Review: Founders Porter

My house is full of birds. No, really. This isn’t a euphemism for anything. There are seriously just a lot of birds in my house right now.

I’m currently bird-sitting for a friend, so I’ve got two more birds in addition to my usual two. That’s 100% more birds! And one of them (Stewie, the beautiful yellow-orange bird) is a screamer. My poor ears. In all of the chaos of packing up to move house and being screamed at all the time from 5:30 am until about 8 at night, I needed something reliable.

In my county in Virginia, it isn’t always easy to get the best variety of craft beer. Founders, though, abounds here. They’re a given. I hadn’t had a Founders Porter in a year or two, but something felt comfortable about this beer, which I used to drink when I clung dearly to dark beers and didn’t try a lot of varieties. Hey, I was still learning! I got better!

founders-porter-001

I know that I loved Founder’s Breakfast Stout back in the day, but I just couldn’t for the life of me remember what impression their Porter had left on me. Well, there’s a reason for that: it’s just not very interesting.

It pours a brown so dark it’s almost black with a deep burgundy head that’s just barely there. A whiff of the beer gives off molasses, bread, and roasted grain notes. The taste is honestly a little metallic to me; this is something that I’ve noticed in a lot of porters, actually. Maybe it’s my taste buds interpreting something weirdly, but some porters taste a little like I’m licking aluminum foil. There are still hints of brown sugar and molasses on the back of my tongue. The mouthfeel is a little thin, but that’s kind of common with porters.

Generally, I’m unimpressed. I guess my inability to remember something interesting about this beer is due to it just being not interesting. 

Review: Dogfish Head Namaste White

It’s always good to have things that we know we can rely on. People we trust, that pair of jeans that always fits just right, cell phone service in emergencies. One of the things that I know I can rely on is the consistently good brews that come out of Dogfish Head Craft Brewery. If you’re on the east coast, you’ve probably heard of them. They’re kind of a big deal in the craft brewing movement. They’ve been doing their thing since 1995 and, if you ask me, they’ve been doing it well.

dogfish-head-namaste-white-002

I grabbed a six pack of Namaste White recently at my local grocery store for $9, which is a price that I sure like. They’ve been brewing this beer since 2009, but I could swear that this is the first  time I’ve seen it for sale in a six pack in a grocery store fridge.

Poured from a bottle and into a Perfect Pint Glass (how I sing the praises of thee), this beer pours a light golden yellow color with a minimal head. It smells a little bready, a little citrusy, and there’s maybe some spice there, too – it could be the coriander that I’m smelling.

It’s a nice white ale with a light mouthfeel and an overall light taste. It’s has a grain taste to it, some orange, and a little peppercorn, too. I poured and drank it pretty cold, so it’s possible that I’m not tasting a ton of the subtler flavors. It wasn’t until the beer warmed up a little bit that I started to taste the peppercorn and spice as it came forward.

I enjoyed this beer while making a green apple and cherry chutney to enjoy in the cold weeks ahead. I feasted on a grilled cheese with my freshly made chutney for dinner and really like the refreshing nature of Namaste White with the vinegary, spicy flavors of the chutney.

Review: Firestone Walker Union Jack IPA

This Union Jack IPA is described as a double dry hopped India pale ale and let me tell you, it is pretty aggressive! I wouldn’t call it a palate destroyer exactly, but it has punch to it.

If I’m remembering my early beer drinking days correctly (and they involved plenty of beer, so maybe I’m not, to be fair), this IPA by California brewery Firestone Walker might have been one of my first IPA experiences. At that time, I was still pretty new to beer in general and tended to prefer roasty, dark stouts so an IPA was a pretty big long shot. I would bet that I didn’t like it very much. It’s no wonder it might have scared me off of the style, considering its big, bold hops flavors.

firestone-walker-union-jack-ipa-003

I decided to give it another go now that I’m older, wiser, and very much into IPAs. I poured this from a bottle into a Sam Adams Perfect Pint Glass. This is one of my favorite ways to enjoy a beer! These glasses have a laser-etched bottom inside, which generates activation sites for the CO2 bubbles in beer to form up. These bubbles are part of what delivers the flavors of beer to us, as well as what creates the experience of carbonation. Sadly, I did not get these glasses in the divorce. Dang!

firestone-walker-union-jack-ipa-007

This beer poured a rich golden yellow with a significant head that stays for days. There’s a very green, grassy nose that’s hoppy as well. It’s maybe even a little bit bready, too. The taste is all hops! Hops, hops, hops! It never got too dry, though, and there was maybe just a hint of citrus on the back end. It’s odd, but I’d even say that this beer gets a little sweeter as it warms up. Very strong hops flavor, but a very drinkable beer to be sure.