Showing posts with label VIB. Show all posts
Showing posts with label VIB. 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, November 2, 2016

Storm Watcher Red Pilsner by VIB

For some unknown reason, I decided to visit VIB today. I heard an empty growler in the trunk and had 30 minutes before violin practice pickup, so growler run it is. The closest place was VIB, Phillips or Moon. Being a beer ticker, I had to try something new. VIB had the red pilsner on tap, which I thought was a new beer. More on that later; don't worry, there is a happy ending. The label on the tap said "Storm Watcher Red Pilsner", didn't VIB already have a beer called Storm Watcher? And what really is a Red Pilsner? Neither BJCP nor Brewers Association has a red pilsner in the guidelines. Perhaps it is a Vienna lager, International Amber lager or an Altbier. This red pils might fit into these categories. Or perhaps, this is just a winter lager? Dang it, is this another VIB recycled beer recipe? Sure tastes like it. I actually plan to cut and paste an old review, because the flavour is similar. Luckily they had 2016 Hermannator and a new IPA called Highway 19. The Highway 19 is your standard IPA dry hopped with Mosiac, at least that is what the nice lady behind the counter told me. She seems very confident and believable. I got a sample also; SPOILER ALERT, it's good.

Storm Watcher = 6/10 

This ruby red brew is nice to look at, even though there is no foamy head. Despite the lack of head, it still offers up hints of vanilla and caramel with slight spicy hop presence. A cool creaminess delivers lots of malts - think graham crackers, caramel and raisins. There is also a continuous presence of vanilla that is not overpowering. The ending is sweet, quenching and ever so slightly astringent.  The storm watcher will appeal to beer drinkers who like their brews on the sweet side.

Taste +3
Aftertaste +1
Alcohol Content 0 5.5%
Value +1 (yes, I would drink this beer again)
Appearance +1 I liked the label the first time

Glassware: Clean lager glass

Food Pairings: This would pair perfectly with an unsmoked ham and cheese sandwich on rye. Perhaps a caramelized onion and mushroom cream sauce over buckwheat noodles. Maybe a desert of sticky toffee pudding would accentuate this lagers sweetness. Come to think of it, the Storm Watcher could be used to make a hot toddy.

Cellar: Nope

Sunday, July 26, 2015

United Front by VIB and Steel and Oak

I am a little bit behind, so most likely everyone has processed/recycled this beer already. If not, then you should go and drink one. The current trend in beers is to brew obscure and forgotten styles: gose, grisette, gratzer, etc. While the kellerbier/zwickelbier is not obscure it does by far have the coolest name. The United Front collaboration beer label states "unfiltered braun beer". When you say unfiltered lager, you might be referring to a kellerbier. This translates from the German to read "cellar beer", or beer served directly from the lagering cellar. Braun means that is the brown, as there are pale (helles) or amber (Marzen) versions of kellerbier. So what did the beer prick think about the front?

United Front = 6/10

The aroma was a little subdued with hints of mint and lettuce; so a well lagered aroma. Dissolved yeast provided a suitable mild to medium mouthfeel with a slight slickness of diacetyl. Diacetyl was low which is suitable for this style. As with any beer that declares the use of Vienna style malts, the dominate flavours were lightly toasted, grainy with small amounts of earth. Rounding out the palate were dark fruits, prunes and a little green apple. Green apple is not unheard of for an unfiltered lager. These tastes did not linger and provided a clean finish.  

Taste +4
Aftertaste 0
Alcohol Content 0 5.8%
Value +1
Appearance +1 (simple label are relatively good description of flavour)

Glassware: A lager glass, common pint or a dimpled mug

Food Pairings: Roasted light meats, pork, burgers, lamb. Could also work with grilled vegetables or kabobs.

Cellar: The dissolved yeast might further change the flavour, but the simple malts and low hop presence, cellaring might not be suitable.

Vital Stats:
SRM 16.5. On the label the EBC (European Brewing Convention) of 32.5 was stated. EBC= 1.97*SRM. This above the range for a Vienna lager (9-15), in the range for an altbier (11-17) and low end for a Munich Dunkel (14-28).
IBU 35. This IBU range makes it hoppier than most German lagers, except for the altbier which has a very wide range (25-50).

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Mile High Mountain Ale - Vancouver Island Brewery

This is the first, or maybe second, beer VIB has released since it sacked most of it's beer geek employees. Maybe the Bohemian Pilsner was first. Many of us in the beer geek community were worried about all those passionate beer drinkers displaced by this shake-up. No worries, most have found jobs in the local craft beer industry. The label of the Mile High reads ,"blahblah blah hop forward, Northwest-style blahblah blah dry-hopped aroma... blahblah blah sessionable ale." Marketing certainly hit all the popular key words that resonate with craft beer. Sadly this beer did not live up to any of these claims, except for the Northwest part. I could neither taste, not smell any forward hops and sessionable is below 5%. Is there a false advertising law that applies to craft beer?

Mile High Mountain Ale = 3/10

Mile High is beer; that is all. It is a reasonably well crafted beer. I thought it tasted like a slightly maltier Piper's. The nose was a pleasant mix of bread crusts and raisins. A high carbonation sip delivered a medium to full body that was slightly cooling. Each sip added nothing new: slightly fruity, raisins, dark grapes, prunes and a vague hop bitterness. It finished relatively clean with an earthy lager character. Once it warmed up though, there was a bit of the D-bomb approaching. Certainly a very calm beer that will appeal to the masses. Not another Sabotage brew that pushed VIBs beer reputation higher.

Taste +2
Aftertaste +1
Alcohol Content +0 5.9%
Value +1 (it's not bad, just not exciting)
Appearance -1 (label looks like it was made an unemployed cartoon artist and the description was no way close to the taste)

Glassware: Any clean pint glass will do. Yes, you Brian.

Food Pairings: Meaty, calm foods would be idea. Try with a pulled pork sandwich.

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

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, September 25, 2013

Black Betty Saison (VIB)

Without any fanfare, Vancouver Island Brewery released the Black Betty Saison. Normally, there is a media blitz with contests, brewery tastings and samples for local bloggers. The saison is normally a dry, lemony brew with a pronounced noble hop bitterness. Hops flavours are greater than expected due to restrained malt body. A high attenuation yeast will do that. This is also one of those beers that people like to flavour, along with stouts, lambics, wheat ales and porters. I have this disdain for flavoured porters, perhaps it is because I like porters and few local breweries make an unflavoured one. In this blogger's opinion, fruit flavoured beers are patio fare. But blackberries are a late harvest berry, fall has come early and this beer tastes great so its timing can be over looked. [VIB just announced an open house Sat. Oct 5th from 1-4pm with samples of Black Betty and the returning Storm Watcher Winter Lager]

Black Betty Saison = 6/10

There is reason to be cautious about smelling a berry flavoured beer. Often the nose is unbearably sweet. Luckily this is not the case with Black Betty. It is pleasantly blackberry with a hint of spice. This beer is not overly carbonated and the medium-light body ends with a slight sweet berry linger. Black Betty's flavour is as described, a nice balance of berry sweetness, cracker malts with a hint of spicy yeast character. This is not a flavour powerhouse but just a nice brew.

Taste +3
Aftertaste +1
Alcohol Content 0 6.3%
Value +1
Appearance +1

Glassware: Pick either a fluted Pilsener, elongated tulip or a white wine glass

Food Pairings: Restrained enough to go with any meal. Would go nicely with a fruit flan desert. The berry flavours will resonate and the carbonation and alcohol will lighten the heavy creaminess of the flan. A good cheese option would be a chevre mixed with berries. Even better, put that goat cheese on a mixed greens salad and toss with a berry vinaigrette.

Cellar: Nope, drink it fresh.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Festival Ale (Vancouver Island)

This beer was created for two up island music festivals: Vancouver Island Music Fest and VicFest. The different labels contain the same lightly dry hopped Pilsner-like beer with ale yeast. Before you all start rolling your eyes, just wait a minute. Not every beer needs to be a palate challenging, imperial, wood aged and exotic yeast gastronomic masterpiece. These beers have their place; like at a beer gathering where you debate whether you are tasting are Thompson, Flame or sultana raisins. Beers like the Festival ale are perfect for hot days listening to outdoor music. That being said, I enjoyed this beer. It was simple yet tasty. There was no flavour wheel thought involved.

Festival Ale (Vancouver Island) = 4/10

Straight off the nose draws you in with light citrus and floral aromas. The malts are clean with a little bit of honey and  vegetal chewiness. Lots of carbonation cleanses the tongue and leaves a barely discernible spicy and citrus hop snap. That is it, very Kolsch like. Lots of people will like this beer.

Glassware: Fluted Pilsner or stange. The pictured glass is the wrong choice for this and any other beer. I was too lazy to go downstairs and get the proper glass.

Food Pairings: early dinner course options like salad or cheese and crackers. Lobster, pasta and seafoods are other good options.

Taste +3
Aftertaste 0
Alcohol Content 0 5%
Value +1
Appearance 0

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Absolute Darkness (VIB)

This the forth bomber release by VIB. A unique India Dark Ale release is the flavour this quarter, even if the style name is unspeakable. Like always, VIB lets loose the marketing machine and highlights something local. In this case it is the Horne Lake caves and campground. The very busy release party had several people promoting this Island attraction. Well done for supporting Island events.

Absolute Darkness = 7/10

The first thing to hit you is the grassy and floral hop nose. It is quite pronounced, but I don't seem to mind. This grassiness takes a backseat to the sip of equal parts floral, lemongrass and slight spruce hop assertiveness. Then the dusty, milk chocolate and toast malts make an appearance. They are all in perfect balance, but the floral grasses never really go away. The aftertaste reminds me of lavender candies I got from Harrods.  It is a tasty beer and no doubt people will enjoy it, but something is out of sorts. Maybe the nose is a tad too grassy and the body a little thin, but these are my delusions of beer critic grandeur speaking.

Taste +3
Aftertaste +1
Alcohol Content +1 6.5%
Value +1
Appearance +1 (supercool glow in dark label)

Friday, November 30, 2012

Dough Head (Vancouver Island)

This is the first repeat of VIB bomber seasonals. Oddly I had a hard time finding this beer, it was sold out everywhere I went in Victoria. Perhaps this is a good sign. So what did I think?

Dough Head = 6/10

It is what it is: gingerbread beer. People who like this holiday delicacy will be all over this bottle. Those who are creeped out by simulated festive cannibalism (eating gingerbread men) should probably choose another bottle. The Doughy nose is delightful of wet gingerbread dough, heavy nutmeg, cloves and all spice. Might be a little ginger and cinnamon in there too, but mostly nutmeg. The sip delivers the same flavours in liquid form. Perhaps it feels a bit thin in the mouthfeel, but that is just me being picky. Enjoying one bottle is enough for me this year. Food pairings? Save this one for dessert; it would go well with pumpkin or sweet potato pie. This might actually taste pretty good warmed with a side dish of shortbread.

Taste +3
Aftertaste +1
Alcohol Content 0 5.5%
Value +1 it's nice
Appearance +1 (label adequately describes flavour)

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Storm Watcher Winter Lager (VIB)

The Storm Watcher from VIB will be their winter rotation beer. It replaces the Beachcomber for Victoria's cold season. Hopefully this beer will not be overlooked, but I fear it might. In the winter there is always a plethora of big and bold releases: pumpkin beers, fresh hopped ales, barley wines and stouts. Hopefully this one is not lost in the rush of releases, because it is a nice little brew. I got my six pack early, but the Storm Watcher should hit the CBAW shelves Monday morning.

Storm Watcher Winter Lager = 6/10

This ruby red brew is nice to look at, even though there is no foamy head. Despite the lack of head, it still offers up hints of vanilla and caramel with little hop presence. A cool creaminess delivers lots of malts - think toffee, caramel, slight coffee, honey and biscuits. There is also a continuous presence of vanilla that is not overpowering. The ending is sweet, quenching and ever so slightly astringent.  The storm watcher will appeal to beer drinkers who like their brews on the sweet side. This would pair perfectly with an unsmoked ham and cheese sandwich on rye. Perhaps a caramelized onion and mushroom cream sauce over buckwheat noodles. Maybe a desert of sticky toffee pudding would accentuate this lagers sweetness. Come to think of it, the Storm Watcher could be used to make a hot toddy. That would help to keep the winter chill away.

Taste +3
Aftertaste +1
Alcohol Content 0 5.5
Value +1
Appearance +1 (really nice artwork and a good description of flavour)

Other Wintery Reviews:
Red Racer Winter Warmer

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Iron Plow (Marzen) - Vancouver Island Brewery

No one will fault VIB for launching an Oktoberfest beer a tad early. Any new release after a quiet beer summer is greatly appreciated. VIB has talked big about seriously participating in the craft beer scene. We are starting to see it: bomber releases, growler fills, casks and rotating seasonals. While the styles chosen have not been overly adventurous (except for the Flying Tanker), each release has been solid and embraced by the beer masses. The Iron Plow marzen/Oktoberfest is no exception. This style is inherently drinkable yet overlooked by beer makers. Perhaps the stigma of oompha music, massive jugs of beer, bigger jugs in ladies' shirts and drinking in big tents has frightened off brewers. This is sad. The marzen should be available all year round, so that you can enjoy oompha music and pretzels in the privacy of your den.

Iron Plow = 6/10

The nose predicts drinkability with few surprises. A long lingering, fluffy head emits an aromatic toasted cereal and an essence that can only be described as 'lager'. Sweetness is the first thing you notice; it is similar to chewing on a piece of toast for a long time. Its creaminess only perpetuates a chewy sweetness which the dry, herbal hops end abruptly. The linger is a little longer than expected, a tad sticky, but nothing out of sorts. This is not a palate challenger; the flavours are straight forward and enjoyable. An ideal food pairing would be anything roasted: pulled pork sandwich, veggie kabobs, bison burger with caramelized onions and smoked Gouda or prawns. Maybe a plate of hummus and pita or falafel burger. Just give me any whole wheat sandwich with cream cheese and I would be happy.

Taste +3
Aftertaste +1
Alcohol Content 0 5.8%
Value +1 (A very pleasant brew)
Appearance +1 (Good description of beer on label. Why are everyone's labels starting to look the same?)

More Marzen
Paulaner Oktoberfest
Gordon Biersch Marzen
Buckerfields Lederhosen lager

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Flying Tanker (VIB)

This is the first bomber from Vancouver Island in recent history. It is a very good sign for Victoria's beer drinkers. Here are the reasons why. The first is that there is now another brewery in town producing limited releases. The second is that this release is a new style and not a duplication. The third is that this beer is hoppy and really good. The fourth is that VIB doesn't export to the mainland, which means more beer/casks for us.  It is good to see the local boys/girls trying new styles, giving us beer geeks something new.

Flying Tanker White IPA = 9/10

I am aware that this is probably the wrong glassware choice for an IPA, but I never get to use my massive Hoegaarden glass. The first thing you will notice is the massive floral, citrus hop nose which hides the slightly spiciness of the Weihenstephan yeast. Next comes the chewiness of the hefe with all the tart yeasty goodness. In quick succession is a slight sourness blended with cream of wheat, lavender, grapefruit rind, lemon and wool. This beer is great and should - no make that will - sell out quickly. I don't think it will cellar well, but who has that much patience. Well done!

Taste +4
Aftertaste +2
Alcohol Content +1 6.8%
Value +1
Appearance +1 fun and descriptive label