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Mission : Leap Beer, 366 Beers in 366 Days

Archive for the month “March, 2012”

Leapbeer Review #107 Innis & Gunn Irish Whiskey Cask Ltd

First off I want to say a big thank you to Symphony Kwong for sending this sample to me. It’s a limited run, only 300 barrels released, so its fairly rare in these parts. This is a jet black beer served from a 330ml bottle and it weighs in at a high test 7.4% ABV. This beer is a Scottish stout. It pours really well and has about a 1cm head.

When I smell it I get a real scent of vanilla and butterscotch. You do get a hint of the Irish Whiskey barrel. In the first sip I start to think that this is just a really smooth stout, and then the aftertaste hits me, that whiskey is very noticeable. This beer has real a kick to it. Its quite a strong stout, and the barrel aging of it gives it quite a pungent flavour. I, for one, really like whiskey so it’s a welcome addition to the flavour profile. The more I drink of it the more I really like it. This is another of the barrel aged beers for this blog, and this is definitely top of the class.

This beer is a relatively easy drinking stout, despite its high test alcohol content. It leaves a thick lacing of coffee coloured head in the glass. This beer would be a fascinating one to cellar. If I can find another bottle of it I will be sure to do that.

#107 is Innis & Gunn Irish Whiskey Cask Stout

Thanks again to YBIMC for providing the sample, and as always, thanks for reading.

Leapbeer Review #106 Wheat King Hefeweizen by Phillips

So I was down in Victoria a couple of weeks ago and while at Vintage Spirits I spied out this beer in the ice bucket up front. From the looks of how beat up it was I’m guessing it was fairly old. I do really like this style of beer plus I’d never had it before, so I had to give it a try.

I poured it into my super deep hefe glass, and it pours to a lovely cloudy golden hue with about a 1cm head. Its of note as well that as this beer has active yeast in the bottle I did the inverted pour method for it. You really get the smell of the yeast in this beer. It also has the scent of banana. This beer is a tasty wheat beer. I’m guessing it’d be even better if I was able to get it closer to brewing as this beer has a lot of sediment in the glass. I hope they produce it again this year as I’d love to compare my thoughts. It’s still a very tasty beer.

#106 is Wheat King Hefeweizen by Phillips Brewery

Thanks for reading

Leapbeer Review #105 Tandem Double Ale by Pike Brewing Company

I picked this beer up the other day at Top Shelf Liquor Store in Courtenay. This is from Pike Brewing Company in Seattle, located just by the famous Pike Place Market. I’ve seen the owner/brewer on HDNet’s Drinking Made Easy. He’s quite the knowledgeable sort of fellow when it comes to beer history.

This beer  is strong ale, brewed more like a Belgian dubbel with Belgian yeast. It pours to a very dark brown in the glass with a 1cm head. They call the colour ‘dark chocolate’ and I concur. It really smells of the yeast on the nose. You really taste the belgian yeast in the flavour of this beer along with the roasted malts. It is a lingering flavour that is followed by a light hop bitterness. Its obviously flavoured with a deeply roasted malt, but I am mostly getting the yeast. This is a high test dubbel that weighs in at 7.0% ABV. Its served in a 650ml bomber so consume safely. I started using a wine vacu stopper to drink my bombers 1 glass at a time. It so far hasn’t been bad. I’ve ended up consuming them within a day or two of opening though, but I digress. This beer leaves a nice lacing in the glass. This really is a unique beer for me as I’ve not had anything I’d consider close to it. Its for sure a drinking experience, and I like it.

#105 is Tandem Double Ale by Pike Brewing Company

Thanks for Reading

Leapbeer Reviews #103 & 104 The Cuban Invasion

With relatives recently returned from Cuba I have a couple of Cuban acquisitions for the leapbeer blog. They said the 2 beers that where available where they went were Cerveza Cristal and Bucanero Fuerte. These two cans are both relatively low test (4.9% ABV on Cristal and 5.4% ABV for Bucanero)

Cristal is a light golden coloured lager beer. It has a mild yeast scent to it, and it tastes like a very mild beer. I gather that on a hot day if you wanted a ‘lighter’ beer this would be your choice down there, but I gotta say its pretty much beer flavoured water. It tastes like an O douls to me.

Bucanero Fuerte is a darker beer, more a copper colour in comparison. This too is a lager beer. There is little to no scent on this beer. It tastes more like beer than the Cristal, but its still weak for a fuerte or strong beer.

Both beers have very little aftertaste. They seem like they are trying to copy most big market mass produced crap. Its a Caribbean photocopy of crappy beer.

#103 & 104 Cerveza Cristal and Bucanero Fuerte

Of course the individuals who brought these beers back insisted on me drinking them while wearing their other gift (thanks mom and dad) a hat made of beer cans. Enjoy.

As my wife says, I’m sure these beers are better consumed closer to the equator. If I happen down that way I’ll be sure to post my updated thoughts.

Thanks for reading, and Enjoy Responsibly.

Leapbeer Review #102 Fullers ESB

Tonights beer is another Fuller’s product, their Extra Special Bitter.

It pours to a lovely amber colour with a 1cm head. Smell of sweet fruit on the nose. The taste is like the other ESB’s I’ve had so far, and one of the tops so far. It has a near caramel flavour from the malts followed by a nice bitterness. I’m drinking this from the fridge, but I gather it’s also a beer that’d be good when consumed at 10c as well. It leaves a nice lacing in the glass and it’s a lovely bitter to drink. Its a good beer that I’d absolutely get again.

#100 is Fullers Extra Special Bitter

This seems like too short of a post, so I thought I’d share a story with you. I went prawning in Okeover Inlet the other day. In more than one of the strings we caught several of what are called ‘squat lobsters’. They have little actual meat to them so they aren’t worth keeping. I’d never heard of them before so I took a picture of them. Here it is. For reference their body is about the size of a grape.

I’m sure with a full trap of them you’d get enough food for a couple, but I just threw them back. Strange creatures of the sea indeed.

Thanks for reading folks. As always your comments are welcomed and appreciated.

Leapbeer Reviews #100 & 101 Golden Pheasant and Punk IPA

For my 100th I wanted to do a couple of special beers I’ve been sitting on. I was given a Golden Pheasant from a coworker and my lead acquisitionist picked me up some Brewdog Punk IPA’s from Vancouver. I really hope these beers will be good, as I’ve heard good things. We shall see. Besides getting the Punk IPA at Viti in Vancouver, I have no idea where to get the Golden Pheasant. It’s definitely not available in Campbell River or anywhere close to here. Lets dive into the beer.

The Golden Pheasant is a Slovakian beer. In Slovak it is Zlatý Bažant. I honestly have no idea how to pronouce that. Google translate says its “Zhla-tee Ba-jhant”. This is a Czech pilsner style beer served from a 500ml bottle at an ABV of 5.0%. It pours to a lovely golden colour with nice carbonation. I poured it with a fairly pronounced head, but it dissipated and left me with a hint of yeast scent. This is a lovely crisp pilsner that has a great ‘beer’ taste. You’d think that at this point I could come up with better descriptors than that, but its the best way I could describe this beer. It’s not overly bitter, not overly malty, It goes down very easy and its delicious. Big thank you to Frank for giving this to me. I love exclusives, and as we can’t get this here I’d call it that.

#100 is Golden Pheasant from Slovakia

Next I’m going to go with something I’m very excited about. For those who don’t know Brewdog Brewery is in Scotland. They have captured my attention as they are the producers of ‘Tactical Nuclear Penguin’ an Ice beer processed Imperial Stout that is the highest test beer available (32% WOAH!). This beer I got through my trusty helper is one of their staple beers, the Punk IPA. This is their ‘Uncompromising, Bold and Irreverent’ beer that has been well reviewed (by others). It pours to a lovely clouded golden/amber colour with a small head on top. One whiff of the top of my glass and I get a huge hit of citrus and fruit. It smells almost floral. The sip is just as intoxicating. I’ve said some lovely things about other IPA’s, and this one is extremely good. It has a real coating your mouth feel to it. It’s not as bold of flavour as it is of scent, but this is a lovely and easy drinking IPA. My wife says this tastes to her more like a Shandy than a beer, but I disagree with her. This is a great beer that I’m sure any hop head would enjoy. It’s not the best IPA I’ve had, but it is extremely satisfying.

#101 is Punk IPA by Brewdog

Thanks for reading this Leapbeer milestone, Next one is at #122.

Leapbeer Review #99 Old Speckled Hen

This next review is of one of my all time favorite beers. The interesting thing about this project is the more I experiment and move outside of my comfort zone the more my tastes seem to be changing. Or better put, they are refining. On to the beer.

This is an import from Suffolk England, found easily at most lq’s around the province. Its a pale ale that pours to a lovely transparent copper colour with a 1cm head that quickly dissipates. The aroma of this beer is a bit malty, but I get a hint of fruit. Either currants or apricots perhaps. The taste is quite refreshing, it has a slight maltyness with a small balance of bitter. It is an easily quaffed beer. At an ABV of 5.2% this is a good session beer.

Of note with this beer, a friend and coworker noted to me the other day that this beer when drank straight from the can tastes quite flat. This is another example of beers that when given the chance to flex outside of the can, can be much better. The tasting notes are quite slight so even letting this warm up just a bit makes for a more enjoyable tasting experience. I’m not trying to get all high falootin’ with my reviews, but I want people to get the most out of their good beer.

#99 is Old Speckled Hen

Thanks for reading and Enjoy Responsibly

Leapbeer Review #98 Torpedo Extra IPA by Sierra Nevada

Before anyone starts getting on my case about all the IPA madness going on here, please bear with me. I’ve got several non-IPA’s in the fridge, this is just what I reached for.

Another note about this beer is that I’m drinking this beer at my own risk. I went to open it with my trusty beer opener and it took part of the top off with it. I’m braving it out, hopefully not consuming any chards in my tasting.

This is a bold IPA by Sierra Nevada, a brewery in Chico (central California for us canuckleheads)  Its brewed using american hops with their ‘torpedo’, a brewers piece that helps them add a super concentrated hops flavour.

It pours to a copper/amber colour. It also has a lovely hop scent to it. I got a lovely head on the pour as well, and it left some thick lacing on the glass. It tastes very hoppy, as you may imagine. It has a hint of the citric PNW (pacific north west) hop flavour I love, but only a hint. Its got a mild malty or sweet taste in the middle of the sip. It’s a higher test beer at 7.7%ABV so please drink responsibly. I for one am a fan of this beer. I’ll definitely be searching it out in the future.

#98 is Torpedo Extra IPA by Sierra Nevada

One downside of doing this review, is that the label got all ripped up when I tried to acquire it for the journal. Oh wells I guess I need to get another one then.
I’d love to hear some suggestions for my 100th leap, please post them in the comments.

Thanks for reading,

Leapbeer Review #97 India Pale Ale by Propeller

Prologue: I apologize again to anyone who got this twice. Any more screw ups and I’m going to earn the ‘obviously amateur blogger’ award for 2012.

I was excited to find out that the lq I get most of my goods got in a couple of new Propeller products. I went in and picked up a 6 of the India Pale Ale and a couple of the Revolution RIS. I’ve heard good things about this brewery, and my one foray into their product was good. I look forward to trying both of these.

So tonight I’m going to start off with the India Pale Ale. It pours to a lovely golden colour with about a 1cm head on it. Not a big hit of hops on the nose, but its definitely there in the drinking. It tastes pretty good. It doesn’t have the citric hops the pacific north west breweries have gotten us used to. That said its quite refreshing. My glass is left with a nice lacing on the sides from this beer as well. It’s a 6.5% ABV so I’d rate it between a normal and strong beer. It seems low enough to be a session ale. When compared to what western canada thinks of a maritime IPA (keiths) this takes the cake in spades. I used to love that aforementioned beer, but now I understand where I was going wrong. This beer is definitely worth your time.

#97 is the India Pale Ale by Propeller Brewery in Halifax

Thanks for Reading

2nd Leapbeer Fieldtrip – Victoria Part 1

With a planned trip out of Esquimalt for Halibut I felt it was a perfect opportunity to hit up a couple of brew pubs in the area.

My first stop along the way was to stop real quick at Hoyne for their new release of Dark Matter. I’m going to save making notes about it since it’ll be available here as soon as its bottled. So far its only available in growler at the brewery. Save it to say, its delicious.

Next I went down to The Moon Under Water brewpub.  And before I mention my thoughts on their beers I’d like to note in a few things about the establishment. This brewpub is set up as a English Style Pub. There is counter service, No TV’s and a relatively quiet room to encourage talking. Also their beers are served at 10c, so expect them to be tepid.

I got a 6 beer sampler with their full gamut and 2 seasonal beers that were on tap. Depicted below, back row L-R is The Stout, The India Red Ale. Front row L-R is Tranquility IPA, Blue Moon Best Bitter, Lunar Pale Ale & Moonlight Blonde Ale.

Here’s the notes I scribbled down for their beers.
1) Moonlight Blonde Ale, Smells a bit yeasty/sweet. Has a definite bitterness to it with minor lacing in the glass.
2) Lunar Pale Ale, has a smell and taste of European hops. Very tasty. My favorite of the whole tasting.
3) Blue Moon Best Bitter, The look and smell of real roasted malts (dark). As bitter as the Pale ale.
4) Tranquility IPA, This beer really smells of hops. The beer tastes coat the mouth and really linger. That said it was really underwhelming for my taste.
5) India Red Ale, Smells of grapefruit or citric hops. It has a malted taste. Really reminded me of Double Dragon but way better execution.
6) Stout, Heavy malt. Very smooth, really easy drinking. #2 for the night for my favorite to drink.

Its good to note that all their beers are relatively low in ABV (3.8-5.2%) so they’re great session beers. They offer the opportunity to taste their beers before you buy them which is quite nice. It is only open from Wednesday-Sunday, but it’s a great place to hang out and catch up with friends.

I’d like to thank Hoyne and The Moon Under Water for their hospitality on my trip. I look forward to coming back and seeing you both again in the future.

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