Lately, I have been emailing back and forth with Fearless brewer and owner Ken Johnson. He read my honest, blunt, and not very kind review of his beer and bar from a few months ago. He has been very nice in his emails, and assured me if I was to come out, he would sit with me and go over every beer and talk with me about them. He also has noted that respected Portland beer writer, Fred Eckhardt, called his IPA monumental, despite the fact I can not find it on tap anywhere in the Portland metropolitan area.
So, denying Ken's kind request to host me, I decided to try to find somewhere where he is on tap in Portland. Well, one of the few I could find was Hungry Tiger Too, a place I knew the location of well, being directly across the street from FH Stienbart. So, this Sunday, my wife and I went to see if my taste buds were off, or if Ken's has slipped.
The beer in question was Fearless's Scottish Ale. Fearless describes this beer as such : "from beer novice to beer geek, everyone loves this beer." Bold. Sadly, much like surburban menus that promise the best fish and chips in Oregon, the beer fails. Everyone does not like this beer. I did not, my wife did not, the bartender did not, and from what we were told, cutsomers did not much like it either.
The color on the beer was fantastic, a dark amber, with almost an orange tinge to it. However, much like Micahel Jackson, the beer had no real nose. The beer starts with a slight hint of flavor, that dissapears quickly, leaving, like most other Fearless beers, an almost detergent aftertaste. My wife treid it, and noted it was malty, and bitter, though I described it more like colored, fizzy, alcolohic water.
I told Ken that anything I say about his beer is my opinion, and nothing personal, though he thinks I have some personal feeling either towards him, or his establishment. I don't. Ken, from what little I have seen, or from what little I have spoken to him, seems like a nice guy, that is happy doing what he does. I just do not like his beer, plain and simple. I hope it gets better, and I wish him and his brewery nothing negative. I just think the beer lacks flavor, substince, and any interest at all.
So Ken, if you read this, know I truly have nothing against you. I just do not like the beer you are currently making.
As if I had any doubt, after this, we went to Upright Brewing's new tasting room and enjoyed their amazing beer. A world apart. Not just in stlye, but in complexity, execution, and passion.