Saturday Night Blue Collar Brew Review –
    Bridgeport Kingpin Double Red Ale

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Friday’s beer run would have to be rather quick. Another late morning made for limited time to get stuff done. On the way to the For Seasons Beer Store I had just a few moments to contemplate a few questions. What’s would be good for this time of the season versus what was I in the mood for versus what would the readers expect.

Thinking it was too soon for any of the new fall seasonal beers, I opted for a gut feeling, dispelling any penchant that I may have for some of the great Belgian beers that I knew existed on the shelves of the FSBS. I had a special interest in the Dogfish Head Namaste, but we just had some DFH last week. Off to the cooler.

All of the regular beers were still present but there were a few newcomers. Some new beers from a brewery I haven’t heard of, Clown Shoes. Nearby was a selection of three different beers in three different styles from Bridgeport Brewery out of Portland, Oregon. One stood out. It was called Kingpin Double Red Ale.

The Bridgeport Brewing Co. is new to me and with that in mind, there are some videos at the bottom introducing them to others like me who haven’t heard of them.

Hmm. Kingpin triple hopped, double red ale. A triple-double. I considered that this may have the combinations of an IPA with a big malt body. The 7.5% in the fine print finally drew me in. We shall partake of a highly hopped, highly malted red ale and it will be wonderful. Yeah. Fer sure.

Ya couldn’t beat the price. 8 bucks got me 6 darkly colored, malty red beers from a brewery I haven’t heard of until now. Why not? I grabbed a sixer along with some Trout Slayer wheat ale for Friday night after work and trudged off to pay for the damages.

Saturday dawned in the early afternoon for this guy. Overtime at work has a way of taking its toll on a body. The afternoon was absolutely gorgeous with temps in the low 80s and a wonderful breeze and I spent time working to get things ready for the site for the next day at some expense.

Then, beer time rolled around. What was to be expected from this triple hopped, double red ale? How can something be red and another something be double red? I would soon find out. I grabbed the first bottle of Kingpin and poured.

The beer entered the glass and presented a dark, almost brown color. Holding the full glass up to light revealed a hidden reddish hue. The beer foam was slight, coming up to about 3/8 of an inch but the carbonation was somewhat vigorous consisting of many medium sized bubbles. The aroma presented was a nice malt smell.

The first sip brought forth a great body followed by a crisp finish. Pleasant. Not bad. The crispness was from the carbonation and not necessarily from the hops, but it was early in the session and changes will occur over time and temperature.

The malt body of this beer seems to be its signature. There was a slight sweetness at the front and middle and each sip demonstrated a nice crisp finish with no familiar hop flavors and then finished quite dry.  Down towards the center of the first glassful, the malts welcomed my nose each time as I stuck it in the glass for the next sip.

Signature malts? Yes. This is what it’s all about in this beer. The malt flavor comes off as big in body and and odd sweetness that invades each sip. The sweet is one that is almost unidentifiable. It tends toward the darker fruits such as cherries or plums, but sits back to wait for the cue before going on-stage.

The finish is odd as well. There was a crispness to the swallow, but it was as if the hops wanted to remain incognito. “We’re here, but don’t tell anyone.” There was no definite hop flavor of grapefruit, other citrus characteristic or out and out bitterness that overwhelmed the back of the throat. One would expect a lot more from inferring from the label as being ‘triple hopped’ bt the hops chosen must have been of the low alpha acid variety.

The hops… Things get confusing about the hops used in this beer. According to the label,

Kingpin’s signature dry character is derived from Willamette Valley Liberty hops…

I know about Willamette hops and Liberty hops. But Willamette Valley Liberty hops bears some looking into.

Willamette hops are grown in the Willamette Valley in Oregon. They are the American version of the English Fuggles hops. (See where this gets confusing?) Liberty hops are an American version of Hallertau and some bastardized mildew resistant male hop plant. So we have a 100% American hopped ale using bastardized Oregon hops, all originating in England. Hmm. Sort of like the cross section of America itself. ‘Nuff said. (Source)

Later on, a tartness became more apparent. I’d attribute that to the hops. In this case the hops attack the sides and back of the tongue rather than going for the throat. I find this rather unique.

The beer weighs in at a rather hefty 7.5% but the taste of alcohol was never apparent during this tasting session. No alcohol taste in the mouth and no burn in the gut. However, the effects of the alcohol become apparent by the third bottle, but your mileage may vary.

Overall, this is a great craft beer that does no shouting with its ingredients. It’s a delightful episode in beer sippage from beginning to end with a bold malt flavor, a nicely contributing sweetness and an odd bitter characteristic that will draw many craft drinkers to try this and other beers from this brewery. And, it will leave you with a copper glow when you are finished.

The SixPackTech ratings for Bridgeport Kingpin Double Red Ale are:

Taste: B+ > Unexpectedly, novelly tasty.
Smoothness: B- > Sweet, malt, then a somewhat bitter, dry ending.
Drinkability: B > Hmm. Yeah. Another, and keep another one ready.
Bang for the buck: B+ > 8 bucks for a tongue taste trip.
ABV: 7.5%
Wife’s all-encompassing opinion: (Sniff) Fruuuuuit. Some kinda fruit. (sip) Wow. I don’t know. it’s… it’s not bad. (sip) A little fruity taste but it’s not really grapefruit, more like plums. (sip) A little dry but not a lasting one. I don’t know how to describe it. Like a fruity tea. (sip) Not heavy enough to be a coffee flavor. And I think it’s more brown than red. (Man, she nailed it right there.)

BeerAdvocate rates.
RateBeer rates.
Random video review:

Bridgeport Beervana

Drinking with Daren visits Bridgeport Brewery

Part one

http://youtu.be/UO82TH28RfY

Part two

http://youtu.be/Ooiylul_SRA

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