Mission : Leap Beer, 366 Beers in 366 Days

Archive for the tag “esb”

Leapbeer Reviews #332-334 Stock Ale, IPA and Sweet Heat from Burnside Brewing Company

On day 2 of my trip to Portland I stopped by the Burnside Brewing Company, they had nine different beers available. I did tasters of the ones they didn’t have in bottles and grabbed bottles of the others. This is a review of three of those bottles, The Stock Ale, Burnside IPA and Sweet Heat.

First up is the Stock Ale. It is an ESB or extra special bitter style of beer. It pours to a cloudy reddish amber with a white head on top. The aroma from this beer is really bready. I get mild hops on the nose along with big malts. It tastes very smooth. Supple malts followed by a lingering bitter note. The beer isn’t overly carbonated either, making it easier to savor in your mouth. Their stock ale is very easy drinking. One of my favorites from Burnside.

Leapbeer #332 is Stock ale

Stock Ale by Burnside Brewing Company of Portland Oregon

Stock Ale by Burnside Brewing Company of Portland Oregon

Brewery: Burnside Brewing Company, Portland Oregon
Size/ABV/IBU: 650ml Bottle/5.8% ABV/51 IBUs
Purchased @: At the Brewery during my Leapbeer Portland Trip
Other Reviews:
Rate Beer, Beer Advocate

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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 Field Trip – Great Canadian Beer Festival 2012

Great Canadian Beer Festival

With a name like that it has to be good right? While this year was the 20th iteration of GCBF, this was my first. It was also not likely my last. I had tonnes of fun sampling beers here, and the brewers came out to impress at almost every booth.

Learning from lessons of Hopoxia I started the day right, my sister and I had a plan. I avoided drinking anything other than water with the intention of getting my body super hydrated before the event. We went to Spinnakers and had some heavy food to sit in our stomach and help stabilize us for the days frivolities. I had the pulled pork nachos and she had the poutine. All loaded up with a nice heavy meal we hopped in a cab and made our way to the Royal Athletic Park for GCBF.

First thing I noticed, was the gigantic line up to get inside. It was not one, not two, but three blocks long. What I really should have done is register the blog for reporter access because they were allowed in an hour early. Oh well, live and learn I guess.

Welcome to GCBF, Prepare to wait

Another note about entering the event, is that we had our water bottles confiscated, which was a real bummer. One of my plans was to remain hydrated during the event so as no need to quaff the beer so fast. I wanted to enjoy the frothy goodness. The security at the event told me that this was due to people using their bottles for the beer instead of the designated drinking glasses. They did have some water available to drink, but because it was a really hot day and the water coolers weren’t plugged in it was all piss warm by the time I went to drink it. I was able to retrieve my bottle on our way out of the venue so it wasn’t all bad.

As you check in, they scan your ticket, take your water bottle, look through your backpack, give you a map and a 4oz drinking glass. Finally through security and then where do you head? For tokens of course. Drink tokens were 1.25$ a piece, the most you could grab is a bag of 16 for $20. My sister and I both grabbed one of them and set off to the brews.

First stop, Lighthouse Brewing. You may ask yourself why I would go to a local brewery when there were fifty four other breweries to see? Because I’m trying to be a Vancouver Island craft beer completist. They had a cask offering of a Sazerac Saison.

Sazerac Saison by Lighthouse Brewing

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Leapbeer Review #196 Extra Special Bitter by Salt Spring Island Ales

First off, let me apologize for taking such a hiatus. I went camping with some friends and needed some recuperation time after returning home. I’m glad to announce that I’m now fully rested and ready to consume and compose for your … enjoyment? (still to be seen)

This next beer is yet another from Salt Spring Island Ales. Their distribution continues to grow on Vancouver Island and I’m pleased to say that, while I originally bought this in Nanaimo, I’ve since procured it locally as well. Kudos to you Salt Spring for distribution. I know my market isn’t a ‘hotbed’ for craft beer, but I appreciate the effort it takes to get beers like this into deserving consumers hands.

Biggest stand out for me on the bottle is right below the matador and bear, where it says ‘Whole-Cone Hops’. As a fan of the hoppier fare, I’m already intrigued. Before going much further here’s what it had to say on the back of the bottle. “There are no bears on Salt Spring… Matadors? Maybe. Allow us to present our Salt Spring take on the classic ‘ESB’ style. Featuring an aromatic charge of whole-cone hops, championed by dashingly sauve organic malts, this balanced and delicious beer is excellent on its own, or pairded with classic pub fare.

I pop the big bottle and am immediately hit by the hoppy scent. I poured a nice amber glass with a fluffy white head atop it. I notice an overly abundant carbonation to it. It smells hoppy as you’d guess, but that’s about all I smell to it. Not so overpoweringly so as you’d get on an IPA, but definitely more than your average bitter. It tastes of the bittering hops at first, but there’s a nice malt body beneath it. The finish is nice, very crisp, leading to an easy drinking beer. I can’t say that this is my favorite iteration of an ESB, I think Blue Moon Bitter takes that cake still, but it is a very nice beer.

Leapbeer #196 is Extra Special Bitter by Salt Spring Island Ales

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Leapbeer Review #182 Hobgoblin by Wychwood Brewery

This import was picked up by Frank for me and the blog. Thanks to him for that. It’s an import from the UK. It is an extra special bitter style beer with some flavour additives. Their website (http://www.wychwood.co.uk/#/movies//hobgoblin/beers/2) describes this beer like this.

Traditionally craft brewed with Chocolate & Crystal malts and a blend of Styrian, Goldings & Fuggles hops to produce a full-bodied, Ruby beer that delivers a delicious chocolate toffee malt flavour, balanced with a rounded moderate bitterness and an overall fruity, mischievous character. Deliciously Dark. What’s the matter Lagerboys … Aftraid you might taste something?
Goes with … Hobgoblin is the perfect beer to drink with meat stews & Steak & Ale pies, Sausages & Mash, Burgers & BBQs; roasts & char-grilled vegetables.

It pours to a transparent copper/amber/ruby colour with a light beige head on it. The head leaves nice lacing on the glass. It smells sweet, but not overly so. It has a hint of dried cherries or currants to it. When you drink it there’s a very different flavour to it. Initially it is malty and sweet. But then it gets a bit sour, like tart cherries. Then it has a clean finish to it. While when you first start drinking it you don’t notice the bitterness, it does build in your mouth. It’s an interesting import, even if it isn’t my favorite.

Leapbeer #182 Hobgoblin by Wychwood Brewery

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Leapbeer Reviews #159-#160 A Pair of Victorians

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

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Leapbeer Review #140 Blood Alley Bitter ESB by Russell Brewing

This marks my first review of a Russell Brewing product. This beer was brought in by my senior VP of leapbeer acquisitions from a Liquor Plus in Victoria (I’m not sure which one).

It pours to a light amber colour with standard carbonation. It smells quite hoppy, near citric. This ESB is a 50 IBU offering, making it overly-bitter in comparison to other ESB’s. After pouring the thin white head dissipated quickly.

This beer tastes thick. As you’d guess with a 50 IBU beer it is really bitter. Russell really achieved the ‘IPA-ish’ level of bitterness here. Initially the malts in the beer do a little dance on my tongue. If you really quaff it the bitter is all over you, but if you just sip it the malts come out. This is what I had expected when drinking an ESB, but traditionally ESB’s are not this bitter. Nice lacing in the glass too. This is a nice twist on the bitter style of beer making it taste more bitter (I realize how silly that sounds). I quite like it. It has a nice balance between the malty notes and the bitterness of the hops. A side note on the origin of its name, Blood Alley is an area of Gastown in Vancouver where supposedly the butchers used to wash the blood from the front of their stores down the cobblestones of the then street.

Leapbeer #140 is Blood Alley Extra Special Bitter by Russell Brewing

You can research Russell Brewing Company on their website here. http://russellbeer.com/bm_beer.asp

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Leapbeer Reviews #84-87 1st Longwood Brewpub Fieldtrip

The other day I got an opportunity for a brief tasting at Longwood Brewpub in Nanaimo BC. I’ve been going here off and on since they started production back over 10 years ago. They introduced me to the idea of a brewpub. Long story short, I’m a fan. They have an excellent array of beers both in Cask and Cellar temps. I try to go by there every time I am in Nanaimo.

I didn’t have the longest time to do a tasting there today, otherwise I probably would’ve had a meal and spaced it out some. With only the short time I decided to do a 4x6oz sampler that they offer. As you can see from the picture below I chose the Longwood Ale, the Extra Special Bitter, the Copper Bock(seasonal)  and the Russian Imperial Stout(in the back).

I started off with their trademark ale, the one named after the place, the Longwood Ale aka Woodies Ale. This beer is a lovely coloured golden ale brewwerd with German Tettnang hops, and has a 5.0% ABV. At first smell this beer has a light hop scent to it. When you taste it you get the hops with a tangy malt back. There is a lingering bitter aftertaste.

Leapbeer #84 is Longwood Ale by Longwood Brewpub

Next I decided to try the cellar kept ESB or Extra Special Bitter. This is a translucent  copper beer. It has a tinge of citrus fruit in the taste and on the nose. It has a healthy bitter note in the middle of tasting with minimal malts. It has a clean crisp finish. This is a sipper of a beer, and I feel that serving it at this temp is a plus because cooled the flavours would be too muted.

Leapbeer #85 is ESB by Longwood Brewpub

I ordered the Winter Weizenbock for my next beer, only to find that they had finished the keg right before I ordered so I got the Copper Bock instead. This is one of their seasonal beers. I was happy to go with this beer since it was one of my go to beers when its available. It weighs in at 7.2%ABV. This is a Bock style beer that pours to a (you guessed it) copper colour. You get a big hit of the caramel malts in its scent. Also I noted that this beer seemed considerably carbonated. This does have a sweet malt initial flavour followed by a hop bite. The taste really tends to linger on the palate.  I’d say this is for sure a sipper as well. Still as delicious as I remember it.

Leapbeer #86 is Copper Bock by Longwood Brewpub

Lastly I went with their Russian Imperial Stout. I tried to keep the flavour profiles in an ascending order in strength and malts. This one has a heavy scent of malt and sweetness. It tastes even more. There is a lovely hit of bitters at the beginning of the taste, followed by the richness of the malts. This beer is the perfect marriage of molasses and bitter beer. It totally coats your mouth.

Leapbeer #87 is Russian Imperial Stout by Longwood Brewpub


So that concludes my 1st tasting at Longwood. I do look forward to coming back again as soon as I can. One note that I’ll have to attend to next time I come here is that 4pm on a Friday isn’t the ideal time for a tasting. This place was hopping. Not a problem from the business end of it, but it played a bit of havoc with my creative mojo. I did grab a 4 pack of bottles with 3 different beers that I hadn’t tried (and 1 for a special secret soon to be announced project). Expect to hear more out of this brewery in the future on this blog.

Thanks for reading and Enjoy Responsibly

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