Throughout my recent pregnancy I found myself craving beer a lot, which is abnormal considering I'm not a huge beer drinker. I would take red wine over beer nine times out of ten. Then, Caprice was born and my desire for beer boomed. Maybe it was hormones adjusting, or maybe due to our incredible PacNW summer. Either way, I have come across some great microbrews of late and want to share some of my favorites.
I went to Skagit River Brewery last week with my family visiting from AZ. Ben and my older brother got an IPA, which had nice citrusy notes. However, it had that hoppy bitter end notes, which I don't prefer. My dad got a brown ale, while my younger brother got a porter I believe. I ordered the Scotch Ale. It was years back at Bellingham's micropub Boundary Bay where I had my first beer I enjoyed, their Scotch Ale. It was smooth, nice finish and a layer of depth. It wasn't until this past week where I would transfer my allegiance to Skagit River Brewery's Scotch Ale. Oh man! It rolls down the tongue cascading with multiple flavors. There was a sweet smooth finish and an overall balance to flavor with a bit higher alcohol content than I'm used to. I give it a 4 out of 5 stars.
Iron Horse Brewery in Ellensburg is a little place without frills and happens to reside a couple blocks from my in-laws house. As you may have noticed, I like a dark ale, which Irish Death lives up to it's name. It starts off with slight bitters, but as it evens out on the tongue you notice a nice malty, coffee-nutty taste. The finish is smooth, which is what I prefer. I give this one a 3.5 out of 5 stars.
Gulden Draak was the beer my mother-in-law got at a Bellingham favorite of mine, Old World Deli. I took a drink and fell in love. It was reminiscent of concord grapes after lingering in my mouth. I took another drink trying to detect more flavors and continued to be blown away. I was craving this one recently, but left the craving to rest. It happens to be a dark triple ale with a rather high alcohol content for beer. I give this one a 3.5 out of five stars.
Okay, so I'm going to sound like a hypocrite here, but hear me out. This is a major hoppy beer. I mentioned that I don't like hoppy beers, due to their bitterness. Ben is all about an IPA, which boasts of hops and bitters. I on the other hand, prefer to avoid them. After talking with my brother-in-law, who is a homebrew master, told me a little secret. Not all IPAs are created hoppy equal. He told me about this beer, to which he handed me this can to drink. It should also be noted that not all can beers are created equal. Upon tasting the Hop Crisis, I was like a school girl with her first crush. I swooned and began thinking of ways I could "run into" this beer again. It was floral with so many notes like Charlie Parker pre-drug phase. In fact, this hoppy beer is like jazz on the tongue and a must. Beware though, I saw it at the store for four cans at $9.99. So, an infatuation it must be. I give this one a 4.5 out of 5 stars for sheer brilliance.
**These are not gluten-free beers, nor do they follow a Paleo lifestyle. Why then am I drinking beer? Because I had a baby in my belly for nine months and I can.
***That said and I am going to be eliminated gluten from my diet once again, because this baby is 2 months on Friday and I'm heading back to the gym. Plus, it's not summer anymore.
What is your Oktoberfest beer?