Whew, long title.
So I forgot that tonight was the Gilgamesh Brewing tasting at Venti’s. It would have done me no good if I’d remembered since I had a seat belt diversion class for a traffic ticket. However I was hungry and figured I’d swing by Venti’s. It was unusually full for a Wednesday, and they had both the black mamba and IPA from Gilgamesh on tap. I thought I was in luck. I ordered the veggie thai peanut bowl and a Black Mamba and grabbed a seat next to some familiar looking people without thinking. Turns out it was Nick from Gilgamesh brewing and some of his friends.
Now I never use a conversation with a brewery rep against them when they’re out drinking, and have no clue I’m a blogger. It’s mean. However since Gilgamesh is a buzz brewery at the moment I’ll post the jist of it.
According to Nick his family has been homebrewing for awhile. I believe he said 14 years…. Anyway, Nick had been told by friends who drank their homebrew that he should open a brewery. One day Nick, certain he was going to be fired, called his brother and the two agreed to start a brewery. Gilgamesh was born.
Nick and I talked a bit about the Portland beer market. Nick feels that the IPA is on the decline. He said this is why they had made their flagship an “experimental” herbal beer. Nick has high hopes for it because of it’s reception by Oregon beer drinkers. He also has high hopes for their scotch ale. Apparently I missed free samples of this and their cranberry wheat.
We talked some more about beer before he stepped out for a cigarette, and I stepped out to head home.
Here are my tasting notes from my cell phone.
Muddy light brown, very opaque. Distinctly muddy to the point where Nick could tell from across the room what I was drinking.
Sweet aroma with strong scents of citrus zest and a muddy herbal aroma. Not unpleasant, but indistinct.
Once again indistinct and muddied (I’m seeing a theme). Cloying sweetness paired with heavy oily citrus flavors. Strong spicy finish that brings a little heat to the party. Nick says the heat is the alcohol and the spiciness is the Belgian yeast. Heats at the wrong point to be alcohol induced though. The spiciness, if caused by the yeast, is overwhelming. It kills the other flavors on your tongue. It’s almost like two different beers. The cloyingly sweet citrusy muddy mess, and the spicy funky beer that finishes warm.
I’m a big fan of herbal beers, and to be honest it wasn’t my favorite. I can see why people like this though. Big bold flavors seem to be what tickles the northwest palate rather then complexity and subtlety. Not the best impression out of the gate, but a decent offering for what is often an under appreciated and under brewed style.