P49 Sun of Hop Belgian Summer Ale

P49_sonofhopBrewer: Parallel 49 Brewing, Vancouver BC
Style: Belgian-style Pale Ale
Alc/Vol: 5.1%
IBUs: 26

Description: Another Parallel 49 seasonal release, this summer ale brings together Belgian Pilsner and Aromatic malts along with a combination of Willamette, Styrian Goldings and Sorachi Ace hops. It is then fermented using a Belgian strain of top fermenting yeast to achieve a summery, smooth flavor with a mixed hop palate.

Tasting Notes: Very little that Parallel 49 does manages to surprise me anymore. In fact, I feel like I’m beginning to become familiar with some of their niches. These include doing crossovers that merge Belgian, English/American and German styles, and the inclusion of hop varieties that normally aren’t associated with the style in question. And this is certainly no exception, employing a Belgian malt base, Belgian yeast, and a combination of American, English and Japanese hops. The end result, as expected, is a smooth, crisp ale that has a yeasty backbone and subtle but complex hop flavor.

Appearance: Light golden, clear, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Grainy malt, Belgian yeast, hint of lemon and herbs
Taste: Crisp, Pilsner-like malt, mild tang, Belgian yeast, mild herbal and lemony hops
Aftertaste: Lingering tang, Pilsner malt, yeasts and mild hop finish
Overall: 8/10

Dead Frog Furious Friar Belgian IPA

Dead-Frog-furiousfriarBrewer: Dead Frog Brewery, Aldergrove BC
Style: Belgian Triple/India Pale Ale
Alc/Vol: 9%
IBUs: 55

Description: A continuation and twist on their Valiant Belgian IPA, the Furious Friar is a hybrid ale that merges an IPA with Belgian influences to craft an extra strong, extra hoppy brew. It is fashioned using a combination of 2 Row, Cara 8, and White Wheat malts, bittered with a generous dose of Columbus and Centennial hops, and fortified with invest sugar before being fermented with Belgian yeast.

Tasting Notes: I can recall the Valiant IPA from last summer being a pretty big hit. The combination of an Belgian Abbey-style ale with a West Coast IPA is something that they’ve already been shown an aptitude for. But this year, I actually enjoyed it more. Not only is the strong malt and generous hopping reminiscent of an Imperial IPA, these same malts and Belgian yeasts also call to mind a good solid Triple or Blonde. In essence, two my absolute favorites in one glass!

Appearance: Orange/amber, cloudy, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Belgian yeast, citrus, tropical fruit, cloves, coriander spice
Taste: Sharp, crisp malt, burst of citrus and passion fruit, Belgian yeast and spice
Aftertaste: Lingering yeast, coarse malt, clove and coriander, citrus rind
Overall: 9/10

Dead Frog Immaculate India Golden Ale

dead-frog-immaculateBrewer: Dead Frog Brewery, Aldergrove BC
Style: India Pale Ale
Alc/Vol: 6.5%
IBUs: 50

Description: A seasonal release from Dead Frog’s expansive (and expanding) lineup, this IPA is brewed is light in color to pay homage to summer. It is fashioned using a combination of 2 Row, Belgian Aromatic, Cara 8, Pale, and White Wheat malts, and then bittered with Cascade, Centennial, and Zythos hops.

Tasting Notes: It’s been awhile since I tried a Dead Frog, and this beer was a good reintroduction. It’s complex malt profile was reminiscent of barley wine with its rich palette and sweetness, which is enhanced by the bitter, piney, citrusy and tropical fruit flavors offered by its varied hop content. It’s strength is well balanced and appetizing, which makes for a good summer IPA.

Appearance: Golden/amber, clear, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Strong malts, varied hop nose, grassy, citrus, pineapple, sugary
Taste: Rich malt, barley wine-like sugars, strong notes of pineapple, pine, citrus
Aftertaste: Lingering bitterness, sugars, citrus rind and pine
Overall: 9/10

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

Saltspring Homegrown American Pale Ale

saltspringBrewer: Gulf Island Brewing, Saltspring Island BC
Style: American Pale Ale
Alc/Vol: 5.5%
IBUs: 80

Description: Brewed for the Hopoxia 2014 – the fourth annual festival dedicated to the brewing of hoppy craft beers – the Homegrown Pale Ale is made using a combination of locally sources hops. These include 90% Nugget, 5% Willamette, and 5% Cascade hops, all grown here in BC and added fresh to this hoppy, unfiltered ale.

Tasting Notes: This ale, in addition to using locally-sourced English and West Coast varieties of hops, was also definitely of the wet-hopped variety. This is clear from the hop flavor which is complex, ever-present, but always subtle. Definitely an interesting offer for Hopoxia – a heavily hopped beer that manages to stay clean tasting and refreshing throughout.

Appearance: Amber, cloudy, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Mild malts, dry, herbal hops, notes of citrus and orchard fruit, pine
Taste: Smooth malt, subtle wet-hopped flavor, piney, herbal, touch of apricot
Aftertaste: Lingering subtle hop bitterness, relatively clean finish
Overall: 8.2/10

Spinnakers Jolly Hopper Imperial IPA

Jolly_Hopper_Bottle-WEBBrewer: Spinnakers Brewpub, Victoria BC
Style: Imperial IPA
Alc/Vol: 8%
IBUs: 100

Description: Named after the flag pirate ships would fly to signal imminent attack, this Imperial IPA is brewed is using a variety of experimental hops, and in significant doses. The end result is a very strong, very hoppy India Pale Ale that combines English-style and West Coast-style brewing traditions.

Tasting Notes: This beer delivered in all the usual departments. It had the strong, coarse malts of an Imperial IPA, plus a very significant dose of hop bitterness. And you can sense the varied hop profile in both the smell and the taste. While it comes through with what appear to be West Coast Cascade, Centennial and Amarillo hops in the taste department, the nose calls to mind Kent, Golding and Fuggles – all English strains. A good IIPA, but definitely not for the faint of heart or unaccustomed.

Appearance: Amber, slightly cloudy, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Rich malt, fruity, English-style hops
Taste: Heavy malt, coarse and tangy, bitter burst of grapefruit
Aftertaste: Citrus rind, lingering malt coarseness
Overall: 7.8/10

4 Mile Pale Ale

4mile_paleBrewer: 4 Mile Brewing, Victoria BC
Style: English-style Pale Ale
Alc/Vol: 5.2%
IBUs: 38

Description: A combination of brewing styles, this pale ale is brewed using English malts and West Coast hops (most likely of the Cascade/Centennial and Amarillo variety). Further indications of its English roots come in the form of extensive dry hopping, which results in a subtle ale with dry, but pronounced hop character.

Tasting Notes: I have to admit, this beer was a tad on the light for me. While I certainly appreciate subtle brews, the hop bitterness was a little too light for my taste, and the finish a little too clean and watery. What was missing was a malt backbone, then the dry hops may have come through better. However, I am prepared to admit that this may have been a false positive. I’ll need another bottle for confirmation, stay tuned!

Appearance: Amber-orange, clear, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Mild malt, citrus notes, grassy and piney hops
Taste: Mild malt, dry citrus bite, notes of grass, pine, and grapefruit
Aftertaste: Mild, dry lingering bitterness, very clean, watery finish
Overall: 7.5/10

Steamworks Rollin’ Golden Belgian Ale

steamworks_rollingoldenBrewer: Steamworks Brewery, Vancouver, BC, and New Belgium Brewery, CO
Style: Belgian-Style Pale Ale
Alc/Vol: 7%

Description: A collaboration ale produced in tandem by Steamworks and the New Belgium Brewery, this Golden Belgian Ale is a very eclectic mix. It starts with Pilsner and Cara 45 malts and then bitters them with Stryian Celeia and Stryian Golding hops. The mix is then given additional flavor from Ancho chillies, De Arbol chillies, and Szechuan peppercorns, and fermented with Belgian yeast.

Tasting notes: While this beer is very consistent with a good Saison, it also packs in influences that range from the traditional Belgian, German and British, and Slovenian. What I immediately noticed was the powerful ginger spice, coriander and yeast. But in time, the Pilsner malts, peppery notes and spiciness really came through. A very interesting combination, and one that brings together two of my favorite breweries.

Appearance: Deep golden/amber, slightly cloudy, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Light malt, Belgian yeast, coriander and mixed spice
Taste: Light malt, immediate burst of ginger spice, yeast, coriander and hot chillies
Aftertaste: Lingering malt, yeast, and spice notes, refreshing and spicy
Overall: 8.5/10

Longwood The One That Got Away Red Wheat Ale (2014)

https://d1c8v1qci5en44.cloudfront.net/photo/2014_08_15/d7333af8244a89b47e52a55c4b9438ce_640x640.jpgBrewer: Longwood Brewery, Nanaimo BC
Style: Wheat Ale
Alc/Vol: 6%

Description: Inspired BC Tough’s annual West Coast Tuna Shootout, a fishing derby that takes place in the wild waters off Bamfield, BC, this wheat ale is crafted using 50% Wheat and a healthy dose of Crystal Malt. The end result is a copper colored, unfiltered ale that is cloudy, malty, and effervescent.

Tasting Notes: Last summer, I had my first sampling of this beer and was not very pleased. I chose to not to review it that time, thinking it might be a bad bottle. However, a subsequent tasting confirmed that the beer was in fact quite coarse and somewhat metallic-tasting. However, this latest batch, recently released with a new bottle (as you can see from the picture above) was surprisingly better. While it still has that characteristic, slightly bitter tang to it, this is nicely balanced amidst flavors of yeast, some tart fruit esters, and a bubbly character. I am therefore upgrading this beer a full point!

Appearance: Dark amber, cloudy, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Wheat malt, tart and bitter fruit esters, minerality, yeast
Taste: Wheat malts, tartness, yeasty effervescence, sour cherry, citrus
Aftertaste: Lingering malt bitterness, minerals and yeast
Overall: 8.5/10

4 Mile Brown Ale

4mile_brownBrewer: 4 Mile Brewing, Victoria BC
Style: English-style Brown Ale
Alc/Vol: 5.3%
IBUs: 40

Description: This English-style brown ale is crafted using five different types of malt, including crystal, chocolate & roasted barley. The result is a dark, full-bodied malty beer with a discernible bitter hop finish.

Tasting Notes: This is my second sampling from the 4 Mile Brewery, and the English inspiration was once again very much apparent. The strong notes of roasted barely and baked bread are immediately apparent upon opening the bottle, and carry on through from the first sip to the last. These are further balanced out with some hop bitterness and malty notes of coffee, caramel and cocoa. A truly lovely beer-drinking experience!

Appearance: Deep brown, clear, mild foam retention and good carbonation
Nose: Toasted malt, baked bread, caramelized sugar, mild coffee
Taste: Dark roasted malts, tang, slight caramel sweetness, notes of coffee, cocoa
Aftertaste: Lingering roasted malt bitterness, hints of coffee and cocoa
Overall: 9/10