A Vancouver-based operation, Parallel 49 is a relatively new brewery, but is quickly growing in popularity. They only recently got on my radar thanks to their seasonal Lost Souls Chocolate Pumpkin Porter. And thanks to the BCL, who is now purveying their sample pact, I managed to get my hands on every beer in their lineup.
This includes their Old Boy Classic Ale, the Gypsy Tears Ruby Ale, the Hoparazzi India Pale Lager, and the new Seedspitter Watermelon Wit. Quite the ambitious variety, and it certainly shows a preference for experimentation on behalf of the brewers. Needless to say, I was both intrigued and ambivalent when I picked up the pack, but was pleasantly surprised by the time I had sampled them all. Here’s what my taste buds and other senses had to say.
Old Boy Classic Ale:
A traditional British ale, malty, smooth, and low in hop content (25 IBUs). The appearance is deep brown and clear while the scent is reminiscent of toffee and caramelized sugar. It comes on with mildly sweet and tawny malts, finishing with a light touch of caramel sweetness. A very smooth and subtle ale, clean drinking and quite pleasant. 8.5/10
Gypsy Tears Ruby Ale:
A twist on the traditional pale ale, this “ruby” combines dark malts with west coast hops and dry hopping to produce a complex and layered ale. Dark red in appearance, clear, and boasting a mild, floral aroma, the flavor comes on strong with a burst of citrus hops, moving on to a lingering dry hop flavor. There are also discernible malts that augment the hop finish with a slightly coarse aftertaste. A very appealing new beer and a welcome addition to my favorite pales! 9/10
Another twist on a classic, this so-called India Pale Lager, combines the attributes of a golden lager with some of the more strong characteristics of an IPA. This includes alcohol content (6% alc/vol) and hop content (50 IBUs). Nevertheless, the character is still distinctly that of a lager, with the color a gold-orange and the nose grassy. The taste, while slightly more bitter than your average lager, with notes of grapefruit that linger into the aftertaste. Not sure this was an ideal combination, but the result is still pleasantly refreshing and clean. 8/10
Seedspitter Watermelon Wit:
Now here’s a twist I never would have considered. It’s a well established tradition to combine wheat beer with fruit, but a watermelon wheat? Suffice it to say, it comes through in the flavor. Golden-white in color and translucent, the beer has a strong scent of watermelon and wheat malts. The flavor is much the same, starting with a strong burst of fruit and giving way to a clean, malty finish. 8/10
Not bad Parallel 49. Not bad at all. A rather interesting combination of flavors and styles. I think it’s fair to say that I will be following your exploits with some interest from now on.