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Mission : Leap Beer, 366 Beers in 366 Days

Archive for the month “February, 2012”

The Leapbeer Tasting – A Trip to India Pale Ale

So last night I had a couple of good friends (one superfriend harkening back to our old hockey pool) and I decided to give them a journey through what I’d found out about IPA’s

Before I get to the beers I did a bit of research into “what makes an India Pale Ale or IPA? And Why India?”

So the next bit is a bit of site regurgitation, so I apologize for that. According to wikipedia the first written reference of “India Pale Ale” dates back to 1835 which referred to a style of beer previously called “pale ale as prepared for India”, “pale India ale” or “pale export India ale”. About.com said that the brewing style was originally developed by the British in the 1700s to prevent spoilage when shipping their beer to troops stationed in India. The generous amout of hops in the brew protected it from the heat and motion of the sailing ships of the day.

The hops bring the bitter, but it is the variants of hops that can bring the citrus twang that comes through in some of the beers.

The beers I chose for Dallas and Jeff were Wells IPA, Hoperation TripelCross by Phillips, Devils Elbow IPA by Howe Sound Brewery, Imperial IPA by GIB and Fat Tug by Driftwood.

Jeff is a hops veteran, but this was Dallas’ first trip down to hoppy town. I probably could’ve started with an even milder IPA, something like an Alexander Keiths, but I felt that a British beer would make more sense. All of us enjoyed a glass and shared our comments (when the hockey game wasn’t on of course) Everyone shared the sentiment that this is a refreshing beer. It has a mild hoppyness to it, but it is still an easily drank beer.

Next I decided to go with the Hoperation TripelCross by Phillips. One sip and you snap to attention. No wonder the Brits sent this to their troops. This beer definitely gave Dallas a moment to pause. If I recall, his first response was “Wow that’s bitter”

We moved onto Devil’s Elbow IPA by Howe Sound Brewery. At this point our bitter beer beginner was showing signs of tapping out. Little did he know what was to come. This officially is beer #68 on the leapbeer journey, but I’m going to post a review of it later.

I realize this next move went contrary to the trend, but I decided that we would go to the Imperial IPA by GIB after that. As you may remember from my review this bad boy weighs in at 100 IBU’s or bitterness units. The highest of our tasting plan. The Dally man could only take a mouthful or two of this delicious brew.

Lastly we moved on to my current beer crush, Fat Tug by Driftwood. I insisted that the Dallas man give this a pull. My love for this beer is well documented at this point. Jeff is an honorary tugnut too. While we were consuming this it made me realize something new. Most beers taste like beer. I know this is an over simplification, but they all have a basic beer taste. Of course there are variants, probably more than any one person can count. Some are sweet or nutty, others are bitter, even others are unfiltered. And it goes on and on. Regardless of all that, they still taste like beer. What amazes me about fat tug is how much more than a beer this brew is. It is truly remarkable. In my opinion it is head and shoulders above the rest of these beers. It is a flavor journey waiting to happen. Even our bitter newb had to appreciate it.

If you haven’t had a fat tug yet, please do so at your soonest convenience. It may seem like I am being paid by Driftwood to promote their brews, but I’m not. This is just a wonderful discovery of mine while on my leapbeer journey.

Yes I realize I go on and on about one beer. I’m seriously considering putting a moratorium on tug comments in future posts. And yes I realize that there are many many many more IPA’s out there that we could have tried. My question to my readers is whats your favorite IPA? leave a comment or tweet me @heavycf

I hope you enjoyed reading this. I absolutely enjoyed researching and writing it. Life is too short to drink bad beer.

PS I recently hired da def as my senior VP of offsite leapbeer acquisitions out of Victoria, so hopefully I’ll be getting more of the limited run beers as they become available.

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Leapbeer Review #66 & #67 Lucky Buddah & Tuborg Green

This was an impulse purchase at the mvls, and to be honest I kind of regret it. It is a lager beer from China. I’m not sure how much I expected. Even with low expectations this falls short. It tastes like the yeast is immature.

I should’ve guessed that a beer with lucky in its name would fail miserably. An added note, this is a clear golden beer, the only reason it looks cloudy is due to the freezer glass.

To sum up: yuck.

#66 (rather ominously) Lucky Buddah

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Do yourself a favour and avoid this brew

I literally dumped 1/2 of that one. But I’m moving on. I grab a bottle of Tuborg. If you notice beside the glass you’ll see their pop top. I thought that was kinda cool.

I pour this golden beer and first thing I’m hit with is the hemp like smell that many northern European beers have. This beer, while having such a strong odor, has little to no taste. It’s a crisp finish beer, but it’s more of a light beer than normal test.

This beers one saving grace is it is super quaffable. It goes down super easy. Perhaps I’ll revisit this on a hot summer day, and maybe my opinions will change.

I had pooping on a Danish beer. I’m sure my grandfather wouldn’t be impressed (he was 100% Danish). I apologize for this, but it’s yet another avoidable beer.

#67 Tuborg Green

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Leapbeer Review #65 Baron Bohemian Tmavy Lezak aka Lobkowicz Baron

This beer hails from the Czech Republic, and it has quite an interesting tale. At least the brewery does. Here’s an excerpt from their site.
The brewery in Vysoky Chlumec was established in 1466 and the Lobkowicz family purchased it in 1474. The Lobkowicz family has a long brewing tradition. It was interrupted only in 1939 when the brewery was confiscated by Nazis and the Lobkowicz family was forced to exile to Great Britain. After World War II they returned to Czechoslovakia just to see the communists take over their properties, including the brewery in 1948.

In 1992 the brewery was returned to Lobkowicz family and American born William Lobkowicz took over management of the family’s assets in the Czech Republic.

The Lobkowicz brewmaster starts with pure water from the brewery’s artesian wells and bohemian barley, which is turned into, malt in their own malt house. He brews the lagers in traditional copper brewing vats, adding aromatic Saaz hops by hand. Open fermentation enhances the beers unique character, and the final balance is rounded off by months spent in the lager cellars. Each small brew is released only after the brewmaster has personally tasted the result of his craftsmanship.

The beers brewed in the Lobkowicz brewery point to the family’s royal roots – Prince is a blonde bock, Knight is a bohemian style lager and Baron is a dark lager.”

As put there the Baron is their dark beer. This is very refreshing and light for such a dark lager. It pours to a near dark brown with a flowery scent. The taste is quite nice, its a mild malt and mild hops with a crisp finish.

This is a really easy drinking import that serves from a 500ml bottle. Quite reasonable at the LQ as well.

#65 is Baron Bohemian Tmavy Lezak aka Lobkowicz Baron

I hope you all are enjoying this as much as I am. Leapbeer is turning into beerducation for me.

C

Leapbeer Review #64 Well’s IPA by Wells & Young’s Brewing Company

So I acquired a 4 pack of these tallboys at my local lq store. I was impressed with the quality of the Courage Directors Ale that I wanted to get this for a review, and for a future en devour.

It pours quite a bit darker than most basic IPA’s I’ve tried. While it is a darker IPA it isnt so much a more profoundly flavorful one. The scent on the nose is almost farm like. Like a veggie garden or something. I did a bit of research on Beer Advocate about this and it is a similar comment/complaint about this beer. The taste isn’t bad. That said it is not the hoppy IPA that I’ve had a run of lately. I can hardly compare this beer to the Imperial IPA or the Fat Tug (I heart u fat tug). If I wanted to compare it to a more commonly accessible IPA I’d say it is more between an Alexander Keiths IPA and a Hop Circle IPA by Phillips. There is a hops taste in it, but I get it more from the beer burp than the beer itself. This beer also seems to be quite carbonated.

I am enjoying this beer, and I look forward to seeking out more of these brewers releases.

Here’s #64 Wells IPA by Wells & Young’s Brewing Company of the UK

Beer is the cause of, and solution to, all of the worlds problems – Homer (Simpson)

Leapbeer Out!

Leapbeer Review #63 London Style Porter by Propeller Brewing Company

The next beer sent into the leapbeer journey is London Style Porter by Propeller Brewing Company. I’m going to do two different tastings, one from fridge cold and another at room temp. The bottle says to keep refrigerated, but some comments on their site say to serve at room temp.

This is a porter pours to a near jet black. On to the taste.

On first notice the beer when cold seems good. A slight hint of licorice on the nose. I quite like the taste. It doesn’t taste of licorice, thats the smell. The taste is more dark roasted malt with a bitter back. Their is definite hops, albeit muted by the malt. The site lists this at an IBU of 39 which should place it middle of the road on the bitterness scale. I don’t really see that myself. I was told that a 39-45 is the same bitterness of say Phillips Hop Circle or most craft brew IPA’s. This is seemingly less bitter than a hop circle in my opinion. Perhaps I’ll have to test that and see. I’m gonna let the beer sit out of the fridge now so it can warm up and I can resume review.

So I let the beer sit for a while to acclimate. And that faint smell I got when cold is very present. In fact all the flavours are more pronounced. The malted hops have a real caramel-esque taste and the hops gives you a nice bitter slap at the end. This is definitely a beer that deserves to be served at the right temp. Unlike others that I didn’t like cold but did like room temp, this one is good both ways. That said, it is so much better when served at 13c.

Please do yourself the favor and drink this at room temperature if you’re adventuring into the weightier waters of porter beers. I highly recommend this drink, when right its fantastic.

#63 in the Leapbeer Journey, London Style Porter by Propeller Brewing Company

I’m gonna end this post with a quote.
“Beer is proof that god loves us and wants us to be happy” – Benjamin Franklin

Leapbeer Review #62 Courage Directors Ale

Time for another import on the leapbeer journey tonight. This one hails from Wells & Young’s of Bedford UK.
You’ll notice from the picture that this beer looks a lot like the Squire Scotch Ale that was last reviewed. It has nearly the same colour. The taste is almost completely different.

This is a bitter style ale. From chilled it has a hint of hops on the nose, a mild flavor to start followed by a bitter punch at the end. I don’t intend to do this with all of my tastings, but since this is a british beer I’m going to try it at room temp as well. It still has a floral hint that you smell. The initial flavour is very mild still. The finish on it, however, is way more pronounced. The blend of malt and bitter is really refreshing. As a thick headed Canadian boy I’ve always scoffed at serving beer at room temperature. But trying this at 13c I can honestly say that it is better. This is the second time I’ve been schooled by my beer choice.

#62 is Courage Directors Ale

With this post I’m officially 16.9% complete on the leapbeer count in just over 15% of the year. I’ve got a decent start on the year, but I don’t want to slow down because I know there will be some time gaps coming up.

This post seems a bit short so I’m gonna throw in a picture of our new ginger kitten. We named it Macaroni before we realized its a she.

Leapbeer Review #61 Squire Scotch Ale by Cannery Brewing

Tonight I’m sampling again from the cannery brewery in penticton bc. The Squire Scotch Ale is named after the Country Squire, a fine dining establishment in Naramata (note, not a nut).

This beer pours to a clear caramel colour with a fair amount of carbonation.

It has a hint of fruitiness in scent. The flavor is all malts. Not a sweet malt but a complex one. It even has some bitterness to it also, just a touch though.

I would say that this is a beer that I’m liking, though I doubt I’d seek it out on a regular basis. I’d see it better served during the summer months on a hot day instead of your usual lager fare.

Here’s #61 Squire Scotch Ale by Cannery Brewing

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Thanks for reading, and I bid you good drinking.

Added notes, I’m excited to have some new interest in the blog. Thank you all for reading and spreading the word. Please read the FAQ to answer any questions. Also please comment and tell me where you heard about this. I’m really curious to see where the new readers are coming from. I need suggestions for what to do on the 29th. I may do a big post with a compilation of new reviews, or have a tasting event.

 

Leapbeer Review #60 – Overboard Imperial Pilsner by Lighthouse Brewery

This review has an added feature, comments from the leapbeer wife. She agreed to join me for today’s review so welcome Molly to the Leapbeer Blog.

First off she wanted to say that it is excellent that Lighthouse included so much information about the beer on the bottle. Explanations of the flavour profile as well as suggested serving glass are a great touch. I’ve started serving most of my beers in a tulip glass already, so we had that covered.

The look of the beer is a golden but clear beer. I served it straight from the fridge in a frosty glass.

The biggest note I get from this beer is the hops. If you are a regular reader then you will know that I am a big fan of big hops beers. That first taste hits me, and I’m in. I like the fact that this beer resides in my mouth for a good while after I have had a sip. It tends to sit at the back of your mouth, waiting to be replenished. The fact that this beer has such a bold flavour shouldn’t be a surprise since this is part of their “Big Flavour” series.

Here’s Molly’s notes. Its very smooth at first, and then I get a lingering bitter taste. Its definitely a sipping beer, otherwise the bitterness is overpowering for her taste. She does like a lighter beer. That said it is “definitely a bold flavour”. Surely this is more bold than she is used to, and therefore, perhaps too much for her. “I guess I’m just a beer wimp. Well I’m not a beer wimp I’m a hop wimp.”

Here’s #60 Overboard Imperial Pilsner by Lighthouse Brewery

We sign off now, a little bit wiser and a little bit educated.

I thank you for reading and bid you good drinking.

Leapbeer OUT!

Leapbeer Review #59 Kirin Ichiban

Another import today, the kirin ichiban prime brew is the staple lager I have drank with sushi. It is a very carbonated beer. Like many lager beers it has malty tones. I could see this being a tasty treat when consumed on a hot sunny day. It goes down with relative ease so I’d definitely call it a quaffer. Yes I realize that’s not really a word.

#59 on the leapbeer journey is Kirin’s Prime Brew by Kirin Ichiban

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Thanks for reading, and I bid you good drinking

Leapbeer Review #58 Dunkelweizen Dark Wheat Beer by Big Rock

So tonight I again sample from the donations of Frank, thanks off the hops for this one.

I delve again into the pool of dark wheat beers. This is the 2nd dunkel I’ve had so far, and its definitely better than my previous one (sorry Phillips).

It pours to an dark brown, but not cloudy. I would’ve expected it to be cloudy like a hefeweizen. Onto the taste, this is a malty beer. It has all the crisp nature of a wheat beer with a delicious hint of a 5 malt blend in the aftertaste. That said I quite like this beer.

#58 is Dunkelweizen Dark Wheat Beer by Big Rock Brewery

PS I’m rapidly approaching the end of my 2nd month and wanted to do something special for the leapday. If you had any suggestions please feel free to comment about them or tweet me @heavycf

Thanks for reading, and I bid you good drinking.

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