Here We Go Again!

Here I am again!  The Super 8 Hotel in Grangeville, Idaho!  It has been a while since I have had a night of drinking here.  I began my evening by checking in and finding my glass and three beers that had been placed in my room by one of the hotel managers.  They are all from KettleHouse brewing from Missoula, Montana.  Another regional all-can brewery.  I will be reviewing their Double Haul IPA tonight, and the others at a later time, since I brought a few with me too.  The Hotel staff also brought my glass into the room, so I could do my reviews out of something better than their plastic room cups!  Score!

First I had an IPA, then a Double Bock, then I rounded it out with a nice Belgian.  I began my evening by doing a little work, taking pictures of the local truck route for a project I’m working on.  Then I had a great dinner at Ernie’s Steak House.  There I had a wonderful 12 oz grass fed beef sirloin!  Wow, it was amazing!  I also downed a 22 oz Alaskan Amber.  It was good too and very ambery.  That was for you Scott!

Then it was back to the room for a night of drinking, and watching TV.  Unfortunately there was little on, but a new episode of Criminal Minds.  So without further Adieu…

I began my evening with the Doublehaul IPA from KettleHouse Brewing in Missoula, Montana.  This is the latest all-can brewery in the west.  I also will drink an Ayinger Celebrator Double Bock.  Mmmm Goaty!  I will round things out with a Goose Island Belgian Style Ale called simply Sofie.  Can’t wait.  I’m already a little buzzed from the Amber at dinner, so it is a good thing that the Doublehaul is only 6.5%, the Ayinger is just 6.7%, and the Sofie is just 6.5%.  We’ll see if they have good flavor for their lower ABV.

The KettleHouse Doublehaul IPA was a hop forward aggressive IPA that had all the qualities of an IPA with at least 9% ABV.  It poured a dark golden color with a huge creamy white head.  For all its promise, the head dissipated rather quickly and left little lacing in the glass.  The nose was fruity and piney and left little to the imagination as to what the flavor profile was going to be.

The flavor was a very hoppy, piney flavor with a medium body and a medium mouthfeel.  It was hoppy up front, but then had a decent amount of malt backing.  This brew gets a bit of a pass with me for a couple of reasons.  It had a very big flavor that was solid, and it was at a lower ABV at 6.5%.  This and the convenience of a can combine to make this a pretty good brew.  Where I might be a little more particular than this, I like the fact that a lower alcohol brew has big flavor.  Pretty good, but I’m thinking it might be hard for many of you to find.  This is a very regional brewery, so if you are in the Northwest or make a trip to Glacier National Park, pick some up, its pretty good stuff.

The Ayringer Celebrator is a double bock beer that was made for the season of Lent for Monks who were fasting during their days.  Liquid Bread as it were, this bock fits the bill.  This is a product of Germany and had that cool little goat pendant around its neck.  I’m not sure what to do with it.  Might just through it out.

The Pour revealed a rich malty body with a large tan head that calmed down after a while.  As the brew warmed the bready qualities came through on the nose.  Big roasted malt smells along with a pretty big yeast profile.  Very bready.

The flavor was very good, and got better as the brew warmed up to almost room temperature.  The flavor revealed a heavy malty flavor with a lot of caramel and a sweeter body.  The breadiness came through on the back side, and was very good.  All in all one of the better imports I’ve had that wasn’t a Belgian.

Let me start out by saying I really dig the Goose Island names and labels on their Belgian style ales.  The labels on these bottles are just great.  So simple, so clean, so elegant, they belie what is inside the bottle just by the air of sophistication they give off.  They are remarkable, and so is the beer inside.

The pour on sofie is a straw yellow that has a cloudy body and a stark white head that was puffy and dissipated quickly.  It leaves very little lacing in the glass as I drank it.

This brew was very crafty.  It is a Belgian ale that is a combination of 80% Belgian Ale, and 20 % Belgian Ale that has been aged in wine barrels with orange peels.  It is bottle conditioned, and even says on the label that it can be conditioned for an additional 5 years.  This one was bottled on February 19, 2010, so it is about 4 years and 9 months shy of full conditioning.  Not deterred by this I dove right in.

It does have wine qualities that add a dimension of interest to this brew.  The nose is very Belgian.  It is yeasty, and the wine barrel aging gives it a unique nose.  It kind of mellows that big Belgian flavor.  The hint of orange gives this brew a nice spice note that reminds me of spiced gum drops.  This brew is complex and light and crisp with a very clean finish.  I think that more time conditioning would better blend the flavors and take the edge off of the yeasty flavor that is forward on this brew.  With an ABV of 6.5% it is a nice light brew for summer.

Enjoy everyone!  I’m going to bed!


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10 Comments on “Here We Go Again!”

  1. mikemoriendi
    June 3, 2010 at 8:43 am #

    Celebrator is an amazing brew and I’m glad you like it. It is by far one of the best bocks in the world.

    • Don
      June 3, 2010 at 9:44 am #

      Mike, It was definitely the winner of the evening for me. Big flavor and huge maltiness, at a lower ABV. It was the most flavorful and satisfying beer of the night.

  2. Rob Crozier
    June 3, 2010 at 9:49 am #

    Its amazing that you can still type after having a steak dinner, a 22 oz. amber, then 3 more beers! You are my hero!! Celebrator has been on my list of “must try” for months and just never got around to it – I will have to bump it up on the list for sure. I don’t think we have Goose Island in these parts – I do agree that the bottle label is so simple yet sophisticated.
    You must pull a lot of weight (no pun intended) at this motel to have 3 beers and a clean glass waiting for you when you arrive.

    • Don
      June 3, 2010 at 10:00 am #

      I’ve made friends with one of the daytime managers. She is a beer geek, and I have left her several bottles of brew, I usually have one for her each time I come up, because lets face it, she lives in Grangeville and has little opportunity to get good brew locally. So it has been a great relationship. Yet another great relationship spurred on by great beer! The Celebrator was a very good brew. I would definitely pick it up if I were you Rob. The key is to let it warm up quite a bit. very good stuff!

      • Rob Crozier
        June 3, 2010 at 11:33 am #

        That’s a great story – does she surprise you with the beer she selects or is it worked out prior to your arrival.

  3. June 3, 2010 at 10:26 am #

    Don – sounds like a great system you have worked out! I’d agree, Celebrator is a great beer and I regret I waited so long to try it. If you haven’t tried it yet, get to it! Generally, Ayinger makes very good beer – I’ve yet to be disappointed.

  4. June 3, 2010 at 1:34 pm #

    I don’t know why, but I just love the Super 8 reviews.
    Anyhow, I haven’t had the double haul IPA, but I can couch for Celebrator and Sophie. Both great beers.
    I’m with you on GooseIsland’s packaging. It’s so simple, but classy.

    • June 3, 2010 at 1:36 pm #

      I love them too, Nate. But they’re better when accompanied by grease-laden food pics taken in the room. I guess it adds to the mystique of fine motel room living.

  5. June 3, 2010 at 1:35 pm #

    I just realized something about the Celebrator – I’m a big label snob, and if it’s too cheesy, I’m turned off. However, I jumped at the chance to get the little doodad around the neck of the Celebrator! So I guess cheesy design is bad, free toy prize is awesome in my book!

  6. June 3, 2010 at 1:52 pm #

    Yeah, the little goat is appealing. My kids beg me to buy celebrator every time we are at the beer store because they want that little piece of plastic.

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