Archive for category Canada

Beer! The Show

It was with great pleasure that I took part in an episode of Beer! The Show a while back, and I’m glad to say it has been released! Fortunately for me I star with the lovely Chanté Swanson, and follow the great interview with Powell Street Brewing’s owner and brewer David Bowkett (recently the winner of Best Beer in Canada with the Old Jalopy Pale Ale at the Canadian Brewing Awards)

My bit is about seven and a half minutes in and takes place at Bitter Tasting Room in Vancouver, but please watch the whole lot as its an entertaining and informative show and “Fezz” Nazarec , your beery host, makes craft beer uncomplicated and fun!

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Save The Growler! – Stop The Tax

eoc_growlerI had wanted to write a reflective piece today about stepping down as CAMRA Fraser Valley president after 2 years on the exec, but Warren Bowyer from the BC exec  came along to our AGM at Mission Springs brew-pub and made us aware of the new “Growler Tax”. In short this will raise the price of a growler fill at a small brewery (under 15,000 hectolitre production) or brew-pub by about $1 (and change) in the province of British Columbia.

Now I hear you cry that that this is a small increase, why bother complaining about it when gas prices are sky-rocketing and the cost of this or that are at an all time high? Well, we in British Columbia have some of the highest taxes on alcohol in the developed world, we are treated like naughty, irresponsible children who have to have their candy consumption limited by raising the prices to keep overeating out of financial reach! Having managed a few liquor stores both here and in London UK, I can say that those who choose to over drink to the point of alcoholism will not be buying craft beer, and they are unlikely to be visiting nano-breweries to fill up their growlers with the latest Imperial stout or cardamom infused saison.

This tax is yet another burden having to be carried by small, independent breweries, who already have the deck stacked against them with the spurious tactics of the large domestic brands, as well as the government taxing them at every turn from the licence application up to the point the beer touches the consumers tongue. Randy Shore in The Vancouver Sun recently told a tale of a small industry on the up (here) and BC is now punching its weight alongside the craft beer meccas of Oregon and Washington.

So why is the provincial government so keen to put a tax shaped bump in the road, just when we seem to be really getting the beer ball rolling at speed? Well, the answer lies in the question. They see an industry growing and flourishing and want to get their extra tax in before it grows too large and can more easily gather their forces to oppose such a tax.

It is time to say enough is enough. We draw the line in the sand here, and we will oppose this tax hike!

Please sign the online petition here to Save The Growler!

Following are links to your local CAMRA branch who are spearheading the fight, and were instrumental in getting this information out to the craft beer loving public.

CAMRA BC (the umbrella organisation for the province)

CAMRA Fraser Valley

CAMRA Vancouver

CAMRA Victoria

 

savethegrowler

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Cascadian Dark Ale – A name is dead? – time to re-brand!

500px-Flag_of_Cascadia.svgThanks to the litigiously minded Eli Gershkovitch at Steamworks Brewery in Vancouver, BC The name for that dark, top fermented beer, with full hoppy aromatics, created by the Cascadian varietals of  hops, has now effectively ceased to exist. Proud Cascadian brewers across the Canada-US border in the beautiful Pacific Northwest have been denied the chance to brand the style that was created and championed with the cross national region that takes its name after the Cascade mountains (a term first used  in 1825). In 1970 the term ‘Cascadia’ was first used to describe the surrounding region, and since then has been a popular name used by its inhabitants. Sadly the use of the word “Cascadia” and “Cascadian” has been trademarked for beer names and styles by a brewery that no longer produces the beer that once bore its name.  Sadly, as far as I know, this has not been tested in court, no doubt because these things cost money, and money is often in short supply within the world of  small craft brewers.

So it might be safe to assume that the battle to use the name for our region is lost for now, but that begs a new question: What should we call this style now? Black IPA seems popular but is a truly horrible contradiction (black and pale – oh please!!) So what are the options?Cascadia_map_and_bioregion

The American Brewers Association has plumped for ‘American style India Black Ale’ – with its US-centric attitude towards beer styles they have ignored the Canadian contribution to this beer as well as the uncomfortable use of ‘India’ within this name.

The American  BJCP, founded on principles of homebrew competitions, have yet to decide on a name for this style other than a speciality style, but debated the issue last year. (I can’t find any resolution on their site).

The British based World Beer Awards have gone for ‘Black IPA’ and the US based World Beer Cup with its record breaking number of sub-styles call it ‘American style Black Ale’.

One thing is certain, no one agrees!

The use of ‘American’ for me is problematic as it ignores Canada and its contribution to the development and popularisation of the style. The great thing about ‘Cascadian’ is that it crosses the border effortlessly without the ‘North American’ moniker.

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There is a genuine ancestor of this style that was brewed as a porter, but prepared for export to India with extra hops and dry hopping. This was called a number of things such as ‘India Porter’ or ‘India Export Porter’, or ‘Export India Porter’. This was predominantly hopped with English hops (but not necessarily exclusively) but resembles the CDA in the same way a British style IPA would resemble a North American style IPA – related, similar but not the same. The Kernel  Brewery in London have re-created the style (interestingly they also make a Black IPA). This gives us a start but ignores those that developed the Cascadian version and the use of Pacific Northwest  hops

 

Here are some options which I would be grateful for you, the reader, to consider.

 

North American Style India Porter

West Coast India Porter

West Coast Porter

West Coast Dark Ale

PNW (Pacific Northwest) Dark Ale

PNW Porter

Can-Am Black Ale

Obviously there are many variations (Black versus Dark etc) but you get the idea. Perhaps a shortlist can be assembled and some names voted on!

 

 

 

 

 

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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 flavour, a hint of vanilla and some  nutmeg and cinnamon perhaps. The spices are light and match the medium bodied maltiness of the beer. Quite a dry spicy finish that, although stops this from being a sweet beer, can be too dry for some.

All in all a good first effort from this brewery and I would recommend this and buy it again next year for sure!

Wrangler Rating:

tankard.jpgtankard.jpgtankard.jpg (Recommended)

 

 

 

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 Lighthouse Pumpkin Ale

This one is a mid amber colour and starts off surprisingly light. There is a mild sweetness from the demerara sugar and a little spice. It finishes very quickly and I felt there was not anything to it. I guess they went for the restrained approach, seeing as some pumpkin ales are cloyingly sweet and spiced out of all proportion, but I feel they were too cautious and missed out on some seasonal flavours.  A rare miss from this reliable brewery!

 

 Wrangler Rating:

 tankard.jpgtankard.jpg (Fair)

 

 

Tree Brewing Jumpin Jack Pumpkin Ale

Tree brewing have a number of seasonals that are usually well received, so how will  their pumpkin ale stack up against some stiff competition? It pours a dark amber and, weighing in at 7%, promises a fuller tasting beer than the other two. With a malty spicy aroma, it doesn’t taste like it’s as strong as it is. It has an even maltiness, a medium body and well integrated spicy flavours. This was a really well balanced beer with all the flavours combining well! This beer is not overly sweet, and the pie spices match the pleasant malt nicely. An easy 3 almost 4 Tankards!

Wrangler Rating:

tankard.jpgtankard.jpgtankard.jpg (Recommended)

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Cannery Knucklehead Pumpkin Ale

The Cannery pumpkin ale comes with a well-dresssed knobbly headed pumpkin gentleman on the label, and pours a bit darker that the others so far. It seems to be based on an amber-brown ale, which leads me to let it warm up a bit, rather than having it straight from the fridge.  It has a slightly smoky note to the spice aroma but the malt seems a bit thin for me.  The spice is definitely dominant, with a touch of black liquorice  but there is almost no sweetness or maltiness, which I like a bit of  in my pumpkin ales. Having said that it went well with my pumpkin BBQ ribs, and the dryness contrasted with the sweetness of the sauce. This one just squeaks a 3 tankards!

Wrangler Rating:

tankard.jpgtankard.jpgtankard.jpg (Recommended)

 

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Parallel 49 Lost Souls Chocolate Pumpkin Porter

This is a bit of a departure from the others in that it is a much fuller bodied beer than the others, with dark malts, mocha notes and made with real chocolate. There is some spice and ginger, but they are laid back and the rich chocolate is definitely king! Pumpkin flavour? well I struggle to taste it, let’s face it, the large orange squash is not known for its strong flavour and it gets a bit lost in this beer. On the other hand this is a delicious beer and my favourite of the ones here, but…. I might struggle to put this in the pumpkin ale group if I was tasting blind. Soooo… what does this mean? Well this is the best beer here but as a pumpkin ale?

Wrangler Rating:

tankard.jpgtankard.jpgtankard.jpg tankard.jpg(Excellent)

 

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So to conclude the Great Pumpkin Beer Tasting I feel that there is a split decision! Parallel 49 Lost Souls Chocolate Pumpkin Porter was the best beer out of the five, but … I think Tree Brewing`s Jumpin Jack was the best ‘classic’ pumpkin ale here. On Hallowe’en I want to taste pumpkin pie in a glass but not be overwhelmed by any one element and Tree managed it well.

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Hoyne Wolf Vine Wet Hopped Pale Ale

Wrangler Rating:

tankard.jpgtankard.jpgtankard.jpg (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 fresh treatment. It pours a mid amber colour with a bubbley head and leaves heavy lacing around the glass. The aroma is terrific with a big hit of fresh, green leafy notes, lime zest and lime flower. The palate is a bit more restrained but develops more as the beer warms up to cellar temperature. There are less of those aromatics than I expected and it tastes less hoppy than it smells. There is a good balance of bitterness on the finish, leaving a leafy, herbal note in my mouth. Overall a good beer that I enjoyed but it didn’t totally wow me. This would be nice with a (real) mature cheddar ploughman’s lunch.

Serving: 650ml Bottle

ABV: 5.5%

Best Served: 7-10°C

 

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Benton Brothers Fine Cheese – Cheesemongers Extraordinaire!

Wrangler Rating:

tankard.jpgtankard.jpgtankard.jpgtankard.jpgtankard.jpg (Outstanding)

I have not yet reviewed a place that does not sell beer, but I have been so impressed with every visit to the Cambie Street location in Vancouver that I felt I had to! The Benton Brothers consist of Jonah and Andrew and their three stores on Granville island, Cambie Village and Kerrisdale. They had been recommended to me by friends who know and understand my love of cheese (there’s more to me than just beer by the way…so much more…).and was impressed by the stellar reports that they had given me; I finally decided to head up one lunchtime a few weeks ago.

I was given a friendly greeting by Jonah and started gazing at an international plethora of delicious cheese. There are examples from small artisanal  producers from all over the world. The great European cheeses are all there, along with Quebec’s finest, as well offerings from local speciality BC cheese makers. They source their British cheeses through the multi-award winning Neal’s Yard Dairy, which (as I’m originally from London) is wonderful to see!  If you feel overwhelmed by the sheer choice, or frightened off from buying something so pungent that it would scare off a starving mouse, do not fear – The Cheesy duo are not only experts, but generous too. They will cut a sliver and let you taste, which is the only way to transform a Cracker Barrel guzzler into a lover and explorer of the world of flavour that artisanal cheese producers have been making for centuries.

These two fromagers are also well versed in pairing  cheese with wine and beer, so can add a touch of expertise to your next soirée (I won’t tell your guests – you can take all the credit!).  Don’t leave without buying some excellent charcuterie, a nice alternative to all those mass produced cold cuts at the grocery chains, as well as top notch sandwiches made with the same yummy cheese and meats.

Broaden your horizons and leave those blocks of plastic Kraft slices safely on the supermarket shelf, and take a step into a wider world. Don’t be nervous, you will have two expert guides to lead you there.

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Lighthouse Switchback IPA

Wrangler Rating:

tankard.jpgtankard.jpgtankard.jpgtankard.jpg (Excellent)

I keep drinking this beer, so it stands to reason that I

a) like it and b) should write about it.

The problem is that every time I crack one open I just want to relax and enjoy it, rather than actually  open my rather neglected blog and get to it!

Lighthouse Brewing have really upped their game in the last year and a half with some cracking and interesting “big flavour” bombers. They waited a bit to follow up with an addition to their popular if conservative 6-pack range, but it was well worth it. The Switchback IPA is described as  “Pacific Northwest” that promises some big hop notes, and challenging the likes of Central City’s Red Racer IPA and the former Lighthouse brewers at Driftwood with their Fat Tug IPA.

On with the beer! It has a lovely dark golden amber colour with a white fluffy head. Aromas of grapefruit and tangerine zest mix with a sweetish grainy malt note. The flavours follow on with the same citrus zest, a fruity tang and a sweet piney note backed by a solid but definitely subservient malt platform.The trick that is not performed well by many North American or West Coast style IPAs are that a bunch of hops are chucked in, with both eyes firmly on the IBU count, rather than how good it is to actually drink! Lots of hops but highly drinkable is a tough ask, but Lighthouse Switchback IPA manages it extremely well. My palate is given the buzz of a very hoppy brew, but unlike some I could mention, I still want to drink more, which is why this works as a 6-pack rather than a 650ml bomber. Enjoy on your deck, or pub patio this summer, and be grateful there is now another great, hoppy,  BC West Coast IPA to cool yourself down with!

Serving: 355ml bottle

ABV: 6.5%

Best Served: 6-8°C

 

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Driftwood Singularity – 1 year on

Wrangler Rating:

tankard.jpgtankard.jpgtankard.jpgtankard.jpgtankard.jpg (Outstanding)

I went to some good friends’ house for dinner the other night and had been saving a bottle of Singularity stout from last years release to compare with a bottle of this years, that he had brought to the party. We opened them together and had them side by side to ‘test’  the effects of ageing.

The head on the 1 year-old was a little more restrained, but the aromas and flavours were full on! Dark mocha coffee bean, baked dried fruit, high cocoa content chocolate, rich sweet black molasses, a roasted warmness and a whisky like note on the finish. This beer was long; by that I mean the amazing, complex flavours lingered for an age in my mouth.

By comparison the new Singularity, with the great looking wax seal, was a babe in arms! All the components were there, but they were not yet of age. The flavours had not yet married, they were still separate, youthful singletons waiting for the right time to meld. The patient drinker will reap the benefits of this new classic. Get as many as you can lay your hands on, but crack them  open on their anniversary; keep a few more to see if it improves and develops further.

Serving Type: 650ml Bottle

ABV: 11.8%

Best Served: 10-12°C

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Phillips Garrison Mash-Up Baltic Porter

Wrangler Rating:

tankard.jpgtankard.jpgtankard.jpg (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 in Britain used. Modern craft brewers are now making their version, and bringing this beer to a new audience. Garrison Brewing already produce a good Baltic Porter, and now they’re joining up with Phillips to make a new version; so how does it stack up?

It has a dense black colour with a loose tan head and an aroma of black coffee, baked dried fruit and black molasses. Once sipped it has a full body, but not the intensity I expected. The flavours are full of sweet molasses and burnt mocha. There is a lengthy,  fairly sweet finish and that I find detracts from the balance of the beer, but it is still a good and boozy drop!

Serving type: 650ml bottle

ABV: 8%

Best Served: 8-10 °C

 

 

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Beers of British Columbia

 Wrangler Rating: 

tankard.jpgtankard.jpgtankard.jpg (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, this guide will likely motivate you to check out what’s in the area of your visit.

   From beer neophyte to established aficionado, there is information that everyone can use in this publication, and call upon it as a consistent reference.  Keep in mind that this book was published in 2010 and already many changes have occurred in the craft beer industry in “Beautiful BC”, but for the most part, it is still very relevant;  that being said, I wholeheartedly look forward to the 2nd edition in the future.

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Driftwood Twenty Pounder Double IPA

Wrangler Rating:

tankard.jpgtankard.jpgtankard.jpg (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 so popular, a double IPA seemed to be an obvious choice for a seasonal specialty.

On with the review! It pours a rich mid-amber colour and has a small foamy head. The aromas are full of dried fruit and candied orange peel. There is some pink grapefruit there too and it promises to be a big mouthful of a beer, full of richness and power. There are obvious notes of sweetness, from the malt, but not a giant amount of depth. The hop notes are still king and a real pithiness is present on the tip of my tongue.  There is, however a slight cloying note and a bit of a metallic taste on the lengthy finish which tempers my total enjoyment.

I can’t help thinking that Driftwood’s real skill has been some of the farmhouse ales like Spring Rite and the great ESB Naughty Hildegard and that’s where their passion lies. The plethora of Double IPAs from many North American breweries have made the style a “standard” and perhaps this hasn’t showed off their indisputable talents at their best.

Having said all that I still like this beer, but I can’t help thinking that it will improve with a bit of age. I will put one down for six months and I’m sure it will show better. I did this with the Lighthouse Shipwrecked Triple IPA and it’s disjointed flavours greatly harmonised after a few months in the Beer Wrangler’s cellar.

I also feel that this would would work better with some food – perhaps a blue cheese to temper the sweetness or on the other hand a funky but creamy Limberger might just be perfect!

Serving Type: 650ml Bottle

ABV: 9%

Best Served: 9 – 11°C

 

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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 year they released a bourbon whiskey barrel aged version in even smaller numbers. But is all that extra effort and cost worth it? I decided to gather the Wranglerette and have a taste off. Is the barrel aged pure gold bullion, or is it full of bull? I always like to start with the original so here goes:

In the Blue corner….

Phillips Hammer Imperial Stout

Wrangler Rating:

tankard.jpgtankard.jpgtankard.jpgtankard.jpg (Excellent)

It pours as dark as beer gets, with a dark, creamy tan head. There are aromas of black molasses and burnt caramel with sweet roasted coffee beans. The palate follows on and adds hints of sweet dark cocoa and a hint of cooked dried fruit. It has a creamy and silky texture, so doesn’t lie too heavily, and remains very drinkable. The finish is fairly long with the creaminess of this beer lingering.

In the Red corner….

Phillips Hammer Bourbon Aged Imperial Stout

Wrangler Rating:

tankard.jpgtankard.jpgtankard.jpg (Recommended)

Despite the previous description of colour – I swear this is actually darker and even denser, but with the same creamy, dark tan head. The aroma is much more different than I had imagined with a lot of the burnt characteristics smoothed out with a touch of vanilla-like sweetness.  The notes of whiskey are there too, but not overpowering, lending some richness to this big stout. The flavours echo the aromas and feel more integrated than the non-aged version. I don’t know how long this block-buster gets in barrel, but it certainly gives it a smooth rich evenness. But…. the bourbon aged stout seems to have lost something along the way, the bite of those heavily roasted malts have been reigned in and replaced by a simpler sweetness. Don’t get me wrong it’s a good beer but it’s not as drinkable as the original, and a small glass is enough before my palate needs refreshing. It gets a lower score than the original, which is totally against my preconceptions, as I generally like barrel aged beer, but this time it only added a sweetness which smoothed out those peaks of flavour I rather enjoyed!

Phillips should be applauded for trying this out as it keeps BC’s breweries right up there with all the current trending on craft brewing, and I’d like to see them try it again next year with different barrels. If they could buy some of the Samuel Smith Stingo barrels – now that would be interesting!

Both Stouts:

ABV: 8.3%

Best Served: 14 – 16°C

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The Noble Pig Brewhouse – Kamloops

The Noble Pig Brewhouse was mentioned to me by my father-in-law a while back, and I made a point to get there next time we were up at their house for a visit. Kamloops might not seem like an obvious place for a brewpub, so the Wranglerette and I entered with an open mind! We were joined by the youngest member of my beer-loving brood, my 17 month old daughter, and I wondered if they might let her in. We were pleasantly surprised to be shown to a booth that had a great view of the rest of the pub, given a booster seat and some crayons for my daughter! As a parent as well as beer lover/writer, I am always grateful when independent establishments can cater for a (well-behaved) family.

The atmosphere was welcoming and had a traditional ‘pubby’ feel about it. Although there were the usual screens showing a range of sports, there were not invasive or ‘in your face’  if you were there to chat and not watch the game. There is a restaurant side as well as the the bar,  which had attractive dark wooden floorboards throughout. A large bar with numerous taps stretched out in front of us and the excellent waitress gave us our beer and food menu. She happily answered my questions about the brewmaster (David Beardsell) and a few of the beers,  so I decided to go for the ESB and the Wranglerette had the Porter. We were both really impressed with our beers and agreed that they were well made, had the right level of carbonation and most importantly were delicious! There were a number of options including a peppered Belgian ale as well as the marvellously named ‘Fascist Pig Pilsner’. Our food came next and my ‘Cubano Sandwich’ of pulled pork,  slow roasted beef, honey ham, beer caramelised onions and ale cheddar really hit the spot! My daughter Maisy had a kids menu mac and cheese with pancetta – she was lucky daddy didn’t steal it all as I had a taste and it was superb! There are usually seven pub-brewed beers on tap and if you can’t decide what to have, then just go for the paddle of tasters.

I will definitely be going here again and highly recommend you all to do the same!

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Winter Beer Showdown

Seasonal beers are filling the shelves right about now, and go well beyond any single type. The basic style is the classic Winter Warmer. This is not usually spiced but brewed to a slightly stronger alcohol volume (6% – 7% is typical for this warming malty style). Specialty Christmas beers take their cues from the old Wassail Ales – spiced, sometimes fortified, mulled beer given to carol singers in Medieval England. Although no longer fortified or served warm, it is usually strong and spiced, rich and filling. There are other winter seasonal ales brewed in the Belgium style.  They tend to be strong and dark with a super-rich malt profile.

Lagers get a make over too with the German, and now Canadian specialty, Ice-Bock, giving fans of strong and malty dark amber lagers something to enjoy. Of course breweries the world over make all sorts of beers for the festive season and often they don’t fit easily into any specific style, but that’s what makes it fun – beer can be full of surprises!

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Read the rest of this entry »

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Driftwood Fat Tug IPA

Wrangler Rating:

tankard.jpgtankard.jpgtankard.jpgtankard.jpg (Excellent)

Driftwood’s Fat Tug IPA is the long awaited addition to the brewery’s regular line up that filled in the gaping hole of a classic Pacific Northwest IPA. A hefty 7% ABV and 80 IBUs sees this beer punching in the heavyweight category for a ‘standard’ IPA. The hit of hops is fresh, fruity and sharp, and will please the hop-heads out there. On the palate the hops retain their power and vibrancy, and cover the alcohol admirably. The malt is there too, but it is in a supporting role, and props up the hop flavours nicely. This is a great example of a well hopped IPA,  as it is more than just a load of hops in glass though, as ever, Driftwood make a rounded, drinkable and flavoursome beer that is sure to become a staple in the fridge of many a craft beer fan.

ABV: 7%

Best Served: 7 – 9°C

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Spinnakers Blue Bridge Double Pale Ale

Wrangler Rating:

tankard.jpgtankard.jpgtankard.jpg (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 line-up includes some great Canadian takes on some classic British Ales.

This is a very enjoyable strong pale ale that hides its alcohol well, has some grainy sweetness and a good herbal hoppy finish. Although this won’t blast your taste buds away, it may well tickle your fancy, especially if you serve it at the correct temperature – too cold and you’ll miss half the flavour!

ABV: 8.2%

Best Served: 10°C

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Driftwood Belle Royale

Wrangler Rating:

tankard.jpgtankard.jpgtankard.jpgtankard.jpg (Excellent)

Driftwood Brewery Belle Royale is described as a Strong Belgian Cherry Ale, and seems to be based on a Tripel or strong golden ale  recipe, with “900 pounds of cherries” added. They don’t specify how much beer gets the 900 pounds but we get the idea – there’s  a lot, and they’re real cherries, not cherry flavour or syrup. It has a lovely pink amber colour, a thinnish head, with a spicy, fruity aroma.  The flavour has a hit of sweet spice and sour red cherries that lingers on the palate and develops into a long finish with sweet herbal notes.

Not only do Driftwood excel at making beer, but they design some of the best labels on beer bottles anywhere in the world, and this ode to Toulouse-Lautrec’s Moulin-Rouge paintings is no exception. It’s sexy and sassy – a bit like the Belle Royale  itself!

ABV: 9%

Best Served: 8°C

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Beer and Butter Tarts

I had never heard of a ‘blog agregator’ before but there’s a first time for everything! Beer and Butter Tarts collects all its members’ recent blogs and shows bits from them and a link to their site/blog.  It specialises in beer and food blogs, so if you’re a foodie or a beer lover, this is a great place to scour through a bunch of them in one place without having to find and actually go to the website, so it’s a real energy saver for those tired typing fingers (that’s just two for me!).

Most importantly it will be featuring the musings and reviews of yours truly: The Beer Wrangler. Well actually, as you already read my blog (I assume) it’s a grand way of discovering some of my competitors… er.. I mean friends, colleagues and fellow bloggers. So click on the link – it’ll always be on my blogroll (bottom right of home page) and read some of the best beer and food blogs on offer!

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Les Trois Mousquetaires Sticke Alt

Wrangler Rating:

tankard.jpgtankard.jpgtankard.jpg (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 leaves plenty of attractive lacing around the glass. The first thing that hits you is the body; this is a very full beer, with a rich maltiness and a viscous feel to it. There are notes of dried fruit and black molasses, but without too much sweetness. It is counter-balanced by a strong herbal bitterness on the finish from a good dose of hops, with some woody touches that sometimes feels a bit drying. Over all this is well worth a go, and would pair well some rich, fatty meats as the bitterness would be a good foil for the fat, and the body can match the strong flavours too!

ABV: 6%

Best Served: 10°C

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Vancouver Craft Beer Week

*

Just a quick plug for the inaugural Vancouver Craft Beer Week. This should be a great series of events that will do more than wet your whistle! If you’re not a local this will be a great reason to come and visit the city, where British Columbia’s craft breweries will be showing off their wares and brewing prowess.

So if you drink your beer south of the border, come on up to BC and get a warm welcome and some cold beer!

If you are a local (that includes you on the island!) come and support what should be a fun and tasty week.

There will be lots of food and beer pairing events as well as special dinners with brewmasters, a brewpub crawl, a homebrew contest and lots more!

So, hopefully BC will get some more recognition as a great brewing province and craft beer destination along with Washington and Oregon, as one third of the Pacific Northwest threesome, flying the flag for quality craft beer.

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A Cascadian Revolution

Viva Cascadia!  So at last there seems to be some agreement on a name for a very hoppy dark brown to black ale made with Pacific Northwest hop varietals (see Northwest Brewing News). Those not from the great nation of Cascadia might not have had this mighty dark ale, but should definitely try this deliciously contrasting beer.  Hoppier than an American Brown Ale, as dark as a porter, this beer has had numerous names in the past, not all of which make sense!

“A black IPA please”  I hear in a crafty taproom.   “A dark  India Pale Ale for me!” …..”hold on, hold on”, said other more sensible folk ” How can you have a dark or black pale ale?” . So the term India Dark Ale was bandied about and the cries of indignation seemed to have been quelled, until some bright spark piped up “What’s this beer got to do with India?”

“er, nothing really, except the hops….”

“Hops?” came the reply, “Well hopping levels actually, the word India on a beer label really just means loads of hops now”

“really?”

Although the logic is clear, this means that we should have India Barley Wines, and maybe an India Russian Imperial Stout…..

“India Weiss Bier anyone?” – hmmm no thanks, let’s stop this now please. So thank goodness this beer, popular with brewers from the Pacific Northwest, AKA Cascadia, has a name we can all agree on. It uses the spicy, citrusy hop varieties grown in these parts (not just Cascade hops) hence the name, it’s dark, and it’s an ale. As the old British advert for a wood treatment product used to say “It does exactly what it says on the tin!” or in this case bottle.  So why oh why -at this moment of consensus did Phillip’s rename their Black Touque India Dark Ale – a Cascadian Brown Ale? Well there’s always someone who wants to be a bit different…..

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Russell Black Death Porter

Wrangler Rating:

tankard.jpgtankard.jpgtankard.jpg (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. All in all a very nice porter!

ABV: 6.5%

Best Served: 10°C

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Phillips Double Dragon Imperial Red Ale

Wrangler Rating:

tankard.jpgtankard.jpgtankard.jpgtankard.jpg (Excellent)

Phillips Double Dragon Imperial Red Ale is this British Columbian craft brewer’s pumped up version of an American Red Ale, which is a hoppier version of the Irish Red Ales. The Imperialisation of this fairly modern style of beer gives it a big punch in both the flavour and strength departments, so is not to be taken lightly!

This deep red ruby ale has a fairly hoppy aroma, with a robust full-bodied flavour. The rich roasted malt features heavily on the palate and is quite sweet, with notes of caramel, molasses and malty bread, but there is just the right amount of hops to balance it all out. The citrussy grapefruit taste of the healthy hoppy addition, gives the finish a nice bitterness that makes this a very easy drinking beer for one so potent.  This might go well with a large plate of roast beef and Yorkshire pudding, served with a rich gravy; but be careful, as this powerhouse may go down too quickly for you to get up too quickly!

ABV: 8.2%

Best Served: 10°C

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Swan’s ESB (Buckerfield’s Brewery)

Wrangler Rating:

tankard.jpgtankard.jpgtankard.jpg (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 enjoyed drinking this one, the flavours are not that well integrated, and the hops on the finish seem strangely separate fom the mid-palate. Never the less, it’s definitely one to try for fans of the style, as it goes down easily, and as it is lower in alcohol than most ESBs, makes a good session beer.

ABV: 5%

Best Served: 9°C

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Howe Sound Total Eclipse Of The Hop

Wrangler Rating:

tankard.jpgtankard.jpgtankard.jpgtankard.jpg (Excellent)

Howe Sound’s Imperial IPA has a nice name that some of its younger drinkers might not get. I am not sure if Bonnie Tyler is a fan of this beer, but she should be. Imperial or double IPAs are usually a mouthful of hops with a hit of alcohol, but the brewers at Howe Sound have managed to brew in a style that the original creators of the IPA in the 18th Century would recognise and hopefully approve of.

This is a supremely well balanced beer that has 9o IBUs and 8% alcohol, but manages to be so drinkable, you could have two or three pints without any effort – quite an achievement for such a well flavoured and strong beer! The hops are very noticeable on the nose, and as there are six varieties it’s not surprising; the flavours that follow are a nice relief for those palates that are tired of naked hop explosions. The rich malt is there supporting all those hop flavours giving a balanced and very enjoyable beer. This is what a traditional IPA becomes when it is ‘Imperialised’, and for me achieves a great benchmark for the style.

*

ABV: 8%

Best Served: 9°C

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Driftwood Brewery Blackstone Porter

Wrangler Rating:

tankard.jpgtankard.jpgtankard.jpg (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 players, (a welcome break for some!) supporting the dark bitter-sweet malt that dominates. This would be great with smoked meats, or flame grilled pork.

ABV: 5.1%

Best Served: 12°C

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Swans Coconut Porter

coconut porterWrangler Rating:

tankard.jpgtankard.jpgtankard.jpg(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 taste any coconut which, considering the reason I bought the beer was to try the coconut, is disappointing. That said, I think this beer stands well on its own as a porter and would taste great with some strong English cheddar

ABV: 5.5%

Best Served: 11°C

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Tree Brewing Black Tree Dark Ale

tree-dark

Wrangler Rating:

tankard.jpgtankard.jpgtankard.jpg(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 its backbone. There are pleasant hop notes on the nose as well as the palate that continue through to the finish along with a dry, toasty flavour. This is a simple yet effective beer, whose smoothness and balance make it really drinkable and can be enjoyed with a grilled steak in the knowledge that it all goes to help a good cause.

ABV: 5%

Best Served: 9°C

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Propeller Extra Special Bitter

prop-esb

Wrangler Rating:

tankard.jpgtankard.jpgtankard.jpg(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 there is a nice herbal note and a refreshing bitter finish. This might not be a show stopper, but it’s a well made and drinkable beer, almost making it a session ale due to the alcohol being on the lighter side of a typical ESB. Pair this with a richly flavoured lamb dish, like a roasted lamb shank, as the bitterness will offset the rich fattiness of the meat.

ABV: 5%

Best Served: 9°C

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Howe Sound Father John’s Winter Ale

HoweFather_l

Wrangler Rating:

tankard.jpgtankard.jpgtankard.jpgtankard.jpg(Excellent)

Howe Sound Father John’s Winter Ale is a fantastically warming, well spiced brew that comes in a nice 1 litre swing-top bottle. It has a dark amber colour with a loose head, a rich malty aroma with an obvious spiciness. This full-bodied Christmas Ale has a very malty profile that is the backbone for all the other seasonal flavours that are added. Ginger, nutmeg, vanilla, and cinnamon are the spices that give this warming beer bags of flavour, but it is kept well in balance, and not one really dominates. There are also definite notes of the other fermentable additions, like molasses, brown sugar and honey; they give the beer a depth which compliments the malt and spices, but cleverly don’t add too much sweetness! I really enjoyed this beer and made a slow-cooked cinnamon beef stew to eat with it, and they went together perfectly – a great winter warming combo!

ABV: 7%

Best Served: 11°C

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Fat Cat Brewery Honey Beer

FCHoney

Wrangler Rating:

tankard.jpgtankard.jpg(Mediocre)

Fat Cat Brewery are a small producer in BC Canada (there is another with the same name in the UK) and this is their Honey Beer, an ale made with New Zealand tree sap honey. This gives this light amber brew a slightly smokey honey aroma. This is not a sweet tasting beer as they manage to get the honey flavour without the sugar, and the malt is in there too, but not integrated with the honey. There is also an overall bitterness to the brew, which reminds me of an astringent tree bark flavour,  found in campari. Any hop flavours seem overwhelmed by the strong honey and bark notes, so are a bit lost. There are some nice flavours in this beer but they somehow seem disconnected, leaving an ale that has little smoothness. I would love to see an adjusted recipe of this ale, because the special honey they use has an interesting taste to it, but just needs a bit more integration in my opinion.

ABV: 5%

Best Served: 8°C

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Driftwood Brewery Sartori Harvest IPA

Driftwoodsartoriharvest

Wrangler Rating:

tankard.jpgtankard.jpgtankard.jpgtankard.jpgtankard.jpg (Outstanding)

Driftwood Brewery Sartori Harvest IPA is a huge triumph for this small craft producer based on Vancouver Island. It has a nice ruddy amber colour and pours with a large frothy head. The aroma has a good even spicy hop note with a definite malt character. This beer has a great mouthfeel, and for me, has achieved  perfect balance of malt and hops for an India Pale Ale. They use ‘wet hopping’, which means that the local Chilliwack Centennial hops go into the brew fresh, without being dried, and it really gives great flavours of grapefruit and tangerine with an enjoyable floral kick. The thing that separates this IPA from many other good craft brewery examples, is that they get the balance of malt just right. There are lovely notes of caramel that support the hops like a back bone, and they all continue to the finish making this a very drinkable ale. This is one of the best IPAs I have had, and needs to be tasted by fans of the style. Pair this with a spicy fish soup, or barbecued pork marinated in a creole sauce.

*                                                                         ABV: 7%

*                                                                         Best Served: 8°C

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Granville Island Brewing Belgian Blonde Ale

GIBbelgian-blondeWrangler Rating:

tankard.jpgtankard.jpgtankard.jpgtankard.jpg(Excellent)

Granville Island Belgian Blonde Ale is a great seasonal beer from British Columbia’s most prevalent brewery. It has a beautiful golden hue and a frothy head that leaves a fair bit of lacing on the sides of the glass. This is a slightly lighter version of the famous Belgian breweries strong blonde or golden ale, but they pull it off with style. It maintains the traditional spicy, candied fruit flavours while being a very refreshing beer that still weighs in at 6% alcohol. There is sweet pineapple on the palate and some nice clove notes on the finish that makes this is a supremely enjoyable version of this popular Belgian style. This is light enough to have in the afternoon on its own or accompanying appetizers with friends.

ABV: 6%

Best Served: 6°C

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Yukon Red – Amber Ale

yukonred

Wrangler Rating:

tankard.jpgtankard.jpgtankard.jpgtankard.jpg(Excellent)

Yukon Brewing are a shining light in a territory without much in the way of craft brewers. That doesn’t mean that they couldn’t compete in parts of the world thick with micro-brewers though, and this beer is a good example why! This pours a deep red mahogany colour with a nice light head. It tastes of toasted malt with a touch of caramel sweetness, but well balanced by some spicy, slightly citric hops on the finish. This is a very drinkable beer, and slips down nicely on a Winter’s evening! Pair this with some roast pork or some meaty grilled sausages.

ABV: 5.5%

Best Served: 10°C

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Howe Sound Pumpkineater Imperial Pumpkin Ale

HSB_i-pumpkin-262Wrangler Rating:

tankard.jpgtankard.jpgtankard.jpgtankard.jpg(Excellent)

Howe Sound’s Pumpkineater Imperial Pumpkin Ale (as part of the John Mitchell series) may just be one of my favourite seasonal ales ever! The ruddy amber colour reminds me of fresh roasted pumpkin and the sweet aroma has just a touch of star anise. Unlike lesser Pumpkin Ales this full-bodied beer warms the stomach and actually tastes like pumpkin pie. Hints of nutmeg, cinnamon and roasted pumpkin flesh give way to the slightly astringent taste of cloves on the finish. At 8% this isn’t a beer for the faint hearted but it is absolutely perfect for the cold, blustery days of Autumn. Whilst great on its own this beer would pair excellently with a smoky corn chowder or a nice chunk of strong cheddar.

ABV: 8%

Best Served 10°C

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Granville Island Brewing Pumpkin Ale

giblabel_pumpkin_aleWrangler Rating:

tankard.jpgtankard.jpgtankard.jpg(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 perfectly!

ABV: 6%
Best served: 8°C
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Okanagan Spring Porter

oksporter

Wrangler Rating:

tankard.jpgtankard.jpgtankard.jpgtankard.jpg(Excellent)

Okanagan Spring Porter is not labelled as a ‘Baltic’ Porter but it should be as it has plenty of power, strength and depth. This sipping beer is really full bodied, and flavoursome. The colour is a deep browny black with tiny red highlights if there is enough light to fight its way through the near opaque brew. There is an immediate punch of black molasses on the palate, and it is these notes that dominate right though to the finish. There are however, other flavours that have to force their way out, and those are of richly dried fruit, with prune leading the field. There are also delightful hints of spice on the finish, particularly clove. This feels like it will be too sweet at first, but the tastes mingle and develop into a rich, but off dry finish. This is a lovely strong porter but, some might find the molasses notes a tad too strong for the other flavours. I would pair this with a beef and root vegetable pie with a gravy made with this porter – a perfect Autumnal supper!

ABV: 8.5%

Best Served: 12°C

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Driftwood Brewery Crooked Coast Amber Ale

crooked-coast-medium

Wrangler Rating:

tankard.jpgtankard.jpgtankard.jpgtankard.jpg(Excellent)

Driftwood Brewery’s Crooked Coast Amber Ale pours into the glass with a lovely dark amber colour and accented by vibrant red highlights. The head is thick and tightly bubbled, then thins out but stays with the beer to the bottom of the glass. There is a distinct roasted malt aroma, but without much sweetness accompanying it. The flavour is more complex and rich than the aroma suggests but the roasted notes are still at the fore. There is an enjoyable nuttiness, reminiscent of hazelnuts on the finish, joined by a dry spiciness. This is a fairly rich but smoothly flavoured alt bier, and would pair nicely with a well seasoned steak and kidney pie.

ABV: 5.1%

Best Served: 11°C

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Cannery Brewing Blackberry Porter

New Blackberry Porter - Bottle With Star  Glass

Wrangler Rating:

tankard.jpgtankard.jpgtankard.jpg(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 dark fruit.  Do not have this too chilled or you will miss the balance of the porter and the fruit will dominate. Fruit beers are not for everyone, but if you don’t like the sweet and light styles that abound in the summer, go for a more full-bodied and balanced option like this well made Porter. Pair this with a fruity and creamy dessert.

ABV: 6.5%

*                                                         Best Served: 10°C

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Tree Brewing Cut Throat Pale Ale

cut

Wrangler Rating:

tankard.jpgtankard.jpgtankard.jpg (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 chicken salad, or perhaps as a refresher with an oily Chinese dish.

ABV: 5%

Best Served: 6°C

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Granville Island Brewing Raspberry Wheat Ale

gib-raspberry-wheat-ale

Wrangler Rating:

tankard.jpgtankard.jpg(Mediocre)

Granville Island Raspberry Wheat Ale is a hugely fruitful beer, and for me a bit out of balance. The genuinely fruity flavours of fresh raspberry are not too sweet, but a bit overpowering for the subtle wheat ale notes. This beer will definitely have its fans, and rightly so. It is made by a good brewery whose line up of seasonal releases are always worth trying. The power of the wheat and malt are far too subtle and need a touch of strength to counter the fruit. However, if you like extremely fruity beers try this with a summer pudding or as a foil to a dark chocolate pudding – it’ll be at its best.

ABV: 5%

Best Served: 6°C

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Crannóg Ales Back Hand of God Stout

Backhandofgod1

Wrangler Rating:

tankard.jpgtankard.jpgtankard.jpgtankard.jpgtankard.jpg(Outstanding)

Crannóg Ales prides itself on making authentic Irish beers, and they do so with style! All their beers are certified organic, mostly made with hops and barley from their own farm. They are only available on draught, but are well worth searching out. This Irish style dry stout is a fabulously smooth brew. It has layers of coffee bean and dark cocoa flavours that linger on the palate. The richness fills your mouth, and dark roasted malty notes endow this beer with a very more-ish quality, which gives way to a classically dry but beautifully balanced finish. There are subtle hints of hop, and a faint background of well baked dried fruit.- Superb!

ABV:5.2 %

Best Served: 13°C

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Big Rock Traditional Ale

Big Rocktrad2Wrangler Rating:

tankard.jpgtankard.jpgtankard.jpg(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: 5%

Best Served: 10°C

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Granville Island Brewing Belgian Wit

GIB-belgian-witWrangler Rating:

tankard.jpgtankard.jpgtankard.jpg(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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Tin Whistle Peach Cream Ale

tin-whistlepeach-cream-aleWrangler Rating:

tankard.jpgtankard.jpg(Mediocre)

This tastes more like a lager than an ale, and so misses out on some naturally fruity flavours. The peach flavour never really hits you and remains subtle. This might have been fine if it was a bit more full-bodied, but it tastes a bit on the thin side.  Having said that, on a boiling hot day, this beer,well chilled may just hit the spot for some who want a lightly flavoured beer with a hint of fruit.

ABV: 5%

Best Served: 8°C

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Granville Island Brewing Brockton IPA

GIBbrocktonIPAWrangler Rating:

tankard.jpgtankard.jpgtankard.jpg(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 is supposed to. This is not an extreme beer, but one you can just enjoy!

ABV: 6%

Best Served: 8°C

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