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Leapbeer Review #246 Iron Plow Harvest Märzen by Vancouver Island Brewery

My last beer review, the Paulaner Munchen Oktoberfest Bier, impressed me so much that I wanted to cover a couple of other oktoberfest inspired beers. This next one, the Iron Plow Harvest Märzen, is one of them. This bomber is the second of a resurgence of bombers for Vancouver Island Brewery. You may remember the last one they did was the Flying Tanker White IPA. This new one starts a new series of bombers, their seasonal series, and this is bomber #1 from it.

For more history on the märzen style of beer, märzen means March, as in the month of. According to wikipedia

Märzen has its origins in Bavaria, probably before the 16th century. A Bavarian brewing ordinance decreed in 1539 that beer may be brewed only between 29 September and 23 April. The original Märzen was described as “dark brown, full-bodied”. The beer was often kept in the cellar until late in the summer, and remaining bottles were served at the Oktoberfest. In order to last so long, either the original gravity and alcohol were increased or the hopping was strengthened.”

For a bit more history on Märzen, check out these blog links from The Parting Glass & The Year in Beer.

I originally had this beer at The Great Canadian Beer Festival last month. To be honest, when I had it there I was unimpressed. I had some serious trepidation about buying it again and trying it at home. I’m really glad that I did because my opinion has gotten adjusted considerably. My thoughts on this beer now are pretty straight forward. It is delicious. When I opened this bottle it had a really nice malty sweet and almost apricot smell to it. It pours into your glass as a nice deep amber colour. The thick frothy white head on top dissipates, but their is a whole lot of bubbles still in the beer. As noted in The Parting Glass blog post, don’t expect a great hop note on this beer, just enough to balance out the sweet malty goodness. Each sip washes a nice array of flavours over your tongue, but they are gone almost as fast. It doesn’t linger with you. Instead it begs to be drank again. I think this would make for a wicked session beer, even at 5.8%. I could see several pints disappearing fairly easily from this beer. If only I had a 1L bottle I’d have used my giganto-mug from the Paulaner. If I were to compare it to yesterdays beer, the ‘Official  Oktoberfest Bier’ by Paulaner Munchen, I’d say this brew is its equal. Highly quaffable with some lovely malty sweetness. A nice balance of carbonation, and a very easy finish. I know that only 6 beers are classifiable as ‘Official’ but this one is up to the task. I am continually impressed with the new Brewers Batch from Vancouver Island Brewery. I can’t wait to see what they’ll think of next.

Leapbeer #246 is Iron Plow Harvest Märzen

Brewery: Vancouver Island Brewery of Victoria, BC
Released: September 2012
Size/ABV: 650ml Bottle/5.8% ABV
Availability: Limited Release
Purchased @: BC Government Liquor Store
Other Reviews: http://partingglassblog.wordpress.com/2012/10/02/what-the-heck-is-marzen-and-why-you-need-to-try-it/ & http://barleymowat.com/2012/10/01/october-beer-of-the-month/

Thanks for reading

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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