If you have tried or are going to try this year’s version of Big Sky Brewing Co.’s seasonal Powder Hound, you’re going to notice some changes.
Matt Long, head brewer at Big Sky Brewing, says it was “just time to change things up.” He said they haven’t changed the recipe in five or six years.
He’s calling the new Powder Hound a “transcontinental pale ale.” It looks lighter this year (a reader described it as a “light golden color”), but is still flavorful, Long says. This year’s version has malts and barley from Belgium, Germany and the U.S. And features hops from Germany and the U.S.
At 55 IBUs and 7.2 percent alcohol by volume, Long says the beer has a hoppy, almost lemony flavor.
I’ve yet to try this year’s Powder Hound, but would love to know what you think.
- Matt Pritchard
Not sure of any details on this at this point, but reporter Tristan Scott sent me this image last night with the words, “Shipped today,” in the subject line. So, I think it’s safe to assume that a dream I’ve had since Big Sky Brewing Company introduced canned beers a few years ago has finally come true. Scape Goat Pale Ale in cans. We’re talking softball beer, river beer, hiking beer, camping beer. I’ve been waiting for a light and yet hoppy beer in a can for a while, and I can’t wait to get my hands on some of this stuff.
Kind of sounds a little strange, does it not? After all, though I’ve enjoyed a beer or two with mom over the years, it’s much easier to picture her with her favorite coffee mug in hand than a pint of beer. But, she’s from a different generation, and some of the moms in my current life tend to enjoy a brew a little more frequently than my mom used to.
But is there a beer I’d serve a mom, my mom, your mom, perhaps?
Sure, lot’s of them. But I think Mother’s Day is an elegant day. It’s a day for making mom feel special, and that does not mean drinking beer from the bottle while on the couch watching whatever sporting events happen to be going on this time of year.
Nay, mom is deserving of something refined, and that’s not a word you normally hear associated with Mother’s Day. And since she’ll be enjoying her beer in a glass along with whatever amazing meal you’ve cooked up for her or whatever she orders at Outback Steak House, you might want to be able to recommend or purchase something with that stately elegance that your mother likely exudes.
For me, there are a very few beers in the pantheon of American brewing with this sort of noble characteristic.
They are from the distinguished lineup of American beers known as pale ales.
Why a pale ale? They are a distinguished beer with a lot of versatility. A hefeweizen would be a little too informal for Mother’s Day, while an IPA might be too assertive. But your mother might be assertive too, so don’t feel bad about recommending a good IPA if you find your mother to be overly assertive.
Pale ales bring an almost elegant, white wine effect to a table. Mom could pair a good pale ale with a salad and chicken or soup and seafood, and it would be a great match. Like I said, it’s a versatile beer.
To find a true pale ale with the right kind of characteristics, try to stay with something clean, balanced and with a slightly lower alcohol content. I’m seeing a lot of pales that feel and taste like IPAs.
If you’re in Western Montana and you’re entertaining mom this Sunday, I might recommend these local choices.
Big Sky Brewing Company’s Scape Goat Pale Ale
Kettlehouse Brewing Company’s Eddy Out Pale Ale
Bayern Brewing’s Pilsner – Yes, not a pale ale, but a very elegant beer that your mother would love.
Blacksmith Brewing Company’s P.D. Pale Ale – Just be sure to make something up when mom asks you what P.D. stands for. Telling your mother it stands for Panty Dropper Pale Ale might make your mother more assertive, which will make you wish you ordered her an IPA with a less interesting name.
Blackfoot River Brewing Company’s Organic Pale Ale
Bitteroot Brewing’s Pale Ale
All these fine ales are available in the tap room and at fine stores in your area.
One favor. If we open any more breweries around her, could we possibly pick names that don’t start with the letter B? Thanks.
Happy Mother’s Day,
From BeerNews.org, comes the news of a brand new seasonal from Anchor Brewing Company. This just after the notice that the brewery’s pioneering owner Fritz Maytag is selling the brewery to a couple of investors.
The most notable thing about this beer is that it’s brewed with Nelson Sauvin hops, a currently popular variety of hops from New Zealand. It’s also brewed with a lower ABV, which could make this a very popular summer ale.
But, the real reason I wanted to bring this up is the fact that through all this, I happened upon a new-for-me beer blog and video blogger in the U.K.’s Zak Avery. He’s a beer writer and the general manager of Beer Ritz. Here’s a blog post of him reviewing Anchor’s newest beer, Humming Ale:
Great Northern Brewing Co. sent me two bottles of beer to try recently. I got right into the Marzen-style lager, but this (Correction) Frog Hop has been just sitting in my fridge calling my name for a week now. I finally relented on Sunday afternoon. Couldn’t have been more perfect, really. The sun had just come out from behind some gnarly looking clouds rising over Lolo’s false peak, and I took my newspaper, a pipe and a 22-ounce bottle of Frog Hop and reclined in a sun beam for an hour or so.
The thing about fresh hop beers is that if made correctly, they really define the idea of microbrewery because some of the main ingredients are ultra local. In the case of Great Northern Brewing Co., local growers in the Flathead Valley provided hops like Chinooks and Cascades to lend some flavor to this brew.
The nose on this beer strikingly resembled some saisons I’ve had. Big hayfield nose with hints of fresh grass and clover marked this beer. The flavor profile leaned on hoppy with a thinner mouth feel, which made this beer easy to drink. There was no heaviness associated with it and no cloying oily mouthfeel.
The hops provided an interesting front-end sensation that I really enjoyed. It differed from other beers in that the hops really stand out in a very obvious way. The interesting saison-like qualities on the nose might actually dip over and influence the taste as well. I thought I picked up some hints of green tall-grass on the palate as well as the nose, though this could have been the mix of hops they used.
The head on this beer is spectacular too. It pours big and white, like cumulonimbus clouds spilling over the top of your glass.
Available seasonally at Great Northern Brewing Co.
Here’s the good word from the folks at Bitter Root Brewing. I plan to pick up a growler of this on Saturday.
Paul’s latest Single Hop creation is now on tap!!
Amarillo Single Hop Ale (6.31% ABV): An unfiltered Pale Ale brewed and dry-hopped with Amarillo Hops. Amarillo is a relatively new American hop variety that has been described as “super cascade”. The flavor profile is very citrusy, especially leaning toward a distinct orange flavor and aroma. This hop was reportedly discovered and introduced by Virgil Gamache Farms, Inc. and resulted as a mutation of another hop variety.
Or so the saying goes.
Oskar Blues, of Lyons, Colorado, is making/perfecting beer in a can.
After a hard ride down some blazing single track at Blue Mountain, I had a big thirst and a refrigerator full of heavy Belgian beer. What’s a guy to do?
Somewhere in between the hummus and my mom’s homemade pickles, a shiny blue can was waiting to be noticed.
I have been searching/hoping for a beer in a can with a slightly lighter profile, you know, one you can take with you on a game of disc golf or throw in the river to drink when changing flies.
Dale’s Pale Ale is that beer.
When I popped it open last night, the hop profile hit me right away. I was surprised at home much I could smell even though I drank it from the can.
The beer was refreshing, with enough IBUs, 65, to keep it interesting. It’s also brewed using Centennial hops, a variety that I’m very partial to.
I know Tim O’Leary down at Kettlehouse is talking about canning Eddie Out Pale Ale next year, and I can’t wait. But until then, I’ll be picking up a few Dale’s Pale Ales for after those fall hikes and afternoon disc golf games.