Monday, October 28, 2013

2013 Pumpkin Beer Tasting: Elysian Wins Again!

You might remember that Doug and I hosted a little pumpkin beer tasting night last year. It was so successful that we decided to do it again this year... but turn it up a notch.

Last year we had 10 pumpkin beers, 6 people, and only candy corn to snack on.

This year we had 18 beers, 1 pumpkin cider, 10 people, and a whole spread of fall deliciousness. Much better.

Just like last year, we had everyone rank the beers on a scale of 1 to 5 and just like last year, Elysian Brewing from Seattle was the clear leader, with two of their beers coming in 1st and 2nd place. Here's a breakdown of the top five, with the other 14 listed after.

#1 Elysian The Great Pumpkin Ale (Seattle)- Ranked #2 last year

Elysian makes this ale by putting roasted pumpkin seeds in the mash and adding pumpkin to the mash, kettle, and fermenter. Think "pumpkin pie" and that's the flavor of this strong beer.

#2 Elysian Night Owl Pumpkin Ale (Seattle)- Not tasted last year

Brewed with seven and a half pounds of pumpkin per barrel and conditioned with ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and allspice, this pumpkin ale differs from The Great Pumpkin thanks to the addition of ginger and its significantly lower ABV (5.9% vs. 8.1%).

#3 Two Beers Pumpkin Spice Ale (Seattle)- Not tasted last year

Similiar to the Night Owl, Two Beer's Pumpkin Spice Ale is brewed with cloves, cinnamon, allspice, ginger, and pumpkin and has the perfect balance of maltiness.

 #4 First Edition Good Lawdy Miss Gourdy (Portland)- Not tasted last year

Okay, so this is Doug's pumpkin beer that he brewed specially for our event. We both agree that there was not a lot of pumpkin flavor in this and that its high ranking might be because our friends are good at being friends... but it was a tasty fall beer nonetheless, so it's making the list!

#5 Shipyard Pumpkinhead (Maine)- #3 Last year

Pumpkin, nutmeg and cinnamon flavors abound in this very drinkable wheat ale.

#6 Elysian He Said Porter (Seattle)- brewed with 21st Amendment

#7 One Man Show Boooooo Careful (Portland)- Nathan's home brew

#8 Harpoon UFO Pumpkin (Boston)

#9 Epic Imperial Pumpkin Porter (Salt Lake City)- #6 last year

#10 Alaskan Pumpkin Porter (Juneau)

#11 Two Kilts Pumpkin Ale (Portland)

#12 Laurelwood Pumpkin Ale (Portland)- #7 last year

#13 Silver Moon Twisted Gourd Pumpkin Ale (Bend)

#14 21st Amendment He Said Belgian-Style Tripel (San Francisco)- brewed with Elysian

#15 Captured by Porches Undead Pumpkin (Portland)

#16 Tieton Cider Works Smoked Pumpkin Cider (Portland)

#17 Oakshire Big Black Jack Imperial Chocolate Pumpkin Porter (Eugene)- #9 last year

#18 Midnight Sun Brewing TREAT Imperial Pumpkin Porter (Anchorage)

#19 Unita Punk'n Harvest Ale (Salt Lake City)- #8 last year

Doug and I also got a very special surprise this year. Sarah moved back to the Bay Area a few months ago, so when she texted me this photo, I was all "wish you were here to share your beer insights!"

And she was all "look closer at the picture I just sent you." I'm apparently an idiot because I stared at this photo for quite a few seconds before I realized Sarah was standing on our front doorstep! Yep, best surprise ever!

Do you have a favorite pumpkin beer?

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Portland Restaurant: Double Dragon

What: Double Dragon
Where: 1235 SE Belmont
When: 11:30am - Midnight Tues - Sun

With crisp, cool fall days comes sore throats and runny noses. Starting in October (and probably lasting until April) my consumption of soup, ramen, pho, etc., greatly spikes.

Double Dragon serves some "Portland style" Vietnamese Banh Mi using local ingredients as often as possible. Their menu also features some ramen dishes, rice bowls and a few other favorites like the Banh Mi Buger ($9) with painted hill beef, bacon, carrot/daikon pickles, cucumbers, aioli and cilantro.

Of course Adam had to get the side of house made chips ($2 or $3). They were spicy and delicious, and I definitely ate more of them than he did.

I opted for the Curried Coconut Ramen ($10) with chicken and pork broth, coconut milk, kaffir, char siu belly, friend egg, pea shoots and tonkotsu noodles. It hit the spot! 

I probably wouldn't choose it over the ramen noodles at my current obsession, Paadee, on 28th and East Burnside. Double Dragon is more casual and focused on a Vietnamese menu though so I would love to return and try a banh mi and, perhaps, a Stay Classy, Bangkok ($6) with gin, thai tea syrup, lemon and basil.
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