I’ve been telling you that I have lots of notes on beers I have sampled in the last year, but have not taken the time to post the reviews. Today I start catching you all up on what’s good to drink out there. Today it’s two beers from Reuben’s Brews in Seattle. Please read responsibly!
Bits & Bobs: Reuben’s Brews, Seattle WA. 7.0% ABV
“Bits and bobs” is a British term that means “bits and pieces”. In this case, Reuben’s will be releasing this on a seasonal basis, but it will be different each year, based upon the bits and pieces the brewers have learned since the last release. This is a review of the 2018 version, released in January 2018. I drank a bomber of this in early March 2018. Unfortunately I didn’t realize this was a one-off seasonal, so I apologize for the lengthy delay (it almostmakes this review meaningless and obsolete). It probably wouldn’t have mattered anyway, as this is not available outside of the State of Washington. Since you can’t get this version any longer, I guess my description is just going to have to satisfy you.
Bits & Bobs is an IPA. It pours a crystal clear, pale, yellow color with a ½” white head of foam that fades after about a minute, to a thin covering and a ¼” ring. The aroma is citrus – orange, grapefruit and lemon.
The flavor is bitter grapefruit and lemon, but it’s not overly bitter. Some malty sweetness makes an appearance late on the palate. The lingering aftertaste is bitter, but not unpleasant. It’s clean and dry, very crisp for an ale, with medium-light body and moderate carbonation. This beer is very drinkable.
Black Imperial IPA: Reuben’s Brews, Seattle WA. 8.1% ABV.
Reuben’s calls their Black IPA a Cascadian Dark Ale (in case you’re not aware of it, Cascadian Dark Ale is another style name for Black IPA). This one pours midnight black with a 1” creamy beige head. The aroma is hoppy, with citrus and chocolate notes.
The dark malts predominate in the flavor over the hops, but just slightly so. It’s roasty and chocolate with slight peppery notes from the rye malt. The hops kick in mid palate, with citrus and grapefruit bitterness. It fades to a mellow combination of roasty and bitter, with a lingering bitterness in the aftertaste.
The body is medium, which was somewhat of a surprise given the creamy thick appearance of the head. Carbonation level is medium.
This is an Imperial IPA with the typical bittersweet profile, except the sweetness from the malt is quite subdued. Instead, roastiness mixes with the hoppy bitterness to create that bitter chocolate citrus flavor that is so common in these Cascadian Dark Ales. This is one of the better ones – very good!
I can highly recommend both of these beers. Bits & Bobs is released annually in in limited quantities in January and February. Of course it will taste different each year as the recipe is revised yearly. Black Imperial IPA is released annually in November and December. Black IPA’s have faded in popularity and are getting hard to find these days (e.g., Stone Sublimely Self Righteous Black IPA was discontinued a couple of years ago; see my review of SSR posted 11-26-2012). Get this one while you still can. It won a gold medal at the 2015 World Beer Cup.
Both of these beers (22 oz. bombers) were given to me by my uncle, Kevin McCaffrey, who lives in Seattle (thank you Kevin for your generosity). See you on February 6, 2019 at Russian River Brewing. We’ll have Pliny The Younger again, and raise a toast to The Younger, The Elder, and to Mac’s Brew.