Barkerville 18 Karat Ale

barkerville_18karatBrewer: Barkerville Brewing, Quesnel BC
Style: Amber Ale
Alc/Vol: 4.9%
IBUs: 33

Description: Named in honor of the Gold Rush, this amber ale is the flagship beer produced by the recently-opened Barkerville Brewing Company. Employing a pale malt base and a descent hopping, the beer aims for a balance in flavor and a consistently amber-gold color.

Tasting Notes: This beer was a good introduction to this brewery’s wares, though I neglected to give it a review at the time. This beer is quite balanced, combining a relatively crisp malt base with a varied hop palette that includes notes of grass, resiny pine, citrus, and some lingering bitterness. Quite pleasing. I look forward to seeing and sampling more from this interior-BC brewery!

Appearance: Golden amber, slightly cloudy, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Balanced malt, bread, good dose of grassy, resiny, piney hops
Taste: Crisp malt, slight tang, grassy hop flavor, citrus, bitter pine
Aftertaste: Lingering hop bitterness, smooth malt finish
Overall: 7.8/10

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Dubussion Scaldis Ambrée

Scaldis-Ambree-bout-verre-270x400Brewer: Dubussion, Pipaix, Belgium
Style: Belgian Amber
Alc/Vol: 11.8%

Description: The Scaldis amber is an unfiltered, high fermentation beer fashioned exclusively made from caramel malt, hops, natural sugar, water drawn from the brewery’s basement and an exclusive yeast. The end result is then stored for a period of 4 to 6 weeks to achieve its characteristic combination of dense malt, smooth flavor and the highest alcohol content of any Belgian beer (11.8% ABV).

Tasting Notes: The Scaldis Ambrée is another first for this Beer Snob, and apparently a rather significant one as it is apparently Belgian’s strongest. It was also quite fitting as a extra strong amber, bringing that characteristic combination of maltiness, sugary sweetness and fruity esters one would expect. What was surprising for me was the level of smoothness. Given the alcohol content, I expected it to be far more coarse. Still, the alcohol does comes through with the rather delightful warming sensation it finishes with. This beer is recommended as an aperitif or digestif, and I can attest to it being well-suited to the latter.

Appearance: Amber, cloudy, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Rich and coarse malt, sugars, notes of cherry, fruity esters, caramel
Taste: Smooth malt, slight tang and coarseness, syrupy sweetness, warm alcohol finish
Aftertaste: Lingering coarse malt flavor, sugars, cherry and fruit esters
Overall: 9/10

Dageraad Amber

https://i1.wp.com/dageraadbrewing.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/Dageraad-amber_tmp.jpgBrewer: Dageraad Brewing, Burnaby, BC
Style: Belgian-style Pale Ale
Alc/Vol: 6%

Description: The second beer to be produced by this new BC brewery, this unfiltered Amber carries on in the tradition of Belgian-style pale ales, which were invented for the Liége exposition of 1905 to compete with British imports. Much like the name of the brewery itself, this beer was inspired by the experience of enjoying a fresh glass of beer in the Dageraadplatz.

Tasting Notes: A good introduction to this brewery, and a faithful example of a Belgian amber, this beer packs a solid, grainy malt base, a strong yeast backbone, and a nice, lingering spicey finish that is reminiscent of coriander.

Appearance: Orange/amber, slightly cloudy, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Strong yeasts, discernible grainy malt, coriander spice
Taste: Smooth malt, strong yeast flavor, notes of coriander and bitter hop finish
Aftertaste: Lingering malt and yeast bitterness, spices
Overall: 8.5/10

Grimbergen La Double Ambree

https://i2.wp.com/cervezainternacional.net/images/productos/80_5_1.jpgBrewer: Brouwerij Aiken-Maes, Aiken, Belgium
Style:
Amber Ale
Alc/Vol:
6.5%

Description: An Abbey-style Amber ale, this beer is made form a combination of malts (what I assume are Caramel, Pale and Amber) that lend it a sweet, syrupy and viscous flavor. It is then double fermented for added strength and bottle conditioned for a highly smooth flavor.

Tasting Notes: I first learned of Grimbergen when in Paris, and enjoyed their Blonde Ale quite a bit. So I pleasantly surprised to learn that not only did they stock this brewery’s products here in BC, but that they also had more of their regular lineup. The double ambree is a good example of an Abbey-style amber, boasted smooth, sweet caramel malts, a yeasty backbone and subtle hops flavor. It then rounds all this out with a chewy mouth feel.

Appearance: Dark red/brown, clear, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Roasted malt, sugar, yeast, molasses
Taste: Smooth, syrupy malt, light tang, hint of caramel, yeast, mild hop bitterness
Aftertaste: lingering syrupy malt flavor, caramel, yeast
Overall: 8/10

Gahan Island Red Ale

gahan_redaleBrewer: Gahan Brewery, Charlottetown PEI
Style: Amber Ale
Alc/Vol: 5.3%

Description: Established in 1997 in Charlottetown, the Gahan Brewery and House Pub is the only brewery on Prince Edward Island that brews handcrafted, small batch beer. The Island Red is an English-style amber ale, and the flagship brew of their operation. It was the Gold Medal winner for the 2011 Canadian Brewing Awards.

Tasting Notes: This beer is entirely new to me, and was quite the lovely introduction to this Maritime brewery. The malt profile and hop profiles are quite subtle, calling to mind traditional English ambers, and is made using what I assume are pale malt, Golding and/or Fuggles hops. This results is an ale that is malt-forward, subtle and smooth, and has flavors of baked bread and dry herbs.

Appearance: Dark amber, clear, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Syrupy, rich malts, mild, dry hops
Taste:
Rich pale malt, baked bread, hint of sweetness, subtle, herbal hops
Aftertaste: Lingering malt flavor and mild bitterness
Overall: 9/10

Dead Frog Winter Beeracle

deadfrog-winterbeeracleGuess what I just got in the mail? Yep, another sampler pack from the Dead Frog Brewery. And today, consistent with the Christmas season, is their latest version of Winter Beeracle. This year, they’ve altered the recipe somewhat, going from a spiced amber ale of last year to a dark ale with a different palate.

In this batch, the flavors of note are vanilla, which accent the chocolate malts quite well, and some orange peel that add actual citrus to the hop profile (Cascade and Perle). In the end, what comes of it is a gentle Winter Warmer with a flavor that compliments Christmas deserts quite well, is low in bitterness (25 IBUs), but still packs a respectable alcoholic punch (7.5% alc/vol).

WinterbeeracleAppearance: Very dark brown-red, transparent, light foam retention
Nose: Immediate notes of vanilla, slight zest
Taste: Strong vanilla accent, sweet malts, notes of chocolate
Aftertaste: Slightly bitter aftertaste, citrus hops and orange zest
Overall: 8/10

Not a bad winter warmer, Dead Frog. The flavor, strength and spices are all warm, inviting, tasty and sweet. In a lot of ways, it reminds me of mulled wine, hot spice cider, and other holiday beverages that combine fruit, spice and warm your ribs! I envision figgy pudding going very well with this, or chocolate chow mein cookies, or short breads dipped in chocolate. Damn, I need to start pressuring the family to start making Christmas cookies!

Lighthouse Tasman Ale

As I might have said before, Lighthouse has really been knocking it out of the park lately. Their Big Flavor series was a celebration of craft brewing that included several crossover beers that combined high alcohol content and a hefty dose of hops. And it was followed shortly thereafter by the release of Switchback, a true IPA, but which was part of their regular lineup.

And now, they’ve gone a step further with the introduction of the Tasman Ale, an amber ale that is made with local malts and hops imported directly from Tasmania (indicated by the Tasmanian devil on the label). Like the Switchback, this beer is available as part of their regular lineup, in spite of the fact that it’s much more curious than anything else they’ve created thus far. And whereas the IPA is a robust, citrusy ale with strong, rich malts, this beer is more on the dry side of things, combining a sweat and refreshing malt flavor with dry hops and a slight citrus kick.

Appearance: Deep amber, clear and light head
Nose: Mix of dry hops and cascade hop citrus, slight notes of caramel malts
Taste: Slightly sweet malts and mild tang, giving way to a mix of dry and bitter hop bites
Aftertaste: Mild tang and lingering bitterness, finished quite clean
Overall: 9/10

Like many recent releases, this beer is just in time for the hot weather fronts we’ve been having! Like a good amber, it is mild and refreshing, but the unique hop combination lends it a taste of an ESB combined with an pale ale. All of this leads to a well-rounded drinking experience which helps subdue the heat!