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Archive for the month “August, 2012”

Leapbeer Reviews The Samuel Smith’s Selection

I was really pleased to receive this gift pack a while back. It was picked up by my Sr VP of leapbeer acquisitions on her trip to Vancouver from VITI. It is the Samuel Smith’s Selection from the UK. It had their India Ale IPA, their Nut Brown, and their Oatmeal stout, as well as a nonic pint glass and 2 of the ‘rose of  Yorkshire’ coasters.

This brewery was founded in 1758 in Tadcaster, North Yorkshire, England. The Samuel Smith’s Brewery employs a fermenting process in ‘stone Yorkshire squares’~ fermenting vessels made of solid slabs of slate, which they say give the beers a fuller bodied taste. You can read more about the brewery on their website here (http://www.samuelsmithsbrewery.co.uk/) or on wikipedia here (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samuel_Smiths) Them using these old style fermenters reminded me of another blog post I had read recently about the beer caves underneath Nottingham, England. You can read about it here (http://ediblegeography.com/beer-caves-redux/)

Pic from Aleheads Blog

First Beer I went to try was the India Pale IPA. This beer pours to a cloudy amber colour with lots of tiny bubbles in it. There is a nice malty smell to the brew. There is definitely bittering hops employed in this beer, but not very present on the nose of it. I get a light licorice flavour from this beer, which will prove to be a common theme to these beers. I’m guessing it comes from the base malts used.

Leapbeer #215 is Samuel Smith’s India Ale IPA

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Leapbeer Review #214 Evergreen Ale by Phillips Brewing Company

On August 13, 2012, Phillips announced the release of their 11th Anniversary Brew, the Pandamonium DIPA. While I try to hone in my target scope to pick one of those beers up I wanted to take today to talk about their last beer release,  Evergreen Ale.

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Leapbeer Fieldtrip – Spinnakers Chefs Table Dinner

While we were visiting Spinnakers my wife and myself took time to savour the excellent dining their kitchen offers. When you dine at Spinnakers one of your options is their Chefs Table Dinner. It is a 5 course meal and each course offers the chef Ali’s suggested beer or wine pairing. The evening was great, the spacing between the plates was perfect and our server was very helpful. I’m still learning about beer and food pairing, so this evening was illuminating for me. I always thought that maybe the beer would bring out some different flavours in the food or vice versa. However it was more that they two flavours would play off each other on my palate.  I chose the beer pairing and my wife chose the wine pairing. I didn’t take notes on the individual plates because I didn’t want to interfere with the mood of the evening. I did my best to take it all in as we ate. The plates were all fantastic. Nothing was excessively large or disturbingly small, but it all had perfect proportions and the timing between courses was impeccable.

First course was a Hertel bacon wrapped smoked oyster with Spinnakers Scottish Ale infused grainy mustard & a house made english flat bread cracker paired with Scottish Ale for beer or Hester Creek Cabernet/Merlot for wine.

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Leapbeer Review #213 Tasman Ale by Lighthouse Brewing Company

This beer is latest release from Lighthouse Brewing Company in Victoria. It is an orange pale ale,  “Tasman Ale is brewed with the Tasmanian hop varieties Topaz and Summer, along with Motueka and Rakau from the Tasman region of New Zealand. Fresh and crisp, this copper hued ale features distinctive tropical fruit characters, clean and light bittering and a soft malt body.”

I have previously joked that this should be released under a new “Dean McLeod Signature Series” of beers because of his New Zealand & Australian connection. Dean has described this as the perfect BBQ or backyard beer. It wasn’t produced to cater to the upper crust beer geeks, but to have a mass appeal as well as to introduce (or reintroduce) western drinkers with southern hemisphere hops varietals. It smells very light, but has a nice rich flavour to it. The malt body of the beer is accented well with the hops. These aren’t your typical monster truck strength hops that goose step their way over your tongue that you see in a lot of North American craft beers. They’re more like a delicate tap dancer that has an occasional strong note but never loses rhythm with the brew. A very enjoyable and sessionable summer beer.

Leapbeer #213 is Tasman Ale by Lighthouse Brewing Company

Thanks for Reading

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A great opinion piece about IPA’s I thought my readers would enjoy.

Tales of The Vancouver Island Craft Beer Creep – Part 1

You may be asking yourself what I could possibly mean by ‘craft beer creep’. Could I be talking about the guy at the bar leering from behind his chalice of porter? Perhaps this the guy who scoffs at your choice as you stand in the line of the liquor store with a 12 pack of Bud? Or is this that irritatingly outspoken person on the internet going off about how this years ‘hot beer’ isn’t nearly as good as it was last year? Or could it be something else, something completely different?

Pardon if I go a bit geeky on this next bit, but anyone who has played as the Zerg in the globally popular game Starcraft will have seen the term ‘Creep Colony’. For the uninitiated, a creep colony spreads out ‘creep’ on the play surface making it able to place new buildings on it, spreading out the species (the Zerg’s) influence on the game. (for more on Starcraft ‘creep’ see this link http://starcraft.wikia.com/wiki/Creep )I’m using this analogy for craft beer because of a trend I am starting to see develop on Vancouver Island.

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Happy Hoppy IPA Day

Happy IPA Day Everyone!

Today is August the 2nd, and it marks the 2nd annual IPA Day (http://ipaday.org/). As many of my readers will know I am a big fan of the hoppier beers, and IPA’s and IIPA’s are the premiere craft beer framework to showcase hops. I chose a couple of IPA’s and IIPA’s that I’ve had in the past few days to commemorate todays official observance.

Firstly I’m going to talk about a beer I shared with my sister. It is the 2nd from the Coney Island series of beers on the leapbeer journey. It is the Swordswallower IPA Style beer from Schmaltz Brewery in New York NY. This is a blonde beer with relatively low carbonation. I get a nice smell of hops on the nose. When you drink it the malts are mild, but the hops are complex. The bottle says there’s 8 varietals of hops in this beer. The website (http://www.shmaltzbrewing.com/CONEY/ss.html ) says it is a delicate balance of the 8 hops, but I found it to be more combative in my mouth. Another thing about this beer, is that it is an IPA style beer due to them using Lager yeast to make it. As the beer warmed up the complex flavours really made their presence felt. I didn’t hate this beer, but didn’t love it either.

Leapbeer #210 Sword Swallower IPA Style by Schmaltz Brewing Company.

 

Next we’re going to move on to Lagunitas Hop Stoopid IIPA. The label advertises this beer to have a whopping 102 IBU (or International Bitterness Units) making this beer have some serious pucker power. When I poured this beer it looks great, a deep golden orange. There’s fairly standard carbonation, and about a 1cm head (or 1/2inch for the imperial types) of tight bubbles. This beer smells tremendous. I’m getting mild malts, citric hops and something else that smells like tropical fruit, like an underripe pineapple. When you drink this beer it really makes you step back and give it a ‘Woah’. There is a lovely latent bitter bite to this beer as well. The tartness in this beer creates a vaccuum in your mouth like you’re sucking on a sour head. Surprisingly refreshing and easy drinnking. At a hefty 8.0% ABV, drinking this whole beer could really render someone more than a bit IPA’d (Paul Hadfield of Spinnakers term for I’m Pissed Again). Hop Stoopid indeed. I would go so far as to say that this is the best IIPA that I’ve had so far, I LOVE THIS BEER.

Leapbeer #211 is Hop Stoopid IIPA

Lastly I’m going to cover the Ruin Rosemary Agave IPA – #5 of 12 beers of the Apocolypse by Elysian Brewing in Seattle Washington. Like it says there this is the fifth in their radical ’12 beers of the Apocalypse’ series. Just the name of this beer alone had me intrigued. It is an unfiltered beer, pouring to a cloudy gold with a head made of tiny tight bubbles. It smells quite piney, likely the influence of the rosemary. When I drink it I am immediately in love with it. It is both sweet and bitter, but completely refreshing. You taste hints of the rosemary and sweetness from the agave. This is a great beer, I whole heartedly encourage you to try it (if you can find it).

Leapbeer #212 is Ruin Rosemary Agave IPA by Elysian Brewing of Seattle Washington.

Thanks for reading, Have a Happy IPA Day.

A Special Note to the Leapbeer Spouse

I apologize that this isn’t a hugely beer related post, but I really wanted to take some time to thank my lovely wife for all her support. Today is our 15th anniversary and I look forward to 15 more (and then more and more).

Molly, I love you and say you have been the utmost support for me on this journey so far. I’ve dragged you to breweries, brewpubs & beer stores all over the island and beyond. You’ve not only taken it in stride, but you’ve embraced it. You’re my sounding board, my proofreader and my first audience in everything.

Yours always
Chris

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