Widmer Gasthaus Experimental Hop IPA Series & Other New Beers
Widmer Brothers' Gasthaus Pub is always an underrated Portland beer destination, and right now is an outstanding time to visit. You have the new SXNW, a chocolate/chili/spice beer, Krystal Pear (created for Feast), and, most interestingly, an experimental Australian Hop IPA flight, where you can vote for your favorite.
The new SXNW is a pretty interesting and tasty addition to mole-inspired beers. In the same vein as Breakside's Aztec Ale, it has chocolate and chilis, but is much darker and richer. At 9.3% ABV, it is also a bigger beer, a sipper for sure. The chocolate comes out up front, and roasted pecans added to the beer are also there, with cinnamon and the green chilis in the background. Let this warm up a bit to really get the full effect.
Widmer Brothers partnered with Pear Bureau Northwest to create Krystal Pear, a filtered American-style wheat ale fermented with northwest pears. Krystal Pear is a limited-release specialty beer and will be served at all Feast Portland events, as well as poured in the Gasthaus Pub. I thought it was a nice easy drinker. The pear came through very clearly, which is a challenge with such a light sweet fruit.
The Australian Hop Experimental IPAs are called "Summer," "VS-013," "Ella," and "Sylvia." All four were made using the same base recipe to let them showcase the different qualities of each hop from our southern hemisphere. It's a great way to blind taste and get to know a hop. All 4 of these have citrus, fruit, and tropical qualities that are similar to some of the New Zealand hops we have been seeing more of lately, like Nelson Sauvin. Widmer is asking the public to vote on your favorite of the 4 beers, with results of the poll to be released on October 19th.
"Summer" was my least favorite. It has a buttered biscuit aroma, which was odd with the tropical fruit character. It was crisp and nutty and not very bitter. If I did not know these were the same base beer, I would swear this one used some sort of specialty malt like Special Roast. 6.1% ABV, 50 IBU.
"VS-013" was extra citrusy with a sharp lemony aroma. Oddly I found it tasted more bitter than the first, though its IBUs were less. 6.3% ABV, 40 IBU.
"Ella" was SNOB Ritch's favorite of the 4. It smelled like flowers and berries, more bitter than the others with a more mouth-coating hop flavor. The closest distinction to the fruit flavor I could pull out was "raspberries."
"Sylvia" may have been my favorite, but honestly I cannot decide. It has the most unique aroma of overly ripe melons and seeded berries and sweet fruit juice. It has a lite rindy bitterness 6.1% ABV, 52 IBU.
You can check out all these beers now at the Widmer Brothers Gasthaus Pub, or SXNW in the Brothers Reserve bottles in specialty bottleshops all over.
955 N. Russell, Portland, OR 97227
Phone - 503.281.3333