Review: Pelican Brewing Co., Pacific City Oregon

On April 5th 2015, Easter Sunday, some friends of mine decided to head out to the Oregon coast and this was one of the many stops we made along the way. The Pelican Pub & Brewery is located at Pacific City, next to Cape Kiwanda state park literally on the beach (as you can see from the pictures). While this is a great location, it’s a little bit off of the beaten path (15 min off of HW 101) and you should use your nav to get there or risk taking a wrong turn. We were really thrilled when we got there for lunch and it wasn’t terribly busy inside (no wait) and we got sat immediately. By the time we left (about 1pm) it was packed with a 45min wait.

The entrance has a lot of swag of the brewery available (inc. 22oz. bottles), the main dining room has the bar on the south side and wall to wall windows that look out onto the beach and ocean. There are additional side rooms for the overflow. We ordered a few appetizers and a variety of lunch items (burger, fish & chips, etc.) and everything came out super quickly, and was top quality. The only complaint I might have is that there is no escape from the criPODS at this restaurant/pub. We were surrounded by them at every table, and some were quite noisy with crying and screaming. If you can ignore that, then by all means you should be ok. The waiter was super knowledgeable about their beers and provided the extra samples so we could try every beer they had available.

They unfortunately were out of a few of their seasonal beers, but overall the 10 beers we sampled were quite good. Nothing super exceptional, but nothing bad, sort of middle of the road to a bit better. Some might call them ‘sessionable’ as they tended to be lower ABV and matching the style they were going for pretty closely. You can see the range of beers in the picture below, the review goes from bottom to top, with the three extra tasters listed last. The top winners for us were the Red Lantern IPA and Tsunami Stout.

Pelican Pub & Brewery
33180 Cape Kiwanda Drive
Pacific City, OR 97135
Ph: 503-965-7007

Kiwanda Cream Ale
Pelican Brewing Co. • Pre-Prohibition Cream Ale • IBU: 25 • ABV: 5.4% • 8 SRM
Malts: Two-Row, CaraPils, Flaked barley
Hops: Mt. Hood
The signature beer from Pelican has a nice solid yellow hue, bright white foamy head that lingers, and a yeasty/hoppy nose. The front mouth has a subtle grassy hop note, full body with malts and the barley working nicely with the slight sharp/crisp finish.
Ankle-Buster Ale
Pelican Brewing Co. • Belgian Pale Ale • IBU: 35 • ABV: 5.1% • 6 SRM
Poured with a solid white head leaving a nice lacing on the glass rim, the yellow color is slightly cloudy on draft. The nose is a little bit yeasty, a little bit floral, and a little bit bitter grassy note. The toasted malt and broad hop profiles are balanced with the farmhouse funk of the yeast to make this a mid-range Belgian Pale with a refreshing and lingering floral and fruity after taste.
Silver Spot
Pelican Brewing Co. • English India Pale Ale (IPA) • IBU: 55 • ABV: 6% • 16 SRM
Malts: Pale ale, Melanoidin
Hops: Meridian, Fuggle, Sterling
Mid-amber hue on this beautiful IPA, the head does drop a little bit after the first sip, but leaves nice lacing/spots on the glass. The nose on this IPA is fruit/orange peel, slightly sweet, pine bitters, and delicate hop florals. The front and mid mouth are a bit sharp with the floral and fruit hoppy notes, grassy astringent that lasts from front to back with support from the toasted malt profile that lends to the full mouth feel (bready?).
Imperial Pelican Ale
Pelican Brewing Co. • American Double / Imperial IPA • IBU: 85 • ABV: 8% • 14 SRM
Malts: Pale ale, Caramel
Hops: Cascade, Magnum, Centennial
Solid big white foamy head, light yellow/amber coloring and the nose provides citrus (grapefruit), tea/earthy/mineral bitters, and toasted grains. The front and mid mouth have subtle hop resin and citrus notes with a mid-body built off of the slightly sweet malt profile.
Dorymans Dark Ale
Pelican Brewing Co. • American Brown Ale • IBU: 42 • ABV: 6.2% • 30+ SRM
Malts: Pale Ale, White Wheat, Caramel, Chocolate
Hops: Magnum, Cascade, Mt. Hood
Slightly copper/brown/red hue and large bubbly tan head that drops quickly. The nose is really subtle with sweet and toasted grains with cocao (bitter) lingering. The front mouth is slightly sweet and bitter from the roasted malts, but surprisingly smooth and balanced with the hop profile. There is a slight dry bitter (roasted) flavor on the back.
Tsunami Stout
Pelican Brewing Co. • Foreign / Export Stout • IBU: 45 • ABV: 7% • 40+ SRM
Malts: Pale Ale, Flaked barley, Chocolate, Black Patent, Roasted barley
Hops: Magnum, Willamette
This stout pours as a solid black and brown/tan head that did have a solid view, but dropped quickly with little lacing. The nose expresses burned malts, almost burned bread or charcoal and dried fruits and cocao. The front and mid mouth have a solid toasted profile, bitters from cocoa and coffee like acids. The dried fruit profile that starts in the mid and goes to the back ranges from orange peel, raisin, to black cherries. This is a complex stout that changes slightly with each sip.
Umbrella IPA
Pelican Brewing Co. • IPA • IBU: 60 • ABV: 7.4% • 6 SRM
Note: Dry Hopped with Ella (Australian) hops
Mid-yellow hue and white foamy head that leaves small bubbly lacing on the glass provide a great foundation for this unique IPA. The nose is somewhat fruity and vegital at the same time. While the mouth feel is a bit thin, the hop profile is really unique as a single, dry-hopped beer which pulls in the fruit/berries but with a slight sharpness to them. The back mouth drops off quickly, leaving little after taste.
Meet the Flockers
Pelican Brewing Co. • American Pale Ale • IBU: 45 • ABV: 5.9% • 6 SRM
This unfiltered ale with a lighter yellow hue, it also has a soft white pillowy head that lingers on the rim. The nose has some slight citrus fruit and hop floral bitterness to it. The front mouth is lighter citrus/lemon bitter and the mid/after tastes are mellow and blend the grain build well to hold the body together.
Red Lantern IPA
Pelican Brewing Co. • American IPA • IBU: 63 • ABV: 6.5% • 28 SRM
Malt: Pale Ale, Caramel 77, Black Patent
Hops: El Dorado
Nice copper/amber hue, bright white bubbly head that lingers on the rim with a sweet (candy) and sharp hop (citrus/grassy) nose. The front mouth has slight sharp citrus/pine hop bitter notes with a nice blend of roasted malts/bread to hold it together. The mid and back mouth are solid and the effervescence/bubbly character allows the flavor profiles to express all the way to the back.
Pelican Brewing Co. • Pilsner • IBU: 45 • ABV: 5.1% • 4 SRM
Hops: Santiam
This is a bright yellow colored pils with a small, bubbly white head that does drop quickly. The nose has slight lemon grass, citrus, and herbal characters. The pils yeast and sharper grassy hop profile expresses itself with the front and mid mouth feel. There is a slight sweet citrus note in the mid/back and a dry bitterness on the back.

Review: Oregon City Brewing, Oregon City OR

Friday Feb. 27th, 2015 three of us went to the southern side of the Portland metro and we stopped at Oregon City Brewing (OCB) that night. None of us had been there before so we used our navigation to get us there, which was quite easy as it’s right off the freeway. Basically they are located in an industrial looking building on the corner of 14th and Washington in downtown Oregon City. You can pull into their large gravel parking lot from either street. We noticed that there was a food cart out front providing pizza during the night we visited. You have to order outside at the cart, the guy next to us had a pie from them and it looked pretty good. The brewing equipment (custom 3 barrel system) is located on the back side of the building, you can peek into the production space when you walk in through some windows).

The main room has a few tables/chairs, window seating, and bar seating. They have 44 draft taps including local ciders, wines, and rootbeer, all available in a few different sizes including taster trays. We ended up doing this with their beers, just ask the server for a sheet to mark your choices with. From what it looked like while we were there, they serve a LOT of tasters, so it’s a good idea to ask the servers if you’re not sure what is what on their digital board (above the bar or view it online here in real time). We were lucky enough to find a couple of seats at the bar, even with it being a Friday night about 5:30pm. It was practically standing room only inside and I can imagine that this place rocks till the wee morning hours on the weekends.

The list of beers they had available was pretty good. I could have spent an hour or two sampling more than just their beers as they had a number of regional beers that I had not had before. We decided to just start with their four which are pictured below with reviews provided. I would have to say that they are doing a good job with the variety and quality of their beers we sampled. The reviews below go from left to right below.

Oregon City Brewing Co.
1401 Washington St.
Oregon City, OR 97045
Ph: (503) 908-1948
Current Taplist: OCB Taplist via DigitalPour

Elevator IPA
Oregon City Brewing Co • American IPA • IBU: 90 • ABV: 6.2% • 21 SRM
This IPA pours a nice orange/red hue with a foamy white head that clings to the rim, leaving a nice spongy lattice. The nose has somewhat tropical and piny aromas. The front mouth has a lot of dry bitters and sweet hop resins. The front to mid has a ton of grapefruit like sharp esters, the back is slightly married with a bit of tropical fruit. The carbonation is a bit on this which bubbles up on the back mouth, leaving the nice IPA hop wash on the tongue.
Scottish Ale
Oregon City Brewing Co • Scottish Ale • IBU: 28 • ABV: 5.2% • 34 SRM
Nice dark amber/copper hue with a minimal head that drops to just the rim quickly. The nose is malt forward with hints of sweet caramel and bitter chocolates that linger. The body is solid malt build with super low bitters. Imagine eating a loaf of dark bread drenched in honey and sprinkled lightly with cinnamon and butterscotch. The biscuit body has a lot of carbonation which is a bit much for this style of beer. Overall a great take on Scottish style ales.
Hank’s Marionberry
Oregon City Brewing Co • Blonde Ale • IBU: 25 • ABV: 5.2% • 10 SRM
Bright orange and yellow hues, slight cloudy and bright white head on this blonde ale. The nose is delicate with a combination of yeast and fruit flavored cough drops. The front and mid mouth have mild fruit presence, but it does get expressed on the back and after taste after the beer warms a bit in the glass. There is a consistent berry-sugary sweetness that lasts from front to back mouthfeel.
The “CPA” Chocolate Pale
Oregon City Brewing Co • American Pale Ale • IBU: 30 • ABV: 5.2% • 34 SRM
This pale pours a nice red-amber color with a solid dull-white head that lingers well past the first sip. The nose is a bit of mystery, it seemed like they ground up a malted milk ball and sprinkled it over the beer. The initial mouthfeel on this ale is that it’s a beer, but one that has a bit of milk chocolate and malts that run from dry and powdery that coat the tongue, to a sweet sugary mix with little to no hop to balance it out. This is an odd beer, not sure I’d order it again.

Review: Stickmen Brewing Co., Lake Oswego OR

On Friday Feb. 27th, 2015 we went to the south end of the Portland metro area to visit a couple of breweries in the late afternoon, to include Stickmen Brewing Co. in Lake Oswego. We have been lucky enough to have visited this great restaurant and brewery a number of times since they opened in 2012. The location is divided into a couple of larger dining rooms, a bar area with booths/tables, beer production area behind glass that you can take a tour of and a wonderful full size, tree shaded patio that overlooks Lake Oswego. During the summer months their patio bar gets super busy as you can get drafts outside directly.

The restaurant part of the business recently went through some changes, removing the ‘Skewery’ from their name/logo and changing the menu to no longer provide Yakitori or other grilled/skewered food. They also removed most of the asian inspired dishes (noodles, stir fry, etc.) and now it’s more traditional American restaurant fare such as: nachos, burgers, seafood, sandwiches, salads, and a few one-off BBQ dishes. We tried a couple of the new happy hour dishes and they were quite delish. We sat at the bar, which has always been a quick way to get served and the bartenders are always super friendly.

The Friday afternoon at Stickmen was surprisingly busy for it being early, and most of the people there were older, so there wasn’t a lot of loud tables to talk over. As usual, we ordered a taste of ‘the rainbow’, which is their special taster of every beer. Keep in mind that they do have over 10 of their own beers on draft, so don’t do this alone. The three of us present during this trip were able to get through these without much difficulty.

The beers as shown below are reviewed from back to front, right to left. We had a bit of challenge sitting at the bar, having to pass the glasses back and forth as we tasted and took notes. Overall the majority of their beers have improved over the years and visits to the brewery. We were pleasantly surprised at a few of the seasonal and barrel aged tasters we tried. Note the consistently high ABV’s that they make. It’s dangerous if you’re not used to 7%+ across the board when you do tasters.

I will post a separate review of the ‘on site canning’ that they provide of their beers (this is not a growler fill, but real canning on site on demand, it’s super awesome) later on. I didn’t realize that this was even possible, I know that they can do reverse pressure growler fills to help the shelf life of the beer, but canning it means fresh until opened indefinitely. Which is amazing.

Stickmen Brewing Company
40 N. State St.
Lake Oswego, OR 97034
Ph: 503.344.4449

The Bee’s Knees
Stickmen Brewing Co • Strong Ale with Honey • IBU: 20 • ABV: 7.5% • 3 SRM
Malts: Pilsner
Hops: Tettnanger
Note: Brewed with Wild Blackberry Honey
This beer pours a nice liter yellow hue, clingy solid white head, nose of slight dry pilner malts and sweet bread to butterscotch. The front mouth shows a bit of strong carbonation with malt forward and rounded/balanced fruit hops. There is a sweet note on the mid and back mouth. This beer hides the higher ABV well. The beer is smooth to drink, but the sweet honey makes it more of a sessionable beer than an imperial.
Stickmen Brewing Co • American IPA • IBU: 76 • ABV: 6.5% • 8 SRM
Dry Hoped: Falconers Flight
This slight orange/yellow hue IPA has a solid head and hop forward nose with a mix of floral, pine, and citrus. There is a bit of hop resin on the front mouth with the slightly dry floral and pine hop blast. The tropical hops and caramel based malts do balance well on the mid and back mouth. Lingering tart bitterness ranging from grapefruit/tropical flavors to acidic/metallic in nature.
Brown Dn’Unda
Stickmen Brewing Co • American Brown Ale • IBU: 51 • ABV: 6.8% • 20 SRM
Matls: Carabrown
Hops: Summit, Pacifica, Pacific Gem, and Galaxy
This is a dark brown/red amber beer with a white head that clings to the rim with a nice lattice. The nose is a bit of toffee, roasted malts, even hints of yeasty banana’s. The front mouth is a broad mix of malts, nuts, sweet caramel, with floral to fresh hops on the mid that expand on the back side. The flavors are complex on this beer, and layered to make it both memorable and delish.
Buona Mattina
Stickmen Brewing Co • Porter • IBU: 27 • ABV: 5.6% • 29 SRM
Note: Brewed with cold pressed Illy coffee
This porter has a nice dark brown color with a firm off-white/tan head that holds well. The nose is strong roasted coffee, sweet toffee notes, and bitter chocolates. The front mouth is lots of solid bitters from chocolate and coffee characteristics with slight hints of vanilla and rye bread. The mid and back have a dry finish with the bitters and coffee flavors lingering.
Stickmen Brewing Co • Belgian Pale Ale • IBU: 23 • ABV: 6.6% • 11 SRM
Matls: Continental Pilsner and Crystal
This slight red/brown colored beer has a small white head that drops quickly and leaves a slight thin lattice on the rim. The nose is soft with slight yeast notes with cardamon, clove, and slight vegital bitters from the hops. The malt profile shines on the front and mid mouth with a well rounded malty mouthfeel and minimal funk from the yeast.
Madame Molly
Stickmen Brewing Co • Irish Red Ale • IBU: 23 • ABV: 5.9% • 15 SRM
This solid red ale has a nice bright white head and biscuit nose. The front and mid mouth are a little more bitter than most reds, with piny and forest floor/earthy hops. The back and after taste are a decent mix of the malts and bitters to make it a well rounded and full bodied ale.
Bananas On Fire!
Stickmen Brewing Co • Dunkelweizen • IBU: 17 • ABV: 7.5% • 17 SRM
Note: Weihenstephan Weizen yeast
Darker amber/brown and cloudy with a wispy white head. Nose is yeasty fruit from cherries to bananas with malts ranging from cocoa and rum. There is no hop profile present on this, with all the mouthfeel going to the yeasty bananas with sweet caramel and the hint of the vanilla infused alcohol profile on the back. Solid body and flavors on this. This is one of my favorite Weizen beers in the Portland area, it’s worth the trip just for this one beer.
Moer Bruin
Stickmen Brewing Co • Belgian Nut Brown • IBU: 25 • ABV: 8.5% • 19 SRM
This beer pours a nice mid-brown color with a white head that leaves a nice cling on the glass as you sip it. The nose is slightly toasted with nuts and caramel. The yeast is secondary with slight dry farmhouse funk and spicy notes on the mid and back mouthfeel.
Grand Cru Rouge
Stickmen Brewing Co • Sour Ale • IBU: 11 • ABV: 9% • 15 SRM
This sour beer pours with a reddish, lite brown hue and a bright white head that drops quickly. The nose is puckering sour yeast with a little sweet note. The front and mid mouthfeel have a bit of punch to them with the sour/tartness and acidic properties from the lactic nature of this beer. The sweet, fruit, and malt profiles come through on the mid to back mouthfeel. The dry tart lasts well into the after taste and there is no leaving the yeast behind.
Thy Wayward Quaker
Stickmen Brewing Co • Oatmeal Stout • IBU: 34 • ABV: 8.5% • 38 SRM
This thick bodied dark brown/black stout has a slight tan head that clings to the rim as you sip. The nose is toasted grains, coffee, and hints of cocoa. There is a really subtle hint of dried fruit and tobacco mixed in with the range of roasted grains and coffees, helping this be a more complex stout than you might anticipate. The mid and back mouth tend to hold the body and flavors well, with a bit of dry/sharp bitters present in the back mouthfeel.
One Ton Trolley
Stickmen Brewing Co • Imperial Rye CDA • IBU: 123 • ABV: 9.1% • 46 SRM
Malts: Blended Rye
Hops: Summit, Centennial, Chinook and a load of late addition Simcoe Hops
Dark brown/black, deep tones and a tan head that sticks around and leaves nice spotting on the glass. The nose is all roasted grain and hop resins with citrus peel bitters (grapefruits?) and hints of roasted coffee. The front mouth is broad ranging and challenging on this CDA with high carbonation and . It’s got plenty of body that present a strong rye grains that provides a dark-bread malt build and mixes a full range of bitters from the large variety of hops it was made with to include delicate hints of hop florals and fruit. The danger with this beer is that it masks the high ABV really well.
One Rye Bitch
Stickmen Brewing Co • Whiskey Barrel-Aged Barleywine • IBU: 126 • ABV: 11.6% • 21 SRM
This barleywine pours a dark-brown/red hue and a full white head that doesn’t really go anywhere. The nose is super sweet and strong with woody-oaks, whisky, vanilla bean, and some hop flower/resins. The front mouth is sweet and the hops provide a unique blend of both sweet/tartness from the fruit and malts and dry/bitters ranging from hop resins to citrus notes. The mid and back have a fruit quality to them that seems to be cherry and the malts leave a tobacco like dryness. Overall a complex and challenging barleywine that is not for beginners.
Got Wood? (Second Anniversary Beer)
Stickmen Brewing Co • Old Ale/Brown Ale • IBU: 55 • ABV: 10% • 32 SRM
This is a dark brown/black ale with little to no head. The nose is slight fruit and woody with burned chocolates. The front and mid mouthfeel are solid with a blend of tart/sour notes and dried fruit (cherries to raisins) backed with a solid malt build. Slight bitters do present from front to back and the after taste does have a dry bitterness from the chocolate characters. There is no yeastiness to the sour, which comes from the natural lactic acids of the fruit.
Mmmm… (2014)
Stickmen Brewing Co • Whisky Barrel-Aged Imperial Porter • IBU: 42 • ABV: 9% • 42 SRM
Note: Aged for over nine months in Temperance Trader whisky barrels from Bull Run Distilling Company in Portland
Dark black/brown hues and a slightly off-white/tan head that drops to just rimming the glass, leaving spotty lacing. The nose has dried fruit, vanilla and sweet toffee/caramel notes. The front and mid mouth on this are a strong sweet presence of milk chocolates, vanilla, woody/oak, and whisky grains. The back mouth smooths out to a nice soft chocolate and coconut rind sweetness with a full body chewiness. Overall this was our top beer for the night.
Blend #1
Stickmen Brewing Co • Whiskey Barrel-Aged Imperial Porter Sour Blend • IBU: 42 • ABV: 9% • 42 SRM
This porter pours a nice solid black color and tan head that sits on the rim and leaves a nice bubbly lacing. The nose is all toasted grains, burnt coffee bitters, sour fruit and whiskey wood/oak. This beer is complex, full bodied and challenging in it’s range of flavors that include dried fruit, dried tartness from the sour/macerated raspberries and backed up with roasted grains and burned chocolates. The mid/back mouth do round out a little bit, letting the fruit come through more than the malt build. The whisky is really secondary and the barrel flavors aren’t as pronounced with the fruit masking them.

Review: Fifth Quadrant Lompoc Brewing, Portland Oregon

Tuesday Feb. 24th, 2015 we visited the Lompoc brewery location in North Portland, the Fifth Quadrant. This restaurant and brewery has both a bar area, inside family seating, front-street smaller tables, and outside (smoking) patio/porch that is covered with larger tables. If you want to stay clear of the criPODS, you have to stick to the bar area. Lompoc has a number of locations (bars & restaurants) around Portland and has been brewing beer since 1996. Their recopies have changed a bit over the years and the recent ‘regulars’ have a decent level of complexity and quality that stands against most other mid-sized breweries in the area.

The menu at this restaurant/brewery has a good range of NW food ranging from sammiches, burgers, Pork mole tacos (da-BOMB), and salads. The happy hour is pretty decent as well, and we normally visit it during a weekday prior to 6pm. It’s always busy, every time we’ve gone, so be ready to either sit where you don’t want, or show up early. This time around, we were lucky and got a table on the bar side so we didn’t really have the criPOD effect going on. We ordered happy hour food and a taster tray. NOTE: you have to ask them for the ‘seasonal taster’ and pray that the bartender is willing to pour you one if you want to try the seasonal beers beyond just one or two. Check out the boards above the bar and kitchen for the list of seasonal’s.

As you can see from the pics, we got both taster trays of regulars and seasonals with a couple of duplications between them. We were really happy that they provided the full range of beers for us to sample and take notes on. If you have questions, the servers are pretty knowledgeable and helpful if you can get their attention as they are always busy and bustling around. Sitting at the bar is the best way to have quick service. Overall, this is a great place to go to with a larger group of people, as they have a lot of larger tables and you don’t need reservations. On the flip side of that, it’s also difficult to go to with a larger group since everyone in NOPO knows this. ;)

We were pleased with the samples and overall we think that the variety of styles are solid in their flavor profiles and approach. The winners for the night were the ‘blond stout’, which tasted like a bourbon barrel aged apple cider, and the kick axe on nitro. The full reviews are posted below of the beers we tried. Note that the seasonal beers change quarterly, so if you like something, you have to go frequently to get it or you will miss it.

Lompoc Brewing
5th Quadrant
3901 N Williams Ave
Portland, OR 97227
Ph: (503) 288-3996

Fool’s Golden Ale
Lompoc Brewing • Blonde Ale • IBU: 18 • ABV: 5%
This draft has a golden hue (6 SRM) and a soft white head that has decent retention. The nose is lite hops and sweet (honey?) profiles. The front mouth has a slight citrus hop and soft grassy presentation with a mid-bodied balanced grain build. The mid and back have a bit of effervescence with the carbonation that has high-notes of the hops. Overall, a decent blond ale.
Kick Axe Pale Ale
Lompoc Brewing • American Pale Ale (APA) • IBU: 40 • ABV: 5.2%
The beer has a mid-dark orange/amber hue (12 SRM) with a bright white head that drops quickly. The nose is floral with citrus (lemon?) end notes. The front and mid mouth are pretty solid with grapefruit rind and other citrus notes with a slight sweet malt character. The body is slightly thinner than I’d like for a pale ale, but overall a decent sipper.
Proletariat Red
Lompoc Brewing • American Amber / Red Ale • IBU: 32 • ABV: 6.2%
This beer pours as a nice red-amber hue (18ish SRM) with a slightly off-white head that has good retention and lacing on the glass. The malts are really strong on the nose, slightly sweet profile. The front and mid mouthfeel is bread-like grains with hints of sweet and spices like cinnamon. The overall feel is a solid-bodied amber beer with enough sweet and caramel malts that don’t overpower the softer bitterness that don’t show up until the back mouth.
Pampelmousse Citrus IPA
Lompoc Brewing • American IPA • IBU: 70 • ABV: 5.8%
The draft is a brighter orange hue (16 SRM) and a fluffy white head that leaves a nice lacing on the glass. The nose is citrusy with a range of grapefruit and orange rinds that have a hint of floral hops that linger and even a hint of wet-woodsy-ness. The front mouth is strong acidic hop esters, the malts are there but drowned out by the strong hop profile. The mid and back have a frothy mouthfeel from the carbonation that allows the hops to linger.
C-Note Imperial Pale Ale
Lompoc Brewing • American Double / Imperial IPA • IBU: 100 • ABV: 6.9%
Hops: Crystal, Cluster, Cascade, Chinook, Centennial, Columbus and Challenger
This is a mid-amber/red colored pale ale (20 SRM) with a slightly off-white head that falls to a nice rim/lacing. The nose presents a range of citrus and fruits from pineapple and oranges to hop resins and pine. The front mouth is slightly sweet malts with hints of toffee at first with the citrus bitters with spruce and pine in on the mid and back mouth. The back and after-taste have a hint of floral and hop resins, similar body and feel to a dry-hopped IPA.
LSD (Lompoc Special Draft)
Lompoc Brewing • American Strong Ale • IBU: 55 • ABV: 6.9%
Draft is a thinner dark brown (40+ SRM) with an slightly tan head that leaves a bit of foam on the lacing. The nose is somewhat complex with dried fruit (prunes & dates), slight sweet caramel/toffee characters, and hints of a toasted cocoa with vanilla. The mouth-feel is all toasted grains, toffee/caramels, cocoa bitters and limited hops. The malt build is somewhat the focus with the lingering back end has a hint of the alcohol on it with the dry finish.
Stout Out Loud
Lompoc Brewing • Irish Dry Stout • IBU: 24 • ABV: 4.9%
Purely dark black stout (40+ SRM) with an off-white head that dropped quickly, but left a nice lacing on the glass rim. The nose is pretty strong with roasted coffee, chocolate bitters, and toasted malts. The front and mid mouth are really coffee centered, slight dry fruit (raisins), and a little creamy with hints of chalky resin that is acidic. The mid to back mouth has notes of sweetness that compete with the dry bitters, slight acidic lingering flavors again from the mid/front mouthfeel.
Jitterbrew (seasonal)
Lompoc Brewing • Stout • IBU: ?? • ABV: 6.6%
Super dark black (40+ SRM) with a little brown head that didn’t last long. The nose is coffee and slight citrus. The front mouth is pretty dry and strong with roasted coffee notes and the mid/back have a soft citrus (orange zest) present behind the coffee bitters. The back and after taste have a dry bitter that lingers.
The Spy That Dry Hopped Me (seasonal)
Lompoc Brewing • American IPA • IBU: ?? • ABV: 5.6%
Deep orange/yellow hue (16 SRM) and pillowy white head that leaves nice lacing on the rim. The nose is pretty hop floral with hints of pine resin. The body is solid with front mouth of sharp piny bitters. This is a bit of dry hopped overload on the hopping. Left me with a little bitter beer face.
Mon Cheri (seasonal)
Lompoc Brewing • Belgian Pale Ale • IBU: ?? • ABV: 5.5%
NOTE: brewed with Ardennes yeast
Mid-orange hue (14 SRM) with a bright white bubbly/frothy head that lingers and leaves a nice lattice on the rim. The nose is slightly Belgium yeast in character. Front mouth is yeast and slight hop characters mixed with spice of coriander and floral mid and back notes. There is a hint of yeast funk on the back and after taste.
Dr. Hop (seasonal)
Lompoc Brewing • Imperial Pale Ale • IBU: ?? • ABV: 5.4%
Nice blond/orange hue (14 SRM) with a flat white head. The nose has a bit of toasted malts/caramel malts that blend with the dry-grapefruit peel hops. The front mouth is dry hoppy citrus and and the mid/back have hop resins that linger. Interesting IPA to sample, not sure we would order a full pint with the odd mix of malts and hops flavor profiles.
Batch 69 (seasonal)
Lompoc Brewing • Baltic Porter • IBU: ?? • ABV: 7.7%
Dark brown to black body (40+ SRM) with a tan head that lingers with globs of head on the rim as it goes. The nose is toasted grains and bitter bakers chocolates. The front mouth has a hint of sourness that leaves you with some acridness, but nothing to shy away from. The ash common with Baltic porters is subtle on this mid/full bodied beer that washes over the tongue as a creamy porter chased by burned sugar. The mid/back profile is built around cocoa and coffee bitters that allow the dried fruits to come out (raisins and figs) and play.
Bourbon Barrel Aged Illegially Blond Stout (seasonal)
Lompoc Brewing • Blond Stout • IBU: ?? • ABV: 8%
Dark brown/black (40+ SRM) with a small white head that drops quickly and left no lacing on the rim. The nose is all dried fruit and sourness with hints of alcohol. The front mouth is all sour prunes, roasted grains, dark cocoa, and raw oak. The bourbon is somewhat secondary to this sour beer. The mid and back are a bit drier with the sour/tartness of the fruit lingering with the sweet coming from burned sugar malt profiles.
Dark Ages – Bourbon Barrel Aged (seasonal)
Lompoc Brewing • Sour Porter • IBU: ?? • ABV: 4.6%
Hops: Fuggle
Malts: Rolled Oats (added to mash)
Note: Vanilla Beans (aged for a week)
Super lite straw yellow (2 SRM) with a bright full white foam head. The nose is a weird mix of apple, pairs (cider like) and bourbon that has hints of vanilla. The front mouth feel is tangy with bourbon and malt profiles present. Low sour notes allow the somewhat dry hop esters on the mid and back let the fruit stand out. This is an odd beer. We couldn’t quite figure it out, neither good nor bad.

Review: Vertigo Brewing, Hillsboro Oregon

On Saturday Feb. 21st, 2015 we went on a little trip to visit a couple of breweries in Hillsboro Oregon, which is a suburb just west of Portland. Vertigo Brewing is the second stop from that day. We’ve been to this brewery a few times before, so we’ve had some of their beers and new what to expect when we got there. The taproom is located next to the brewing location in an industrial park. There isn’t a lot of signage, so if you aren’t sure where you’re going it can be a bit confusing. The door into the taproom isn’t marked that well, so look for their signs. It is 21+ ONLY, so don’t bring your kids or your pets and eat before you come because this is JUST a taproom.

Inside they have a variety of games you can play for free, just look along the wall for the tables of games and grab one to enjoy while you sip their beers. There are locally made pretzels you can buy to snack on which are available at the counter. The customers range from old to young, and locals to visitors from other countries. When we were there, a couple of groups of vacationers stopped in that were from Mexico I believe. You can take a peek into the next door production room if you are interested in looking at those, just ask the servers.

I would have to say that their list and styles of beers has been pretty consistent over the past few years. Each time they have 6 or 7 seasonals that always surprise us with a range of varieties and top quality. If you have questions about their beers, just ask the servers for a taste or purchase a sampler tray. This time around, we ordered everything they had, which was two trays (6 each) that are pictured below. As they only had 10 of their own beers available that day, we had a couple of their guest taps which are listed and reviewed below as well. For those that are into cider, they usually have at least one guest cider available when theirs is out.

The beer reviews go from left picture to right picture, back left to front going right. We really enjoyed all of them but the favorites this time were the “Left, Nut Brown” and “Chocolate Wrapped Heart”.

Vertigo Brewing
21420 NW Nicholas Ct.
Suite D-6 & D-7
Hillsboro, OR 97124
Ph: (503)645-6644

T.B.D. Blonde
Vertigo Brewing • Blonde Ale • IBU: 15 • ABV: 5.1%
Super thin and bright yellow (3 SRM) draft is a great starter beer for those that like light beer. The nose is pretty absent, slight malt notes are present. It’s got a crisp pilsner like hop front mouth and washes down quickly with little aftertaste.
Apricot Cream Ale
Vertigo Brewing • Cream Ale • IBU: 15 • ABV: 5.1%
Matls: Pale, Crystal
Hops: Saaz, Mt. Hood
A bright yellow hue (4 SRM) with white, clingy foam head. The nose speaks of slight sweet malts and hints of dried apricot. The front mouth is a little dry and thin with an apricot funk. The beer was brewed with a non-fermenting extract, so the flavors it presents are strong and misleading if you’re not familiar with pure apricot and hop flavors (fruit noted included coconut and pineapple?). Some of us thought it was a bit funky and unpleasant while others really loved it.
Razz Wheat
Vertigo Brewing • American Pale Wheat Ale • IBU: 15 • ABV: 5.3%
Filtered pinkish colored beer (26 SRM) with a solid white head. The nose has a slight sweet fruit note with wheat-yeasty characteristics. The front mouth is a little dry with the fruit expressing itself directly. The sweet malts and hidden hop profiles are secondary to the tart-sweet raspberry profile that is a little sharp on the back end and aftertaste. If you like a lighter wheat beer with fruit flavors that don’t overpower the beer, this is a winner!
The Closer Pale Ale
Vertigo Brewing • Pale Ale • IBU: 55 • ABV: 5.7%
Liter amber color (15 SRM) with a bright white foamy head that clings to the glass, making a nice lattice on the rim. The nose has hints of pine and sweet hops, grapefruits and floral characters. The front mouth is a bit sharp with the citrus/fruit rind, grassy and pine hops, and toasted malt body that balances it out. This is as close as you can get to an IPA without being an IPA. The back end is sharp with a effervescence from the carbonation that brings an almost metallic tinge to the palate.
Friar Mike’s
Vertigo Brewing • English-American Hybrid IPA • IBU: 62 • ABV: 6.1%
Mid-orange/amber hue (22 SRM) with a nice, firm white head and effervescent carbonation. The nose has sweet honey and slight fruit (oranges and lemon) present. The front mouth is held with a mild biscuit malt profile layered with the herbal and citrus hops. No real pine or NW style hops in this as it’s an English style IPA. Overall this is a full bodied IPA with enough character to keep you sipping. The back mouth does change over time with transitions to more orange and floral as the bitters settle in.
Uno Mas
Vertigo Brewing • American IPA • IBU: 73 • ABV: 7.5%
This draft pours with a mid-amber/red color (26 SRM), clingy white head and the nose ranges from yeasty to hop resin and rotted fruit (grapefruit rind). The front mouth is really complex with mixes of citrus and resin hops and a full bodied malt body. There isn’t a lot of sweet on this, just strong hop profiles and a body to support them. The back end is somewhat bitter with lingering sharp notes.
Friar Mike’s Gone Wild
Vertigo Brewing • Imperial IPA • IBU: 100+ • ABV: 9%
Note: Dry hopping with Amarillo hops during secondary fermentation
Draft is clear copper/red color, a medium to full white head and decent lacing. Nose has dry orange and herbal hopping and sweet malt characteristics. The front mouth is mild bitterness from citrus hops and floral sweetness. The mid-back and aftertaste are a bit harsh with hop resins and bitters.
Arctic Blast Vanilla Porter
Vertigo Brewing • American Porter • IBU: 18 • ABV: 4.8%
Malts: Roast, Dark, Crystal and Munich
40+ SRM dark brown colored draft with tan head. The nose is sweet cocao and toasted grains. The front mouth is slightly dry with notes of coffee, chocolate and the far back end has the smooth vanilla chocolate creaminess. The body is a bit thinner than most Porters of this style, but that doesn’t take away from the overall appeal.
Left, Nut Brown
Vertigo Brewing • American Brown Ale / Winter Warmer • IBU: 27 • ABV: 7.1%
Matls: Crystal 120L, Munich, Chocolate
Hops: Northern Brewer, Mt. Hood
Note: five pounds of honey per barrel
40+ SRM with brown and red hues, slight tan/off-white firm head that clings to the glass well. The nose is coffee and chocolate with sweet malts. The full bodied mouth feel has a good amount of caramel, toffee, and toasted grains that are balanced with the slight hop profile that presents on the mid and back. This is a really good traditional brown ale that provides a balance of sweet and hop bitters without being overbearing on the flavors that hide the higher alcohol amount.
Chocolate Wrapped Heart
Vertigo Brewing • Porter • IBU: 18 • ABV: 5.4%
Note: Brewed with 50 pounds of raspberries, 10 pounds of Ghirardelli sweet chocolate and cocoa
40+ SRM with dark brown/black color that shows red when you shine a light through it. The head is tan, and firm. The nose is sweet chocolates, toasted grains, and toffee. The front mouth is a full bodied porter with a distinct fruit/berry presence that lingers through the mid and back mouth feel. The milk-chocolate rounded body is really inviting and this porter doesn’t disappoint.
Old Rasputin (2014)
North Coast Brewing Company • Russian Imperial Stout • IBU: 75 • ABV: 9%
40+ SRM, thick tan head, lovely nose of coffee and sweet chocolate/toffee bitters. High carbonation helps the flow of this rich, bitter beer and brings the ‘cream’ out. The slight dry hop profile balances the sweet coffee and chocolate front and mid profiles.
Hard Apple Cider
Atlas Cider Company • Apple Cider • IBU: ?? • ABV: 5.8%
This is a really sweet and bright tasting cider. Good for those that like sugary drinks with an alcoholic kick.

Review: Three Mugs Brewing, Hillsboro Oregon

Saturday Feb. 21st 2015 we ventured out to a couple of breweries in Hillsboro, and this was the first stop. Three Mugs Brewing is a small taproom with a homegrown vibe back in an industrial complex. The location is pet friendly, and has no food but there is a local Hawaiian place that delivers if you’re really hungry, just ask the bartender. There is a Foosball table located in the back, and during our visit we enjoyed the blaring radio playing the classic rock station. Other side of the building is there brewing supply store, Brew Brothers ( You can enter either side of the building, there is a door that connects the two.

Staff is super cool and knowledgeable and was interested in what we thought of their beers as we did the tasting. There were a number of other people coming in and out while we were there doing growler fills of both their beer, and picking from the 20+ other beers they had on tap. The only issue I might point out is that while this is a dog-friendly establishment, people just let them wander about so if you’re not a big fan of dogs sniffing you while you drink then this place is not for you.

They had just four of their own beers on draft and as they provide taster trays of five, we picked one off their draft list that was from England, Wychwood Brewing Hobgoblin ESB. The reviews of the beers are below. Overall the experience was a good one. Their beers didn’t disappoint and had pretty decent characters and flavor profiles for their respective styles.

Three Mugs Brewing Company
2020 NW Aloclek Dr
Suite 108
Hilsboro, OR 97124
Ph: (971)322-0232

Wychwood Brewery Company Ltd • ESB • IBU: ?? • ABV: 5.2%
One of the many guest taps at 3 Mugs taproom we tried. This ESB has a 26 SRM Dark amber hue, sweet biscuity nose with traces of spice or woodsiness. Traditional flavor profile on the front mouthfeel with mild hops and bread with dried fruit (raisins) and dry back end.
Three Mugs Brewing • Cascadian Dark Ale • IBU: 95 • ABV: 7.5%
Dark brown and cloudy. Off white head the leaves a little cling on the rim. Sweet malt nose and a bit of cocoa bitters resonates. Nice full body and carbonation level. The bitters come from the malt and light hop characteristics. Soft rounded and dry lingering hop.
Northern Rebellion Brown
Three Mugs Brewing • English Brown Ale • IBU: 30 • ABV: 3.5%
Mid-Amber red brown hue. Small bubbles and full white head. Nose is strong caramel and burned sugars with dark grain bread. The front mouth is thin but has lots of grain and a balanced hop body. The back is well balanced and the sweet sticks around considering the low ABV of this beer, it’s quite good and drinkable.
Take 2 IPA
Three Mugs Brewing • India Pale Ale (IPA) • IBU: 95 • ABV: 5.5%
Hops: Simcoe, Cascade, and dry-hopped with pounds of Pilgrim hops
(6ish SRM) lite yellow hue. Clear inviting body, white head drops fast, leaves a little lattice of foam on the glass. Piny and hop resin with sweet malts are on the nose. The front mouth is sharp with pine and grassy notes. The hop really explodes on the mid and back mouth. The after taste is tongue gripping astringent of citrus rind.
Dunkel Dude
Three Mugs Brewing • Dunkelweizen • IBU: 30 • ABV: 7%
34 SRM dark amber unfiltered appearance. Nose has a lite yeast, sweet caramel malts. The front mouth is strong toasted grains with dried plums and cherries with secondary yeast funk. The weizen body with clove and fruit is expressed on the back and after taste.