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Thursday, September 6, 2012

Coaliton Brewing - King Kitty Red Ale

So a few weeks ago, I took a trip to Portland, Oregon.  Having lived there from about 1993 – 2003, I am pretty familiar with it, and know damn well not to be fooled by the weather during the summer.  Beautiful green trees.  Blooming flowers.  Fresh vegetables.  It’s really a paradise for about 2 months out of the year.  Then the rain and endless cloud cover hits for the next 10 months, and you wonder why you live there.


Still, it was absolutely beautiful, and I missed it in a weird way.

Being so heavily involved in the craft beer industry, I have been dying to return to the area – to check out Beervana in all its glory.  So many breweries, so little time…  Still, there were a couple I had been meaning to try out, and just never been able to get around to it.

Hair of the Dog Brewing, Lompoc Brewing, Cascade Brewing, Vertigo Brewing – all were visited, and each deserves a TON of respect.  I’ll definitely be reviewing each of them.   It’s just that I love being blown away by something when I least expect it.

Enter Coalition Brewing, 2724 SE Ankeny 97214.

Not even sure where to start.  It was kind of a last minute decision to go by, as I hadn’t heard much about them out here in Colorado.  Gave them a ring, and was greeted by Elan (who, as it turns out, went to University of Colorado).  Nice guy, and he agreed to show us around that afternoon.

Want to know what do with a vacant call center facility?  Besides torching it?  Turn it into a 10bbl brewery, like Coalition did.  Kudos for taking the Avery Brewing route and occupying empty warehouse space – having the foresight to acknowledge the possibility of expanding into surrounding spaces as need requires.

The Brewpub itself is exactly like I prefer my brewpubs to be - small, open to the street and with people who are actually smiling.  What a tremendous neighborhood feel to the place, and a staff that was extremely welcoming.  Just perfect.

Nice, right? Don't you wish you were here?

No surprise that the beer was perfect too.

We tasted everything on tap – Wheat, Cream Ale, Pale, ESB, IPA, King Kitty Red, Maple Porter, Apollo Creed CDA, Hanso Stout and Hanso Stout aged in Bulleit Barrels.
Let me tell you – every beer was beyond fantastic.  I can’t recommend them enough.  If you live in Portland, and enjoy craft beer, you should actually be ashamed of yourself for not already stopping in if you haven’t already (tell them we said hi if you do).  However, if there were a gun to my head, and I had to pick a favorite, I say the King Kitty Red Ale was out of this world good.  And Red’s aren’t even my thing.

King Kitty Red Ale

No joking with the “red” part.  Pours a fairly dark red/amber color, with just a touch of haziness.

Smell was rather soft, with a pleasant mix of caramel, some malt and something else I couldn’t put my finger on.  Kind of an earthy/herbally smell.  Not really grassy per se – I’ll have to try it again I guess. Some fruitiness in there too.

Taste-wise – just a really interesting beer.  Best as I can describe it, is as having very strong central core of malt presence, with a variety of different hop notes emanating out from that, creating a very well layered beer.  Very little alcohol taste.   Really pleasant, full mouthfeel, and a surprising crisp finish.

Coalition, thanks for having us – I’ll be back next time I'm in the area.  And if you’re a homebrewer, and live in Portland, check out their Coalator program…really cool stuff!


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