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FROM PORTAL'S OWN BEER SOMMELIER

MORGAN PHILLIPS

 

MARCH 25. 2022

Spring is in the air! Birds are singing. Bees are buzzing. And beers are flowing. After another bustling week at Portal our beer reserves were looking thin. Too thin. Painfully thin. Not a problem though, just like being in need of a new spring wardrobe, it’s time to go shopping! Start the montage music and tag along, Beermail needs a new everything!

 

There’s too much good stuff to give every beer its due, I’ll just highlight a few of my favorites.

 

Back in 2007, (yes, it’s a “back in my day” story) Drakes was still a humble, small brewery pumping out some of the best beer in the Bay Area. Under the radar, but that’s the way they liked it. Underdog beer. But in 2007 they created a triumph for hop lovers all over. For the 1500th batch in Drakes’ history, they created 1500. I know, not the best name, but I don’t think they realized the beer would stick.

 

At the time, most hoppy beer had a strong caramel malt character. Most were at least gold in color, some were near red. Fifteen-Hundo (as we called it) would be the opposite. Super pale, almost straw colored. And without the malt in the way, the hops could be celebrated.

 

Huge late additions and a huge dry-hopping of newcomers (at the time) Simcoe and Amarillo set 1500 apart with its huge aroma of pine and stone fruit. Dry and clean with a heavenly apricot flavor. I remember my first and it’s one of my favorite beer memories ever.

 

It was originally intended as a one-off novelty, but thankfully the brewers immediately new they’d created lightning in a bottle. Almost literally! I’m not going to say that it was 1500 that changed the direction of hoppy beer from malty and bitter to lighter bodied, lighter colored, more hop aromatic because that movement had been started in other places by other breweries and the difference was unstoppable. But I will say that 1500 was way ahead of its time in 2007. And if you don’t believe me, have a pint. Then think about everyone else’s pale ale right now. Yup, they’re all disciples, walking the road that Hundo built.

 

Well, that’s was supposed to be a few but it ended up being an ode to one of my favorite beers all time. Sorry. Ok, I’ll do a couple more, Lightning Round style.

 

I have never, ever seen Russian River Porter on tap anywhere outside of the Russian River pub. When I saw a keg available, I had to have it. It’s an absolutely fantastic beer. Robust, roasty, bitter chocolate, and dry. Definitely a porter that will satisfy staunch stout devotees.

 

Faction Helles. My goodness. How can such a light beer have so much delicate intrigue? Much Helles Lager. That’s how. And theirs is a beauty.

 

Sour fans, you gotta check out Cryptonym from E9 Brewing Co. out of Tacoma, WA. My apologies if you missed their Moon Maiden we just had on because it was a beauty. But Cryptonym is a stunner. Aging in wine barrels gave it depth and funk, but being blended then aged (again) on blackberries and raspberries created a beer that’s as impressive to look at as it is to drink. A little funky with a sort of Flemish Red vinegar character and bright, bold berry flavor all around. Too tasty to miss.

 

We’ve also got some new bottles of Two Broads cider for you to check out. Sexy, provocative, playful, and a great way to liven your spirits if they’re in need of a boost. Or if you just need something awesome to make your awesome more awesome.

 

 

Cheers!

-Morgan

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