Saturday, June 23, 2012

Nothing to Say and Ola Dubh 18

I have nothing to say. This is troublesome, as Victoria's eminent beer blogger, I should have lots to say. Perhaps I should substitute "eminent" with "only". Even Leapbeer is blogging about Victoria beers more than I am. Perhaps my articles are too short. Joe Wiebe's review of Central City's Imperial IPA was three times as long as mine. Making note to self: pull socks up, get off ass, do something.

In my defense, things have been quiet in the Victoria beer scene. Releases have been slight. Swan's does have the Tessier's Witbeir on tap, one of my favourites. Moon Under Water's summer hefe is not due out for a week or so. Lighthouse will have a new ale coming next week, whenever the caps arrive. Hoyne has a summer wheat beer (not hefe) with honey sourced withing walking distance.

There has not been any good news about beer/alcohol and health. Unless you count the Tim Stockwell media machine that says private BC liquor stores are killing us off. Mice got a bit of good press, demonstrating that they didn't get fat when given a rare nutrient found in beer.

Might as well fall back on an old formula; import beer review.

Ola Dubh 18 = 10/10

Ratebeer 3.84 99th percentile
Beer Advocate 93%

To smell this beer, is to understand the life of a Cooper. Roasted cocoa nibs, peat and ash aromas start the Pavlovian response. You don't sip this beer; it is more like chew. I don't mind a thick and full mouthfeel with abundant tastes of dark chocolate, pecans, whiskey, black berries and #2 HB pencils. Scotch vapours can sometimes fade, but Ola Dubh never leaves. The only downside to this beer is the bottle is too small. I would like to obtain a growler fill of this stuff! Look closely at the label. I want George's job: Master of Wood. 

Taste +5
Aftertaste +2
Alcohol Content +1 8%
Value +1
Appearance +1 (simple and elegant labeling with great description of beer)

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Hoyne Summer Haze Honey Hefe

Every once and a while you get a beer and it is not as expected. A classic German hefeweizen is a glorious beverage. Each sip is an adventure in spicy yeasts with dominating phenols of cloves and esters of banana and bubblegum. If lucky, one gets a tart dose of lemon and yeast. The Summer Haze is not a hefeweizen, none of these flavours are there. This is OK, we can move on.

Hoyne Summer Haze Honey Hefe = 2/10

The nose is faint on this brew, let's call it an American wheat ale for now. There is a slight aroma of juicy wheat and asparagus, not too much. Each sip is smooth, cooling, light to medium and slightly sweet. This is where things go funny. When you look at this beer, you notice an absence of cloudiness. True, this beverage is a bit nebulous, but a true hefe looks like a golden snow storm. Nothing really dominates flavourwise. Yes, there is a pleasant honey taste, blended with wheaty bread and a slight bubblegum linger. Don't get me wrong, people will enjoy this beer. This is a very drinkable beer, but beer geeks will stomp all over this brew. Take it for what it is: a light summer wheat ale with added honey. Did I mention that the honey came from beehives at the Fairmont Empress?

Taste +2
Aftertaste 0 it ends clean
Alcohol Content 0 5.1%
Value 0 I was really looking forward to a hefe
Appearance 0 nice label art. But when you say hefe, please put a hefe inside.

Other hefty reviews
EdelWeiss Snow Fresh
Franziskaner Hefe-weissbier
GIB Hefeweizen

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Gary Lohin talks about Imperial IPA and a Review

When talking to brewers, in the limited extent that I do, I find that they fall into two categories. They are either very brief or they love to talk. It seems Mr. Lohin likes brevity; perhaps he is just short with me. This does signal a big day for beer geeks in BC. Central City has announced that they will produce a limited release line of 650ml bombers. The first is their Imperial IPA followed closely by two versions of Thor's Hammer barley wine (bottle conditioned and bourbon-barrel aged). Both brews have wracked up an impressive amount of awards.
This new line will not sport the famous Red Racer name. "We will not be calling it Red Racer as we may start another brand in the future for high ABV beers," Gary explains. Big IPA indeed: it clocks in at 9.5% ABV and 90 IBUs. These IBUs are real; Gary says they were measured in a lab.
The next question all beer geeks want to ask is, "What hops were used?" Mr. Lohin was a tad vague with his answer. There was only one "C' hop used but also features an "A", "S" and a "M" hop. He wouldn't drop names, but leaves us to speculate. Gary describes the taste as, "a big floral aroma with mango, tangerine, and citrus notes, followed by a long lingering finish."

Central City Imperial IPA = 9/10

The pungent hop aromas are apparent intermediately after the bottle opener does its thing. The nose is very sweet with tropical fruits (mangoes and papaya) and grapefruit rind. Each sip is full and griping with hop bitterness; this is enhanced by a pleasant alcohol warmth. The Central City is quite sweet for an Imperial IPA. Hopheads will delight in the abundance of mangoes, flower essence, guavas, oranges and grapefruit rind. The hops blast begins upfront, last all the way through the sip and lingers for an eternity. Malts are rich, but play a secondary role. A whole wheat bread and nutty malt backbone is but an afterthought. Pair this hoppy brew with a spicy Indian dish for added palate satisfaction. Not into spicy foods? Perhaps a grilled salmon steak topped with a creamy peppercorn sauce would be more to your liking? Myself, I went with a spicy Mexican enchiladas.

Taste +4
Aftertaste +2
Alcohol Content +1 9.5% frighteningly drinkable
Value +1
Appearance +1 Simple, elegant label with good description of flavour