Showing posts with label IPA. Show all posts
Showing posts with label IPA. Show all posts

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, October 7, 2015

Super Cooper Phillips 14th Anniversary ale

Has it been 14 years already? Looks like it is time for another strong anniversary beer from Phillips. Don't get me wrong, I liked this beer but it just tasted the same as last year and the year before that. It tasted like the Monkey Drummer at year 12 and the Hangman's from year 13. Now that I think about it, if this beer has been aging for a full year in bourbon barrels, it very well may have been the same beer as last year. Why the number 14? Perhaps it might be in reference to 14 points of copyright infringement on the label. Despite the fact I am not a expert in copyright law, the resemblance to Donkey Kong and a Mario Bros character is easy to spot. I haven't even played these games in over two decades. That small hop guy in the bottom corner looks very similar to Goomba. And what other large ape with high eye brows carries a barrel? Am I the only one seeing the red tie with a logo on it?

Super Cooper = 5/10


The nose was a mix of dry hop madness and oak character. It was an overabundance of vanilla, tannins, pine, spruce and pineapple. My mouth felt violated with each fully, sticky, slick and bitter boozy sip. Complexity is the label on my glass. There was extensive mingling of vanilla, pineapple enzymes, syrupy spruce, bourbon vapours and canned pear syrup. The flavours hung around longer than the weird neighbour after a block party BBQ. Still it was a nice sipper, but it did border on undrinkable bitter and boozy.

Taste +3
Aftertaste +1
Alcohol Content +1 11.6%
Value 0 (same as last year)
Appearance 0 (Had to hide bottle to avoid litigation)

Glassware: Use a brandy snifter or tulip

Food Pairings: Almost too much for food. Maybe cedar planked salmon.

Cellar: The hop and booziness will certainly fade, but I'm not certain the malt contains suitable complexity. I'm going to say no.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Raised by Wolves by Driftwood

Unless you are under a rock somewhere, you will have tried this beer already. Or perhaps two or three. Sure this beer tastes great, as you might read in my glowing review later, but this beer is also innovative in a few ways. The first, and most obvious, is the use of the new wonder hop variety Equinox. This hop was previously called HBC 366 while in development by Hop Breeding Company. They are the same people that brought us Mosaic and Citra. Secondly, this beer also uses the semi wild yeast Saccharomyces Trois. This yeast used to be called Brettanomyces bruxellensis Trois. Why the trois? This yeast strain was first isolated from a bottle of 3 Fonteinen Oude Geuze. However, further DNA analysis by White Labs learned that it was more like a Saccharomyces yeast than a Brett. Hence the name change to Saccharomyces brux-like Trois (WLP644). So it acts like a regular yeast, but provides brett like flavours. So enough of the yeast lesson, how does this beer taste?

Raised by Wolves = 9/10


The nose is all Equinox with tropical fruits, pineapple, guava and lychees. Certainly the brett-like yeast is providing additional fruit esters. You would think from the nose that this would be a very bitter beer. Not as much as you would expect. It certainly has that gripping bitterness of the aforementioned tropical fruits, but that Brett horseblanket funk mellows it. Tartness lingers along with a bright citrus funk. I sense we might have a beer of the year on our hands.

Taste +5
Aftertaste +1
Alcohol Content +1 7%
Value +1
Appearance +1 Beautiful label with a good description of flavours expected.

Glassware: A tulip or snifter will trap the Brett aromas nicely.

Food Pairings: The acidity and bright carbonation would work well with fatty fish like salmon or tuna. Might make a fun pairing with sushi. That wasabi heat would come alive with this beers funky tartness. Cheese pairing fresh goat (chevre) or maybe a funky Stilton.

Cellar: Without a doubt the brettness of this yeast will dry this beer out even further. Not sure how it will taste once the hops are gone. Worth a bottle or two. Might be in it for the long haul though, perhaps two years.

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 13, 2015

Insubordinate Session IPA by Category 12


It is so nice to have a Cicerone working at a small, local brewery. That way, when they say that a beer is sessionable, it actually is. I suppose that this means Category 12 is almost a serious local brewery. In my selfish opinion I feel there are some informal criteria to meet to be considered a serious craft brewery. There are five of them, feel free to comment if you think I am crazy. First, you must produce a noteworthy IPA. A black IPA could be substituted perhaps.  Almost everyone has one, some are better than others. Second, you must make a high gravity beer that is worth cellaring. This can be a barley wine, stout or a weird Belgian thing. Third, you must do a unique cask once a year. It cannot be a dry-hopped-something-you-already-have-on-tap. Fourth, you must make something session strength that is quaffable. Finally, you must brew something with a unique yeast or something sour. How many local breweries meet all of these criteria? Most of them do, or are well on their way to fulfilling these criteria. Well, this is rather opinionated of me. This never happens. Anyways I digress.

This is the fifth release by the kids on Keating Cross. The previous releases were a pale ale and a Belgian dark. Both of which I tasted but forgot to review; I am such a slacker.  The pale ale gets a 7 and the dark gets an 6. There was a weird aroma on the dark that threw me off. Still both were very tasty, I especially liked the pale. Lots of aroma and not too grassy. Again I digress, must be the lack of caffeine.

Insubordinate = 9/10

This brew is darn tasty. An unexpected nose hits you with abundant pine/cedar and grapefruit citrus. The gripping bitterness followed the nose, yet faded quickly to reveal a mix of bready, biscuit and caramel malts. A simple, yet very drinkable beer, which is what a session ale should be. Oh and under 5%ABV.



Taste= +4
Aftertaste = +2
Alcohol Content +1 (low alcohol that doesn't taste weak)
Value +1
Appearance +1 (nice art and reasonable description of flavour)

Glassware: What ever you have is fine. I did not include a photo of my glassware choice due to ummm technical difficulties.

Food Pairings: A sharp cheddar would pair nicely, maybe even a Stilton. There is a bit of spiciness, pine and citrus going on in this beer. Would enhance a cedar grilled salmon nicely or contrast a sweeter pasta dish with some citrus component. Try with tuna lemon pasta.

Cellar: nope

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

A Tale of Two Beers

It was the best of beers, it was the worst of beers. This is the only line that I know from the Charles Dickens novel. Actually, this knowledge was learned from Mr. Google. The title does introduces two contrasting beers nicely. Today I shall be ranting about Phillips, most days I rant about Phillips. Mix this rant about what makes a beer good. A beer is good for two reasons. The first is that it loosely follows guidelines and is free of flaws or faults. The second is that it tastes good (to you). Unless you are entering a beer in a contest, the first reason is usually ignored. Except for the flaw part. Now we come to the second reason, does a beer taste good?
Does a beer actually taste good.... really? Are your tastes biased due to marketing, preconceived expectations or the third and most insidious reason of Untappd review bias? I like to call this the Emperor's New Clothes effect. In this instance you are presented with a new beer. It has great packaging, great description, made by a big craft brewery with lots of positive Untappd or Ratebeer reviews. This must be a good beer right? Not always. In some circles this is called expectation or subjectivity. The classic example used wine experts and their impression about a certain wine. In this experiment, experts were served a bottle of red wine labeled as a grand cru (special) and a bottle labeled as a vin du table (ordinary). Experts rated the grand cru as better than the table wine. The kicker was that they were served the same wine in different bottles. You can influence experts with labeling. It happens in the beer world too. Samuel Adams Utopia is only pretty good, Pliny the Elder is not that mind blowing and the Phillips 10th Anniversary beer was an average IPA in a really fancy bottle. Perhaps this is enough ranting, I think you get the point.

3rd Blind Mouse by Phillips = -2/10

Like you never saw this review coming. Mr. Mouse started off with a wonderfully sweet nose of sweet tropical fruit, pineapple and passion fruit. Should have called it 3rd Blind Mosaic. Things went south when the tongue numbing bitterness became difficult to stomach. It was overly bitter, boozy and lacked malt balance. I imagine that this is what 20 year old can of tropical fruit salad would taste like. Despite all this, I felt there was a bit of diacetyl slickness in the aftertaste. This beer hit the drain. My thoughts were confirmed by others in the room with me: a great homebrewer, a professional brewer and a highly rated beer geek. They also thought it tasted like every other Phillips IPA. It looked wonderful, smelled great, was made by a famous craft brewery and had many great reviews. To me this beer just sucked.

Taste -1
Aftertaste -1
Alcohol Content +1 10.2%
Value -1
Appearance +1

Apteryx IPA = 7/10


I found this IPA to be quite tasty and interesting. I liked the use of Nelson Sauvin hops. I can't say that I have ever tried a gooseberry, cape gooseberry yes, but not a European one. Sauvignon blanc wine has passed over my tongue and yes you can taste it in these hops. There was the expected mix of tropical fruit, grapefruit with spicy papaya seeds.The mild bready and fruity malts did not distract from the slight white grape juice taste of the hops. A lingering of peppery fruit provided a pleasant end to the sip. I liked it, not stellar, but very tasty.

Taste+3 
Aftertaste +1
Alcohol Content +1 6.5%
Value +1 (I liked it)
Appearance +1 (Nice label art with good description of flavour)

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Hard Rain DIPA by Hoyne

It has been a while since the Hoyners have released anything new. I believe the last truly new one was the Entre Nous in July. Come to think of it, it has been rather quiet in the new release category for most breweries. That is if you ignore Phillips and Spinnakers. I tried four new beers at Spinnakers last week that did not have any press releases, all quite good. The Rainforest Logger was very nice, for a lager that is. But today I open the cap on a double IPA from Hoyne. Lots of hops going on including a new one called cytra? Perhaps it was a typo by either Hoyne or Canadian Beer News. Anyways double IPA means double everything: double hops, double malts, double flavour and usually double cost. How did the Hard Rain double up?

Hard Rain = 3/10


Is it just me or does this beer smell like it has been dry hopped beyond all recognition? Perhaps it is all the nugget hop giving off that grassy herbal aroma. Certainly some spicy pine too. This beer is all about the hops: spicy, herbal, pine, cedar and bitter orange. But there are no malts to back it up. The malts of a DIPA should be apparent and syrupy, to barely balance the hops. Even just compare the colour with the Twenty Pounder from Driftwood. The Hard Rain just looks thin in comparison (Matty has much better lighting than I do and the Pounder still looks dark). When I hear DIPA, I expect certain things. Call it a extra/double pale ale and then I know what to expect. This beer is drinkable if you dig your hop bombs. Perhaps I am just being overly critical and jerk-like in my old age? You decide.

Taste +2
Aftertaste 0
Alcohol Content +1
Value +1
Appearance 0 (usual fun Hoyne poetry but no real description of how beer will taste)

Glassware: Definitely a fancy IPA glass. If no, then anything clean will do

Food Pairings: Lots of cedar and pine going on here with sweetness. Should enhance flavours of cedar plank salmon. For cheese something robust like a aged cheddar or Beemster.

Cellar: nope

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Category 12 first two beers

Most of us have heard rumblings of this new brewery in town called Category 12. They are on Keating Cross Road with a little tasting room and growler fill station. You can read all about them in Eat Magazine. There are currently two beers available, a saison and a black IPA. You can find kegs around Victoria, including this cool place called The Drake. So how do they taste?

Unsanctioned Saison = 6/10


It started off great. There was a slight spiciness that came from both hop and yeast. You could also detect a funky earth aroma with ginger. It was surprisingly hoppy with more of that spicy floral and earthiness. The malts got a little funny, perhaps a bit underattenuated. It tasted grainy, mushy and chewy, not crisp and dry as expected. Perhaps I was hoping for local Saison Dupont. Still, I would order another.

Taste +2
Aftertaste +1
Alcohol Content +1 6.9%
Value +1
Appearance +1 good description of beer flavour, not keen on the word sessionable for a 6.9% beer

Glassware: Something clean. I would use a pokal tulip.

Food Pairings: Cheese would be a wash rind goat. Something light and spicy would go well. Perhaps lamb chops with a mildly spicy pepper glaze.

Cellar: nope

Disruption Black IPA = 9/10

I was getting a little worried until I tasted the Black IPA. This dark brew hits all the marks. A grapefruit citrus and piney hop aroma can be smelled one table over. It has a griping astringency that is partially kilned malts and partially hops. Imagine what a black IPA should taste like and this is it. Balanced parts of bittersweet chocolate, espresso, over done toast with marmalade and sweet grapefruit rind. Not over the top, but just right.


Taste +4
Aftertaste +2
Alcohol Content +1 6.7%
Value +1 delicious
Appearance +1 (a fitting description of flavour)

Glassware: A nice, big pint glass thank you.

Food Pairings: Something bold and roasted. A grilled portobello mushroom burger with blue cheese. As for the cheese, make it a well aged cheddar.

Cellar: Nope

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Entangled by Driftwood

You all know I have this thing against made up beer styles. They appeal to me about as much as flavoured porters. I don't like change. Perhaps Mark Twain was referring to me when he penned his famous change quote. It might have been my family that bought me this beer. My little one picks bottles based upon labels; she might have thought this beer was a Disney tie-in. Entangled is a hopfenweisse or hoppy wheat beer. Let's call this beer Fat Tug Wheat or FTW for short. I can see why she was attracted to the label. My choice for best packaged beer of 2014 was just decided. Those Hired Guns kids make some elegant designs. Anyways, back to the Fat Tug theme. Last month we sampled Fat Tug lite. Perhaps Driftwood might do a Fat Tug Black, a.k.a. American-style Black Ale/Cascadian/ Black IPA. This I could get behind; might even buy more than one. Enough of my rambling, how does the FTW taste?


Entangled = 8/10

Those who buy too much beer will find similarities between FTW and the Brooklyn/Schneider collaboration beer. Both smelled of potency in the spicy, floral, citrus hop department. There was not a lot of wheat in the nose, just the hops. Wheat became noticeable in the sip, it tempered the anticipated IPA astringency with a tongue caressing creamy texture. Most beer drinkers in Victoria have a collection of dedicated brain cells responsible for recognizing the taste of Fat Tug. Imagine this flavour mixed with cream of wheat and bread. The ending was the expected long linger of spicy wheat and citrus. I'm starting to warm up to the idea of made up beer styles.

Taste +4
Aftertaste +1
Alcohol Content +1 7%
Value +1
Appearance +1

Glassware: Should be a weisse glass.

Food pairings: Hard with fusion beers; perhaps fusion food is in order. Try this next to a breaded salmon with lemon glaze. I might ask for a lemon and Seville orange risotto.

Cellar: Nope, it's all about the fresh hops.

Cheese: This is a new category. 2015 will be the year of cheese. An aged sheep's cheese, sharp cheddar or aged Gloucester should have enough strength to balance this potent beer.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Phillips 13 Knot Anniversary


I have seen some great marketing ideas during my blogging days. There have beers in pine boxes. One litre sized cans in a German stein was nice. Glow in the dark labels are fun. Bottles hand wrapped in paper are very elegant. No one can deny the pull of an Advent Calendar full of beer. This marketing idea by Phillips almost tops them all. Who can pass up an drink combination that could be called the PNW boilermaker? An imperial IPA with a side of liqueur, this is great. Reminds me of something the legendary Bert Grant was rumoured to have done. He would place a few drops of hop oil extract into any beer he was drinking if it was deemed underhopped. There is a nice write up about the pricing and legality on Brian's Blog. So how does this marketing gimmick taste?

Phillips 13 Knot = 8/10

This review will be in three parts; IPA only, liqueur only and both together. Perhaps we should start with the best part, the Hop Drop liqueur. I am certainly not an expert on spirits, but this hop drop is darn tasty. The favour is similar to a dry hopped mezcal. Ample honey sweetness and smooth with a slight pine and citrus addition. Very nice. This the best part of the package. Drink the spirit, trade the beer.

The Impy IPA on its own tastes like any other Phillips hop bomb. It reminded me like last years anniversary IPA and the year before last years. A beverage sure to please the hop heads in BC. Massive hop bitterness that is a mix of key limes, grass, pine and tropical fruits. The acidic mouthfeel feels like you did a face plant into a pile of pine needles. Once the initial attack fades, there is a lot of flavours to work through. There is cotton candy, pine sol, geraniums, pie crusts (Thanks Brian), and bread dough.

The two parts together make it a quite syrupy sip with acetone vapours. It almost becomes hard to taste anything, but there are whole wheat croissants, pine resin and a citrus fruit basket.

Interesting fact: It is illegal in some states to display a noose. 

Taste +3
Aftertaste +2
Alcohol Content +1 (11.8 or 13%)
Value +1 (the liqueur is worth the cost)
Appearance +1 Great packaging

Glassware: Definitely a tulip.

Food Pairings: I honestly can't think of any food that could stand up to this exorbitantly hopped beverage.

Cellar: Maybe, since I plan to have a few bottles left over.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Sabotage - Vancouver Island Brewery

Can there be trends in beer? There most certainly are. Brewers can use the hippest new hops (Citra, Amarillo, southern hemisphere), brewpubs can host tap takeovers or they can brew an India session ale. Other trendy things to do include putting your beers in tall boy cans or brewing a black anything (black IPA, black saison, black lager). Regardless, I digress. Even though I forgot to mention the act of filling multiple sizes of growlers. Back to the India session ale. Certainly this beer style was born from the desire to have a hoppy beer but still be able to function and operate heavy machinery. A session ale does not have a defined ABV strength or even a style. Let's call it the opposite of imperial. So a session IPA will be the flip side mirror image of an imperial IPA. My definition of a session beer has an ABV that hovers near the 4% mark. My hero Stephen Beaumont has similar views. This means Spinnakers Swiftsure almost qualifies (4.5%), Phillips Bottle Rocket ISA certainly does not (5%), but the Central City ISA certain does (4% ABV). The Sabotage does not come close at 4.8% ABV. Another complaint of people who drink ISA is that they taste weak or thin. This -made up-  style of beer has a low ABV and an attenuated malt profile. Perhaps this weakness perception is due to preconceived thoughts of all beers that contain the word "India". We see the word India, then smell the big hop nose and expect a malt and alcohol slap to the forehead. Our expectations are unfulfilled and we blog that this beer tastes weak. Well too bad. Some of us want to drink a few hoppy pints and still be able to operate heavy machinery. DISCLAIMER, the only heavy machine I operate after a few pints is my PC. Sometimes that is not such a good idea. Ok, so what does this beer prick think about the Sabotage ISA?

Sabotage = 7/10


The nose contains that composite of PNW C hops that we have been conditioned to seek out. There is a slight grassiness as the beer warms up; Kendrew is this beer dry hopped? There are equal parts sweet pine, vague citrus and slight floral spiciness. A meager graham cracker graininess is also present in the aroma. Mouthfeel for a session ale is often disappointing, but this is not a session ale so the mouthfeel is pleasantly thin to full. Each sip is fairly linear and parallels the nose. Some have mentioned a slight sulfur aroma, but it's not an issue. The linger is slightly slick but carries the citrus hop bite nicely. Nicely done, even thought it is not really a session ale.

Taste +4
Aftertaste +1
Alcohol Content 0 4.8% (If you call it a session ale make it low ABV)
Value +1 it's nice.
Appearance +1 nice label art and reasonable description of flavour. Yes, I know it is a growler, but I stared at the art while it was being filled.

Glassware: You can be a DB like me and buy a IPA specific glass (in photo). This is not necessary, grab a tulip or flared pokal. Nevermind the knowledge of what a flared pokal indicates DB tendencies.

Food Pairings: This would pair with almost anything. It would go well with spicy Szechuan, the hops would make the spiciness even hotter. Remember there is little malt backbone to calm the spices. Maybe an aged cheddar and pasta would be nice. How about a cedar planed salmon with calamansi reduction glaze?

Cellar:NOPE

This author discloses that he received a complimentary growler fill. Thanks Kendrew and Rob. If this beer was not up to standards I would still report as such. But it is dang tasty, even though it is not sessional. VOTE WEST COAST COMMON.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Monkey Drummer 12th Anniversary (Phillips)

It never ceases to amaze me how certain brewers can produce a beer with such precision. 11.9% ABV on the dot is an impressive feat of brewing skill. Phillips is now 12 years old, well done. I also like the new bottles; they look a lot like the new bottles from Fuller's. Again, I shall be brief. As always my stock of witty comments and banter is limited.


Monkey Drummer 12th Anniversary (Phillips) = 6/10 


Don't get me wrong, it is a decent beer. It hits all the marks of an imperial IPA. Despite the nose that is a little faint with sweet floral, pine and a hint of earth. Chewy, sweet malts leave a lingering boozy and tingling sensation on the tongue. It is a big beer with big sweet malts that speak of cotton candy, pears and those cheap, plastic wrapped mints delivered with your restaurant bill that always remain uneaten. The hops are big, vague, yet cripplingly bitter. There is just no balance. It is as though the malts and hops are on other sides of the Grand Canyon. This is a bold beer but it just didn't WOW me. Another ponderous observation. A beer with this high an ABV must use a lot of malts and a lot of hops. These ingredients cost money. Oddly this bottle set me back around $6.50. It was one of the cheaper bottles on the shelf. Hopheads will like it, but they might not rave about it.

Taste +3
Aftertaste +1
Alcohol Content +1 11.9%ABV
Value + 0 
Appearance +1 always with the eye catching art

Glassware: A pint glass will do, but a tulip would be better.

Food Pairing: This beer is awfully sweet. Might need something salty to balance this out. Maybe something with smoked salmon or capers and tomatoes in a rich alfredo sauce.

Cellar: Nope. Get the hops while they are fresh.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Kaleidoscope Mosiac IPA (Phillips)

Tonight will be a quick review as I am packing to head up island. This is essentially Hop Circle with the new and trendy Mosiac hop. The Mosiac hop is the daughter of Simcoe mommy and Nugget daddy as bred by the Hop Breeding Company (HBC) aka. Select Botanicals Group. It has been described as Citra (also a HBC variety) on steroids.

Kaleidoscope Mosiac IPA = 8/10


It is great to taste single hops variety IPAs. This way one can learn all the unique flavours in order to try and pick it out of other beers. Doesn't everyone do this? The nose is slightly grassy/earthy with hints of tropical fruit punch. Sweet tropical fruits slash across in every sip. Mosaic delivers guava, papaya and maybe pineapple in an oddly unbitter like fashion. I'm sure the IBUs are mountainous but the mouth puckering is just not there, which is nice. I would have liked to see a bit more malt depth, but you can't have it all. Why won't this sweet citrus tongue coating go away?

Taste +3
Aftertaste +2
Alcohol Content +1 6.5%
Value +1
Appearance+1 (always great label art and reasonable description of beer)

Glassware: Shaker, pint or tulip

Food pairing: Aged cheddar or gouda. That stinky soft cheddar in the red plastic tub would work well. Think bold flavoured Indian food or Pho, even an arugula salad would be nice.

Cellar: Nope, drink fresh




Wednesday, July 3, 2013

NumbSkull Imperial IPA (Lighthouse)

Dean, the head brewer at Lighthouse, once told me he would never brew a barley wine. Why would he say such a thing? Perhaps historically, the barley wine was a special release reserved for only close friends of the brewery. It also was the demonstration of a brewer's skill; a testament to brewing ability. Call it a brewers signature. It is not that the Lighthouse team, doesn't possess mad brewing skills. Perhaps it is that Dean is a perfectionist. If you don't believe me: check out his carbon fiber, single gear, bike with the beer growler holder. Anyways I am getting off topic and indulgent. Perhaps this is due to my previous review of Joe's insider beer guide to BC beers. This writer also has insider stuff.. Actually, I don't. This is due mainly to my laziness and reclusive behaviour. Whatever, I have a bottle of southern hemisphere barley wine and 1/2 bottle of Chimay 2011 Grande Reserve in me. Let the opinions fly.

NumbSkull Imperial IPA (Lighthouse) = 9/10



Honestly I drank most of this beer while doing my previous post, so I have nothing left to draw from. So let's review this beer as the fictitious Australian barley wine style. The aroma was all south of the equator. Rakau and Galaxy hops are demonstrative of this style. Addition of citra hops blended in well. These gave a striking tropical fruit and citrus nose. Yes, there are malts. These are simple with syrupy, bready, sherry and Mackintosh Toffee hints. The linger was long with equal part hop/malt intermingle. This was a surprisingly easy to drink barley wine, despite the 9.1% ABV disclaimer. Does it hit barley wine status, yup it does according to BJCP.  Watch for official release later this week. I scored my pre-release bottle from Hillside Liquor store. Thanks again.

Oh crap the Cicerones will need their info too.

Food Pairings: Braised tofu with a caramelized onion and miso reduction. Cheese options are aged Gouda or old cheddar. Wild game or duck poutine are other options for Captain Poutine aka. Noah's Ark palate.  Other options would be dishes with spiciness or savory sweetness. Think Indian, Jamaican or Ethiopian cuisine. You could also end with a creme brulee or a fruit flan with signigiant spicy fruit toppings. 

Glassware options: Choose a wide brimmed glass like a tulip or chalice. A tulip would be a wise choice as the aromas are pronounced yet head retention in slight. If not available, look for a modified tulip. OMG that sounded beer geek pompous. Scratch that: craft beer appreciation is serious business.

Cellar Potential: Not really. There was no dominate flavours that needed to mellow. Enjoy promptly.

Taste +4
Aftertaste +2
Alcohol Content +1 9.1% ABV
Value +1 Buy it
Appearance +1 a reasonable description of beer flavour would be nice. But the local artwork is fun, despite the Comic Sans font on the label.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Barnacle IPA (Lighthouse)

The first time I tasted this beer, I was seated on the floor of Eskimodave's apartment. No this was not some sort of beer cult worshiping. Dave didn't have enough chairs and I don't have an aversion to sitting on the ground. Dean passed around this bottle for the beer geeks to try. We were all astounded. It was delicious, fresh and an emerging style of beer. A wheat IPA?! It tasted great, but it will never catch on.
Currently, two wheat IPA releases have come through Victoria. I believe VIB struck first with the Flying Tanker. This brew will be returning in summer, as it is a hybrid of the currently available  Beachcomber Ale. Phillips followed with the Electric Unicorn. Perhaps they were both following the Belgian White by Lighthouse. Regardless, I digress. What do you get when you cross a familiar hop profile with added wheat malts? Two words: awesome! Wait for it, the bomber release of the Barnacle IPA is very soon.

Barnacle IPA (Lighthouse) = 9/10

The nose is familiar to everyone who likes to switch up their favourite beer. There is something else: cream of wheat. Tropical fruit aroma is still a major player but it is tempered with the creaminess that only wheat can provide. Gone is the gripping hop IPA bite, replaced by the creamy smooth southern half hop linger. Is this a hop showcase powerhouse: no. But it is something that will draw you in sip after sip.

I was recently asked about appropriate glassware selection: fricken Cicerones. I chose the quarter or 1/8 yard beer glass. This is the signature glass by Kwak. This is not correct glassware selection, but I found two of these glasses at a thrift store for $4! I had to show them off. What about food pairings? Perhaps a breaded sea bass with a fresh lemon squeeze. For the vegans out there: try a quinoa salad with arugula, Mandarin oranges and pine nuts. To make my neighbour happy, try it with the pulled pork poutine and corn bread.

I am really, really trying hard to hold it together. Dean promised me a growler of their upcoming maibock release, so I am emptying my growler of Barnacle IPA. Despite what you all think, I don't really drink a lot of beer. When I drink; I drink well. So a maibock? I love bocks: strong lagers are where it's at. There are currently no bright, spring time patio bocks. Unless you wanna suck back a Holsten big boy can. I sense a lack of cohesion, so ..good night.

Taste +4
Aftertaste +2
Alcohol Content +1 8%
Value +1
Appearance +1 (mine is a growler, which is awesome)

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Cabin Fever BIPA (Phillips)

What are these kids at Phillips doing? The new releases keep coming, or do they? Today it is a Black IPA. No one these days will dare use the 'C' word, but I won't go there. Next week Vancouver Island is releasing an India Dark Ale. Someone might steal the name, but no one can steal our lust for dark, hoppy beers. So is this beer actually new? Well.. check the ABV compared the Phillips Amnesiac: same. Smell compared to Amnesiac: same. The taste is well.. similar. Could this be the Amnesiac with dark malts added? Who knows? Irregardless, it is hoppy and fault free: hence, everyone will love it. I did, but is it actually new?


Cabin Fever BIPA = 6/10

This starts off with the classic, and glorious, Phillips hop nose. Once whiffed, a special set of brain cells is dedicated to its recall. You all know it: part sweet citrus, part floral pine with a hint of spun sugar. An oddly thin mouthfeel delivers the goods: a hop forward astringency with slightly chocolate and bready malts. The ending is smooth, sadly short lived with only an ounce of alcohol warmth. There is just enough grapefruit and pinesol to make the mouth happy. Is there anything wrong with being aggressively popular? Next year, perhaps more dark malts and a thicker mouthfeel please.

Taste +3
Aftertaste +1
Alcohol Content +1 8.5%
Value 0 It is good but not really new
Appearance +1 always great art.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Twenty Pounder DIPA (Driftwood)

Last time I did not like this release, it was almost too painful to drink. Hops are awesome and all, but you do not need to overwhelm us. Yes, there are a whole crap load of hops in here. This time it seems almost palatable. I will be brief, I have a few reviews to finish tonight. 

Twenty Pounder = 8/10 

The hop presence is unmistakable. It's nose reveals almost every PNW hop aroma you can fathom; I picked up on the pine, resin and pomelos. Is it possible to smell with your tongue? Your tongue senses the hop flavours before they arrive. The heavy bready, malt base provides ample sweetness to deliver this burning hop wash to your stomach. I might go and grab a TUMS. This might sound unflavourable, but in actuality it is not. The drinkability of this double digit IBU beverage is surprising. Your tongue never really loses its sweet citrus coating/numbing. This might do well with a bit of aging.

Taste +3
Aftertaste +2
Alcohol Content +1 9%
Value +1 (barely)
Appearance +1 always great art

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Bottle Rocket ISA (Phillips)

It is a rare occurrence that I buy a six back of beer. It's a beer ticker thing. I am glad I did, this is a pretty decent beer. While it may be a copycat of another style, it is a welcome trend. We need more highly hopped, lower ABV beers. It is nice to get all those PNW hops flavours and still be able to feel our noses. I would still call a brew sessionable only if it was under 5% ABV.


Bottle Rocket ISA = 7/10

This brew is more than just Blue Buck malts with Hop Circle hops. Everything you want is there: floral citrus nose with a hint of pine. You might want to pour it into a glass to get all that. It sips with a decent chewy astringency. The malts are bready sweet and the hops are bright with multi-citrus and pine flavoured gumdrops. This beer is not a flavour powerhouse, but I am sad that my six pack is gone. It was lightly challenging on the palate and enjoyable.


Taste +4
Aftertaste +1
Alcohol Content 0 5% ABV
Value +1
Appearance +1 (nice can art and good description of beer flavour)

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Green Reaper (Phillips)

This is going to be a rough week. Four beer reviews this week. I forgot to try Moon Under Water's fresh hopped IPA. The Phillips fresh hopped IPA release is peculiar. I wonder if the timing for picking of the hops had anything to do with it? Driftwood picked hops September 5 and Satori hit shelves and it hit shelves September 26th (21 days). This is consistent with Oregon Hop Commission recommendations to pick hops mid August to mid September. Phillips' hops arrived past mid month on September 20th and brews hit the shelf October 22nd (32 days). All photos and release dates came from brewer's facebook pages. Makes you wonder is this made any difference; this is no Sartori.

Green Reaper = 3/10

The nose starts off well with muted floral hints and mild fruits. Once the fluid hits the tongue, things go wrong. There is just not much there. The hop residue is a tad flat, maybe a hint of mint, citrus, cotton candy and photocopy paper. The malts are almost non-existant, no chewiness, no breadiness, no nothing. Luckily the ending is nice, only a mild tongue coating of tired citrus hops remain. Maybe it was the picking time, who knows. I have had wonderful IPAs from Phillips. Usually the single hop IPAs in the Hop Box are golden. If you release a fresh hopped, or any IPA, in this town you will meet some fierce scrutiny. It's OK, but I was expecting more.

Taste +1
Aftertaste +1
Alcohol Content +1 6.5%
Value -1 was not impressed
Appearance +1 Always great label art and good description of beer

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Puzzler Belgian Black IPA (Phillips)


This is like Deja Vu. At the end of last year, there were tonnes of new releases. It was hard to keep up. Luckily there are many options for Victoria beer drinkers to enjoy. I only had space in my backpack for one beer tonight: Puzzler by Phillips and Great Lakes Brewery. Not to be confused with Great Lakes Brewing in Cleveland, OH, of the Edmund Fitzgerald Porter fame. The Toronto based Great Lakes makes the Devil's Pale Ale. The last year GCBF mashup was with Garrison's; they attempted a Baltic porter. This year it's the Puzzler Belgian Black IPA.So what does it taste like?

Puzzler = 6/10

This is a typical Phillips hop bomb; so it will be well liked. There is a little voice in my left ear saying, "Remove your bias, ignore the label. What would you say about it now?" Before you attempt to medicate me, the voices were from my spouse at the other end of the couch. This is a hop bomb from the moment you crack the seal; floral and citrus ooze everywhere. Massive aromas of floral and miscellaneous citrus cloud all other nasal intrusions. Maybe a bit of chocolate.. perhaps roasted coffee..maybe some spices.. Each sip reveals little else; tonnes of hops with enveloping astringency. Don't get me wrong,  being from the PNW, I love a good hop bomb. The label eludes to flavours of Belgian yeasts, I'm not getting it. Aging might lesson the hops, but that space should be saved for something else. Perhaps a slightly more spicy Skookum? I'm going to have to use steel wool to remove the hop resins from this glass.

Taste +2
Aftertaste +2
Alcohol Content +1  9.1%
Value 0
Appearance +1 great art and description of beer taste