Moon Under Water Island Berry Harvest Weizen

hefeweizenBrewer: Moon Under Water Brewery, Victoria BC
Style: Hefeweizen (fruit-infused)
Alc/Vol: 7%

Description: As part of Moon Under Water’s Harvest Series, this hefeweizen is infused with an array of berries harvested from Vancouver Island farms. These include strawberries, blackberries and raspberries, which are then mashed and added to the wheat malt along with vanilla beans.

Tasting Notes: This is my first sampling from the Harvest Series and I have to say I like the idea. In addition to being a good summer fruit-infused wheat beer, it also pays tribute to Island farmers and uses locally-sourced ingredients. In terms of flavor, the combination of wheat malt, yeast, tart and sweet fruits and vanilla create a brew that is refreshing, effervescent and tasty.

Appearance: Golden-red, cloudy, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Wheat malt, yeast, notes of raspberry tartness and mild hops
Taste: Wheat malt, yeasty effervescence, tart fruit, strawberry, hint of vanilla
Aftertaste: Lingering tart fruit flavor, yeast, smooth vanilla, refreshing and clean
Overall: 9/10

Dieu du Ciel Rosée d’hibiscus

dieuduciel_roseeBrewer: Dieu du Ciel Brewery, St. Jerome, QB
Style: Belgian Wit
Alc/Vol: 5.9%

Description: Rosée d’hibiscus (Pink hibiscus) is aptly named, being a wheat ale that is infused with hibiscus leaves that give it a deep pink color and a fruity aroma and taste. First brewed in May of 2006, this beer is available in 341ml bottles year round, but is appropriately marketed as a summer beer.

Tasting Notes: This is my first sampling from the Dieu du Ciel brewery, and one which is frankly overdue considering that many of their products are available here in BC. And it was certainly an interesting intro, one that reminded me of Sorrel – one of Jamaica’s most famous beverages (also brewed from plant leaves). The wit base is certainly there, coming through with smooth, yeasty malts, which are then accented by a mildly acidic, slightly tart and fruity flavor. Certainly an interesting take of a Belgian-style infused wheat beer, and definitely a great accompaniment to the coming summer days!

Appearance: Deep pink/ruby, cloudy, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Discernible wheat malt, yeasts, hints of cherry fruit and blossoms
Taste: Immediate tartness and tang, yeast and wheat malt, cherry fruit
Aftertaste: Clean finish, lingering traces of tartness and fruit, very refreshing
Overall: 9.5/10

Parallel 49 Banana Hammock Summer Hefeweizen

parallel49Summer is in full swing and I’m back with more summer beer! Today, I have the honor of sampling Parallel 49’s latest limited release, a summer Hefeweizen which they have – as always – given a clever, punny name! Banana hammock… yeah, that doesn’t elicit images of ugly speedos in your mind, does it? But you have to admit, it gets your attention when you’re beer shopping! And so I picked up the bottle, unsure what to expect from this brewery that is used to throwing curve balls!

wheatbeerAnd I have to admit that I was surprised to see Parallel 49 create something so conventional, at least by their standards. From their Salty Scot ale that combined actual sea salt and caramel with a “Wee Heavy” ale, to their Humphrey Biere de Garde, a farmhouse beer with added rosewater, very few things seem off limits to these people, and no combination appears too strange. Imagine my surprise when I discovered this beer contained no actual banana or other assorted ingredients.

But of course, the end result is a very good brew, consistent with a true Munich/Bavarian wheat ale that contains a fruity, banana-like flavor with yeasty notes and clove-like spice. It began as somewhat light, but this may have been due to the fact that it was served ice cold. I found the flavors asserted themselves at warmer temperatures, the fruit and spice working their way into my palette the more I drank.

Appearance: Deep golden orange, cloudy, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Yeasty, notes of banana and cloves
Taste: Light burst of banana followed by yeasts, mild clove spice
Aftertaste: Lingering yeasty flavor and mild sweetness, quite clean
Overall: 8.5/10

Not at all bad, and they did without any strange additives or stylistic crossovers. I’m impressed all around! Until next time, have a great summer and be sure to compliment this warm weather with a cold brew, preferably on a patio with plenty of friends and food!

Lighthouse 3 Weeds Belgian Wit

lighthouse_maibock_3weedsHello folks. Today, I come to you with a review of a beer that I’ve been neglected for a few weeks now. While this beer has been available, at least in my area, since May, I’ve been hesitant due to the sheer number of Belgian Wits and other assorted wheat beers that have been making the rounds lately. But of course, I am a fan of the variety and I really can’t stand letting a limited release pass me by, so I decided to get on it!

It’s known as the 3 Weeds Belgian Wit, and much like their recent Mountain Goat Maibock (which I have tried a few times but have yet to review), was released in May in honor of spring. Brewed in the traditional Belgian wheat style, it combines pilsner and wheat malts with rolled oats, hops and a dose of coriander spice and ginger. This makes for a brew that can rival the better wits I’ve tried, boasting a gentle malt profile, a yeasty backing, and a some spicy notes that are varied and complimentary.

Appearance: Golden, cloudy, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Spicy nose, yeast, discernible coriander
Taste: Immediate burst of yeast and mild fruit, pineapple, citrus, spiciness
Aftertaste: Lingering spice and yeast flavor, ginger tang
Overall: 8.5/10

Overall, I enjoyed this beer quite a bit. And I was especially intrigued by the addition of ginger, which manages to compliment the coriander quite nicely. Whereas most Wits rely on orange rind or some other citrusy addition to do this, here you get a more layered spicy flavor in the end. It’s especially good as a warm weather beer, but was well-paired with the spicy food that I ate alongside it. I’m actually sorry I resisted it for as long as I did. This and the Maibock would have made a great two-fer review!

Weihenstephaner Hefe Weissbier

800px-Wening_weihenstephanNot that long ago, I discovered a that one of my local purveyors of beer just happened to stock a special German import. What made it special was the fact that this particular beer came from what is recognized as the oldest brewery in the world. For those who don’t know, that would be the Weihenstephan Abbey located in Freisberg, Germany. Established by Benedictine Monks in 768 and licensed to brew beer in 1040, it is officially recognized as the world’s longest continually-operating brewery.

weihenstephanerWell it just so happens that my local beer store, the same place that offered their dark wheat (hefeweisenbier dunkel) has since expanded their inventory and brought in another label from this venerable operation. This time around, it was their flagship wheat beer, the hefeweissbier (or regular wheat) that caught my eye.

Much like their dunkel, it is a refreshing wheat beer that is very yeasty in terms of taste and smell. But unlike the dunkel, it pours a golden straw hue, is light on the palate, possesses light notes of fruit and spice, and finishes very clean. This is to be expected from a standard hefeweizen, which do not boast highly roasted malts or particularly smoky flavors. And given the meal I paired it with, I’d say it’s a top contender for my “Beer That Tames The Fire” list – aka. beer that goes really good with spicy fare! And in addition to its appearance and flavor, it’s also comparatively light on alcohol, weighing in at an even and balanced 5.4% alc/vol.

Appearance: Deep straw gold, cloudy, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Very yeasty, distinct nose of Bavarian-style wheat malts
Taste: Immediate burst of yeast, mild traces of banana and clove spice
Aftertaste: Clean finish, barely a trace of aftertaste
Overall: 8.5/10

Overall, this beer was a nice, light sampler that is very refreshing and perfect for easy drinking or as an accompaniment to spicy food and lighter fare. And I would say it measures up well to other personal favorites, such as Schneider Weisse and Erdinger – beers that are renowned for clean flavor and bubbly goodness! Now I just need to see if I can find some of their Festbier or Korbinian, their Oktoberfest and double-bock beer, respectively. I know someone’s got to have some somewhere in this town…

And be sure to check out the company website to learn more about this historic brewery: http://weihenstephaner.de/

Moon Under Water The Victorious Weizenbock

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logo_weizenbock2

Finally, at long last and after months of stalling, I have managed to procure the the fourth and final beer in the new Moon Under Water lineup. I can remember long ago, back when the brewery underwent a change and released its four newest brews, how I had managed to obtain a bottle of each. But for reasons I prefer to keep to myself, the Weizenbock was lost and did not get its due!

Luckily, I managed to get a fresh bottle during my latest visit to one of my favorite beer stores and have sat down to give it a comprehensive tasting and review. And let me tell you, this fourth and final installment in their new lineup may very well be the best of the lot! It’s up against some stiff competition, but after sampling this beer and assessing its characteristics, I have to give it top marks for ingenuity and taste.

Appearance: Amber-brown, very cloudy, good foam and carbonation
Nose: Gentle notes of wheat malt, toasted sugary malt, clove spice
Taste: Bursts of banana, chocolate, cloves, spice, wheat malts and yeast
Aftertaste: Lingering tang, dance of spice and fruit notes on the tongue
Overall: 9.5/10

In short, the label claims its a combination hefeweizen/bock, and when you taste it, that’s exactly what you experience. In addition to dark, rich malts that are smooth, tawny and delicious, you also get a heaping of banana, clove spice, and the yeasty effervescence that wheat beers are famous for. And at 8.2% alc/vol, its also packs a pretty good punch, but concealed within a velvety glove. And as this beer snob will tell you, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with any of that!

Yes, I think I have a new favorite from this Victoria-based brewery, and possibly a contender for a best wheat as well. Only time will tell…

Chatoe Rogue Roguenbier Rye Ale

Rogue-Logorogue_ryeRye beer is one of those rare treats that few breweries ever attempt, except those that are really adventurous or dedicated to experimentation. So it was little surprise when I learned that Rogue had included a rye ale in their GYO (Grow Your Own) Chatoe Rogue series, a special lineup dedicated to farmers, fermenters and brewers that uses almost exclusively homegrown ingredients.

This is the second GYO beer that I’ve sampled now, the last being their Dirtoir Black Lager, which was quite the experience in itself. This one was a fine follow-up, being very much unique, experimental, and yet very true to the best traditions of craft brewing. In addition to using homegrown rye, Rogue also employed several of their own proprietary malts, hops, and a Weizen yeast, giving it a flavor that is something of a witbier, a dark ale, and a loaf of rye bread.

Appearance: Dark brown/amber, cloudy, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Wheat-like malt aroma, sourness, hint of rye bread
Taste: Light, foamy malts, slight sourness, dark tawny notes, slight rye bitterness
Aftertaste: Yeasty finish and lingering bitterness
Overall: 8.5/10

Yes, quite the experience indeed! I look forward to sampling other beers in this lineup, provided I can find them of course. Might just be time for another road trip to Seattle!