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Archive for the month “June, 2012”

Leapbeer Review #182 Hobgoblin by Wychwood Brewery

This import was picked up by Frank for me and the blog. Thanks to him for that. It’s an import from the UK. It is an extra special bitter style beer with some flavour additives. Their website (http://www.wychwood.co.uk/#/movies//hobgoblin/beers/2) describes this beer like this.

Traditionally craft brewed with Chocolate & Crystal malts and a blend of Styrian, Goldings & Fuggles hops to produce a full-bodied, Ruby beer that delivers a delicious chocolate toffee malt flavour, balanced with a rounded moderate bitterness and an overall fruity, mischievous character. Deliciously Dark. What’s the matter Lagerboys … Aftraid you might taste something?
Goes with … Hobgoblin is the perfect beer to drink with meat stews & Steak & Ale pies, Sausages & Mash, Burgers & BBQs; roasts & char-grilled vegetables.

It pours to a transparent copper/amber/ruby colour with a light beige head on it. The head leaves nice lacing on the glass. It smells sweet, but not overly so. It has a hint of dried cherries or currants to it. When you drink it there’s a very different flavour to it. Initially it is malty and sweet. But then it gets a bit sour, like tart cherries. Then it has a clean finish to it. While when you first start drinking it you don’t notice the bitterness, it does build in your mouth. It’s an interesting import, even if it isn’t my favorite.

Leapbeer #182 Hobgoblin by Wychwood Brewery

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Leapbeer Review #181 Scorpion Double India Pale Ale by Tin Whistle Brewing Company

I’m attempting to decipher the difference between a double ipa and an imperial ipa. I inquired of my knowledgeable beer folks over twitter and they are the same thing. I was also told that Imperial is the preferred term. I assumed that the double mean the double I in when you shorten ‘imperial india pale ale’ to IIPA. Regardless of that, the IIPA’s/DIPA’s are a welcome hoppy sight to this beer drinker.

The Scorpion DIPA is a bold beer, as you may have guessed. Their label doesn’t lie. Although I think the inclusion of ‘Extreme’ may be a bit of an over statement.  It is a limited run by the Tin Whistle Brewery in Penticton BC. This beer pours to a golden/copper colour with a frothy white head on top. It smells super hopped. When you drink it the taste of it starts quite malty, then the bitterness builds gradually. It feels very thick in the mouth when you drink it. I do enjoy this beer, but it isn’t my favorite double india pale ale. Regardless of that I do think it makes for a tasty pint.

Leapbeer #181 is Scorpion Double India Pale Ale by Tin Whistle Brewing Company

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Leapbeer Review #180 Innis & Gunn Canada Day 2012

Again a care package from my friends at Your Brand Integrated Marketing arrived the other day. Thank you Symphony Kwong for providing me with this sample.

While Innis & Gunn has been releasing their special oak aged Canada Day beer for three years now, this is the first version I’ve had a chance to try. This is a very powerful beer, logging in at 7.7% ABV. The past few I&G beers I’ve had were all great. I have high hopes for this one as another of the ‘new to me’ things that leapbeer has been showing me is the joys of barrel aged beers. I recently had easily one of the best so far this year that was a barrel aged product(soon to be posted). Before I get onto more of my thoughts on the product here’s what Innis & Gunn had to say about it.

A word or two about the beer:
Alongside Ale Malt, we added Aromatic Barley Malt which imparts the beer’s rich toffee colour and satisfying maltiness. We used Goldings hops from three farms in East Kent to give the beer a bitterness to balance out the core malt sweetness.
We then slowly oak matured the beer to unlock the delicious flavours of vanilla and toffee locked inside the oak grain. Tasty!
The packaging for this year’s Canada Day beer has been created by Canadian artist Gary Whitley who won this year’s Innis & Gunn art competition.
Being a proud Canadian, Gary was inspired to use the national emblem, the leaf of the Sugar Maple with its distinctive shape and vibrant colour, to add a sense of both drama and fun to his iconic piece.
Gary Whitley has been a professional artist for more than 30 years. His work, which takes inspiration from the great Canadian outdoors, is exhibited across the state of British Columbia and has seen him chosen as a Signature Member of the Society of Canadian Artists. We are proud to showcase his outstanding work in celebration of Canada’s national day.

as per http://www.innisandgunn.com/en/the-range/canada-day-2012.aspx

I pour this beer into my I&G glass, and it has a deep amber colour like that of a rich a maple syrup. This beer smells great. It smells of sweetness, spices, maple and oak. When you taste it the higher alcohol content is very well masked. It is a sweet beer. You get a real big hit of vanilla and maple on it, with a hint of caramel as well. I fear that the sweetness is a bit to omnipresent, almost overpoweringly so. I’m not a huge fan of sweeter beers, and this one isn’t breaking that perception. It isn’t terrible, just not my cup of tea.

Leapbeer #179 Innis & Gunn Canada Day 2012

Thank you to Symphony for the sample, and thank you for reading.

Addendum; For those of you wondering why I numbered this one 180, when the last one was 178, it was because I missed adding Salvator to my master list when I reviewed it in the #150 spot. Then I erroneously reviewed another in the 150 spot. Rather than go back and re number every other beer since then I chose to insert Salvator at 179.

Leapbeer Review #178 Dark Matter by Hoyne Brewing

Just a quick note, this accidentally posted on the 26th via email while I was still editing it. If you got it, this is just a copy and I apologize.

This lovely brown ale made its debut back in March at the upstart Hoyne Brewing Company. I got a chance to try it off tap the weekend it was released, but it’s taken this long to get it into the blog.

This beer pours to a deep chocolate colour, like one of those bars of 70%+ dark chocolate. There’s a nice frothy head atop. When I smell it I get a lot of malt and molasses. Taste is more of that, plus the added hint of bitter chocolate. It tastes almost like toast, as if it has a bitter ash component to it.There is a thickness to this beer in your mouth, like what you’d expect when drinking a heavier wine. I’d guess that this beer would likely pair well with a rich protein, like a steak or bison. The taste of cocoa really lingers with you, not like sweetened chocolate though. It pairs well with the minor levels of hops bitterness present in this brew.

As I’m trying to pinpoint my thoughts on this beer it makes me think. ‘What kind of beer is this really?’ It’s labelled as a Dark Ale, but it has elements of a brown ale and a porter. I’d probably call it a hybrid, like a brown porter. As things continue to expand and evolve in the craft beer world, I find myself getting more and more confused. Confused yes, but satiated also. This beer, while hard to classify, is very good.

Leapbeer #178 is Dark Matter by Hoyne

An added note for you. Not so much beer related, but it has to do with the label. Anyone with an opportunity to see Northern Lights should try this. While you watch them whistle a tune. Just make it up. It will appear like the lights dance to the tune you make. Its somewhat cool and also a bit unnerving. I used to live in the northern interior of British Columbia where we got regular northern lights shows. They are a very awe inspiring thing to watch.

Thanks again for reading.

Leapbeer Review #177 Wildfire IPA by Cannery Brewing

Leapbeer has really been a journey of discovery for me. While I previously considered myself a ‘cautiously adventurous beer consumer’ this time I’ve tipped even further towards that precipice. I now peer towards the chasm that is the rabbit hole of craft beers. This year has also been one of firsts for me too. The Wildfire IPA by Cannery Brewing marks my first black IPA. I’d be amiss to not note that India Pale Ale’s have been a regular beer style for me for the past decade. BUT good IPA’s, truly good ones, I’ve only experienced in the past 2 years. As a person who enjoys all styles off beer I’m curious to see how this dark version of my beloved beer comes off.

I poured the beer and wow, they weren’t kidding about it being a black beer. It’s jet black. So black that it won’t even let maximillion escape. A deep black pour with a beige head on it. I smell the beer and get a real hit of roasted malt. The bottle advertises fierce hop, gentle bite. I’m guessing they aggressively hopped it, but in a way that wouldn’t overwhelm the roasted malts. When drank cold It tastes more like a porter to me. I get some latent bitterness from the hops, but I don’t smell them. I’m going to let it acclimate a bit to the room temp before I finish the glass.

When warmed up a bit this beer does something I have never experienced before. The malts get attenuated and the hops get amplified. I get all of the bold hoppy ipa flavour, but with a muted rich roasted malt undercurrent. Normally with beers when they are served at a closer to room temp (10c) the malts get amplified. In the case of this beer it is the opposite. This is a feat I’m sure the brew staff at Cannery would hesitate to share. It’s be easy to call them crazy for not sharing, but in truth, they’re the Naramata Nuts.

Both cool or tepid this beer is smooth. For my first black IPA I’m glad to say I like it.

Leapbeer #177 is Wildfire IPA by Cannery Brewing

Cannery made this beer as a tribute to those who fight forest fires every year in the interior. Kudos to them for that, those men and women are very brave and deserve such honor.

Thanks for reading

PS: I included a fairly random movie quote in this review, if you know it share in the comments.

Leapbeer Reviews – Phillips HopBox 2012

What can I say? I am a sucker for a mixer pack. They allow me to usually get a nice variety of beers, and this offering is no different. The only thing that would make a mixer pack better is if it features beers that I like. As I’ve mentioned several times over, I’m a fan of the hoppier beers. The Phillips hop box is a celebration of the flower of that lil rhyzome , Humulus Lupulus (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Humulus_lupulus) Phillips has released their hop box for at couple of years now. Its labelled as a “specifically designed long range hop transport case. It ensures the hops, liquified in an amorphous non-crystalizing, yet refreshing barley matrix, are delivered safely to you, the deserving IPA lover. While the hopbox is purpose built for rapid deployment of the Hopcircle IPA, Skookum Cascadian Brown and The Krypton RyePA, The hopbox also welcomes random hoppy passengers, check the window seat for this box’s guest. Turn On, Tune In, Hop Out!

The other great thing about mixer packs, especially with the leapbeer journey, is that I get to share them with others. My friend & co-worker Frank has been a regular leapbeer reader and supporter helping me grab new beers. He’s bought me beers for the blog and I have shared back with him. So I split a set from this mixer off for him to sample and get his notes. He and I have similar taste preferences, so I knew he’d be down to sample this hoppy lot. In fact, he is a regular consumer of one of them, the Hop Circle IPA.

Without further adieu, here is the HopBox

Breaking in to the HopBox you see the 3 rows of beer here, The Hop Circle IPA, The Skookum Cascadian Brown Ale, The Krypton Rye PA, and The GrowHop Series – Cascade IPA. The last is their guest beer for this run.

Here’s the set of them

Even though I’d previously enjoyed Hop Circle IPA on the leapbeer blog, it was before I’d started posting my thoughts about the beers. I thought it only fair that I start with this one. It is their year round IPA offering, and here are our tasting notes.

Leapbeer: You really get a smells bitter from the hops, like its pinching my nose closed. It is almost piney. There is a nice latent hop bite in the tasting but it lingers. Initially it tastes overwhelmingly malty, but then hops come in and balance it out. Nice blend and good for a all year round available IPA from the island.

Frank: Sweeter maltier upfront with a not so bitter but aromatic hop finish. [comment edited: as this was the last beer that Frank drank he had some comments about preference, which I’ll reveal later]

Leapbeer #9 Hop Circle IPA

Next we’ll look at the Skookum Cascadian Brown Ale. Phillips describes this beer as “Skookum [skookuh m] (adjective) from Chinook, West Coast North America 1. A monster indigenous to the Cascade region. 2. Strong, reliable, and/or hard-working 3. Big, bold hop characteristics with a smooth, rich maltiness 4. The unofficial fuel of the Cascadian revolution.” (via http://phillipsbeer.com/Beers/skookum-cascadian-brown-ale)

Here’s our notes on this beer.

Frank: Toasty brown ale with a complex sweetness. I think I taste maple. There is a musky dark chocolate aroma to the beer which becomes more apparent when the beer is warmer, around 8c. Crisp hoppy finish. A very pleasant beer.

Leapbeer: This brown beer is hop infused rocket fuel. It smells very hoppy. Initially it tastes mildly malty. You get a bitter chocolate flavour to it, and then a hopped up finish at the end. There’s a strangeness to this beer for me, it is both very tasty and somewhat understated. It is like the loudest trumpet blast with the muffler in it. A very strange dichotomoy of a brew.

Leapbeer #174 Skookum Cascadian Brown Ale

Next we’re moving on to the Krypton Rye Pale Ale. The Phillips site tells us that their Krypton Rye PA is available in this HopBox, and in the occasional growler fill. They also describe it thusly “Better tasting than a speeding bullet, Krypton will be hard not to drink in a single gulp. Spicy rye malt and big citrus hop flavours make Krypton the perfect refreshment in your fortress of solitude.” (http://phillipsbeer.com/Beers/krypton-ryepa)

Leapbeer: This beer smells great. There is a blend of grainy rye, and citric hops scents. You can see the grain similar to how it would smell and taste in Rye Whiskey. You also get a bit of yeasty smell from it. It is a cloudy golden beer, with a fair amount of sediment broken up in it. It pours to a frothy white head with good head retention. But it seems like the carbonation is low. It is super easy drinking. You get the rye malt flavour with a big hop punch. There’s a sweet note to it that I can’t quite place. I’m surprised to say that I find this beer remarkably good. I say that because last year when I first had this beer (also from a hopbox) I didn’t like it. I don’t know why I had that opinion last year. Whether it was my palate that changed, or a tweak on the brew, now I have to say it is fantastic.

Frank: Grapefruit & slightly malty with an emulsion feel to the beer. The hop finish is crisp and light with a pleasant bitterness that lingers and a subtle bitter grapefruit (very mild) aroma. Splendid.

Leapbeer #175 Krypton Rye PA

Lastly we move to the guest beer in the HopBox. Phillips GrowHop series of beers each use a single strain of hops in their brews. This latest one uses the ‘hops du jour’ cascade. It is a pacific northwest grown hops (not solely grown in the pnw region) that is used alot for its citrus like bitterness. Previous incarnations of their GrowHop series have featured Amarillo and Centennial hops strains, among others.

Here’s our notes on the brew.
Frank: Light Citrus, Floral, Melon scent up front with nice balanced sweetness. Delicious Dry Bitter finish on the back of the mouth. Hoppy Perfume lingers for a while after swallowing. I was going to have some food with this but I didn’t want to spoil it.

Leapbeer: I’ve in the past accused beers of one hop variety of being too one note. As I’m learning more about hops, I see the various ways it can affect beer. Being the popular hops,cascade, I’m curious how it will be. This beer smells fantastic, both smooth & citric hoppy. It has a nice balance between the tastes of sweet and bitter. It isn’t overly bitter. Definitely a good balance to this beer, showing the brewers restraint with the hops. It is silky and smooth, leaving a very velvety mouthfeel. It pours with a fluffy head. An absolutely delicious beer. Super easy drinking. Amazing for a single hop variety beer.

Leapbeer #176 GrowHop Series – Cascadian IPA

I think it is easy to say that this last beer, the Cascade IPA, was both of our favorites. The note I deleted from Franks Hop Circle IPA notes was “Oh No, I prefer the Krypton”. To clarify, he drank them 2 one night and 2 the other, with the Hop Circle IPA being the last one he had. He also berated me the day after drinking them for high grading his palate. His old standby ranked low in this tasting. Sorry Frank.

I also want to apologize for some of the quality of my pictures. I’ll try to do better in the future.

Phillips has even more in store for us hop heads. This year they are having their 2nd annual HOPoxia – festival of hops. There will be 15 breweries gathered in the Phillips lot on July 21st with several special casks and regular beers for drinking. Tickets can be acquired at this site for $15 per person (which includes 2 drink tickets, $1.50 for each additional drink ticket) http://www.phillipsbeer.bigcartel.com/ The list of Brewers that will be there is at that link as well.

I’ve got my tickets, and the plans in place to be there. It should be a hoot.

A special thanks to Frank for his notes and tasting expertise. Also a thank you to Welder weasel, Kevin for the Hops, and Phillips Brewing Company for the tasty beers.

I thank you for reading and hope you have a happy and hoppy day

Leapbeer Review #173 Summer Haze Honey Hefe by Hoyne Brewing Company

While my visit to the Hoyne brewery was short during my last trip to Victoria (Sean was sick and couldn’t talk) I was quite excited to see them putting the labels on the Summer Haze Honey Hefe. It was right around the time I’d tried a couple of other really good hef’s. It’s also been released that the honey used in this beer is from the beehives located atop Victoria’s landmark , the Fairmont Empress. I was excited to give it a try. This is only the sixth beer released by Hoyne. You may think that this makes them a newcomer to the Victoria beer scene, but you’d be wrong. Sean Hoyne, brewmaster and owner has been active in the Victoria beer scene for over 2 decades (http://hoynebrewing.ca/#about) before he struck out on his own. And now he’s putting his name on it, literally.

This is a deeply golden beer with a fluffy white head on it. It smells like a hef, but very very lightly. When you drink it it tastes stronger than I’d expect. There’s a strong aftertaste to it as well. You definitely get a taste of honey sweetness with the wheat. But the honey flavour has some gravitas to it, more like the honeycomb instead of the honey. This is the strongest beer flavoured hefeweizen I’ve had this year, but its not my favorite. It isn’t your standard hef, as it isn’t as light and airy as you’d maybe expect. It isn’t my favorite hefeweizen so far this year, but it is very good.

Leapbeer #173 is Summer Haze Honey Hefe by Hoyne Brewing Company in Victoria BC.

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Leapbeer Review #172 Naughty Nellie by Pikes Place Brewery

This next beer is one picked up a while back. I shared this with my wife and we both enjoyed it. This is the second Pike Brewing beer for the Leapbeer journey. They call it their “Golden Artisan Ale”, which is inspired the alt and Kolsch style beers of Northern Germany, mixed with the golden blonde ales of Belgium. Their website has great information as well. While the main page (http://www.pikebrewing.com/beers_PikeNaughtyNellie.shtml ) has a small blurb they also have a link to a ‘info sheet’ (http://www.pikebrewing.com/beers/pike_naughty_nellie_product_sheet.pdf) with a great breakdown of the beer. It has the malt varieties as Organic Pale, Munich, Carastan & Aromatic, and the Hops as Centennial and Cascade.

I poured us both a glass and prepared to enjoy. This beer did not disappoint. Named for Nellie Curtis, former madam of the Lasalle Hotel in Seattle, this naughty little minx is a tasty beer for sure. It smells mild, of malts and beer, but the flavour has a fruity quality to it. The fruitiness reminded me of under ripe pineapple. And besides being rated at 24 IBU’s this beers bitterness really sticks with you. We both enjoyed our glass of this beer I’d describe as a blonde golden ale with a hoppy kick.

Leapbeer #172 is Naughty Nellie Golden Artisan Ale by Pike Brewing Company of Seattle Washington

I have had some request to do more food pairings with my reviews, which I am trying to coordinate. Alas most of my tastings are done at night well after eating, so I can’t give notes on how it went. Thankfully the Pike Brewing people describe the flavour profile like this “Crisp and refreshing with mild fruity esters and soft malt charachter yet beautifully balanced, like a shardonnay or sauvignon blanc. Superb with salads, sandwiches and snacks.” (from their info sheet)

Thanks for reading.

Leapbeer Review #171 Cascadian Brown Ale – the VCBW 2012 Collaboration Ale

This May Vancouver celebrated Vancouver Craft Beer Week and to commemorate it, 30 of BC breweries got together to make this Collaboration Ale. The official site about it has this to say about it.

“On Friday March 30, the official VCBW Collaboration Ale was brewed at Russell Brewing in Surrey, led by Russell Brewing’s Jack Bensley and Central City Brewing’s Gary Lohin, using premium ingredients supplied by Canada Malting.

In celebration of BC’s largest craft beer festival, 30 of the province’s finest breweries banded together to create a unique Cascadian Brown Ale. This nutty, medium-bodied brew is our take on a traditional English ale with a curiously hoppy West Coast twist. It will be available during VCBW in draught and cask at participating establishments, and in 650ml bottles at leading private liquor stores throughout the Lower Mainland.

Each year, partial proceeds from the sale of VCBW’s collaboration beer are donated to a different charity. Last year, $1,294 was successfully raised for Japanese Tsunami Relief from sales of our 2011 Cascadian Dark Ale. This year we’ve tripled the batch size and hope to raise even more money for the Farmland Defense League of British Columbia.”
from http://vancouvercraftbeerweek.com/2012/official-beer/

This was presented to my by a twitter friend, John Lim Hing, on our trip to Tofino. His restaurant (Hog Shack Cookhouse) was location for one of the VCBW events in July, so congrats to you John on that. I grabbed my trusty pint glass and went to work. This beer pours to a lovely coca-cola coloured brown with a frothy beige head. It seems quite odd to me making a malty brown ale and jazzing it up with Cascade hops, but I’m intrigued as well. The taste of this beer doesn’t disappoint. It is malty, then hoppy, then crisp. The 55 IBU’s linger all on the side of your mouth. I don’t believe it was dry hopped, or at least not very much as there is very little scent from this beer. The predominant smell is malt, but even that is faint. I get a light taste of toffee and grapefruit, undoubtedly from the cascade hops coming through. The tartness really builds in your mouth. So much so that it begins as a quaffer and ends as a sipper. This beer definitely has some pucker to it, in a good way. This beer is definitely worth checking out, especially because the proceeds go to charity. I was emailed by Bryan from Cascadia Liquor stores in Victoria that they received a case of this a couple of weeks ago.

Leapbeer #171 is Cascadian Brown Ale by 30 different BC Brewers. See list below.

Here’s the list of the brewers from the official site.

  • Big Ridge
  • Big River
  • Cannery
  • Central City
  • Coal Harbour
  • Crannóg
  • Dockside
  • Fernie
  • Granville Island
  • High Mountain
  • Howe Sound
  • Lighthouse
  • Mission Springs
  • Mt. Begbie
  • Nelson
  • Parallel 49
  • Phillips
  • R&B
  • Red Truck
  • Russell
  • Saltspring
  • Spinnakers
  • Steamworks
  • Storm
  • Swans
  • Tin Whistle
  • Townsite
  • Tree
  • Vancouver Island
  • Whistler

So 5 of them were from Vancouver Island.

Thanks for reading

Leapbeer Review #170 Beaver Brown Ale by Canoe Brewpub

I had an evening dinner earlier this month at Canoe Brewpub in Victoria. We shared a flight of their craft and discussed it. If you don’t know a flight of beer is a taster of all their products.

The one beer that stood out to me was their Beaver Brown Ale. I picked up a bottle of it and brought it to the leapbeer tasting room.

I poured this into my trusty pint glass and here’s my thoughts. It pours to a deep brown colour with a cream coloured foam on top. This beer smells fantastic. It smells of malt with a hint of coffee as well. When you taste it the coffee meets some chocolate flavour and this brown ale. It washes in your mouth and fills it with the flavour. It isn’t heavy, but it is rich. It is a bold and easily sessionable brown ale. I really enjoyed it.

Leapbeer #170 is Beaver Brown Ale by Canoe Brewpub in Victoria

This beer was available on tap at the pub, but also in the 650ml bomber. It has a nice sessionable 5.3%.

One other thing about Canoe, our dinner was great. 2 of the diners had the braised beef entré and it was fantastic. They even offer this beer in a beer float. It made for a great night. They also just released a gluten free menu. My hat is off to Canoe for their fine craftsmanship, both in the beer and in their restaurant. Check them out if you get the chance.

http://canoebrewpub.com/index.html

Thanks for reading.

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