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Archive for the tag “extra special bitter”

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
Website:
http://burnsidebrewco.com/Brews.php?Group=House%20Beers
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 Fieldtrip – Portland Oregon, Day 3

Day 3 for the Portland trip I thought it would be a nice opportunity to all climb aboard the Trimet and see some more of the town. I went to their site and plotted our way to the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, or OMSI (pronounced om-see by the locals). While the exhibits at OMSI were interesting, and they had several that were focused on my daughters demographic, I was most excited about going to a Brewery that was very close, Hair of the Dog. It was the number one ‘must go to’ on my list of Portland Breweries. Even though I hadn’t ever had their beers before, the legend of Hair of the Dog had reached my ears and I was intrigued.

First thing I ordered was the ‘Walk the Dog’ tasting flight.

From left to right, its Adam, Fred, Blue Dot and Ruth. I tasted them in the opposite order. Read more…

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 Fieldtrip – A Flight at Spinnakers

On my most recent visit to Victoria I got to spend a very large amount of time at Spinnakers Brewpub. Not only did we have a great time spent at their guest house enjoying the hospitality of their accommodations, but we also got a very comprehensive tour of the brewing operations. Also well as ample opportunity to sample the food and the beers. This post is going to be focusing on the beer side of our tour. This is the flight of Spinnakers.

For  those of you who don’t know what a flight of beer is, allow me to illuminate. A flight of beer is a sampler set of beers. While it may at times include different brewers, I use this term to describe a collection of beers from the same brewer. If I were doing a sampling of different brewers I would call it a ‘tasting’ instead. This is my personal preference, but I just wanted to clarify because I’ve had ‘tastings’ already. I also want to add an apology for my picture taking skills. I took a different camera with me this trip, in the attempt to take better pictures. However it turned out that I really don’t know how to take pictures well with it. They start off out of focus so sorry.

Back to the beer. Our bartender of the day, Ryan, served us a series of their beers that were available at the taps that day. It is worth mentioning that they have a vast variety of beers that are produced at Spinnakers every year. So much so that I fear I may only get to sample a small array of what they produce. On top of that they offer their “Dog Watch Cask” series of beers every weekday between 4-6pm of specially augmented beers (Like the Northwest IPA with Citras I reviewed last week)

He took us on a tour of of the beers based lighter to stronger flavours, not strictly colour based.

First up is their Kolsch Style beer. This is a really light and refreshing beer. It isn’t without flavour, which is something people may expect from a 3.5% beer. I quite enjoyed it, and it was a nice wake up of the palate for this journey of beer.

Leapbeer #203 is Kolsch Style from Spinnakers GastroBrewpub

Next we moved to their Hefeweizen. I had the opportunity to sample this beer on my previous trip to Victoria and it definitely lives up to the memory of it. I admit that I am a soft sell when it comes to beers, as I enjoy all styles of beer. I’ve always had a soft spot for a really good hef mind you, and this one is spectacular. It is complex yet refreshing, bold and gently, all in the same beverage. I call it ‘sunshine in a glass’. It is their summer seasonal so please get down there to try this while it is there. I consider this the best Hef I’ve had all year.

Leapbeer #204 is Hefeweizen from Spinnakers GastroBrewpub

We ordered our lunch, a lovely salad to split, Fish n Chips for my wife and the Rabbit meat pie for myself, and Ryan poured another glass. This next turn he took us to one of their staple beers, the Nut Brown. This is a sweet and malty beer with a lovely roasted nut flavour. Another light and refreshing beer.

Leapbeer #205 is Nut Brown Ale from Spinnakers GastroBrewpub

After the Nut Brown we moved on to the Jameson’s Scotch ale. Scotch ales are notoriously delicate, but also very good. And this offering is no exception to that. It has a nice sweetness to it, as it almost has a barrel aged quality to it. It is also available at the bar in a pulled cask variety, meaning it is direct from a room temperature cask (aprx 10c). I tried it both ways while I was at Spinnakers, I preferred it in the pulled cask variety.

Leapbeer #206 is Jamesons Scotch Ale from Spinnakers GastroBrewpub

Now we started heading into the stronger flavour waters. We go into their version of a hopped out IPA, their Northwest IPA. I really like this beer. It offers a nice compliment of dry hopping to an already very tasty IPA. While it isn’t as bitter as other hopped up IPA’s on the market it definitely delivers on the bitter. I quite enjoyed it.

Leapbeer #207 is Northwest IPA from Spinnakers GastroBrewpub

After that, our food already arrived and lunch in full swing, Ryan brought us the Mitchell’s Extra Special Bitter. A lovely classic bitter available from the cold room as well as in the pulled cask. Sadly I messed up the picture of it so I don’t have one from this tasting. I will have a pic of it later in the week.

Leapbeer #208 is Mitchell’s Extra Special Bitter from Spinnakers GastroBrewpub

Lunch was a success, our meals were both hearty and satisfying. What better way to cap the afternoon but with their Tsarist Imperial Stout. This is a wonderful stout. It is a heavyweight, at 7.75% ABV. But it goes down so easy. Another of the beers available from pulled cask as well as cold room served. It is rich and malty.

Leapbeer #209 is Tsarist Imperial Stout from Spinnakers GastroBrewpub

That concludes our flight of beer that day. There were even more beers available at Spinnakers during our stay, but they were bottle & can offerings from the off sales. I picked up them and they will be covered later. For more information about Spinnakers beers (and everything else they offer) please check out their website here. http://www.spinnakers.com/

I wanted to include another little pic and story to this post. We stayed at the guest house, and many I talked to didn’t know where that was. I do have a video demonstrating how close it is, take into account that I am sitting on the patio of the guest house. I started the pic with my back on the wall. I realize I should have started the video from inside the guest house.

We also took a discovery flight with Victoria Flying Club and I was able to take this pic from the air. The red arrow points to Spinnakers Gastro Brewpub, and the blue arrow points to the guest house we stayed in. It is a complete home, in the 1000-1200 sq ft range, more on that to come in the week.

Thanks for reading.

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 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

Thanks for reading.

Leapbeer Review #102 Fullers ESB

Tonights beer is another Fuller’s product, their Extra Special Bitter.

It pours to a lovely amber colour with a 1cm head. Smell of sweet fruit on the nose. The taste is like the other ESB’s I’ve had so far, and one of the tops so far. It has a near caramel flavour from the malts followed by a nice bitterness. I’m drinking this from the fridge, but I gather it’s also a beer that’d be good when consumed at 10c as well. It leaves a nice lacing in the glass and it’s a lovely bitter to drink. Its a good beer that I’d absolutely get again.

#100 is Fullers Extra Special Bitter

This seems like too short of a post, so I thought I’d share a story with you. I went prawning in Okeover Inlet the other day. In more than one of the strings we caught several of what are called ‘squat lobsters’. They have little actual meat to them so they aren’t worth keeping. I’d never heard of them before so I took a picture of them. Here it is. For reference their body is about the size of a grape.

I’m sure with a full trap of them you’d get enough food for a couple, but I just threw them back. Strange creatures of the sea indeed.

Thanks for reading folks. As always your comments are welcomed and appreciated.

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