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Archive for the tag “Vancouver Island”

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 #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 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
Website:
http://phillipsbeer.com/Beers/ginger-beer
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.

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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 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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Leapbeer Reviews #337 & #338 Voltage Espresso Stout by Hoyne and Chocolate Cherry Stout by Moon Under Water

Last night I sampled the last of the Vancouver Island stouts (as far as I know) for the year.  The Hoyne Brewing Company/Habit Coffee Voltage Espresso Stout and the Moon Under Water Chocolate Cherry Stout.

Voltage Espresso Stout is an opaque black beer with about a 1 cm tan head on top. I tried it two ways, chilled and room temperature. The aroma when chilled is all coffee and cocoa nibs. Warm it is much of the same, but jacked up quite a bit. You really get a bitter coffee/espresso note when its at room temperature. It tastes (chilled) bitter and of dark chocolate. There’s even a hint of a touch of cream, or maybe its just creaminess in the way it feels. Warm the bitterness is jacked up again, more stringent in its attack on your taste buds. Yet it still retains a lovely smoothness to it. Whether you drink it chilled or straight from the cellar it’s a fantastic beer.

Leapbeer #337 is Voltage Espresso Stout by Hoyne Brewing Co

Voltage Espresso Stout by Hoyne Brewing Company

Voltage Espresso Stout by Hoyne Brewing Company

Brewery: Hoyne Brewing Company of Victoria BC
Size/ABV: 650ml Bottle/5.6% ABV
Availability: Select Private Liquor Stores
Purchased:
Top Shelf Liquor Store in Courtenay BC
Website: http://hoynebrewing.ca/#beers
Other Reviews: Beer Advocate, Rate Beer

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Leapbeer Review #331 Dough Head Gingerbread Ale by Vancouver Island Brewery

I originally had planned to do this review in conjuncture with my wife and daughters gingerbread house day. I thought it would make for a great picture. Alas I missed out on my window for pictures, and someone got a bit hungry. My fault, at least they didn’t drink the beer.

When 5 yr olds attack!Apparently someone got a bit hungry before I could take the pic with the beer.

When 5 yr olds attack!
Apparently someone got a bit hungry before I could take the pic with the beer.

While I’m a proven fan of the rejuvenated bomber line from Vancouver Island Brewery this beer didn’t pique my interest. I’ve had a hit and miss relationship with winter beers. And when I think of a gingerbread beer it seemed wrong. I was expecting this beer to be overly sweet and overly spicy and generally over the top. I’m glad to report that it isn’t. This reddish amber ale has all the ginger and spice aroma that I was expecting. But when you drink it, it isn’t overly sweet. It tastes like a carbonated gingerbread house. If you’re looking for a hair burning ginger sting, don’t look at this beer, but if you’re looking for a gently flavoured seasonal this is a great choice.

Leapbeer #331 is Dough Head Gingerbread Ale

Dough Head Gingerbread Ale by Vancouver Island Brewery

Dough Head Gingerbread Ale by Vancouver Island Brewery

Brewery: Vancouver Island Brewery, Victoria BC
Size/ABV: 650ml Bottle/5.5% ABV
Availability: Wide Release in BC
Website: http://www.vanislandbrewery.com/default.aspx?PageID=1053
Other Reviews: Ian Lloyd (@left4beer), Mikes Craft Beer Blog, Parting Glass Beer Blog, Beer Advocate, Rate Beer

Thanks for Reading

Leapbeer Reviews #324-328 A Flight of Canoe

Last night I had the opportunity to share some delicious beers with a good friend, so I brought over a sampling of 5 different Canoe Brewpub beers including three of their core beers and two different seasonals. Unfortunately a couple of the bottles were from the summer time and at least one was negatively affected by the age of the beer. The beers we were drinking were Red Canoe Lager, Sirens Song Pale Ale, Summer Honey Wheat Ale, River Rock Bitter and Winter Gale Strong Ale.

Canoe Brewpub FlightRed Canoe Lager, Siren Song Pale Ale, Summer Honey Wheat Ale, River Rock Bitter, Winter Gale Strong Ale

Canoe Brewpub Flight
Red Canoe Lager, Siren Song Pale Ale, Summer Honey Wheat Ale, River Rock Bitter, Winter Gale Strong Ale

First up is the Red Canoe Lager. It was somewhat unfortunate for us to start with this bottle as it was one of the ones that was old. This is advertised on their website as a Czech pilsner, but this bottle didn’t taste like it. I’ve had it at the brewpub and it is a very nice lager beer. This bottle, unfortunately, was not. Drinking a skunky beer wasn’t how I wanted to start off the night. I can attest to the fact that, when fresh, this beer is very pleasant. Its all uphill after this one (I promise).

Leapbeer #324 is Red Canoe Lager

Red Canoe Lager by Canoe Brewpub

Red Canoe Lager by Canoe Brewpub

Brewery: Canoe Brewpub in Victoria BC
Size/ABV: 650ml Bottle(Also Available in Growler at the Brewpub)/5.2% ABV
Availability: At the brewpub
Website: http://www.canoebrewpub.com/beer.html
Other Reviews: Beer Advocate, Rate Beer

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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.

Appearance
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.

Aroma
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.

Taste
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 Reports – Cellaring Beer

There have been several blog posts about cellaring beer in the craft beer crew, so what can I hope to add another to the mix. Beeradvocate gave us a very thorough explanation about how to store beer, and which beers are good for it. Vancouver based beer blogger, Barley Mowat, has done something extrememly similar (but he adds pictures). Vancouver Island beer blogger allum (although I grimace as I say that, I’m not even in his league let alone the same court) Ian Lloyd, aka Left4Beer took his kick at this same can too. (Note: To view these posts I’m referring to please click the links embedded in their names)

The reason I chose to toss my hat into this ring was because it was a completely unheard of concept to me one year ago. I, like many out there, thought old beer = bad beer. I mean obviously beer is meant to be drank as soon as humanly possible (unless of course you think I’m encouraging drinking in the store or in your car on the way home. DO NOT DRINK AND DRIVE!) I should say, consumed as soon as reasonably possible.

Not quite what I mean by aging your beer (photo from agefotostock.com)

Why do beer geeks the world over choose to shell out top dollar for “fancy-pants brews” (pending TM) just to let them sit in a cellar until they can’t hold out any longer. Quite simply put, because it *can* make them better. I say can, because generally cellaring beer is saved for many styles, but not for others. Something like a fresh hopped beer is best consumed fresh. Even any dry hopped beer should be consumed as soon as possible, as those hop characteristics really diminish with time. Where aging beer really shines (in my limited opinion) is when it comes to high test stouts, bocks and sours. The rule of thumb I’ve heard is ‘If it’s at or over 9% ABV, it will age well”. I’ve spent some of this year collecting different beers and adding them to my cellar. Some of which I’ve tasted during the course of this year, but most of which I haven’t.

Another interesting ‘journey’ beer lovers are known to do is what is called a ‘Vertical Tasting’. As you may have guessed you have the various years of one beer and taste them to examine the nuances, changes and journey the beers have gone through. Recently left4beer and Jeff Kendrew did a three year vertical tasting of the same beer I chose to examine cellaring.

I devised a test to examine what cellaring beers actually does. I took two bottles of Hermannator Ice Bock by Vancouver Island Brewery, one from 2011 (a gift from a co worker Michelle, Thanks!) and one from 2012. The 2011 bottle has been aging in my ‘cellar’ (aka a stack of beer boxes in my downstairs closet) over the course of the hear. Hopefully this 9.5% ABV eisbock (or Ice Bock) style beer will have changed some. I’m going to use similar styled glassware (tulip/snifter) with a similar approximate six ounce pour.  I’ve got three criteria I’m going to be judging these beers on, Appearance, Aroma and Taste. Then I’ll divulge my overall thoughts of these two beers. Bear in mind that the batches may have some differences in the brew, but the recipe is very close from year to year. I served these beers directly from my cellar, meaning they’re between 10-12 degrees Celsius. Here’s the combatants.

2011 (left) & 2012 (right) Hermannator Ice Bock by Vancouver Island Brewery

2011 (left) & 2012 (right) Hermannator Ice Bock by Vancouver Island Brewery

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