Bit of an impromptu and late selection of beers this week after The Hobbyist road trip to Seattle to see The Dismemberment Plan.   The concert was great, but no trip would be complete without a visit to the Pike Brewing Company, one of Seattle’s finer purveyors of craft ales.  We started out with a pint of the Kilt Lifter and then continued with the Sample Platter (a selection of snifters covering a range of their beers).


Pike Brewing Company Kilt Lifter

This is a wonderfully balanced Scotch Ale with something a little different to it. The colour is a deep warm brown with an off white head that is pleasing to the eye. There is a great balance of the dominant malt flavours you would expect with a Scotch Ale with a stronger than usual hoppiness that provided a nice compliment and unexpected bitterness.  However, what really set this beer apart from its peers was the smoky, peaty tones more closely associated with Scotland’s island malts that hit you on the after taste. Not too dark or heavy making it easy to drink on an afternoon.  I think it is safe to say the sampler confirmed we made the right choice first.  The name remains a bit of a mystery despite strong Scottish roots among the hobbyists.

Pike Brewing Company Sampler

The sampler provides you with six snifters of beer arranged from a light ale to a dark porter stout.  We resisted the temptation to rebel and started with number one as advised, the strangely named Naughty Nelly ale.  Pike describes this as “light and curvy with plenty of sex appeal” leaving us none the wiser as to what to expect.  By appearance it is a nice golden colour and with not too much of a nose.  Upon drinking, you discover a light ale with a bit of flavour to it but nothing over powering.  A great beer for a party where you are looking to have a few.  Next up was the Pale Ale which wasn’t bad, but there wasn’t too much to set it apart either.  A bit heavier on the hops than a standard Pale Ale but nothing to prepare us for what was up next, the IPA.  The first thing that strikes you about the IPA is that it is at the stronger end of the scale in terms of hops.  Nicely bitter but balanced with great citrus tones avoid it feeling too heavy.  It went down well!  Number four was the Kilt Lifter above which fit in well.  Next on order was the Tandem Double Ale.  Thoroughly enjoyable but we weren’t really sure they placed this one in the right order.  Despite its dark colour, it would have done better following the Pale Ale.  A nice rich warm brown colour with definite wheat taste you would expect from a Belgian ale.  Very sweet to the palate but not sickly so.  The coriander and fruit flavours really hit you on the after taste.  Last up was the XXXXX Stout, which again was very impressive.  It was dark and bitter, not sweet like some stouts could be.  There was a real flavour of coffee with an after taste of smoke and burnt malt to it.  It didn’t drink heavy like some of the traditional British stouts.  All in, a great beer to end an afternoon with!

The sampler is never an ideal way to drink and evaluate beer.  We found this one made for a great conversation piece but we were left wanting a bit more of its highlights.  A brilliant way to spend a damp afternoon in the Pacific Northwest.

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