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Archive for the tag “Winter beer”

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 #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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