Two From Silver Moon Brewing

I will confess at the outset that until bottles of Silver Moon's beer appeared at Belmont Station, I didn't know it existed. This is a great oversight, particularly given that the brewery's eight years old. Oy. In my defense, they only brewed 1000 barrels last year--all draft--so apparently distribution has been limited. The brewery started bottling earlier this year, and you can now track down 22s in Portland.

Silver Moon Brewing
24 NW Greenwood Avenue
Bend, Oregon 97701
Hours: 10-6 Mon -Fri, 10-5 Sat.

Silver Moon recently relocated to downtown Bend, where they have a pub featuring live music on Wednesdays and Saturdays as well as pool and a game room. They brew five regular beers: Hound's Tooth Amber, Snake Bite Porter, Bridge Creek Pilsner, Badlands Bitter and the Hob Knob IPA. The porter, amber, and hefeweizen are available at Belmont Station.

Hound's Tooth Amber
I wrote a little about this in an earlier post, where I described my trepidation with the style:
I picked up a couple bottles of Silver Moon's beers this week (reviews to come), one of which is brewed in the dreaded "amber" style. I will confess to a certain weariness as I poured it out, because I'm almost never pleased with ambers.... Ambers seem to have been aimed at people for whom color is about as much information as they need. They are approachable, and their sweetness is enhanced by Cascade hopping, which make them a bit like lemonade. Add some body and you've got a crowd-pleaser, if not a great beer.
What poured out of the bottle, however, was anything but tepid. It's an almond color in the glass, and the aroma is lush--fresh greenery and pepper. The aroma, redolent of English hops, suggested "best bitter" far more than amber (of perhaps because I like best bitters, and I was liking what I inhaled). The flavor balances a mild sweetness and the white peppercorn spicing of the hops. As you continue to drink, the hops gather strength, though never to they do more than nicely balance the malt. I'm probably wrong, but the hops were quite suggestive of Fuggles (therefore probably Willamette), enhancing the English pub quality of the beer. A very nice session and far better than I expected. Rating: A-

Snake Bite Porter
Again, one of the only criticisms I have of this beer is its name. It pours out with great viscosity, suggesting something, er, stouter than a porter. The head is like a cumulo-nimbus over the Wisconsin prairie--thick and foreboding. Again, not suggestive of a porter. The flavor was very roasty, so much so that it went to the point of sour. Okay, if it pours like a stout, foams like a stout, and is roasty like a stout, it ain't a porter. I found the roastiness just a hair too much, but it was a very effective Irish stout--one I would enjoy on a cold winter's eve. Those with images of that other Bend porter in their mind will be momentarily confused when this pours out of the bottle. Still, a fine effort and a distinctive, bold ale. Rating: B