Beer Tour 2008: Jolly Roger (Ballard)

January 9th, 2008 by Adrian

6:45 PM

After polishing off five beers and a surprisingly tasty sausage plate, we cab it over to the Jolly Roger taproom in Ballard.  The space is tiny — probably seating room for 40, with maybe five to ten more squeezed in standing.  If the tasting notes here are a little shorter than other spots, it’s because we were standing most of the time,  making it pretty hard to write.   One nice thing about the Jolly Roger, though: they do samplers.  We ordered one up and started working our way through the selection.

Clipper Gold Hefeweizen

Jenny’s choice; I’m not a big fan of Hefeweizens.   As the name suggests, it’s a nice gold color, and, well, a wheat beer.  🙂  We didn’t have a lot to say about this one, and there’s probably not a lot worth saying.

Adrian sez: “Ugh.  It tastes like urine.  Weak urine.”

Jenny sez: “It’s light and wheaty.  Lots of water.”

Nightwatch Dark Amber Ale

Adrian sez: “It’s chocolatey.  Not as subtle as I expected, it’s got a very full flavor.  There’s nothing especially distinctive about it, though — I doubt I could pick it out of a lineup.  Bitter aftertaste.”

Jenny sez: “I taste cocao.  Dry cocao though.  It’s smooth and fizzy.”

Imperial IPA

This one is pretty much my choice.  I think Jenny likes IPA’s about as much as I like hefeweizens.

Adrian sez: “It’s nice.  Very clean and thin.  Flavor is simple: just hops, hops, hops.  OK, and a tiny bit of lemon.  Pleasant, but it’s another kind of generic beer: an IPA done just fine. “

Jenny sez: “It’s clean and subtle for an IPA.  There’s not much flavor besides the hops.  It feels a little light.”

Flagship Red Alt Ale

Apparently this was Maritime Pacific’s first brew.  I have no idea what the “alt” means.

Adrian sez: “It’s thin.  A little bitter.  I don’t really taste the malt in this.  If this is a good red ale, I probably don’t like reds in general.”

Jenny sez: “It’s sweet.  There’s a maple-syrupy taste to it.  No real texture.”

Jolly Roger XMas Ale

Adrian sez: “Not quite what I expected from a winter seasonal.  It’s sweet, and a little syrupy.  Medium mouth feel, a little yeasty, slightly bitter on the finish.  It’s OK.”

Jenny sez: “It’s super fragrant!  I smell nuts & berries.  The taste is almost TOO complex… nuts, fruit, and maple syrup again.  Buddy the Elf would love this stuff!  But it’s too wimpy for pirates.”

Islander Pale Dry Hop

We finished the sampler and were getting ready to go but decided to sneak in one more taster for the road.  I hadn’t had anything from Maritime Pacific that really impressed me, and this sounded like it would have the best shot.

Adrian sez: “How is this different from their Imperial IPA!?  It’s slightly cleaner & a little thinner, but virtually the same taste. “

Jenny sez: “No, this one is richer.  Malty, yeasty, lots more flavor.”

It’s hard not to feel just a little disappointed as we wait for our cab.  All of the beers tasted just a bit on the thin side to me, and definitely unremarkable.  I’m reluctantly coming to the conclusion that Maritime Pacific is closer to Redhook than Rogue when it comes to craft ales.  With a few beers in her belly, Jenny sums it up this way: “There’s this thing in papercraft where you take your time and burnish the edges of everything.  You make it ‘just so,’ you want to get it just right.  Maritime’s beers feel like they didn’t do it.  They forgot.”


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