Showing posts with label CentralCity. Show all posts
Showing posts with label CentralCity. Show all posts

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

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

BC Craft Beer Goes Far

On a recent trip to Seattle, I was greeted by an unexpected sight. Smack in the middle of my favourite Whole Foods was a display of Driftwood Singularity and Fat Tug. Upon further examination, there was Red Racer, Howe Sound and more Driftwoods in the beer cooler. The stack of Unibroue Ephemere by the green apples was appropriate, but BC craft brewers in the States?
Email is wonderful: let's go to the source and ask why our great beers are leaving the province?
"We [Driftwood] are really a result of the Cascadia craft beer renaissance that originated from Northern California, Oregon & Washington State," explains Gary Lindsay from Driftwood. "We don't consider international borders when looking at a relevant market to share our efforts."
Dave Fenn (one of the HoweSound owners) agrees, "We think it's important to compete in these markets, much like US breweries are competing with us in British Columbia. We get recognition within a huge market, and many search us out when visiting Canada."
The bigger beer market not gone unnoticed by Gary Lohin of Central City, "We look at North America as our market, and hope to build some traction when the new brewery opens." Central City can be found in Chicago, Boston, Philly, and Portland (Maine). Howe Sound sales in Washington, California, Wisconsin and Minnesota. These markets are a small percentage of overall Howe Sounds, but they are growing steadily.

Shipping product stateside is not always about sales. Gary Lindsay explains, "I think we feel we belong in the Seattle market and it and gives a bit of a 'personal' validation to be able to sell our beer in an extremely discerning market." Dave Fenn concurs, "We started our US work about 4 years ago, and participate in local festivals where our beer is sold.  I believe this is one important way for our brewery to grow in terms of knowledge and new ideas."

Thankfully the local brewers are not forgetting their local markets. Gary Lohin never forgets the locals, "We in fact sell all over BC, and in Alberta and Manitoba selectively. Red Racer was just given a general listing on Ontario, which means access to 264 of their stores."
"This market in no way compromises our [Howe Sound] ability to distribute in Canada.", say Dave Fenn. Howe Sound is in 180 BCLDB stores, over 200 private stores in BC, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and soon Ontario.

What does this mean for local beer drinkers? Who knows? Hopefully access to bigger beer markets will spill over into more seasonal releases and a greater chance for experimentation. This will only make things better for the craft beer scene in BC.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Central City Tripel

This was a welcome surprise at Veneto Lounge. I was preparing for the standard offerings of draft beer, so this was a welcome surprise.

Central City Tripel = 6/10

3.13 47th percentile
Beer Advocate B+

The nose was spot on for an abbey: faint apricots, passion fruit and sweet. A creamy, full-medium mouthfeel carried a good amount of alcohol tingle. With no draft list in front of me the ABV was unknown, but you could tell the beer meant business. There was more fruitiness than expected. Lots of sweet apricots, guava, tropical fruits came in a smooth but warming package. The ending was good and dry with a tongue coating of floral hops. I found it a little sweet, but still enjoyable.

Taste +2
Aftertaste +1
Alcohol Content +1 9%
Value +1 (free beer always rates high)
Appearance +1

Scuttlebutt Tripel 7
GIB Jolly Abbott 2009
St. Bernardus Tripel

Friday, December 10, 2010

Red Racer Winter Warmer

I love a winter warmer beer, but I say this about every style of beer. The exception pale lagers. They heat the soul and coated the tongue with rich dark fruit flavours.

Red Racer Winter Warmer
SCORE = 8/10

Ratebeer 3.12 47th percentile
Beer Advocate A-

The nose is very caramelly with dark fruits and alcohol. I can hardly wait. Alcohol burns straight away and yields to a syrupy and medium/full mouthfeel. Evey sip is ripe with dark fruits in syrup (plum and raisins). There is no hop presence. The long alcohol warmth lingers with enhancements of rum cake. It was very tasty but I'm not sure I would buy it again. There was too much alcohol burning.

Taste +3
Aftertaste +2
Alcohol Content +1 7%
Appearance +1

It was a nice addition to the Central City winter variety pack.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Red Racer Craft Lager

Ratebeer 2.55/5 21st percentile
Beer Advocate B-

Taste +2

Yup this was a lager; the nose was clean with faint grass and that standard lager smell. Luckily there was a faint floral hop accent at the start that was mixed in with the fizz. There were very faint grassy malts and slightly fruity - luckily to corn.

Aftertaste 0

The ending was clean, crisp with only the barest of grass

Alcohol Content 0 5%

Value 0

It was slightly above average lager.

Ingame Enhancement 0


Overall 2/10

Don't get me wrong, this was a good lager. Lagers never score well with my rating scheme. It is flawed and I'm OK with that.

Granville Island Lager

Session Premium Lager
Paddock Wood Black Cat

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Red Racer IPA

Red Racer IPA

Ratebeer 3.73 93rd percentile
Beer Advocate A

This is a great beer. It was voted best beer in BC by Camra in 2010 . On it was voted the 21st best beer in Canada.

Taste +4

It is true to the West Coast IPA style with a big citrus and pine hop nose. There was a little more pine than citrus. The smooth mouthfeel delivered a good smack of pine/resiny hop assault that was mixed with a little citrus. It was not so overpowering that you missed the butter and caramel malts. Whenever the glass got near your nose, the hops hit you again.

Aftertaste +2

It was a long and drawn out astringent hop bitterness. The resin and pine had a slight tart and grassy sweetness to it.

Alcohol Content +1 6.5%

Value +1

This was nicely done IPA. It was hoppy and very drinkable.

Ingame Enhancement +1

No gaming tonight, but I did get all my tasting notes caught up.

Overall 9/10

This is a great IPA and nicely balanced. The balance was shifted a bit to the hop side, but that is what you want in a great IPA.

Brew Free or Die IPA
Brockton IPA (GIB)
Pliny the Elder

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Red Racer White Ale

Red Racer White Ale
Wheat/Witbier Ale

Ratebeer 2.97 37th percentile
Beer Advocate B+

Taste +2

Nothing really shocking in the nose: wheat, grass, lemon and orange spice. The taste is right with a slight lemon/orange citrus hints. There is also the tang of yeast/wheat but it just seems so uninspired.

Aftertaste 0

It was dry and clean with the simplest of yeast and citrus tang.

Alcohol Content 0 5%

Value 0

The wife liked it.

Ingame Enhancement 0


Overall 2/10

It was a mass appeal Belgian wit beer. All the standard flavours were there: wheat, orange, lemon and yeast. It was just a little lack-luster for a beer snob like me.

Red Racer Classic Pale Ale
Estrella Damm Inedit

Allagash White

Monday, January 12, 2009

Red Racer Classic Pale Ale (Central City) and L4D etiquette

Flavius: WOOT, that night of L4D with Nightware and Painkiller was awesome.
Meterman: It was fun but we need a little online etiquette from you?
M: DO NOT burp into the mic, it makes us think a Boomer is around.
M: You also gotta a quit smoking; it is confusing us.
F: HACK, sorry
M: BTW, whenever you die; your whining sounds just like a witch!
F: Maybe I should turn off my mic.
M: Not maybe!

Red Racer Classic Pale Ale (Central City)

Rate Beer 3.17 54 percentile
Beer Advocate B+

As all Vancouver Islanders do; I have a love/hate relationship with Vancouver. I hate the ferries, the traffic, the rude people but I love returning to the Island. I was crossing Robson street (at Davies) when I twisted by ankle and fell like a sack of grain. I'm sure someone stepped over me as I lay sprawled out in the middle of the street. Fearing for my life (did I mention that I hate the drivers), I hobbled to the other side of the street. No one offered to help me and only one person asked if I was OK. This beer was the highlight of my trip.

Taste +3

The nose started off with a nice dose of hops. The taste was as expected from the nose, a nice long pull of hoppy bitterness with tones of grapefruit and light citrus. The hops was about 5/10. This all rested on a good backbone of malt sweetness. Overall a good mouth filling beer.

Aftertaste +1

The very slight hop bitterness finished clean.

Alcohol 0 5%

Well your can't expect too much from a mass produced can.

Value +1

This was very reasonable priced for the flavour; $11 for a 6-pack cans.

Ingame Enhancement -1

I spent the evening in my hotel room; leg elevated with my ankle in a tensor bandage.

overall 4/10

This beer was the helping hand that I never got. I found this to be a very enjoyable and drinkable beer. This will certainly be a regular in my fridge.