Mission : Leap Beer, 366 Beers in 366 Days

Archive for the tag “phillips brewing”

Leapbeer Presents – Cellar Raid Beer Tasting!

I’ve been fortunate to be allowed to host a tasting event at the Courtenay Cascadia Liquor Store coming up next week. On Monday, January 20th from 7-8pm Cascadia and their guests will be helping me raid into my beer cellar and share some classic beers. Not only will we be sampling from a couple of classic ‘cellar’ styles, but hopefully we will share in a leapbeer experiment. There’s going to be all sorts of information about cellaring beers and examples and tips. Plus a special guest. I hope to see my readers there if you can.

Don’t Expect Anything Quite This Dusty img via http://www.kathryn.info

Here is a link to the Facebook Event https://www.facebook.com/events/1396355917283125/ if you wanted to RSVP that way. Otherwise you can call the store at 250-871-8171 to get your name put on the list or come by the store.

When: January 20th, from 7 til 8pm
Where: Cascadia Liquor Store, Courtenay BC. Unit 200 – 444 Lerwick Rd, Courtenay BC, V9N 0A9
How Much: $5 charitable donation.

PS: If you’re a reader not in my area, I apologize for sending this to you. I can’t find in wordpress where I limit who these posts go out to.

Leapbeer Review #355 Ginger Beer by Phillips Brewing Company

A while back I had a comment from Janis La Couvee to try this beer, and to be honest I was surprised that I hadn’t had it at that time. It has been in my fridge many a time. For whatever reason I haven’t brought it to the leapbeer mission, until now. Brushing up on my info I turned to their website for some notes on this beer.

With more ginger than Gilligan can handle, some might be surprised at the instant blast of flavour and aroma from this true ginger beer, but that doesn’t take away from its sheer quaff-ability. It’s killer with sushi!(from Phillips Website)

I was a little surprised that they label this a quaffable beer being that it boasts being a spicy ginger beer. It is a clear golden/light amber beer with about a 2 cm tan head on top. This is a very carbonated beer, definitely higher than most beers. The aroma of this beer is all big time spicy ginger. Same with the taste, it starts and ends with a high ginger burn. Somewhere in the middle it tasted a bit skunky, but once the ginger burn hits again it is all you taste. I agree that this is likely very good when paired with sushi. I do not agree that this is a quaffable beer. It is a bit too spicy to boast that claim, in my opinion.

Leapbeer #355 is Ginger Beer

Ginger Beer by Phillips Brewing Company

Ginger Beer by Phillips Brewing Company

Brewery: Phillips Brewing Company of Victoria BC
Released: Unknown
Size/ABV: 650ml Bottle/5.0% ABV
Availability: Widely available
Purchased @:
Merecroft Village Liquor Store
Other Reviews: Beer Advocate, Rate Beer

On a somewhat related note, Phillips recently started a secondary operation producing non alcoholic sodas. One of those is the Spark Mouth Ginger Ale. I got a chance to try it and their other soda, the Intergalactic Root Beer, and they are both quite awesome. You can only get them at the brewery and all over in Victoria. See more information about where to get them here, the site for Phillips Soda Works.

Thanks for Reading

Leapbeer Reviews #315-319 A Cornucopia of Phillips Brau

Another in my list of compressed reviews is me catching up with some of the seasonals by Phillips Brewing Company. My lazy blogging has left me with quite the back log of Vancouver Island craft beers to cover, but all that is changing. You’ve undoubtedly noticed that I have been covering multiple beers per post during the month of December. I was almost 90 back from my 366 goal when December started, but I’m catching up. Enough of the ‘mea culpa‘, lets get on to the beer.

I assembled quite the line up of beers to taste, but I included one from leapbeer’s past. Here’s the tasting line up

The Selection of Phillips Brewing Company BeersAlso a Flying Tanker as a reference beer for a White IPA style

The Selection of Phillips Brewing Company Beers
Also a Flying Tanker as a reference beer for a White IPA style

First up was a head to head comparison of White IPAs. I managed to pry one final Flying Tanker out of VIB Rob’s stash to use as a benchmark to compare the Phillips offering against. If you didn’t read my review of the Flying Tanker White IPA you can read it here. But to sum up, I loved it. It was beer of frankenstein-ish make up that it both confounded and pleased my taste buds. I’m breaking my reviews down to the three critera system I used in the post about beer cellaring. They’ll be examined by Appearance, Aroma and Taste.

Flying Tanker: Dark Gold and cloudy with a tall pillowy white head
Electric Unicorn: Cloudy and golden, almost a sun yellow gold colour. Thin white head present.

Flying Tanker: Slightly piney, some  citrus hop notes. Hefeweizen yeast characteristics as well (cloves and banana type aromas)
Electric Unicorn: Big time hops, pines and citrus. Hints of orange groves. A bit of a bready or biscuit type aroma as well.

Flying Tanker: A bolder flavour profile from previous tanker tastings. A strong bold IPA wrapped in a fluffy hefeweizen coat.
Electric Unicorn: Thin and smooth. Very easy drinking. Lots of hops bitterness to it, tastes more IPA than white IPA

My overall thoughts about the Electric Unicorn are that it was a very tasty beer. I tried it earlier in the year and really didn’t enjoy it. That was why I got the flying tanker to do a side by side with since I loved that beer so much. The age hasn’t been that good for the Tanker, which is to be expected. Hefeweizens or those made with that yeast strain are meant for consuming, not aging. The age, however, was a good thing for the Unicorn. I think it made it a more palatable. I kind of missed the window to showcase the Electric Unicorn during its sale period, and for that I apologize.

Leapbeer #146 is Flying Tanker White IPA and Leapbeer #315 is Electric Unicorn White IPA

Vancouver Island Brewing Flying Tanker & Phillips Brewing Company Electric Unicorn White IPA

Vancouver Island Brewing Flying Tanker & Phillips Brewing Company Electric Unicorn White IPA

Brewery: Phillips Brewing Company of Victoria BC
Released: August 28th, 2012
Size/ABV: 650ml Bottle/6.5% ABV
Availability: None
Purchased @:
Merecroft Village Liquor Store
Other Reviews: Ian Lloyd (@Left4beer), Beer Advocate, Rate Beer

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Leapbeer Reviews #293 & 294 – The Last of the VI Fresh Hops

I’ve covered a bunch of fresh hopped beers so far in the blog. The last Vancouver Island fresh hopped beers I’ve found are the Hop Harvest Pale Ale by The Moon Under Water Brewpub and the Green Reaper Fresh Hop IPA by Phillips.

First up is the Hop Harvest Pale Ale by The Moon Under Water Brewpub. This beer came out early in September of this year, right before the news broke about the change of owners/brewers. This is a lovely deep amber pale ale with a tight bubble cream coloured head on top. The piney fresh hop notes are starting to fade on this one a bit, but they’re still present on the nose. It has a supple malt body that has flavours of mild orange and tart bitterness to it. It is a lovely pale ale that I look forward to seeing the next iteration of it next year. It is of note with this beer that the fresh hops were used for the dry hopping of this beer (as specified on the label), meaning that the hops used in the initial boil were a dried variant of some sort.

Leapbeer #293 is Hop Harvest Pale Ale by The Moon Under Water Brewpub (2 pictures, the second shows off the beer colour better)

Hop Harvest Pale Ale - Dry Hopped with Fresh Hops

Hop Harvest Pale Ale – Dry Hopped with Fresh Hops

Better Pic of the Colour of the Beer

Better Pic of the Colour of the Beer

Brewery: The Moon Under Water Brewpub of Victoria BC
Released: September 8th, 2012
Size/ABV: 650ml Bottle/5.0% ABV
Availability: Very Limited (as far as I know)
Purchased @:
Cascadia Liquor Liquor Store Quadra St Victoria

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Leapbeer Review #289 Service 1904 Scottish Stone Fired Ale by Phillips Brewing Company

This next beer I picked up in my growler on one of my more recent trips to Victoria. I was perusing the Phillips website and noticed a beer on their “Whats Growling” section I’d never seen or heard of before. The Robert Service Scottish Stone Fired Ale is specially brewed for Vic Pub Co to be served at their Victoria establishments, Bard & Banker, Irish Times & The Penny Farthing. If you’re curious, like I was, about who Robert Service was, he was a poet and a writer best known for his poems “The Shooting of Dan McGrew” and “The Cremation of Sam McGee”, who spent some of his early years in Victoria working at the Canadian Bank of Commerce. Which just so happens to be the same building that now houses the Bard & Banker. Another nice note about this beer is when they make it, they drop hot stones into the beer during the brewing process to enhance the flavours.

Like most scotch or scottish ales I expected the flavours on this beer to be mild. It has a light copper, or almost orange and gold colour to it with a thin head. It smells yeasty with a little hint of apricot. It isn’t overwhelmingly pungent, but smells nice and light. It tastes very good, like a nice mild scotch ale should. It has a little bit of malty sweetness and is very refreshing.

Leapbeer #289 is Robert Service 1904 Scotch Ale by Phillips Brewing Company

Robert Service Scottish Stone Fired Ale by Phillips

Robert Service Scottish Stone Fired Ale by Phillips

Brewery: Phillips Brewing Company in Victoria BC
Released: Unknown
Size/ABV: 1900ml Growler/5.00%
Availability: Bard and Banker Pub, Irish Times Pub, Penny Farthing Public House & Occasionally Growler Fill @ Phillips
Purchased @:
Phillips Brewing Company
Other Reviews: Rate Beer, Beeradvocate & Untappd

Thanks for Reading

Leapbeer Review #275 Crooked Tooth Pumpkin Ale by Phillips Brewing Co

This post marks my last (for now) Vancouver Island craft pumpkin beer post. There is one more I want to try, but it is a draft offering in Victoria. Today’s comes from Phillips, their Crooked Tooth Pumpkin Ale.

This beer hasn’t been favorably reviewed so far this year, and I can see why. It really doesn’t carry much pumpkin character with it at all. It is a thin golden coloured beer with a white head that quickly dissipates. There’s no real pumpkin or spice smell to it, just yeast. The taste is very faint, with a small spice note to it. It is as if this is the anti-pumpkin beer. There’s not a lot I can say about it really. This was my first time trying this beer despite them having made it several years in a row. I initially feared I had picked up a bad bottle, but reading the parting glass post about it confirmed that it wasn’t only my bottle. I’ve had a lot of different Phillips beers this year, and, unfortunately, this is one of the ones I really didn’t like.

Leapbeer #275 is Crooked Tooth Pumpkin Ale by Phillips Brewing Company

Brewery: Phillips Brewing Company of Victoria BC
Released: September 24th, 2012
Size/ABV: 650ml Bottle/5.0% ABV
Availability: Seasonal Release
Purchased @:
Merecroft Village Liquor Store
Other Reviews: Parting Glass Blog, Mikes Craft Beer Blog , Beer Advocate & Rate Beer

Thanks for Reading

Leapbeer Review #263 Pandamonium 11th Anniversary Beer from Phillips Brewing Company

It is a bit late for me to be getting to this beer. I should have covered this one during August, but alas I didn’t. But that said, without further adieu I am covering the 11th Anniversary Ale from Phillips Brewery. The Pandamonium Imperial IPA has an interesting story to it. During the 111 minute boil they added hops every 11 minutes for a total of 11 hop additions to this beer. It is easily one of the coolest Phillips labels I’ve ever seen.

Unleash the Giant Mutant Pandas!

I was somewhat shocked to see this beer weighing in at a high eleven percent ABV. Despite its strength the beer seemed to be paler than I expected for an imperial India pale ale. This is more gold than amber. There is quite a floral scent to it. It reminds me of citrus flowers, similar to what you would expect grapefruit flowers to smell like. There’s also a hint of passion fruit as well. Almost a sweetness in the scent, just a hint. When you drink this beer the first thing to hop out at you is the bitterness. The bitterness coats your mouth, but as the bitter washes away you get some sweet malt after it. And then to finish the tasting a latent bitterness hits you. You can taste that its strong, but it doesn’t seem like an 11% beer.The Thirsty Writer, Joe Wiebe told me that he was impressed with the masking of the alcohol in this beer, and I am prone to agree with that. I feel that this beer shows a real mastery over the hops in their beer. Despite its high IBU (111) and high alcohol content it is still a very enjoyable beer.

Leapbeer #263 is Pandamonium, The 11th Hour Anniversary Ale by Phillips Brewing Company

Brewery: Phillips Brewing Company of Victoria BC
Released: August 13th, 2012
Size/ABV: 650ml Bottle/11.0% ABV
Availability: Limited Run in August
Purchased @:
Oyster River Liquor Store & Merecroft Village Liquor Store
Other Reviews:  Ian Lloyd (aka left4beer) , Beer Advocate & Rate Beer

Thanks for Reading

Leapbeer Review #214 Evergreen Ale by Phillips Brewing Company

On August 13, 2012, Phillips announced the release of their 11th Anniversary Brew, the Pandamonium DIPA. While I try to hone in my target scope to pick one of those beers up I wanted to take today to talk about their last beer release,  Evergreen Ale.

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Leapbeer Reviews – Phillips HopBox 2012

What can I say? I am a sucker for a mixer pack. They allow me to usually get a nice variety of beers, and this offering is no different. The only thing that would make a mixer pack better is if it features beers that I like. As I’ve mentioned several times over, I’m a fan of the hoppier beers. The Phillips hop box is a celebration of the flower of that lil rhyzome , Humulus Lupulus (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Humulus_lupulus) Phillips has released their hop box for at couple of years now. Its labelled as a “specifically designed long range hop transport case. It ensures the hops, liquified in an amorphous non-crystalizing, yet refreshing barley matrix, are delivered safely to you, the deserving IPA lover. While the hopbox is purpose built for rapid deployment of the Hopcircle IPA, Skookum Cascadian Brown and The Krypton RyePA, The hopbox also welcomes random hoppy passengers, check the window seat for this box’s guest. Turn On, Tune In, Hop Out!

The other great thing about mixer packs, especially with the leapbeer journey, is that I get to share them with others. My friend & co-worker Frank has been a regular leapbeer reader and supporter helping me grab new beers. He’s bought me beers for the blog and I have shared back with him. So I split a set from this mixer off for him to sample and get his notes. He and I have similar taste preferences, so I knew he’d be down to sample this hoppy lot. In fact, he is a regular consumer of one of them, the Hop Circle IPA.

Without further adieu, here is the HopBox

Breaking in to the HopBox you see the 3 rows of beer here, The Hop Circle IPA, The Skookum Cascadian Brown Ale, The Krypton Rye PA, and The GrowHop Series – Cascade IPA. The last is their guest beer for this run.

Here’s the set of them

Even though I’d previously enjoyed Hop Circle IPA on the leapbeer blog, it was before I’d started posting my thoughts about the beers. I thought it only fair that I start with this one. It is their year round IPA offering, and here are our tasting notes.

Leapbeer: You really get a smells bitter from the hops, like its pinching my nose closed. It is almost piney. There is a nice latent hop bite in the tasting but it lingers. Initially it tastes overwhelmingly malty, but then hops come in and balance it out. Nice blend and good for a all year round available IPA from the island.

Frank: Sweeter maltier upfront with a not so bitter but aromatic hop finish. [comment edited: as this was the last beer that Frank drank he had some comments about preference, which I’ll reveal later]

Leapbeer #9 Hop Circle IPA

Next we’ll look at the Skookum Cascadian Brown Ale. Phillips describes this beer as “Skookum [skookuh m] (adjective) from Chinook, West Coast North America 1. A monster indigenous to the Cascade region. 2. Strong, reliable, and/or hard-working 3. Big, bold hop characteristics with a smooth, rich maltiness 4. The unofficial fuel of the Cascadian revolution.” (via http://phillipsbeer.com/Beers/skookum-cascadian-brown-ale)

Here’s our notes on this beer.

Frank: Toasty brown ale with a complex sweetness. I think I taste maple. There is a musky dark chocolate aroma to the beer which becomes more apparent when the beer is warmer, around 8c. Crisp hoppy finish. A very pleasant beer.

Leapbeer: This brown beer is hop infused rocket fuel. It smells very hoppy. Initially it tastes mildly malty. You get a bitter chocolate flavour to it, and then a hopped up finish at the end. There’s a strangeness to this beer for me, it is both very tasty and somewhat understated. It is like the loudest trumpet blast with the muffler in it. A very strange dichotomoy of a brew.

Leapbeer #174 Skookum Cascadian Brown Ale

Next we’re moving on to the Krypton Rye Pale Ale. The Phillips site tells us that their Krypton Rye PA is available in this HopBox, and in the occasional growler fill. They also describe it thusly “Better tasting than a speeding bullet, Krypton will be hard not to drink in a single gulp. Spicy rye malt and big citrus hop flavours make Krypton the perfect refreshment in your fortress of solitude.” (http://phillipsbeer.com/Beers/krypton-ryepa)

Leapbeer: This beer smells great. There is a blend of grainy rye, and citric hops scents. You can see the grain similar to how it would smell and taste in Rye Whiskey. You also get a bit of yeasty smell from it. It is a cloudy golden beer, with a fair amount of sediment broken up in it. It pours to a frothy white head with good head retention. But it seems like the carbonation is low. It is super easy drinking. You get the rye malt flavour with a big hop punch. There’s a sweet note to it that I can’t quite place. I’m surprised to say that I find this beer remarkably good. I say that because last year when I first had this beer (also from a hopbox) I didn’t like it. I don’t know why I had that opinion last year. Whether it was my palate that changed, or a tweak on the brew, now I have to say it is fantastic.

Frank: Grapefruit & slightly malty with an emulsion feel to the beer. The hop finish is crisp and light with a pleasant bitterness that lingers and a subtle bitter grapefruit (very mild) aroma. Splendid.

Leapbeer #175 Krypton Rye PA

Lastly we move to the guest beer in the HopBox. Phillips GrowHop series of beers each use a single strain of hops in their brews. This latest one uses the ‘hops du jour’ cascade. It is a pacific northwest grown hops (not solely grown in the pnw region) that is used alot for its citrus like bitterness. Previous incarnations of their GrowHop series have featured Amarillo and Centennial hops strains, among others.

Here’s our notes on the brew.
Frank: Light Citrus, Floral, Melon scent up front with nice balanced sweetness. Delicious Dry Bitter finish on the back of the mouth. Hoppy Perfume lingers for a while after swallowing. I was going to have some food with this but I didn’t want to spoil it.

Leapbeer: I’ve in the past accused beers of one hop variety of being too one note. As I’m learning more about hops, I see the various ways it can affect beer. Being the popular hops,cascade, I’m curious how it will be. This beer smells fantastic, both smooth & citric hoppy. It has a nice balance between the tastes of sweet and bitter. It isn’t overly bitter. Definitely a good balance to this beer, showing the brewers restraint with the hops. It is silky and smooth, leaving a very velvety mouthfeel. It pours with a fluffy head. An absolutely delicious beer. Super easy drinking. Amazing for a single hop variety beer.

Leapbeer #176 GrowHop Series – Cascadian IPA

I think it is easy to say that this last beer, the Cascade IPA, was both of our favorites. The note I deleted from Franks Hop Circle IPA notes was “Oh No, I prefer the Krypton”. To clarify, he drank them 2 one night and 2 the other, with the Hop Circle IPA being the last one he had. He also berated me the day after drinking them for high grading his palate. His old standby ranked low in this tasting. Sorry Frank.

I also want to apologize for some of the quality of my pictures. I’ll try to do better in the future.

Phillips has even more in store for us hop heads. This year they are having their 2nd annual HOPoxia – festival of hops. There will be 15 breweries gathered in the Phillips lot on July 21st with several special casks and regular beers for drinking. Tickets can be acquired at this site for $15 per person (which includes 2 drink tickets, $1.50 for each additional drink ticket) http://www.phillipsbeer.bigcartel.com/ The list of Brewers that will be there is at that link as well.

I’ve got my tickets, and the plans in place to be there. It should be a hoot.

A special thanks to Frank for his notes and tasting expertise. Also a thank you to Welder weasel, Kevin for the Hops, and Phillips Brewing Company for the tasty beers.

I thank you for reading and hope you have a happy and hoppy day

Leapbeer Reviews #157 & #158 Analogue 78 by Phillips and Citra IPA by Dead Frog

Herein lies the two edged sword of craft beer. In some instances they can be a huge win, something done in a ‘one off’ type of circumstance that ends up becoming a regular shelf dweller. Other times these one off’s can miss so badly that they never bear repeating, ever.

These next two beers are just that, one off’s. The Analogue 78 was one of the ‘mystery beers’ in last years showcase pack iterations by Phillips Brewing Company in Victoria. Analogue 78 is a Kölsch style beer, which beer advocate describes as “First only brewed in Köln, Germany, now many American brewpubs and a hand full of breweries have created their own version of this obscure style. Light to medium in body with a very pale color, hop bitterness is medium to slightly assertive. A somewhat vinous (grape-y from malts) and dry flavor make up the rest.http://beeradvocate.com/beer/style/85
A rep from Phillips told me that the response was so good that they brought it back in its own six pack. One sip of it and you’ll know why, Its delicious. This straw coloured beer that pours to a frothy white head is a perfect addition to a hot summer day. On the nose this beer smells a bit yeasty & a bit malty, but when you sip it you get a super easy drinking beer. Minor bitter notes mingled with the malts. Perfect for after (or during) a nice day outside.

Leapbeer #157 is Analogue 78 by Phillips Brewing Company of Victoria

A great beer that I highly suggest, especially as our days get longer, hotter and busier.

Next we move on to one of the recent offerings from Dead Frog Brewing Company of Aldergrove BC. Their ‘Brewmaster Series’ hasn’t fared well so far in the Leapbeer tasting room, both of the previously reviewed beers have been absolute flops. I had real high hopes for this beer as I am an admitted (and well documented) hop head. Crank up the bitterness and watch me grin. If the leapbeer journey has been one of self discovery, it’s definitely shown me the ways of the hop. I’m hooked and I am not looking back. All digressions aside I did have big hopes for the hop notes of this beer. Their website ( http://www.deadfrog.ca/beers/citra-ipa/#description ) describes this beer thusly. “A high hopped, high alcohol, high bitterness, true IPA that is like an invigorating open handed slap of citrus awesomeness!” And I will give this to them, they are partly right, it is bitter. That said their ‘one handed slap’ is more like a one note pony. For such a possible mix of bold flavours I found this IPA to be quite bland. This is really a one dimensional beer to me. Another lackluster beer from the “brewmaster series”. I guess they can’t all be winners, but this track record is bad.

Leapbeer #158 is Citra IPA by Dead Frog Brewing of Aldergrove BC

One other note about Dead Frog, and I really hope they read this, is that I noticed on your site that their pale ale now has a new recipe. That is great. Continuing to refine your craft is a good thing. What I don’t like about it is, this is literally the first I’d heard or read about it. I visit several liquor stores every week and I’ve seen no signage or anything announcing this new recipe. I checked your twitter and there is only one mention of this  in the PAST MONTH. You can’t expect everyone to be as willing to research you to find out you’ve changed your product. You need to do your best to reach out to your potential consumers to win them over. Perhaps you should ask Mr.Treliving a thing or two about how to market your product.

Sorry for the rant, but it pains me when this happens. It is one of the things about Surgenor Brewing that made absolutely no sense to me. I think if you change your product, change the name, and relaunch it to get the word out.

Thanks for reading, I hope it wasn’t too ranty for you.

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