STICKMEN BREWING CO., LAKE OSWEGO OREGON
On Friday Feb. 27th, 2015 we went to the south end of the Portland metro area to visit a couple of breweries in the late afternoon, to include Stickmen Brewing Co. in Lake Oswego. We have been lucky enough to have visited this great restaurant and brewery a number of times since they opened in 2012. The location is divided into a couple of larger dining rooms, a bar area with booths/tables, beer production area behind glass that you can take a tour of and a wonderful full size, tree shaded patio that overlooks Lake Oswego. During the summer months their patio bar gets super busy as you can get drafts outside directly.
The restaurant part of the business recently went through some changes, removing the ‘Skewery’ from their name/logo and changing the menu to no longer provide Yakitori or other grilled/skewered food. They also removed most of the asian inspired dishes (noodles, stir fry, etc.) and now it’s more traditional American restaurant fare such as: nachos, burgers, seafood, sandwiches, salads, and a few one-off BBQ dishes. We tried a couple of the new happy hour dishes and they were quite delish. We sat at the bar, which has always been a quick way to get served and the bartenders are always super friendly.
The Friday afternoon at Stickmen was surprisingly busy for it being early, and most of the people there were older, so there wasn’t a lot of loud tables to talk over. As usual, we ordered a taste of ‘the rainbow’, which is their special taster of every beer. Keep in mind that they do have over 10 of their own beers on draft, so don’t do this alone. The three of us present during this trip were able to get through these without much difficulty.
The beers as shown below are reviewed from back to front, right to left. We had a bit of challenge sitting at the bar, having to pass the glasses back and forth as we tasted and took notes. Overall the majority of their beers have improved over the years and visits to the brewery. We were pleasantly surprised at a few of the seasonal and barrel aged tasters we tried. Note the consistently high ABV’s that they make. It’s dangerous if you’re not used to 7%+ across the board when you do tasters.
I will post a separate review of the ‘on site canning’ that they provide of their beers (this is not a growler fill, but real canning on site on demand, it’s super awesome) later on. I didn’t realize that this was even possible, I know that they can do reverse pressure growler fills to help the shelf life of the beer, but canning it means fresh until opened indefinitely. Which is amazing.
|The Bee’s Knees
Stickmen Brewing Co • Strong Ale with Honey • IBU: 20 • ABV: 7.5% • 3 SRM
Note: Brewed with Wild Blackberry Honey
This beer pours a nice liter yellow hue, clingy solid white head, nose of slight dry pilner malts and sweet bread to butterscotch. The front mouth shows a bit of strong carbonation with malt forward and rounded/balanced fruit hops. There is a sweet note on the mid and back mouth. This beer hides the higher ABV well. The beer is smooth to drink, but the sweet honey makes it more of a sessionable beer than an imperial.
Stickmen Brewing Co • American IPA • IBU: 76 • ABV: 6.5% • 8 SRM
Dry Hoped: Falconers Flight
This slight orange/yellow hue IPA has a solid head and hop forward nose with a mix of floral, pine, and citrus. There is a bit of hop resin on the front mouth with the slightly dry floral and pine hop blast. The tropical hops and caramel based malts do balance well on the mid and back mouth. Lingering tart bitterness ranging from grapefruit/tropical flavors to acidic/metallic in nature.
Stickmen Brewing Co • American Brown Ale • IBU: 51 • ABV: 6.8% • 20 SRM
Hops: Summit, Pacifica, Pacific Gem, and Galaxy
This is a dark brown/red amber beer with a white head that clings to the rim with a nice lattice. The nose is a bit of toffee, roasted malts, even hints of yeasty banana’s. The front mouth is a broad mix of malts, nuts, sweet caramel, with floral to fresh hops on the mid that expand on the back side. The flavors are complex on this beer, and layered to make it both memorable and delish.
Stickmen Brewing Co • Porter • IBU: 27 • ABV: 5.6% • 29 SRM
Note: Brewed with cold pressed Illy coffee
This porter has a nice dark brown color with a firm off-white/tan head that holds well. The nose is strong roasted coffee, sweet toffee notes, and bitter chocolates. The front mouth is lots of solid bitters from chocolate and coffee characteristics with slight hints of vanilla and rye bread. The mid and back have a dry finish with the bitters and coffee flavors lingering.
Stickmen Brewing Co • Belgian Pale Ale • IBU: 23 • ABV: 6.6% • 11 SRM
Matls: Continental Pilsner and Crystal
This slight red/brown colored beer has a small white head that drops quickly and leaves a slight thin lattice on the rim. The nose is soft with slight yeast notes with cardamon, clove, and slight vegital bitters from the hops. The malt profile shines on the front and mid mouth with a well rounded malty mouthfeel and minimal funk from the yeast.
Stickmen Brewing Co • Irish Red Ale • IBU: 23 • ABV: 5.9% • 15 SRM
This solid red ale has a nice bright white head and biscuit nose. The front and mid mouth are a little more bitter than most reds, with piny and forest floor/earthy hops. The back and after taste are a decent mix of the malts and bitters to make it a well rounded and full bodied ale.
|Bananas On Fire!
Stickmen Brewing Co • Dunkelweizen • IBU: 17 • ABV: 7.5% • 17 SRM
Note: Weihenstephan Weizen yeast
Darker amber/brown and cloudy with a wispy white head. Nose is yeasty fruit from cherries to bananas with malts ranging from cocoa and rum. There is no hop profile present on this, with all the mouthfeel going to the yeasty bananas with sweet caramel and the hint of the vanilla infused alcohol profile on the back. Solid body and flavors on this. This is one of my favorite Weizen beers in the Portland area, it’s worth the trip just for this one beer.
Stickmen Brewing Co • Belgian Nut Brown • IBU: 25 • ABV: 8.5% • 19 SRM
This beer pours a nice mid-brown color with a white head that leaves a nice cling on the glass as you sip it. The nose is slightly toasted with nuts and caramel. The yeast is secondary with slight dry farmhouse funk and spicy notes on the mid and back mouthfeel.
|Grand Cru Rouge
Stickmen Brewing Co • Sour Ale • IBU: 11 • ABV: 9% • 15 SRM
This sour beer pours with a reddish, lite brown hue and a bright white head that drops quickly. The nose is puckering sour yeast with a little sweet note. The front and mid mouthfeel have a bit of punch to them with the sour/tartness and acidic properties from the lactic nature of this beer. The sweet, fruit, and malt profiles come through on the mid to back mouthfeel. The dry tart lasts well into the after taste and there is no leaving the yeast behind.
|Thy Wayward Quaker
Stickmen Brewing Co • Oatmeal Stout • IBU: 34 • ABV: 8.5% • 38 SRM
This thick bodied dark brown/black stout has a slight tan head that clings to the rim as you sip. The nose is toasted grains, coffee, and hints of cocoa. There is a really subtle hint of dried fruit and tobacco mixed in with the range of roasted grains and coffees, helping this be a more complex stout than you might anticipate. The mid and back mouth tend to hold the body and flavors well, with a bit of dry/sharp bitters present in the back mouthfeel.
|One Ton Trolley
Stickmen Brewing Co • Imperial Rye CDA • IBU: 123 • ABV: 9.1% • 46 SRM
Malts: Blended Rye
Hops: Summit, Centennial, Chinook and a load of late addition Simcoe Hops
Dark brown/black, deep tones and a tan head that sticks around and leaves nice spotting on the glass. The nose is all roasted grain and hop resins with citrus peel bitters (grapefruits?) and hints of roasted coffee. The front mouth is broad ranging and challenging on this CDA with high carbonation and . It’s got plenty of body that present a strong rye grains that provides a dark-bread malt build and mixes a full range of bitters from the large variety of hops it was made with to include delicate hints of hop florals and fruit. The danger with this beer is that it masks the high ABV really well.
|One Rye Bitch
Stickmen Brewing Co • Whiskey Barrel-Aged Barleywine • IBU: 126 • ABV: 11.6% • 21 SRM
This barleywine pours a dark-brown/red hue and a full white head that doesn’t really go anywhere. The nose is super sweet and strong with woody-oaks, whisky, vanilla bean, and some hop flower/resins. The front mouth is sweet and the hops provide a unique blend of both sweet/tartness from the fruit and malts and dry/bitters ranging from hop resins to citrus notes. The mid and back have a fruit quality to them that seems to be cherry and the malts leave a tobacco like dryness. Overall a complex and challenging barleywine that is not for beginners.
|Got Wood? (Second Anniversary Beer)
Stickmen Brewing Co • Old Ale/Brown Ale • IBU: 55 • ABV: 10% • 32 SRM
This is a dark brown/black ale with little to no head. The nose is slight fruit and woody with burned chocolates. The front and mid mouthfeel are solid with a blend of tart/sour notes and dried fruit (cherries to raisins) backed with a solid malt build. Slight bitters do present from front to back and the after taste does have a dry bitterness from the chocolate characters. There is no yeastiness to the sour, which comes from the natural lactic acids of the fruit.
Stickmen Brewing Co • Whisky Barrel-Aged Imperial Porter • IBU: 42 • ABV: 9% • 42 SRM
Note: Aged for over nine months in Temperance Trader whisky barrels from Bull Run Distilling Company in Portland
Dark black/brown hues and a slightly off-white/tan head that drops to just rimming the glass, leaving spotty lacing. The nose has dried fruit, vanilla and sweet toffee/caramel notes. The front and mid mouth on this are a strong sweet presence of milk chocolates, vanilla, woody/oak, and whisky grains. The back mouth smooths out to a nice soft chocolate and coconut rind sweetness with a full body chewiness. Overall this was our top beer for the night.
Stickmen Brewing Co • Whiskey Barrel-Aged Imperial Porter Sour Blend • IBU: 42 • ABV: 9% • 42 SRM
This porter pours a nice solid black color and tan head that sits on the rim and leaves a nice bubbly lacing. The nose is all toasted grains, burnt coffee bitters, sour fruit and whiskey wood/oak. This beer is complex, full bodied and challenging in it’s range of flavors that include dried fruit, dried tartness from the sour/macerated raspberries and backed up with roasted grains and burned chocolates. The mid/back mouth do round out a little bit, letting the fruit come through more than the malt build. The whisky is really secondary and the barrel flavors aren’t as pronounced with the fruit masking them.