Boulder Garden Brown – Orlison Brewing Co.

 

Brewer’s notes:

Grab a glass and pour a pint of this full bodied yet smooth American-Style brown ale.  Boulder Garden provides a pleasant blend of caramel and chocolate notes with just enough hop bitterness to balance the maltiness.

Brown beers have their place in any brewers line-up. However with most Browns you don’t get much complexity behind them typically and it takes a lot to get a Brown to stand out from the crowd. I’ll let you know right up front, this Boulder Garden Brown does not stand out from the crowd. Orlison Brewing Co. has made a pretty generic beer with their Boulder Garden Brown, however, that does not make this a bad beer by any means.

Orlison, in fact, will quickly remind you on their site that this beer won the 2017 Washington Brewers Association gold medal! I’m sure that it deserved it too, The Boulder Garden Brown while being quite simple with not much complexity is smooth with a nice malt to it. The Caramel and Chocolate notes are not very strong at all and are easy to miss if you’re not looking for them.

It’s really hard to find the words to write about this brew so I’m keeping it short. It would go great with lighter meals because of the malt it does carry some weight to it. I would not suggest this to new beer drinkers as there is a slight bitterness to it and coupled with the malty nature it may be a turn off for those unsure of their pallet yet.

Head on over to visit Orlison on Facebook and Instagram and show them some love, they have some wonderful brews, more of which we will focus on at a later time. They have a wonderful experimental line of even smaller batch brews that are always interesting.

Trying something different with this article, instead of an Untappd screenshot here is the direct link to this brew on Untappd:

https://untappd.com//b/orlison-brewing-company-boulder-garden/1678068

Does the Northwest really need another beer blog?!

Do we need yet another movie reviewer? Do we need any more foodie blogs? These are just a few questions that I would put in the same category as the title of this article. And the simple answer is yes, we do need more foodies, beer bloggers, and movie reviewers! I feel there are some key reasons and this article is here to point out these reasons and explain why the answer is yes. One, opinions on this blog about different beers may not align with yours but at least you will learn about each beer from a new perspective.  Two, articles on here will help me and my contributors grow their writing skill and style and become better in the long term. Finally, this site functions fundamentally different than most beer blogs out there and that difference will help us stand out from the crowd. So let’s go a bit deeper into each of these reasons.

Have you heard the term “Echo Chamber” before? Do you know what it means? Oxford dictionary defines it as: “An environment in which a person encounters only beliefs or opinions that coincide with their own, so that their existing views are reinforced and alternative ideas are not considered.”Echo Chamber

Having different blogs with unique authors and contributors even if there are similar subjects, in this case beer, you will still find yourself coming out of your own echo chamber and learning more about how others like or dislike the things that interest you. It’s this main concept that propels people like myself to start blogs and websites similar to this one. It’s the hope that we can help open your mind up about new and interesting beers that maybe you had no interest in before.

Now, how does this affect myself and other contributors to this site? This isn’t an endeavor to make money, me and those who write on this site are buying their drinks with money out of their own pocket. The main immediate benefit to myself and those contributing is the practice writing that we get. Each article has to accomplish one thing, help the reader understand our experience with whatever brew we’re talking about. No two articles end up the same because of this and we’re pushing ourselves with each new article. The goal is the continued improvement both in our writing skills and in our beer appreciation. To grow overall as people and in turn helping those reading along.

This site wasn’t built to be a carbon copy of any other beer blog. The core was to be different. A beer blog that didn’t focus on the beer community as many often do, but rather a blog focusing on the beer and the breweries themselves and how they taste and make us feel. With this focus in mind, the site had to be easy to maneuver and put the beer up front. This lead to the decision of easy to navigate buttons at the top of the site. Interested in beer? Click the “Brews” button and select the style that interests you the most. We have goals of the evolution of this idea and how the site can become better over time, this includes more location based searching as well as searching by style. At the time of this article the site is still in its infancy and features only a handful of brews, but with a road map to the future, we will continue to write and post to meet our goals.

I hope I’ve answered this burning question sufficiently. Hop Central welcomes both new and old visitors and we encourage you to get out there, try new beers and broaden your horizons. Don’t forget to follow us via our Instagram and Facebook pages to see when new articles go live, or if you prefer an email notification you can click the follow button on the bottom of the site. Onward we will grow and we thank you for being part of this journey with us!

 

Black Label Brewing Co.

 

Hold your hats, tighten your suspenders, wax your mustaches, and prepare your taste buds because Black Label Brewing Company, located in the Saranac Commons in delightful downtown Spokane, might just be a hipster paradise. I don’t mean this in a derogatory manner, the style is just very refined and definitely fits within this category. Upon walking into the Saranac Commons and making your way to the back where you find Black Label you pass by a deli, local craft artist store, and an artisan bakery all while surrounded by exposed wood beams, a recycled glass bottle chandelier art piece, and unique lighting all of which come together to fit with the hipster motif. 

Sitting at the bar looking back at the rest of the commons.

Now let’s talk beer, BLB has quite the selection of brews for you to choose from with some regulars that you can almost guarantee will be on tap – Like their Indaba Espresso Stout. But no matter if you’re getting one of their Stouts, Extra Special Bitters, Bocks, or Reds, you’ll find yourself enjoying it. BLB also provides wine if you’re just there with a group and beer isn’t your thing, but I’ll be honest I can’t attest to the quality of the wine because I’m just not a wine person, I have heard good things about it though.

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Going along with the hipster theme around their tap listings!

 

The folks at BLB definitely work hard to create an atmosphere that makes you want to continue joining them. Their staff is extremely nice, professional, and very knowledgeable about all the different brews. My last favorite thing about Black Label is their mug club. Possibly one of the most unique mug clubs offered in the area, using real wood steins that the team at BLB put together and lacquer themselves. One year will run you $100 but with exclusive access to mug club events, an item of apparel (this varies year by year) and after commitment to the mug club for multiple years you get to keep your mug and customize it!

The most unique mug club in Spokane.

To conclude, BLB is one of my top 3 favorite breweries in Spokane, Washington and is definitely a must-see place if you happen to be passing through or visiting. Check them out on Facebook and Instagram to see when events happen, such as Foosball  and corn hole tournaments

Espresso Milk Stout – Whistle Punk Brewing Co.

 

Brewer’s notes:

Imperial milk stout aged on Anvil Coffee, small batch bourbon, and vanilla beans. Big coffee aroma and a sweet finish, with notes of vanilla and oak.

Let me ask you right up front, have you ever had a good espresso? I’m not talking Starbucks or Dutch Bros, I’m talking about a good even roasted espresso made diligently by a barista who really cares. You’ll find yourself reminiscent of this when you get a good whiff of the espresso flavor as you bring your glass up for a drink. Whistle Punk‘s Espresso Milk Stout really stands out in their brew line-up as one of their few dark beers but truly demonstrates their abilities as a brewery as it’s nothing like anything else on the tap list.

The choice from Whistle Punk to make this a milk stout instead of just a plain stout is really important, primarily because the lactose base makes this drink one of the smoothest espresso stouts I’ve had the pleasure to drink. With an ABV of 7.1%, this brew rolls in slightly higher than the Indaba Espresso Stout we previously talked about and makes this a beer best enjoyed later in the evening. The final thing I wanted to touch on is food. I found myself wanting a large stack of pancakes, bacon, eggs, and some warm biscuits for dinner to go along with this exceptional brew.

Closing everything out, next time you’re visiting Whistle Punk and you have a craving for coffee and dark beer please do yourself a favor and pick yourself up a pint of the Espresso Milk Stout.

Below you will find the screenshot of this brew’s untappd profile if you want to see other’s ratings!

Brick and Steel IPA – Iron Goat Brewing 

Brewer’s notes:

Bright and aromatic, this Northwest-style IPA is packed full of citrusy Mosaic hops.

First and foremost let me just get my bias out of the way upfront, I’ve never been a big fan of IPA’s. Through my beer journey, my taste buds have grown and beers that I have previously hated have come to grow on me but even through all that, there is still a part of me that struggles every time I get an IPA. Why even buy an IPA then? The reality is that I really do love the art that is brewing and want to eventually grow to appreciate all types of beer regardless of my bias. With the Brick and Steel IPA by Iron Goat, I’ve found a genre of IPA that I really enjoy.

The Brick and Steel IPA is Iron Goats first canned beer, released on May 20th 2017 at their 5th-anniversary event. Looking at the print on the can you’ll find the tagline, “Celebrating 5 years in the ‘Kane!” a clever play on their hometown Spokane pronounced (Spo-Can). At the time of writing this article, you can only purchase this beer from Iron Goat’s tap room and only in a 6 pack to go, unfortunately not offered on tap. If you do find yourself in the tap room and want something similar then a safe bet is to go with the regular Mosaic IPA which shares a lot of the same flavor profile. [UPDATE] It looks like two days before this article went live Iron Goat announced on their Facebook that you can now get this on tap!

Now, on to the beer itself. For an IPA it was surprisingly light with only mildly bitter hoppy notes. I’ve noticed that more and more I find myself enjoying brews using mosaic hops and this is no different. The mosaic hops though definitely leave a citrus taste to follow that is quite enjoyable. I really enjoy this beer and easily drank my way through the 6 pack I purchased.

 

Below you will find the screenshot of this brew’s untappd profile if you want to see other’s ratings!

Bohemian Pilsner – Whistle Punk Brewing Co.

Brewer’s notes:

Unfiltered Bohemian style Pilsner hopped with Mt. Hood and lagered for 2 months.

When I think of a beer to enjoy on a warm summer day I want something light that doesn’t get in the way of enjoying nature. Whistle Punk has the perfect beer for these kinds of days, the Bohemian Pilsner. After a long day of work in the hot grueling sun, skin red as a cherry tomato, the last thing you want is a heavy beer weighing you down. The Bohemian Pilsner also acts as a great pallet cleaner following a heavier brew such as Whistle Punk’s Espresso Milk Stout – Click to see the article on that brew. The Bohemian Pilsner goes down smooth with no bite or bitter aftertastes making for a great beer you can’t have just one of.

To conclude, The Bohemian Pilsner is a wonderfully light drink that I think anyone can enjoy. It doesn’t lean heavy on hops, and it’s not a drink that will weigh you down all day. This brew is a perfect one-two punch that is a great way to introduce someone who doesn’t drink beer much to this wonderful world of brews!

Below you will find the screenshot of this brew’s untappd profile if you want to see other’s ratings!

Screenshot_20170610-192544

Indaba Espresso Stout – Black Label Brewing

 

Brewer’s notes:

Using local coffee company Indaba’s Bowl & Pitcher dark roast blend. It was a dark roast flavor on an oatmeal base. Creamy head with a sweet espresso nose.

You can’t get any more local than Black Label‘s Indaba Espresso Stout. Blending local coffee company Indaba’s fresh roasted coffee and Black Label’s stupendous stout recipe is a match made in heaven for your taste buds! This beer isn’t for everyone though – if you’re not a fan of coffee you may want to shy away from this brew because, if it isn’t obvious yet, there’s a strong in-your-face coffee flavor that you cannot miss!  I’ll be honest, the few times I’ve tried it the oatmeal base doesn’t come through as much as I was expecting. This brew would go great with your dessert, but don’t rush through your drink because you will want to enjoy every single note of coffee. Take your time with this one, kick back on the patio at Black Label or enjoy in the comfort of your own home… just make sure to set aside some time because one is enough when it comes to the Indaba Espresso Stout.

Wrapping everything up, Black Label and Indaba partnered together to make a knockout coffee stout. If you’re in the area – Spokane, Washington – Then make sure you start your morning with some Indaba Coffee at one of their multiple locations and end your day with this wonderful brew at Black Label’s tasting room downtown!

Below you will find the screenshot of this brew’s untappd profile if you want to see other’s ratings!

Whistle Punk Brewing Co.

Let’s start all the way at the beginning of how I first found out about Whistle Punk Brewing Co. It all started at the 2016 Inland Northwest Brewers Festival held at Avista Stadium in Spokane, Washington. While making my way through the crowd, from booth to booth and beer after beer, I managed on to Whistle Punk’s booth. I enjoy making small talk and hearing about a beer’s profile before drinking it so we talked for a few minutes while I enjoyed a taster of their Espresso Milk Stout. During our conversation, he mentioned that he was one of the main brewers and that they were in the process of opening up their first tap room in Spokane. I got excited, the more local tap rooms means a more diverse beer scene, so with that information, I made sure to follow them on Instagram to ensure I would know when they opened.



Fast forward a few months later, their official Instagram had announced a location but no opening date quite yet. Curious, one day while on my way to Iron Goat Brewing, I decided I’d poke my head in at the Whistle Punk location that was announced and just look in the window to see what it looked like. Low and behold there were people sitting in there drinking so I decided to walk in and see what’s going on. Upon walking in I was greeted and shocked my initial response was, “I thought you guys weren’t open yet.” as I stood there trying to hold back my excitement. Come to find out that I had caught them on day 3 of their soft opening and they had not officially announced anything yet but were planning on making it official soon. I spent the next few hours talking up a storm with everyone there, and practically drinking everything they had on tap!

Okay, We’re on the same page now let’s discuss the tap room as a whole! Located at 122 SOUTH MONROE STREET Whistle Punk’s tap room sits right near the center of downtown Spokane! It’s easily accessible and within walking distance to multiple other breweries and bars. The tap room isn’t large by any means, you’re not going to bring your entire family here on a busy day and expect a seat, but the size lends itself to a feeling of comfort and closeness. Everyone that works at Whistle Punk will also make you feel like part of the family, they’re always friendly, upbeat, and overall wonderful people. If you prefer to keep busy while you drink or end up coming with a group of people Whistle Punk also has a stack of board games including Jenga and Shut the Box that you can play during your visit. The final thing I want to mention about the tap room is, while Whistle Punk doesn’t offer food besides pretzels, True Texas Barbeque is in the same building so if you work up an appetite be sure to pick yourself up some ribs or a pulled pork sandwich to hold you over while you drink!

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Whistle Punk Brewing Co. is a wonderful new addition to the brewery scene in downtown Spokane. This family-run business that’s been brewing since 2015 has set up shop and is not a place you want to skip over when visiting.