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Archive for the tag “canadian beer”

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 Review #340 Red Racer Oatmeal Stout by Central City Brewing

Central City’s Red Racer brand garners a lot of attention with the BC beer geek elite. Many consider the Red Racer IPA to be the best IPA BC has to offer. They recently did a mixer pack of their Red Racer ESB, Red Racer Pale Ale and the Red Racer Stout (the beer I’m reviewing today)

Red Racer Stout is an oatmeal stout, adding a very gentle texture to the beer in the mouth. It is a jet black stout that builds a very tall head (see pic below). The aroma is thin, with a hint of milk chocolate and an almost nutty quality. It reminds me of almonds. The beer has a mild bitterness to it. It tastes very smooth and light, yet complex as well. Tastes a bit like cocoa and raw almonds. It’s a very sessionable stout at 4.2% ABV. Also this is a versatile stout. My wife and I used part of one can in our pot roast and infused the vegetables with stouty goodness.

Leapbeer #340 is Red Racer Oatmeal Stout by Central City Brewing

Stout by Red Racer (Central City Brewing) of Surrey BC

Stout by Red Racer (Central City Brewing) of Surrey BC

Brewery: Central City Brewing of Surrey BC
Size/ABV: 355ml Can/4.2% ABV
Availability: Unknown (I got mine in a Red Racer Mixer Pack)
Purchased:
GVMT Liquor Store in Courtenay
Website: http://www.centralcitybrewing.com/red_racer_oatmeal_stout.php
Other Reviews: Beer Advocate, Rate Beer

Thanks for Reading

Leapbeer Reviews #337 & #338 Voltage Espresso Stout by Hoyne and Chocolate Cherry Stout by Moon Under Water

Last night I sampled the last of the Vancouver Island stouts (as far as I know) for the year.  The Hoyne Brewing Company/Habit Coffee Voltage Espresso Stout and the Moon Under Water Chocolate Cherry Stout.

Voltage Espresso Stout is an opaque black beer with about a 1 cm tan head on top. I tried it two ways, chilled and room temperature. The aroma when chilled is all coffee and cocoa nibs. Warm it is much of the same, but jacked up quite a bit. You really get a bitter coffee/espresso note when its at room temperature. It tastes (chilled) bitter and of dark chocolate. There’s even a hint of a touch of cream, or maybe its just creaminess in the way it feels. Warm the bitterness is jacked up again, more stringent in its attack on your taste buds. Yet it still retains a lovely smoothness to it. Whether you drink it chilled or straight from the cellar it’s a fantastic beer.

Leapbeer #337 is Voltage Espresso Stout by Hoyne Brewing Co

Voltage Espresso Stout by Hoyne Brewing Company

Voltage Espresso Stout by Hoyne Brewing Company

Brewery: Hoyne Brewing Company of Victoria BC
Size/ABV: 650ml Bottle/5.6% ABV
Availability: Select Private Liquor Stores
Purchased:
Top Shelf Liquor Store in Courtenay BC
Website: http://hoynebrewing.ca/#beers
Other Reviews: Beer Advocate, Rate Beer

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Leapbeer Review #335 Hops & Robbers Extra Delicious IPA by Double Trouble Brewing Company

Hops and Robbers IPA was one of the beers people were buzzing about at GCBF this year. Unfortunately I didn’t get around to their booth to try it. During one of my recent trips to Cascadia Lq in Courtenay they had just received a case of this beer. At last a chance to redeem myself. Gleeful with my purchase I strutted home eagerly anticipating this beer.

Double Trouble Brewing Company is an Ontario based brewery, but they have their West Coast brewing and distribution by Dead Frog Brewery of Aldergrove BC.

The appearance of this beer is a clear gold/amber colour with a one finger head on top. There’s a nice aroma of citric hops, followed by a lovely caramel malt scent. It is definitely a bitter forward IPA. With a very nice balance between the malts and bitterness. After you sip it the bitterness really washes over you, though, and it lingers in your mouth for quite some time. It seems rather audacious to call it an ‘extra delicious’ ipa, but in this case their bravado is met with a very tasty beer.

Leapbeer #335 is Hops & Robbers Extra Delicious IPA

Hops & Robbers Extra Delicious IPA by Double Trouble Brewing Company

Hops & Robbers Extra Delicious IPA by Double Trouble Brewing Company

Brewery: Double Trouble Brewing Company of Ontario (Brewed for BC at Dead Frog Brewery in Aldergrove BC)
Released: Unknown
Size/ABV: 650ml Bottle/5.7% ABV
Availability: Private liquor stores
Purchased @:
Cascadia Liquor Store Courtenay
Other Reviews: Beer Advocate, Rate Beer

Thanks for reading

Leapbeer Review #331 Dough Head Gingerbread Ale by Vancouver Island Brewery

I originally had planned to do this review in conjuncture with my wife and daughters gingerbread house day. I thought it would make for a great picture. Alas I missed out on my window for pictures, and someone got a bit hungry. My fault, at least they didn’t drink the beer.

When 5 yr olds attack!Apparently someone got a bit hungry before I could take the pic with the beer.

When 5 yr olds attack!
Apparently someone got a bit hungry before I could take the pic with the beer.

While I’m a proven fan of the rejuvenated bomber line from Vancouver Island Brewery this beer didn’t pique my interest. I’ve had a hit and miss relationship with winter beers. And when I think of a gingerbread beer it seemed wrong. I was expecting this beer to be overly sweet and overly spicy and generally over the top. I’m glad to report that it isn’t. This reddish amber ale has all the ginger and spice aroma that I was expecting. But when you drink it, it isn’t overly sweet. It tastes like a carbonated gingerbread house. If you’re looking for a hair burning ginger sting, don’t look at this beer, but if you’re looking for a gently flavoured seasonal this is a great choice.

Leapbeer #331 is Dough Head Gingerbread Ale

Dough Head Gingerbread Ale by Vancouver Island Brewery

Dough Head Gingerbread Ale by Vancouver Island Brewery

Brewery: Vancouver Island Brewery, Victoria BC
Size/ABV: 650ml Bottle/5.5% ABV
Availability: Wide Release in BC
Website: http://www.vanislandbrewery.com/default.aspx?PageID=1053
Other Reviews: Ian Lloyd (@left4beer), Mikes Craft Beer Blog, Parting Glass Beer Blog, Beer Advocate, Rate Beer

Thanks for Reading

Leapbeer Reviews #324-328 A Flight of Canoe

Last night I had the opportunity to share some delicious beers with a good friend, so I brought over a sampling of 5 different Canoe Brewpub beers including three of their core beers and two different seasonals. Unfortunately a couple of the bottles were from the summer time and at least one was negatively affected by the age of the beer. The beers we were drinking were Red Canoe Lager, Sirens Song Pale Ale, Summer Honey Wheat Ale, River Rock Bitter and Winter Gale Strong Ale.

Canoe Brewpub FlightRed Canoe Lager, Siren Song Pale Ale, Summer Honey Wheat Ale, River Rock Bitter, Winter Gale Strong Ale

Canoe Brewpub Flight
Red Canoe Lager, Siren Song Pale Ale, Summer Honey Wheat Ale, River Rock Bitter, Winter Gale Strong Ale

First up is the Red Canoe Lager. It was somewhat unfortunate for us to start with this bottle as it was one of the ones that was old. This is advertised on their website as a Czech pilsner, but this bottle didn’t taste like it. I’ve had it at the brewpub and it is a very nice lager beer. This bottle, unfortunately, was not. Drinking a skunky beer wasn’t how I wanted to start off the night. I can attest to the fact that, when fresh, this beer is very pleasant. Its all uphill after this one (I promise).

Leapbeer #324 is Red Canoe Lager

Red Canoe Lager by Canoe Brewpub

Red Canoe Lager by Canoe Brewpub

Brewery: Canoe Brewpub in Victoria BC
Size/ABV: 650ml Bottle(Also Available in Growler at the Brewpub)/5.2% ABV
Availability: At the brewpub
Website: http://www.canoebrewpub.com/beer.html
Other Reviews: Beer Advocate, Rate Beer

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Leapbeer Reviews #315-319 A Cornucopia of Phillips Brau

Another in my list of compressed reviews is me catching up with some of the seasonals by Phillips Brewing Company. My lazy blogging has left me with quite the back log of Vancouver Island craft beers to cover, but all that is changing. You’ve undoubtedly noticed that I have been covering multiple beers per post during the month of December. I was almost 90 back from my 366 goal when December started, but I’m catching up. Enough of the ‘mea culpa‘, lets get on to the beer.

I assembled quite the line up of beers to taste, but I included one from leapbeer’s past. Here’s the tasting line up

The Selection of Phillips Brewing Company BeersAlso a Flying Tanker as a reference beer for a White IPA style

The Selection of Phillips Brewing Company Beers
Also a Flying Tanker as a reference beer for a White IPA style

First up was a head to head comparison of White IPAs. I managed to pry one final Flying Tanker out of VIB Rob’s stash to use as a benchmark to compare the Phillips offering against. If you didn’t read my review of the Flying Tanker White IPA you can read it here. But to sum up, I loved it. It was beer of frankenstein-ish make up that it both confounded and pleased my taste buds. I’m breaking my reviews down to the three critera system I used in the post about beer cellaring. They’ll be examined by Appearance, Aroma and Taste.

Appearance
Flying Tanker: Dark Gold and cloudy with a tall pillowy white head
Electric Unicorn: Cloudy and golden, almost a sun yellow gold colour. Thin white head present.

Aroma
Flying Tanker: Slightly piney, some  citrus hop notes. Hefeweizen yeast characteristics as well (cloves and banana type aromas)
Electric Unicorn: Big time hops, pines and citrus. Hints of orange groves. A bit of a bready or biscuit type aroma as well.

Taste
Flying Tanker: A bolder flavour profile from previous tanker tastings. A strong bold IPA wrapped in a fluffy hefeweizen coat.
Electric Unicorn: Thin and smooth. Very easy drinking. Lots of hops bitterness to it, tastes more IPA than white IPA

My overall thoughts about the Electric Unicorn are that it was a very tasty beer. I tried it earlier in the year and really didn’t enjoy it. That was why I got the flying tanker to do a side by side with since I loved that beer so much. The age hasn’t been that good for the Tanker, which is to be expected. Hefeweizens or those made with that yeast strain are meant for consuming, not aging. The age, however, was a good thing for the Unicorn. I think it made it a more palatable. I kind of missed the window to showcase the Electric Unicorn during its sale period, and for that I apologize.

Leapbeer #146 is Flying Tanker White IPA and Leapbeer #315 is Electric Unicorn White IPA

Vancouver Island Brewing Flying Tanker & Phillips Brewing Company Electric Unicorn White IPA

Vancouver Island Brewing Flying Tanker & Phillips Brewing Company Electric Unicorn White IPA

Brewery: Phillips Brewing Company of Victoria BC
Released: August 28th, 2012
Size/ABV: 650ml Bottle/6.5% ABV
Availability: None
Purchased @:
Merecroft Village Liquor Store
Other Reviews: Ian Lloyd (@Left4beer), Beer Advocate, Rate Beer

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Leapbeer Reports – Cellaring Beer

There have been several blog posts about cellaring beer in the craft beer crew, so what can I hope to add another to the mix. Beeradvocate gave us a very thorough explanation about how to store beer, and which beers are good for it. Vancouver based beer blogger, Barley Mowat, has done something extrememly similar (but he adds pictures). Vancouver Island beer blogger allum (although I grimace as I say that, I’m not even in his league let alone the same court) Ian Lloyd, aka Left4Beer took his kick at this same can too. (Note: To view these posts I’m referring to please click the links embedded in their names)

The reason I chose to toss my hat into this ring was because it was a completely unheard of concept to me one year ago. I, like many out there, thought old beer = bad beer. I mean obviously beer is meant to be drank as soon as humanly possible (unless of course you think I’m encouraging drinking in the store or in your car on the way home. DO NOT DRINK AND DRIVE!) I should say, consumed as soon as reasonably possible.

Not quite what I mean by aging your beer (photo from agefotostock.com)

Why do beer geeks the world over choose to shell out top dollar for “fancy-pants brews” (pending TM) just to let them sit in a cellar until they can’t hold out any longer. Quite simply put, because it *can* make them better. I say can, because generally cellaring beer is saved for many styles, but not for others. Something like a fresh hopped beer is best consumed fresh. Even any dry hopped beer should be consumed as soon as possible, as those hop characteristics really diminish with time. Where aging beer really shines (in my limited opinion) is when it comes to high test stouts, bocks and sours. The rule of thumb I’ve heard is ‘If it’s at or over 9% ABV, it will age well”. I’ve spent some of this year collecting different beers and adding them to my cellar. Some of which I’ve tasted during the course of this year, but most of which I haven’t.

Another interesting ‘journey’ beer lovers are known to do is what is called a ‘Vertical Tasting’. As you may have guessed you have the various years of one beer and taste them to examine the nuances, changes and journey the beers have gone through. Recently left4beer and Jeff Kendrew did a three year vertical tasting of the same beer I chose to examine cellaring.

I devised a test to examine what cellaring beers actually does. I took two bottles of Hermannator Ice Bock by Vancouver Island Brewery, one from 2011 (a gift from a co worker Michelle, Thanks!) and one from 2012. The 2011 bottle has been aging in my ‘cellar’ (aka a stack of beer boxes in my downstairs closet) over the course of the hear. Hopefully this 9.5% ABV eisbock (or Ice Bock) style beer will have changed some. I’m going to use similar styled glassware (tulip/snifter) with a similar approximate six ounce pour.  I’ve got three criteria I’m going to be judging these beers on, Appearance, Aroma and Taste. Then I’ll divulge my overall thoughts of these two beers. Bear in mind that the batches may have some differences in the brew, but the recipe is very close from year to year. I served these beers directly from my cellar, meaning they’re between 10-12 degrees Celsius. Here’s the combatants.

2011 (left) & 2012 (right) Hermannator Ice Bock by Vancouver Island Brewery

2011 (left) & 2012 (right) Hermannator Ice Bock by Vancouver Island Brewery

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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
Webpage:
http://www.lighthousebrewing.com/products/big-flavour-series

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 #307-310 The Vancouver Island Brewery Pod Pack

This next set of beers that I’m covering in the leapbeer blog is the Pod Pack from Vancouver Island Brewery. It seems like this beer mixer is one that I regularly pick up. It has a nice assortment of beers and is pretty available on Vancouver Island.

There are two iterations of this mixer, the summer and winter Pod Pack. Both packs include three of the same beers, Pipers Pale Ale, Sea Dog Amber Ale and Hermann’s Dark Lager. The difference between the two is in the Summer it includes the Spyhopper Honey Blonde Ale, whereas the in the winter they have the new winter seasonal Storm Watcher Winter Lager.

Vancouver Island Pod Pack Beers

Vancouver Island Brewery Pod Pack Beers

First up is the summer inclusion, the Spyhopper Honey Blonde. In case you didn’t notice it, there’s a bit of a theme with a few of the Vancouver Island Brewery beers. They have an Orca whale on their logo, the pack is called a Pod (aka a grouping of whales) Pack, and this beer is named after a type of whale surfacing behaviour, Spyhopping.

This is a clear golden coloured beer with a thick head that dissipates over time. It has a lovely honey and malty aroma. It is a not-overly sweet beer with some nice bitter notes. It is lighter fare, and super easy drinking.

Leapbeer #307 Spyhopper Honey Blonde

Spyhopper Honey Brown

Spyhopper Honey Brown

Size/ABV: 341ml Bottle/5.0%
Webpage: http://vancouverislandbrewery.com/default.aspx?PageID=1008

One cool thing with the Spyhopper Honey Brown, a friend of ours who does handmade soap actually makes one with this beer with oats and hops. You can see her stuff at the facebook page for Quadra Island Soaps.

Spyhopper Honey Blonde Soap with Spyhopper, Oatmeal & Hops

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