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Mission : Leap Beer, 366 Beers in 366 Days

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Leapbeer #366 – All Good Things …

So here I am, a complete year of beer drinking in and I’m getting ready to put the wraps on this whole endeavor. I thought it would be fitting for me to end with a beer synonymous with Vancouver Island. Not far from where I grew up in a town called Cumberland, they hold a rather dubious distinction. They consume the most Lucky Lager per capita than anywhere else. It is also a staple up in my current home town of Campbell River. Because it is so synonymous with my area and the beer culture here, I felt it would be the right beer to close things on.

Lucky is a purely golden coloured beer with very little head to speak of, in fact it dissipated within minutes of pouring. The aroma is kind of strange, its a mix between sour cream and stale bread. It tastes overly sweet for a lager, with a really unpleasant ‘sour milk’ bitter aftertaste. I’m drinking it at maybe 7c so maybe I need to freeze it to make it a bit more palatable. Can says the beer was established in 1934. I’m not sure if thats when this can was made, but it kind of tastes like it.

Leapbeer #366 is Lucky Lager

Lucky Lager engineered in a Labatt Labratory somewhere.

Lucky Lager engineered in a Labatt Laboratory somewhere.

Brewery: Labatt brewed in a sewer somewhere
Size/ABV: 355ml Can/5.0% ABV
Purchased:
Gift from @jonbrophy
Website: http://www.labatt.com/brands/regionalbrands.php
Other Reviews: Beer Advocate, Rate Beer

Who am I kidding? I can’t end this wonderful journey drinking this swill. I’m going to put this the only place suitable for this putrescence.

Putting this crap where it belongs.

Putting this crap where it belongs.

Now on to a beer worthy of being on the top of this list. Read more…

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Leapbeer #365 Megadestroyer by Howe Sound Brewing Company

Today’s beer came highly recommended by Vancouver based beer geek, Jonny Beers. Howe Sound Brewing Company makes their Megadestroyer Imperial Licorice Stout by taking their already potent Pothole Filler imperial stout, and jack it up by adding massive amounts of licorice and anise. It was originally brewed to commemorate the 200th tap at Alibi Room, one of Vancouver’s go-to beer geek watering holes.

It is not for the faint of heart. This beer is very bold. Add to that the fact that you have an entire litre of it to enjoy. Thankfully Howe Sound Brewing Co uses the 1l pop stopper bottles making storage for a few days a very viable opportunity. Personally I chose to go a different way. I wanted to enjoy this stout in more than one way. In honor to their summer seasonal, the 4 way fruit ale, I’m enjoying Megadestroyer four ways.

First application, Chocolate Stout Cake. I have to thank @BGCanary and @MikesCraftBeer for sharing this recipe. It is a fairly easy to follow recipe that yielded an extremely moist chocolate cake. I didn’t add the ganache to mine because I needed the bowls and cleaning utensils to prepare the other goodness. The cake itself is very good and moist, but it doesn’t taste too stout-y to me. I had hoped with a bold flavoured stout like Megadestroyer it would shine through, but it didn’t.

Chocolate Stout Bundt Cake made with Megadestroyer Imperial Licorice Stout

Chocolate Stout Bundt Cake made with Megadestroyer Imperial Licorice Stout

Second way to enjoy the stout I chose to make a chocolate stout mousse. Originally I had plans to try a straight stout mousse, but the device that I wanted to make it with wasn’t available. Instead I found a recipe at Brew Nation NZ. It is very chocolatey as well, and even though the stout wasn’t cooked the chocolate overpowered the stout and only part of its licorice and anise goodness could be tasted through the mousse. It is also of note that I could have mixed mine better. I took the whole ‘folding’ thing too literally and could have blended the final integration better. The recipe yielded 8 nice sized servings.

Stout Mousse made with Megadestroyer Imperial Licorice Stout

Chocolate Stout Mousse made with Megadestroyer Imperial Licorice Stout

In my opinion both of these recipes would benefit by the addition of at least 1/2 a teaspoon of cayenne pepper. When I make my hot chocolate mix (the good eats recipe BTW) it calls for the addition of cayenne. I find that the spice really adds something special. It almost sets your mouth up in a way that it can enjoy the chocolate more.

Finished Product, Chocolate Stout Cake & Mousse

Finished Product, Chocolate Stout Cake & Mousse

Third way to enjoy Megadestroyer, was straight up. This is a jet black stout with a tall brown head on it. As you would imagine the omnipresent theme with this beer is licorice. Anise and licorice rip up your nostrils when you smell this bold and unapologetic beer. There is a touch of coffee on the nose as well. Drinking it is heavenly. It is remarkably smooth. All the big RIS tastes are there, coffee and cocoa, along with a generous dose of licorice. Despite it’s 10% ABV this beer is deceptively drinkable. Not that I would quaff it like it was a kolsch on a hot day, but enough that I don’t have to pause every few sips.

Leapbeer #365 is Megadestroyer Imperial Licorice Stout

Megadestroyer Imperial Licorice Stout by Howe Sound Brewery

Megadestroyer Imperial Licorice Stout by Howe Sound Brewery

Brewery: Howe Sound Brewing Company of Squamish BC
Size/ABV/IBU: 1L Bottle/10.0% ABV/73 IBUs
Purchased:
Cascadia Courtenay
Website: http://www.howesound.com/Brewery/Beers/Beer_Megadestroyer_Licorice_Stout.aspx
Other Reviews: Beer Advocate, Rate Beer

Lastly I decided to do something I’d read about in other blogs and tweets. Megadestroyer’s fourth way of enjoyment is in a beer float. I wasn’t sure how this would be. Not only was I very excited to try it, but I was honestly a little bit scared. I took a chalice, poured it half way up with Megadestroyer, and added a nice dollop of vanilla ice cream.

Stout Float with Megadestroyer

Stout Float with Megadestroyer

The way the ice cream came off in this beer was really good. It actually attenuated the sugars of the ice cream and accentuated the licorice in the stout. When I mixed it up together into a froth it made for an excellent tasting light treat.

So there you have it, 1 litre of stout enjoyed four ways. One application for stout I didn’t utilize is adding it to braising liquid for a pot roast, like I did with the Red Racer Stout. This one may not be the best for that as the licorice flavour may effect the other elements in an unwelcome way.

Big thank you to Mike, Lynn, Jonny for their suggestions, Howe Sound for the delicious beer.

And as always, thank you for reading.

365, just one left. Any guesses as to what it will be?

Leapbeer Review #364 Rayon Vert by Green Flash Brewing Company

My investigation into sour beers has led me into a deeper study of one of the sour yeast genus, Brettanomyces. I’m not going to go into a lot of detail about that yet (still working on that one), but I will say one of the beers I had read about is this next one. Green Flash Brewing Company’s Rayon Vert is a Belgian style pale ale finished with brett (the common shortened version of Brettanomyces).  Because of this I think their whole “continuously evolving” tagline takes on a whole new meaning. Sour Beers, like all others, continue to change while aging. In fact a brett beer needs a minimum of 8 months in the beer before it does its thing. While my initial thoughts on this beer aren’t the greatest I do plan to try a bottle from the same batch in 6 months and then another in a year.

As far as how it is now, this is a cloudy orange/amber beer with a tall fluffy tan head on top. The aroma is all brett, tart orange, barnyard funk and agave nectar. Unfortunately that’s as far as the brett goes for me. Tasting has a very thick bitter note, a bit bready, some spices followed by a small note of sour. It basically tastes like a bitter Belgian pale ale with brett aromas. I do hope it ages well.

Leapbeer #364 is Rayon Vert

Rayon Vert Belgian Pale Ale with Brettanomyces by Green Flash Brewing Company

Rayon Vert Belgian Pale Ale with Brettanomyces by Green Flash Brewing Company

Brewery: Green Flash Brewing Company of San Diego California
Size/ABV/IBU: 650ml Bottle/7.0% ABV/32 IBUs
Availability: Select Private Liquor Stores
Purchased:
Cascadia Liquor Store in Courtenay BC
Website: http://www.greenflashbrew.com/our-beers.php
Other Reviews: Beer Advocate, Rate Beer

Thanks for reading (Only 2 more I promise)

Leapbeer Review #363 90 Minute IPA by Dogfish Head Brewery

A few years ago I watched a documentary called ‘Beer Wars’ that showed a few different smaller breweries in their efforts to crack in against the juggernauts like Anheuser-Busch. One of the brewing mavericks featured in that was Sam Calagione of Dogfish Head. They have a trio of continiously hopped IPAs, the 60 Minute IPA, the 90 Minute IPA and the 120 Minute IPA. By that I mean that hops are added during the boil continuously. It is a concept somewhat similar to what Phillips did with their Pandamonium Anniversary IIPA. Phillips did 11 different hops additions in their beer. Dogfish Head did it differently. Originally they rigged a tabletop shaker football game to deliver the hops. Sam did the video below explaining the process.

This beer is regarded as one of the best imperial IPAs widely available in the states, and because of that I really really wanted to try it. I made sure that a 4 pack of this got made its way into the Leapbeer Portland beer haul.

I was expecting a gigantic hop bomb from this beer, but what I got was something very different. This is a cloudy dark amber beer  with a white head on it. The aromas are more malty with a hint of licorice. Their is only a lingering hop note on the nose. The real shocker for this beer is in how it tastes. It manages to dance this high wire balancing act between pungent bitter hops and smooth sweet malts. They even note on the bottle that they jack up the two-row barley to balance it out. Esquire magazine has called this “perhaps the best IPA in America”.

Sadly this isn’t currently available in Canada. I say currently because a conversation over twitter with AFIC (liquor importer) @beerzarre I learned that they are hoping to have DFH available in BC sometime next year. Here’s to hoping.

Leapbeer #363 is 90 Minute IPA

90 Minute IPA by Dogfish Head Brewery

90 Minute IPA by Dogfish Head Brewery

Brewery: Dogfish Head Brewery of Milton, Delaware
Size/ABV/IBU: 355ml Bottle/9.0% ABV/ 90 IBUs
Purchased:
Belmont Station in Portland
Website: http://www.dogfish.com/brews-spirits/the-brews/year-round-brews/90-minute-ipa.htm
Other Reviews: Beer Advocate, Rate Beer

Thanks for Reading

Leapbeer Review #362 Local 2 By Brooklyn Brewery

This next beer I bought on a bit of a whim. I was walking around in the Liquor Depot on the north end of Nanaimo just to check this place out, and this bottle seemed to hop out at me. There was a Local 1 and Local 2 side by side, I chose Local 2 because it has “honey and citrus peel” on the label. The notes from the Brooklyn website have this to say about it.

Here in Brooklyn we’ve combined European malt and hops, Belgian dark sugar, and raw wildflower honey from a New York family farm to create Brooklyn Local 2. Our special Belgian yeast adds hints of spice to the dark fruit, caramel, and chocolate flavors. After 100% bottle re-fermentation, the beer reveals a marvelous dry complexity, enjoyable by itself or at the dinner table. (from their website)

This is a bottle conditioned beer, leading to the gigantic tan head on this beer. Its almost a 50/50 head to beer ratio. The beer itself is a cloudy brown colour. The aroma of it is very strange, a tinge of citrus mixed with caramel malts and a hint of saison-esque peppery yeast. It tastes very odd. As I imagined it is very carbonated. The sweetness is very delicately balanced with tart, both qualities of the raw wildflower honey. The beer tastes super light and easy to drink. It does not taste like a nine percent beer. The tastes is almost nondescript with only faint notes of chocolate, malt and citrus peel.

Leapbeer #362 is Local 2 by Brooklyn Brewing Company

Local 2 by Brooklyn Brewery

Local 2 by Brooklyn Brewery

Brewery: Brooklyn Brewery of New York NY
Size/ABV/IBU: 750ml Bottle/9.0% ABV/ 24 IBUs
Purchased:
Liquor Depot Nanaimo
Website: http://brooklynbrewery.com/brooklyn-beers/big-bottles/brooklyn-local-2
Other Reviews: Beer Advocate, Rate Beer

I’m not sure this is one I’d ever get again, or at least get again any time soon.

Thanks for Reading

Leapbeer Review #361 Duchesse de Bourgogne

Before I get into the information about this beer I want to thank Sean (@xaendovet) for recommending this beer. I was tweeting about my newly developed love of sour beers and lamenting the lack of availability in my area. He said that Duchesse de Bourgogne should be a readily available sour that I have to try.

Duchesse is a Flanders Red Ale, a sour beer brewed in West Flanders at Brouwerij Verhaeghe of Vichty Belgium. For more information about this beer style you can read about it this article by Michael Jackson and on wikipedia. It is very highly rated on both Beer Advocate and Rate Beer.

To say that I liked this beer is an understatement. Even the thought of this beer makes me salivate. It is a cloudy dark brown/reddish beer with a tan head. It smells of tart cherries, balsamic and malt vinegars balanced in a blend of sweetness, tart and a touch of funk. The bouquet of this beer is intoxicating. The taste of this beer is as complex as its aroma. I’ve described this beer as a thin carbonated balsamic reduction before, and I’m pretty certain that hits the nail on this one. It is light and airy with an almost champagne like carbonation. It tastes tart, like sour vinegar then it smooths out to delicious sweet fruit. It tastes almost wine like, delivering flavours of cherries, plums, apples, pears and a touch of smoke.

Leapbeer Review #361 is Duchesse de Bourgogne

Duchesse de Bourgogne by Brouwerij Verhaeghe of Vichty Belgium

Duchesse de Bourgogne by Brouwerij Verhaeghe of Vichty Belgium

Brewery: Brouwerij Verhaeghe of Vichte Belgium
Size/ABV: 330ml Bottle/6.2% ABV
Purchased:
Liquor Plus Victoria
Website: http://www.proximedia.com/local/breweryverhaeghe/produkt1fr.htm
Other Reviews: Beer Advocate, Rate Beer , Video Review by Chris Steltz

I’m hoping to coerce a local liquor store to stock this beer. It is something I think everyone should try, at least once.

Thanks for reading.

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

Read more…

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

Thanks for Reading

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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