Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Willamette Dry Irish Stout

Garnett and I accidentally/on purpose found this brewery during the Great American Beer Tour. It was on purpose because this is the place we were looking, but accidental since we asked some random guys if they knew were it was. Turns out they worked for Willamette brewery, and the address on the Beertown.org site was wrong. Even though they were packing up to go home for the day, they took the time to give us a 5-minute tour of their operation and sent us on our way with a free growler.
Brewery - Willamette Brewery LLC in Eugene, Oregon
Style – Dry Irish Stout
OG – 12.2° Plato
ABV – 5.2%
IBUs - 37Serving Type - half-gallon growler
Eugene has now opened two new breweries in as many years (Ninkasi being the other new one). While Willamette Brewery brings the total to only 5, dwarfed by Portland's 40+, this place is special. It is the smallest brewery in Eugene, and there is a good chance that it's the smallest in Oregon. Having only opened in October of '06 (even it was registered in April of '04) by brothers Jeff and Chris Althouse, I think they told me their capacity was only 4 or 5 barrels. The brewery itself is tucked away in a small warehouse that, on a good day, is 2,000 sq. feet.

Being that they set up in the hippiest city in the hippiest state, it's hardly surprising that "Sustainability" is one of the breweries core values. Sure, they use organic ingredients from local produces to produce unfiltered beer (needing less processing) and it's all done with 100% windpower, but they once again take that extra little step to stand out. The custom made Oregon black oak tap handles were designed and created by a family owned working company in Eugene. These handles are unique, as far as I know, since they have a hollowed out section behind their trademark tree for business cards. Not only is there information about the company on these cards, but there is a beer description on each card. The opposite side of the card is a solid color that corresponds with the beer. So, even though all the taps look alike you can tell what is in the keg by the color of the background of the tree.

Glass – 20 oz Imperial (Nonic) glass

Aroma – Coffee dominates the nose, but isn’t overpowering. Lightly roasted malts and hits of chocolate are also tucked away.
Appearance – This beer is deep black. I got virtually no crow but what was there was a very light tan that left no lacing.

Flavor – Coffee and roasty flavors remain constant all across the pallet. There are some barely detectable floral hops and bitterness on the sides. A few seconds after it goes down the coffee aftertaste kicks in. Maybe just a hint of lingering acidity.

Mouthfeel – Silky smooth with a light to medium body. There is also a dry finish.

Final Thoughts – Classic Dry Irish stout in almost every way. Not to dry, not to roasty. The only thing I can think of that would make this better would be to serve it on nitro. If I wanted to be extremely critical I would have to mark it down for not being bitter enough. This breweries size limits its distribution area so I doubt I’ll find it on tap in Portland, but I’ll definitely be looking for there other beers as I travel south.


Post a Comment

<< Home