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Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Humulus Sativa

Yesterday afternoon, after a fantastic hike in the Columbia River Gorge, Sally and I retired to the Full Sail Taproom. It's been years since I've dropped in (blame Double Mountain, Big Horse, and Walking Man), and I was reminded not to let such a lapse happen again. As we sat and enjoyed the beer, we had a view of the windsurfers scooting along the whitecaps out on the river. A top-five location for brewery views.

In any case, I tried Spotless, the new Brewmaster Reserve beer. Actually, I had another pint of the Dunkopple first, and I really enjoyed it. If you don't get hung up on style, and instead behold its deep, cranberry hue and revel in those delicate Citra hops, you'll have a grand old time. Consider this one vote for bumping it up to the LTD line--04 anyone?

Following that, I went on to the Spotless. Wow--what a nose. I was instantly reminded of Racer 5, a beer smelling no less pungent than a hazy dorm room. I believe we used to describe that aroma as "stanky." The flavor was much the same--sticky, gooey, and fresh, but in a very specific, Rastafarian direction. The waitress told me it was hopped with Zeus, a genetic twin of the Columbus deployed in Racer 5. Aha!

It solves one mystery. I'd wondered if Bear Republic produced the quality through the alchemy of all their hops. Nope, it comes from that strain, and it comes through loud and clear. (Hops are, of course, close cousins to cannabis sativa--marijuana--but apparently, some hops express this kinship more clearly than others.) I thoroughly enjoyed the beer, as did Sally, but it felt a little transgressive drinking it. I kept waiting to get busted. My guess--you'll like it, too.


  1. That sounds so good... I wish I could get Sessions (or any other Full Sail brew for that matter) shipped to me!

  2. I had a bottle of it last week and was struck by the aroma. Zeus. Nice, particularly because it is different. I had a Racer 5 last night and rhapsodized, as I always do, about its aroma. However I did not connect the two beers and am not sure I would. I think Racer 5 is much more rounded out in its hop character. But now you have given me an excuse to go out and buy a bottle of each.


  3. I've been thinking about brewing some sort of Pale Ale and using one of the CTZ hops. I think you just helped me to decide on my next recipe!

  4. Patrick, you're right--Racer 5 has four or five hop varieties and the ganja note is only a minor one.

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  6. We entertained my niece in the gorge yesterday.

    We gave the Hood River breweries a miss and made our way to Timberline Lodge and Government Camp via Mt. Hood Hwy. The drive from Hood River to Mount Hood was spectacular. The view from the Rams Head Bar on the top floor of the Timberline Lodge is notable.

    The beers at the Mt. Hood Brewing Co. were very good; a dozen choices including: two on nitro; one on cask.