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Leapbeer Review #364 Rayon Vert by Green Flash Brewing Company

My investigation into sour beers has led me into a deeper study of one of the sour yeast genus, Brettanomyces. I’m not going to go into a lot of detail about that yet (still working on that one), but I will say one of the beers I had read about is this next one. Green Flash Brewing Company’s Rayon Vert is a Belgian style pale ale finished with brett (the common shortened version of Brettanomyces).  Because of this I think their whole “continuously evolving” tagline takes on a whole new meaning. Sour Beers, like all others, continue to change while aging. In fact a brett beer needs a minimum of 8 months in the beer before it does its thing. While my initial thoughts on this beer aren’t the greatest I do plan to try a bottle from the same batch in 6 months and then another in a year.

As far as how it is now, this is a cloudy orange/amber beer with a tall fluffy tan head on top. The aroma is all brett, tart orange, barnyard funk and agave nectar. Unfortunately that’s as far as the brett goes for me. Tasting has a very thick bitter note, a bit bready, some spices followed by a small note of sour. It basically tastes like a bitter Belgian pale ale with brett aromas. I do hope it ages well.

Leapbeer #364 is Rayon Vert

Rayon Vert Belgian Pale Ale with Brettanomyces by Green Flash Brewing Company

Rayon Vert Belgian Pale Ale with Brettanomyces by Green Flash Brewing Company

Brewery: Green Flash Brewing Company of San Diego California
Size/ABV/IBU: 650ml Bottle/7.0% ABV/32 IBUs
Availability: Select Private Liquor Stores
Purchased:
Cascadia Liquor Store in Courtenay BC
Website: http://www.greenflashbrew.com/our-beers.php
Other Reviews: Beer Advocate, Rate Beer

Thanks for reading (Only 2 more I promise)

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Leapbeer Review #362 Local 2 By Brooklyn Brewery

This next beer I bought on a bit of a whim. I was walking around in the Liquor Depot on the north end of Nanaimo just to check this place out, and this bottle seemed to hop out at me. There was a Local 1 and Local 2 side by side, I chose Local 2 because it has “honey and citrus peel” on the label. The notes from the Brooklyn website have this to say about it.

Here in Brooklyn we’ve combined European malt and hops, Belgian dark sugar, and raw wildflower honey from a New York family farm to create Brooklyn Local 2. Our special Belgian yeast adds hints of spice to the dark fruit, caramel, and chocolate flavors. After 100% bottle re-fermentation, the beer reveals a marvelous dry complexity, enjoyable by itself or at the dinner table. (from their website)

This is a bottle conditioned beer, leading to the gigantic tan head on this beer. Its almost a 50/50 head to beer ratio. The beer itself is a cloudy brown colour. The aroma of it is very strange, a tinge of citrus mixed with caramel malts and a hint of saison-esque peppery yeast. It tastes very odd. As I imagined it is very carbonated. The sweetness is very delicately balanced with tart, both qualities of the raw wildflower honey. The beer tastes super light and easy to drink. It does not taste like a nine percent beer. The tastes is almost nondescript with only faint notes of chocolate, malt and citrus peel.

Leapbeer #362 is Local 2 by Brooklyn Brewing Company

Local 2 by Brooklyn Brewery

Local 2 by Brooklyn Brewery

Brewery: Brooklyn Brewery of New York NY
Size/ABV/IBU: 750ml Bottle/9.0% ABV/ 24 IBUs
Purchased:
Liquor Depot Nanaimo
Website: http://brooklynbrewery.com/brooklyn-beers/big-bottles/brooklyn-local-2
Other Reviews: Beer Advocate, Rate Beer

I’m not sure this is one I’d ever get again, or at least get again any time soon.

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Leapbeer Review #361 Duchesse de Bourgogne

Before I get into the information about this beer I want to thank Sean (@xaendovet) for recommending this beer. I was tweeting about my newly developed love of sour beers and lamenting the lack of availability in my area. He said that Duchesse de Bourgogne should be a readily available sour that I have to try.

Duchesse is a Flanders Red Ale, a sour beer brewed in West Flanders at Brouwerij Verhaeghe of Vichty Belgium. For more information about this beer style you can read about it this article by Michael Jackson and on wikipedia. It is very highly rated on both Beer Advocate and Rate Beer.

To say that I liked this beer is an understatement. Even the thought of this beer makes me salivate. It is a cloudy dark brown/reddish beer with a tan head. It smells of tart cherries, balsamic and malt vinegars balanced in a blend of sweetness, tart and a touch of funk. The bouquet of this beer is intoxicating. The taste of this beer is as complex as its aroma. I’ve described this beer as a thin carbonated balsamic reduction before, and I’m pretty certain that hits the nail on this one. It is light and airy with an almost champagne like carbonation. It tastes tart, like sour vinegar then it smooths out to delicious sweet fruit. It tastes almost wine like, delivering flavours of cherries, plums, apples, pears and a touch of smoke.

Leapbeer Review #361 is Duchesse de Bourgogne

Duchesse de Bourgogne by Brouwerij Verhaeghe of Vichty Belgium

Duchesse de Bourgogne by Brouwerij Verhaeghe of Vichty Belgium

Brewery: Brouwerij Verhaeghe of Vichte Belgium
Size/ABV: 330ml Bottle/6.2% ABV
Purchased:
Liquor Plus Victoria
Website: http://www.proximedia.com/local/breweryverhaeghe/produkt1fr.htm
Other Reviews: Beer Advocate, Rate Beer , Video Review by Chris Steltz

I’m hoping to coerce a local liquor store to stock this beer. It is something I think everyone should try, at least once.

Thanks for reading.

Leapbeer Review #360 Chris’s Summer Delight Berliner Weiss by Full Sail Brewing Company

How could I say no with a name like that? (if you didn’t know already, my name is Chris).

This beer was part of a beer swap I did with Portland based beer blogger, ithinkaboutbeer. It is a cloudy golden beer with a thick white head on it. Its also of note that there is an almost champagne-like amount of carbonation to this beer. It smells tart and a bit skunky, think lemon drop meets wet barn (in a good way). The true blessing of this beer is in the taste. It is tart, refreshing and extremely light on the palate. I’m drinking it in the exact opposite season it is designed for, but it transports you back to the summer. Its sessionable ABV and low bitterness make this beer crave to be quaffed. I like how ithinkaboutbeer summed up the sourness of this beer. “Acidic enough to satisfy sour enthusiasts but approachable for the neophyte.” As a recent convert to sour beers I really enjoyed this.

Leapbeer #360 is Chris’s Summer Delight Berliner Weisse

Chris's Summer Delight Berliner Weisse by Full Sail Brewing Company

Chris’s Summer Delight Berliner Weiss by Full Sail Brewing Company

Brewery: Full Sail Brewing Company of Hood River Oregon
Size/ABV/IBU: 650ml Bottle/4.0% ABV/9 IBUs
Purchased:
Beer Swap with @ithinkaboutbeer
Website: http://www.fullsailbrewing.com/brewers-share.cfm
Other Reviews: ithinkaboutbeer, Beer Advocate, Rate Beer, Brooklyn Magazine

Big thank you to ithinkaboutbeer for the swap. And thank you for reading.

Leapbeer Review #353 Valhalla Red IPA by Elysian Brewing Company

Elysian Brewing Company has a wonderful and hop forward series of beers called the “Manic IPA Series”. The most recent of this series is Valhalla Red IPA. This is an unapologetic hop forward red IPA. Not as potent as Lighthouses divine hop stormtrooper, Siren, but this beer is still an elite super agent fore the organization H.O.P.S.

Valhalla is a deep orange, near red beer with a 1cm cream coloured head on top. The aroma is pungent, citric hops are in the forefront then mingle with the malts bringing to the mind hints of marmalade. It was no surprise to me that this beer is a bitter forward beer. Flavours of pine and grapefruit are immediately on your tongue. Then it is followed by a momentary wash of sweetness, only to be followed up with more hops. The best way to describe the way this made my mouth feel is, imagine you’re eating grapefruit with some of the pith. This is not a balanced beer, they let the hops out and did not reign them back. As a hop head, I loved this beer. It’s available through this month from Elysian, and then the next on their Manic IPA Series is the sublime Idiot Sauvin (as per the website)

Leapbeer #353 is Valhalla Red IPA

Valhalla Red IPA from the Manic IPA series by Elysian Brewing Company

Valhalla Red IPA from the Manic IPA series by Elysian Brewing Company

Brewery: Elysian Brewing Company of Seattle WA
Size/ABV/IBU: 650ml Bottle/7.5% ABV/70 IBUs
Availability: Limited
Purchased @: Cascadia Liquor Store Courtenay
Website: http://www.elysianbrewing.com/beer/manicipa.html
Other Reviews: Beer Advocate, Rate Beer, Beerthirst

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Leapbeer #351 Seizoen Bretta by Logsdon Farmhouse Ales

I think it’s fair to say that since I went to Portland that my new ‘brewery crush’ is with Logsdon Farmhouse Ales. Their Fresh Hop Seizoen was in the top two of the 50+ beers I had on my entire Portland trip, and both their Kili Wit and Seizoen were very well received. Add to that this this next beer, Seizoen Bretta, is brewed using Brettanomyces (one of the yeasts used in brewing sour beers) I knew that this would be a fantastic beer. Before I get even more overly gooey about this beer do yourself a favour, stop reading and go buy one. Even if you don’t like sours or are not experienced in saisons try this. It seems somewhat ridiculous to say, but the bottles I just picked up of this at Cascadia Liquor in Courtenay were cheaper than the bottles I bought in Portland. Whether that is a testiment to Beerthirst, the local importer of these fine beers, or it is just a price adjustment because of their bulk ordering I don’t know. That said I can honestly say, at 11.99 a bottle you cannot go wrong with this. It may seem expensive when you can buy an 8 pack of lucky for the same price, but this beer is worth it.

This cloudy orange sour has a tall pillowy white head, like clouds floating in the heavens over a sun setting in the sky. The aroma is a perfect balance between peppery yeast (saison) and barnyard (brettanomyces). It isn’t a dig to say the barnyard thing, as that is a trademark sign of a brett beer. Don’t think of it as a detraction, but in a good way (if you can). Imagine the aroma of a farm in full bloom just after the rain.

I was honestly surprised at how this  beer tasted. I expected an 8 percent sour to have some serious punch to it, but this is a light and delicate beer. The balance between the sour brett notes, bitter hops (minimal) and peppery saison yeast is amazing. And the whole melange is placed in a champagne-like delivery system that tastes heavenly. Perfection.

Leapbeer #351 is Seizoen Bretta

Seizoen Bretta by Logsdon Farmhouse Ales

Seizoen Bretta by Logsdon Farmhouse Ales

Brewery: Logsdon Farmhouse Ales of Hood River Oregon
Released: In BC, imported by Beerthirst mid December 2012
Size/ABV: 750ml Bottle/8.0% ABV
Availability: Stores stocked by Beerthirst
Purchased @:
Picked up on Leapbeer PDX trip & at Cascadia Courtenay (YAY!)
Website:
http://www.farmhousebeer.com/Beers.html#Beer_anchor
Other Reviews: Beer Advocate, Rate Beer

I don’t want to gush on any more about this beer. I think I’ve done that enough. But I do want to say a big thank you and kudos to the guys at Beerthirst. They are an independent beer importer out of Vancouver that brought in these delicious beers (along with many others from other breweries) Add to that, the next shipment from Logsdon will include Peche n Brett a peach infused version of the Seizoen Bretta. I can’t wait (but I have to).

Thank you Beerthirst, and thank you all for reading.

Leapbeer Review #345 iStout by 8 Wired Brewing

My love of all things 8 wired has been well documented. Their Saison Sauvin is still one of the best beers I’ve had all year. I was very eager to try this, the iStout, their version of an imperial stout. This is a beefy 10 percent stout, boasting 70 IBUs of bitterness.

I first had a chance to sample this down in Victoria with a few members of the BrewVic crew. This time, however, I really got to sit down with it and get to know it. This is a jet black beer with a chestnut brown head on top. When you swirl it in the glass there’s a real thick alcohol leg showing on the side of the glass. The aroma explodes with big Russian Imperial Stout notes. I’m picking up lots of dark fruits, plums and figs, along with roasted malts, anise, licorice, bitter coffee and molasses. Despite it’s high test this beer really feels quite delicate in the mouth. All the Russian Imperial Stout flavours are present, bitter coffee, anise and licorice. And then the latent alcohol burn kicks in at the end of the tasting. Another home run by the 8 wired crew.

Leapbeer #345 is iStout Russian Imperial Stout

iStout Imperial Stout by 8 Wired Brewing Company

iStout Russian Imperial Stout by 8 Wired Brewing Company

Brewery: 8 Wired Brewing Company of Marlborough New Zealand
Size/ABV/IBU: 500ml Bottle/10.0% ABV/70 IBUs
Availability: Unknown
Purchased:
Cascadia Liquor Quadra St Victoria
Website: http://8wired.co.nz/our-brews/istout-imperial-stout
Other Reviews: Beer Advocate, Rate Beer

A big thank you to Julie & Arlo of the BrewVic crew for sharing this with me. And thank you for reading.

Leapbeer Review #339 Beer Geek Breakfast by Mikkeller

To say that Mikkeller is a world famous brewer is not far fetched (in my opinion). He (Mikkel Borg Bjergsø) is what is known as a Gypsy or Phantom Brewer. This is a brewery who has no commercial brewery. Their crew travels from one brewery to another brewing their different beers. This Mikkeller, Beer Geek Breakfast, was brewed and bottled at Nøgne Ø of Norway.

Beer Geek Breakfast has a very stellar report card. It boasts a perfect 100 rating on rate beer, and a similar high rating on both Beer Advocate and Untappd. Even before I did the research behind this brewery I had wanted to try this beer. I enjoy my coffee and I enjoy my beer, so this looked like a match made in heaven. It was on my wishlist and when I saw it at Belmont Station I grabbed it without hesitation (near $15 price tag though).

This beer is a jet black stout with a creamy tan head. There’s big aromas from it, boasting coffee, licorice and cocoa.  It is a thick and hearty stout, not viscous thick but heavy and complex. Lots of espresso and coffee flavour to it, along with nice roasted malt and licorice notes. The coffee adds a fantastic dry bitterness to it at the end of the tasting. This is a very complicated and delicious beer meant for sipping.

Leapbeer #339 is Beer Geek Breakfast by Mikkeller

Beer Geek Breakfast Coffee Infused Oatmeal Stout by Mikkeller

Beer Geek Breakfast Coffee Infused Oatmeal Stout by Mikkeller

Brewery: Mikkeller
Size/ABV: 500ml Bottle/7.5% ABV
Availability: Very Limited (As far as I know, not available in BC)
Purchased:
Belmont Station in Portland Oregon
Website: http://mikkeller.dk/ (its arranged all Danish like)
Other Reviews: Beer Advocate, Rate Beer

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Leapbeer Review #336 West Coast IPA by Green Flash Brewing Company

As an admitted Hop Head I was very eager to try this beer. The Green Flash Brewing Co West Coast IPA boasts a 95 IBU rating and a very healthy 7.3% ABV. Their promotional poster (here) boasts some pretty bold claims. This is meant to be THE west coast IPA, the standard to which all others should be judged. In my opinion this is a very excellent offering. I still think there are some that do it as good or better, but it is a high bar to set for sure. This beer features the 3 C’s of the hops world. Columbus, Centennial and Cascade are all west coast hops varieties, and they are all featured well in this beer (along side 2 other varietals).

This beer pours to a deep golden. My bottle had a lot of sediment in it, but that doesn’t affect the flavour. It has a super frothy tan coloured head of little bubbles. The beer isn’t overly carbonated, just lightly so. Immediately you are hit with a big punch in the olfactory with hoppy goodness, and there is an almost skunky citric nature to the hops too. By smell you can tell it’s going to be a very bitter beer. This IPA is brewed to the similar strength of a Imp or DIPA. It tastes fantastic, definitely bitter, all around the outside of your mouth, but in the middle of the tongue there’s a wonderful pocket of sweetness. Then I start to get a fruity taste to it as well, reminiscent of kiwi fruit. For an import it is reasonably priced as a 4 pack is 10 bucks. The bottle boasts “Extravagantly hopped”, and I concur. As far as the bitterness rating goes this beeer doesn’t taste so much like the 95, but more like a 60s. That could be due to the beer taking some length of time to arrive in BC. A lovely beer for regardless.

Leapbeer #336 is West Coast IPA by Green Flash Brewing Company

West Coast IPA by Green Flash Brewing Company of San Diego CA

West Coast IPA by Green Flash Brewing Company of San Diego CA

Brewery: Green Flash Brewing Company of San Diego California
Size/ABV/IBU: 500ml Bottle/7.3% ABV/95 IBUs
Availability: Select Private Liquor Stores
Purchased:
Top Shelf Liquor Store in Courtenay BC
Website: http://www.greenflashbrew.com/our-beers.php
Other Reviews: Beer Advocate, Rate Beer

Thanks for Reading

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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