Taking my cue from Sergio, I characterize as ugly three beers that I actually liked quite a lot--call em' the Tuco beers.
First we have Ned (Flanders Red) from Rock Bottom. Typically, this style of beer will be characterized by a tart, sweetish (fruity) sour palate. It's wholly approachable, yet novel. I was delighted, poking my nose in the glass, to detect all the right aromas. The first note was spot-on, but then, to my surprise, there was a rather bitter note of fairly pronounced hopping. I really admired the beer, even with this note, but I found it a little less beguiling than a more traditional version. Not all beers need agressive hopping. (For those of you who, like me, dismiss Rock Bottom out-of-hand, it might be time to reconsider. Not only was Ned an impressive experiment, but apparently Rock Bottom's pale won the taste off.) [Flanders red, 8.5% abv, 30 IBUs]
Next up we have Roots Organic Wit, and deja vu all over again. The nose on this beer, as with Ned, was perfecto: orangey with coriander, and fresh with wheaty malts. And again, the palate offered a first, almost phantom-like note of classic Belgian white, followed by ... extensive hop bitterness. I think both breweries were aiming for classic styles souped-up for NW palates. The hops in this example were actually quite nicely married to very soft, fruity wit, but they overwhelmed them. [Belgian wit, 5.3% abv, 35 IBUs]
In the Widmer Hooligan, we have one of the stranger beers I've ever tried. Much as some Belgian beers demonstrate the varieties of yeast, and some--okay all--Oregon beers highlight hops, Hooligan highlights malt. In reverse: it's made entirely without barley using sorghum and tapioca. It has no head and an odd clarity, but a wonderful nose of Summit hops. The flavor was similar to beer, but the mouthfeel was somehow slick and the hop flavor was conducted differently. I only had four ounces, and so didn't get to delve into the beer much. I suspect it's at the brewery, and it's worth dropping by for a sample. [pale ale, 5.8% abv, 30 IBUs]
Inland NW Craft Beer Festival – Spokane’s Big Beer Fest
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