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Friday, July 10, 2009

My Oregon Craft Beer Month: Adrift on Paulina Lake

Posted by Patrick Alan Coleman on Fri, Jul 10, 2009 at 12:01 PM

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Maybe it’s label empathy, but I’ll be damned if I don’t want to be in a canoe right now, drifting in the water of Paulina Lake. But I’m not in a canoe. I don’t even own a canoe. I own a big beat-up purple couch named “wooly bully,” and that’s where I am, sipping a Paulina Lake Pilsner from Cascade Lakes Brewing, wishing I were in a canoe.

It’s strange. When I drink Fat Tire, I don’t necessarily want to ride a cruiser bicycle. When I drink Bud I have no desire whatsoever to mount a Clydesdale. So, why then, would I now want to be in a canoe? Could it really be the beer?

Out of the bottle this pilsner is wonderfully clear with a bright golden hue. It practically sparkles. The aroma is a bit understated, though there is a fresh, bright hint of hops set alongside the more dominant tones of malt. For the most part, the nose is very clean with a hint of dark malty depth. So far, I’m happy with the lake metaphor.

On the palate this pilsner starts out with significant upwelling of malty flavors. It reminds me of carob: a bit toasty, a bit chocolaty, but followed close behind by a hint of sourness that seats itself on the sides of the tongue.

This is my second noble hops beer in a row (after yesterdays Radiant), and in this particular pilsner the hops affect the beer subtly. The only real perceptible affect is a touch of pink grapefruit bitterness and a drier finish than other pils I’ve had. It’s not an overly sharp finish, coming on more like a dull kitchen knife than razor sharp boning knife. And this is where my lake metaphor bites the dust. Lets’ see… So it’s like eating carob next to a crystal clear lake while chopping pink grapefruit with a dull knife? Where’s my fucking canoe?

I like this beer. I like malty beers in general, but I like this one in particular because it has a nice effervescent quality that really balances the malty depth. However, and I can’t believe I’m actually typing this, I think this beer would be even better with more hops bite. That’s right. I said it. The guy who hasn’t been fond of hops would like more hops. I’m changing... Getting new urges… Starting to grow a beard… What the hell is happening to me!?

There would be a trade-off with more hops. As it is, the Cascade Lakes Brewing Paulina Lake Pilsner is ludicrously quaffable. More hops would make it less of a guzzling beer and more of a sipping beer. Currently, I could drink pint after pint after pint until I became so drunk I’d fall out of the canoe and drown. So maybe more hops could be seen as a safety feature? Or, maybe I could wear a life preserver.

Enough of this nonsense. I’ll just add one more thing: Paulina Lake pils would go very well with a nice herby grilled chicken. And that’s officially my first beer pairing recommendation ever.

The Cascade Lakes brew brings my total OCBM beer count to 17. I’ll end this post with links to favorites from previous posts. Hit the jump to explore more. As always, I encourage you to drink along, and share your thoughts in the comments.


My "Favorites So Far" After the Jump

Look ‘em up on Tap Lister, why dontcha!

I’m totally down with the Oakshire Wit and I think that the Wit on tap around town is likely different from their wheat in the bottle, but I’m not entirely sure. This beer makes me happy.

I also preferred Ninkasi’s Oatis over Session Black. I understand they have a Vanilla Oatis at PIB this weekend, which is exciting. The Oatis is clean and bright and light enough to drink in summer, with enough smoky malt to please a scotch lover like myself.

I’m a big fan of Caldera’s Ashland Amber. It’s the best mixtape disguised as beer as that you could possibly bring to any summer party. Plus it’s in a can so you won’t cut yourself when you fall down after drinking a bakers dozen.

I’d like to try a Full Sail Bridgeport Stumptown Tart from the tap, but I can attest that this is one mean tart out of the bottle. I enjoyed it, even with the tinny aftertaste. After a brief discussion with Doug Paquin recently, I’ve decided that the metallic aftertaste is probably coming from over extracted cherry pits. Still, a strong zinger of a beer.

The Fort George spruce was darn good. I’ll agree with Lisa Morrison that it’s like summer in a glass.

And finally, last night’s Cascade Lakes Brewing Paulina Lake pilsner makes the list as one of my favorites of the month, so far.

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