By Matthew Meador
For the Oregon Beer Growler
I’ve become everything I ever made fun of. When you’re young, you think nothing’ll never catch up with you — older readers should know this. You younger readers already know everything, anyway, like I did when I wore your hipster ankle-boots. But the epiphany of grasping your own mortality can be jarring and, when you realize you’ve become everything you ever laughed at, you either find religion or double-down and order a round for everyone.
Naturally irreverent, few topics, people or afflictions were off-limits for my forward (and possibly sometimes offensive) humor. This means my conservative friends all think I’m a Pinko Commie and my progressive friends are certain I voted for Trump. Whatever. They’re all wrong: the funny parts of this life pretty much span the full spectrum. In fact, I sometimes think the most hilarious moments are spawned by the least humorous people. But that’s okay because they don’t need to be in on the joke for me to get my belly laugh.
The hazards from a willingness to find humor almost anywhere are numerous, especially when all that stuff you mocked stares back at you from the bathroom mirror. But my own life has been indescribably enriched by sharing these laughs with good friends as we sit ‘round the table at the neighborhood pub, swapping stories, sharing jokes and keeping the taps flowing. In celebration of friendship and laughter, we offer five Oregon double IPAs, guaranteed to take the edge off and help you find the funny.
pFriem Family Brewers: pFriem Double IPA, Hood River
9.0% ABV; 95 IBUs
Brewer’s Description: Just like the name implies, brewing a batch of pFriem Double IPA takes twice the regular amount of malt and hops. That means each pint is brimming with doubly-rich aromas of fresh berries, notes of papaya and malty sweetness. Just make sure to raise your glass twice because a beer like this deserves a double cheers!
Consumer Comments: The favorite of this month’s tasting panel, the pFriem Double IPA from pFriem Family Brewers has a fresh and fruity character which is beautifully balanced on its requisite hop-crafted foundation. This pint says howdy with an enthusiastic head, tempting the taster with almost as much citrus as hops. The pFriem Double IPA is every inch a robust hoppy ale but its deft balance and amiable bitterness wins wide approval. If the bottle’s elegant labels have anything to say about the brew inside, a great deal of care and skill went into its creation — this Hood River brewery justifiably takes pride in its product.
Hop Valley Brewing Company: Alpha Centauri, Springfield
9.0% ABV; 100 IBUs
Brewer’s Description: Big flavor. Intense pine and citrus aroma. We keep the malt profile clean in this Imperial IPA to let the love lights shine on the fine Northwest hops.
Consumer Comments: Bring on the hops! A classic double IPA if ever there was, Hop Valley Brewing Company’s Alpha Centauri epitomizes everything you love about IPAs — then double it! Alpha’s nose starts softly with a bit of floral and citrus but quickly brings on the hops, grabbing the taster firmly by the tongue. From start to finish, this brew builds to a crescendo, its big bitter finish belying its more subtle lemony handshake. If you’re looking for hop-forward and in-your-face, this bold brew’s for you!
Coalition Brewing Co.: Dropping Science Double IPA, Portland
8.0% ABV; 85 IBUs
Brewer’s Description: Brewing epitomizes the intersection of science and art. In this spirit, Coalition is proud to present our newest year-round creation, Dropping Science. This uniquely delicious and balanced double IPA provides the best of the art and science of brewing. Deep copper in color, aromatics of pine, spice, and citrus from northwest grown Chinook hops entice your nose, while a mellow sweetness from caramel malt and malted oats balances the 85 IBUs. Hop flavors of citrus, pine and spice from Cascade and Sterling hops intermingle beautifully in this supremely drinkable double IPA.
Consumer Comments: The earthy-hued amiability of Coalition Brewing Co.’s Dropping Science Double IPA might be the initial clue that this brew is laid-back and mellow — a great choice when you prefer less brass and more nuance in your glass. Not as hoppily insistent as its brothers, this brew’s medium malt body and subtle hops are framed with gentle citrus, a bit of butterscotch along with nutty smokiness. Panelists unanimously attested to the easy drinkability of this unpretentious pint.
Claim 52 Brewing: Fluffier, Eugene
8.0% ABV; 75 IBUs
Brewer’s Description: Double Fluffy IPA with lactose is brewed with wheat and oats and hopped with Citra and Mosaic. This beer was made to honor the first anniversary of Willamette Valley’s original Fluffy IPA. There are notes of passion fruit, pine, grapefruit and sticky green.
Consumer Comments: I don’t know about fluff, but Fluffier from Claim 52 Brewing infuses a lot of personality into your glass! More exotic than classic, Fluffier’s tropical nose seduces with notes of pineapple and papaya with an underlying floral tease. On the palate, the island fruit yields to citrus but expresses as an extremely drinkable brew — don’t worry, you won’t mistake it for Malibu. Panelists were nearly unanimously delighted with this pint, more than one suggesting a teriyaki pairing.
Stickmen Brewing Company: Iron Mountain IIPA, Lake Oswego / Tualatin
9.5% ABV; 80 IBUs
Brewer’s Description: A citrusy and bright Double IPA with heaps of Summit, Centennial and Cascade hops for bold aromatics and flavor.
Consumer Comments: Robust but evenly-tempered, Stickmen Brewing Company’s Iron Mountain IIPA has a bite but is marked by good manners. A medium-to-full-bodied brew, the Iron Mountain is well-balanced and not too heavy. Panelists noted its creamy head, moderate hops, and traces of wheat and rye, all leading to a clean finish. If you’re trying to please guests with a range of tastes, this brew should do the trick — IPA enthusiasts and virgins alike will agree.
When I think about it, maybe I haven’t quite become everything I ever made fun of yet — but I’m pretty sure it’s only a matter of time until the dementia, bad driving and incontinence set in. Until then, I intend to keep finding the funny stuff and celebrating this wacky, unpredictable journey. I know that doing so in decent company will pay off in unexpected ways. Like me, one day you may look back and realize these ordinary moments with good friends and great beer are more special than you thought.
Oregon Beer Growler each month invites consumers to “blind” taste a different style or group of beers at various locations across the state.