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Archive for the tag “belgian style”

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
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 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
In Powell River
Website: http://townsitebrewing.com/beer
Other Reviews: Joe Weibe (@Thirstywriter), Barley Mowat, Beer Advocate, 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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Leapbeer Reviews #341-344 Catching up with Spinnakers

In my effort to catch up I find myself with a back log of Spinnakers beers to review. A couple of them were released earlier in the year and a couple more recently. The line up for today is Happy New Beer, Über Blonde Strong Belgian Style Ale, India Session Pale Ale and Hoptoria IPA.

First up is the Happy New Beer. This is a Wit bier, or Belgian style wheat beer. It is a low test (4.5% ABV) sessionable beer that I’m guessing is intended for popping midnight December 31st (I’m sorry Spinnakers I couldn’t wait). It is a clear golden beer with a white head on top. It smells of toffee, apples and malt. All arranged in a very delicate bouquet. I find that it is a light and whimsical wit. There’s minor sweetness with a hint of salted caramel to it. My only sticky point with this beer is that it has a very lingering bitter note to the taste, somewhat uncharacteristic for wheat beer styles.

Leapbeer #341 is Happy New Beer

Happy New Beer by Spinnakers Gastro Brewpub

Happy New Beer by Spinnakers Gastro Brewpub

Brewery: Spinnakers Gastro Brewpub in Victoria BC
Size/ABV: 650ml Bomber/4.5%
Availability: Some Private Liquor Stores and @ Spinnakers
Purchased @:
Cascadia Liquor Quadra st Victoria
Other Reviews: Rate Beer, Beeradvocate

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Leapbeer Reviews #311 & 312 Uncharted Belgian IPA & Siren Imperial Red by Lighthouse

This next post is me catching up on the latest from Lighthouse Brewing Companies ‘Big Flavour’ series. These bombers have been quite well received up til now, and, as you will read, the trend continues. The latest two are Uncharted Belgian IPA, released late October of this year, and Siren Imperial Red Ale released December the 3rd.

Lighthouse Brewing Companies Latest Big Flavour Series BombersSiren Imperial Red and Uncharted Belgian IPA

Lighthouse Brewing Companies Latest Big Flavour Series Bombers
Siren Imperial Red and Uncharted Belgian IPA

First of these I’m covering is the Uncharted Belgian IPA. I wasn’t able to try last years version of this beer. According to one source the last years version was a blend of two beers by two different brewers. This years version was not. It is a 100% Dean McLeod production, and it’s delicious. It pours to a clear goldy amber colour with a lovely off white head that really sticks around. The bouquet off this beer is lovely. Floral and citric hops notes bring up thoughts of passion fruit and apricots (yes I know there’s no passion fruit or apricots in this beer). That’s kind of how the tasting starts with this beer as well. It is initially fruity but then a nice bitter washes over you from it. This is a beer meant for savoring, not lending itself to quick mass consumption. I did notice that the bottle I had recently didn’t have as strong a hops aroma as the one I shared with @eskimodave closer to the release of this beer. But when I gave the glass a swirl the bouquet opened up  again. A very solid and tasty beer from my friends at Lighthouse Brewing Company.

Leapbeer #311 is Uncharted Belgian IPA

Uncharted Belgian IPA by Lighthouse Brewing Company

Uncharted Belgian IPA by Lighthouse Brewing Company

After drinking Uncharted I thought there was no way to top it. I knew Lighthouse was planning to release an Imperial Red Ale, as they included it as their beer for Winterbrau at Canoe Brewpub. To be honest, I wasn’t expecting much from this beer when I initially heard about its release. I figured it would be good, but I was outright WRONG. This beer is a tour de force of hoppy goodness. It is an all out assault on your olfactory glands and taste buds, in a very very good way. It is a deep reddish amber beer with a thick fluffy tan coloured head on top. The aroma from this beer is like an intoxicating blend of piney hops. The kind of melange meant to ensnare a hop head like me. No wonder it’s called Siren. This beer is enough to make me steer my ship into the rocks, its that good. Even before a drop hits my lips I’m sold on this product. And then when you drink it you get blasted by this unapologetic uber hop monster of a beer. The complex malt framework can on just support the massive hop injection provided from this libation. I love this beer.

Leapbeer #312 is Siren Imperial Red

Siren Imperial Red by Lighthouse Brewing Company

Siren Imperial Red by Lighthouse Brewing Company

Brewery: Lighthouse Brewing Company of Victoria, BC
Released: Late October 2012 (Uncharted), December 3rd, 2012 (Siren)
Size/ABV/IBU: 650ml Bottle/7.5% (Uncharted) 8.0% (Siren)ABV/
Availability: Limited
Purchased @: Merecroft Village Liquor Store & Cascadia Liquor Comox

Truly these beers deserve their own platform for review. Unfortunately I have to keep compressing posts to hit my Leapbeer deadline of December 31st. If these products are available in your area try them immediately. Especially the Siren, since it’s aroma hops will only dissipate with time. A big Kudos to Lighthouse and their team for these amazing beers.

Thanks for reading

Leapbeer Reviews #295-300 Flight of the Townsite

With it getting closer to the end of the year and me needing to get my blogging butt in gear I coordinated a nice tasting evening for me and some friends. This has helped me to cover some of the stockpile of beers I’ve been sitting on. It also helps me to get through a full flights of beers without being left with the task of consuming four or more bombers in one night. Our most recent tasting evening included a flight from Powell River’s own Townsite Brewery. You may recall that I went through there earlier in the leapbeer journey in one of my leapbeer field trips.

They have a really cool set up there with lots of local flair. Karen noted to us that Cedric their brewmaster could very well be the only Belgian born brewmaster in BC. Each of their labels has a tidbit about the name of the beer along with the local significance. They will be included in the write up as well.

First beer from Townsite is their Westview Wheat a summer witbier, or belgian style wheat beer. It is a very tasty beer that I am guessing they will be bringing back again late next spring/early summer 2013. It is a touch on the sweet side, but doesn’t have the usual banana-esque notes that most hefeweizens have.

Note: Westview: noun 1. direction of every view in Powell River, and features the epic Comox Glacier, 2. a refreshing summer seasonal witbier

Leapbeer #295 is Westview Wheat

Westview Wheat

Westview Wheat

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Leapbeer Reviews – An Evening of Saisons

Recently I shared a trio of Saisons that I’d been eagerly awaiting with my sister. The three for that evenings tasting were, Saison Diego by Green Flash, Wasteland Elderflower Saison by Elysian and Saison Sauvin by 8 Wired Brewing. It was the beginning of the fall, and with the last harvests coming in it felt fitting to honor the ale of the farmhand.

First up was Saison Diego from Green Flash Brewing Company in California. I was really curious to see how the added spices (see quote below) added and played together in this Saison. The bottle has right on it, ale brewed with Spice. There is no ABV listed on the bottle, but I can find it out thru Untappd. This is a loudy golden coloured beer. It smells a bit sweet, but it also smells like a golden ale yeast. It sounds like a cop out, but this beer has a very beer smell. It’s definitely Saison-esque, although it is lighter than I expected. I would say that it is more reminiscent of an original style of Saison, where it was made to quaff the thirst of the farmhands. It is a very refreshing beer. You get flavours of spice, a bit peppery, but others as well. I really like it. Not much of a head on it, slightly carbonation. Rim of light bubbles. A very easy finishing, easy drinking Saison. Here’s the notes from their website (link below).

Unfiltered golden farmhouse ale, brewed with Seville orange peels, Chinese ginger and grains of paradise. Light, bright, spicy aromas, lively carbonation and earthy flavors co-mingle with musty notes that add funky complexity.

Leapbeer #253 is Saison Diego by Green Flash Brewing

Brewery: Green Flash Brewing of San Diego California
Released: Unknown
Size/ABV: 650ml Bottle/4.3% ABV
Availability: Limited
Purchased @: Top Shelf Liquor Store
Other Reviews:

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Leapbeer Review #251 Son of The Morning Strong Golden Ale by Driftwood Brewing

Let me preface this review with me saying that I initially bocked at purchasing this beer. The label art bothered me as a christian. I was torn between my beliefs and my need to be a VI Craftbeer completist. I settled to do research as to why they decided to market this beer this way before making any uninformed decisions. As it turns out this beer is named ‘Son of the Morning’ in an homage to Duvel Moortgat. Initially when the Duvel Moortgat brewery released their as Victory Ale, to commemorate World War I. But during the 1920s, an avid drinker described the beer as “nen echten duvel” (a real devil in Brabantian Dutch) – perhaps in reference to the strength of its alcohol content (8.5% ABV) – and the name of the beer was changed to Duvel (Obviously translated Devil). It has become the brewery’s flagship beer. This beer is considered by many the definitive version of the Belgian Strong Golden Ale style. Because driftwood used their flagship beer as a target to try and reach, it is fitting they chose such a name.

So this beer is mysterious to me. It pours to a cloudy golden colour with a white head on top. My bottle had quite a bit of sediment in it, so I gave it a good spin before drinking. Reading over the label it indeed has a bit of evil in it, It is a beefy beer weighing in at 10% ABV. Listed ingredients from the label are Water, Hops, Malt, Candy, Coriander and Black Magic (very scary kids – SCTV ref). It smells quite sweet, very reminiscent of Fin Du Monde to me. To say that this beer has a strong and sweet taste to it is an understatement. The Belgian yeast is front and centre in the taste of this beer. It’s not entirely sweet though, as there is a nice bitterness to it as well. The strong alcohol flavour is not masked at all, a bit of the devil indeed. Too much of this beer and you will be asking your friends what you did last night. I also think its of note how highly carbonated my bottle was. It would wash over your tongue as you sip it. To me this beer seems immature. Perhaps I should have aged it.

Leapbeer #251 is Son of the Morning Golden Strong Ale by Driftwood Brewing

Brewery: Driftwood Brewery of Victoria BC
Released: March 22, 2012
Size/ABV: 650ml Bottle/10.0% ABV
Availability: Very Limited
Purchased @: Top Shelf Liquor Store
No Longer on the Driftwood Site, but Beer On the Rock Release notes. http://www.beerontherock.com/?p=1174
Other Reviews:
http://blog.liquorplus.ca/?p=1951  &   http://www.vancouverbeerblog.com/?p=3203

As a bit of a side note, I tried drinking the 2nd half of this bottle with some homemade smoked salmon. I had accidentally made the brine too strong, leading to an extra salty smoked salmon. This beer cut right through the saltiness of that and actually enhanced the berry flavours I use in my smoked salmon.

Thanks for reading

Leapbeer Review #197 Ephemere Black Currant Cassis by Unibroue

Now I admit I wasn’t very nice when I reviewed the Unibroue Fin Du Monde. I wasn’t trying to be harsh, but it came across as a like I was a bit mean. It was back when I was writing a considerably shorter write up to my beers. While I now am more verbose, it appears that my track record with this brewery isn’t getting any better.

The next beer from them I am trying is the Ephemere Black Currant Cassis. Due to the overwhelmingly good remembrance of the Brouwerij Lindemans Cassis Lambic, I’ve been wanting to branch out to the fruitier beers to try something with that same verve to it. Sadly this beer is not that beer.

It pours to a cloudy red colour with no head to it. It smells strongly of the black currants, however it doesn’t deliver on the flavour. It is a mild currant taste, with a lot of bubbles to it. I’m not saying it is really all that bad. Just that I find it to be a light, fluffy & very lightly flavoured fruity beer.

Leapbeer #197 is Ephemere Black Currant Cassis by Unibroue

I do promise to attempt this brewery some more, I’m sure the thousands upon thousands (who knows maybe more) beer drinkers of theirs out there can’t be wrong. Wait, wasn’t that an Elvis album?
Gah, I digress again. I am going to give them a good old college try again before the year is through. So please, all you Unibroue’ers save your hate mail for now.

Thanks for Reading.

Leapbeer Reviews an Odin Trio

These next three beers were a gift from @JohnLimHing from our roadtrip to Tofino. As previously mentioned there was an Odin Brewery VCBW event at his restaurant in Steveston (www.hogshack.ca), so he brought me over some of their brews.

I started off with the Viking extra pale ale. It didn’t have a label, but I’m not here for labels. I’m here for the beer. It pours to a lovely unfiltered golden colour with a frothy white head on it. There’s a fair amount on the nose of it. It smells of mildly citric hops, a touch of earthiness and rich malts.
Tasting it is quite bitter up front. The thick bitters coat your mouth. I find it to be nicely carbonated. Despite the bold flavours this beer has a delicate mouth feel. It is a very good beer.

Leapbeer #193 Viking Extra Pale Ale


Next I moved on to the Odin’s Gift Ruby Ale. This beer is a transparent deeply ruby red beer with a thin creamy head on top. When you bring it to your nose it smells very sweet, rich and malty. It does taste nicely malty, but there’s also a nice bitterness as well. It is a tasty beer, and very easy drinking.

Leapbeer #194 Odin’s Gift Ruby Ale

Lastly I moved to the limited release, Thor’s Equinox – Belgian Dark Ale. It is hard to tell from the picture, but this beer is a chestnut brown colour with a thin head on top. It smells of rich molasses and malts. But when you drink it you really get hit of the belgian sour yeast. The tasting starts with the rich malts and molasses and then ends with the sour taste. As this beer warms up a bit it gets really easy to drink. It is a high test 9.0% 650ml bomber, so drink with caution.

Leapbeer #195 Thor’s Equinox Belgian Dark Ale

A big Thank You to John for providing me with these beers, and as always, thank you for reading.

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