Showing posts with label 7. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 7. Show all posts

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Holy Willie's Robust Porter by Twa Dogs

Porters never get a high score with my rating system. They are just not powerhouse beers. Rarely do you get a porter that adds a complexity of depth that keeps adding new flavours with each sip. Baltic porters maybe, but not English or American. These latter beers are simple in flavour: little roast, little chocolate with a hint of coffee or toffee. Usually not a lot of hop nor yeast character. This is not to say that porters are not enjoyable, quite the opposite. Each sip will distract you then release you back to reality. The robust porter was the stronger version of the brown porter in the 2008 BJCP guidelines. In the current guidelines, brown became English and robust became American. I am also glad to see that this version in not adulterated with added flavours. No blackberry, maple syrup or mocha porters for this beer geek. So how does it taste?

Holy Willie's = 7/10


Yup, it tastes like a proper porter. Roasted grains, cereal and earthy hot chocolate powder gently rise from the glass. Luckily the sip is not overly acrid with roasted astringency, just nicely medium. The flavour parts align like a middle school math question: common denominator or roasted bread crusts, weak coffee, hot chocolate powder and a hint of dirt. Not too quick a fade, yup solid porter. Should have brought the bigger growler.


Taste +3
Aftertaste +1
Alcohol Content +1 6.5%
Value +1 (yup would buy again)
Appearance +1

Glassware: Nonic pint would work

Food Pairings: A steak, or other dark fatty meat, off the grill. The slight char and roasted flavours should harmonize nicely. Veggie option would be a wild mushroom stroganoff

Cellar: Noipe

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Highway 19 IPA by VIB

I think this is a truly new release from one of Victoria's oldest breweries since 2014. For those keeping score, the last release was Sabotage. Nice to taste something truly new. Not much about this beer on their website, so how does it taste?

Highway 19 = 7/10

Yup, it's got Mosiac. It has the nose of tangerines, mangoes, papaya with only a hint of grass. I thought it was a little thin with a medium full and astringent mouthfeel. The tropical never stops, you might get a little bready and caramelized malts if you are lucky. But the rest is all assertive astringency of the tropical fruit, tang, papaya and onion variety. This flavour lingers for an impressive length of time. Nothing off or grassy to note, quite tasty. You are either a Mosiac (HBC342) fan or not.

Taste +3
Aftertaste +1
Alcohol Content +1 6%
Value +1 (I would buy again)
Appearance +1 (suitable description of flavour on label)

Glassware: Just a clean pint glass or a fancy IPA glass. I think the IPA glass is a little over-rated and hard to clean.

Food Pairings: Hit it with a lemon chicken or Peking duck with a citrus glaze. For those vegans out there, try it along side mango fried rice with tamarind tofu

Cellar: nope

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Mistress of my Soul Saison by Twa Dogs

15 minutes, Go. In case you were under a rock somewhere, or using Google+ instead of Facebook, you might not have heard that Twa Dogs brewing is now operational. You might also know them as Victoria Caledonian Brewing and Distilling. I am more concerned about the beer, but rumour has it that the first running of the whiskey is quite tasty. Located in an unassuming warehouse off the Pat Bay, the interior is far more appealing than the exterior. Back to the beer, at this moment they have two beers on tap, a saison and a pale ale. The pale is - well pale - but solid and much better than average. I am currently drink the pale now in a rapidly emptying glass, must have a hole in it. The beer score is 6. Why 6? Because I only have 15 minutes, but trust me it is worthy of a glass fill. Saisons are always benchmarked against the exceptional Saison DuPont. Which is both good and bad. Bad is that few beers ever make the grade, but good in that we always drink a Dupont to refresh our palates. I never understand how this excellent beer is under $8. Dean did give me a quote about the beers, but I forgot to write it down. Something about beers are evolving with improvements and recipe refinements being made and if you drink more we will brew more. I should bring a pen and paper to interviews. In this beer reviewers uneducated assessment, this is a very, very solid first run.

DISCLAIMER: The head brewer, Dean McLeod, is a friend of mine according to my criteria. However, this never taints my reviews.

Mistress = 7/10 


The first sniff speaks of peppery yeasts and warm cereal. A hazy sip adds the chewy mouthfeel which oddly lacks effervescence. This highly quaffable mix of spicy hops, lemon pith with muesli glides over the tongue with ease. It's off dry linger fades away cleanly. Is it a Dupont, no. Will you be delighted to see this beer on a draught list, yes. I know I will be.

Taste +4
Aftertaste +1
Alcohol Content 6% 0
Value +1
Appearance +1

Glassware: Anything clean and Scottish

Food Pairings: Pan seared sable fish with lemon and tarragon glaze. For the veggies out there, try a fettuccine alfredo with diced shallots and lemon dressing

Cellar: Fresh is best

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Belgian Golden Strong Ale by C12


OK 15 minute beer review, GO! New format. The speed review, so many reviews to catch up on and Victoria brewers have been pumping out the releases. So the Belgian golden strong is the hard to master category that is owned by Delerium Tremens and Duvel. It should be strong but not show it. Sweet, but hinting to the dry. Crisp finish to reveal minimal hopping. We all look at the category and compare beers to that pink elephant. Which is unfair, there should be room for interpretation. Rather like a Schopenhauer essay, your perception is your reality. Still if you are going to label it, you gotta own up. Does the C12 make the grade?  You tell me. I'm out of time.

BGSA by C12 = 7/10  

A tad syrupy for a BGSA, but tasty fruitiness makes you overlook that. I noticed apricots, pears, cotton candy and a slight wood presence. This beer was a tad hot, but nothing unreasonable. Did not taste a hop presence, but that's OK. There was a hint of wood character, think wood pencil dipped in vanilla extract. Over all, worth your hard earned money.

Taste +3
Aftertaste +1
Alcohol Content +1 10.6% (yah right)
Value +1
Appearance +1 great description of flavour.

Glassware: Certainly a tulip that Kendrew envies.

Food Pairings: Candied salmon, with carrots and turnips

Cellar: Maybe. Didn't see a lot of residual yeast.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Drawn to Light by Driftwood

Seems to be a Driftwood trend, renaming old beers. Apparently this used to be the Spring Rite. Perhaps the same is true for the "Cry me a River" Gose and "Gose-uh"? Either way, still good beer. If it makes you feel any better, Vancouver Island Brewery hasn't released a new beer in almost two years.

Drawn to Light = 7/10


Aromas from the moth beer, remind me of a calm Raised by Wolves, slightly spicy, quite tropical of pineapple, oranges with a hint of pepper. Nothing really dominates. The graininess, honey, earthy lemons and peppery yeast all play nicely together. A light to medium mouthfeel finishes dry with a buckwheat honey linger. Quite tasty and worth a try, if there is any left.

Taste +3
Aftertaste +1
Alcohol Content +1 7%
Value +1
Appearance +1 (Great label art and good description of flavour)

Glassware: Chalice or tulip

Food Pairings: The tang of a goat cheese and arugula, would bring out the spiciness in the beer. While the residual sweetness would balance the bitterness of the arugula.

Cellar: Maybe, but not likely

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Phillips Botanicale

Has it been this long since a blog post? I truly am slacking. The Phillips Botanicale should be thought of as either a gruit or that dreaded BCJP category called "experimental" or "spiced". Although I don't think it is truly a gruit as this beer has hops for bittering while a true gruit only uses herbs or spices.


Phillips Botanicale = 7/10*


The asterix means you must like gin. The flavour is very reminiscent of the Phillips STUMP gin, which does contain Cascade hops and Grand Fir. There are much things gin on the nose: juniper, orange oil and forest. Reminds me of a well done negroni. These botanicals add a creaminess to the light to medium mouthfeel. It drinks like a plain pale ale with a shot of gin. Much botanicals with orange oil, juniper sweetness tempered with a citrus bitterness. The finish is a long coating of orange oil. Definitely worth a sip, if you like gin.

Taste +4 (If you like gin)
Aftertaste +1
Alcohol Content 0 6.2%
Value +1 (Yah its worth a taste)
Appearance +1 reasonable description of flavour

Glassware: Just clean

Food Pairings: Crab cakes, must be crab cakes or any other firm fish. Perhaps with a sage, rosemary and basil rub to get your herbal mojo going.

Cellar: nope

Friday, January 1, 2016

Phillips Thorny Horn Sour Raspberry Brown

This is what I call a pseudo-sour. When I hear the word sour, I imagine tartness from Brettanomyces, Lactobacillus or Pediococcus . The sourness and tartness from this beer is fruit derived, which is just fine.


Thorny Horn = 7/10


The nose has a bit of funk to it, but all I got was raspberry jam and bike tire air. It is all about the jammy fruit tartness on par with cranberry cocktail juice. You do get a bit of chocolate and acidity enhancements. The sourness is fruit derived only.

Taste +3
Aftertaste +1
Alcohol Content +1 6.8%
Value +1
Appearance +1 (label gives reasonable description of flavour)

Glassware: Tulip

Food Pairings: I'm thinking dessert. The fruit sourness would balance a sweet cheese cake. I raspberry or other berry topping would bridge the two nicely.

Cellar: This one might develop more sourness as time passes. If you can still find one, it would be a reasonable addition.

Lighthouse Black Sam Licorice Stout


Must fire off these last few reviews before the year in review article. Again, no preamble and please forgive any spelting mistakes. I got a new bluetooth keyboard for Christmas and am dyeing to try it out. Works grate!!
I think this is the first bomber release since the departure of head brewer Dean. Might be the second beer because there is the Discovery coffee lager; which is very tasty. Despite the limited release of the coffee lager, kegs still keep showing up. I digress.

Black Sam = 7/10


Taste +3
Aftertaste +1
Alcohol Content +1 7.2%
Value +1
Appearance +1 (reasonable description of flavour)

The initial aroma of Black Sam is oddly calm with icy chocolate, slight cocoa and woody. Creamy and not too astringent, this beer delivers the goods. It starts with a licorice sweetness and ends with a roasted dryness. In between is creamy dark chocolate, slight bit of earth with a little woodiness added in. The linger is just the same. Very tasty.

Glassware: A snifter would be optional, but a common pint would be fine too.

Food Pairings: The sweetness would contrast nicely with something roasted, perhaps a BBQ steak. A salted salmon would enhance the licorice flavours with the creamy and fatty textures meshing nicely. For the veggies out there ponder the flavour mix with a portabello mushroom topped with lentils, couscous and rock salt

Cellar: Maybe but not likely.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Simplicity Ale by Category 12

I'm trying a new strategy for beer reviews; 30 minutes or less. Mike is posting one beer review a day. I barely get one review per week. Something that caught my attention with week was a new one from Category 12. This beer first appeared at the Drake's Thirsty Chef as a limited release. People must have really talked it up because it is now in bottles. For those keeping tract of numbers, this should be categorized as a 31A Alternative Grain Beer because of the use of the non-traditional grain spelt. Also released this week is a Dubbel, but I haven't found that one yet. It is rare to run into a beer that is simple yet delicious. Most breweries are focused on imperial this, barrel aged that or soured whatever. Not that I mind this trend, but what happened to the simple, flavourful ale. Beers like this rarely get rave reviews, nor do people line up to get their two bottle allowance. Which is too bad because they are missing out.

Simplicity Ale = 7/10


The nose offers up a mild doughiness with a little bit of cereal and all spice. Each sip is no different. There is perfect balance between the clean, cereal and bread dough malts, slightly spicy orange peels and a dry Belgian yeast finish. A medium carbonation cleans the palate and leaves no aftertaste. Simple to drink and simple to describe.

Taste +4
Aftertaste +1
Alcohol Content 0 5%
Value +1
Appearance +1

Glassware: A tulip or a convex pokal

Food Pairings: Something on the lighter side. Poached sablefish on risotto or wild rice. Start early in the meal with a fresh goat cheese and spinach salad. 

Cellar: nope

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Pacific Sunet by Lighthouse

Just catching up on old notes so no preamble.

Pacific Sunset = 7/10



Not familiar with the Belgo-American mild beer style, other than it is tasty. Tastes like a mix of various styles with a fancy yeast. In the nose there are grains, biscuits, a touch of citrus mixed with spicy yeast notes. A mild sticky mouthfeel yields crackers, tropical fruit hops, limes, bananas, tart wheat and again with the spicy yeast. Spicy and slick was the ending. Quite tasty. You might be able to still find this one on the shelves.

Taste +4
Aftertaste +1
Alcohol Content 0 5.3%
Value +1
Appearance +1 (odd retro label but liked food pairing idea)

Glassware: Something clean

Food Pairings: Lets go with a banana loaf with cloves, allspice and nutmeg for desert.

Cellar: nope

Accelerated Transmission by Category 12

Hurrah for autumn. It means different things for different people: back to school, end of vacations or harvest time. For the beer geek the last item is the most important. Fresh hopped beers are a relatively new phenomenon in Victoria. Driftwoods Sartori first appeared in 2009 and Phillips Green Reaper in 2012. Now is not uncommon for a brewery to have a fresh hopped beer or cask this time of year. For the first time, there is even a Fresh Hopped Beer Festival in Victoria. Thanks Joe. Now back to the beer. These kids at Category 12 are doing everything right: experimental brewery only beers, soon to be barrel aging and now a fresh hopped beer. This one is in collaboration with Red Truck brewing. So how does it taste.

Accelerated Transmission = 7/10 

The trouble with some wet hopped beers is that they tend to have a grass like aroma or flavour. Especially if they are dry hopped. This transmission does not have this. The aroma is glorious with wet hop citrus, pine, lime, a tad of biscuit and only a trace of freshly cut grass. Bucking the trend of fresh hopped IPA, this brew has a medium to full mouthfeel and not overly bitter. Each juicy gulp follows the aroma with straightforward fresh hops and clean biscuit malts. It does linger very long. Unlike other fresh hopped beers, you can drink this one right away. Well done.

Taste +4
Aftertaste +1
Alcohol Content 0 5%
Value +1
Appearance +1

Glassware: IPA glass or nonic

Food Pairings: Definitely something with aged cheddar or woodsy. Try this with a gently grilled cheese sandwich with aged cheddar or Maclaren's Imperial sharp.

Cellar: nope must be fresh

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Barnstormer Saison IPA (Phillips)

You know, I've had it up to here, with hybrid styles that add descriptive dashes. Wait.. you can't see the motion I just made with my hand, can you? Oh Bother, this is the reason why I do not work in radio. Nor TV for that matter. Nor do I correct grammar in English 101. There is this trend to add descriptive names to the same dang beer. Just you wait for the "Barrel aged-brett fermented-session strength-imperial-imperial-india-pale-ale-on-lees-dry hopped with Mosiac". That last bit was for you Brewtal Truth. It will take a wrap around label just to get the whole name on. As always, I digress. So why does the Hawaiian Shirt enigma rant about a beer at midnight? There are two reasons: Firstly, to inflate my basement dwelling ego. The second is to validate your own, basement dwelling ego. I had this beer lined up in my sights to rip it apart. Yes, it tastes like every other Phillips IPA. Yes, it is most likely another Phillips beer with a funky yeast added. We know this. But you know, it is not that bad. I can actually hear the blog followers clicking the unsubscribe button. This beer delivers everything we- well not all da we's - want to drink. A drinkable IPA, with hints of something tropical and hints of unique yeast. Enough of the Keepers Stout infused rant - what does the beer prick think of this beer?

Barnstormer Saison IPA (Phillips) = 7/10


As expected the nose starts off with tropical fruits and spicy yeasts, luckily not too phenolic. This bubbly brew delivers a light to medium punch of grains, light pit fruits, pears, apricots and passion fruit. The taste is almost session like until the fusel nail polish alcohols hit the back of your nose. Still, I liked it. Would I buy a second bottle? Ask me in person.



Taste +3
Aftertaste +1
Alcohol Content +1 7.2%
Value +1
Appearance +1 (reasonable description of flavours)

Glassware: Pick you fanciest glass and make sure it is clean.

Food Pairings: I suggest something dry, mildly spicy and with a hint of funk. How about seafood pasta with parmigiano shavings? Cheese pairing is either Grana Padano or Reggianito.

Cellar: Nope

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Hip as Funk IPA by Moon Under Water

I am really far behind in my posts, this beer was released in January. The name eludes to the flavours and it also has a great label. Correct me if I am wrong, but is this the first Brett conditioned beer to be released in Victoria? If so, props to Clay for releasing a brave new beer. If not, just props anyways for a great beer.

Hip as Funk = 7/10

The nose is all brett with nostril tingles of wood pile and wool gloves. It is a pleasantly tart and acrid sip that might be categorized as medium in body. To balance the tartness is a light pit fruit sweetness that encompasses apricots, dried pears, peaches and horse blanket. Sadly all these great flavours just end. It is has an oddly clean ending for an initially funky beer.


Taste +4
Aftertaste 0 (it just ends)
Alcohol Content +1 7%
Value +1
Appearance +1 (great label)

Glassware: I would prefer a tulip, but my buddy Brian has chosen a hefe style. Which is fine due to abundant head produced.

Food Pairings: Pairing with sour beers is a challange, but pick something on the light side. A good idea might be a grilled ham and a funky brie cheese. The high carbonation of dryness would work well to remove fatty or spicy tastes from the tongue; hello Pad Thai! A spicy sausage hoagie would be a good choice.

Cellar: The brett yeast might produce some interesting changes with the residual sugar. Might be worth it.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Swans double review Master Blaster and Black Cygnet

It is already April and I have fallen behind in my reviews. Life is rough as Victoria's premier beer blogger. I might also mention only, beer blogger. This makes the premier part easy to claim

Andrew was busy for Victoria Beer Week, which was a great time. He released two beers: the Master Blaster Brett Saison and the Black Cygnet session black IPA. These are on tap and growler releases only. No preamble just review.

Master Blaster = 8/10


It is hard to go wrong with a fruity, spicy saison with the addition of brettanomyces. The nose was floral and tropical fruity from the hops and the brett character just dried that out and added a bit of funky orange peel. One can never have too much mango, dried pineapple or horse blanket. The Blaster was a little hoppy for a saison; I suppose the Northwest Style disclaimer in the name was enough of a warning. A spicy and tropical hop blast harmonized with the earthy and brett tart tang. There were some apricot and cracker malts along for the ride. It tasted a little thin but this was expected from the brett influence. The ending was short with cooling mangos. Very, very nice.

Taste +4
Aftertaste +1
Alcohol Content +1
Value +1
Appearance +1

Glassware: Tulip

Food Pairings: Breaded or poached light seafood with a fruity sauce. I would choose a wild mushroom and risotto with lemon drizzle. The cheese would have to be something fresh goat.

Cellar: Can you cellar a growler?

Black Cygnet = 7/10

I really liked this beer, but I tend to like low ABV beers with lots of flavour. My growler still smells of powdered Nestle Quick and mixed citrus. The Cygnet was a very drinkable mix of weak coffee, dry chocolate, grapefruit, oranges and geraniums all in perfect balance.

Taste +4
Aftertaste +1
Alcohol Content 0
Value +1
Appearance +1

Glassware: Whatever is clean

Food Pairings: Definitely something grilled and fatty. The cheese would be something cheddar and aged.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Spinnakers Belgian Porter

Why can't someone just release a normal porter? There are flavoured porters, imperial porters and now a Belgian porter. The porter is a wonderfully drinkable beer. It is a perfect blend of equal parts
roast, chocolate and earthy hops. I'm not sure how a usually spicy yeast will play upon a balanced dark ale.

Spinnakers Belgian Porter = 7/10

The nose is very porter-like with dark fruits/berries, dry chocolate and a slight bit of ash. There is a mild hint of the spicy yeast flavours apparent in the nose. This porter is a smooth sip with one surprise. A slightly minty hop flavour is balanced with bittersweet chocolate, dried berries and potted plant. The Belgian yeast only provides the slightest of spiciness. It is most noticeable in the short lived, calm spicy chocolate linger.

Taste +4
Aftertaste +1
Alcohol Content 0 6%
Value +1
Appearance +1


Glassware: A tulip would be optimal but anything will do

Food pairing. Think of things roasted, earthy or fruity. Might be nice with a spicy Mexican chocolate cake. I would choose a grilled Portabello mushroom burger.

Cheese: This beer could stand up to some potent cheeses. A mild Stilton would be nice or a smoked Gouda.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Moon Under Water Maxminer's Altbier

Sticking with the Moon's signature brewing style we have another German influenced beer; the altbier. This is also another collaboration, which is something Clay and crew do a lot of.  Altbier means 'old beer', which could be applied to almost every German and European style of beer. When one mentions altbier, they are generally referring to a dark, lagered ale from Düsseldorf. Think of this as a dark Kolsch. Typically the alt style expresses some dark ale characteristics: caramel, dark fruits with a mild hop floral and spiciness. Extended cold conditioning (lagering) tends to smooth out the edges and cleans up the finish. How does the Maxminer stack up? Brilliantly.

Maxminer's Altbier =7/10


The nose is a tad restrained but enough clean, caramel maltiness floats up. There might be a little floral spiciness too. Alt beers are never flavour powerhouses. Each sip is clean with great balance between tame chocolate, caramel, bread, raisins and floral/spicy noble hops. True to form is hits all the marks and just tastes... well, good. The finish holds a slight tongue coating of sweet caramel. A very enjoyable beer, sadly it is only a seasonal.

Taste +4
Aftertaste +1
Alcohol Content 0 5.3%
Value +1
Appearance +1 (always better from a growler in a proper glass)

Glassware: The altbier uses the stange style glass, but generally it is a bit larger (330ml). I picked this smaller size because it said 'Alt'. You could also pick a Willibecher.

Food Pairings: Anything caramelized and restrained in flavour will pair nicely. Would work well with grilled chicken, all things pork or a BBQ portabello mushroom burger. Mushroom caps with young Gouda sounds darn tasty.

Cellar: Nope

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Surfrider Bohemian Pilsner (Vancouver Island)

It has been a while. This pause is not due to lack of great local beers to try, but mostly due to a computer crash. Thank you NCIX for the new gaming/blogging rig. There is no shortage of great local beers to try. If you can find it, try the Lighthouse Rhubie ale. Other notable releases I have to review include the double delicious Whooper Swan Impy IPA by Swan's, Mike Doehnel's pilsner by Driftwood and  the Canoe/Salt Spring Una Mas release. There are too many releases by Spinnakers to mention.
But this article begins with a sad commentary. It appears things might be changing at Vancouver Island Brewing. Those familiar with the industry have mentioned that much of the VIB sales force have left or have been let go. Luckily, Victoria's top Certified Cicerone is still on the job. Hopefully this will not impact their seasonal bomber releases. This is the formula we have come to enjoy in BC craft beer. Have a handful of core brands that pay the bills and release some one off bombers to generate brewery interest. If these bombers taste good and sell well, repeat them. We should be seeing more of the Australian barley wine Numbskull by Lighthouse in the near future.
This leads us to the latest release from VIB, the Surf Rider Bohemian Pilsner. This is donation brew with 25 cents going to the Surfrider Foundation. You all voted for this one; I would have preferred the West Coast Common but such things happen in a democracy. What did the beer prick think about this beer?

Surfrider Pilsner = 7/10


This is a beer blog so maybe I should try and provide background about this beer style. Of the two old world pilsner styles, this Bohemian style is the maltier and less hoppy variety. By contrast, the German style Pils tends to be drier (more attenuated) and hoppier. This extra hop flavour is enhanced by water that has a higher sulfate content. The Bohemian Pils tends to be richer in malts and more restrained in the hops. This is due to a special barley mashing technique called decoction. Decoction involves changing the temperature of the water used to extract sugars from barley during mashing. Surfrider is a textbook Bohemian pils. The nose is slightly sulfury with cracker malts blended with minor floral and spicy hops. It was unexpectedly hop forward with floral but the chewy honey and cracker malt backbone was not far behind. A slightly mushy linger ended clean; awaiting another sip. Say what you will against the humble pilsner. I would like you try and drink a barrel aged, imperial stout on a warm patio.


Taste +4
Aftertaste +1
Alcohol Content 0 5.0%ABV
Value +1 A decent Czech pils
Appearance +1 Nice label and decent description of what the beer will taste like. Donations to charity are a nice touch.

Glassware: Only a tall pilsner glass will do

Food Pairings: Will work with most light fair. I'm thinking cucumber and Brie sandwiches. The chewy maltiness always calms spicy Thai food. For those who are bold; they might try a white chocolate fondue.     

Cellar: Nope

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Chico Nico by Swan's

Ordinary, nice people often go unnoticed. The same can be said for beer. Geeks always pay attention to the imperial, barrel aged stout with fair trade, organic ingredients. Certainly a wax dipped bottle, signed by the brewer, must be better than any simple pale ale. I'm not going to disagree. However, this does not mean we should overlook common beers on the shelf. Take the Chico Nico for example. This beer will never score 5 stars on Untappd nor 98 on Rate Beer. However, I shared this beer with a non beer geek friend. He said that this was one of the most unique and tasty beers he has drank in a while. This is where the Chico stands out. It is approachable to every palate and delivers a divergent flavour surprise.  

Chico Nico = 7/10

The nose is abundant with tropical citrus notes. Mangos, tangerines, grapefruits, they are all there. Biscuity  and bready malts play host to a blended tropical hop bitterness. The slight astringency is a little soapy but doesn't distract from the sweet tangerine and blood orange linger. Very nice

Taste +4
Aftertaste +1
Alcohol Content 0 5.2%ABV
Value +1
Appearance +1 Growler fills always get bonus points.

Glassware: Any glass will do. May I suggest a nonic as this is the most efficient way to delivery this delicious beer to the face.

Food Pairings: This beer would pair well with almost any middle of the road meal. Nice accompanying cheeses would be a cheddar or gouda.    

Cellar: Why wait?

Sunday, May 4, 2014

30 Year by Vancouver Island Brewing

Has it been thirty years already? It seems like an odd timeline, when you consider most of the craft beer changes have occurred within the last ten to fifteen years. Craft beer creativity and variety is certainly snowballing. The 30 Years beer from Vancouver Island pays homage to the Victoria craft beer veteran, Pipers Pale ale. I served Pipers at my wedding, but I won't tell you how long ago that was. Let's call this beer the Imperial Piper's.

Thirty Year = 7/10


The nose is a pronounced mixture of spicy (allspice) earth and boozy vapours. A little green apple appears upon warming.  Each sweet and chewy sip provides a warming sensation of prunes, toast, raisins, allspice and vodka tingle. Only the sweet earth and prunes lingered. Rather nice.

Taste +3
Aftertaste +1
Alcohol Content +1 8.5%
Value +1
Appearance +1 (Elegant label art and good description of how beer will taste)

Glassware: Any glass will do.

Food Pairings: The earthy flavours would resonate well with mushrooms or wild game. Something salty or sour would contract nicely with the sweetness of this beer I'm thinking a mushroom risotto with foccacia bread and balsamic vinegar would work well. Maybe you would prefer grilled duck and scalloped potatoes. 

Cellar: Nope.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Schottleweizen (Phillips)

I'm a pensive fanboy for style combinations. At times the blending of brewing techniques can yield new flavours. Or it can go wrong and raise the question, "How do I spit out this mouthful of beer in a crowded bar?" Luckily this bottle by Phillips hits the former category. This tees up a stronger dark malt base (dunkel?) and allows a saison yeast to dive in an do its thing. Will spicy phenolics mesh with a rich, dark fruity malt canvas? I'm sure others will disagree with my thoughts.

Schottleweizen = 7/10


From the start, the spicy phenolics dominate the nose. There might be a little dark bread if you dip your nose into the foam. Each chewy mouthful supplies something new. The Schottleweizen is all over the map with flavours of dark breads, chocolate, prunes, bananas esters intertwined with a spicy saison yeast. It fades just as it starts. Perhaps a little unfocused but still very tasty.

Taste +4
Aftertaste +1
Alcohol Content +1 7.5%
Value +1
Appearance 0 (barely. Nice art and a vague description of how beer will taste)

Glassware: Definitely need a weisse glass to accommodate the massive head on this beer.

Food Pairings:Something dark and spicy will work well here. Chicken mole or Jamaican jerk might be in order. What cheese, what cheese? Let's be bold and pair this with a roquefort. If you like desert, try this with flamed bananas with a cinnamon rum glaze.

Cellar: Nope. Most of the flavours are yeast dependent and should fade quickly.