Portland, Oregon continues to rise to the top of the beer geekdom world, as places like Hopworks continues to turn out one good beer after another. As we settle in on winter, the lighter beers have drifted off into old hangovers, and have been replaced by thicker, darker, more aggressive stouts like the Organic Motherland Russian Imperial Stout. This seasonal brew is quite the beast at 9.8% abv, so sit down, relax, and prepare to drink this dark, roasted monster.
Hopworks has pretty much run the gauntlet in different types of styles and tastes, and this winter they have released a solid, Russian Imperial Stout. The Motherland is part of a revolving series of imperial ales that are released throughout the year. They’re not meant for the chug and fall down type-of-a-crowd, but are better meant for the slow-sipping, sniff and smell type of connoisseurs.
A nice pour into a pint glass delivers a dark color, not quite the ‘black as a Siberian winter’ as mentioned on the brewery website, but more-so a dark, intense cola color. A one finger tan head fills the upper part of the glass, but dissipates somewhat quickly. It’s a nice looking beer, and from a foot away, it’s easy to smell the loads of cocoa, some anise, and dark chocolates. It’s a solid looking beer, and it’s now time for consumption.
The taste is a bit unexpected, after initially smelling the chocolate and cocoa. As the liquid bounces across my taste buds, I’m greeted with more of a roasted barley, some nice toffee notes, and a generous dose of alcohol, thanks to that aggressive 9.8% abv. It delivers a nice warm feeling in the gut, as the booze flows around and swishes throughout my insides. It makes me want to put on a nice warm hat, some thick winter clothing, grab another bottle of the Motherland, and wrap this bad boy up in my favorite 22oz bomber jacket and take a seat by a raging fire. This is a cold weather beer, no doubt about. You won’t be sipping this guy at your next raging pool party, or kick back barbecue with the in-laws. Nope. This beast is meant for the winter months, so seek it out because it won’t be long before this one is off the shelves and the next in the series of imperial ales shows up.
Overall, the Organic Mother Land Russian Imperial Stout was a solid beer. Does it stand up against some of the world-class stouts of the world? Probably not, but that would not stop me from grabbing a few of the 22oz’ers and knocking back a couple (slowly of course, because as mentioned, this is not a chug-a-lug-lug type of beverage). This is for those looking for something big, bold, and something that will provide a nice punch of alcohol to fire up the evening. Nostrovia!
The holiday season may be winding down, but that’s no excuse not to go out there and get your hands on a 22 oz bomber of the seasonal, Jolly Folly IPA from Green Flash. This is one of those beers that will knock you back a step and make you think—that is, after taking a couple of decent sized gulps of course. Known for crafting some brilliant, dialed in brews, Green Flash actually kind of made a huge blunder with this one, but albeit, it happened to come out quite good. Sometimes, mistakes can force breweries to step outside of their comfort zone, and it may be a way to discover the unknown.
So, how did this brew come to be? Well, it turns out that that one of their bright tanks had been filled about two-thirds with the always popular Pure Hoppiness from their batch of Alpine brews, and was then accidentally topped with one-third of the always heavenly Soul Style IPA. Looks like there may have been too much cheer around the brew tanks within the hallowed walls of Green Flash Brewing Co. The result? A 7.7 percent IPA that’s laced with a citrusy, piney, and resinous hop-profile. It appears that this holiday mishap has worked out in their favor, and low and behold, an excellent brew was conceived.
A nice hard pour results in a lacy white head that dissipates somewhat quickly, but fills the glass in a burnt orange, coppery color. There’s a nice malty backbone in this beer that mends beautifully with the bitterness of the 71 IBU count. Escaping from the glass are giant aromas of the hops, and they attack your senses in a second flat. It hits you like a freight train that has been loaded with citrusy attributes like grapefruit, or lemon peels. Mixed in, there’s a nice underlying aroma of pine-needles, and deep, dark resins.
Drinking it results in a nice, crisp finish, and is very drinkable at the 7.7 percent. It’s a nice pleasant surprise, and unless one knows about the mishap about how this creature came to be, it would stand out as just another really solid IPA from Green Flash. These guys consistently churn out one good beer after another, and it’s a great testament to their abilities to craft good brews, when they can even deliver a really good one that was a bit of a mistake. Although, mixing two stellar IPA’s together would not exactly be a major reach.
The holidays may have delivered a nice surprise for IPA enthusiasts, and although the season to be merry may be nearing its end, there’s still plenty of 22 oz bottles of this Jolly Folly IPA floating around. Word around town is that they brewed 500 barrels of this stuff (15,500 gallons), so go out there and get your brew on. Green Flash’s mistake is many a man’s treasure!