Monday, June 1, 2015

A Whale A Week: Pelican Mother Of All Storms 2014

Last week we showed off the now ancient 2008 vintage of Surly Darkness.  At that same time we used our panel of judges to try a couple other rare clear the palate you see?  Or something.  OK, we just wanted to drink more and its hard to go down to lesser beers after such a brawny one.  We poured this into Surly Darkness and Steel Toe snifters for tasting.  Here is our cast of characters: Me (Eric)--homebrewer for over 25 years, beer judge, beer geek.  Sj--my wife who inexplicably is a woman of few words when it comes to reviewing beer.  Sean Kampshoff--Winner of National Homebrew Competition medals, beer judge, cool guy.  Jim & Cindy Moldenhauer--a very fun couple of craft beer geeks we got to know at several McCoy's Public House beer dinners.

Pelican Pub & Brewery Mother Of All Storms 2014

Pelican started life in 1996 along the northern Oregon coast in tiny (and I mean tiny) Pacific City, and is the state's only oceanfront brewpub.  They have grown in popularity based on scenic location, and due to the high quality of their beers.  They've won many awards over the years for their beers and have been named best brewpub and small brewery in multiple national contests.  They have done quite a bit of expansion over the past few years, opening a production facility and taproom in nearby Tillamook (yes the place they make the cheese...) and have plans to open another brewpub in Cannon Beach in 2016.  For those Minnesotans reading this, our very own treasured Jason Schoneman of Steel Toe Brewing, used to brew for Pelican!  

My wife, Sj, and I visited the original brewpub sometime around 2005 on a trip up the Oregon coast visiting wineries and breweries.  We had to go a bit beyond our planned course to hit the place, but I had heard such great things from my local cousins that I pushed us to go there.  At the time the brewpub was very comfortable, spacious, and relaxed.  They were building an upscale Inn and some cabins right next door and those are all complete and functional now.  In fact they have a B&B&B now (Bed, Breakfast, Beer)--stay the night, get food at the pub and beer!  Sounds like a great trip to me!  The pub is right on the beach and has a fantastic view of the ocean and Haystack Rock, making this one of the best views from a brewery I've been to.  The rooftop of De Halve Maan Brewery in Bruges may have outdone this...  We enjoyed the food quite a bit--more upscale than many brewpubs but not pretentious.  And the beers were all stellar.  

Which ends our background--on to the beer at hand!  Mother Of All Storms (MOAS for short) is based on their English barleywine Stormwatcher's Winterfest, but aged in Kentucky Bourbon barrels.  Usually released in November, the hearty beer clocks in around 14% ABV and 40 IBU.  My mom still visits our family in Oregon every Christmas and brought me back this hard to find 2014 vintage bottle from her most recent trip.  Thanks mom!  The beer was originally named The Perfect Storm for 2008 and 2009, but due to trademark issues (possibly from a popular movie at the time) the name was changed.  Beer Advocate gives this a 99 and RateBeer gives it a 100.  

Eric: Strong toffee to sugary caramel!  Booze is certainly present, but not burning.  Vanilla and oak tannins are present to some extent as well.  Overall I can tell this is going to be SWEET!
Sean: Rich toffee, caramel, vanilla, marshmallow, coconut.  No hop aroma. 
Cindy: Angel's Share
Jim: Bourbon!

Deep brown/amber with ruby highlights.  Fine dark tan head that fades quickly.  Excellent clarity.

Eric: Oh my my, oh hell yes, better put on your party dress!  Sweet caramel and toffee explodes over your tongue, leaving a trail of coconut and vanilla in its wake.  Strong bourbon flavors and warming, but so SMOOTH.  Very little bitterness.  Slight pixie stick straight sugar zing on the end.  Mouthfeel is nearly full.  Carbonation on the low side.
Sean: Dark fruit, raisins and toffee.  No hop flavor, low bitterness.  Tannic dryness in the finish.  Mouthfeel medium full body.  Medium low carbonation.
Cindy: Bourbon deliciousness.
Jim: Heaven in a glass.

Eric: Wow!  Well deserved fame.  This is sweet and boozy but so well crafted/balanced that it isn't cloying. I would seek this out any day.  5
Sean: Amazing barleywine! 4.75
Cindy: 4.75
Jim: 5
Sj: "My favorite beer of the night!" 5

Overall score:  4.9

This is what happens when you finish with MOAS...

While this was the last of 4 whale beers we tried (I'm doing these in the order that I get the photo's done, not the order we drank them) it was certainly the best.  Having tasted one-year-old Steel Toe Lunker I can sense a certain kindred to the two beers.  The best part of that?  Sj picked me up 6 Lunkers last recently and I don't have to have my mom mule those back from another state!

No comments: