Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Ölbeat 070: Ballast Point Victory At Sea

Brewery: Ballast Point Brewing Company
Country: United States
Style: Imperial Porter
Abv: 10 % 
What about the beer?
Colour is dark brown to black with a small diminishing tan head. Aroma has quality black coffee, milk chocolate, brown sugar and some alcohol. Taste begins with a roasty hoppy coffeeish bite. Rich coffee, espresso and dark bitter chocolate take over with the flavours growing and expanding till the end. Some berries, raisins and vanilla are tasted, too. Aftertaste has bitter cocoa and some alcohol.

There are surprisingly many delicious layers of flavours in the taste: coffee with and without sugar turning to espresso and back. Aroma gives sweet milk chocolate but the taste is more like bitter dark cocoa powder. Just amazing Imperial Porter.


Delicious and complex dark brew needs a complex and legendary song with the same shade. The greatness is shared, the theme isn't: although the beer is almost black it's affection was quite opposite to the song. I may later regret for reserving this track but then again it's not forbidden to link a great song to more than one beer, it?

The Rolling Stones: Paint It Black (YouTube)

From the 1966 album Aftermath (US version), the song was written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Ölmönger Special: Pub Winstonin Pienpanimo-olutjuhla, Pori, 12-13 August 2016

So they organized a beer festival in da hood. Pub Winstonin Pienpanimo-olutjuhla, translated in English like Microbrewery Beer Festival @ Pub Winston a.k.a the Festival, was organized the 4th time on 12-13 August 2016 in Pori. Because the Festival came to my courtyard instead of things going the other way around as usual, I was obliged to visit. Spending both days there wasn't necessary, but doing only what you have to is boring, isn't it?

Seamchip card looks like this and will work next year

The setting was like this:
  • Around 15 Finnish microbreweries were present with couple of beer importers and a small whisky booth. Guess there was something to eat available but once again, I wasn't there for the food. The complete beer lists were available in Facebook and Olutopas forum couple of days before the event.
  • You could pay only with a Seamchip card, which cost 2 € and could be loaded with hop cones worth 1 € each. Prices were 3-4 € per 2 dl dose or 6-7 € per a bottle (0,33-0,35 l). The card was made easy to use with special reader stands and there were no problems at all with paying. 
  • There was no actual entrance fee to the area and you could go out and get back in as many times as you wanted.
  • You didn't have to carry your glass around the area but were given a new small pint with each dose or bottle you bought.
  • The weather was sunny but windy on Friday and at first rainy and then warm and sunny on Saturday, so there wasn't particularly crowded before 9 p.m. on neither day.
Shortly put, the setting was damn excellent for tasting some good beer.

First ones of Friday...

My top picks from Friday were:

On Saturday, the sun showed up a bit late

On Saturday, these were the most tasty ones:

The tasting board picked Pôhjala Must Kuld Kenyan Coffee as #1, Pyynikin Black IPA as #2 and Maistila Moood as #3 beers of the festival after blindtasting. Taking nothing away from these three, I would've liked to see one non-black and unroasted beer among the best three. The audience voted Pyynikin Black IPA as #1 and Hiisi/Ruosniemi/Maistila BIPL Thumpr as #2 beers of the festival. Both Kenyan Coffee and BIPL Thumpr were sold out after Friday, so I was lucky to have tasted them pretty early. 

Head brewer Tuomas Pere telling that Pyynikin Käsityöläispanimo goes America.

There can be exceptions...

While sipping on Saturday, I also was honoured to meet and discuss with couple of beer tickers. Shortly defined, ticker means "a person that compulsively tastes new beers or checks them off his (endless) list". Some tickers rate every beer they've had and even re-rate already ticked beers. Compulsive or not, I think of ticker-raters with more than 5 000 ticks at Ratebeer as creatures, who should be worshipped and offered virgins as sacrifice. Why so? Simply put: there wouldn't be any place for lazy people like me to go and check, whether a beer should be great, good, mediocre, drinkable or crap without them.

Despite their god-resembling status these two ticker legends seemed to be laid-back people with some great stories to tell about their quests while hunting pints. They ought to be much better objects of worshipping than gods, since they probably prefer a nice pint of barrel-aged barley wine over a human sacrifice. So, if you're having god and beer ticker as your career alternatives, choose wisely and become a ticker. No one would be crucified, drowned or torched alive because of your hobbies, at least.

...but seriously - not! Get in the sea among the other know-it-all beer people!


For some reason or another, my friend for Saturday had "Party in Pori" in his bucket list. It was his decision to end the night in a place with a dance floor. So, finally we ended up in a club with the middle age at middle age and a DJ playing 90's Eurodance classics. It was this song that turned the guy into a poor man's Travolta.

Haddaway: What Is Love (Youtube)

From the 1993 album The Album, the song was written by Junior Torello and Dee Dee Halligan.

Friday, August 5, 2016

Ölbeat 069: Bryggeri Helsinki Sofia

Brewery: Bryggeri Helsinki 
Country: Finland
Style: Imperial Stout
Abv: 9 %
What about the beer?
Colour is pitch black with a nice beige head. Aroma has roasted malts, black coffee and a liquorice-like salty-sweet scent. Taste starts rough: thick burned-roasted malts with strong espresso. Roasted malts dominate the taste, soon bitter dark chocolate and hoppy bitterness get aboard. Towards the end bitterness comes clearly through with some alcohol. Aftertaste is strongly bitter-dry and slightly roasty alcoholic.

Sofia is an overwhelming package with heavy flavour after another. Really charred malts and espresso in start, fine roasted malts in the middle and powerful hoppy alcoholic bitterness in the end. It's strongly recommended to savour this slowly and have a magnificent experience.


To find the musical-lyrical match for a rough, powerful and personally enjoyably brew, I had to pick a piece from a personal favourite. This Finnish metal band impressed me first time almost 20 years ago and other bands in the scene have felt like partial ingenuine copies:

Timo Rautiainen & Trio Niskalaukaus: Nyt on mies! (YouTube)*

From the 2001 EP Kuilun partaalla, the song was written by Timo Rautiainen.
*Yes. In the video, the tiny guy playing with pulley and relatively small weights during the first chorus is Jari "Bull" Mentula.  

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Ölbeat 068: Top Fuel Lab Genious Porter

Brewery: Top Fuel Beer Company
Country: Finland
Style: Porter
Abv: 7,4 %
What about the beer?
Colour is black with an overwhelming foam-bubbly beige head. Aroma has roasted malts, mild coffee and chocolate scent with a grassy note. Taste has a dry bitter and roasty first bite. Roasted to charred malts with bitter-sour flavours dominate. Towards the finish some salty sour espresso and dark chocolate join the palette, and there's a hoppy bite at the back of the mouth. Aftertaste has dry bitterness and roasted caramel malts.

Fine porter with surprising elements of India Black Aleish bitter and saisonish sour. The flavours actually support the leading taste of roasted malts. It's great to have a tasty porter with less coffee and chocolate flavours than usual. If porters are allowed to be slap-in-the-face fresh, this is it.


Raw, honest and straight-forward 1980's Finnish rock classic, OK? By the way, that was a rhetorical question - it's more than OK:

Peer Günt: Backseat (YouTube)

From the 1986 album Backseat, the song was written by band members Timo Nikki, Teijo Erkinharju and Teijo Kettula.

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Ölbeat 067: Thornbridge Halcyon

Brewery: Thornbridge Brewery
Country: England
Style: India Pale Ale
Abv: 7,4 %
What about the beer?
Colour is clear light yellow with a small white head. Aroma has very fruity scent of fresh orange and lemon. Taste starts with medium sweet fruity and hoppy first bite. Orange flavour quickly takes over. Hoppy bitterness and bite of alcohol get onto the stage later. Some faint sweet spice flies by. Towards the end orange turns to grapefruit. Aftertaste has dry piny bitterness and a bite of alcohol.

Excellent strong fruity IPA: sweet citrus domination seems to be the thing for me. When bitter grapefruit and dry pine finish the treat, couldn't ask for much more. Despite this being the first Thornbridge beer in this blog the brewery is an old acquaintance: Halcyon belongs to the quality continuum with Jaipur, Raven, Chiron and Bear State. I'll probably come back with them later.


Well, the phrase for this choice is 'instant spontaneous reaction' to the name of the brew. The beer and the great album of the young lady had the same name, and the beer's style matched the artist's style nicely. Only thing to choose was the matching song. While completing such task anything can happen:

Ellie Goulding: Anything Could Happen (YouTube)

From the 2012 album Halcyon, the song was written by Ellie Goulding and Jim Eliot.