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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River Brew Review: Bitch Stout Wild Ride Brewing

bitch stoutI bought a growler of Bitch Stout by Wild Ride Brewing in Redmond, OR to take to Thanksgiving dinner. I wanted to bring a darker beer and a lighter beer and this fit the bill for the dark. It also packs a punch and seemed exactly like what I was looking for at the time. A beer to help me forget that we weren’t going to be able to take the trailer for a test ride over Thanksgiving.

We were so close to being ready to test out the trailer and truck. We bought the trailer. We had it delivered with no issues. We bought the truck. We got it home with no problems. We thought we were home free. Ready to hit the road. We were wrong.

Our home for the next year.

Our home for the next year.

Everyone reading this should take note – when you buy a ten year old trailer and a twelve year old truck you shouldn’t (I would say that you can’t, but we definitely did so it is clear that you can) expect to be able to just hit the road. Yes we spent more than we were planning on the truck and trailer combined, (not by much) but more than we were planning doesn’t correlate to getting a truck and trailer that were issue free. Our stuff has issues. And since we are complete newbies to the whole 5th wheel trailer/giant diesel truck game we were completely blind sided.

To be honest our issues aren’t bad, they were just incredibly disappointing. When you have been spending every second of your free time trying to find the perfect truck and trailer to live in for the next year once you get them all you want to do is try them out!

Luckily for us Aimee’s mom has an extra bedroom, so we smashed our hopes and dreams of sleeping in our trailer on Thanksgiving and piled in the Tundra to head to Corvallis for a great turkey day! There I proceeded to enjoy a few glasses of Bitch Stout and some solid family time.

bitch stout pour

Appearance: Really dark. I am once again reviewing the second to last glass out of the growler, but I paid attention this time and it never poured with a head. The bubbles are dark tan and what little head was there dissipated almost immediately.

Smell: I don’t get a strong scent off of this beer. Malty with a bit of caramel. A little boozy.

Taste/Mouthfeel: Smooth. Tastes very roasted with hints of caramel. Tastes a bit boozy, not enough to be a turn off, but enough so you know you’re drinking! I had this from a growler, but their website says that it is normally served on nitro, which I can imagine would be amazing.

OVerall: Good! I like the name, I like the beer and I would really like to try it on a nitro tap. This definitely hit the spot before, during and after Thanksgiving dinner at the in-laws.

4 out of a Six Pack Scale©

4 out of a Six Pack Scale©

Stats:
ABV: 7%
IBU: 55
OG: 17
TG: 3.7
Brewery: Wild Ride Brewing, Redmond, OR

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River Brew Review: Sweet As! Pacific Ale, GoodLife Brewing

Descender_Label_proofToday was one of those days. You know the type – pretty much nothing goes right all day long. George woke up fussy and got worse from there. No idea why, poor little guy. We tried to go fishing. I say tried because it was pretty much a fiasco from the start.

We pulled in and it was sunny (only good part of the whole fishing experience) and cold about 30 degrees. I got out to get my gear on and to bring Aimee her gear, on cold days she prefers to gear up in the front seat, and she’s small enough that it works well. So I open the front passenger door and say “So, you have two left boots, one of mine and one of yours. Sorry.” Continue reading

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River Brew Review: Shake Chocolate Porter, Boulder Beer Company

Shake six packAhhhhh, sweet relief. We have been flat out, pedal to the metal since we got to Oregon. Two of our top priorities were a truck and trailer. Our whole plan for the next year hinges on these two items, they are big, they are expensive and what we wanted was very specific.

For a trailer we wanted a small 5th wheel with a decent sized slide and a bunk house. The bunk house is perfect for George, it will be his own personal room, where he can nap and get out of the way while I work, and it gives Aimee and I a little separation at night so we won’t wake up and rush to his side every time he snorts in his sleep. The slide is a big deal for a couple reasons, first it gives us more room and second it gives us more room. Remember, I will be working my regular 40-60 hour a week job during the entire year, we needed the room for a designated office space, a place where I will be in the zone and can focus. We also need the extra room for George, he is six months right now, and sometime during the trip he will begin to walk. We wanted the space for him to be able to roam inside the camper on those foul weather days. Continue reading

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River Brew Review: Mazano Pyroclastic Porter

pyroclasticPlanning mode continues in the Tasty-Takes household, as does my quest to drink at least a growler a week as I try to work through all the dark beers in Oregon!

P1050125

Appearance: A nice clear brown, pretty dark. Not a lot of bubbles or head. I need to remember to review the growler beers on the first pour. This is the 3rd pour and that could account for the flat appearance.

Smell: I get coffee and vanilla. The coffee hits the nose first, followed by the sweet smelling vanilla. Not a strong smelling beer, but again that could be due to the lack of freshness.

Taste/Mouthfeel: Nice and smoky. Malty and sweet to start. Has a pretty strong coffee ending with a slightly bitter aftertaste. The sweetness is balanced well and isn’t overpowering.

Overall: Pretty good, but not incredible. Standard porter. I like it, but will definitely venture into something else on the next growler!

3 out of a Six Pack ©

3 out of a Six Pack ©

Stats:
ABV: 5.2%
IBU: 30
Brewery: Mazama Brewing, Corvallis, Oregon

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