Phillips Coast to Coastless Imperial ESB

Phillips_coasttocoastlessBrewer: Phillips Brewing, Victoria, BC
Style: Imperial ESB
ABV: 7.6%
IBUs: Unspecified

Description: Brewed in honor of Canada Day 2015, this beer is the result of collaboration between four separate breweries – Garrison Brewing  (NS), Microbrasserie Le Trou du Diable (QC), Flying Monkeys Craft Brewery (ON) and Phillips Brewing in BC. The end result is an Imperial ESB combining pale malts and dry-hops to create a strong but subtle brew.

Tasting Notes: I do so love a good ESB and it was nice to see that Phillips latest limited release yielded one. As always, there’s the rich malts and notes of baked bread and syrupy goodness. There’s also the dry herbal flavor, which as always has the telltale quality of Pacific Northwest hops – with plenty of citrus and tropical fruit flavor. Happy Canada Day y’all!

Appearance: Dark amber, clear, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Strong malts, dry herbs, notes of citrus and passion fruit
Taste: Strong malt, caramel and sweet bread, dry-hop bitterness, mild citrus
Aftertaste: Lingering hop bitterness, herbs and citrus
Overall: 8.5/10

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Dead Frog Big Stump Spruce Golden Ale

deadfrog_bigstumpBrewer: Dead Frog Brewery,
Style: Spruce Pale Ale
ABV: 6.5%
IBUs: 26

Description: A summer seasonal that celebrates the summer on the West Coast, this brew combines spruce tips with Prairie 2 Row, Maris Otter, Cara 30, White Wheat malts and is then hopped with a combination of Simcoe, Northern Brewer, and Cascade hops.

Tasting Notes: I’ve come to enjoy Spruce ales in recent years. There’s just something about those sprigs that imparts a refreshing flavor to beer. And this brew did a good job of balancing those with a good malt base and some mild hopping that leads to some varied flavor. A good summer drinker!

Appearance: Amber, cloudy, good foam and carbonation
Nose: Pale malt, citrus, pine, resin, tropical fruit, rich spruce notes
Taste: Crisp malt, hint of sweetness, spruce notes, citrus rind, pine and resin
Aftertaste: Lingering spruce flavor and citrus rind, mild malt finish
Overall: 8.5/10

P49 Apricot Opus Apricot Sour Saison

APRICOTOPUS-500-WEBBrewer: Parallel 49 Brewing, Vancouver, BC
Style: Apricot Sour Wheat Ale
ABV: 6.3%
IBUs: 6

Description: This summer seasonal release is a twist on the summer saison. In addition to the infusion of apricots into a wheat and Pilsner malt base, it is fermented with wild strains of Lactobacillus yeast give it a tart, sour twist.

Tasting Notes: Again, this beer made for a interesting combination. The wheat malts are gentle, the apricot provides a hint of sweetness, and the yeast gives it a touch of spice and a mild sour kick that compliments things nicely. It finishes a little on the light side, but still manages to make for a pretty tasty and refreshing brew.

Appearance: Golden, cloudy, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Wheat malt, sharp yeast, spices, pronounced fruit, plum and apricot
Taste: Smooth wheat malt, hint of apricot, sour yeast, golden plum
Aftertaste: Mild tart fruit, yeasty and light wheat malt finish, quite refreshing
Overall: 8/10

VIB and S&O United Front Unfiltered Braun Beer

United-Front-BeerBrewer: Vancouver Island Brewery (Victoria, BC), Steel and Oak (New Westminster, BC)
Style: Keller Lager
ABV: 5.8%
IBUs: Unspecified

Description: A collaboration between Vancouver Island Brewery and the Steel & Oak Brewing Company, the name is also an allusion to the unification of the colonies of Victoria and of 1866. In that same spirit, a mainland and Island brewery have come together to produce a new take on the traditional German style of Keller bier.

Tasting Notes: This brew is definitely a good choice for those who consider themselves fans of Marzens, Kellerbiers, or Bocks. A rich malt base with a mineral tang is accompanied by a mild hopping with trace notes of citrus and grassy flavors. And it finishes both cleanly and with some lingering, crisp malt flavor.

Appearance: Deep amber, clear, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Rich malts, minerals, baked bread, mild grassy hops
Taste: Crisp malt, good tang, sweet bread, mild citrus and grassy hops
Aftertaste: Lingering tang and minerality, clean an crisp finish
Overall: 8/10

P49 Corn Hops Imperial IPA

P49_cornhopsBrewer: Parallel 49, Vancouver, BC
Style: Imperial IPA
ABV: 8.2%
IBUs: 86

Description: P49’s latest summer seasonal is a new take on the Imperial IPA. Combining Pilsner malt with flaked corn, this Imperial IPA is then hopped with a significant dose of Chinook, Ahtanium, and Citra hops to achieve a strong but slightly sweet brew packed with citrus and tropical fruit flavors.

Tasting Notes: This was definitely a consistent P49 offering! As always, the combination was quite interesting and the end result quite flavorful. The infusion of corn added a hint of sweetness and light color to an otherwise malty Imperial IPA. And of course, the heft hopping added plenty of citrus, passion fruit, and pineapple flavors, along with a nice, dry herb essence.

Appearance: Light gold, clear, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Rich malts, good notes of citrus, pineapple, herbs and passion fruit
Taste: Strong malt, hint of corn syrup, notes of citrus, pineapple, pine and herbs
Aftertaste: Lingering hop bitterness, herbs and tropical fruit
Overall: 8.5/10

Russel Peaks and Valleys Extra Pale Ale

Russel_peaks&valleysBrewer: Russel Brewing, Surrey, BC
Style: Extra Pale Ale
ABV: 5.7%
IBUs: 40

Description: In the tradition of locally-sourced, craft beer, Russel’s Peaks and Valleys (a limited release), is made entirely from malt and hops from interior BC. This includes Centennial hops grown by Chilliwack Hop Farms in Chilliwack, BC, and malts produced by Gambrinus Malting in Armstrong, BC. The end product is an extra pale ale that is dry-hopped and unfiltered, and perfect for summer.

Tasting Notes: This beer was a bit of the light side in terms of malts, and a tad on the dry bitter side, at least as far as extra pale ales go. Nevertheless, hoppy without being overwhelming, and smooth enough to be an easy-drinking pale ale. But most of all, it is a testament to the move towards locally-sourced craft brewing that is sweeping the world!

Appearance: Mild amber, cloudy, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Mild malt,s dry hop nose, citrus, grass, hint of lemon and pine
Taste: Crisp malt, dry hop bitterness, notes of citrus rind and grass
Aftertaste: Lingering hop bitterness, dry herbs and citrus rind
Overall: 7.8/10

New Belgium 2015 La Folie Sour Brown Ale

La_Folie2015Brewer: New Belgium Brewing, Fort Collins, CO
Style: Oud Bruine
ABV: 7%
IBUs: 18

Description: This is New Belgium’s 2015 vintage of their La Folie series of sours. Much like last year’s, this beer is brewed in venerated Oud Bruine style of Belgian sours, combining Pale, Munich Carpils, C-80, Chocolate malts are combined with Nugget hops. It is then fermented using wild brettanomyces strains and then barrel aged in oak barrels for up to 3 years.

Tasting Notes: This year’s offering was much as I remember, tart and sour as all get-out! And much like a good sour brown, it possessed all the usual oaky, fruity, and yeast notes, bringing to mind flavors of sour cherry, plum skin, and red wine tannins.

Appearance: Dark brown, clear, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Mild malts, lactic acid, yeast, green apple, oak, red wine
Taste: Smooth malt, burst of tartness, plum skin, sour cherry, green apple, tannins, oak
Aftertaste: Lingering tartness, yeast and oaky notes
Overall: 8/10