I noticed a particularly troubling trend in my beer fridge. It was really quite loaded with imports. Being that one of the main goals for this Leapbeer journey was to cover every available Vancouver Island craft beer I felt it imperative to reach in for a couple of Vancouver Island brews.
It is hard to avoid the influence of the United Kingdom in the beer world. So many of the great beers are crafted there. Today I have 2 on the table that are brewed in Victoria BC, but inspired by styles that originated in England and Scotland,Lighthouse Brewing’s Highland Challenge and Driftwood Brewing’s Naughty Hildegard Extra Special Bitter.
Lighthouse brewed this small batch to coincide with the Highland Games in Victoria. I found this scottish ale to be mild, malty & surprisingly bitter. It poured to a ruby amber color with no head. I don’t get a lot of scent on the nose from this beer, but I do enjoy its bitter malty taste. It is quite enjoyable. Like a mild & extra carbonated bock. On a side note, I love their small bottles, kind of like a revamped stubby or nuevo stubby.
Beer Advocate describes Scottish Ale’s as “The Scottish style of ales break down into Light, Heavy and Export. In the 19th century Scotland, a nomenclature, based on the now obsolete shilling currency, was devised in order to distinguish each. 60/- (light), 70/- (heavy), 80/- (export), 90/- to 160/- for Scotch Ales.
Scottish Ales traditionally go through a long boil in the kettle for a caramelization of the wort. This produces a deep copper to brown in colored brew and a higher level of unfermentable sugars which create a rich mouthfeel and malty flavors and aromas. Overall hop character is low, light floral or herbal, allowing its signature malt profile to be the highlight. Smoky characters are also common.” http://beeradvocate.com/beer/style/68
Leapbeer #159 is Highland Challenge by Lighthouse Brewing Company in Victoria BC
I have a problem to report. I have a really hard time saying no to Driftwood’s brews. Their track record with this leapbeer journey has been unmatched. Ever since I fell deeply and madly in love with the beer that I swore I wouldn’t mention again in my blog I was hooked. And every other beer of theirs I’ve tried I have loved as well. So naturally when they released the new seasonal, Naughty hildegard ESB, I was excited. I felt predisposed to loving it. Add to that the promise of a copious hop body on this naughty nun, it was enough for this hop head to catch the vapours. And I hadn’t even cracked the bottle yet.
I pop the top on this 650ml bomber already with a glazed look in my eyes. This lovely beer poured to a deep amber and echoed a bouquet of hoppy scent. Atop this beer sits a lacey cafe-au-lait coloured head. When I taste this beer I get a real quick bitter note, and then it lingers quite long in the palate. Despite its strength (6.5% ABV) this ESB is really easy drinking. A strong yet sessionable beer. Again I’ve been wooed by Driftwood. Who knows when these brewing mavericks will pitch one that this beer lover doesn’t like? I, for one, hope that day never comes.
Leapbeer #160 is Naughty Hildegard by Driftwood Brewing Company of Victoria BC
Beer Advocate describes ESB’s thusly. “ESBs are essentially more aggressive and more balanced Bitters, both in alcohol and hop character, but nothing overpowering. Color range will be similar, though leaning towards the darker end of the scale; dark golds to copper. Low carbonation. Malts tend to be more pronounced, often toasty and fruity, with maybe some notes diacetyl. And despite “bitter” being in its name, ESBs are not really all that bitter. They key to an ESB is balance.” http://beeradvocate.com/beer/style/66
Thanks for reading