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Archive for the month “April, 2012”

Leapbeer Reviews #118 & 119 Coastal Cream Ale and Four Twenty Brilliant Lager by Shaftebury Brewery

I’ve always held a special place of fondness for Shaftebury Brewery in Vancouver. They were my first real taste of bottled craft beer. I revered their long retired ‘wet coast winter ale’. It was my seasonal treat that I tried to get as much of as I could. Its not like it was retired recently, I remember drinking it back in the late 90’s. I’m going to review 2 of their current offerings today.

First off is the Coastal Cream Ale. It pours to a deep amber colour with a small head. The scent off the head reminds me of nuts and ginger. It definitely tastes creamy and malty. It really coats the mouth and hangs out in your palate. The bitter hop note sits for me right in the centre of my palate for quite a while. It also leaves some nice lacing on the glass. The carbonation too is nice, it isn’t so much to make this a sipper. It’d make a great session ale.

That said, this isn’t the best cream ale I’ve had. Even on the blog journey I prefer the Irish cream ale. It is still a good beer that I’ll drink again in the future.

Leapbeer #118 is Coastal Cream Ale by Shaftebury

Next I’m moving on to their Four Twenty Brilliant Lager. When this came out I kind of scoffed at it a bit.¬† I haven’t had it in quite some time, and I don’t remember liking it. Maybe my tastes will have changed since then? Can they win over my preconceived prejudices?

The Beer itself pours to a light golden colour. There is a thin white head that forms on top. It smells of yeast and corn. It tastes like an earthy lager. It finishes crisp, but there is that earthy taste that I’m not a fan of. Somewhat forgettable for a lager beer in my opinion. I guess that they didn’t win me over. Now I’m stuck with the rest of a 6 pack. Oh wells.

#119 is Four Twenty Brilliant (yeah right) Lager by Shaftebury Brewery

A few notes about the can art/packaging of these beers. It is remarkably spartan. There is the usual volume and ABV information on it. But besides the ‘Brewed in BC’ there is literally no information about the beer. No description about what went into the brewing process. Also there’s no website information. Even after finding it their site has been ‘Under Construction’ for a really long time. A bit of digging on the interwebs revealed that they were bought out either by Sleeman or Okanagan Springs. Perhaps this is the reason for their delcine. It’s too bad since they could be considered one of the forefathers of craft beer in British Columbia.

Who knows, maybe they’ll make a dramatic return with a truly epic beer. (hopefully Re-Wet Coast Winter Ale)

Thanks for reading. Enjoy Responsibly.

Leapbeer Review #117 Keepers Stout by Lighthouse Brewery

My sister and head of leapbeer acquisitions delivered this beer along with a large parcel for the blog. This is one that she noted was a great beer that she really liked.

This beer pours to a deep black colour. As it pours a latte coloured head forms on top. It does dissipate after a while though. It smells of licorice and also smells really malty.

It tastes really good. It has a nice sweetness, and is a very refreshing stout. I could find this to be a great session stout, which I find strange as stout isn’t your usual stout beer. The taste really lingers on the palate. It stays with you even after the beer is gone. Too bad mine is gone, as I’d love another.

Their site suggests cooking with their stout, which is something I like. I love to cook with beer. I’ve always used beer in my tomato pasta sauce since it cuts the acidity really well.

Leapbeer #117 is Keepers Stout by Lighthouse Brewery

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Leapbeer Review #116 Wood Cutter Dark Ale by Wolf Brewing

I haven’t had a Wolf Brewing beer in a while so I decided to give their Wood Cutter a try. Its a Dark ale that pours to a coffee colour with about a 1cm head that dissipates after time. It smells of malt and caramel. It has quite a rich taste initially yet it is balanced by a slight bitterness and carbonation. It does have some lingering bitterness to it as well. It doesn’t seem like my usual kind of beer, so I don’t see myself getting this again. It’s not that its bad, just that I’ve had some very good brown ale’s and this doesn’t really compare. Specs are its a 650ml bottle with a 6.0% ABV.

Leapbeer #116 is Wood Cutter Dark Ale by Wolf Brewing (Nanaimo, BC)

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Leapbeer Review #115 Czech Pilsner by Longwood Brewpub

Recently having been through Nanaimo I decided to grab a growler full of beer from Longwood Brewpub. I make it a habit to stop there any chance I get. They hadn’t changed their tap menu since I’d been there last, so I picked their Czech Pilsner to try. I may have had it before, but I didn’t remember it. Surely it had been a long time.

My growler full I pour a glorious golden glass of this tasty beverage. It has a slight smell of beer to it, no major hoppy or yeasty notes though. It has a real nice bitter note in the sip. It coats the mouth nicely. It is a really easy drinking pislner. At 5.5% ABV this is a great session ale. I’m a fan of the growler fill as it gives you a long time to savour beer. If it sucked then you’d be stuck with a bunch of bad beer, but with this one it was great. It may have been a long time since I’d had it before I don’t believe it’ll be a long break between tastings again.

One other note, the longwood website says they use a generous dose of saaz hops. This (according to wikipedia) is the same hops that the original Czech Pilsner is made with.

A couple days later I went back to this to polish the growler off. I drank it while eating a quite spicy & acidic salad, and this beer held up well. A perfect quaff after a spicy bite.

I apologize for the picture. I usually don’t take the pic when its already been drank, but I forgot with this beer. You’d think that with 64oz of beer I’d have ample time to take a great picture of it. I just plum forgot to do it.

#115 is Czech Pilsner by Longwood Brewpub (Nanaimo BC)

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Leapbeer Review #114 Brooklyn Lager By Brooklyn Brewery

This next beer has something of an interesting back story to it. It’s not noted on their site, but this beer recipe actually dates back to the pre prohibition era. It is a dry hopped beer which is an aroma enhancer, without adding the bitterness. It’s the Brooklyn Breweries flagship/namesake beer. Bought as a 6-pack from MVLS it comes in 355ml bottles at a 5.2% ABV, making it a great session ale.

It pours to a lovely deep amber colour with about a 1cm head. It smells of lager beer, light malts and yeast. It tastes very malty. It also has considerable bitterness for a lager. This makes it a treat to drink, and it doesn’t get boring. It is well carbonated. Also it leaves a nice lacing in the glass. There is a real floral note to from the hops, likely from the dry hopping.

#114 is Brooklyn Lager by Brooklyn Brewery (Brooklyn, NY)

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Leapbeer Review #113 Dark Chocolate Porter by Lighthouse Brewery

A quick note before I get into the review. Today (April 7th) is ‘national beer day‘. Its the day FDR put into motion the move to repeal prohibition in the USA. Hooray for that! Us canucks still had our beer but our neighbours to the south were allowed to quaff to their hearts content. Enjoy responsibly out there and enjoy your craft beer. Now on to the review.

I decided tonight to go with one of the new beers from Lighthouse Brewery. It is a deep and rich chocolate porter.

It pours to a deep black colour with a 1cm cream coloured head. It smells of light coca, with hints of licorice and malt.

It tastes of chocolate and the deep malts. The sweetness from the malt is balanced by the carbonation. It really lingers in the palate too. It isn’t the best porter I’ve had so far in the leapbeer journey, but its very good. I really wished they had some more information on their website about it. It does note that the “beyond fair trade” cocoa nibs come from Ghana, West Africa.

Of note, the label art is surprisingly spartan. It has a picture of the cocoa pod, and minor notes (650ml and 5.5% ABV). I’m guessing that it may have been rushed to bottling as the majority of Lighthouse beers have great label art.

Leapbeer #113 is Dark Chocolate Porter by Lighthouse Brewery

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Leapbeer Review #112 Apricot Unfiltered Wheat Ale by Pyramid Breweries

This is another sampling from my acquired haul from Viti, thanks again to Darcie & Kevin for picking this up. This is a very fruit flavoured (and scented) wheat beer.

It pours to a lovely cloudy orange colour. The scent of apricot is very heavy. It also seems very heavily carbonated. The taste is quite sweet, with a distinct apricot flavour. I guessed that they must use dried apricots to get such a concentration of flavour. There is no real bitter note to this beer, but the prolific bubbles crisply finish the taste. As I drink down on this it leaves very minimal lacing on the glass. Another note is that the sweetness is bordering on cloying by the end of the glass. It’s a refreshingly different beer, but I doubt I’d go back for a 2nd right away as it is very overpowering. It’s served from a 12oz (355ml) bottle at 5.1% ABV.

Leapbeer #112 is Apricot Unfiltered Wheat Ale By Pyramid Breweries (of Seattle, WA)

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Leapbeer Review #111 Erdinger Weissbier Dunkel

Tonight I reached for one of the beers I’ve really looked forward to since getting it. I had reviewed the standard Erdinger Weissbier earlier, and to sum up, I really really liked it. This is their dark or dunkel wheat beer. I poured it with my inverted pour into my tall weizen glass and set to the task.

There is very faint notes in the scent of this beer. You get a bit of the ‘banana’ smell that is usually attributed to weiss or weizen beers. It has a white foamy head that forms on top. It tastes a fair amount maltier, which is expected. To balance it out they added some more bitterness in hops. I’m not 100% sold on this rendition of their wheat beer. The golden version was so very delicious. This one isn’t bad, but their is quite a lot of carbonation making it quite a gassy time. I wouldn’t be able to drink more than 1 or 2 of these without needing a breather. Getting back to the taste, there is no aftertaste.

It isn’t bad, but I’ve had better dunkelweizen’s. Which I’ll review later on in the year.

#111 is Erdinger Weissbier Dunkel (from Erding, Germany)

I tried to get a shot of how this was a cloudy brown colour, but the glass kept getting condensation.

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Leapbeer Review #110 Winter Weisenbock by Longwood Brewpub

When I did my field trip to Longwood brewpub, I was oddly surprised that they didn’t have this beer on tap. What amazed me was it was available in bottles, and a different beer (the Copper Bock) which wasn’t on the menu was available. Win/Win/Win in my books.

I decided it was high time for me to hit the high test winter wheat beer. This 650ml bomber has a high test 7.8% beer inside that my server noted ‘drinks like a 5% beer’. I was eager to give it a try. Its made with 50% wheat which apparently gives ‘it a distinctively creamy sensation and rich malty flavour’. It pours to a lovely amber colour, and smells lightly of dried fruit. This beer tastes fairly sweet at first, but as it coats the mouth it really balances out. It is really refreshing. It tastes so good that I totally agree with the servers comments. It would easily go down, making it a somewhat dangerous beer.

They call it the “White Beast (Bete Blanche)”. It is another fantastic beer from a great brewpub.

#110 is Winter Weisenbock by Longwood Brewpub.

Special thanks again to Longwood for this and all their great beers. I noted before that they were the first brewpub I’d ever frequented, and they definitely inspired my love of craft beer.

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Leapbeer Review #109 St-Ambroise Oatmeal Stout

Tonight I sit down to a nice dark glass of yum. The St-Ambroise Oatmeal Stout is a lovely representation of this style of beer. It comes in a perfect serving size (bottle filled my tulip glass no more no less). And its a 5.0% ABV making it a welcome ‘normal’ test beer. I wasn’t sure what made oatmeal stouts different from other stouts, so I went to good ol internets for the information. Wikipedia has quite the ream of info on their ‘Stout‘ page, but I like how beeradvocate puts it quite concisely.

“These are generally medium to full bodied stouts that have an unreal smoothness to them from the addition of oats to the mash. The oats not only add a lot of smoothness to the mouth feel but give a touch of sweetness that is unlike any other type of stout. Both levels of roasted flavor and hop character will vary.”

As they will tell you on their website, St-Ambroise uses 40% dark malts and roasted barley in this beer creating a deep black colour. You could say it is so black it could bend time (Mohr Stories ref). It smells of toffee and chocolate, and has a cafe au lait coloured foamy head on top. This has a lovely bitter afternote to accent the sweetness. You get all the roasted malts, but they are almost shocked with the finish. Instead of a lingering sweet your palate is refreshed. It feels weird to say this, however this is a fairly light stout. In flavour I mean. The way its balanced it doesn’t demand sipping. I don’t suggest slugging down your glass as quickly as you can. I’m just saying that if you wanted to quaff it down this goes down really easy. It doesn’t have the standard ‘syruppy mouthfeel’ you get from most stouts.

All in all this is a great beer. I look forward to another.

#109 is St-Ambroise Oatmeal Stout.

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