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Archive for the month “April, 2012”

3rd Leapbeer Fieldtrip – Swan Song for Surgenor Brewing

Today a co-hort of mine and I decided it was high time that the Leapbeer journey found its way to Comox’s Surgenor Brewing. We met there with the über Brewer Martin Eschbaumer for a tasting and to get a bit of the information about the future of this brewing operation.

A little history first. I distinctly remember when I first saw their beers on the shelf with the painted aluminum bottles. I was very eager to try this locally made product. Sadly, whether my palate wasn’t tuned to the task of drinking their beer or for other reasons, I really didn’t like it. I do know that since then (2-3 yrs ago) I’ve definitely broadened my tastes as far as what I enjoy and like in a beer. Back then I purchased a 6 pack each of their Steam Donkey and Red House Ales. This proved to be my only foray into the beers until this trip.

We drove up to the operation to see a great big For Sale sign on the front lawn. I had heard that the brewery was for sale, but this is now a complete shut down. In talking with the staff it has already begun its close down and dismantling of the equipment. What is happening with it you may ask. The equipment is being shipped to Baltimore Maryland to setup down there, and the crew is going down on a consulting term to help them set up. The reasons behind closing up shop are undoubtedly complex, but sadly its a fact. The doors will be shut soon. That said, there’s still beer in them thar taps, and thanks to Martin for sharing what was there.

First beer I tried was their Steam Donkey ‘Lager’. Lager is in quotes because it’s not really a lager, but I’ll get to that in a bit. This is a lovely light golden coloured beer that is very crisp. It leaves a nice delicate lacing in the glass and has an equally light mouthfeel to it. It finishes bitter, showing off its European hops. I told Martin that this tasted more like a Pilsner to me, to which he replied ‘It is a pilsner’ .
Dude, wait, what?
Isn’t it Steam Donkey LAGER? It was then explained to me that while this is a pilsner, it was marketed as a Lager to induce people who usually only drink lagers to buy it. Also it was explained that most people only thought of ‘Old Style Pilsner‘ when they thought of a pilsner beer, so they marketed the Steam Donkey as a lager to not be associated with a lesser quality beer. Regardless of all the nomenclature confusion, this is a wonderful beer. An easy drinking PISLNER that makes a great session beer from growler at the brewery (for not much longer) and in the aluminum bottles at liquor stores.

Leapbeer #128 is Steam Donkey from Surgenor Brewing Company

Next we were treated to their Red House Ale. This is a red india pale ale in the traditional sense. Not to be confused with the uberhopped PNW IPA’s that have become so popular as of late. Their beers are brewed strictly by the Reinheitsgebot which forbids dry hopping. When Martin explained that to me it was completely news to me. I’m absolutely not an expert on the Bavarian purity law of 1516, in fact I couldn’t even remember its German name (I asked).

Back to the beer. The Red house smells quite malty, but it has a lovely bitterness to it. If I would compare it to previously reviewed beers it’d be most similar to the Wells IPA. Red house has a real nice balance to it and a good finish. It too is a 5.0% ABV making it also a good session beer.

Leapbeer #129 is Red House Ale by Surgenor Brewing Company

Those were all they had left in their taps when I went. There were previously 2 other beers they made, but I never got a chance to try them. All hope is not lost, however, since after setting up in Baltimore they plan to open again under the Shelter Point banner as ‘Shelter Point Beers/Brewery’ or something of that nature. And again these tasty beers (Or something of equal quality) will be available again soon. They hope to be up and running in the area in the summer or fall of 2012.

I encourage you to go down and try them if you get a chance, I enjoyed both the beers and the hospitality of the Brewery. It is with a hopeful outlook that I look forward to their next iteration.

Thanks for reading everyone

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Leapbeer Inventory April 28th

When I posted my beer challenge I said I’d do an inventory of all my beers-in-waiting so I did. We recently received a beer fridge for downstairs and it is full. I’ve got some work ahead of me to free up some space. Here’s what I have in the wings as of April 28th.

 

Imports
Bear Republic Hop Rod Rye
Steinlager
Elysian The Immortal IPA
Elysian Avatar Jasmine IPA
Lagunitas Bavarian-Styled Doppel Weizen
Lagunitas IPA
Pike IPA
Pike Naughty Nellie
Samuel Smiths Oatmeal Stout
Samuel Smiths Nut Brown Ale
Samuel Smiths India Ale
Hobgoblin
Paulaner Salvator
Modelo Light
Chouffe Dobbelen IPA Tripel
Indica IPA
Post Road Pumpkin Ale

Canadian
Propeller Revolution RIS
Mill St Lemon Tea Beer
Cheakamus Chai-Maple Ale
Tin Whistle Peach Cream Ale
Cannery Wildfire IPA
Cannery Blackberry Porter
Russell Nectar of the Gods
King Heffy Hefeweizen
Megadestroyer Imperial Stout
Singularity RIS 2012
SotM Strong Golden Ale
Crooked Coast Altbier
Black Tail Dark Malt Porter
Beachcomber Summer Ale
Double Decker IPA
Blue Bridge Double IPA
Devils Dream IPA
Belgian Black
Big Bock
Double Barrel Scotch Ale
Dark Matter
Longwood IPA
Longwood Frambois

 

 

Leapbeer Review #127 Hoyner Pilsner by Hoyne Brewing

It is nice to be back drinking and reviewing Vancouver Island craft beers. I really liked my trip away, but it’s been too long since I tasted the sweet nectre that is VI craft beer. Tonights selection comes again from Hoyne Brewery in Victoria BC. It’s the 2nd Hoyne in the leapbeer journey, Hoyne Pilsner.

This pilsner smells delicious. It pours to a deep golden colour with a frothy white head. It smells like any great pilsner should. It’s of note that I haven’t had a sip yet so these are just initial thoughts. I really hope it lives up to the hype I’m giving it. Before I could even get this out and a drop in my mouth my wife swindles the glass and takes the first sip. She says she likes it, so that is already boding well for me.

Time to drink. This pilsner is very refreshing and good. It has great carbonation which balances out the european hops. Pilsner Hops are known to somewhat attack the palate, and this beer is no different. The taste lingers in your mouth quite nicely. This beer is really tasty. It’s served from a 650ml bomber at 5.3% ABV. As you drink it, this beer leaves a lovely delicate lacing in the glass.

Leapbeer #127 is Hoyner Pilsner by Hoyne Brewery in Victoria BC

Thanks for reading

Leapbeer Abroad – Reviews #124-126 Treasures of Gwal Mar

The next beers I found while on vacation in Puerto Vallarta were somewhat odd. My wifes father and spouse live in PV half of the year and they took us to what the locals call “Gwal-mar”. In case you didn’t guess it’s Wal-Mart. We were there getting some supplies and I stumbled upon a few beers I figured I’d never see again. Of course that meant I HAD to buy them.

Here’s the haul.

First off is the beer from Argentina, Quilmes. Quilmes is a light golden lager. It does pour to about a 1cm head and it has some good head retention. It smells of lager yeast, as one would expect. It has a nice slight bitterness to it. It was a welcome change to the relatively bland beers our resort was offering. My wife enjoyed this beer too, saying it had ‘zing’ and ‘a sparkle’. I think she meant it had a refreshing balance of bitterness and carbonation. It came in a 355ml can and had an ABV of 4.9%.

Leapbeer #124 is Quilmes Cerveza from Argentina

Next we found 2 beers from another South American country, this time Uruguay. First from Patricia is their Dunkel.

This beer pours to a deep chocolate brown. It smells of deep malts and molasses. Tastes overly malted for my taste. Its very sweet, almost cloyingly so. I didn’t like it.  I did, however, like the embossed P bottle. Even though it was only a 300ml tiny guy. ABV was 5.4%

#125 is Patricia Dunkel

Next from Patricia is their Ltd Edition Porter. This beer had an award sticker on it. I had to do some digging but it was for Beer Cup Mexico 2010. It placed silver in the dark beer category. Here’s what the sticker looked like.

Here’s the awards page to verify their placement. They lost out to a mexican beer. Thank you google translate (I really need to practice my Spanish). This beer pours darker than the Dunkel. Almost the colour and head you’d see in an espresso. It smells very malty. Once I smelled it I was concerned that it’d be sickeningly sweet like the dunkel. I was surprised to find it had a wonderful bitterness to it. This beer was a great cap to this tasting.  Again served from their p embossed 300ml bottle this porter was slightly beefier at 5.8% ABV.

Leapbeer #126 was Patricia Ltd Edition Porter

This concludes the strange finds I got from our holiday. I didn’t want to post about the mexican beers because they were almost completely identical. I realize there were subtle nuances between Pacifico and Sol and Dos Equis etc etc , but they are all very bland lager beers in my opinion. If I was going to post about beers found abroad I wanted to post something out of the norm. One side note about the normal lager beers though. At one restaurant we went to called El Colequita in La Cruz de Huanacaxtle serves their Tecate (and only the Tecate) with 2 shrimps coming out of the can. I asked why they did this and the server just said “We wanted to make a tradition for this restaurant, and this is what we came up with”. The food here was mostly good and the price included tequila, desert and kaluha. But the shrimp in the beer fascinated me. Here’s a pic from another blog.


Thanks for reading.

Site Update – Beer Challenge

I’m opening a challenge to my readers today. I’ve had to take some time off drinking beer due to travel and a pinch of sickness, but its wearing off and I’m getting thirsty. I have one update to do from my trip. After that one comes out, however, I’m getting right back at the task at hand. 1 beer at a time.

My challenge to you is this, if you live outside of my area and you want to try some of the best beers Vancouver island has to offer, lets swap. I’m going to put together a few bomber’s of local craft brew to send away to anyone who’s willing to swap with me. I realize this isn’t a new concept, in fact I was alerted to it by a friend who uses ratebeer for the same purpose. That said, while I love hearing about how good beer X is from this place or that, now’s the time to put your money where the suds are. I’ll match beer for beer with whatever is sent within reason (I need to check postage). It’ll be on the honor system.

This is primarily focused on my non-west coast readership, as most vancouver people actually have a better access to beers than me. BUT I have a different offer for you. I’m planning a couple of road trips to breweries that you could be a part of. I’m going to be going to Powell River to sample the Townsite Brewery and I’m planning to run out to Tofino to get some from the Tofino Brewing Company .

I’m obviously not coming over to van and picking you up from your door, but if you make it to a Nanaimo bound ferry I’ll get you there. These will be a limited space availability so it’ll be first come first served.

I’m not doing this for any money, just for better beer availability. I’m also going to post a list soon of all the beers I have in my fridge so we don’t double up.

For those of you who’ve already helped me out with new beers, Kev, Frank, Martin, Molly, Big D, and my folks. THANK YOU so much for helping me so far. A big extra special thanks to daDef for being my Victorian Gopher (not as dignified as Senior VP of Leapbeer Acquisitions but I think it sounds better)

Thanks for reading, keep tuning in to see how it goes. My beerfridge list will be posted soon.

EDIT: I shouldve posted my email addy for anyone to respond to. heav_c@hotmail.com

Leapbeer Review #123 Sol Limón y Sal

So I’m writing this review while abroad. I’m on vacation in Puerto Vallarta.

I’ve ran into issues trying to find Mexican craft beers so far, but this one kind of intrigued me. It’s a Sol beer with lime and salt.

It pours to a golden lager with no head. There is a smell of lime for sure with it. When you drink the beer it tastes exactly as advertised, like a Sol with lime and salt. The saltiness in it is more prevalent than I would have expected. It doesn’t taste terrible. I’d like go back for another. I’m not sure why people add salt to their beers. Perhaps if you’re reading this and you know post it in the comments.

Leapbeer #123 is Sol w/ Limón y Sal

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Thanks for reading

2nd Leapbeer Fieldtrip – Victoria part 2 Swans

This post is going to be a cobbling together of my notes from Swans Brewpub. We had the opportunity to go there during my last trip to Victoria, and we got a nice sampler of their beers. They had 11 tap varieties available.

1st Tray

2nd Tray

Riley’s Scotch Ale Oatmeal Stout Beast Cygnet Wheat Ale
Riley’s Scotch Ale Extra IPA Pandora Pale Ale Old Towne Lager
Raspberry Ale Appleton Brown Ale Buckerfields ESB

Arctic Ale

We got a double up of the Scotch Ale to balance out the trays. Here’s our notes. I do plan to revisit some of these beers in the future when I go back there, but I apologize for how brief our notes are. It wasn’t the best time to go in for a tasting as the place was hopping.

Riley’s Scotch Ale – Really heavy malts. Quite high alcohol content, making it somewhat off putting (8.0% ABV not masked at all)

Raspberry Ale – Very strong raspberry flavour, more raspberry than beer. 7.0% ABV but not as noticeable as the Scotch Ale

Oatmeal Stout – Smells of licorice, very crisp and easy drinking. 5.4% ABV

Extra IPA – Excellent Aroma, well hopped, lingering bitterness. 6.9% ABV

Appleton Brown Ale – Very prominent barrel taste of the rum barrels- Initially caused a recoil, but the flavour grew on me.

Beast – A cidery and malty taste. Really tastes like cider. 9.1% ABV. Quite a strong flavour.

Pandora Pale Ale – Very tasty, a slight bitterness. A very quaffable ale. 4.5% ABV

Buckerfield’s ESB – Smells quite sweet, taste is surprisingly bitter. Favorite of the night for me. 5.0% ABV

Cygnet Wheat Ale – Smells like a wheat beer, appears like a filtered Hoegaarden. Has the banana aroma wheat beers are associated with, fairly sweet. No ABV info. Left4beer noted it at 4.2% ABV.

Old Towne Lager – Jeff really liked this one, besides that my notes are unreadable. 5.0% ABV

Arctic Ale – No smell to speak of. Very easy drinking beer. 4.5% ABV

I’d like to thank Swans for their hospitality. While it seems I may have ripped their beers a bit I’m absolutely planning to go back and try them again. As I noted we were there at a real inopportune time to do a tasting. For more information about the establishment please check out their website here.

Thanks for reading

Leapbeer Review #122 Voodoo Doughnut Maple Bacon Ale by Rogue Brewery

Imagine if you will a mad scientist. In an attempt to cobble together some of the worlds most sought after tastes he produces a frothy alcoholic beverage that he feels has fit the bill. Is this a culinary abomination ala Danny Devito’s Vincent Benedict? Or is it an Alcoholic Adonis ala Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Julius Benedict.

Yes you read that title right. It is a maple doughnut and bacon infused beer.

To say that they went with a somewhat ostentatious packaging is an understatement. The pepto bismol coloured bottle practically dances off the shelf. A special thanks and tip of the hat goes to Kevin for picking this up for me. I only recently heard about this beer, but the idea of it intrigued me.

When you crack the bottle you are hit with the scent of maple syrup. It pours to a lovely deep amber. If you smell it from about 3 inches away from the glass you get all maple syrup. The closer you get to the glass then the bacon hits you. It is super powerful. I’m almost afraid of drinking it. I’m tempted and scared in the same go. This is probably the closest to an adrenaline rush I’ll get from drinking beer.

The smokiness of the bacon is really overpowering. It tastes less bacon-ish and more burnt. It is less in the taste of the beer, and more in the smell of it. If you drink it without smelling it isn’t that bad. I’m not saying that the beer is terrible, it’s just really bowls you over with the smell. I’m still not sure if I’m going to go drink the 2nd half of this frankenbrew.

This is likely an experience I won’t be doing regularly. However I’m glad to say that I’ve had it.

Just a note about the beer, it displays a marriage of 2 of Oregon’s premiere establishments. Voodoo Doughnuts has made the Maple Bacon Bar famous, and Rouge Brewery has produced many a tasty beer.

Leapbeer #122 (YAY 33.33% Complete) is Voodoo Doughnut Maple Bacon Ale by Rogue Brewery

Thanks again for reading. 1/3 in and still going strong.

Leapbeer Review #121 – White Bark Wheat Ale by Driftwood

To say I’ve been developing a bit of a love affair with Driftwood Brewery’s beers is somewhat of an understatement. In my somewhat limited opinion, they are producing some of the best beers available. Easily they make the best beer I’ve had so far, but I promised myself I wasn’t going to mention it again for a while.

I return to their stable this evening to sample their White Bark Wheat Ale. Their site has some wonderful info about it. This traditional Belgian-style wheat ale is brewed with the addition of freshly ground coriander and curacao orange peel. Hops are outshone by the wonderful floral aromas that dominate the nose of this dry and quaffable beer.

It pours to a cloudy light gold colour with a fluffy white head on it. It smells of a floral bouquet and fruit. Initially it tastes really refreshing and then gets almost a bit spicy to it. The coriander really comes through. I know people usually say wheat beers smell of banana’s, but I don’t get that from this beer. The oil from the orange peel helps to stick the taste of this beer with you. I served this straight from the fridge, and it is going down really easy. A quaffer if there ever was one. This beer is served from a 650ml bottle at 5% ABV. Again this is one that I’d love to have available in a 6 pack to encourage sharing, but thats kind of a throw away point. It is a treat to drink.

Thank you again Driftwood for your delicious brews.

Leapbeer #121 is White Bark Wheat Ale by Driftwood Brewery

As a site note I’m going to be away to Mexico for a week. I’m going to try to do some site posts while I’m away and get some scheduled for release while I’m gone. I’m also going to try to uncover Mexican craft beers. Another note, my next review will be #122 or 1/3 of the way through the journey.

Thanks again for reading, Enjoy your beers responsibly folks.

Leapbeer Review #120 Bob’s Your Dunkel by Mt Begbie Brewery

Before I begin the review I want to mourn the loss of one of my Innis & Gunn tulip glasses. A good friend “accidentally” knocked it off the table and shattered it. It will be missed *sob*.

Time to drown my sorrows in beer, just kidding, but it is time to enjoy a beer.

Again I reach to a brew bought by my lead acquisitionist, Bob’s Your Dunkel (weizen) by Mt Begbie Brewery. This beer pours to a lovely cloudy milk chocolate colour. It smells of malt, hazelnuts and chocolate.

It tastes really nice. While the beginning of the taste is mostly rich malt, it gets interrupted with the bitter hop notes. There’s even a hint of orange and licorice in the bitter finish. It lingers for a bit, but it is lightly carbonated making it a good quaffer of a beer. Its surprising because it’s a heavyweight at 8.0%ABV.

Leapbeer #120 is Bob’s Your Dunkel by Mt Begbie Brewery

Thanks for reading

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