REVIEW: Humboldt Brown Hemp Ale from Humboldt Brewing Co.

Quick Characteristics
Brewery: Humboldt Brewing Company
Location: Paso Robles, CA
Style: American Brown Ale
ABV: 5.7%
IBUs: 32
Appearance: Hardened Amber, Resembling Over-Brewed Iced Tea
Aroma: Malty Backbone with Nutty Hints
Flavor: Sweet, Roasty & Slightly Hoppy
Availability: Year-Round
Pairs With: Grilled Chicken or Pork, Pineapple, Colby or Asiago Cheese

This is my first foray into Humboldt brewing. The brewing company’s history writes like the “little brewery that could.” It was first started back in 1987, being one of the first craft breweries to come on the scene in California. From the very start this brewery was on a mission to brew responsibly and sustainably. It’s easy to see why when you look at where the brewery was located. Humboldt County is home to the awe-inspiring majesty and might of the redwoods and it is an easy step, after seeing nature at its most spectacular, to want to help preserve it.

In 2000 the brewery was having trouble keeping up with production and Firestone Walker Brewing stepped in to lend a hand. Then in 2005 Firestone Walker bought the brewery, changing its name to Nectar Ales. The brewery was then bought in 2013 by Total Beverage Solutions, but for the present, their line of beer is still being brewed by Firestone Walker.

It will be interesting to see where this “little brewery that could” will go from here. Will it reopen its own doors again? I don’t know and can’t find much information on the net about where they are headed. However, they have added a new beer to their line this year. It is a limited release double IPA named “500 B.C.”, referencing the age of the great trees that shaded this breweries humble beginnings; ten cents from every bottle sold goes to Redwood conservation. With a 26 year history, multiple awards, and a small flock of only 5 beers; I can only imagine each being a pretty intense labor of love.
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REVIEW: Moose Drool from Big Sky Brewing Company

Quick Characteristics
Brewery: Big Sky Brewing Co.
Location: Missoula, MT
Style: American Brown Ale
ABV: 5.1%
IBU: 26
Appearance: Deep Mahogany & Reddish-Copper
Aroma: Nuts, Toffee, & the Sweetness of Honey
Flavor: Malty Sweetness with Chocolate & Coffee Notes
Availability: Year-Round; Bottle & Can
Pairs With: Grilled Steak, Roast Beef Sandwich, Shiitake Mushrooms

If the name doesn’t pique your interest and entice you to take, at the very least, a cautious sip, then something is missing in you my friend. I have this thing about beer names; the more wacky, fun, off-the-wall they are, the more I feel the beer behind the name might be worth a try. And come on, how much more off-the-wall can you get then calling something you’re supposed to drink and enjoy Moose Drool?

So, I’m sure you have the burning need to know… why call it Moose Drool? Interestingly, the founders and owners, Neal Leathers, Bjorn Nabozney, and Brad Robinson, kind of worked backwards when it came to finding names for their beers. They asked Bjorn’s mother to paint a bunch of wildlife pictures. For each of these, they would try to create a name for a beer. Once you know this bit of the story and have seen the label, it’s easy to see why this beer had to be called Moose Drool. There was just no way around it.

“Come… hold your cup under bearded chin, and collect excellence from wetted grin”

Moose Drool is Big Sky’s most well-known beer and definitely deserves this hallowed place in their lineup. Moose Drool was the second beer the company brewed way back in 1995 (Whistle Pig Red Ale was their first and I’m a little upset to say, I never got a chance to try it). But if I can’t try the first, I’ll be more than happy to settle for the second.
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