Beer Blog

Beercation 2012 the drive to Oregon

Posted by Neil Bamford, June 12th, 2012 | 0 Comments

The original plan was to get up real early like and hit the road on Sunday to take a run all the way to Bend Oregon in one long shot. Somewhere around noon while still conducting some online banking chores it became apparent that we would not make it there in a single day but we would drive until the sun set and then look for the closest accommodations at that time. Well that time just happened as we hit Sandpoint Idaho.

Sandpoint lies on the shores of Idaho's largest lake, 43-mile-long Lake Pend Oreille, and is surrounded by three major mountain ranges, the Selkirk, Cabinet and Bitterroot ranges. It is home to Schweitzer Mountain Ski Resort which still had plenty of snow from what we could tell as we got into town. We found a Days Inn on the edge of town and once settled in I decided that I would run over the gas Station to grab us a 6 pack of beer and a few pretzels to tide us over. The local Conoco gas station was, from the outside, your typical modern day service station. When I went inside one of the locals was chatting with the guy behind the counter about the two different types of coffee that they serve. The clerk was explaining how silly it seemed that they needed 2 types out here in the boonies.

As I headed toward the coolers in search of cold beer I noted that Bella Fleck and the Flecktones were playing a funkin jazz/blues fusion number on the PA system and thought hey this is kinda cool. As I got the cooler I was greeted by the usual assortment of Coors, PBR, Kokanee and Miller cans in the center cooler but then noticed off to the right was a bunch of 650 bombers and larger size bottles. At first I noticed the Colt 45 and then to my surprise beside them was some Sierra Nevada Torpedo. Thats right folks, at a gas bar in the middle of the woods there were 650s of some of Americas finest beer. Then I looked to my left and saw 6 packs of Kona Coconut Porter, 3 differnet Alaskan Brewing Ales, 2 different Anchor Brewing Ales and some Sierra Nevada Pale. Without hesitation I grab a 6 pack of the Sierra Nevada Pale and a Torpedo and headed back to the counter to dig out the wallet and pay the piper. Well pipers, it seems, are cheap in Idaho. 8.95 for the 6 pack and 2.50 for the 650 bomber.

Ok so now to the beer. Sierra Nevada is a classic North American Pale Ale. This is a fairly serious Pale ale that borders the line of being an IPA. A major dose of Cascade hops balances the big malt base with plenty of citrusy orange notes in the aroma. A wonderfully smooth drinker you hardly notice the 5.6% abv and in no time 2 or 3 of these slide across the tongue.

Sierra Nevada Torpedo is IPA. Checking in at 7.2% abv this is  a bigger version of the Pale Ale with piney/citrusy/herbal aroma that smacks you in the face when you pour this one. To get all this hoppy flavor in the beer they dry hop using a Torpedo shaped device that they invented and the use of whole cone hops. Like the Pale ale this is a surprisingly easy drinker due to the deft balancing act of brewer between the malt/bitterness/hoppiness.


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