Battle for the Belt Redux

The battle for the belt is over, and I’ve not heard who won yet. However, here are my votes:

1) Austino Amber – Mill Creek, WA – This was a fantastic amber, and if its his first, he’s got a great recipe to work with. The hop profile was excellent; bright and floral with a superb bitterness. The sweet malt body was an excellent compliment.

2) Quasar Pils – Crystal Brewery, Portland OR – The only pils this year, and a damn fine example. The pour had excellent clarity and a wonderful creamy head that lasted the entire beer. The aroma was smooth and hoppy, but a nicer floral hop than traditional Saaz. The taste was a mouthful of lager malts and left with a crisp bite. I hope this shows up again this summer.

3) Big Bully Organic IPA – Hillsdale Pub, Portland OR – In the past I haven’t thought the world of this beer, but it was by far the best IPA served. It wasn’t too overt, but the favorable hop aroma and flavors and clean malt body made it an easy drink.

There were a number of other good beers, but so many of them, mostly stouts, weren’t distinct enough to stand out. Though they were good, I couldn’t tell which I’d had once I set the taster back down. I remember the Bucket Dance Oat Stout, Sumatran Stout, Bitter Bridesmaid IPA and Ankeny Amber favorably, and will definitely have them again.

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