Russell Punch Bowl North West IPA

Russell_punch_bowlBrewer: Russell Brewing, Surrey, BC
Style: India Pale Ale
ABV: 6.5%
IBUs: 65

Description: This India Pale Ale commemorates two styles of beverages that made the crossing between England and India. Whereas IPAs were brewed for export to British troops and dignitaries in south Asia, Punch was a drink introduced to the British Isles from India. This beer is made using generous dose of pale malt, and then bittered with significant quantities of Citra, Mosaic, and Amarillo hops. It was also the Gold medal winner at the 2015 Canadian Brewing Awards.

Tasting Notes: This IPA was quite inspired. In addition to paying home to a style of beer that was brewed for transport to India, it also acknowledges a cultural exchange that went in the other direction. As IPAs go, it is quite light and refreshing. The hop flavor, while pronounced, is quite fruity and really not too bitterness. And the malt profile was rather subdued. Perhaps a bit for my taste, but a very pleasant beer nonetheless.

Appearance: Amber/orange, clear, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Mild malt nose, notes of pineapple, tropical fruit, hint of pine
Taste: Smooth, crisp malt, mineral tang, notes of pineapple, hint of passion fruit, pine
Lingering minerality, mild hop bitterness

Overall: 7.8/10

Category 12 Transmutation Specialty Belgian Ale 2016

C12_transmutationBrewer: Category 12 Brewing, Victoria, BC
Style: Belgian Tripel
ABV: 9.6%
IBUs: Unlisted

Description: Transmutation is a limited release that did very well the last time it was around. And so they’ve decided to bring it back into circulation. And just like last time, this Belgian-style Tripel is brewed using Superior Pilsner and Belgian Caravienne malts, which are them fortified with amber Candi sugar that is made in-house. It is then bittered with a modest amount of Hallertauer and Norther Brewer hops.

Tasting Notes: This beer has once again excited and surprised me. It has the distinct notes of a Belgian Tripel, which include a strong malt base and some serious alcohol! At the same time, you’ve got Belgian Strong notes, in the form of burnt sugar flavor. And again, there are the Saison notes, in the form of some spicy, sharp, yeasty notes. And the end result is a big pleasure, and my favorite creation of theirs. I’m very glad they brought it back.

Appearance: Solid amber, clear, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Rich malt base, citrus and orchard fruit, candy floss, spicy yeast
Taste: Strong malt, slightly coarse, burnt sugar, alcoholic bite, yeasty notes
Aftertaste: Lingering coarse malt, burnt sugar, alcohol
Overall: 9/10

Townsite Lil’ Red Sour Red Ale

townsite_Lil-RedBrewer: Townsite Brewing, Powell River, BC
Style: Sour Ale/Red Ale
ABV: 6%
IBUs: 14

Description: Like all Townsite creations, this seasonal beer is named in honor of something that calls to mind the town’s history. In this case, it is a little red chair that has been “photobombing Powell River landscapes since August 2010.” The brew is fashioned using a red malt base, and the fermented using wild yeast strains, and fortified with Belgian candi sugar.

Tasting Notes: It’s been awhile since I’ve reviewed anything by Townsite. And I’ve had a bit of a bad run with sours lately – being either too light or too vinegary. So this beer was both timely and refreshing. On the one hand, it seems like a fine addition to Townsite’s seasonal lineup. On the other, it is a very lovely take on a sour ale, which has a good red malt base and packs plenty of tart raspberry flavor on top of it – rather than sour cherries, apple cider vinegar, or other familiar sour flavors. It also has usual notes of oak, zesty yeast, and lactic acids to boot. A good reintroduction to the brewery and a lovely sour!

Appearance: Dark ruby, clear, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Rich malt, raspberries, wild yeast cultures, oakiness, lactic acid
Taste: Syrupy malt,tart raspberry, lactic acid, hint of oak, mild and zesty yeast bite
Aftertaste: Lingering zest, tart raspberry, yeasts, acid, quite clean
Overall: 8.5/10

Phillips Dogwood Rescue Society Red Lager

phillips_benefitbrewsBrewer: Phillips Brewery, Victoria, BC
Style: Red Lager
ABV: 5.0%
IBUs: Unlisted

Description: This beer is one of two Benefit Brews made by Phillips for the year of 2015. For the province of BC, the Benefit Brew that was selected was a red lager, and all sales of the beer will go to support of the Dogwood Rescue Society’s mission is to re-home homeless, unwanted or abused sporting and working dogs.

Tasting Notes: This beer manages to combine the syrupy malt flavor of red ale with the crisp, refreshing finish of a lager. It was a bit on the mild side, and could seem just the slightest bit watery initially. However, with further sipping, I was able to discern some layers of flavor that included some dry hops, herbs, mild citrus, some tart apple, and minerals. A good beer for a good cause!

Appearance: Dark amber/red, clear, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Rich malt base, minerals, mild herbal and dry hop aroma
Taste: Syrupy malt, hint of sweetness, mineral tang, tart apple, dry hops, mild citrus
Aftertaste: Lingering malt and mineral aftertaste, quite clean
Overall: 7.8/10

If you’re interested in supporting the Dogwood Rescue Society, check out their website.

Les Trois Mousquetaires Grand Cuvee Porter Baltique

TM_PORTERBALTIQUEBrewer: Les Trois Mousquetaires, Brossard, QC
Style: Dark Lager
ABV: 10.5%
IBUs: 27

Description: This offering is a dark lager that was inspired by Porters of the Baltic Sea Region. It is fashioned using Pilsner, Munich, Cara 60/160, Wheat, Oat, Carafa, and Briess smoked malt (85% of which are sourced from Quebec), and bittered with a combination Perle, Centennial, and Summit hops. As part of their Edition Speciale 2015 (special edition), the beer is also aged for 3-5 years in bourbon and brandy barrels before being bottled.

Tasting Notes: This is the second Trois Mousquetairs product I have ever sampled, the first one being their Weizenbock, which I tried at the 2012 Winterlude Winter Beers and Ice Wines. Like that offering, this beer was mighty potent and very rich and malty. Beyond that, it was quite distinct. A dark lager base, which provides for a smooth start, quickly gives way to dark fruits, brown sugar, and notes of whiskey, all punctuated by a strong alcoholic punch to the gullet! These flavors linger for some time, and create to a general feeling of warmth and well-being. Just be careful, because nothing about this beer is for the faint of heart!

Appearance: Black as tar, opaque, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Rich malt, brown sugar, dates, raisins, bourbon and alcoholic bite
Taste: Smooth malt start, alcohol, sugars, dates and raisins, bourbon whiskey finish
Aftertaste: Lingering sweetness, whiskey bite, and strong alcoholic bite
Overall: 8/10