Otter’s Russian Imperial Chocolate Stout – 11.7% – Chocolate and coffee, fairly dry, with a touch of molasses. Medium body.
  • Momma Otter’s Pancake Porter – 8% – Sweet maple syrup. Hard to pick up other flavors other than a little bit of honey. Thought there’s be breadiness but nope. Pretty light body.
  • Ottzel Quatzel – 5.6% – Peruvian purple corn pale ale. Some floral hops, some caramel malt, a bit of honey sweetness, and lots of bitterness. Not much corn flavor.
  • Coconut Chai Porter – 7.2% – Chai aroma and flavor. Underlying chocolate and coffee, with a bit of coconut on the finish. Some honey sweetness, too. Fun, but a 5oz taster was enough.

This reminds me that I haven’t visited Tacoma in quite a while. There are at least three breweries down there I have not yet been to, and of course it’d be good to get in some more cousin-time. Gotta make that happen sooner rather than later.

Holy Mountain Brewing

The most anticipated Seattle brewery opening in 2014 was Holy Mountain Brewing. The three guys who started it were all industry vets, and the brewer had worked at a couple other local breweries, where he’d earned a great reputation. The timing on their licensing was very auspicious — the first beer they released was a Fresh Hop Pale Ale, and since then they’ve been producing all sorts of fascinating small batch concoctions that are barrel-fermented or foudre-aged or house-wild-yeast-blend fermented, as well as really solid IPAs, Pales, and other standards (and less-than-standards). Their grand opening party at The Pine Box in October 2014 was packed (they were still building out their taproom) and featured the only keg of their “Un-Oaked” Midnight Still Imperial Stout, the rest of which went into barrels (and which are still barrel-ing away). I knew I’d be visiting their taproom when it opened, so I started scribbling down my tasting notes from the start. I still somehow managed to forget to take notes on their Astral Projection Double IPA and The Ox Farmhouse Ale when I had them, but at least I remembered when trying the brett-fermented and brett-conditioned versions.

holy mountain, look so tasty

A couple of pours at Holy Mountain Brewing — Seattle, WA

    Rob’s Picks

  • Om – 4.3% – Brett table beer. Peachy aroma. Pretty smooth, with peach and tropical fruit flavors. Very light funk.
  • Ritual (Citra fresh hop) – 4.2% – Brett pale ale. Big citrus, tropical fruit aroma with a light funky edge. Same with the flavor, but also some melon. Hint of bubblegum sweetness. Fairly dry finish with some citrus peel bitterness and funk.
  • Choir of the Sun (bottle conditioned) – 5.2% – The bottle conditioning really amped up the fruity aspect. Bottle was a bit lively. Pretty big fruitiness, fairly dry, some straw, with lemon and light sweetness on the finish.
  • Amarillo Fresh Hop Pale Ale – 5% – Sort of has a Juicy Fruit gum flavor with a bit of melon, too. Good supporting malt. Fairly restrained for a fresh hop, but pretty solid.
  • The Augur – 4.7% – Spelt saison. Light and dry, with straw, light lemon, and a touch of breadiness.
  • Citra Extra Pale Ale – 5% – Awesome citrus aroma and flavor. Very juicy. Touch of pine on the finish.
  • Gose (Fall 2015) – 3.8% – Great tartness and good amount of salt. Bit of lemony flavor up front, then briny, lightly bready finish.
  • Cherry Bourbon King’s Head – 9% – Aged for 7 months in rye whiskey barrel with sweetheart cherries. Cherry, chocolate, bourbon aroma. Fun mix of those flavors plus coffee and some rye spice.
  • Witchfinder Saison – 5.5% – Dry, spicy and peppery. Light hay, lightly tannic, hint of lemon. Underlying nutty maltiness. Dry, lightly bitter finish.
  • Grapefruit Saison – 4.8% – Made with zest and juice from several hundred pounds of grapefruit. Big grapefruit aroma and flavor with underlying funk/hay. Fairly juicy, lightly grainy, with some grapefruit peel bitterness.
  • Barrel Fermented Celestial Lineage – 9.5% – Fermented in a 4th-use Westland Whiskey barrel just emptied of Deadfall (see below). Whole lot going on. Fairly big chocolate/coffee, some caramel, hint of citrus. Touch of smoky whiskey and some oak. Smooth but a bit spicy. Pretty great one-off.
  • Fellowcraft – 5% – Made for The Masonry’s 2nd anniversary. Amarillo pale ale base barrel aged with brett then dry hopped. Fruity, with light citrus and herbal hop flavors, some biscuity malt, light oak, decent bitterness. Hint of sweetness on finish.
  • The Ox (brett conditioned) – 6% – Farmhouse ale brewed with citrus zest and dry hopped with Cascade. Big citrus flavor, underlying funk, and dry finish with some citrus peel bitterness.
  • Mandarina Table Sour – 5% – Single keg of forthcoming batch of Table Sour dry hopped with Mandarina Bavaria hops. Mandarin aroma. Big lemon and mandarin flavors with fairly high level of sourness. Lightly dry finish. Sour citrusy goodness.
  • Kiln & Cone (Batch 5) – 5% – Nelson Sauvin and bit of Galaxy hops. Big fruity character with resinous edge. Some underlying honey sweetness and juicy mouthfeel. Fairly bitter finish.
  • Le P’tit Gris – 4.5% – Light, grainy, with a touch of hay and a touch of lemon. Very dry finish.
  • Mosaic Extra Pale Ale – 5% – All the tropical fruit flavors in Mosaic I like and none of cattiness I don’t. Very juicy. Bit of orange, too. Touch of breadiness as it warms up. Light citrus peel bitterness.
  • Pyrokinesis – 9.6% – Double IPA. Big earthiness, light citrus, and piney hops over solid caramel base. Hint of herbal hops, too.
  • Blackberry Table Sour – 5% – Really nice blackberry flavor and light aroma. Great tartness, from fruit in addition to wild culture. A little dry on the finish.
  • Choir of the Sun – 5.2% – Barrel aged brett saison. Light, fruity, dry, a little grainy. Some lemon, hint of tartness. Bit of white wine aspect, a touch tannic. Fairly restrained.
  • Barrel Aged River of Ash – 6.8% – Wine barrel aged with brett for five months. Dark fruit, cherries, oak, touch of dryness, touch of funk. Wonderful aroma and lingering flavors. Pretty great.
  • Apricot Table Sour – 5% – Great apricot flavor, medium-light sour, quite dry.
  • Spelt Saison – 4.4% – Light toasty maltiness, with lemon, light fruitiness, and light herbal flavors. Subtle funk and hint of bubblegum. Pretty dry, with a touch of bitterness on the finish.
  • Helmsman – 3.7% – Dark mild. Chocolate/coffee aroma and flavors. Some caramel and light brown sugar, too. Touch of herbal hops on the finish.
  • Brett-Fermented Astral Projection – 9% – Huge fruit aroma and flavors. Peach, tropical fruit, grapefruit, touch of earthiness. Bit of underlying caramel amps it all up. Great citrus peel bitterness on finish. Amazing. Fermented in oak barrel entirely with brett and dry hopped in barrel with Citra and Galaxy.
  • Bourbon Barrel-Aged King’s Head – 9% – Aged six months in Kentucky bourbon barrel. Prominent bourbon aroma and flavor. Coffee/chocolate flavors around the edges. Kinda spicy, with light vanilla. Not quite as creamy as original King’s Head, if I remember correctly.
  • Kiln & Cone (Batch 4) – 5.2% – With Mandarina Bavaria and Centennial hops. Big citrus, mandarin orange aroma and flavor. Grapefruit bitterness. Lingering flavors. Pretty cool batch.
  • Three Fates – 4.8% – Czech-style pilsner. Light, bready, and crisp, with a light spicy hoppiness and bitter zing on the end.
  • Silent Sun – 4.7% – Dry-hopped tart wheat ale. Light, with medium tartness. Light lemon, underlying breadiness, somewhat citrusy, with a hint of herbal hops and tannins.
  • Watchman’s House – 6% – Common lager, Batch 2. Fermented in stainless rather than rye whiskey barrels like Batch 1 (below). Smooth big caramel nuttiness to light herbal bitter finish.
  • Grisette – 4.8% – Tank fermented then wine barrel aged with Brett and lacto. Light lacto tartness that plays out nicely. Juicy citrus with a mix of bubblegum and light white wine, and a touch of funk and dryness. Some underlying breadiness as it warms. Ridiculously good. [This was the first batch. Second batch was not as complex, but still quite good.]
  • The Goat (brett conditioned) – 5% – Fruity, oak, rye spice with smooth underlying funk. Bitter edge and light smoke on the finish. Some bubblegum but other flavors kinda twist it around. Unique and fascinating.
  • The Arrow – 3.5% – Lightly tart and lemony. Light underlying wheat with a touch of funk. Lemon tartness sticks around all the way to the finish.
  • Kiln & Cone (Batch 3) – 5.2% – With Galaxy and Centennial hops. Piney, resin, citrus, earthy hop tour de force. Solid caramel malt backbone. Some bitterness on the finish.
  • Celestial Lineage – 9% – Imperial rye milk stout. Sweet, chocolatey, creamy, with underlying subtle rye. Dark chocolate bitterness on the finish. A thick, chewy stout that makes you think.
  • Lager Beer – 5% – Honey flavor with floral hops, some lager-y alcohol flavor, and a hint of spiciness. Bit of a bitter zing on the finish. Really drinkable.
  • The Third Nail (draft) – 6% – Dry-hopped barrel aged Belgian pale ale. Citrus floral aroma. Mix of citrus, floral, and some earthy hops with a fairly big malt profile. Light fruitiness. Strong bitterness throughout, with lingering floral notes. Some brett funk comes out as it warms.
  • Heartwork – 5.5% – Fruity, wine aroma and flavor. Herbal spicy hops that mix well with the other flavors. Some oak and a lightly bitter finish.
  • Five of Swords – 6% – IPA collaboration with E9. Big hops. Citrus, earthy, bit of melon tang. Solid underlying caramel. Fairly bitter finish but blends back in well with the citrus peel start.
  • White Lodge Wit – 4.8% – Eggy and lemon aroma and flavor. Breadiness and tons of flavor – cinnamon, coriander, honey, light citrus peel. Fun.
  • The Goat – 5% – Foudre fermented. Crystal clear. Light honey flavor, with rye edge, some funk, and light oakiness. Light, dry, and crisp, with nice little bitter bite on the finish.
  • Ceremony – 6% – 100% brett fermented with Citra hops. Huge grapefruit citrus aroma and flavor, as well as some earthy hops. Juicy mouthfeel. Good citrus peel bitterness on the finish.
  • River of Ash – 6.66% – Barrel fermented dark farmhouse with cherries. Interesting. Dark fruit, malt, hint of tobacco. Light cherry finish. Smooth underling oak.
  • Watchman’s House Oaked Lager – 6% – Fermented in rye whiskey barrels. Sweet alcohol aroma and flavor. Oak takes a bit of the edge off the alcohol flavor. Honey, caramel, with light herbal hops and light bitter finish.
  • Kiln & Cone (Batch 1) – 5.2% – Big citrus, herbal, earthy aroma and flavor. Honey and caramel malt backbone. Good earthy bitter finish. Awesome.
  • Wayward Black Beer – 4.7% – Roasty aroma. Roasty flavor with a bit less chocolate/coffee malts. Light on the tongue. Dark chocolate and subtle orange peel bitterness.
  • Double IPA – 9.5% – Citrus, piney, tropical fruit, touch of earthiness. Solid caramel malt backbone. Big!
  • The Gray Tower – 5.2% – Barrel blended saison. Some funk, light tart edge, earthy, light lemon, bit of oaky smoothness, hint of coriander.
  • Un-Oaked Midnight Still Imperial Stout – 9.99% – Pretty intense coffee/dark chocolate aroma and flavor. Roasty malt, too. Bit of alcohol, smoke, and molasses. Bit of interesting graininess, as well. One and only keg. Rest going into barrels.
  • Gose – 4.6% – Light sour aroma but not much sourness. Light, with lemon and subtle salt that’s noticeable at the very end of the lingering lemon flavor.
  • The Seer Hoppy Saison – 5% – Big citrus and tropical fruit aroma and flavor. Some grainy dryness, light funk. Bitter finish that blends back in well.
  • King’s Head Double Oat Brown – 8% – Creamy with big dark chocolate flavor and bitterness. Bit of toffee and caramel, too. Not very brown-like, which is good…
  • Fresh Hop Pale Equinox 2014 – 5% – Really good citrus flavor, with underlying earthiness, to light bready finish. Some citrus peel bitterness on finish.
    The Rest

  • Deadfall – 9% – Westland whiskey barrel aged stock ale. Whiskey, raisin, and candied orange aroma (the latter from the info sheet). Interesting mix of flavors. Whiskey, caramel, raisin, brûlée sugar (sheet again), bit of spiciness, light citrus. Very complex and interesting, but not what I’d usually drink.
  • Amarillo Pale – 4.6% – Single hop. Earthy/herbal/citrus hop flavor mix. Caramel and bready malt. Good balance. Fairly bitter finish.

As you can see, I’ve been visiting their taproom quite often. All the small batch stuff they do just keeps me coming back. The Kiln & Cone is their house pale ale, only available at the brewery, and they brew each batch with a different hop profile, hence all the “Batch #”s for it. They’ve started doing occasional bottle releases, as well, and yes, I’ve hoarded a few in my fridge and storage closet. They’re mostly bottle conditioned versions of draft beers they’ve made, and I’ll most likely be doing the nerdy thing of writing separate entries above for them. All I have to do is start opening them up and drinking them.

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