Fremont Brewing Company Cowiche Canyon

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Breweries in Washington have an incredible advantage when they craft a recipe:  access to fresh super-fresh-just-harvested hops.  The state is home to the famous Yakima Valley, the largest hop producing region in the United States.  With so many hops growing in their backyard, Fremont Brewing capitalizes off of their unique position to create an organic fresh hop pale ale called Cowiche Canyon right around harvest season.  Cowiche Canyon actually is an area within the Yakima Valley where, not surprisingly, Fremont gets their freshIMG_3719 cones from to create this beer.  Will this beer produce better results from pellets?  Time to run them numbers…

Appearance:  Cloudy orange with a tiny white head that left beautiful lacing as I drank.  The color on here is exactly what I like to see out of my IPAs, so hops hopes are high that this beer delivers on taste and aroma.

Smell:  I could smell this as soon as I opened the can.  This beer is ripping with a vibrant hop presence featuring lemon, citrus, grapefruit, and passion fruit.  This brew is on point with its aroma, time to dig in!

Taste:  Holy Cowiche!  This beer is a flavor bomb.  Those bright hops I got from the nose encompass the palate with everything from lemon, grapefruit, and lime to flavors that are oily, bitter, and dank.  This brew is a wonderful balance between those super fruity, juicy IPAs and the more traditional piney and bitter ones.  New school hopIMG_3713s meet old school east coast IPAs – accompanying the hops (which are the main attraction in the brew) is the most complementary grain profile I can remember from a Pale Ale.  It’s light enough not to overpower the cones, but rich enough to impart a lovely malt sweetness to help those hops along by not making them overly bitter.  I can’t stress how perfectly balanced Fremont crafted this beer.  The finish is dry and lingering hitting the sides of your tongue and the aftertaste is that of a fresh lemon spritz.  I am so digging this beer.

The carbonation on Cowiche Canyon was perfect and the mouthfeel was light, although it imparted flavors that you’d find in a medium bodied IPA.  The ABV is a standard 6% which keeps it simple; I appreciate Fremont taking a more traditional approach with the ABV in here and it works well with the beer.

Overall:  This is the best pale ale I’ve ever had.  I need to give it an A+ and a ticket into the hall of fame.  I cannot believe this beer doesn’t have more street cred among the beer nerds out there… I’m fine with that… more for the people who appreciate underrated beers.  They say fresh ingredients matter… you can’t refute that after having this brew.

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Three Floyds Zombie Dust

IMG_0693The Dallas Cowboys winning a football game, Scotland on the brink of independence, a 5 inch iPhone… are we perhaps on the brink of a Zombie apocalypse?  If we are, I want something that will keep those undead bastards away from me.  Thankfully, Three Floyds has the perfect elixir to fend off Satan’s angels… Zombie Dust.  A Pale Ale brewed with copious amounts of hops, it is perfect for a hot sunny day, a tailgate party, and of course, judgement day.  Let’s crack that beautiful juice…

Appearance:  Golden brown in color and the slightest bit hazy.  Nice white head to the beer and ju

IMG_0688Smell: Very tropical – mangoes, pineapple, kiwi, lemon, citrus.  A perfect IPA smell in my opinion that’s as juicy as an over-ripened peach.

Taste: Wow.  this is one of  the few beers that gave off a huge tropical smell and also delivered on the taste.  First thing to note is the tropical characteristics, as the taste of this beer is nearly identical to the smell.  A big taste of tropical fruits – mango and grapefruit are the most identifiable to me and I also get a bit of lemon and orange citrus.  As I drank, this beer got better.  At first, I felt the flavors were a little subdued, however as you continue to drink, they just get more and more assertive.  What’s most interesting about this beer, however, is how light in body it feels.  It drinks like a session IPA, but somehow Three Floyds found a way to put 6.4% ABV into this beer.  There is absolutely no way to detect in in the taste.

IMG_0691While the flavors of Zombie dust are out of control, they are not as dank or as aggressive as other IPAs I’ve had.  Technically speaking, this is considered a Pale Ale, but for all intents and purposes, this really shoves its way into the IPA category.  I’m judging this as an IPA, as no true pale ale I’ve had has ever been over 6%.  The only other pale that can compete with this is Tree House’s Eureka, but even with that in the mix, this is still the best Pale Ale that has ever hit my lips.  As an IPA, it’s really, really good, however I’ve spoiled my palate on some pretty insane IPAs this summer, and it falls a bit below some of them.  Zombie Dust is the Oklahoma City Thunder of the IPA world… an incredible beer, but falls short of being the best IPA I’ve had.  That being said, it has to be in the top 5.

Overall:  I really enjoyed Zombie Dust, and I have to give a big shout out to my buddy George for hooking me up with this one.  A tough one to find indeed, but if you can lay your hands on one, please treat yourself.  This beer scores an A.  A phenomenal brew for sure, it’s just so cruel that it comes in 12 oz bottles.

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Whale’s Tale Pale Ale

Beers that rhyme, I’ll allow it.  Especially if it makes sense and is traditional to the area where it’s brewed.  Whale’s Tale Pale Ale comes from Cisco Brewers and is made on the pretentious, but beautiful island of Nantucket.  I really like the look of the brew, the artwork on all their labels is very attractive, the only think missing is an effigy to the Kennedy’s.  Also, being a craft brew from New England is appealing to me too.

In addition to the name and label, the beer itself also delivers.  When poured into a pint glass, it gives off a dark, off white head about an inch high.  Head retention was pretty poor, and the lacing on the brew was light, if any.  The brew appeared to be a little hazy, but not as bad as a typical unfiltered, or wheat beer.  The smell on this guy was very intriguing.  It gave off a wonderful floral, citrus, and fruity smell, with light sugary smell too.  As I drank, more raspberry notes came out.

The taste is delectable.  It’s a very unique pale ale in that it tastes light but flavorful and fruity at the same time.  No fruit taste overwhelms the beer, and it’s not even advertised as being brewed with fruit, but you certainly get that sense.  It as a sweetness to it, almost like a candy, “Skittle-ie” taste, however it is very well balanced with a light hop and yeast coming through.  This beer is extremely drinkable, and has an average 5.6ABV.

The bottom line: this is a beer that anybody can drink, from beer snobs, to those who are less adventurous, and even to the lady in your life who typically goes the mixed drink route.  I’d give the beer a A/A- because of it’s unique taste, drinkability, wonderful aroma, and of course it’s New Englandness.