One of the most frequent questions we have gotten this calendar year has been, “When will Starr Brothers get their own beers on tap?” How does today (Friday) sound? At 11 a.m., when the doors open, patrons can order any of the four inaugural beers — Thunderr Ale, Starrstruck IPA, Red Zepplin, Lampshade Porter.
Being the intrepid, well-connected beer writer that I am (or at least think that I am), I asked a while back if there was any chance of some advance pours. Lo and behold, on a ridiculously busy day, was an invite from owner John Starr to come over anytime and try brewer Rob Whitlock’s creations. Figuring that I had to eat dinner somewhere, I walked over to Starr Brothers, found a seat at the bar, and ended up hanging out for quite a while with John, Rob, and a nice young woman named Kate who probably had no idea what she was getting into when she grabbed an open seat next to me. She was a trooper, though, listening to all that rambling beer talk.
Anyway, as for the beers, I thought they were all pretty solid for starting out. Yes, they were properly carbonated, before anyone asks about that. In my haste, I did not bring anything along to write down stats like ABV/IBU, but that should be posted on the cool video menu boards near the bar.
Lampshade Porter: This would almost qualify as a stout at some breweries. Thick, robust, not overly sweet, it’s the kind of porter one can enjoy in the summer or the winter. It would go well with Amon Amarth songs. I figured this beer was probably the closest to being exactly what Rob was aiming for among the quartet.
Red Zepplin: My first few sips had me wondering if Rob had changed from a hop-forward to a malt-forward red ale. Then the beer warmed a bit and wham, there were the hops. It’s not a Marble Red clone, but rather offering up a different mix of fragrant hops that give it a bit of a bite. The malt backbone might need a little more work, but overall it’s a promising start.
Starrstruck IPA: The designated house IPA, it starts off with a piney, Northwestern bite, before a sweet, citrusy finish. It lacked the aroma that Rob said he hoped for, but just about every new brewery always seems to struggle off the bat with getting a proper scent from the dry hopping. IPAs tend to produce the most varied reviews, so I am definitely interested to hear what others think of this one.
Thunderr Ale: This is basically Rob’s baby, the recipe he’s used to win home brewing awards in years past. It’s a big IPA, though not over 8-percent ABV, but the IBU rating is easily in the triple digits. There is some prominent Citra here (the beer ate up nearly half of Rob’s current supply), which combined with the rest of the hop bill should keep most hopheads happy.
There are three more beers that should be available soon to further augment the lineup. Riff Raff Brown, Electric Sun American Wheat, and L.A. Woman Blonde Ale will provide more options for the varied palates of local beer lovers.
As always, these are just my opinion. Please share yours with us, particularly if you have some constructive criticism you want to pass along.
Good luck to Starr Brothers today!
Oh, and the Pork Belly Mac and Cheese goes well with just about any of the beers. Just in case you needed a food suggestion, too.