Friday some old friends and I snagged a table at the lively and packed Horse Brass Pub. It was a spontaneous gathering – Nick had an unexpected few hours free between getting off work and then having to entertain some visiting coworkers. Brent had worked a morning shift at BNSF. It was raining most of the day, so a trip to the pub sounded like a pleasant way to cap the work day. I anticipated an hour or two chatting, debating, and arguing, while luxuriating in a few pints carefully selected from the pub’s fantastic offerings.
I did not anticipate enjoying one of the best beers I’ve ever tasted, and I definitely did not expect that beer to be an IPA, which is not one of my favorite beer styles.
But first some background.
The Glen Hay Falconer Foundation is a non-profit created to commemorate and celebrate the life, interests, and good works of a well-loved and leading Northwest brewer, the late Glen Hay Falconer.
The mission of the Foundation is to contribute to the Northwest craft brewing community by providing opportunities for professional and aspiring brewers to further their knowledge and expertise. The Foundation is also committed to honoring Glen’s broader interests by working with the Northwest Legends Foundation to contribute directly to local Eugene-based organizations that represent his ideals and passions.
Every year the scholarship winners brew a special Sasquatch Legacy beer. This year the Oregon Brew Crew‘s Patrick Miller and the Portland Rock Bottom‘s Vasili Gletsos had that honor. In mid-March, at the Walking Man Brewery in Stevenson, Washington, they began brewing a couple special beers.
I don’t remember much about the first beer I tried Friday night. I drank it as I scarfed a half order of fish and chips.
When it came time to order my second beer I was intrigued by this listing at the top of the menu:
Belgian IPA- Sasquatch Legacy 2009-Walkingman Brewing, Stevenson, WA
A mix of European and domestic hops were selected for a spicier hop character. Drier and higher in alcohol than a usual NW IPA with a very mild malt body, for a clean, softer bitterness and an earthy body.
I was torn: I have enjoyed most of the Belgian-style ales I’ve tried, but the Northwest IPA and I are not on best terms.
The softer bitterness and the waitress, however, convinced me to give it a try.
[N. B. I don’t possess the vocabulary of the beer connoisseur. Beer, to me, is something to enjoy, not write treatises about. However, occasionally I’m compelled to describe a beer to a friend, if just letting them try a sip is impractical. Bear this in mind starting now 😉 ]
I can’t really be sure of the color, as it was dark in the pub. But the impression I had is that it’s the typical IPA orangish-brown; maybe a bit more red. The aroma is not especially floral for an IPA; you can smell the malt too. And it tastes nothing like the seemingly grapefruit juice inspired NW IPAs I’ve grown weary of. It’s not tart, and the bitterness is balanced with the maltiness, rather than overpowering it. Though the menu description says it has a very mild malt body, that’s not what I found. It’s big and strong, has hints of candy-sugar but is not sickly sweet, and has that Belgian je ne sais quoi that I believe comes from the distinctive yeast. Basically, it’s delicious. It’s a bit too heavy to be easy to drink, a 10 ounce glass would have suited me fine.
I’m getting thirsty just writing about it . . . see you at the Horse Brass!