I wanted to try as many local and interesting brews as I could while I was at the Oregon Brewers’ Festival Brewmasters’ Dinner – and after being less than pleased with my previous choice of the Spruce Budd beer from Fort George Brewery – I thought I’d ask my Cuisinternship Brewmaster mentor, Jamie Emmerson, what he might suggest. He mentioned that Pelican Brewery had a reputation locally for brewing very solid beers, so I thought I try theirs next. I didn’t know what kind of beer “The Guillotine” was at first, but I read the sheet of paper next to it and discovered it was made with experimental hops from Alsace, France. It read, “The Guillotine is an international-style pale ale that is golden hued and slightly stronger than other brews at 6% ABV—a perfect beer for summertime on the Pelican patio.”
It was very clear, and had a copper tone to it. The head was thick, but fell pretty quickly. The aroma was malty with a bit of an earthy hop aroma.
Despite being made to show off the experimental hop bitterness, the first thing I noticed was the sweet, caramel maltiness of the light-medium bodied beer. However, the earthy/spicy hop bitterness followed in the finish and aftertaste. It was a bit more of a spicy hop than I was used to.
If I had to pair this with a food, I think I’d recommend a lemon-pepper fish dish, as the hop spiciness would complement the lemon-pepper quite well. It was an interesting beer, which I wasn’t completely thrilled with. I can only imagine that since it was an experimental beer/hop, it wasn’t characteristic of Pelican’s other beers.