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Archive for the tag “driftwood brewery”

Leapbeer Presents – Cellar Raid Beer Tasting!

I’ve been fortunate to be allowed to host a tasting event at the Courtenay Cascadia Liquor Store coming up next week. On Monday, January 20th from 7-8pm Cascadia and their guests will be helping me raid into my beer cellar and share some classic beers. Not only will we be sampling from a couple of classic ‘cellar’ styles, but hopefully we will share in a leapbeer experiment. There’s going to be all sorts of information about cellaring beers and examples and tips. Plus a special guest. I hope to see my readers there if you can.

Don’t Expect Anything Quite This Dusty img via http://www.kathryn.info

Here is a link to the Facebook Event https://www.facebook.com/events/1396355917283125/ if you wanted to RSVP that way. Otherwise you can call the store at 250-871-8171 to get your name put on the list or come by the store.

When: January 20th, from 7 til 8pm
Where: Cascadia Liquor Store, Courtenay BC. Unit 200 – 444 Lerwick Rd, Courtenay BC, V9N 0A9
How Much: $5 charitable donation.

PS: If you’re a reader not in my area, I apologize for sending this to you. I can’t find in wordpress where I limit who these posts go out to.

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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

Thanks 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

Read more…

Leapbeer Review #260 Sartori Harvest IPA by Driftwood Brewing Company

I feel that I’ve fallen behind a bit in showcasing the Vancouver Island beers so I thought I’d take a week to post about some of the recent seasonal and limited release beers. To start things off I’m going with the most recent holy grail of BC beers, Sartori Harvest by Driftwood.

So what’s all the fuss about? For the uninitiated, when the Sartori Cedar Ranch has their hops ready for harvest they put the call out. Several breweries get hops from this ranch for their beers. Another brewery posted a nice video about visiting the farm, you can watch it here. When Sartori Harvest IPA is released there is a flood of craft beer enthusiasts that swarm the stores looking for them. In some cases the stores have to limit the amount people are allowed to buy to ensure that more people get to try it.

The Sartori Harvest is a wet hopped beer, meaning that instead of adding a kiln dried hop they use the cones direct from the vine. As soon as they are harvested they go into the beer. While I’m not 100% certain on the time frame between harvest to addition it is a very different take on flavour infusion. I have had a chance to sample quite a few different wet hopped beers, and Sartori Harvest was one of my first.

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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
Webpage:
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 #183 Singularity RIS 2012 by Driftwood Brewing

According to Ray Kurtzweil, the Singularity is Near. I say ‘Nay, its not near. It’s in my hand.’

All attempted frivolity aside I’m not speaking of Kurtzweil’s hypotheses that man and machine will become one integrated entity in the near future. I am, however, speaking of the grand daddy of Victoria craft beer coveting, Driftwood’s Singularity Russian Imperial Stout.

To say that this beer has been well reviewed is an understatement. Mr.Lloyd, left4beer, gave this behemoth a 10/10 (A somewhat rare occasion). Other sites gave it similar praise. It boasts a 93 (exceptional) rating at BeerAdvocate, and a 94 at Ratebeer. Knowing this before opening it, I wanted to pick the best moment to consume this intense beer. It pained me to wait. But here I am, officially half way through the leapbeer journey. The perfect tipping point for this beast.

Driftwood used to use foil on the tops of their bottles of Singularity, similar to how Old Cellar Dweller is still packaged. This year they went with something a little more … theatrical. Similar to Three Floyds Dark Lord, they encased their jewel in a crown of wax. I call it theatrical because while it is very functional from an aging protection, it is also a royal pain in the keister to open. It must have taken me a good minute or two to open this bad boy. Admittedly it was my first time opening a wax encased beer, so maybe it was beginners ineptitude.

The Singularity is a deep Russian Imperial Stout that Driftwood ages four months in Bourbon barrels, and it really shows. This beer pours do a deep deep black colour. When you pour it, a milk chocolate coloured head appears on top of it. It’s been said that this beer is one that you not only drink, ‘but you experience’ (as per vancouver beer blog)

It smells rich, of licorice and malts. There are hints of some spice and chocolate to it as well. When you sip it, this beer packs a punch. My first thoughts were “Wow, this beer is a rib sticker.” It has a nice rich stout flavour, with somewhat muted licorice and coffee notes. I honestly expected more licorice flavour to this beer, but they (Driftwood) surprised me. And then the bourbon sweetness seeps in late. Followed by a real latent alcohol burn in your throat as the 11.8% ABV hits you. This stout is no lightweight. Let all you calorie conscious light beer drinkers beware, this beer will consume you. It coats your entire mouth, well. So much so that I still tasted this beer the next day. This beer is big, black, and impressive. It is the Darth Vader of beers. Meaning this truly left an impression on me, as I now have a very high bar with which to compare other specialty Russian Imperial Stouts.

Leapbeer #183 is Singularity Russian Imperial Stout by Driftwood Brewing

I couldn’t have planned a more perfect beer for the halfway point. Driftwood really knocked it out of the park with this beer. Now I realize I’ve been a super Driftwood fanboy up to this point in the blog, but with good reason. They assembled all the powerful ingredients used to make this brew, and then deftly arranged them into a liquid symphony for us all to enjoy. I agree with left4beer’s comments about this beer being under priced, as similarly crafted beers fetch top dollar from consumers in our neighbours to the south. I look forward to whats next from these guys, and to enjoying more Singularity in the new year.

183 down, 183 to go.

Thanks for Reading

Leapbeer Review #169 Crooked Coast Altbier by Driftwood Brewery

My last review of a Driftwood product came across as a bit overly complimentary. Let me try to begin this beer in a different vein. This beer, the Crooked Coast Altbier, is my least favorite Driftwood beer. It may sound harsh, but that’s like saying its the lowest gpa on the honor roll. It was still a tasty beer.

So, what is an altbier? Altbier literally means “Old Beer”. The style originates in Düsseldorf and other parts of North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. Altbier style refers to the pre-lager brewing method of using a warm top-fermenting yeast. Over time the Alt yeast adjusted to lower temperatures, and the Alt brewers would store or lager the beer after fermentation, leading to a cleaner, crisper beer than is the norm for some other top-fermented beers such as British pale ale. (via Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Altbier)

So how does this Altbier stack up? I’ve already stated it is my least favorite Driftwood beer, but where does it stand. Well it pours to a lovely amber colour with a creamy coloured head. It has a lovely sweet malty aroma to it. The taste of this beer is quite different. The Tettanger hops in it give a very distinct flavour to it. You can see how these hops contributed to the cross-breed that is Citra hops. I realize I’ve been going on about hops varieties lately. I do plan to do a post all about hops, with a great list of varieties and characteristics., but that’s another time.

Back to this beer, it has a lovely bitterness to it. There’s almost a woody bitterness to it. It tends to cling inside the mouth.
It is strong yet sessionable. Regardless of where this sits on my report card for Driftwood it is still delicious.

Leapbeer #169 is Crooked Coast Altbier by Driftwood Brewery

Thank you all for reading.

Leapbeer Review #75 Farmhand Ale by Driftwood.

Having had a really bad run of beers lately I went with a recommendation to try this beer from Driftwood. I’ve had it in the past, but its been so long that I forgot what it was like. It’s a style of beer called a Belgian Saison or Farmhouse Ale. There’s information about the recipe on their site, but the standout ingredient to me is black pepper.

So as as you can see from the picture it pours to a cloudy amber with about a 1cm head. It has a very pleasant smell of fruit to it. It tastes quite nice and refreshing. It has a wonderful blend of both sweet and crisp bitters. And it finishes with a peppery pop. Not so much that it overpowers the taste. Just enough to let you know it was there.

I tip my hat to @xaendovet for suggesting this, thank you very much.

#75 on the Leapbeer Journey is Farmhand Ale by Driftwood Brewery in Victoria BC.

Leapbeer signing off for now. Enjoy Responsibly folks.

Editorial note: I apologize to anyone who accidentally got sent an early review this morning. I was proofreading a review for post on the 13th, and I accidentally posted it.

The Leapbeer Tasting – A Trip to India Pale Ale

So last night I had a couple of good friends (one superfriend harkening back to our old hockey pool) and I decided to give them a journey through what I’d found out about IPA’s

Before I get to the beers I did a bit of research into “what makes an India Pale Ale or IPA? And Why India?”

So the next bit is a bit of site regurgitation, so I apologize for that. According to wikipedia the first written reference of “India Pale Ale” dates back to 1835 which referred to a style of beer previously called “pale ale as prepared for India”, “pale India ale” or “pale export India ale”. About.com said that the brewing style was originally developed by the British in the 1700s to prevent spoilage when shipping their beer to troops stationed in India. The generous amout of hops in the brew protected it from the heat and motion of the sailing ships of the day.

The hops bring the bitter, but it is the variants of hops that can bring the citrus twang that comes through in some of the beers.

The beers I chose for Dallas and Jeff were Wells IPA, Hoperation TripelCross by Phillips, Devils Elbow IPA by Howe Sound Brewery, Imperial IPA by GIB and Fat Tug by Driftwood.

Jeff is a hops veteran, but this was Dallas’ first trip down to hoppy town. I probably could’ve started with an even milder IPA, something like an Alexander Keiths, but I felt that a British beer would make more sense. All of us enjoyed a glass and shared our comments (when the hockey game wasn’t on of course) Everyone shared the sentiment that this is a refreshing beer. It has a mild hoppyness to it, but it is still an easily drank beer.

Next I decided to go with the Hoperation TripelCross by Phillips. One sip and you snap to attention. No wonder the Brits sent this to their troops. This beer definitely gave Dallas a moment to pause. If I recall, his first response was “Wow that’s bitter”

We moved onto Devil’s Elbow IPA by Howe Sound Brewery. At this point our bitter beer beginner was showing signs of tapping out. Little did he know what was to come. This officially is beer #68 on the leapbeer journey, but I’m going to post a review of it later.

I realize this next move went contrary to the trend, but I decided that we would go to the Imperial IPA by GIB after that. As you may remember from my review this bad boy weighs in at 100 IBU’s or bitterness units. The highest of our tasting plan. The Dally man could only take a mouthful or two of this delicious brew.

Lastly we moved on to my current beer crush, Fat Tug by Driftwood. I insisted that the Dallas man give this a pull. My love for this beer is well documented at this point. Jeff is an honorary tugnut too. While we were consuming this it made me realize something new. Most beers taste like beer. I know this is an over simplification, but they all have a basic beer taste. Of course there are variants, probably more than any one person can count. Some are sweet or nutty, others are bitter, even others are unfiltered. And it goes on and on. Regardless of all that, they still taste like beer. What amazes me about fat tug is how much more than a beer this brew is. It is truly remarkable. In my opinion it is head and shoulders above the rest of these beers. It is a flavor journey waiting to happen. Even our bitter newb had to appreciate it.

If you haven’t had a fat tug yet, please do so at your soonest convenience. It may seem like I am being paid by Driftwood to promote their brews, but I’m not. This is just a wonderful discovery of mine while on my leapbeer journey.

Yes I realize I go on and on about one beer. I’m seriously considering putting a moratorium on tug comments in future posts. And yes I realize that there are many many many more IPA’s out there that we could have tried. My question to my readers is whats your favorite IPA? leave a comment or tweet me @heavycf

I hope you enjoyed reading this. I absolutely enjoyed researching and writing it. Life is too short to drink bad beer.

PS I recently hired da def as my senior VP of offsite leapbeer acquisitions out of Victoria, so hopefully I’ll be getting more of the limited run beers as they become available.

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