This Week in the Mercury


Friday, July 3, 2009

My Oregon Craft Beer Month: Day 2

Posted by Patrick Alan Coleman on Fri, Jul 3, 2009 at 9:09 AM

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This is when beer is perfect: I’m fresh from the shower after a hot run. The world has cooled a bit and twilight is coming on. As the light fades, I’m standing on the sidewalk outside the house watering the garden. I’m wearing a sleeveless shirt, madras pants, and flip flops—a beer in one hand, a water hose in the other. The water hisses and the chilly mist falls on my arms. I tip the beer to my lips. The neighbors walk past with their dog. One says, “That’s a man who knows how to irrigate.”

Yep.

Yesterday was only a two beer day, and I missed my tutoring session on account of this exercise program I’ve started to keep my job from killing me, so today’s will be a short post. To wit:

No, literally, to Wit. Wit bier, that is (I know, I’m sorry). I’m actually a bit confused about this one. On the beer list, this little number was classified as a Wit bier from Oakshire in Eugene, but on the Oakshire website it’s called, simply, Wheat. I’m thinking it might be just semantics, but I have a sense the classification mix-up might annoy purists (challenges of authenticity, etc.). Though I’d like to get some opinions on the issue, I’m mostly interested in the flavors in my glass.

This wheat beer was very turbid. It hit the bar looking like a wheat field in the fog, and that fog never cleared. But from the first sip, I was hooked. The tones here were citrusy and bright (even more so when the thin orange round was placed on the rim of my glass). The mouth feel was very rich. It had a noticeable fullness but it didn’t go as far as being chewy, which surprised me considering how cloudy it was. I also enjoyed the little hit of hops on the top of the flavor profile that made it that much more refreshing (the Oakshire Wheat label pegs it at 24 IBU’s). For me, this was just enough hops. Very nice summer beer, and one I expect to come back to several times this summer.

My second beer yesterday was the one I enjoyed while watering the garden. I was supposed to be at Saraveza for the Session Black release BBQ, but it was too late. Luckily, I had scored a bottle of Full Sail's Session Black earlier in the day and it was nice and cold by the time I’d returned from the run.

I really dug this stubby. It had the subtle sweetness of lager but the nice kick of something darker. Mostly, I perceived notes of coffee and chocolate… maybe a little molasses. In the mouth, it had the vivacity and lightness of lighter brew. Neat trick! This beer made me want to find out more about malt. I mean, I think I have an idea of what malt flavor is, but it’s ghostly and difficult to pin down. What I’d like to do is taste a pure essence of malt (for better or worse) so I could pin down its content in beers like Session Black. The one stubby I had went far to quickly and I immediately wanted a second. Too bad for me. I’ll probably write about this one more later. I’m thinking it will be a good BBQ beer and I’m certain it would be “holy crap!” good with a cherry pie.

Great, now I have to buy a case of Session Black and hit the farmers market. Life sucks, eh?

For those playing the home game: Oakshire Wheat (Witbier?) on draft, and one lonely Session Black. I’d love to get your comments.

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