But I do find the establishment another reminder on how different Portland is when it comes to beer vs. the rest of the United States. Alameda would be a huge hangout and praised for their beer city-wide if picked up by space aliens and dropped down in, say, Wyoming. But because it's located in this slice of the world, it tends to get lost in the wash when up against the OMFG selection that Beervana can provide.
Alameda does have a few of their options in bombers and I recently took two familiar selections for a review spin:
- Black Bear XX Stout - the '03 GABF winner in the Foreign Stout category (for comparison, Obsidian Stout from Deschutes took 3rd that year) and a repeat champ in 2005. A trending-toward-black-yet-still-brown color with a nice head greets you in the glass. Lacing aplenty as I worked through it. Light chocolate malt on the nose - little bit of hops but fleeting. Big burst of roast-malt and molasses that hangs out for a bit with some bitter chocolate. I am still surprised this stuff isn't thicker - gravity hangs right in the middle of the road. This isn't bad, but the smell and appearance sets up a "incoming chew-fest!" and that's definitely not the case. It's a very good beer and hides the near-7% pretty well.
- El Torero IPA - Cloudy orange/amber with about a finger of head. Fruity-hop smell, but it's not overpowering. Good swirl of hop flavor on the front end that leads into a specifically-bitter finish that I normally associate with rye-based beers. This definitely increased as the beer warmed up and while I found it good, those who aren't a fan of the rye-finish are likely to have issues. What's amusing is that Torero's description lists all-organic grain, 7.2% abv, and 80+ IBUs. I don't see rye on there, the abv is well hidden, and it doesn't feel like bitterness is shotgunned into your taste buds. It's still a nice IPA and worth a sample, but I found it odd that my experience was so different that what the basic bullet points would suggest.
Drop by if you're in the area. It also does wonders for easing jet lag if my experiences are anything to go on.