Red Racer has been on my hot list lately. In fact, until recently it was one of craft brewing’s best kept secrets as far as I was concerned. Now, I know what just about every fan of micro-brewed beer knows, which is that this Vancouver brewery can output some seriously fine beer.
But before you think I’m fawning, let me assure you that this reputation is well earned. Usually, I like to sample at least three beers from a brewery before giving them a stamp of approval. Because, let’s face it, any brewery that makes a few fine products, but surrounds them in a deluge of watery or skunky beers isn’t worth its keep! However, when you begin to sample from a brewery and you find yourself approving of every beer you’ve had thus far, you got to assume they are doing something right.
Appearance: Deep amber hue, transparent and good head
Nose: Citrusy and dry, reminiscent of cascade hops
Taste: Immediate dry hope taste, giving way to floral notes and nuts
Aftertaste: Lingering bitterness and dry hop taste
And just for an added treat, here is a clip from Red Racer’s own website with Garry Lohin, Red Racer’s brewmaster himself, describing the product. Enjoy!
A weizenbier, India Pale Ale combination… I’ll be honest, I had my doubts. Though I’ve recently become quite fond of how Vancouver Island Brewery and its colleagues have been using their seasonal lineups to experiment, I really thought they were off their rocker with this one. And yet, the final product was actually quite tasty, not to mention consistent from a paired-characteristics point of view.
For example, wheat beers are typically brewed with citrus and spices in order to achieve a more complex palette. At the same time, IPA’s boast a rich hop flavor which is usually described as citrusy and fruity. So really, merging the two is not that big a stretch. In the end, what you get is something that combines the rich malts of a wheat with the natural citrus-flavored bite of an IPA.
Appearance: Deep golden amber, cloudy and translucent
Nose: Sweet, malty aroma typical of a wheat, slight floral touch of hops
Taste: Smooth wheat profile, giving way to strong citrus bite reminiscent of fresh grapefruit
Aftertaste: Bitter and lingering, the taste of grapefruits staying on the tongue for some time to come.
Finally, I got around to picking up this Driftwood seasonal. These days, I’m not that big a fan of stouts, but that’s mainly because of the proliferation of them, most of which tend towards the higher gravity and bitter tasting. But alas, if I’m going to be picky (as opposed to snobby) I’m going to miss out on things!
What’s more, I realized after doing a review of the Driftwood Brewery that there an exorbitant amount of seasonals and special releases which I have yet to review. This seemed like the perfect place to start.
For starters, this beer is “Imperial”, which in the case of stout implies that it is a variety of strong stout that was made especially for export from London to the Russian royal court during the 18th century. At 11.8% alc/vol, this beer certainly fits into the strong category! Add to that the fact that they aged it in Bourbon barrels and you’ve got yourself a pretty interesting combination.
As for the rest, well, I’ve broken that down into the usual tasting format:
Appearance: Blacker than the inside of a cow, as advertised!
Nose: Toasty malts, oats, molasses and a distinctive touch of whiskey sourness
Taste: Slight sweetness, quite smokey, tangy bite of whiskey malts
Aftertaste: Quite bitter and lingers for a long, long time
Hello all and welcome to the I Am The Beer Snob! My real name is Matt, and I’m a freelance writer, teacher, Tae kwon-Do instructor and culinary enthusiast. For years now I’ve been honing my beer knowledge, sampling beers from around the world, learning about the history of beer, and studying the brewing process. Through my reviews and discussion topics, I hope to convert the uninitiated and promote the amateur enthusiast to the ranks of true snobhood! In addition, I also offer advice on good pairing and where particular favorites can be found here in beautiful BC. Enjoy!