River Brew Review: Klamath Basin Vanilla Porter

Here’s another review that I wrote during busy season. Looking back we should have enjoyed that success in mid-coast Oregon a bit more. We had a bit of luck on the north coast in Oregon, but we struck out on the Olympic Peninsula! Enjoy!

porterSo we have moved on from Pyramid Lake and are now steelheading for a month. Yes, we have dedicated a whole month to one fish. But steelhead are tough. Not only do you have to use the right flies at the right depth in the right spot, you also have to hope that there are fish there. There are a ton of factors, time of year, how much rain the river system has had to date, how much rain has fallen recently, how high the water is currently, how clear the water is, etc….

Aimee bringing the house down in Medford.

Aimee bringing the house down in Medford.

It is a tough game but we are trying to figure it out. Our first stop was in Medford, OR on the Rogue River. We stopped there mainly because Aimee was scheduled to give another talk about wolves in Medford, since we had to stop anyway we figured why not try to catch some steelies. This was a case of the water being too high and being there at the wrong time of year.

See those puddles? The Rogue was huge!

See those puddles? The Rogue was huge!

We were early for winters and late for summers and the river was huge!! We gave it a good college try, both swinging and nymphing flies each day for a couple hours, but in the end we only caught a couple trout. So, week one: 0 steelhead. It was a bummer, but not unexpected.

Not really what we were hoping for, but a Rogue River trout was better than nothing.

Not really what we were hoping for, but a Rogue River trout was better than nothing.

Next we headed to the mid Oregon coast, aiming for rivers that I had fished before during my time in Eugene. The levels were low, but fishable. The only issue was that since they hadn’t had rain recently there weren’t many new fish coming in, the chrome would have to wait.

Aimee with her first steelhead!

Aimee with her first steelhead!

The river we were fishing was perfect nymphing water and we hit it hard from the get go, this time we had way more success and both had a fish to the net in the first three days! Hopefully we will be able to recreate this success as we move north towards the Olympic Peninsula, fishing as we go.

Klamath pour

Appearance: A Very dark clear brown. Bubbly tan head that receded fairly quickly.

Smell: Vanilla!

Taste/Mouthfeel: Smooth with lots of smoky vanilla just before a slight coffee finish. Thick and chewy, like a slightly beery vanilla milkshake. No hops or bitterness to speak of. Can taste a bit of booze, but not enough to be off putting at all.

Overall: Good! Aimee got this for me before we left the Medford area, I wanted a Wild River beer to try, but hadn’t had time to pick anything up and she surprised me with this porter. I like it! Real nice with a steak and salad after catching my first steelhead of the trip!

4 out of a Six Pack Scale©

4 out of a Six Pack Scale©

Stats:
ABV: 6.7%
IBU: 45
Brewery: Klamath Basin Brewing, Klamath, OR

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River Brew Review: Pelican Pub and Brewery Kiwanda Cream Ale

kiwandacreamale-togetherI was looking through my files and found this review that I started during the heart of both busy season and steelhead season. We were staying on the Kilchis River in Tilamook, Oregon at the time and it was wet and chilly and we were having a hard time catching steelhead.

steelheadinnet

We managed to land a few and I managed to drink a bunch of the Kiwanda Cream Ale. Reading the review now, I could definitely put back a bunch of these in the Keys!

Kiwanda pour

Appearance: Looks like Budweiser. Clear gold/yellow, not much head on my pour, a fair amount of bubbles in the glass.

Smell: A very fresh smell with slight hop/floral undertones. Slightly sweet.

Taste/Mouthfeel: Not as creamy as I was expecting. Very crisp, with smooth malts. Light and bubbly.

Overall: Real easy drinking. Tastes and feels more like a lager than a cream ale, but boy I could put away a bunch of these on a hot day.

4 out of a Six Pack Scale©

4 out of a Six Pack Scale©

Stats:
Gravity: 12.2 Degrees Plato
ABV: 5.4%
IBU: 25
Brewery: Pelican Pub and Brewery, Pacific City, Oregon

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Tax Season is Over! Bring on the Fish! And Beer!

As many of you know, I am super busy during tax season and this year, with the baby, the fishing and the traveling something had to give. That something was unfortunately Tasty-Takes.

Work!

Work!

Luckily, tax season only goes to April 15th and then is it clear sailing! Yeeha!

I am going to try to start posting regularly again and down the road I may be trying to merge Tasty-Takes with Aimee’s website raisinggus.com. But that is something for us to look at going forward, for now I am going to dig out the beer reviews that I did in the middle of tax season while trying to track down some delicious Florida Keys beer to try.

Here are a few highlights of the last couple months!

Spey casting on the Olympic Peninsula

Spey casting on the Olympic Peninsula

Trout fishing the East River in Crested Butte.

Trout fishing the East River in Crested Butte.

Aimee with a Gunnison River brown trout.

Aimee with a Gunnison River brown trout.

A little redfish on the Texas coast.

A little redfish on the Texas coast.

Aimee with a nice speckled trout on the Texas flats.

Aimee with a nice speckled trout on the Texas flats.

Taking the hook out of a bonnethead shark in the Florida Keys.

Taking the hook out of a bonnethead shark in the Florida Keys.

Stay tuned as we try to land bonefish, permit, tarpon, redfish and anything else that we can catch in the Florida Keys!

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River Brew Review: Great Basin Brewing Wild Horse Ale

bottle-wildhorsePyramid Lake is the land of giant cutthroat trout. Lahontan cutts are huge, predatory and voracious. I don’t do much of the background research for our team (me, Aimee and George) I mainly do logistics and how to catch fish, but Aimee mentioned that Lahontan cutts grow about 4 pounds a year once they are released into the lake. That is ridiculous.

We got 2 fish during our stay in Nevada that were in the 10lb class, the smaller one, which we measured, taped out at 28.5” long and 14.5” around, for a river trout that would be about 8lbs, but these giant fish have shoulders and the deep bodies typical of lake fish so who knows what he actually weighed. We found out midway during our stay that if we filled a cooler with water and carted our fish up to Crosby Lodge and had it weighed we could have gotten a pin if it tipped the scales at over 10lbs. Since we don’t have a cooler that would fit a fish that size I guess I’ll just have to dream about the pin.

Pyr_A_morning_012315

Anyways, I digress, the point is that we fished once or twice a day during the week, and at least 5 hours each weekend day and we left with 2 fish around 10lbs and 10 fish total. Considering we were there for 2 weeks that is a lot of fishing and a lot of work for few results.

Pyr_A_release_012115

Was it worth it? Heck yes it was! We can go back to the lake anytime and have confidence the we can catch fish, we know the patterns and the set ups used by locals and tourists alike and we can chuck shooting heads from the tops of ladders for miles. Regardless of our low catch rate we learned new skills and honed skills we already had. I wouldn’t trade that for anything (well, maybe for a few fish over 20lbs….). Just kidding. Seriously I can’t wait to try a popcorn beetle in my parent’s lake – those sunfish don’t stand a chance!

Pyr_MG3_011915

We did manage to find one local micro brew during our stay. Wild Horse Ale by Great Basin Brewing is considered an Alt Amber and Great Basin is touted as the original craft brewery in the Reno area. This beer consistently hit the spot, whether we had a fishless day or not, it is easy drinking with a smooth finish. If you can find it you should check it out!

Wild Horse Pour

Appearance: Clear caramel. Could also be called copper. Small foamy head that dissipated quickly

Smell: Sweet malts. Hints of caramel.

Taste/Mouthfeel: Very bubbly, slightly thick feeling. Nice malty sweetness, not overdone, but nothing bitter about it.

Overall: I like it. Nothing earth shattering about it, but a very drinkable, tasty amber. Thicker than most, but the whole taste package is nice.

3 out of a Six Pack ©

3 out of a Six Pack ©

Stats:
ABV: 4.8%
Brewery: Great Basin Brewing Co., Reno, NV

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River Brew Review: Anchor Steam Beer

anchor steam genericWe’ve been at Pyramid Lake for a little over a week and when we got here I was super fired up to fill my new growler and drink some local brews. In our seventeen thousand trips down to Reno to fix up the truck and trailer you would think that finding a growler fill station or even some local craft brews would be no big deal. Instead it has been strangely difficult; part of that is the fact that I am unwilling to waste daylight and gas tearing all over Reno to find beer and part of that is that there doesn’t seem to be much of a beer scene here. Maybe good craft brews aren’t as exciting when you can pick up Jose Cuervo at Walmart.

On one of her trips to town, Aimee brought me back some Anchor Steam, brewed by Anchor Brewing Company in San Francisco. It isn’t exactly a local brew, but since this is the closest that we’ll be to San Fran it will be considered one for my purposes.

Anchor on tailgatePyr_ACutt_012115

After all those big dark Oregon beers that I’ve been drinking it was incredibly refreshing to have this nice light offering from Anchor. I felt like I wanted to break out the flip flops for the first time since September and this beer fit perfectly with that feeling.

Anchor Pour

Appearance: More amber than golden. Lots of bubbles, but a surprisingly small creamy head that receded fairly quickly.

Smell: Grassy. A little sweet. A bit of yeast. Not very fragrant.

Taste/Mouthfeel: Watery, could be called clean. Not especially bubbly on the tongue. Ends with fruity notes, maybe raspberries – I know there’s no fruit in there, but that’s what I get. Has a sweet grassy flavor with hints of yeast.

Overall: Easy drinking. I like it. This is the first non-dark beer I’ve reviewed in a while and it was a breath of fresh air. It paired perfectly with the warm 60 degree days we’ve been enjoying. Real nice mix of hops and malts with a very clean fruity finish. Highly sessionable.

4 out of a Six Pack Scale©

4 out of a Six Pack Scale©

Stats:
ABV:4.9%
Brewery: Anchor Brewing, San Francisco, CA

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Fishing Report: Pyramid Lake Week 1

We arrived at Pyramid Lake last Saturday night in the pitch black with high hopes. I had done my research and knew exactly what we needed to do, I had a print out of which beaches to fish when and we had 11 of our 12 rods on board; we were ready to crush some trout.

Look at the size of that lake - how the heck do we find fish in there?

Look at the size of that lake – how the heck do we find fish in there?

Things don’t always work out the way that you expect. First the truck wouldn’t start. Continue reading

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River Brew Review: Terminal Gravity Breakfast Porter

TG Breakfast porter genericSo we made our first big drive yesterday. From Bend, OR to Sutcliffe, NV. It took us 8 and ½ hours, that is big. We chose to take back roads the whole way, which was both amazing and draining. Amazing because we saw next to no one. The roads were pretty much empty for all 400 miles. Draining because they were all small 2 lane roads that were pretty skinny, keeping the 8ft wide trailer from hitting the shoulder and pulling us to an untimely death definitely kept me focused for the whole 8 ½ hours.

But we’re here! Heck yes! Unfortunately we rolled in in the dark so we didn’t get to check anything out. We spent today getting oriented, dialing in the trailer for our 2 week stay and wetting a line.

We met this tall drink of water en route to Pyramid.

We met this tall drink of water en route to Pyramid.

This place is crazy. The lake is huge, I read a stat somewhere that said that it has more water than the Great Salt Lake. The dimensions are 11 miles by 15 miles. That is big. And you fish it with fly rods. Talk about scratching lottery tickets! Basically you wade to a drop off, or wade to a drop off and set up your ladder, then you cast, wait for an hour for your line to hit the bottom, and then retrieve your flies at a snails pace. Or you can throw nymphs under a bobber – yes, you read that correctly. You tie 2 nymphs on, put an indicator on so that they will be suspended a foot or three above the bottom, cast out and wait.

Look at the size of that lake - how the heck do we find fish in there?

Look at the size of that lake – how the heck do we find fish in there?

Those of you who have fished with me know that I generally fish fairly quickly, I move a lot. When I streamer fish I strip quickly, I target the active fish and don’t swing or let it sink too much. I pretty much normally fish the exact opposite of how we are going to be fishing here for the next 2 weeks. But you know what that’s ok, because at any moment you could hook a 20 lb trout. They are out there! Since January 1, more than 15 fish over 10 lbs have been recorded at Crosby’s Lodge, the local tackle shop/casino/bar/gift shop. I cannot wait to hook into one of those bad larrys!

Aimee and George aren’t feeling that well, but we are planning for them to feel better and are spending the evening lining up some reels so that we can both fish streamers on the bottom. I might even go crazy and tie a new leader or a couple flies. It’s going to be a wild night. To help me along I am drinking a couple Terminal Gravity Breakfast Porters. Aimee got them for me before we left Bend and they will be the last Oregon brewed beer that I review for a while. The beers are dark and delicious, and if you like porters you should give it a try!

TG Breakfast Pour

Appearance: Poured in a mason jar. Clear brown almost the exact color of a brown beer bottle. Little to no head, a fair number of bubbles.

Smell: Sweet, nutty with hints of caramel.

Taste/Mouthfeel: Bubbly! You especially get a lot of bubbles on the back end, as a result I find this to be a very crisp porter. You have the standard malty/smokiness, with a sweet hint of caramel and a clean slightly bitter finish.

Overall: This beer isn’t going to blow your mind, but it is a good standard porter. With its crisp finish it seems more sessionable than a lot of porters out there.

4 out of a Six Pack Scale©

4 out of a Six Pack Scale©

Stats:
IBU: 40.5
ABV: 5.8% (on the bottle – the website says 5.7%)
Brewery: Terminal Gravity Brewing, Enterprise, Oregon.

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River Brew Review: Ninkasi Brewing Company Oatis Oatmeal Stout

oatisBoom! First beer review of the trip! We are camped on the Metolius River right now and are not crushing fish the way that we would like. We are getting them, but not as big or as often as we had hoped. Hmmm… I think that I would probably always want to catch more and bigger fish so maybe that isn’t a good description of the fishing so far.

Normally when we fish the Metolius we are good for a least one bull trout over 20 inches. It isn’t uncommon to land one over 25 inches and occasionally we will pick one up in the 30” range, this trip we landed a couple of 18 inchers (if you really stretch them out before measuring). The strange thing is that we are crushing the rainbows. We have 2 at about 18”, and 4 or 5 total, when normally in this stretch of river we are lucky if we pick up one!

Little bullboost 350 snow

Really we can’t complain at all George has been a trooper, the weather is perfect and we are catching fish. I guess that I just really wanted to start the trip with a big fish on water we know. From here it is going to get interesting as we attempt to catch fish in new watersheds all over the US.

gluing golden stone

This is our last night actually on the river. The internet here is too slow for us to stay during the week so we will retreat back to Bend for the week before heading to Pyramid Lake, Nevada next Saturday. In an attempt to go out on a high note we are tying flies. The flies that only catch big ones. Aimee is just tying one fly – the one fly to rule them all.

For fuel I chose a Ninkasi Oatis Oatmeal Stout. It is dark and strong and hit the spot.

Oatis and tying

Appearance: Drank it out of the bottle, looks dark.

Smell: Sweet oats with booze. Slight caramel hints

Taste/Mouthfeel: Very bubbly for a stout. I get a lot of tang out of this, some is the sweet malts, some is the booze. Has a nice thick oatmeal middle, but to my palette it starts strong and ends stronger.

Overall: I like this beer better when I am drinking it and not thinking about it or analyzing. If I just drink it is a nice, strong tasting stout. I will say that I liked the Oatis Vanilla a bit more, it is a bit smoother and seemed less boozy to my palette.

3 out of a Six Pack ©

3 out of a Six Pack ©

Stats:
IBU: 50
ABV: 7.0%
OG: 1072
Brewery: Ninkasi Brewing Company, Eugene, OR

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Unveiled: The Truck!

For those of you who don’t know Aimee, George and I are off on a year long fishing adventure. We bought a diesel truck, a 5th wheel trailer and are touring the US fishing for everything we can think of! For more info about The Big Year check out www.raisinggus.com.

Ford F350

The video below is a tour and description of our new diesel. It is a 2002 Ford F350 Super Duty XLT 7.3L Diesel Long Bed Crew Cab. Enjoy!

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River Brew Review (kind of): Lost Coast Brewery

I wrote this guy while we were down on the south coast of Oregon fishing for Chinook and trying out the trailer. Just getting around to posting it now. Enjoy!

downtown brown8ball stoutSo this isn’t a typical beer review. For the past 4 days we’ve been living out of the trailer and trying to figure out what we need and don’t need in order to make it livable for the next year. Well the first thing that I realized I need is a clear pint glass to review beers. I bought a six pack of Cascade Lakes Paddleboard Porter, but since I’m on vacation it went down the hatch in no time and didn’t get reviewed. Next I bought 2 22s, one of Lost Coast Brewery’s Downtown Brown and one of their Eight Ball Stout.

Chinook cheeky hat

I don’t have any pictures and I don’t even have my normal appearance/smell/taste/mouthfeel breakdown. I do have an overall impression of both beers – good! I liked them both immensely. Was part of this the fact that we are getting the trailer dialed and it feels more comfortable every day? Yes! Was part of this the fact that we caught and ate our first (and probably last) Chinook of the year? Yes! Regardless the fact remains that both beers were delicious and smooth and I would love to buy them again to review in depth. If you see them give them a try!

4 out of a Six Pack Scale©

4 out of a Six Pack Scale©

Brewery: Lost Coast Brewery

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