Showing posts with label Session. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Session. Show all posts

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

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?


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, 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)

Monday, June 6, 2011

Stuart's Natural Session Ale

Still working on my goal of getting all my beer notes written up. Hopefully this session ale thing is not a trend. It is great to have a beer that you can quaff and not stumble around afterwards

Stuart's Natural Session Ale = 6/10

2.75 30th percentile
Beer Advocate C+

The golden ale is either a love or a loath. There is no where to hide off flavours. This brew had nothing to hide: white bready malts, honey, straw, grass and more citrus than one would expect. Each sip was a good palate cleanser; lots of carbonation got this job done. Extremely refreshing sips of honey, lemons and grass were not diminished by the slight vegetal body. Perhaps sitting on a patio made this beer taste better.

Taste +3
Aftertaste 0
Alcohol Content +1 3.7% Should be -1 but this low ABV and big taste is a plus
Value +1
Appearance +1 STUBBY BOTTLE

Golden Ale Salt Spring Island
Session Premium Lager
Stone Levitation Ale

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Discovery Low Gravity Ale (Spinnakers)

We need more low ABV brews. Not the 0.5% grocery store type, and certainly not the 4.2% macro pale lager swill. I'm referring to the 3.8%-4.5% brews that actually have flavour. I was out with the b oys at Moon Under Water last night. Their new brown ale was on my 'ticker' list; it was pretty decent. Dry toasted malts, faint herbal hops and a tad thin. Which is just what a brown ale should be: nice, simple and drinkable.

Then I had to go for another: the Blue Moon Bitter. This brew picked up top prize in the CAMRA Vancouver “Fest of Ale Spring Sessional Brewers" challenge. It was a much deserved nod of accomplishment. For a 3.8% brew it packs more aroma and taste than one would expect. If you like your bitters, this is one brew you must try.

This brings me to the new low ABV brew from Spinnakers. Their Discovery Low Gravity Ale floated in at a mere 3.8%ABV. But how does it taste?

Discovery Low Gravity Ale (Spinnakers) = 6/10

The nose is very faint of toasted cereals, grass and light minerals. As expected, the s ip it was thin and very light bodied with almost no carbonation. Only the faintest of flavours came up but they were enough to fill the mouth nicely. There was whole wheat toast, thin sherry, and a small slap of herbal/mineral hops at the end. As the brew warmed up, a bit of nut and citrus (lime) fruitiness came out. The aftertaste is almost non-existant; just a dry nut, tongue coating. This beer is not for everyone. The macro crowd will ask what those odd flavours are. The big flavour beer geeks will wonder.. actually they would never try it. I liked it: very easy drinking and refreshing. At the bottom of the glass, there was no noticeable influence from the alcohol.

Taste +3
Aftertaste 0
Alcohol Content +1 3.8% (normally this would score a -1 but I can do what I want)
Value +1
Appearance +1 (nice label)

Stone Levitation Ale

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Stone Levitation Ale

Ratebeer 3.52 94th percentile
Beer Advocate B+

Taste +5
  • Glorious sweet grapefruit/citrus nose
  • colour is deep amber/red with light tan head
  • very hop assertive with good blast of citrus that fades to reveal a thin and thin lightly toasted bready malt
  • very cooling on tongue like menthol
Aftertaste +2
  • citrus hops leave a light/slick coating on tongue
  • long menthol coolness
Alcohol Content -1 4.4%

This should really be considered a plus

Value +1

Now this is a true session ale.

Ingame Enhancement +1

I really gotta change this category, but I must bump this beer's score up.

Overall 8/10

This is a great low alcohol ale with lots of the hop flavours we all crave.