leapbeer

Mission : Leap Beer, 366 Beers in 366 Days

Leapbeer Reviews #358 & 359 Shiny Penny and Biere d’Hiver by Townsite Brewing Company

My wife recently had a family function over in Powell River. Naturally my instinctive request was “Please bring back some Townsite beer, pretty pretty please?” And bring back she did. She brought me the two new beers, the Shiny Penny Belgian IPA and Biere d’Hiver winter warmer.

Shiny Penny is named after the now defunct brewpub that Townsites Brewmaster, Cedric, tried to open up in Saskatoon. It is a clear and deep amber beer with a tan head on top. The aromas of this beer is oranges and caramel. The tart malt notes are accented by subdued hops on the nose. When you drink it, the taste is almost opposite. It starts off with a big citric hops punch up front but then follows with a sweet and malty finish. I have to keep telling myself to slow down because this beer is 8.5% ABV. It is deceptively easy drinking.

Leapbeer #358 is Shiny Penny

Shiny Penny Belgian IPA by Townsite Brewing Company

Shiny Penny Belgian IPA by Townsite Brewing Company

Brewery: Townsite Brewing Company of Powell River BC
Size/ABV/IBU: 650ml Bottle/8.5% ABV/80 IBUs
Availability: Select Private Liquor Stores
Purchased:
In Powell River
Website: http://townsitebrewing.com/beer
Other Reviews: Joe Weibe (@Thirstywriter), Barley Mowat, Beer Advocate, Rate Beer

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Leapbeer Review #357 Hop Therapy Double IPA by Russell Brewing

I’ve had a few of the Russell Brewing Company beers on my blog so far. They’ve been fairly well received. This next beer, their Hop Therapy Double IPA, eclipses them all. To say that I love this beer is an understatement. In fact, the only thing I can say negatively about this beer is that it is a limited run meaning once its gone, its gone.

Img from Russell Brewings Website

This is a cloudy amber beer with a tan head on top.  The aroma is big time citric hops, think of a citrus orchard in bloom. The beer tastes bitter up front then followed with a nice wash of sweetness. It is a hop bomb for sure. This is from the second bottle of this I had and I can already taste the hops being diminished. That said this is the best BC made double ipa that I have had all year. Well done Russell Beer!

Leapbeer #357 is Hop Therapy Double IPA

Hop Therapy Double IPA by Russell Brewing

Hop Therapy Double IPA by Russell Brewing

Brewery: Russell Brewing Company of Surrey BC
Size/ABV/IBU: 650ml Bottle/9.0% ABV/100 IBUs
Availability: Select Private Liquor Stores
Purchased:
Cascadia Courtenay
Website: http://www.russellbeer.com/bml_beer.asp#null
Other Reviews: Barley Mowat, Mikes Craft Beer Blog, Beer Advocate, Rate Beer

Thanks for Reading

Leapbeer Review #356 Black Tail Porter by Wolf Brewing Company

This next beer is yet another Vancouver Island craft beer offering, this time from Wolf Brewing Company of Nanaimo. Their Black Tail Porter is one of my sister’s go to beers, and after this review I can see why. I really really liked this beer. I liked it so much that I tried to find more of it, but I couldn’t. I went to the store where I bought this, and they were sold out.

This is a clear black beer with a tan foamy head on top. When you tilt the glass it thins out to a deep brown colour. It has a wonderful bouquet. Aromas of molasses, cocoa and coffee grounds. It almost reminds me of the smell of a well used coffee grinder. As expected this porter is a boldly flavoured and somewhat meaty drink. But despite that, it remains easily drinkable. It starts with flavours of peat and bitter espresso but then finishes with a lovely bitter chocolate note.

Leapbeer #356 is Black Tail Porter by Wolf Brewing Company

Black Tail Porter by Wolf Brewing Company

Black Tail Porter by Wolf Brewing Company

Brewery: Wolf Brewing Company of Nanaimo BC
Released: Unknown
Size/ABV: 650ml Bottle/6.0% ABV
Availability: Unknown
Other Reviews: Beer Advocate, Rate Beer

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Leapbeer Review #355 Ginger Beer by Phillips Brewing Company

A while back I had a comment from Janis La Couvee to try this beer, and to be honest I was surprised that I hadn’t had it at that time. It has been in my fridge many a time. For whatever reason I haven’t brought it to the leapbeer mission, until now. Brushing up on my info I turned to their website for some notes on this beer.

With more ginger than Gilligan can handle, some might be surprised at the instant blast of flavour and aroma from this true ginger beer, but that doesn’t take away from its sheer quaff-ability. It’s killer with sushi!(from Phillips Website)

I was a little surprised that they label this a quaffable beer being that it boasts being a spicy ginger beer. It is a clear golden/light amber beer with about a 2 cm tan head on top. This is a very carbonated beer, definitely higher than most beers. The aroma of this beer is all big time spicy ginger. Same with the taste, it starts and ends with a high ginger burn. Somewhere in the middle it tasted a bit skunky, but once the ginger burn hits again it is all you taste. I agree that this is likely very good when paired with sushi. I do not agree that this is a quaffable beer. It is a bit too spicy to boast that claim, in my opinion.

Leapbeer #355 is Ginger Beer

Ginger Beer by Phillips Brewing Company

Ginger Beer by Phillips Brewing Company

Brewery: Phillips Brewing Company of Victoria BC
Released: Unknown
Size/ABV: 650ml Bottle/5.0% ABV
Availability: Widely available
Purchased @:
Merecroft Village Liquor Store
Website:
http://phillipsbeer.com/Beers/ginger-beer
Other Reviews: Beer Advocate, Rate Beer

On a somewhat related note, Phillips recently started a secondary operation producing non alcoholic sodas. One of those is the Spark Mouth Ginger Ale. I got a chance to try it and their other soda, the Intergalactic Root Beer, and they are both quite awesome. You can only get them at the brewery and all over in Victoria. See more information about where to get them here, the site for Phillips Soda Works.

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Leapbeer Review #354 Gratitude Winter Warmer by Hoyne

You may have seen this beer sitting on the shelves at private liquor stores. It comes auspiciously wrapped in a paper label, decked out in festive colours and shrouded in mystery. It is Hoyne Brewing Companies Gratitude, a Winter Warmer from the Victoria based brewery.

Outside of the paper wrapper looks like this. (img via Hoynes Website)

When you unwrap your new brown bottled friend you are greeted by a very wordy label. It extolls the virtues of others and demonstrates things that we should all be thankful for. Thankfully for me BeerMeBC posted a picture of the label on their blog, if you want to see it in full detail follow the link.

Appearance; Clear deep amber beer with a thin tan/off white head
Aroma; Big malts and vanilla notes with hints of caramel, all spice and cloves.
Taste; Sweet vanilla, very smooth. Only a latent booze burn once it reaches your stomach. Flavours of salt taffy and holiday spices, cinnamon, all spice and nutmeg. Extremely smooth and very enjoyable.

Leapbeer #354 is Gratitude Winter Warmer by Hoyne

Gratitude Winter Warmer by Hoyne Brewing Company

Gratitude Winter Warmer by Hoyne Brewing Company

Brewery: Hoyne Brewing Company of Victoria BC
Size/ABV: 650ml Bottle/9.0% ABV
Availability: Select Private Liquor Stores
Purchased:
The Bridge Liquor Store in Oyster River (Campbell River)
Website: http://hoynebrewing.ca/#beers
Other Reviews: Ian Lloyd (@left4beer), Rate Beer

Thanks for Reading.

 

Gratitude Winter Warmer by Hoyne Brewing Company

Leapbeer Review #353 Valhalla Red IPA by Elysian Brewing Company

Elysian Brewing Company has a wonderful and hop forward series of beers called the “Manic IPA Series”. The most recent of this series is Valhalla Red IPA. This is an unapologetic hop forward red IPA. Not as potent as Lighthouses divine hop stormtrooper, Siren, but this beer is still an elite super agent fore the organization H.O.P.S.

Valhalla is a deep orange, near red beer with a 1cm cream coloured head on top. The aroma is pungent, citric hops are in the forefront then mingle with the malts bringing to the mind hints of marmalade. It was no surprise to me that this beer is a bitter forward beer. Flavours of pine and grapefruit are immediately on your tongue. Then it is followed by a momentary wash of sweetness, only to be followed up with more hops. The best way to describe the way this made my mouth feel is, imagine you’re eating grapefruit with some of the pith. This is not a balanced beer, they let the hops out and did not reign them back. As a hop head, I loved this beer. It’s available through this month from Elysian, and then the next on their Manic IPA Series is the sublime Idiot Sauvin (as per the website)

Leapbeer #353 is Valhalla Red IPA

Valhalla Red IPA from the Manic IPA series by Elysian Brewing Company

Valhalla Red IPA from the Manic IPA series by Elysian Brewing Company

Brewery: Elysian Brewing Company of Seattle WA
Size/ABV/IBU: 650ml Bottle/7.5% ABV/70 IBUs
Availability: Limited
Purchased @: Cascadia Liquor Store Courtenay
Website: http://www.elysianbrewing.com/beer/manicipa.html
Other Reviews: Beer Advocate, Rate Beer, Beerthirst

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Leapbeer #352 is Driftwood (Pale) Ale by Driftwood Brewing Company

With this last driftwood review I manage to get all of the Driftwood Brewing Company beers (from this year) on the Leapbeer Master List. I really tried to get as many of the Vancouver Island Breweries on that list. Some of them have been a challenge to get, and others have been downright impossible. Thankfully Driftwood has been pretty available close to my area, and this beer I picked up at my local Campbell River government liquor store.

Many of the Driftwood beers (Fat Tug, Naughty Hildegaard, Sartori Harvest & Singularity) have been among the favorites for the year. When I picked this up it gave me pause to think, ‘when was the last time I bought this beer?’ I honestly could not remember. I didn’t even know what style of beer this was when I bought it.

As it turns out the Driftwood Ale is a Pale Ale (hence the pale in quotes in the title). It is a clear dark golden beer with a white head on top. Its aroma is kind of skunky with piney hops and caramel malts. When I smelled it I was concerned that the bottle may be off. When I tasted it I found it to be a super bitter forward pale ale. There’s big hop notes with a subtle malt body to it. The lasting bitterness from these hops really linger in my mouth. If I had the chance to I would pick up a different bottle to see if it was just the one I bought in CR that was skunky, but I really don’t have the time before the end of the year.

Leapbeer #352 is Driftwood (Pale) Ale

Driftwood (Pale) Ale by Driftwood Brewing Company

Driftwood (Pale) Ale by Driftwood Brewing Company

Brewery: Driftwood Brewing Company of Victoria, BC
Size/ABV: 650ml Bottle/5.0% ABV
Availability: Wide
Purchased @: Government Liquor Store Campbell River
Webpage:
http://driftwoodbeer.com/beers/driftwood-ale/
Other Reviews: BeerAdvocate & Rate Beer

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Leapbeer #351 Seizoen Bretta by Logsdon Farmhouse Ales

I think it’s fair to say that since I went to Portland that my new ‘brewery crush’ is with Logsdon Farmhouse Ales. Their Fresh Hop Seizoen was in the top two of the 50+ beers I had on my entire Portland trip, and both their Kili Wit and Seizoen were very well received. Add to that this this next beer, Seizoen Bretta, is brewed using Brettanomyces (one of the yeasts used in brewing sour beers) I knew that this would be a fantastic beer. Before I get even more overly gooey about this beer do yourself a favour, stop reading and go buy one. Even if you don’t like sours or are not experienced in saisons try this. It seems somewhat ridiculous to say, but the bottles I just picked up of this at Cascadia Liquor in Courtenay were cheaper than the bottles I bought in Portland. Whether that is a testiment to Beerthirst, the local importer of these fine beers, or it is just a price adjustment because of their bulk ordering I don’t know. That said I can honestly say, at 11.99 a bottle you cannot go wrong with this. It may seem expensive when you can buy an 8 pack of lucky for the same price, but this beer is worth it.

This cloudy orange sour has a tall pillowy white head, like clouds floating in the heavens over a sun setting in the sky. The aroma is a perfect balance between peppery yeast (saison) and barnyard (brettanomyces). It isn’t a dig to say the barnyard thing, as that is a trademark sign of a brett beer. Don’t think of it as a detraction, but in a good way (if you can). Imagine the aroma of a farm in full bloom just after the rain.

I was honestly surprised at how this  beer tasted. I expected an 8 percent sour to have some serious punch to it, but this is a light and delicate beer. The balance between the sour brett notes, bitter hops (minimal) and peppery saison yeast is amazing. And the whole melange is placed in a champagne-like delivery system that tastes heavenly. Perfection.

Leapbeer #351 is Seizoen Bretta

Seizoen Bretta by Logsdon Farmhouse Ales

Seizoen Bretta by Logsdon Farmhouse Ales

Brewery: Logsdon Farmhouse Ales of Hood River Oregon
Released: In BC, imported by Beerthirst mid December 2012
Size/ABV: 750ml Bottle/8.0% ABV
Availability: Stores stocked by Beerthirst
Purchased @:
Picked up on Leapbeer PDX trip & at Cascadia Courtenay (YAY!)
Website:
http://www.farmhousebeer.com/Beers.html#Beer_anchor
Other Reviews: Beer Advocate, Rate Beer

I don’t want to gush on any more about this beer. I think I’ve done that enough. But I do want to say a big thank you and kudos to the guys at Beerthirst. They are an independent beer importer out of Vancouver that brought in these delicious beers (along with many others from other breweries) Add to that, the next shipment from Logsdon will include Peche n Brett a peach infused version of the Seizoen Bretta. I can’t wait (but I have to).

Thank you Beerthirst, and thank you all for reading.

Leapbeer Reviews #349 & 350 Old Cellar Dweller 2012 & Old Barrel Dweller 2012 by Driftwood Brewing Company

Let me start off with saying I really didn’t want to open these beers yet. Driftwood marked the five year anniversary of their Old Cellar Dweller Barleywine with two iterations of this ale. Old Cellar Dweller has a ‘friend’ on the shelf by it this year, a barrel aged version named Old Barrel Dweller. They even did us the added bonus of sealing the tops of these two bold barleywine style beers in wax in an effort to encourage beer geeks to cellar them.  On top of that they even went so far as to release older vintages to private liquor stores to satiate the masses. While I am a fan of both of these beers I beg of you, if you MUST open one, make sure it is just one. I opened them both, for the blog, and I regret it. I regret not giving these beers time to mature and develop. That said, I do have other bottles of them that are sitting safely in the cellar. They are getting a minimum 6 month treatment (if not more).

But I press on, for science, with my review of these two beers. First up is the 2012 Old Cellar Dweller. This is a deep reddish brown and thick barleywine with a thin tan head on top. The aroma is equally complex, hops on the nose initially followed by brandied cherries and port or sherry. It is a big malty beer, giving hints of cherries, oranges, brandy and a latent bitterness. Despite its high test, this is remarkably drinkable. The alcohol (11.8% ABV) doesn’t hit you until its passing down your throat. The carbonation on this was thin, but still there.

Leapbeer #349 is 2012 Old Cellar Dweller

2012 Old Cellar Dweller Barleywine Style Ale by Driftwood Brewing Company

2012 Old Cellar Dweller Barleywine Style Ale by Driftwood Brewing Company

Brewery: Driftwood Brewing Company of Victoria, BC
Released: December 4th, 2012
Size/ABV: 650ml Bottle/11.8% ABV
Availability: Limited
Purchased @: Cascadia Liquor Courtenay
Webpage:
http://driftwoodbeer.com/beers/old-cellar-dweller/
Other Reviews: BeerAdvocate & Rate Beer

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Leapbeer Reviews #346-348 Unibroue Mixer

The other day I was at Merecroft Village Liquor Store I noticed that there was a deal with the Unibroue mixer packs. With the purchase of a twelve pack you get a free stemmed glass.  As I am an absolute sucker for free glassware I couldn’t say no. It included 4 beers, La Gaillarde, Blanche de Chambly, Blonde de Chambly & La Fin Du Monde. The last of which already holds a place on the leapbeer master list, #47. If you recall I kind of ripped that beer for being overly yeasty and sweet. This was very early in the leapbeer journey (February), but since that time my palate has definitely changed. I’ve had a chance to revisit this beer, and now I quite like it (But I’ll get to that later in the post).

First up is La Gaillarde. This is a Belgian style Pale Ale. According to Canadian Beer News (link below) this a beer that they only recently been brought back after over a decade on haitus.

Inspired by an ale recipe from the 16th century, La Gaillarde was first brewed in 1995 for the Québec Medieval Festival, and remained in production until late 1999 when it was discontinued.  (Canadian Beer News)

La Gaillard is a cloudy golden beer with a pillowy white head on top. There’s lots of tiny bubbles in the abundance of carbonation. It has a very complex bouquet, smelling of lemon rind, biscuits, dry white wine and grapes. It is a very bubbly beer, with a strong initial alcohol thump up front. Then it settles to a dry and bready beer. It’s almost if apple cider was meshed with a Belgian pale ale. Nice and refreshingly clean finish.

Leapbeer #346 is La Gaillarde

La Gaillarde by Unibroue

La Gaillarde by Unibroue

Brewery: Unibroue of Quebec
Size/ABV: 355ml Bottle/5.0% ABV
Purchased: Merecroft Village Liquor Store in Campbell River
Website: http://www.canadianbeernews.com/2012/05/12/unibroue-la-gaillarde-returns-after-more-than-a-decade/
Other Reviews: Beer Advocate, Rate Beer

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