We recently gathered around our tasting table to try three beers from Portland, Oregon’s Gigantic Brewing. The 2 year old Gigantic focuses on one-off beers; they avoid brewing the same beer more than once and when a beer sell out, generally within three months, it's gone forever. Gigantic Brewing is also notable for the artwork that adorns their bottles. Featuring colorful and off-beat illustrations, the artist is actually listed on each bottle.
This is not the first time we’ve tasted Gigantic Brewing’s beers; we had their only year-round offering, Gigantic IPA, along with their High Fidelity and Hellion last fall. Here we sampled three of their seasonal beers; Bang On!, a Bitter/Pale Ale, Dark Meddle, a Vienna Lager, and Most Premium Russian Imperial Stout, a Russian Imperial Stout.
Were the flavors of these beers “gigantic”? Were they as whimsical and colorful as their labels would imply? Read on to find out! And if you've tried this Pacific Northwest brewery before, be sure to leave your tasting notes in the comments.
Gigantic's description of Bang On! as a Bitter/Pale Ale makes sense when you examine the ingredients of the beer, helpfully provided on the website. Brewed with English malts (Marris Otter, Crystal) and American hops (Willamette, Brewer’s Gold), Bang On! is an opaque golden color that resembles orange honey. The aroma was similar to sparkling cider; slightly fruity with a light spice funk. The apple carried through to the taste, which we found to be dominated by malt flavors without much hoppiness.
A somewhat rarely seen Vienna Lager (with the notable exception of Mexican-made Negra Modelo), Gigantic’s Dark Meddle was clear and slightly more amber than Bang On!. Apple scents again dominated the nose as we picked up apple core and apple cider. Also noted were aromas of toffee, nuts, raisins, and honey. Dark Meddle had a slightly sweet taste of honey and grass, and reminded us of smooth butterscotch or sweet cinnamon Triscuits. The aftertaste was similar to that of a Vodka soda.
Gigantic’s take on a Russian Imperial Stout clocks in at a hefty 10% ABV. No light penetrated the dark grape juice colored beer. There was a fantastic roasted smell on the nose, along with notes of dark grapes, reminding us of grape soda mixed with Yohoo. The beer had a smoky taste similar to burnt ends or even a burnt pizza crust. Not at all boozy, Most Premium Russian Imperial Stout had a surprisingly light mouth feel.