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 . . . → Read More: Beer! The Show

Share

Save The Growler! – Stop The Tax

I 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 . . . → Read More: Save The Growler! – Stop The Tax

Share

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

Thanks 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 . . . → Read More: Cascadian Dark Ale – A name is dead? – time to re-brand!

Share

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.

 

 

.

 

. 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

Share

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

Share

Benton Brothers Fine Cheese – Cheesemongers Extraordinaire!

Wrangler Rating: (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 . . . → Read More: Benton Brothers Fine Cheese – Cheesemongers Extraordinaire!

Share

Lighthouse Switchback IPA

Wrangler Rating: (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 . . . → Read More: Lighthouse Switchback IPA

Share

Driftwood Singularity – 1 year on

Wrangler Rating: (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 . . . → Read More: Driftwood Singularity – 1 year on

Share

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

Share

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

Share

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

Share

It’s Hammer Time -Phillips Style

.

.

.

.

VS

.

.

.

.

.

.

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

Share

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, . . . → Read More: The Noble Pig Brewhouse – Kamloops

Share

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 . . . → Read More: Winter Beer Showdown

Share

Driftwood Fat Tug IPA

Wrangler Rating: (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 . . . → Read More: Driftwood Fat Tug IPA

Share

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

Share

Driftwood Belle Royale

Wrangler Rating: (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 . . . → Read More: Driftwood Belle Royale

Share

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 . . . → Read More: Vancouver Craft Beer Week

Share

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!” . . . → Read More: A Cascadian Revolution

Share

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

Share

Phillips Double Dragon Imperial Red Ale

Wrangler Rating: (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 . . . → Read More: Phillips Double Dragon Imperial Red Ale

Share

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)

Share

Howe Sound Total Eclipse Of The Hop

Wrangler Rating: (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 . . . → Read More: Howe Sound Total Eclipse Of The Hop

Share

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

Share

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

Share

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

Share

Howe Sound Father John’s Winter Ale

Wrangler Rating: (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 . . . → Read More: Howe Sound Father John’s Winter Ale

Share

Fat Cat Brewery Honey Beer

Wrangler Rating: (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 . . . → Read More: Fat Cat Brewery Honey Beer

Share

Driftwood Brewery Sartori Harvest IPA

Wrangler Rating: (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 . . . → Read More: Driftwood Brewery Sartori Harvest IPA

Share

Granville Island Brewing Belgian Blonde Ale

Wrangler Rating: (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 . . . → Read More: Granville Island Brewing Belgian Blonde Ale

Share

Howe Sound Pumpkineater Imperial Pumpkin Ale

Wrangler Rating: (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 . . . → Read More: Howe Sound Pumpkineater Imperial Pumpkin Ale

Share

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

Share

Okanagan Spring Porter

Wrangler Rating: (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 . . . → Read More: Okanagan Spring Porter

Share

Driftwood Brewery Crooked Coast Amber Ale

Wrangler Rating: (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 . . . → Read More: Driftwood Brewery Crooked Coast Amber Ale

Share

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

Share

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

Share

Granville Island Brewing Raspberry Wheat Ale

Wrangler Rating: (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 . . . → Read More: Granville Island Brewing Raspberry Wheat Ale

Share

Crannóg Ales Back Hand of God Stout

Wrangler Rating: (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 . . . → Read More: Crannóg Ales Back Hand of God Stout

Share

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

Hide Sites

Share

Tin Whistle Peach Cream Ale

Wrangler Rating: (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

Hide Sites . . . → Read More: Tin Whistle Peach Cream Ale

Share

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

Share