Mission : Leap Beer, 366 Beers in 366 Days

Archive for the tag “Porter”

Leapbeer Review #356 Black Tail Porter by Wolf Brewing Company

This next beer is yet another Vancouver Island craft beer offering, this time from Wolf Brewing Company of Nanaimo. Their Black Tail Porter is one of my sister’s go to beers, and after this review I can see why. I really really liked this beer. I liked it so much that I tried to find more of it, but I couldn’t. I went to the store where I bought this, and they were sold out.

This is a clear black beer with a tan foamy head on top. When you tilt the glass it thins out to a deep brown colour. It has a wonderful bouquet. Aromas of molasses, cocoa and coffee grounds. It almost reminds me of the smell of a well used coffee grinder. As expected this porter is a boldly flavoured and somewhat meaty drink. But despite that, it remains easily drinkable. It starts with flavours of peat and bitter espresso but then finishes with a lovely bitter chocolate note.

Leapbeer #356 is Black Tail Porter by Wolf Brewing Company

Black Tail Porter by Wolf Brewing Company

Black Tail Porter by Wolf Brewing Company

Brewery: Wolf Brewing Company of Nanaimo BC
Released: Unknown
Size/ABV: 650ml Bottle/6.0% ABV
Availability: Unknown
Other Reviews: Beer Advocate, Rate Beer

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Leapbeer Review #320 Black Butte Porter by Deschutes

Originally I wasn’t going to cover any of the basic Deschutes beers. Not for any reason other than the fact that they were a bit pricey to get in my area (16.99-18.99 per six pack).  But this Black Butte is an absolute gem. This has been sitting in my fridge since May, when my sister bought it and left a couple with me.

Even though I have had this black butte for a while, since late summer, but the only sign that it’s starting to pop off is the fact that it’s slightly clouded with old yeast flecks. I’ve had a couple of beers that were like this now, and none have been affected by this at all. If you find yourself pouring a glass that looks like its got snowflakes in it, don’t be afraid.

This beer is a very impressive achievement. Its a browny black porter that pours with a nice sizeable head on top of it. The smell is sweet, malty with a hint of smoke. Not that I think theirs rauch malt (smoked malt) included in it, but it has a hint of it, perhaps a chocolate malt. When you drink this beer it really dances a strange kind of conundrum over your palate. It is rich, light, quaffably, deseving of savouring, complex and simple at the same time. I realize I’m not describing this beer too well, but the flavour profile is overwhelming. Do yourself a favor and get one of these to try (if you haven’t had one yet).  The bottled version is so much better than the fresh hop porter I had back at the Deschutes Brewpub in Portland. I’m not sure how Deschutes packs this much flavour into a 5.2% porter, but I love it.

Leapbeer #320 is Black Butte Porter by Deschutes Brewery

Black Butte Porter by Deschutes Brewing Company

Black Butte Porter by Deschutes Brewery

Brewery: Deschutes Brewery of Bend Oregon
Released: Unknown
Size/ABV: 341ml Bottle/5.2% ABV
Availability: Widely available at private liquor stores
Purchased @:
Lucky’s Liquors in Nanaimo
Other Reviews: Beer Advocate, Rate Beer

I also have a bottle of their imperial porter, Black Butte XIV in my cellar. I’m really looking forward to it based on my feelings to this beer.

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Leapbeer Reviews #295-300 Flight of the Townsite

With it getting closer to the end of the year and me needing to get my blogging butt in gear I coordinated a nice tasting evening for me and some friends. This has helped me to cover some of the stockpile of beers I’ve been sitting on. It also helps me to get through a full flights of beers without being left with the task of consuming four or more bombers in one night. Our most recent tasting evening included a flight from Powell River’s own Townsite Brewery. You may recall that I went through there earlier in the leapbeer journey in one of my leapbeer field trips.

They have a really cool set up there with lots of local flair. Karen noted to us that Cedric their brewmaster could very well be the only Belgian born brewmaster in BC. Each of their labels has a tidbit about the name of the beer along with the local significance. They will be included in the write up as well.

First beer from Townsite is their Westview Wheat a summer witbier, or belgian style wheat beer. It is a very tasty beer that I am guessing they will be bringing back again late next spring/early summer 2013. It is a touch on the sweet side, but doesn’t have the usual banana-esque notes that most hefeweizens have.

Note: Westview: noun 1. direction of every view in Powell River, and features the epic Comox Glacier, 2. a refreshing summer seasonal witbier

Leapbeer #295 is Westview Wheat

Westview Wheat

Westview Wheat

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Leapbeer Reviews #286-288 Salt Spring Flight Part 1

Tonight I’m compiling a trio of reviews of Salt Spring Island Ales products. I really liked the Heather Ale, and sampled the Golden Ale at GCBF. The first beer I’m going to share with you is one I missed out on the cask of it at GCBF, the Spring Fever Gruit Ancient Ale. Here’s a little intro to the Gruit ale as per a launch event notes from facebook.

Before beer, it was Gruit. For more than 700 years, Gruit Ale was the brewed beverage of medieval Europe. Like today’s beer, it was brewed with water, grain and yeast. Unlike today’s beer, it was spiced with any number of herbs, roots and spices. The Hop, which is now the quintessential aromatic and bittering herb of our contemporary beers, was once only one of many herbs sometimes used by brewers in their recipes. Hops were often completely unknown in some brewing areas of Europe. Instead, brewers relied on a healthy collection of herbs. Most gruit recipes were closely held secrets that were passed down in families or jealously guarded by monasteries, and very few authentic formulas have survived.Developed with the help of Salt Spring Island’s Wild Seed School of Herbal Studies and based on an ancient recipe, our ‘Spring Fever’ Gruit is made without hops – using locally wildcrafted herbs and a little ‘magik’. The beer was brewed on a full moon, which is said to bring out the potency of botanicals. A stimulating and refreshing beverage with bright, almost cider-like flavours, a floral/clover nose and a slight sweetness. A must-try beverage in a class by itself!

Indeed this was a very interesting beer. I really love trying something that is so far removed from anything I’d tried previously. You pour this beer and almost immediately you’re hit with a bouquet of aromas. It has a sweet almost ciderish smell, but with strong notes of wild honey and herbs. I also picked up a nice tart smell of fermenting plums from it. The taste is very nice, with a crisp snap to it followed by a slightly sour finish. While it doesn’t taste like any other beer I’ve had before, it is still very good. I recommend trying it (while you can) simply to expand your expectations of beers. Seeing this brewery making beers of this vein reminds me of some of the ancient ales brewed by Delaware’s DogFish Head Brewing.

Leapbeer #286 is Spring Fever Gruit Ancient Ale

Salt Spring Island Ales Gruit Ancient

Salt Spring Island Ales Gruit Ancient Ale

If you wanted to read another review of this beer, Left4beers review can be read here. http://www.left4beer.com/2012/10/spring-fever-gruit-salt-spring.html

And if you’re curious about the art on the bottle, there is a blog post about it here.  http://purplepoddedpeas.blogspot.co.uk/2012/02/leaping.html

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Leapbeer Review #277 & #278 Spiced Rum Cask & Winter Treacle Porter by Innis and Gunn

Today I’ve got a pair of new limited Innis & Gunn beers for the blog. I was pleased to hear that I&G is doing more seasonal releases. More new nicely crafted beers is good news to the craft loving community. I received one each of their next two bottles, one of the Spiced Rum Finish and one of the Winter Treacle Porter. Both of these beers should be available at discerning private liquor stores. You can find them on their own, and in the case of the Winter Treacle Porter, in a gift box containing two other beers and a branded stemmed glass similar to the one I use for all I&G reviews. I’ve always been a sucker for free glassware or gift packs when I go shopping at liquor stores, and I’ve gone through more than one of these stemmed glasses.

First up for me was the Spiced Rum Finish beer. For the record I am a big fan of rum. I went on a trip a while back to an island that specializes in making it, and ever since then I’ve been in love with the stuff. Like other sweeter liquors it can have a tendency to overly sweeten a drink, unless the sweetness can be off set by an additional ingredient. In this case they use a spiced rum cask imparting a bit of the sweetness of the rum and spice from the additives in it. This is a lovely light brown beer with a light tan head. The carbonation seems to be fairly standard to it with rather large bubbles. There is a lovely spicey scent to this beer, with a nice hit of that boozey smell. I pick up a nice sweet rum character to it as well as a bit of plum or some other kind of dark fruit. This is a relatively high test beer, weighing in at 7.4% ABV. When you drink it that doesn’t really come into play, at first. It starts of very smooth, and then a little earthiness creeps in from the oak, followed by a latent boozey burn. Initially I found it very palatable, but then the carbonation really kicks it up into your palate. This is a nice change of pace from all the seasonals I’d had up to this point (IE Pumpkin Beers) with a very different spice profile. I quite enjoyed it.

Leapbeer #277 is Spiced Rum Cask by Innis & Gunn

Brewery: Innis & Gunn Brewery of Scotland
Released: Unknown
Size/ABV: 330ml Bottle/7.4%
Availability: Private Liquor Stores
Purchased @:

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Leapbeer Fieldtrip – Portland Oregon, Day 1

Earlier this month I had the opportunity to pack the family up and take a nice trip down to arguably one of the craft brew mecca’s of the new world, Portland Oregon. Not only is Portland home to more than 40 breweries & brewpubs (as of 2011 per link) but it also boasts some wonderful attractions, and one of the most impressive transit systems I have ever seen.

Image via Wikipedia

As you could imagine I was very excited before going on this trip. My wife and I both started making lists of places we were anticipating to go and see, both beer and family themed. To my initial surprise, it was remarkably easy to intertwine both of those. One of my first revelations about Portland came to me before even leaving British Columbia. A conversation with a fellow BC beer blogger, @BGCanary on twitter informed me that many of the brewpubs and breweries were minor friendly. In fact, some of the pubs even have special kid friendly menus & games to help the two areas coincide. Of course sometimes the people drinking the beer get a hold of the kids games and engage their inner child while enjoying the beers as well, (Lynn).

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Leapbeer Reviews – A Pair of Smoked Beers

Perhaps you’re asking yourself, what is a smoked beer? If you recall from my review of the Rogue Brewing Voodoo Doughnut Maple Bacon Ale I noted there was smokiness in the brew. But there’s actually a whole style of beers that are referred to as Smoked Beers or Rauchbiers.  When they dry the malted barley they do it over an open flame, imparting a distinct aroma of smoke and an almost peaty flavour. I chose to bring 2 different beers featuring smoked malts, to show 2 sides of this beer style.

First up is Dark Snout Bacon Oatmeal Stout. This is a Bourbon barrel aged oatmeal stout infused with bacon. It pours to jet black. The head starts off tan, but dissipates quickly. It really smells like smoke, with hints of bacon and bourbon infused sweetness. Not overpoweringly sweet though, just a touch. It tastes good, there’s all the stout character to it with malts and bitter. There is a lot of lingering smoke and bacon flavour at the tale end of the tasting. The Oatmeal stout is a  lot milder of a canvas for the bacon and smoke. This beer is definitely milder than I was expecting. Smoked beers to me are seeming like an acquired taste. While better than the voodoo doughnut, it isn’t as good as I hoped.

Leapbeer #258 Dark Snout Bacon Oatmeal Stout by R & B Brewing Company

Brewery: R & B Brewing Company of Vancouver BC
Released: Unknown
Size/ABV: 650ml Bottle/5.4% ABV
Availability: Limited
Purchased @: Cascadia Liquor Store, Victoria
Other Reviews: Beeradvocate & 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 #185 Caffè Fantastico’s Double Shot Porter by Swans Buckerfield Brewery

Swans Buckerfield Brewery is nestled down in lovely downtown Victoria in what’s been called by the Thirsty Writer, Mr Joe Wiebe, Victoria’s Beer Mile. Within a relatively close proximity you have 8 of Vancouver Island’s breweries and brewpubs. We had the opportunity to bring Leapbeer there during my first visit to Victoria this year, but they didn’t have this new porter when I was down.

That’s not the case on my most recent visit to Victoria. During an afternoon where my little family were touring around the chinatown area of Victoria, I nipped away to check the Swans store to see if there was any of the Double Shot Porter left. Fortunately there was still bottles available, so I grabbed one to bring it to the Leapbeer experience.

The notes on the bottle say “In a single evening Caffe Fantastico’s team of skilled baristas pulled 850 double shots of espresso, which have been infused to create this delicious seasonal offering. Selected for its spicy cocoa and earthy tones, Sumatra Mandheling was custom roasted to work in harmony with this porter, creating a rich and complex flavour.

This porter pours to a deep brown/black colour. When held in the light it is somewhat translucent dark brown. There is a thich beige coloured head that forms, but then completely dissipates.

When you smell it you get lots of espresso coffee notes and malt. The taste is very malty and coffee-ish. It is a nice light feeling porter. I’m surprised at how thin this porter is. I wouldn’t be shocked if it was marketed as a ‘summer porter’ being that it has a relatively low (5.5% abv) test and a nice light mouth feel. This is a strikingly easy drinking porter. The compliment of the espresso smell to the delicate blend of the beer is really nice. Thumbs up from this beer drinker. One other note about this porter, it produces espresso flavoured burps. I feel that the majority of the the 850 double shots of espresso seem to reside in the CO2 in this beer.

Leapbeer #185 is Double Shot Porter by Swans Buckerfields Brewery from Victoria BC

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Leapbeer Abroad – Reviews #124-126 Treasures of Gwal Mar

The next beers I found while on vacation in Puerto Vallarta were somewhat odd. My wifes father and spouse live in PV half of the year and they took us to what the locals call “Gwal-mar”. In case you didn’t guess it’s Wal-Mart. We were there getting some supplies and I stumbled upon a few beers I figured I’d never see again. Of course that meant I HAD to buy them.

Here’s the haul.

First off is the beer from Argentina, Quilmes. Quilmes is a light golden lager. It does pour to about a 1cm head and it has some good head retention. It smells of lager yeast, as one would expect. It has a nice slight bitterness to it. It was a welcome change to the relatively bland beers our resort was offering. My wife enjoyed this beer too, saying it had ‘zing’ and ‘a sparkle’. I think she meant it had a refreshing balance of bitterness and carbonation. It came in a 355ml can and had an ABV of 4.9%.

Leapbeer #124 is Quilmes Cerveza from Argentina

Next we found 2 beers from another South American country, this time Uruguay. First from Patricia is their Dunkel.

This beer pours to a deep chocolate brown. It smells of deep malts and molasses. Tastes overly malted for my taste. Its very sweet, almost cloyingly so. I didn’t like it.  I did, however, like the embossed P bottle. Even though it was only a 300ml tiny guy. ABV was 5.4%

#125 is Patricia Dunkel

Next from Patricia is their Ltd Edition Porter. This beer had an award sticker on it. I had to do some digging but it was for Beer Cup Mexico 2010. It placed silver in the dark beer category. Here’s what the sticker looked like.

Here’s the awards page to verify their placement. They lost out to a mexican beer. Thank you google translate (I really need to practice my Spanish). This beer pours darker than the Dunkel. Almost the colour and head you’d see in an espresso. It smells very malty. Once I smelled it I was concerned that it’d be sickeningly sweet like the dunkel. I was surprised to find it had a wonderful bitterness to it. This beer was a great cap to this tasting.  Again served from their p embossed 300ml bottle this porter was slightly beefier at 5.8% ABV.

Leapbeer #126 was Patricia Ltd Edition Porter

This concludes the strange finds I got from our holiday. I didn’t want to post about the mexican beers because they were almost completely identical. I realize there were subtle nuances between Pacifico and Sol and Dos Equis etc etc , but they are all very bland lager beers in my opinion. If I was going to post about beers found abroad I wanted to post something out of the norm. One side note about the normal lager beers though. At one restaurant we went to called El Colequita in La Cruz de Huanacaxtle serves their Tecate (and only the Tecate) with 2 shrimps coming out of the can. I asked why they did this and the server just said “We wanted to make a tradition for this restaurant, and this is what we came up with”. The food here was mostly good and the price included tequila, desert and kaluha. But the shrimp in the beer fascinated me. Here’s a pic from another blog.

Thanks for reading.

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