Cameron Stokes's Blog

Beer Review: Pelican Ankle-Buster Ale

Ankle-Buster Ale is a Belgian-Style Pale Ale by Pelican Pub & Brewery in Pacific City, Oregon. Ankle-Buster comes in an attractive, silk-screened bomber bottle like the rest of Pelican’s beers. It’s a nice, classic look that matches Pelican’s “classic” approach to beers.

Pelican is a well-decorated brewery, having won 34 awards through the years at The Great American Beer Festival alone. They make a wide range of very approachable beer styles such as a cream ale, foreign stout, ESB, and more and have one of the best brewery websites I’ve found. You can even buy their beers online in their online store and of course they have glassware, shirts, and more.

Beer Facts

Name: Ankle-Buster Ale

Brewery: Pelican Pub & Brewery

Style: Belgian-Style Pale Ale

Released: Seasonal (Summer)

Availability: 22oz. bomber


Surfers know all too well that ankle-buster waves are barely big enough to surf on, but our Ankle-Buster Ale is bound to create a big wave. With an herbal hop character, fruity/spicy Belgian yeast aromas, toasty and caramel-like malt flavor, and a clean dry finish, Ankle-Buster carves its own path to refreshing, flavorful beer. Best enjoyed with both feet planted on sand.

Hops: Nugget

Malts: Golden Promise, Pale Ale, Caramel 15, Caramel 40

OG: ?

FG: ?

IBUs: 35

ABV: 5.4%


Serving: 22oz. bomber into a New Belgium snifter.

Appearance: Pours an attractive amber/copper color with a off-white pillowy head. A rush of carbonation erupts soon after the pour, but it settles down quickly.

Aroma: Strong herbal and floral hop aromas with fruity esters as well. Slight tart note.

Mouthfeel: Light, almost watery mouthfeel. Medium carbonation.

Taste: Not as strong tasting as the aroma indicates. Slight bitterness at the end. Very clean and balanced.


While Ankle-Buster Ale isn’t a beer to write home about, it is a well-made, clean beer if a bit light on the palate. It’s very drinkable and leaves you wanting more. Given the opportunity I’d like to have this on draft but I’m not likely to pick up another bomber of it, unless I was really in the mood for a Belgian Pale.

Being relatively new to the Pacific-Northwest, Pelican is one of my favorite breweries in the region. Their beers are very drinkable and by the recent trend of “extreme beers”, very normal and normal is great in my book.

Food pairings: Something light - a salad, sandwich, etc.

Cellar-able: Nah…

Comparable beers: Devotion Ale by The Lost Abbey, BPA by Brewery Ommegang, Demolition by Goose Island Beer Co.


Zymurgy’s 2012 Best Beers by Type and Style

Zymurgy magazine just released their 2012 Best Beers in America list, based on a yearly poll run by the magazine.

From Zymurgy:

For the past 10 years, we’ve asked Zymurgy readers to share a list of their 20 favorite beers that are commercially available in the United States. A record number of votes were cast this year: 16,445 for a dizzying array of brands available to beer lovers across the country.

I’ll save my commentary on the list for another post so, for now, here’s a breakdown of Zymurgy’s 2012 Best Beers in America by type and style, with the full list below.

By Type

 46 Ales
  3 Lagers

By Style

 25 IPA/Imperial IPAs
  7 Imperial Stouts
  3 Pale Ales
  3 Porters
  2 Pilsners
  2 Amber Ales
  1 Amber Lager
  1 American Brown Ale
  1 American Strong Ale
  1 Barleywine
  1 California Common
  1 Milk Stout
  1 Sour Ale

2012 Best Beers in America

  1. Russian River Pliny the Elder
  2. Bell’s Two Hearted Ale
  3. Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA
  4. Sierra Nevada Pale Ale
  5. Stone Arrogant Bastard Ale
  6. Bell’s Hopslam
  7. Sierra Nevada Celebration
  8. Stone Ruination IPA
  9. Sierra Nevada Torpedo
 10. North Coast Old Rasputin
 11. Firestone Walker Union Jack
 12. Sierra Nevada Ruthless Rye
 13. Bear Republic Racer 5
 14. Oskar Blues Dale’s Pale Ale
 15. Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA
 16. Firestone Walker Double Jack
T17. Ballast Point Sculpin IPA
T17. Sierra Nevada Bigfoot
 19. Stone IPA
 20. New Belgium Fat Tire
 21. Deschutes Black Butte Porter
 22. Avery Maharaja
 23. Founders Breakfast Stout
 24. Left Hand Milk Stout
T25. Dogfish Head 120 Minute IPA
T25. New Belgium Ranger
T25. Stone Sublimely Self-Righteous Ale
 28. Deschutes The Abyss
 29. Goose Island Bourbon County Stout
 30. Surly Furious
T31. Lagunitas Little Sumpin Sumpin
T31. Rogue Dead Guy
T31. Samuel Adams Boston Lager
 34. Troegs Nugget Nectar
T35. Lagunitas IPA
T35. New Belgium La Folie
T37. Dogfish Head Palo Santo Marron
T37. Founders KBS
T37. Russian River Blind Pig IPA
 41. Deschutes Mirror Pond Pale Ale
 42. Victory Prima Pils
 43. Great Divide Yeti
T44. Alaskan Smoked Porter
T44. Anchor Steam
T44. Lagunitas Hop Stoopid
T44. Samuel Adams Noble Pils
T48. Great Lakes Edmund Fitzgerald Porter
T48. Oskar Blues Ten Fidy
T48. Russian River Pliny the Younger

Custom Octopress Theme

I switched my blog from Wordpress to Octopress last October and have been incredibly happy with the change. Aside from how easy Octopress is to use, it allows me to host my blog on Amazon S3 and not have to worry about Apache, MySQL, backups, security, etc.

While the included theme is attractive, it’s always bothered me having the exact same theme as many, many other blogs out on the Internet. I also felt the readability of the included theme could be improved as the text is a bit big and in your face.

Anyway, I finally got around to customizing the theme, having borrowed some ideas from various blogs I’ve stumbled upon over the past few months. Following the intructions from Octopress, I hacked my way through the CSS and am quite happy with how it turned out.

My customizations can be found in my custom-theme branch on Github. I am by no means a CSS expert so forgive any ugliness or inefficiencies.

Wireless Bridge for CLEAR Spot Voyager

I’m giving CLEAR Internet a try at home in the hopes that I can replace Comcast with it. The appeal of CLEAR over Comcast is that I can have a portable wifi hotspot with me wherever I go, within CLEAR’s coverage of course.

I opted for the CLEAR Spot Voyager, but knowing that it had a hard limit of 8 connected devices. At this time, we have 10 network devices in the house so once the Spot arrived I set out to turn our existing wireless router into a wireless bridge. This would save the trouble and expense of adding wifi adapters to our hard-wired devices and get around the 8 device limit as well.

I won’t get into step-by-step details on how to setup a wireless bridge. This post is merely to confirm that it is possible with a CLEAR Spot Voyager and an ASUS RT-N16 wireless router. I was not able to get the bridge setup correctly with the ASUS firmware, but I was able to get it working after flashing it to DD-WRT and following the Client Bridge instructions.

We now have all wireless and wired devices in the house connected through CLEAR. Look for a future post on my thoughts on CLEAR service as I evaluate it over the next week or so.

Beer Review: Stone Bottleworks 13th Anniversary Ale

Bottleworks is a “specialty beer store” in Seattle with a large following in the local craft beer scene. It’s a small, dark place and at first glance, a bit unwelcoming but you soon get past it when you browse their selection. They get all the latest and greatest beers but also have some vintage beers in the back. While browsing you can get a pint at the bar in the back or fill up a growler. All in all, it’s a great destination for beer enthusiasts and one I always recommend.

This year is Bottleworks’ 13th anniversary and like previous years they had an anniversary ale brewed in their honor. Recent years beers have been brewed by the likes of New Belgium (10th anniversary), Big Sky Brewing (11th anniversary), and The Bruery (12th anniversary).

Bottleworks 13th Anniversary Ale was brewed by Stone Brewing and released on March 24th, 2012.

Beer Facts

Name: Bottleworks 13th Anniversary Ale

Brewery: Stone Brewing Co.

Style: American Strong Ale

Released: One Time

Availability: 22oz. bomber


When it came time to brew Bottleworks’ 13th anniversary beer, we turned to Stone to brew this behemoth. “The Matts” traveled down to San Diego in December to help create this 13-hop, 13-grain monument to our 13 years of selling great craft beer!

Hops: Bravo, Target, Columbus, Cascade, Delta, Warrior, Magnum, Apollo, Calypso, Perle, Galena, Chinook, Mt. Hood

Malts: Pale 2-R, White Wheat, Aromatic, Wyermann Chocoloate Rye, Light Munich, Brown Crisp, Crisp Light Crystal, Crisp Amber, Caramunich, Baird’s Chocolate Malt, Lightly Peated, Simpsons Dark Crystal, Oats

OG: ?

FG: ?

IBUs: ?

ABV: 11%


Serving: 22oz. bomber into a New Belgium snifter.

Appearance: Two fingers of tan head that lingers and leaves lots of lacing. Dark but not opaque. Lets light through at the age of the glass.

Aroma: Lots of hop aroma. Smoked malts and almost medicinal, band-aid smell.

Mouthfeel: Thick and creamy, but not syrupy. Medium carbonation; appropriate for the beer.

Taste: Smoke is front and center. Heavy hop presence: flavor and bitterness. The medicinal, band-aid flavor is there as well but not’s not overpowering that it’s not enjoyable. Alcohol is apparent but not too hot.


With 13 grains and 13 hops, there’s a lot going on in this beer and it’s evident in the flavor. It’s not unbalanced but seems a bit muddled. I wouldn’t call it complex or layered, but complicated. If this was a blind tasting, I probably could have guessed this was a beer from Stone. It seems to have a bit of their house flavor. The beers grows on me as I drink it, but that could be the 11% ABV kicking in.

All in all, I’m glad I tried it and I would certainly recommend it to others. If I recall correctly, it was only $6.99, so it is certainly a deal for an 11% bomber. Given the opportunity to have it again, I’d probably pass for something else, but wouldn’t hesitate to share a bottle with a friend. This is a good beer, but not a beer that I would regularly buy.

Food pairings: Something hearty. A thick and heavy pasta would go well with this.

Cellar-able: The bottle says to age it cellar temperature (55° F) but I don’t expect age would help except to hide the alcohol a bit.

Comparable beers: Stone Arrogant Bastard and Double Bastard.