Mission : Leap Beer, 366 Beers in 366 Days

Archive for the month “March, 2012”

Leapbeer Review #90 Red Racer IPA

So this was the second new beer I tried on my little trip to Victoria last weekend. I didn’t get my usual amount of time to do a review, but from my notes here’s what I was able to suss out.

I’ve been told by more than a few people that this is THE IPA for a benchmark. To which I usually come back with “But its in a can”. Can be damned this is a tasty brew. I’d have to try it back to back with some of my personal fave IPA right now to see if it can unseat it for the top spot. Regardless of that it is very very good.

As you can see it pours to a nice cloudy amber with a small head on top. It does have a wonderful lacing in the can as it drinks and it’s velvety going down. You get a nice burst of citric hops on the nose. At 6.5% ABV this is a great session beer.

Its very tasty so if you’re a hop head seek it out. I don’t know why Campbell River liquor stores don’t order this one in. If they did I’d have done the review earlier. I got mine at a restaurant in Vic when I was down there, but it should be readily available in BC. Big ups to everyone who suggested this beer, its fantastic.

#90 is Red Racer IPA by Central City Brewing

Red Racer IPA

Thanks for reading


Leapbeer Review #89 Amnesiac Double IPA by Phillips

Phillips calls this the bigger & meaner cousin of the hop circle IPA. I’m more inclined to call it the bad ass older brother with a motorcycle and greased out hair that only a few people understand. This is another bold IPA for the leapbeer blog, and thats a good thing. As I have gone on at length before, I’m a hophead. I love me some citric centennial (or is it cascade I can’t figure it out) hops in my beers. Well in the appropriate beers that is, not say … imperial red ales (*cough double dragon cough*).

This beer pours to a gorgeous golden transparent with a healthy head on top. The smell of citrus is right there with you the whole way. Only a touch of malt flavour in the sip and then its all hoppy glory. This beer is well carbinated, and leaves a delicate lacing on the glass. This is a strong IPA (8.5% ABV) but it drinks like a 6. So be careful. Don’t go all hoppysocks on us and get yourself into trouble.

Hoppy, bold and delicious.

#89 is Amnesiac Double IPA by Phillips

Enjoy Responsibly

Leapbeer Review #88 Deckhand Belgian Saison by Lighthouse Brewing

To cleanse my palate from that last debacle (Red Horse Extra Strong) I decided to go with an old standby. The Lighthouse Deckhand Belgian Saison is a very tasty and complex beer.

It pours to a deep gold, near amber unfiltered beer with a nice sized head on top. It smells of yeast, wheat and fruit. The information on their site says it is the Belgian yeast strain that add the spicy and peppery flavours to this beer. It is a stronger beer (8.0% ABV) than the previously reviewed saison, making this more of a sipper of a beer. This one is leaning  more on the spice notes for sure. It warms the stomach as it sits there.  Another note is that this beer has 2 defining moments for me. First is the first sip. When you get that fruity scent from the head right before you taste the beer it is entrancing. The aromas and flavours work in harmony with each other quite well.  Second is something mentioned in an article I read from slate.com about how serving a craft beer ice cold actually ruined its service. As this beer warms a bit, the harshness of the alcohol taste diminishes, and the nuances of the flavour come out more.  This beer is definitely worth your time. I suggest serving it slightly out of the fridge, enough for the condensation to be gone perhaps, and in a room temp tulip glass.  If you follow this advice then a tasty treat will be had.

Leapbeer #88 is Deckhand Belgian Saison by Lighthouse Brewing

One thing I’d like to note about these beers is that I’m not usually a  fan of such a large quantity of high test beer. If I were in an situation where I was sharing it with another person it’d be okay, but to drink this all would go straight to my head. I realize the 650ml bomber is the ‘standard’ of the craft brew community, but I’d really like to see more offered in smaller bottles. It is of note that both the Switchback IPA by Lighthouse and the limited run Mass Extinction Ice Barley Wine by Phillips (and most of Phillips beers actually) come in a standard 355ml bottle. Hopefully with some of the more popular selling recipes we see more of these in normal bottles from other craft breweries in the future.

Thanks for Reading and Please drink responsibly.

Leapbeer Review Red Horse Beer Extra Strong

I’m not quite sure why I bought this beer from mvls the other day. It made its way into my fridge, so it’ll make its way into my blog.  Would this be a golden find on my journey? Or would this be a dud?

This beer is a malt liquor. It pours to a golden hue with no head. It smells quite sweet. This beer is rated at a high test 8.0% ABV. It is not masked at all in the taste. This stuff doesn’t just taste bad, its repulsive.

I don’t know who the market for this beer is, but it isn’t me. I’ve drank malt liquor before, but I never recall it being this bad. Their commercial tagline is “Experience that distinctive full-flavoured taste and extra satisfying strength of a world class premium beer.” Talk about a crock of crap. This stuff is a waste of time and a waste of space. This beer is so bad I’m not even going to include it in my leapbeer list.

Behold the putrescence.

Leapbeer Reviews #84-87 1st Longwood Brewpub Fieldtrip

The other day I got an opportunity for a brief tasting at Longwood Brewpub in Nanaimo BC. I’ve been going here off and on since they started production back over 10 years ago. They introduced me to the idea of a brewpub. Long story short, I’m a fan. They have an excellent array of beers both in Cask and Cellar temps. I try to go by there every time I am in Nanaimo.

I didn’t have the longest time to do a tasting there today, otherwise I probably would’ve had a meal and spaced it out some. With only the short time I decided to do a 4x6oz sampler that they offer. As you can see from the picture below I chose the Longwood Ale, the Extra Special Bitter, the Copper Bock(seasonal)  and the Russian Imperial Stout(in the back).

I started off with their trademark ale, the one named after the place, the Longwood Ale aka Woodies Ale. This beer is a lovely coloured golden ale brewwerd with German Tettnang hops, and has a 5.0% ABV. At first smell this beer has a light hop scent to it. When you taste it you get the hops with a tangy malt back. There is a lingering bitter aftertaste.

Leapbeer #84 is Longwood Ale by Longwood Brewpub

Next I decided to try the cellar kept ESB or Extra Special Bitter. This is a translucent  copper beer. It has a tinge of citrus fruit in the taste and on the nose. It has a healthy bitter note in the middle of tasting with minimal malts. It has a clean crisp finish. This is a sipper of a beer, and I feel that serving it at this temp is a plus because cooled the flavours would be too muted.

Leapbeer #85 is ESB by Longwood Brewpub

I ordered the Winter Weizenbock for my next beer, only to find that they had finished the keg right before I ordered so I got the Copper Bock instead. This is one of their seasonal beers. I was happy to go with this beer since it was one of my go to beers when its available. It weighs in at 7.2%ABV. This is a Bock style beer that pours to a (you guessed it) copper colour. You get a big hit of the caramel malts in its scent. Also I noted that this beer seemed considerably carbonated. This does have a sweet malt initial flavour followed by a hop bite. The taste really tends to linger on the palate.  I’d say this is for sure a sipper as well. Still as delicious as I remember it.

Leapbeer #86 is Copper Bock by Longwood Brewpub

Lastly I went with their Russian Imperial Stout. I tried to keep the flavour profiles in an ascending order in strength and malts. This one has a heavy scent of malt and sweetness. It tastes even more. There is a lovely hit of bitters at the beginning of the taste, followed by the richness of the malts. This beer is the perfect marriage of molasses and bitter beer. It totally coats your mouth.

Leapbeer #87 is Russian Imperial Stout by Longwood Brewpub


So that concludes my 1st tasting at Longwood. I do look forward to coming back again as soon as I can. One note that I’ll have to attend to next time I come here is that 4pm on a Friday isn’t the ideal time for a tasting. This place was hopping. Not a problem from the business end of it, but it played a bit of havoc with my creative mojo. I did grab a 4 pack of bottles with 3 different beers that I hadn’t tried (and 1 for a special secret soon to be announced project). Expect to hear more out of this brewery in the future on this blog.

Thanks for reading and Enjoy Responsibly

Leapbeer Review #83 Father John’s Winter Ale by Howe Sound Brewing

Tonight I’m sampling from the winter seasonal offering from Howe Sound Brewing. To be honest I was kind of hesitant due to the bottle where listing flavours it reads “complex blend of ginger, nutmeg, vanilla, cinnamon, molasses, honey and yellow sugar.”

That’s a mouthful. Howe Sound typically uses these 1l bottles with their pot-stopper to retain carbonation. This beer is 7% ABV, so it’s up there a bit.

It pours to a cloudy copper with nearly no carbonation. My first sip tasted like an all out attack on my taste buds. It was very powerful. Almost so much that I considered calling this a write off and dumping the bottle. Feeling that this could have been a cop out, I soldier on and keep drinking.

As I keep going this beer starts to lengthen out in the taste and I start to see the separate notes. The ginger and cinnamon are initially overpowering, but they begin to soften revealing the other tastes. I think they brewed this beer low in carbonation, so that the ginger and cinnamon can stimulate your  palate instead. Its like they tried to cram a gingerbread house into a beer bottle, but not in an entirely bad way.

Its definitely not a session ale. I’d suggest this for the adventurous beer drinker. This is likely a beer I’d only drink once a year.

#83 is Father John’s Winter Ale

Thanks for reading.

Leapbeer Reviews #80-82 Mill St Seasonal Sampler part 2

Continuing on from my last post, here’s the rest of the sampler. As I had posted before this 6 pack is comprised of 6 different beers making it great for a tasting blog like this. However if your blog site decides to eat your last draft containing the third review (like what happened to my tankhouse ale review), then there isn’t a secondary beer to re review with. I’ll chalk it up to experience. If down the road I find myself with another Tankhouse in hand I fully intend to post my notes about it.

The last three are comprised of The Stock Ale, the Coffee Porter, and the Franconian Bock. I intend to consume them in that order due to their likely flavour profiles (so I go lighter to stronger).

First up is The Stock Ale. This is a light golden ale. They list this as the “Ultimate Hockey Beer” or “Ultimate Cottage Beer”. I think that loosely translates to a west coast fishing beer if it were in a can. It is a nice tasting golden ale. However this is a super lightweight compared to even the organic lager. There is very little carbonation to speak of. While I could see enjoying this on a hot day I’m not really feeling it right now. Don’t get me wrong, this is light years better then anything the big boys are coming up with. Something about Molson reminds me about The Simpsons where all 3 styles of Duff all came from the same tap. But I digress. As they note on their site the only presence of the hops is a bit on the nose before you sip it. If you drank it straight from the bottle you’d likely miss it.

#80 is Stock Ale by Mill St Brewery

Next I went with the Coffee Porter. Jet black pour with a nice sized head on top. This beer has the added component of Balzac coffee to the flavouring. I’ve had a couple of porters on this journey so far, so I’m not sure what to expect so far. First sip, my impression is wow. The strength of coffee flavour is impressive. I’m a big time coffee drinker, so drinking this is a treat. I don’t get any hint of a scent on the nose with this beer. It finishes crisp and clean. I don’t know what else to say, thumbs up, I’m in. I love this beer. It is the perfect marriage of two of my favorite things, beer and coffee. If there was some way to mix bacon in I doubt I would consume nothing else.

#81 is Coffee Porter by Mill St Brewery

Lastly I have the Franconian Bock. This is a Doppelbock or a Double Bock. For more information about Bock beer’s check out this wikipedia link. This beer pours to a clear copper colour with a minimal head on it. The carbonation is almost non-existent to upon looking in the glass. You get a hint of the hops in the scent. When you sip it your mouth fills with a lovely rich malt flavour, followed by a hop bite. This goes down easier than a 7.7% beer should. I’m definitely a fan of it.

#82 is Franconian Bock by Mill St Brewery.

Well that concludes my review of the seasonal sampler by Mill St Brewery. Hopefully they’ll have a bit better distribution in my area when I get a hankering for one of their products in the future. I know I will, since they were mostly so good. My favorite of the bunch was the Coffee Porter and least was the Stock Ale, however they were all good beers. Just some were better than others. None of them seemed harsh enough to not be a quaffing or session beer. Even the Franconian Bock went down really easy. I haven’t had much exposure to this brewery before now, but they are definitely on my radar now. Well done Mill Street Brewing, I thank you for your work. It’s delicious.

Thanks for reading and please drink responsibly

Til I drink again

Leapbeer Review #77-79 Mill St Seasonal Sampler Part 1

So I picked up a the Seasonal Sampler from my local lq the other day. It’s a great sampler of 6 different offerings from Toronto’s Mill St Brewery. It’s a perfect little acquisition for the leapbeer journey. Let’s begin shall we.

So I open it up and find the following. A coffee Porter, A Franconian Ale, A Tankhouse Ale, An ESB, An Organic Ale and a Stock Ale.

I decided to start with the Extra Special Bitter or ESB. This beer pours to a deep amber with a minimal head. It smells of sweet malts. Their site has some interesting information. It states there that the malt and hops are imported from England, as Bitter is a popular beer style from over there. The taste of it is really nice. It has medium carbonation, and the sweets and bitters are balanced perfectly. I quite like it. Their info also hints that the lingering taste is of chocolate and black currants. I don’t quite pick that up but it does leave a taste of fruit on the palate. At a relatively low ABV 4.6% and a 341ml serving size this is a perfect quaffer (or session beer if you will).

#77 is ESB by Mill St Brewery

If you are a fan of this style of beer, I definitely recommend it.

Secondly I decided to go with the Organic Lager. It has a light scent of yeast on the nose. Its golden hue is very inviting, and the taste as well. It is definitely more than your usual lager fare. It has a real ease going down, a definite quaffer. It finishes crisp. The ABV of 4.2% may seem low, but this is no ‘light’ beer. Reading on the bottle this actually takes 2 to 3 times longer to make than most regular beers, and it shows it in the fine arrangement of flavours. A great beer no doubt.

#78 Organic Lager by Mill St Brewery.

I went on from there to the Tankhouse Ale. This is a delightful pale ale that pours to a deep copper/amber colour. It has very complex malts and a crisp hop finish. I’d love to say more about this beer, but my previous notes got deleted by my blog software. I guess I should’ve had a backup. If I find this again down the road I’ll do a BFtP post about it to give it its proper due. It is definitely a tasty beer.

#79 is Tankhouse Ale by Mill St Brewery

So ends the first part of my review of the Mill St Seasonal Sampler. Unfortunately these beers aren’t available in my area any other way than in this sampler. Thankfully they have some very on-the-ball reps that respond to emails after hours to let me know that the Strathcona Beer and Wine in Victoria carries their beers. As that town is a prime destination for my leapbeer journey this wannabe Van Isle craft brew complete-ist will be sure to go there to restock.

Thanks for reading & Drink Responsibly

Leapbeer Out!

New stuff for March 10th

I’ve updated the FAQ with another answer. I’m also working on a list of pending reviews since I have several beers in my fridge. Also I started a poll to see what people want from the blog. Please vote.

Thanks for reading

Leapbeer Review #76 Down & Easy Pale Ale by Hoyne Brewing Co.

So this is my first beer from Hoyne Brewing Company out of Victoria. They are a relative newcomer to the craft brewey scene. However the head brewmaster, Sean Hoyne, has a well established resume working at a few craft breweries in Victoria. I don’t want to go into huge detail about their beginnings, but they do have info on their site.

This beer comes in a 650ml bomber with label art of a bunch of friends tubing down a river. It really makes me wish it were summer.

It pours to a clear deep gold/light amber. There is a hint of a scent of hops. It tastes really good. It’s definitely more hopped up than most pale ales. That said the bitterness from them doesn’t linger too long in the palate. If I were to guess where on the IBU scale this would hit it’d be 30.

I will be definitely going back for more of this in the future.

#76 is Down & Easy Pale Ale by Hoyne Brewing Co.

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