Fuggles and Warlock & Moody Ales Bella Rossa

fugglesandwarlock_moodyales_bellarossaBrewer: Fuggles and Warlock, Richmond, BC; Moody Ales, Port Moody, BC
Style:
ABV: 6.5%
IBUs: 39

Commercial Description: Red wheat ale with juniper berries. A blend of East Coast Ale yeast and Belgian Saison yeast makes for an elegant and unique finish. Dry-hopped with Mosaic, Simcoe, Citra and Galaxy.

Tasting Notes: This beer is an interesting mix of styles. Deep red in hue, cloudy, and very hoppy on the nose, it is reminiscent of a good IPA. However, the wheat malt make it a little lighter on the palate, while the juniper ale adds a crisp bitterness that goes well with the dry hops. The addition of Saison yeast adds some funk to the taste.

Hoyne 2016 Gratitude Winter Warmer

beer-gratitudeBrewer: Hoyne Brewing, Victoria, BC
Style: Winter Warmer Ale
ABV: 8%
IBUs: Unlisted

Description: This is the fifth incarnation of Gratitude, which began as a seasonal release designed to thank Hoyne’s patrons for their support. And in the keeping with the tradition of Winter Warmers, this years offering is extra strong ale that is dark, malty, has a nice spicy flavor.

Tasting Notes: Well now, this is my fifth sampling of this beer over the years and I swear that it has been changing with time. Always, I have noted that the Gratitude Winter Warmer captures all the notes of a good winter ale without being overwhelming. But this year’s offering does seem more flavorful than previous ones. The hints of brown sugar and dark fruits are not just hints, and the notes of allspice are there in full. And all the while, the alcoholic strength manages to warm the insides without overwhelming the palate.

Appearance: Deep ruby/brown, clear, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Rich malt, brown sugar, raisins, figgy pudding, hint of allspice
Taste: Smooth malt, mineral tang, brown sugar, dark fruits, allspice
Aftertaste: Lingering malt flavor, minerals and spice
Overall: 10/10

4 Mile Bourbon Oak Aged English Strong Ale

4mile_bourbonstrongBrewer: 4 Mile Brewing, Victoria, BC
Style: English Strong Ale
ABV: 8.2%
IBUs: 40

Description: This seasonal release (which became available as of Dec.1st) is a slight twist on the brewery’s English Strong, which is aged in bourbon barrels to achieve a stronger, bourbon flavor-infused beer.

Tasting Notes: I was surprised by this entry. Ordinarily, you’d expect a dark, strong ale that’s been aged in bourbon barrels to combine some serious sugary maltiness with a strong whiskey bite. You know, a winter warmer meets a haymaker punch! However, the malt flavor was actually quite smooth and subdued while the whiskey flavor comes on mild, only to finish quite bitter. Not what I was expecting.

Appearance: Deep ruby/brown, clear, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Rich malts, tinge of alcohol, hints of whiskey and oak
Taste: Smooth, rich malt base, mild whiskey bite, hint of brown sugar and dark fruit
Aftertaste: Lingering whiskey bite, alcohol and coarse malt bitterness
Overall: 7.5/10

Twin Sails Roggenweizen

twinsails_roggenBrewer: Twin Sails Brewing, Port Moody, BC
Style: Rye-wheat ale
ABV: 6.7%
IBUs: 12

Description: This limited release by Twin Sails is a German-style hefeweizen brewed with a combination of wheat, rye and caramel malts. This results in slightly sweeter and maltier take on your conventional hefeweizen, which is then mildly hopped and served unfiltered.

Tasting Notes: This beer has all the benefits of a hefeweizen, which include a smooth wheat malt base, yeastiness and a refreshing aftertaste. The addition of caramel and rye malts also add some depth of flavor and color, giving it some added some sweetness to go with the banana and natural spice flavor.

Appearance: Red, cloudy, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Gentle wheat malt, hefeweizen yeast, banana, hint of clove spice
Taste: Smooth wheat malt, hint of sweetness, yeasty effervescent, banana, hint of spice
Aftertaste: Lingering maltiness, cloves, banana, yeasts
Overall: 8.5/10

Steel and Oak Beechwood Smoked Honey Doppelbock

steelandoak_doppelbockBrewer: Steel and Oak Brewing, New Westminster, BC
Style: Smoked Doppelbock
ABV: 7.9%
IBUs: 20

Description: This seasonal release is lovely combination, where a venerable style of German lager meets a rauchbier (smoke beer). It is brewed using honey and beechwood-smoked malt, which is then double-fermented and mildly hopped. This creates a beer that is smooth, rich, smokey and tangy, and nicely refreshing!

Tasting Notes: Smoke beers are generally kind of hit and miss for me. But this one has a range of flavors that manage to complement each other quite nicely. The smoked malt go well with the doppelbock’s natural tang, which are cut nicely by the natural malty flavor and the addition of honey.

Appearance: Amber/orange, clear, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Rich malt, honey, smoke, mild hops
Taste: Smooth malt, hint of smoke, mineral tang, touch of honey sweetness
Aftertaste: Lingering smoke minerals and mild malt sweetness
Overall: 9/10

Swan’s Pumpkin Ale 2016

swans_pumpkinBrewer:Swan’s Brewpub, Victoria, BC
Style:
Pumpkin Ale
ABV:
6%
IBUs: Unlisted

Description: Swan’s seasonal ale is back, and this year’s Pumpkin ale is fashioned in the usual way. Pale malts are combined with a mild hopping, then spiced with nutmeg, allspice, ginger, and cinnamon. And of course, there’s the fresh baked pumpkin to finish the mix.

Tasting Notes: A nice, balanced pumpkin ale that has a smooth start, some powerful (but not overpowering) spice notes, and a lingering, spicy finish. I remember this one from year’s back and it’s still a nice way to ring in the Fall season.

Appearance: Deep amber, slightly cloudy, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Smooth malt, rich notes of allspice, cinnamon, and pumpkin pie
Taste: Smooth, crisp malt, ginger zest, cinnamon snap, allspice, pumpkin flesh
Aftertaste: Lingering pumpkin and spice flavor, mild ginger bitterness
Overall: 8/10

Phillips Atomic Buffalo Smokey Red Saison

phillips_atomic-buffaloBrewer: Phillips Brewing, Victoria, BC
Style: Saison/Smoked Ale
ABV: 6.2%
IBUs: Unlisted

Description: The Smokey Red is one of Phillips four seasonal releases for summer 2016. It is brewed in the style of Saison farmhouse ale, combining smoked pale red and wheat malts with a mild hopping, and then fermenting the mix with Belgian yeast.

Tasting Notes: Lately, I’ve been complaining about the plethora of Saisons and Sours that are out there. And so I was a bit hesitant to sample this one. But i have to say I enjoyed the combination. A red malt base is always a delight, and the subtle notes of smoke and Saison yeast play nicely off each other, alternating between mild smokiness and spiciness.

Appearance: Deep red, cloudy, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Rich malt, baked bread, smoked meat, Belgian yeast
Taste: Smooth malt base, mild sweetness and tang, hint of smoke, yeast spice
Aftertaste: Lingering yeast, malt flavor, mild smokiness
Overall: 7.8/10

P49 ¡Orale! Tequila Gose

P49!ORALE!_500x500Brewer: Parallel 49 Brewing, Vancouver, BC
Style: Gose
ABV: 4.5%
IBUs: 6

Description: This rarity from P49 takes the traditional Gose –  a beer native to Leipzig, Germany that combines wheat and barley malt malt with sea salt – and then builds on it by aging it in Tequila barrels for 9 months. This combination alludes to tequila shots, complete with a salt lick and a squeeze of lime!

Tasting Notes: This brew does what it sets out to do, which is to allude to the ritual of  Tequila shots. However, this is not a drinking experience that I was ever fond of, so I really didn’t like it in this beer. It is light and somewhat refreshing, but its weak malt is paired with some strong sour flavors – yeast and lime juice – and a hint of salt. This makes for some unappetizing flavor, in my opinion, sad to say.

Appearance: Light blonde, clear, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Mild malt, hint of citrus, tequila nose, quite sour
Taste: Weak wheat malt, hint of salt, notes of sour lime, tequila flavor
Aftertaste: Lingering sour yeast and citrus flavor, wheat malt aftertaste
Overall: 6.5/10

R&B Vienna Style Lager

R&B Vienna Lager Label-1295x1362Brewer: R&B Brewing Co., East Vancouver, BC
Style: Amber Lager
ABV: 5%
IBUs: 24

Description: Just in time for summer, R&B has released an amber lager brewed in the traditional Vienna style. This involves a base of amber malt that is then mildly hopped using traditional Noble hops. The end result is a toasty but clean drinking summer beer with a mild hop bitterness.

Tasting Notes: This beer was definitely a perfect pairing with summer weather and bbq! Its rich malts are toasty and have mild hints of espresso and chocolate, not unlike a light porter. However, these are paired with a good hop bitterness and a hint of sweetness, all the while finishing in a way that is very drinkable and refreshing.

Appearance: Dark brown/amber, clear, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Rich, toasted, syrupy malt, minerals, Noble hops
Taste: Crisp, toasted malt, minerals, mild sweetness, cocoa, espresso, grassy hops
Aftertaste: Lingering toasted malt flavor, grassy hop bitterness
Overall: 9/10

Driftwood Drawn to Light Abbey Ale

Driftwood_Drawn-To-Light-q256Brewer: Driftwood Brewing, Victoria, BC
Style: Belgian-style Pale Ale
ABV: 7%
IBUs: Unlisted

Description: This latest limited release by Driftwood is brewed in the tradition of a Belgian, Abbey-style pale ale. It is brewed using a combination of Pilsner, Dark Wheat, Cara 33 malts, and is then bittered using fresh, young Houblons hops. Wild yeasts are then added, including Saccharomyces and Brettanomyces, to give it a crisp and slightly sour flavor.

Tasting Notes: This was an interesting combination, and one which sort of transcended styles. On the one hand, its got the conventional sour ale properties (Saccharomyces and Brettanomyces yeasts), but tastes more akin to a saison. But at the same time, some genuine pale ale flavors come through. And the end result of all this is quite refreshing and crisp tasting. Glad to be back sampling Driftwood’s latest limited releases.

Appearance: Dark golden/orange, cloudy, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Mild malt, hint of baked bread, sharp yeast nose, notes of citrus, spice, floral
Taste: Sharp start, saison-like yeast notes, hints of citrus, dry, grassy, herbal hops
Aftertaste: Lingering yeasty bite, spice, lingering bitterness
Overall: 8/10