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Archive for the tag “victoria bc”

Leapbeer Review #213 Tasman Ale by Lighthouse Brewing Company

This beer is latest release from Lighthouse Brewing Company in Victoria. It is an orange pale ale,  “Tasman Ale is brewed with the Tasmanian hop varieties Topaz and Summer, along with Motueka and Rakau from the Tasman region of New Zealand. Fresh and crisp, this copper hued ale features distinctive tropical fruit characters, clean and light bittering and a soft malt body.”

I have previously joked that this should be released under a new “Dean McLeod Signature Series” of beers because of his New Zealand & Australian connection. Dean has described this as the perfect BBQ or backyard beer. It wasn’t produced to cater to the upper crust beer geeks, but to have a mass appeal as well as to introduce (or reintroduce) western drinkers with southern hemisphere hops varietals. It smells very light, but has a nice rich flavour to it. The malt body of the beer is accented well with the hops. These aren’t your typical monster truck strength hops that goose step their way over your tongue that you see in a lot of North American craft beers. They’re more like a delicate tap dancer that has an occasional strong note but never loses rhythm with the brew. A very enjoyable and sessionable summer beer.

Leapbeer #213 is Tasman Ale by Lighthouse Brewing Company

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Leapbeer Fieldtrip – A Flight at Spinnakers

On my most recent visit to Victoria I got to spend a very large amount of time at Spinnakers Brewpub. Not only did we have a great time spent at their guest house enjoying the hospitality of their accommodations, but we also got a very comprehensive tour of the brewing operations. Also well as ample opportunity to sample the food and the beers. This post is going to be focusing on the beer side of our tour. This is the flight of Spinnakers.

For  those of you who don’t know what a flight of beer is, allow me to illuminate. A flight of beer is a sampler set of beers. While it may at times include different brewers, I use this term to describe a collection of beers from the same brewer. If I were doing a sampling of different brewers I would call it a ‘tasting’ instead. This is my personal preference, but I just wanted to clarify because I’ve had ‘tastings’ already. I also want to add an apology for my picture taking skills. I took a different camera with me this trip, in the attempt to take better pictures. However it turned out that I really don’t know how to take pictures well with it. They start off out of focus so sorry.

Back to the beer. Our bartender of the day, Ryan, served us a series of their beers that were available at the taps that day. It is worth mentioning that they have a vast variety of beers that are produced at Spinnakers every year. So much so that I fear I may only get to sample a small array of what they produce. On top of that they offer their “Dog Watch Cask” series of beers every weekday between 4-6pm of specially augmented beers (Like the Northwest IPA with Citras I reviewed last week)

He took us on a tour of of the beers based lighter to stronger flavours, not strictly colour based.

First up is their Kolsch Style beer. This is a really light and refreshing beer. It isn’t without flavour, which is something people may expect from a 3.5% beer. I quite enjoyed it, and it was a nice wake up of the palate for this journey of beer.

Leapbeer #203 is Kolsch Style from Spinnakers GastroBrewpub

Next we moved to their Hefeweizen. I had the opportunity to sample this beer on my previous trip to Victoria and it definitely lives up to the memory of it. I admit that I am a soft sell when it comes to beers, as I enjoy all styles of beer. I’ve always had a soft spot for a really good hef mind you, and this one is spectacular. It is complex yet refreshing, bold and gently, all in the same beverage. I call it ‘sunshine in a glass’. It is their summer seasonal so please get down there to try this while it is there. I consider this the best Hef I’ve had all year.

Leapbeer #204 is Hefeweizen from Spinnakers GastroBrewpub

We ordered our lunch, a lovely salad to split, Fish n Chips for my wife and the Rabbit meat pie for myself, and Ryan poured another glass. This next turn he took us to one of their staple beers, the Nut Brown. This is a sweet and malty beer with a lovely roasted nut flavour. Another light and refreshing beer.

Leapbeer #205 is Nut Brown Ale from Spinnakers GastroBrewpub

After the Nut Brown we moved on to the Jameson’s Scotch ale. Scotch ales are notoriously delicate, but also very good. And this offering is no exception to that. It has a nice sweetness to it, as it almost has a barrel aged quality to it. It is also available at the bar in a pulled cask variety, meaning it is direct from a room temperature cask (aprx 10c). I tried it both ways while I was at Spinnakers, I preferred it in the pulled cask variety.

Leapbeer #206 is Jamesons Scotch Ale from Spinnakers GastroBrewpub

Now we started heading into the stronger flavour waters. We go into their version of a hopped out IPA, their Northwest IPA. I really like this beer. It offers a nice compliment of dry hopping to an already very tasty IPA. While it isn’t as bitter as other hopped up IPA’s on the market it definitely delivers on the bitter. I quite enjoyed it.

Leapbeer #207 is Northwest IPA from Spinnakers GastroBrewpub

After that, our food already arrived and lunch in full swing, Ryan brought us the Mitchell’s Extra Special Bitter. A lovely classic bitter available from the cold room as well as in the pulled cask. Sadly I messed up the picture of it so I don’t have one from this tasting. I will have a pic of it later in the week.

Leapbeer #208 is Mitchell’s Extra Special Bitter from Spinnakers GastroBrewpub

Lunch was a success, our meals were both hearty and satisfying. What better way to cap the afternoon but with their Tsarist Imperial Stout. This is a wonderful stout. It is a heavyweight, at 7.75% ABV. But it goes down so easy. Another of the beers available from pulled cask as well as cold room served. It is rich and malty.

Leapbeer #209 is Tsarist Imperial Stout from Spinnakers GastroBrewpub

That concludes our flight of beer that day. There were even more beers available at Spinnakers during our stay, but they were bottle & can offerings from the off sales. I picked up them and they will be covered later. For more information about Spinnakers beers (and everything else they offer) please check out their website here. http://www.spinnakers.com/

I wanted to include another little pic and story to this post. We stayed at the guest house, and many I talked to didn’t know where that was. I do have a video demonstrating how close it is, take into account that I am sitting on the patio of the guest house. I started the pic with my back on the wall. I realize I should have started the video from inside the guest house.

We also took a discovery flight with Victoria Flying Club and I was able to take this pic from the air. The red arrow points to Spinnakers Gastro Brewpub, and the blue arrow points to the guest house we stayed in. It is a complete home, in the 1000-1200 sq ft range, more on that to come in the week.

Thanks for reading.

Leapbeer at HOPoxia

As many of my readers will know I attended my first Beer event ever last Saturday night. It was … interesting. Rather than delve upon the entirety of the events I will fill you in on who brought what, or what I remember. Whom I didn’t sample (because I purposefully avoided a couple of beers) and whom I really liked. Of the brewers I sampled all but a few of them. I tried;
Tofino Brewing’s Hoppin Cretin IPA, Russell Brewing’s Blood Alley ESB, Lighthouse Brewing’s Switchback IPA w/HOPoxinator, The Moon Under Water’s Waxing Crescent IPA, Driftwood Brewing’s  Fat Tug, Vancouver Island Brewery’s Cascadian India Dark Ale, Canoe Brewpub’s Siren Song Pale Ale, Spinnakers Brewpub’s Hoptoria IPA, Wolf Brewing’s Red Brick IPA, Parralel 49’s Hoparazzi IPA, Hoyne Brewing Co.’s Devils Dream IPA, Coal Harbour Brewing Co.’s Powell IPA, Longwood Brewpub’s Island Pale Ale, Phillips Brewing’s Hoperation Tripel Cross
I didn’t sample the following, for various reasons. Either I’ve already had their beer and didn’t want to overdo it (see lessons learned below) or their beer wasn’t favorably received by other patrons.Whistler Brewing Co. – Pink Grapefruit Ale
Howe Sound Brewing Co. – Total Eclipse of the Hop
Central City Brewing Co. – Red Racer ESB
Granville Island Brewing Co. – Cascadian Dark Ale (I think, I didn’t even go by there)
Salt Spring Island. (I don’t remember their presence, but maybe I just missed them)
My overall thoughts of the event. – The crowd was great, everyone I talked to was having a good time. I met a few people I’d only talked to on twitter and also got to hang out with some new friends as well. Everyone was there for the beer, from hardcore enthusiasts, home craft brewers, brewery professionals and everyday schmoes like myself. While the crowd was good I was somewhat underwhelmed by what some of the brewers brought to the event. Of all the brewers, only 3 did anything special. Vancouver Island Brewery had a specially made cask for the event (Cascadian India Dark Ale), The Moon Under Water Brewpub brought a brand spanking new Waxing Crescent IPA and Lighthouse had the Hopoxinator for filtering their Switchback IPA through various varietals of hops during the day. I was also intrigued at what Longwood Brewpub brought. Their Island Pale Ale is an IPA recipe using all Vancouver Island sourced ingredients, including the hops. All the other breweries brought standard release beers, many of which I’d had already. The only one of the ‘standard issue’ beers that I went back to repeatedly was the Hoppin Cretin because of its limited availability. Perhaps I had misconceptions about what other people would bring to the party, but It wasn’t just me who felt somewhat disappointed by the turn out from the beer side. We made up for it by having fun.
Leapbeer #200 is India Dark Ale by Vancouver Island Brewery (Photo Courtesy of Rob Ringma of Vancouver Island Brewery)
Leapbeer #201 is Waxing Crescent IPA by The Moon Brewpub
(picture hopefully coming soon)
Leapbeer #202 is The Hopoxinator by Lighthouse Brewery (Photos Courtesy of Joe Weibe @thirstywriter)
Here’s the varietals of hops they were using during the day (Photo Courtesy of Joe Weibe @thirstywriter)
Now on to the lessons I learned from this experience. While it was an enjoyable time I’m absolutely certain that I could have had a better time, and been more responsible at it too. Here’s the lessons I learned while out at my first big beer event.
1) Know your location. If it is going to be held in an open cement backyard of a brewery (not a bad thing) know this ahead of time and bring either a hat or loose clothing. It was so sunny and so hot out there. I’m certain the heat led me to consume a bit faster than I would have before.
2) Carefully choose your dining options for before, during and after the event. At this one which was 4 hours long, I hadn’t eaten a proper meal before hand (WRONG) I decided to get a Ghost Chili spiced hot dog from the onsite vendor (double WRONG!) and I didn’t have any plan for following the event. Choosing something during depends upon what is available, but afterwards is something that can be planned. A strong coffee and a slap in the face would’ve helped me for sure.
3) Survey the landscape and formulate a plan of attack. This is something I did do. I knew which breweries I wanted to sample first and then on. I really wanted to get in on the few special beers at the event, and I was very glad I did. VIB’s cask was the first to sell out completely if I recall, and it was in the top 3 for the event in my books.
4) Choose your service vessel well. If you lose or dirty yours ask for another one. Don’t randomly accept a graduated cylinder to drink from, even if it was passed to you by a brewer. They’re tricky to drink from, and you may (or in my case will) spill on your shirt.
5) Have an exit strategy mapped out. While it may change or things deviate a bit, set something up so that everyone gets back okay. Don’t ever think that driving away from one of these events is a good idea. EVER. Even if you plan to spend the next 3 hours after it doing laps around the block drinking copious amounts of water to wash the alcohol out of your system it is a bad idea. Cabs are cheaper than a ticket every time.
6) Bring little, so as not to lose stuff. I misplaced both my camera and my phone. Both of which were recovered (Big thank you again to Bryan at Cascadia and the staff at Phillips for that) It is really easy to put something down when you’re in the throes of an event and walk away from them. I was wrought with grief for a day worried about my camera.7) And this is an important one. Pace yourself. Even if its super hot try not to go ridiculous there. I didn’t follow by this, and ended up getting a bit stupid.

All in all I had a good time, but I could have made it better. A big thanks to Phillips (Matlock especially) for putting on the event.
For those of you wondering what happened to me when I drank from the graduated cylinder (aka the Spillinder), here’s a pic courtesy of @redhairedblond Julie Lavoie
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Leapbeer On-The-Fly Review #199 Northwest IPA with Citras Cask @ Spinnakers

While I am waiting to get my camera back with the rest of my pictures from my last trip to Victoria I thought it’d be good to make a post about one of the specialty beers I got to sample while I was down there. As some of you may or may not know Spinnakers offers a specially hopped cask offering every day of the week from Monday through Friday. What they do is take a smaller keg of their beer and dry hop it with a hops varietal. As I was told it usually only lasts about an hour or less before the whole keg is gone. We were there too late to try the ESB with Willamettes on the Thursday, but I made a special effort to get in on the action for the Friday.  Even reading what it was got me excited, their Northwest IPA with Citras.

I’ve already gone on at length about my enjoyment of the hoppier beers so let me suffice it to say, it was divine. The lemony dry hopping from the citra’s added an extra floral layer to this already excellently crafted beer. I had to rush off to dinner before finishing my pint, but thanks to eating in the same establishment (only downstairs) I got to take it with me.

I’ll be covering the Northwest IPA by itself later in the blog, but this was a special treat for me. Because it was a cask offering, served direct from a keg atop the bar, all the delicate floral notes were well represented. Another note is because it is dry hopped in the keg there was some sediment. Not a problem just a note.

Leapbeer #199 is Northwest IPA with Citras Cask from Spinnakers Gastro Brewpub in Victoria

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Leapbeer Review #192 Double Decker IPA by Vancouver Island Brewery

It’s sad to say this, but this is likely my last double decker for a while. Not because I don’t like them anymore. VIB has pulled this beer from their lineup to make room for the beachcomber summer seasonal. Change, it seems, is an unstoppable force.

A note they have on the bottle of this beer is that they use hops varieties from the pacific northwest which is nice.

I pored this amber beauty into my glass and set to work. A thin tan head forms and also leaves a nice lacing behind it as you drink. I get a nice hoppy scent on the nose, with some malty notes as well. Tastes great. Not quite a traditional style IPA, but not super aggressively hopped like switchback. It finishes crisp, making for a nice easy drinking beer. A nice balance of the hops varieties and the malty undercurrents.

You will be missed in this beer drinkers life, Double Decker. Thank you VIB for this beer, it may now be gone, but it will not be forgotten.

Leapbeer #192 is Double Decker IPA by Vancouver Island Brewery from Victoria

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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 Review #183 Singularity RIS 2012 by Driftwood Brewing

According to Ray Kurtzweil, the Singularity is Near. I say ‘Nay, its not near. It’s in my hand.’

All attempted frivolity aside I’m not speaking of Kurtzweil’s hypotheses that man and machine will become one integrated entity in the near future. I am, however, speaking of the grand daddy of Victoria craft beer coveting, Driftwood’s Singularity Russian Imperial Stout.

To say that this beer has been well reviewed is an understatement. Mr.Lloyd, left4beer, gave this behemoth a 10/10 (A somewhat rare occasion). Other sites gave it similar praise. It boasts a 93 (exceptional) rating at BeerAdvocate, and a 94 at Ratebeer. Knowing this before opening it, I wanted to pick the best moment to consume this intense beer. It pained me to wait. But here I am, officially half way through the leapbeer journey. The perfect tipping point for this beast.

Driftwood used to use foil on the tops of their bottles of Singularity, similar to how Old Cellar Dweller is still packaged. This year they went with something a little more … theatrical. Similar to Three Floyds Dark Lord, they encased their jewel in a crown of wax. I call it theatrical because while it is very functional from an aging protection, it is also a royal pain in the keister to open. It must have taken me a good minute or two to open this bad boy. Admittedly it was my first time opening a wax encased beer, so maybe it was beginners ineptitude.

The Singularity is a deep Russian Imperial Stout that Driftwood ages four months in Bourbon barrels, and it really shows. This beer pours do a deep deep black colour. When you pour it, a milk chocolate coloured head appears on top of it. It’s been said that this beer is one that you not only drink, ‘but you experience’ (as per vancouver beer blog)

It smells rich, of licorice and malts. There are hints of some spice and chocolate to it as well. When you sip it, this beer packs a punch. My first thoughts were “Wow, this beer is a rib sticker.” It has a nice rich stout flavour, with somewhat muted licorice and coffee notes. I honestly expected more licorice flavour to this beer, but they (Driftwood) surprised me. And then the bourbon sweetness seeps in late. Followed by a real latent alcohol burn in your throat as the 11.8% ABV hits you. This stout is no lightweight. Let all you calorie conscious light beer drinkers beware, this beer will consume you. It coats your entire mouth, well. So much so that I still tasted this beer the next day. This beer is big, black, and impressive. It is the Darth Vader of beers. Meaning this truly left an impression on me, as I now have a very high bar with which to compare other specialty Russian Imperial Stouts.

Leapbeer #183 is Singularity Russian Imperial Stout by Driftwood Brewing

I couldn’t have planned a more perfect beer for the halfway point. Driftwood really knocked it out of the park with this beer. Now I realize I’ve been a super Driftwood fanboy up to this point in the blog, but with good reason. They assembled all the powerful ingredients used to make this brew, and then deftly arranged them into a liquid symphony for us all to enjoy. I agree with left4beer’s comments about this beer being under priced, as similarly crafted beers fetch top dollar from consumers in our neighbours to the south. I look forward to whats next from these guys, and to enjoying more Singularity in the new year.

183 down, 183 to go.

Thanks for Reading

Leapbeer Review #178 Dark Matter by Hoyne Brewing

Just a quick note, this accidentally posted on the 26th via email while I was still editing it. If you got it, this is just a copy and I apologize.

This lovely brown ale made its debut back in March at the upstart Hoyne Brewing Company. I got a chance to try it off tap the weekend it was released, but it’s taken this long to get it into the blog.

This beer pours to a deep chocolate colour, like one of those bars of 70%+ dark chocolate. There’s a nice frothy head atop. When I smell it I get a lot of malt and molasses. Taste is more of that, plus the added hint of bitter chocolate. It tastes almost like toast, as if it has a bitter ash component to it.There is a thickness to this beer in your mouth, like what you’d expect when drinking a heavier wine. I’d guess that this beer would likely pair well with a rich protein, like a steak or bison. The taste of cocoa really lingers with you, not like sweetened chocolate though. It pairs well with the minor levels of hops bitterness present in this brew.

As I’m trying to pinpoint my thoughts on this beer it makes me think. ‘What kind of beer is this really?’ It’s labelled as a Dark Ale, but it has elements of a brown ale and a porter. I’d probably call it a hybrid, like a brown porter. As things continue to expand and evolve in the craft beer world, I find myself getting more and more confused. Confused yes, but satiated also. This beer, while hard to classify, is very good.

Leapbeer #178 is Dark Matter by Hoyne

An added note for you. Not so much beer related, but it has to do with the label. Anyone with an opportunity to see Northern Lights should try this. While you watch them whistle a tune. Just make it up. It will appear like the lights dance to the tune you make. Its somewhat cool and also a bit unnerving. I used to live in the northern interior of British Columbia where we got regular northern lights shows. They are a very awe inspiring thing to watch.

Thanks again for reading.

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 Review #173 Summer Haze Honey Hefe by Hoyne Brewing Company

While my visit to the Hoyne brewery was short during my last trip to Victoria (Sean was sick and couldn’t talk) I was quite excited to see them putting the labels on the Summer Haze Honey Hefe. It was right around the time I’d tried a couple of other really good hef’s. It’s also been released that the honey used in this beer is from the beehives located atop Victoria’s landmark , the Fairmont Empress. I was excited to give it a try. This is only the sixth beer released by Hoyne. You may think that this makes them a newcomer to the Victoria beer scene, but you’d be wrong. Sean Hoyne, brewmaster and owner has been active in the Victoria beer scene for over 2 decades (http://hoynebrewing.ca/#about) before he struck out on his own. And now he’s putting his name on it, literally.

This is a deeply golden beer with a fluffy white head on it. It smells like a hef, but very very lightly. When you drink it it tastes stronger than I’d expect. There’s a strong aftertaste to it as well. You definitely get a taste of honey sweetness with the wheat. But the honey flavour has some gravitas to it, more like the honeycomb instead of the honey. This is the strongest beer flavoured hefeweizen I’ve had this year, but its not my favorite. It isn’t your standard hef, as it isn’t as light and airy as you’d maybe expect. It isn’t my favorite hefeweizen so far this year, but it is very good.

Leapbeer #173 is Summer Haze Honey Hefe by Hoyne Brewing Company in Victoria BC.

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