Tofino Hunt and Gather Kettle Sour

Hunt&GatherBrewer: Tofino Brewing, Tofino, BC
Style: Sour Ale
ABV: 4.0%
IBUs: Unlisted

Description: Tofino’s latest seasonal offering (available throughout the Summer and Fall) is a twist on one of the latest trends in brewing – which is the resurgence of kettle sours. Using west coast salal and blackberries, this beer is fermented using lactobacillus and saccharomyces yeasts, and then served unfiltered for a refreshing summer thirst-slaker!

Tasting Notes: I am a big fan of beers that incorporate blackberries. As far as I am concerned, that is a fruit brewers have not done nearly enough with! But this combination, which incorporates the venerable salal berry – a fruit with very deep roots in West Coast culture – was quite the treat. And its a good accompaniment to the sour yeast flavor, adding a level of tart fruit flavor to the lactic acid sharpness. And the light malt base ensures that it’s an entirely refreshing experience that cuts through thirst like cold lemonade!

Appearance: Amber/red, mildly cloudy, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Mild malt, wild yeast, lactic acid, tart fruit
Taste: Smooth start, burst of tart fruit, yeast, lactic acid,
Aftertaste: Lingering yeast and tart fruit flavor, very refreshing finish
Overall: 8/10

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Phillips Super Cooper Anniversary Ale

Super-Cooper-Anniversary-AleBrewer: Phillips Brewing, Victoria, BC
Style: Imperial Pale Ale
ABV: 11.6%
IBUs: Unlisted

Description: In honor of their anniversary, Phillips offers another specially-themed limited release brew. This time around, the theme is Donkey Kong, which alludes to the bourbon barrel-aging process the Imperial Ale goes through. The result is then dry-hopped with American varieties, giving it a flavor profile that is potent and flavorful.

Tasting Notes: I was reminded of Russel’s Nectar of the Gods with this one, though with some added octane! The bourbon barrel-aging adds a hint of smokey, vanilla-like flavor and fruity esters that pair well with the strong malt base, which is then complimented by notes of citrus, tropical fruit and herbs. And of course, the alcoholic bite, which is present throughout, but not overwhelming. Still, not a beer for the faint of heart or weak of liver!

Appearance: Dark golden, mildly cloudy, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Strong malts, bourbon, vanilla, cherry, tropical fruit, citrus, herbs
Taste: Rich coarse malt, hint of vanilla, passion fruit, citrus, whiskey bite 
Aftertaste: Lingering whiskey flavor, alcoholic bitterness, dry herbs
Overall: 8.5/10

Category 12 R&D 1 Belgian Golden Strong Ale

category12_logoBrewer: Category 12 Brewing, Central Saanich, BC
Style: Belgian Blonde Strong Ale
ABV: 11.2%
IBUs: Unlisted

Description: Earlier this year, Category 12 launched a new series of limited release, single keg beers known as their R&D series. One installment in this series was their Belgian Strong Ale, a 10% abv Belgian-style golden ale that was brewed during Victoria Beer Week in collaboration with a group of local homebrewers led by Russ Huband.. And with the lessons learned from this previous release, C12 tweaked the recipe, re-crafted the beer, and has re-released it as their R&D 1 Belgian Golden Strong Ale.

Tasting Notes: How to describe the flavor of this beer? It was like La Fin Du Monde (a favorite Tripel of mine), except on steroids! A strong golden malt base is accentuated by notes of candi sugar, honey, mild citrus, and some serious yeasty notes. And of course, the alcoholic bite, which weighs in at a hefty 11.2%! I feel privileged that I got to sample this brew while it was still available months back, and even more so to have got a Boston Round of it today, on their official re-release day!

Appearance: Deep golden, cloudy, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Rich malt, sugars, hint of honey, floral notes, mild citrus
Taste: Crisp malt, yeasty backbone, hint of oak, candi sugar, alcoholic bite
Aftertaste: Lingering malt bitterness, alcohol, oak and sugary sweetness
Overall: 10/10