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Leapbeer #365 Megadestroyer by Howe Sound Brewing Company

Today’s beer came highly recommended by Vancouver based beer geek, Jonny Beers. Howe Sound Brewing Company makes their Megadestroyer Imperial Licorice Stout by taking their already potent Pothole Filler imperial stout, and jack it up by adding massive amounts of licorice and anise. It was originally brewed to commemorate the 200th tap at Alibi Room, one of Vancouver’s go-to beer geek watering holes.

It is not for the faint of heart. This beer is very bold. Add to that the fact that you have an entire litre of it to enjoy. Thankfully Howe Sound Brewing Co uses the 1l pop stopper bottles making storage for a few days a very viable opportunity. Personally I chose to go a different way. I wanted to enjoy this stout in more than one way. In honor to their summer seasonal, the 4 way fruit ale, I’m enjoying Megadestroyer four ways.

First application, Chocolate Stout Cake. I have to thank @BGCanary and @MikesCraftBeer for sharing this recipe. It is a fairly easy to follow recipe that yielded an extremely moist chocolate cake. I didn’t add the ganache to mine because I needed the bowls and cleaning utensils to prepare the other goodness. The cake itself is very good and moist, but it doesn’t taste too stout-y to me. I had hoped with a bold flavoured stout like Megadestroyer it would shine through, but it didn’t.

Chocolate Stout Bundt Cake made with Megadestroyer Imperial Licorice Stout

Chocolate Stout Bundt Cake made with Megadestroyer Imperial Licorice Stout

Second way to enjoy the stout I chose to make a chocolate stout mousse. Originally I had plans to try a straight stout mousse, but the device that I wanted to make it with wasn’t available. Instead I found a recipe at Brew Nation NZ. It is very chocolatey as well, and even though the stout wasn’t cooked the chocolate overpowered the stout and only part of its licorice and anise goodness could be tasted through the mousse. It is also of note that I could have mixed mine better. I took the whole ‘folding’ thing too literally and could have blended the final integration better. The recipe yielded 8 nice sized servings.

Stout Mousse made with Megadestroyer Imperial Licorice Stout

Chocolate Stout Mousse made with Megadestroyer Imperial Licorice Stout

In my opinion both of these recipes would benefit by the addition of at least 1/2 a teaspoon of cayenne pepper. When I make my hot chocolate mix (the good eats recipe BTW) it calls for the addition of cayenne. I find that the spice really adds something special. It almost sets your mouth up in a way that it can enjoy the chocolate more.

Finished Product, Chocolate Stout Cake & Mousse

Finished Product, Chocolate Stout Cake & Mousse

Third way to enjoy Megadestroyer, was straight up. This is a jet black stout with a tall brown head on it. As you would imagine the omnipresent theme with this beer is licorice. Anise and licorice rip up your nostrils when you smell this bold and unapologetic beer. There is a touch of coffee on the nose as well. Drinking it is heavenly. It is remarkably smooth. All the big RIS tastes are there, coffee and cocoa, along with a generous dose of licorice. Despite it’s 10% ABV this beer is deceptively drinkable. Not that I would quaff it like it was a kolsch on a hot day, but enough that I don’t have to pause every few sips.

Leapbeer #365 is Megadestroyer Imperial Licorice Stout

Megadestroyer Imperial Licorice Stout by Howe Sound Brewery

Megadestroyer Imperial Licorice Stout by Howe Sound Brewery

Brewery: Howe Sound Brewing Company of Squamish BC
Size/ABV/IBU: 1L Bottle/10.0% ABV/73 IBUs
Purchased:
Cascadia Courtenay
Website: http://www.howesound.com/Brewery/Beers/Beer_Megadestroyer_Licorice_Stout.aspx
Other Reviews: Beer Advocate, Rate Beer

Lastly I decided to do something I’d read about in other blogs and tweets. Megadestroyer’s fourth way of enjoyment is in a beer float. I wasn’t sure how this would be. Not only was I very excited to try it, but I was honestly a little bit scared. I took a chalice, poured it half way up with Megadestroyer, and added a nice dollop of vanilla ice cream.

Stout Float with Megadestroyer

Stout Float with Megadestroyer

The way the ice cream came off in this beer was really good. It actually attenuated the sugars of the ice cream and accentuated the licorice in the stout. When I mixed it up together into a froth it made for an excellent tasting light treat.

So there you have it, 1 litre of stout enjoyed four ways. One application for stout I didn’t utilize is adding it to braising liquid for a pot roast, like I did with the Red Racer Stout. This one may not be the best for that as the licorice flavour may effect the other elements in an unwelcome way.

Big thank you to Mike, Lynn, Jonny for their suggestions, Howe Sound for the delicious beer.

And as always, thank you for reading.

365, just one left. Any guesses as to what it will be?

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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)

Leapbeer Reviews #358 & 359 Shiny Penny and Biere d’Hiver by Townsite Brewing Company

My wife recently had a family function over in Powell River. Naturally my instinctive request was “Please bring back some Townsite beer, pretty pretty please?” And bring back she did. She brought me the two new beers, the Shiny Penny Belgian IPA and Biere d’Hiver winter warmer.

Shiny Penny is named after the now defunct brewpub that Townsites Brewmaster, Cedric, tried to open up in Saskatoon. It is a clear and deep amber beer with a tan head on top. The aromas of this beer is oranges and caramel. The tart malt notes are accented by subdued hops on the nose. When you drink it, the taste is almost opposite. It starts off with a big citric hops punch up front but then follows with a sweet and malty finish. I have to keep telling myself to slow down because this beer is 8.5% ABV. It is deceptively easy drinking.

Leapbeer #358 is Shiny Penny

Shiny Penny Belgian IPA by Townsite Brewing Company

Shiny Penny Belgian IPA by Townsite Brewing Company

Brewery: Townsite Brewing Company of Powell River BC
Size/ABV/IBU: 650ml Bottle/8.5% ABV/80 IBUs
Availability: Select Private Liquor Stores
Purchased:
In Powell River
Website: http://townsitebrewing.com/beer
Other Reviews: Joe Weibe (@Thirstywriter), Barley Mowat, Beer Advocate, Rate Beer

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Leapbeer Review #357 Hop Therapy Double IPA by Russell Brewing

I’ve had a few of the Russell Brewing Company beers on my blog so far. They’ve been fairly well received. This next beer, their Hop Therapy Double IPA, eclipses them all. To say that I love this beer is an understatement. In fact, the only thing I can say negatively about this beer is that it is a limited run meaning once its gone, its gone.

Img from Russell Brewings Website

This is a cloudy amber beer with a tan head on top.  The aroma is big time citric hops, think of a citrus orchard in bloom. The beer tastes bitter up front then followed with a nice wash of sweetness. It is a hop bomb for sure. This is from the second bottle of this I had and I can already taste the hops being diminished. That said this is the best BC made double ipa that I have had all year. Well done Russell Beer!

Leapbeer #357 is Hop Therapy Double IPA

Hop Therapy Double IPA by Russell Brewing

Hop Therapy Double IPA by Russell Brewing

Brewery: Russell Brewing Company of Surrey BC
Size/ABV/IBU: 650ml Bottle/9.0% ABV/100 IBUs
Availability: Select Private Liquor Stores
Purchased:
Cascadia Courtenay
Website: http://www.russellbeer.com/bml_beer.asp#null
Other Reviews: Barley Mowat, Mikes Craft Beer Blog, Beer Advocate, Rate Beer

Thanks for Reading

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

Thanks for Reading

Leapbeer #352 is Driftwood (Pale) Ale by Driftwood Brewing Company

With this last driftwood review I manage to get all of the Driftwood Brewing Company beers (from this year) on the Leapbeer Master List. I really tried to get as many of the Vancouver Island Breweries on that list. Some of them have been a challenge to get, and others have been downright impossible. Thankfully Driftwood has been pretty available close to my area, and this beer I picked up at my local Campbell River government liquor store.

Many of the Driftwood beers (Fat Tug, Naughty Hildegaard, Sartori Harvest & Singularity) have been among the favorites for the year. When I picked this up it gave me pause to think, ‘when was the last time I bought this beer?’ I honestly could not remember. I didn’t even know what style of beer this was when I bought it.

As it turns out the Driftwood Ale is a Pale Ale (hence the pale in quotes in the title). It is a clear dark golden beer with a white head on top. Its aroma is kind of skunky with piney hops and caramel malts. When I smelled it I was concerned that the bottle may be off. When I tasted it I found it to be a super bitter forward pale ale. There’s big hop notes with a subtle malt body to it. The lasting bitterness from these hops really linger in my mouth. If I had the chance to I would pick up a different bottle to see if it was just the one I bought in CR that was skunky, but I really don’t have the time before the end of the year.

Leapbeer #352 is Driftwood (Pale) Ale

Driftwood (Pale) Ale by Driftwood Brewing Company

Driftwood (Pale) Ale by Driftwood Brewing Company

Brewery: Driftwood Brewing Company of Victoria, BC
Size/ABV: 650ml Bottle/5.0% ABV
Availability: Wide
Purchased @: Government Liquor Store Campbell River
Webpage:
http://driftwoodbeer.com/beers/driftwood-ale/
Other Reviews: BeerAdvocate & Rate Beer

Thanks for Reading

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 Reviews #346-348 Unibroue Mixer

The other day I was at Merecroft Village Liquor Store I noticed that there was a deal with the Unibroue mixer packs. With the purchase of a twelve pack you get a free stemmed glass.  As I am an absolute sucker for free glassware I couldn’t say no. It included 4 beers, La Gaillarde, Blanche de Chambly, Blonde de Chambly & La Fin Du Monde. The last of which already holds a place on the leapbeer master list, #47. If you recall I kind of ripped that beer for being overly yeasty and sweet. This was very early in the leapbeer journey (February), but since that time my palate has definitely changed. I’ve had a chance to revisit this beer, and now I quite like it (But I’ll get to that later in the post).

First up is La Gaillarde. This is a Belgian style Pale Ale. According to Canadian Beer News (link below) this a beer that they only recently been brought back after over a decade on haitus.

Inspired by an ale recipe from the 16th century, La Gaillarde was first brewed in 1995 for the Québec Medieval Festival, and remained in production until late 1999 when it was discontinued.  (Canadian Beer News)

La Gaillard is a cloudy golden beer with a pillowy white head on top. There’s lots of tiny bubbles in the abundance of carbonation. It has a very complex bouquet, smelling of lemon rind, biscuits, dry white wine and grapes. It is a very bubbly beer, with a strong initial alcohol thump up front. Then it settles to a dry and bready beer. It’s almost if apple cider was meshed with a Belgian pale ale. Nice and refreshingly clean finish.

Leapbeer #346 is La Gaillarde

La Gaillarde by Unibroue

La Gaillarde by Unibroue

Brewery: Unibroue of Quebec
Size/ABV: 355ml Bottle/5.0% ABV
Purchased: Merecroft Village Liquor Store in Campbell River
Website: http://www.canadianbeernews.com/2012/05/12/unibroue-la-gaillarde-returns-after-more-than-a-decade/
Other Reviews: Beer Advocate, Rate Beer

Read more…

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 Reviews #341-344 Catching up with Spinnakers

In my effort to catch up I find myself with a back log of Spinnakers beers to review. A couple of them were released earlier in the year and a couple more recently. The line up for today is Happy New Beer, Über Blonde Strong Belgian Style Ale, India Session Pale Ale and Hoptoria IPA.

First up is the Happy New Beer. This is a Wit bier, or Belgian style wheat beer. It is a low test (4.5% ABV) sessionable beer that I’m guessing is intended for popping midnight December 31st (I’m sorry Spinnakers I couldn’t wait). It is a clear golden beer with a white head on top. It smells of toffee, apples and malt. All arranged in a very delicate bouquet. I find that it is a light and whimsical wit. There’s minor sweetness with a hint of salted caramel to it. My only sticky point with this beer is that it has a very lingering bitter note to the taste, somewhat uncharacteristic for wheat beer styles.

Leapbeer #341 is Happy New Beer

Happy New Beer by Spinnakers Gastro Brewpub

Happy New Beer by Spinnakers Gastro Brewpub

Brewery: Spinnakers Gastro Brewpub in Victoria BC
Size/ABV: 650ml Bomber/4.5%
Availability: Some Private Liquor Stores and @ Spinnakers
Purchased @:
Cascadia Liquor Quadra st Victoria
Other Reviews: Rate Beer, Beeradvocate

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