The Great Pumpkin beer tasting

 

 

So I decided to try some Pumpkin beers on Hallowe’en while watching some bad horror movies (starting with “The Children”- murderous kids and toddlers go on the rampage!) I had five different beers from four breweries. I started with Parallel 49’s Shadenfreude Pumpkin Oktoberfest. A clever idea marrying the easy, malty marzen style lager of the Oktoberfest with some pumpkin and spices of Hallowe’en and Thanksgiving.

 

 

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. Parallel 49 Schadenfreude Pumpkin Oktoberfest

This is the only lager from the group and it certainly is easy drinking. There is some nice sweet pumpkin . . . → Read More: The Great Pumpkin beer tasting

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Hoyne Wolf Vine Wet Hopped Pale Ale

Wrangler Rating: (Recommended)

Hoyne Wolf Vine is the first beer I have reviewed from this fairly new brewery. Their IPA is popular as is their version of a dark mild, Dark Matter. This is a limited release due to the availability of the fresh hops and sees Sean Hoyne, formerly of Swans brewpub and Canoe brewpub, and brother of Lighthouse founder and brewer Paul Hoyne, enter the fresh/wet hopped beer fad that is gripping British Columbia at this time of year.

Instead of going for an IPA, Hoyne has gone for the less bitter pale ale, and given it the . . . → Read More: Hoyne Wolf Vine Wet Hopped Pale Ale

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Phillips Garrison Mash-Up Baltic Porter

Wrangler Rating: (Recommended)

East and West united; Canada going forward as one, whether you are in the Maritimes or the West coast beer is a universal pleasure and one that has united two great Canadian craft breweries on opposite sides of the country.

What is Baltic Porter? It is a relatively modern name used to describe strong Porters brewed in Russia and the Baltic nations that copied strong porters and stouts brewed in Britain for export to those regions. One difference is that many of those breweries now use lager yeasts rather than the warm/top fermenting ale yeasts that brewers . . . → Read More: Phillips Garrison Mash-Up Baltic Porter

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Ommegang Three Philosophers

Wrangler Rating: (Recommended)

Ommegang Three Philosophers is a Belgian style quadrupel dark ale, blended with an authentic kriek (cherry lambic). It has a dark reddish brown colour and a loose head that disappears fairly quickly. This beer has a powerful flavour that saturates my mouth as soon as it enters. The thick caramel notes and cooked, dried fruit are the main players, and it overwhelms the subtle (or is it buried?) cherry from the kriek. There are sherry-like armoas and a winey finsh that give this a bitter-sweet note that is good for strong cheeses.

I was a bit disappointed . . . → Read More: Ommegang Three Philosophers

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Lost Coast Winterbraun

Wrangler Rating: (Recommended)

The Lost Coast Winterbraun is a strong dark brown ale brewed especially for the winter months. The label sports a Picasso-esque snowboarder with skin the colour of this rich and deeply hued brew; the sweet, dark caramel and rye bread aromas that greet you are a comforting reminder of why we drink different beers when the nights draw in and there is a chill in the air.

The flavours are warming too, a hint of black treacle, roasted malt, baked dried fruit, and sweet caramel are all there and give this beer a cake-like appeal. This can . . . → Read More: Lost Coast Winterbraun

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Beers of British Columbia

Wrangler Rating: (Recommended)

Whether you’re a fan of BC craft beer, live in BC or just visiting, then this is a book for your collection. It is a dossier of brewpubs and microbreweries and covers fundamental information of a brewery’s offerings and sometimes with a bit of history is thrown in. If you can see past the clunky and inconsistent formatting, (this is a self published book) and get to the ‘meat and potatoes’, then you will really find a lot of great information from this guide. If you’re planning any beer related trip in British Columbia, . . . → Read More: Beers of British Columbia

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Driftwood Twenty Pounder Double IPA

Wrangler Rating: (Recommended)

Driftwood Brewery Twenty Pounder Double IPA comes with trademark fabulous graphic artwork on the label. At the very least they have raised the game when it comes to bottle labels! Happily this is not where the game raising ends. They have produced many of British Columbia’s (and canada’s for that matter) best craft brews. A double IPA (thanks for not using ‘Imperial’) has been keenly awaited by the craft beer fans of the West coast. Since the two IPAs that have been on the shelves – regular IPA Fat Tug and super seasonal Sartori Harvest have proved . . . → Read More: Driftwood Twenty Pounder Double IPA

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Brewdog Trashy Blonde

Wrangler Rating: (Recommended)

What makes a great Summer ale? Whether you call it a Blonde, a Golden or a Summer ale, the style has to refresh, not be too heavily flavoured, but definitely not bland. There also has to be a good level of (here I go – a word I hate!) drinkability. (I feel soooo dirty!) However a drinkable balanced golden coloured ale would only get a 3 tankard rating. A great beer has a certain something that inspires and delights, and as all beer connoisseurs know, when you come across it, you mark it down in your . . . → Read More: Brewdog Trashy Blonde

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Kona Brewing Oceanic Belgian Style Saison

Wrangler Rating:

(Recommended)

Kona Brewing’s Oceanic Organic Belgian Style Saison is brewed on the Big Island using Belgian yeast and organic ingredients. It has a medium gold colour and if you tip the whole bottle out, the small amount of yeast inside will give it a slightly cloudy appearance, with an aroma of spice and citrus. The flavour is a touch one dimensional, but has a nice crisp refreshing flavour with a citrus note. There is a hint of the coriander and dry spice on the finish and is pleasantly drinkable. This seemed to get better as it warmed . . . → Read More: Kona Brewing Oceanic Belgian Style Saison

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Leinenkugel’s Sunset Wheat

Wrangler Rating: (Recommended)

Leinenkugel’s Sunset Wheat is sold by the brewery as a ‘Belgian Wit’ but this is no ordinary Hoegaarden imitation that some breweries, large and small churn out in the summer. This could be the fruitiest wheat beer on the market with the vibrant orange colour of the liquid echoed by the flavour. Sweet tangerine dominates the palate with juicy blueberry notes there as well. With a touch of sweet spice and a balancing note of bitterness, this beer is a great summer refresher.

Although simple, I really enjoyed this beer and would definitely have this again . . . → Read More: Leinenkugel’s Sunset Wheat

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It’s Hammer Time -Phillips Style

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Phillips Brewing make a highly regarded Imperial Stout every year in limited amounts which usually sells out fairly quickly. This . . . → Read More: It’s Hammer Time -Phillips Style

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Pretty Things Hedgerow Bitter

Wrangler Rating: (Recommended)

Pretty Things make beer with some interest, as opposed to just brewing standard styles to fill their portfolio. This time out they have used three Dwarf Hop varietals from England, Sovereign, Pioneer and First Gold, and made a well hopped British Best Bitter. The hoppy flavours may not be familiar to those used to drinking North American IPAs, but these fairly new varieties give it a distinctly wild herbaceous twang.

This is certainly reminiscent of Bitters I’ve drunk in the UK but with an extra helping of hops. The Dwarf hops taste fresh and vibrant and leave . . . → Read More: Pretty Things Hedgerow Bitter

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Duchy Old Ruby Ale

Wrangler Rating: (Recommended)

Duchy Originals Organic Old Ruby Ale is made with a historic malt called Plumage Archer which gives this beer a deeply pleasant roasty malt flavour. The bright amber-ruby colour sparkles, and the gentle nose of biscuity and fruity malt make this a great session ale. The slightly tea-leafy and floral hops break through enough to make this a nicely well balanced beer.

This is not a flavour bomb by any stretch of the imagination, and it falls into a cross between a Best Bitter and an Amber Ale in style, but don’t be put off. This is . . . → Read More: Duchy Old Ruby Ale

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Spinnakers Blue Bridge Double Pale Ale

Wrangler Rating: (Recommended)

Spinnakers Blue Bridge used to be labelled a Double IPA, but they have renamed it a Double Pale Ale, perhaps because it is not as much a hop explosion as some Double IPAs. It still has a good dose of hoppiness though, but seems to be carefully balanced with the malt, which makes this beer a refreshing change from the wealth of similar double or imperial IPAs on the market.

Spinnakers is one of those breweries that are hard to find outside of its local neighbourhood (Victoria, British Columbia) but are well worth the effort as the . . . → Read More: Spinnakers Blue Bridge Double Pale Ale

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Les Trois Mousquetaires Sticke Alt

Wrangler Rating: (Recommended)

Les trois Mousquetaires is a small but dedicated brewery from Quebec, Canada, and it produces a range of European style and seasonal specialties. Sticke Alt is not a common style of beer, least of all outside its home nation of Germany, and is an Altbier on steroids. Many Alts are a well rounded malty beer with a nice hit of herbal hops on the finish, making a good session ale.

A Sticke Alt is a far more serious affair, and this Canadian version is no exception. It has a deep red-amber colour with a creamy head, that . . . → Read More: Les Trois Mousquetaires Sticke Alt

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Russell Black Death Porter

Wrangler Rating: (Recommended)

Russell Black Death Porter is a terrific offering from a brewery that is best known for a rather mediocre cream ale. With their range of 650 ml ‘Brewmaster series’ they have definitely shown that they are more serious about beer than their 6-pack selections, sometimes suggest. This is a really rich and malty porter with a ton of black molasses , and a subtle note of hop, but it plays second fiddle to the delicious sweet, roasted flavours that dominate. The finish isn’t cloying though as there is just enough bitterness to balance it all out. . . . → Read More: Russell Black Death Porter

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Maredsous Abbaye Triple

Wrangler Rating: (Recommended)

Maredsous Triple is golden amber in colour, a touch darker than many triples, and has a strong, spicy, alcoholic aroma, which is not surprising when you see the 10% ABV on the traditionally styled label. The palate gives off a strong hit of the solvent-like alcohol at first, and is followed up by grainy dried fruit, with over ripe pineapple and boozy marmalade oranges leading the way. The finish is dry, with a hint of orange peel and herbiness. This powerful triple is not as refreshing as some and struggles to balance its flavour with its . . . → Read More: Maredsous Abbaye Triple

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Swan’s ESB (Buckerfield’s Brewery)

Wrangler Rating: (Recommended)

Swan’s ESB is brewed by Buckerfield’s Brewery on Vancouver Island in a popular hotel and brewpub in Victoria, that tends to brew British style ales and German style lagers. The ESB has a nice dark amber colour and is gently carbonated, in the tradition of ales from the other side of The Atlantic, but has a slightly more robust hop aroma than some. There is a nice malty body to this beer, with plenty of sweet caramel notes; these lead to a bitter hoppy finish that seem to envelop the initial malt sweetness.

Although I really . . . → Read More: Swan’s ESB (Buckerfield’s Brewery)

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Driftwood Brewery Blackstone Porter

Wrangler Rating: (Recommended)

Driftwood’s Blackstone Porter is a very dark version of this classic beer that has its origins in 18th Century London. It is a completely opaque black in the glass, looking like a stout, and is made with a partial sour mash, similar to the method used for some Tennessee whiskies. This imparts a subtle tartness to the beer, making it less sweet than many Porters. The main flavours that come through are cocoa and coffee bean, and is followed by a smokey finish. There are vague notes of hop in the background, but they are bit part . . . → Read More: Driftwood Brewery Blackstone Porter

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Rogue Mogul Madness Ale

Wrangler Rating: (Recommended)

Rogue Mogul Madness Ale is a Winter warmer with bite. It has a dark ruby-brown colour and a fairly creamy tan head that stays with the beer. There are some caramel flavours with some faint notes of banana bread. The unusual thing for a winter warmer, but not unusual for Rogue, are the obvious handfuls of hops used in the brew. They offer a pleasant bitterness on the finish that tastes a little grapefruity, and tends to last for a while after the beer has been swallowed. This is an enjoyable beer, but tastes like a good . . . → Read More: Rogue Mogul Madness Ale

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Swans Coconut Porter

Wrangler Rating: (Recommended)

I have to admit that I’m bit torn about Swans Coconut Porter. I love a good porter and really enjoy porters that are layered with other flavours (Kona’s Pipeline Porter with coffee is my personal favourite) so when I saw this coconut porter I became very excited. This beer is very dark in colour with a frothy cappuccino colour head and a strong caramel malt nose with a hint of roasted coffee bean. The flavour of dark bitter chocolate fills the mouth and slowly gives way to a toasted coffee aftertaste. Unfortunately (for me anyway) I don’t . . . → Read More: Swans Coconut Porter

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Tree Brewing Black Tree Dark Ale

Wrangler Rating: (Recommended)

Tree Brewing are based in The Okanagan, where this summer (2009) there were large scale wild fires that destroyed thousands of trees. This beer was released in aid of the BC Fire ReLeaf Fund that aims to replace all the trees lost in the fire. This is described as a dark ale but is in fact a blend of two beers, probably the Cutthroat pale ale and the Spy porter. This makes up a well appointed version of a Black and Tan beer. The dark mahogany ale has a roasted malt note throughout that serves as . . . → Read More: Tree Brewing Black Tree Dark Ale

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Propeller Extra Special Bitter

Wrangler Rating: (Recommended)

Propeller ESB is a rich dark amber / brown and is brewed in the traditional style of a British Extra Special Bitter. It has a nice fruity aroma, with strong hints of malt that remind me of a classic pub pint in the UK. This Nova Scotian brew is a breeze to drink, as the balance of malt and hops are good and makes drinkability a key factor in recommending this beer. The malt has a touch of sweetness to it, but mainly you get to taste its richness. The hops are North American though, and . . . → Read More: Propeller Extra Special Bitter

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Anderson Valley Brewing Boont Amber Ale

Wrangler Rating: (Recommended)

Anderson Valley Brewing Boont Amber Ale comes in the large 650 ml bottles, and it’s a good thing too, as this is a rather quaffable ale. It is a nice bright mid-amber in colour, with a medium frothy head that doesn’t linger for too long. There is a hint of sweetish toasted malt on the nose and maybe a touch of hop, but not a whole lot else. This has a nicely balanced palate with the malt leading the way followed by some spicy hop notes. There is a bit of light fruitiness in the background . . . → Read More: Anderson Valley Brewing Boont Amber Ale

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Hacker-Pschorr Münchener Gold Helles

Wrangler Rating: (Recommended)

Hacker-Pschorr Münchener Gold is a golden-straw coloured Helles lager from the great brewing city of Munich. The light frothy head dissipates, leaving a little lacing down the sides of the glass. The aroma has a pleasant light sweet malt note with a hint of the noble hops promised by the ‘edelhell’ tag on the bottom of the label. The body is light, crisp and refreshing, as a Helles should be, and feels very well balanced. The finish is subtly hoppy with a touch of sweet pale malt, and is supremely thirst-quenching. This is an ideal session . . . → Read More: Hacker-Pschorr Münchener Gold Helles

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Granville Island Brewing Pumpkin Ale

Wrangler Rating: (Recommended)

Granville Island Pumpkin Ale is a tasty bright ruddy amber coloured beer. The aroma is really quite sweet, and is reminiscent of a Belgian strong pale ale, smelling of candied orange peel and sweet spice. The flavour is thankfully not as sugary as the nose suggests, containing toasted pumpkin seed, and the roasted flesh of the pumpkin. The beer notes are not lost though, there are plenty of roasty malt flavours and a nice refreshing bitter finish. Why not pair this with some cold roast meat and chutney left over from a Thanksgiving lunch – it’ll go . . . → Read More: Granville Island Brewing Pumpkin Ale

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Cannery Brewing Blackberry Porter

Wrangler Rating: (Recommended)

Cannery Brewing Blackberry Porter is a robust beer with a strong taste of blackberry. The Porter flavour is fairly good and is not overwhelmed by the fruit, but the blackberry notes are stronger. The berry flavours are not sweet but give a long aftertaste which some of the Wrangler’s guests loved but the other half were not so sure. It has an off white, creamy head that lingers to the bottom of the glass and a deep opaque black/brown colour. There are some bitter notes from the hops but it’s in a supporting role to the . . . → Read More: Cannery Brewing Blackberry Porter

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Tree Brewing Cut Throat Pale Ale

Wrangler Rating: (Recommended)

Tree Brewing Cutthroat Pale Ale is a well made (Canadian) American Pale Ale that does all its supposed to. It’s crisp, refreshing and a great hit of hops on the finish. This is a more-ish session beer, particularly good on a hot summer’s afternoon. The malt flavours are a bit on the laid back side for me and could do with a bit more oomph. The hops are good though and give off a nice citric, grapefruit twang. All in all I could drink a few of these without too much trouble. Pair with a grilled . . . → Read More: Tree Brewing Cut Throat Pale Ale

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Erdinger Weissbier

Wrangler Rating: (Recommended)

Erdinger Weissbier pours into the glass with an attractive straw colour with a large fluffy head and a slight yeast haze. This is a lighter and crisper style of weissbeer than some, and its flavours are subtle. A touch of banana and apple with a hint of a hop on the finish makes this an easy drinking beer. This may be mild-mannered but it is true to the style of a German ‘breakfast beer’ and that’s why I like it and almost gave it a 4 tankard rating, but I felt it needed a bit more . . . → Read More: Erdinger Weissbier

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Duckstein Copper-Gold (Alt Bier)

Wrangler Rating: (Recommended)

Duckstein is an example of an alt bier which is now widely available around the world, and it’s about time too! Copper-gold describes the colour well, and after pouring, a nice thick head appears. The flavour starts with a clean maltiness and a splash of hops which is then complimented by the taste of caramel. A light breadiness fills the mouth, and the finish is dry and hoppy. Overall this is a very drinkable beer full of flavour but with a light finish. It will pair well with a creamy pasta or a refreshing foil to . . . → Read More: Duckstein Copper-Gold (Alt Bier)

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Big Rock Traditional Ale

Wrangler Rating: (Recommended)

This ‘Trad Ale’ is described by Big Rock as an English Brown Ale, which I find particularly interesting coming from a Canadian brewer, and it definitely has some of those sweetish, malty notes associated with an English Brown. Although it is only just medium-bodied it does have some nice, very light hoppy flavour, making it an easy beer to drink. It would be well paired with summer evening barbecues or slices of emmental cheese. Although not overly nutty in the mouth, it does leave you with a hazelnut flavour on the finish. Not bad at all!

ABV: . . . → Read More: Big Rock Traditional Ale

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Granville Island Brewing Belgian Wit

Wrangler Rating: (Recommended)

This is an enjoyable, lightly flavoured summer wit beer. Gentle citrus notes are joined by hints of clove and nutmeg. Lightly hazy, rather than cloudy, it is not a blockbuster of the style, but gives you a nice refreshing beer on a hot day. Great with delicately flavoured seafood.

ABV: 5%

Best Served: 8°C

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Granville Island Brewing Brockton IPA

Wrangler Rating: (Recommended)

Granville Island Brewery finally have added a beer with a bit more ‘oomph’. A very accessible IPA, and I feel it is in the Pacific Northwest Style as it says on the back. Although not as highly hopped as some, this is a nice refreshing hoppy pale ale. The hop flavour is definitely North American as the hops used taste citrusy with a little bite and very refreshing, rather than the more floral style of English Hops. I can drink this all summer day long, which is the point of an IPA, and it does what it . . . → Read More: Granville Island Brewing Brockton IPA

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Carlsberg Jacobsen Dark Lager

This is a very enjoyable beer. Carlsberg’s premium line is named after the company’s founder – J.C. Jacobsen and it certainly trumps the usual Carlsberg output. This dark lager is a deep amber, ruby brown, and has the beer has a light head. There are notes of lightly toasted caramel, perhaps a hint of banana and roasted coconut. Despite these traditionally heavier flavours the finish is still crisp and refreshing. I drank this with grilled pork, marinated in a BBQ sauce and served with a greek salad, the subtly sweet toasted flavours of the beer matched the meat very well. . . . → Read More: Carlsberg Jacobsen Dark Lager

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