Bocq Blanche De Namur

blance_de_namurBrewer: Brasserie de Bocq, Purnode, Belgium
Style: White (wheat) Ale
Alc/Vol: 4.5%

Description: Brewed in honor of the daughter of John, Count of Namur, this wheat ale carries the nickname she was given upon becoming Queen of Norway. Brewed with coriander, licorice and orange peel, it was named “Europe’s Best Wheat Beer” at the 2009 World Beer Awards in the category of Belgian Style Witbier.

Tasting Notes: This beer is an interesting twist on your Belgian Wit, which are renowned for being fruity and spicy (usually from the addition of coriander and orange rind). But in addition, the smooth malts are complimented by a hint of sweetness, both in terms of aroma and taste, thanks to the addition of licorice. The light character also lends a very clean and refreshing finish that has no traces of yeasty bitterness.

Appearance: Light gold, cloudy, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Wheat malt, yeast, coriander spice, orange rind, licorice
Taste: Smooth malt, effervescent yeast, hint of orange, sweetness and spice
Aftertaste: Lingering effervescent yeasts, very clean and refreshing
Overall: 8.5/10

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Russel Angry Scotch Ale

russel_scotchBrewer: Russel Brewing, Surrey, BC
Style: Scotch Ale
Alc/Vol: 6.5%
IBU: 30

Description: As part of Russel’s Brewmaster Series, this beer is brewed in the style of 19th century 90 Shilling Scotch Ales. This entails an extended boil time that intensifies the malt flavor and results in a complex, roasted profile. This strong ale was a bronze medal winner at the 2010 World Beer Cup.

Tasting Notes: This is one of Russel’s limited release beers that I have tried in the past. However, I failed to review it, and couldn’t seem tor recall if I even liked it or not. Having tried it again, I feel understandably ashamed. In addition to be being deliciously malty and complex, its got a fruity and semi-sweet profile that is slightly reminiscent of barley wine – another venerated, British-style ale!

Appearance: Dark brown, clear, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Roasted malt, mild espresso, toffee, sugar and raisins
Taste: Toasted malts, hints of plum, raisins, toffee and citrus hops
Aftertaste: Lingering roasted malt flavor, fruit and mild malt and hop bitterness
Overall: 9/10

Big Rock Fowl Mouth ESB

fowl_mouth_esbBrewer: Big Rock, Calgary AB
Style: Extra Special Bitter
Alc/Vol: 5.5%

Description: Part of the brewery’s Brewmaster Series, the Fowl Mouth is made in the “Cornish Bitter” fashion and combines Pale and Crystal malts with East Kent Golding and U.K. Fuggle Hops to create a dry-hopped English-style pale ale.

Tasting Notes: It’s been some time since I enjoyed a Big Rock beer. I can remember quite fondly when they first began to appear in pubs in Ottawa in the late 90s, and enjoyed many a pint of their Traditional Ale as they years went on. And these days, their product catalog only seems to be expanding, so I knew I had to start catching up. And as far as ESBs go, this one was quite refreshing, had a lovely malt profile, and was surprisingly fruity, in addition to the subtle, dry-hop profile. I definitely want to see more from the Brewmaster Edition and will do my best to review in the future.

Appearance: Copper, clear, milder foam retention and  carbonation
Nose: Rich malt, notes of orchard fruit, English hops
Taste: Smooth crystal malt, mild tang, sweet bread, hint of blackcurrant, dry hop finish
Aftertaste: Lingering malt, chewy bread, mild citrus and dry hop flavor
Overall: 9/10

Fernie Rusty Tractor Weizenbock

Fernie_weizenbockBrewer: Fernie Brewing Company, Fernie, BC
Style: Weizenbock
Alc/Vol: 7.5%
IBU: 23

Description: This spring seasonal beer was inspired by the end of winter and coming of spring for Canadian farmers, hence the agrarian imagery in the name. Brewed with wheat, several different kinds of malts, noble hops, Belgian yeast, and served unfiltered, the resulting beer combines the elements of a wheat ale with a bock-style lager.

Tasting Notes: I am pleased to see the weizenbock style making the rounds, as it combines two distinctive styles that I’m quite fond of. And true to form, it combines the telltale flavor of wheat malts and yeasty flavor of a wheat ale with the dark fruit and chewy mouthfeel of a bock. It also manages to pack some tart fruit and some grassy hop flavor in there to boot, reminiscent of spring fruit and a refreshing lager. Very true to its name and a good addition to summer!

Appearance: Dark amber-brown, cloudy, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Strong wheat malt, yeast, sugars, plums, raspberries
Taste: Rich/coarse and viscous malt, tang, yeasts, notes of tart raspberries and plum
Aftertaste: Lingering malt and grassy hop bitterness, tart fruit flavor
Overall: 8.5/10

Longwood The One That Got Away Red Wheat Ale

longwood_redwheatBrewer: Longwood Brewery, Nanaimo, BC
Style: Wheat Ale
Alc/Vol: 6%

Description: This seasonal “red wheat” ale was inspired by the annual West Coast Tuna Shootout, a fishing derby that takes place in the wild waters off Bamfield, BC. Made using a mix of wheat, barley and a dose of Crystal Malt, it is fermented with what I assume is a combination of yeasts (including a hint of brettanomyces) and then served unfiltered.

Tasting Notes: This is actually the second time I’ve taken a run at this seasonal ale by Longwood’s. The last time around, I noted a rather sharp, almost burnt tang that didn’t sit well with me, and worried I might be sampling a bad batch. However, the second time around, I’ve noted the same basic taste. This is too bad, because it does kind of diminish an otherwise very pleasant beer which comes on smooth, has good notes of yeast, wheat and crystal malts and a hint of tart fruit esters that reminds me of a sour ale. In short, not bad, but not great either.

Appearance: Red/amber, cloudy, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: mild malts, sharp yeast, notes of sour fruit
Taste: Bitter malt, sharp tang, sour cherry fruit esters, mildly grassy finish
Aftertaste: Lingering malt bitterness and sour fruit esters
Overall: 7.5/10

Moon Under Water Berliner-Style Weisse

https://www.straight.com/files/styles/inline_wysiwyg/public/moon.JPGBrewer: Moon Under Water, Victoria BC
Style: Berliner Weisse (White Sour Ale)
Alc/Vol: 3.2%

Description: This beer is a collaboration ale that was crafted with the help of brewmasters Russ Huband and Jonas Bjorkman. Crafted in the Berliner Weisse fashion, a style of regional wheat ale native to Berlin that dates back to the 16th century, the beer if fermented using a combination of yeasts. These include Lactobacillus (for primary fermentation), Saccharomyces (secondary), and Brettanomyces for bottle conditioning.

Tasting Notes: This sampling was my introduction to this resurrected style of beer, and it was quite the interesting experience. In addition to being very light and refreshing, the beer has a highly effervescent character that finishes spicy and sour. Definitely a beer that is well-suited to summer.

Appearance: Light gold, cloudy, visible sediment, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Wheat malt, very yeasty, hint of tart fruit and sour cherry
Taste: Light what malt, champagne-like effervescence, burst of tart/sour fruit
Aftertaste: Lingering hint of sourness and yeast, very clean finish
Overall: 8.5/10

Ommegang Fire And Blood Red Ale

https://i0.wp.com/www.ommegang.com/got/img/bottle-3-fab.pngBrewer: Ommegang Brewery, Cooperstown, NY
Style: Belgian-style Red Ale
Alc/Vol: 6.8%

Description: The newest beer in Ommegang’s Game of Thrones collaboration series, this beer is named after the motto of House Targaryen – “Fire and Blood” – and comes with three labels that show the images of Daenerys Targaryen’s three dragons: Drogon, Rhaegal and Viserion. Like all Ommegang products, this red ale is brewed in the traditional Belgian style, has added spelt and rye malts, anchillo peppers, and is then refermented in the bottle.

Tasting Notes: Consistent with a Belgian-style red, this beer has a rich malt flavor, strong notes of yeast, and just enough malt and hop bitterness to challenge the taste buds. The addition of spelt and rye add a layer of complexity, as do the achillo peppers, contributing to a malt profile that is also dry and tangy in addition to fruity and quite smooth.

Appearance: Deep red, cloudy, good foam and carbonation
Nose: Rich malt, strong yeast, mild floral hops
Taste: Deep smooth malt, yeast, notes of dates and plums, dry tang and rye bitterness
Aftertaste: Lingering rye bitterness, yeasts, and malt sweetness
Overall: 9/10