leapbeer

Mission : Leap Beer, 366 Beers in 366 Days

Archive for the category “Spinnakers Brewery”

Leapbeer Halfway Post – Victories and Mistakes

It is officially the halfway point in the year, and I am also at the halfway point in the Leapbeer. I’m at beer 183, with another 183 to go. How can I sum up how things are going with the Leapbeer journey? It has been hectic. I feel that the blog and the journey are starting to taking on a life of their own, and it just keeps on building. There’s been a fair amount that I’ve learned over the first half of this journey. Like many things, though, I realize that the more I learn the more I have YET to learn. Especially when I consider what I am hoping to do with next year.

A few things I wanted to share about my educational journey so far into the world of beer would be about glassware, community, and research. I thought I’d also have a ‘mea culpa’ moment about a few of the mistakes I’ve made on the blog so far.

Glassware – If you recall from my post ‘Whats in a glass?‘ I disclosed the nature of 4 different styles of beer serving glasses. In truth there are literally hundreds of different beer glasses out there. I do my best to research my beer before opening to try and get the most appropriate service vessel for it. But sometimes I end up going to my new tulip glass. It was a gift from @Jonnybeers when we went on our Tofino road trip. Thanks again for that Jon, even if my first use of it was with a pilsner. I’ve found a few other glasses to add to my collection at thrift stores now. A large range of glasses isn’t essential though. Michael Jackson, the beer hunter, a well published and respected beer writer had endorsed a glass set that was simply 4 glass styles. A tasting or tulip, a snifter, a session or pint and a summer or stemmed glass.

Image Via wikipedia

Even if you don’t have a collection of glasses you likely have a better alternative to drinking it straight from the can or bottle, a wine glass. A fellow blogger from the Pacific northwest wrote a great piece about this in his blog ‘I Think About Beer’ where he extolled the benefits of using a wine glass. You can read it here http://ithinkaboutbeer.com/2012/06/20/glassware-a-victim-of-the-beer-vs-wine-culture-clash/ I’d be willing to bet that if you looked into your cupboard, there’s a great service option for your next pint of frothy goodness. Give glassware a chance, you won’t regret it.

Community – I’ve had the opportunity to visit a few of the breweries and chat up some of the staff around Vancouver Island. And in the case of Lighthouse, I got the tour from non other than their Head Brewer, Dean McLeod. Thanks again for the tour and interview Dean. I got to see in action the operations of Longwood Brewpub, Tofino Brewery, Lighthouse, Vancouver Island, Driftwood and Hoyne breweries. I did visit Phillips as well, but we were too pressed for time to tour the place. I met with several excellent individuals in the industry and got to take a real good look at whats involved in making beer. There doesn’t seem to be a cutthroat nature about these guys. There is an incredible sense of community among these brewers. They get down and help their fellow brewers when they need it, and are building a great thing on Vancouver Island. One of the other great thing to experience is the enthusiasm they have for their products. When you hear someone speaking passionately about something you also enjoy, it is hard not to get ‘caught up’ in the fervor.

Research – When I met with Gary from Driftwood for a tour of their place we chatted a bit about my comments on the Old Cellar Dweller 2011. In my review I had noted that there wasn’t service notes on the bottle. He told me that if people are shelling out over ten dollars for a bottle of beer, they’re likely the kind of people who know how to serve it. And he’s right, the average consumer will pass by the craft section. But I would like to think that as the craft beer scene continues to expand, there will be more people like myself who decide to expand their horizons by trying new products. If you do decide to go and try something new read the label. If you have the time check the website. You’ll be amazed at how much of a difference it will make with your experience. Take for example when I drank the Phillips Double Barrel. I didn’t read the label before I opened the bottle and it wasn’t very special at all. Then I read the label and read that I should’ve been consuming it at 10c. When brought to the right temperature it was a completely different experience. What I’m taking a rather long way to say is, a little research can make a big difference.

Mistakes – I’ve made a few. There have been many a grammatical and spelling error that have gotten through. Obviously I’m not an English major (Not a major of any sort, I never went to normal college/uni) I’ve also had my first double purchase error. I got distracted while reaching for a Spinnakers Tour De Victoria bottle, but only after completing my purchase did I find out that what I had grabbed was something that was already in the leapbeer fridge. Recently too I had a numbering problem, where i forgot to list one of my reviewed beers into my master list, the Salvator by Paulaner. The most egregious of my errors, though, was one I committed in my review of Spinnakers Blue Bridge Double Pale Ale. It was drawn to my attention via email by the Publican of Spinnakers that I reviewed it as a Double IPA. I don’t know why I read it that way, its not like you can’t read it in the picture, but I didn’t let that go in my review. I haven’t had the opportunity yet to get another sample of this beer to give it a proper review, but I am going to do that this month coming up.

Whats coming up? – I’m taking leapbeer on the road again in July. I shall be doing at least 2 road trips over the course of the month to breweries and events. As I mentioned in my review of the Hop Box, I will be at the HOPoxia beer event at Phillips brewery on July 21st. I also have at least 1 other brewery tour planned, and another one I hope to do as well. Also July will be my first chance to get out fishing, so I’m hoping to do some ‘reviews on the water’ as well. We’ll see how that goes. I also plan to break down and do the post I’ve hinted about hops. I’ve done some research into it, but I need to do a bit more before I put pen to paper (so to speak). Lastly I hope to bring you more interviews. I really enjoyed the chats I had on site with the brewers and brewery staff, and I hope to be able to bring that to you, my readers.

Well I hope that catches you up on what I’ve learned and whats coming up. Now its to you. Leave a comment about what you’ve learned, or what beers you’ve tried that you liked. Maybe there’s some style of beer that changed your perspective, or something you tried that was absolute dreck. Any comments are welcome.

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 #141 Blue Bridge Double Pale Ale by Spinnakers

EDIT: This review is erroneos as I misread the label thinking it a IPA whereas it is a Double Pale Ale. I will re review it in the future to remedy this problem.

I had the chance to try this during my last trip to Victoria at the gastro pub. I didn’t take notes on it then, but I went to Top Shelf liquors in Courtenay and picked one up.

Their site has this to say about it.
An emerging new world style, this double pale blends north-west and noble bittering hops and finishes with old world noble aromatic hops to create a complex and floral hop profile. This beer is superbly balanced, masking its strong body and making the beer very drinkable. Beware! alc/vol: 8.2% og: 1.068 IBU: 42

The beer pours to the burnt amber colour with a thin white head on it. It smells hoppy. It isn’t the citric style of hops you’d expect from a pacific northwest IPA, but a more pronounced version of ‘original recipe’ IPA hops. As mentioned in the quote above, this beer really goes down easy. It’s deceptively smooth, despite its medium bitterness. And at 8.2% it packs a punch. It tastes nice, but it isn’t an IPA I’d regularly reach for. It is middle of the road in view of the bitterness. This would be a great IPA to start someone on if you were doing a bitter beer tasting.

Leapbeer #141 is Blue Bridge Double IPA by Spinnakers Brewpub in Victoria

This is only my first review of a Spinnakers beer, but I had a chance to try several during my last visit there. I can say without any hesitance that I enjoyed every beer I tried there. There were some I liked more than others, but they all had a great balance to them. I look forward to being able to return and showcase some of their other craft offerings.

Thanks for reading.

Post Navigation