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

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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

Parallel 49 Bat Outta Hell Dark Helles Bock

parallel49_labelsBrewer: Parallel 49 / Bridge Brewing Company, Vancouver, BC
Style: Helles Bock
ABV: 6.5%
IBUs: Unlisted

Description: This beer is part of P49s Brews Brother Volume 2 set, offering 12 different beers that were the result of 12 different collaborations, and all inspired by rock and roll music.Bat Outta Hell (named in honor of the classic song by Meatloaf) is a Helles Bock brewed in collaboration with the fellow Vancouver-based Bridge Brewing.Company.

Tasting Notes: A nice first installment in the Brews Brothers pack. This beer has all the appealing characteristics of a Helles Bock. These includes a deep, rich brown color, and smooth and slightly sweet malt base, notes of brown sugar and molasses, a nice mineral tang, and a refreshing, clean finish.

Appearance: Dark brown, clear, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Rich malty aroma, hints of caramelized sugar, minerals, mild hops
Taste: Rich, smooth malt, mineral tang, hint of molasses, brown sugar, mild herbal hops
Aftertaste: Lingering sugars and malt flavor, mineral tang, clean finish
Overall: 8.5/10

Four Winds Nectarous Dry-Hopped Sour Ale

fourwinds_nectarousBrewer: Four Winds Brewing,
Style: Sour Ale
ABV: 5.5%
IBUs: 6

Description: As part of their Eurus Series – a line of limited-released European-inspired bottle-conditioned ales – this ale is made using a combination of Pilsner, Munich and acidulated malts. It is then dry-hopped with a modest amount of Galaxy hops and fermented using Brett Trois, Lactobacillus and Belgian strains of yeast.

Tasting Notes: This was a very interesting take on a sour ale. By employing a light malt base and mild dry-hopping, you really get to appreciate the yeasty, effervescent sour flavor. What comes through are some strong notes of peach and passion fruit, but the most noticeable is the lemonade flavor. Quite interesting!

Appearance: Yellow/orange, cloudy, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Gentle malt, yeast, citrus, lemon, peace, passion fruit

Taste: Smooth malt, yeasty effervescence, lemonade, peace, passion fruit
Aftertaste: Lingering sourness, yeasty flavor, lemonade
Overall: 8/10

Townsite Barrel Aged Cardena Belgian Quad 2016

townsite_barrelagedBrewer: Townsite Brewery, Powell River, BC
Style: Quadruple Ale
ABV: 10.5%
IBUs: 30

Description: The third installment in their “Hulk Series” – named for the decommissioned vessels that make up the floating breakwater in Powell River – Cardena is a Belgian-style Quadrupel ale. And since 2015, they have be re-releasing this ale as part of the breweries new barrel-aged lineup, where established brews are aged in whiskey barrels.

Tasting Notes: I loved Cardena when I first tried it. In fact, it would be fair to say that it was one of the best beers I had in 2014. So I was a little intrigued and surprised by the addition of the barrel-aging process, which I’ve had mixed experiences with. In this case, the end resuilt was interesting, but a bit perplexing. On the one hand, you have all that was great about the Cardena. A strong Abbey-style ale rich with notes of brown sugar, dates, raisins, and figgy pudding.

But add to that the bite of whiskey and the end result was (and I’m not bullshitting here) a bit like blue cheese! It was the oddest thing, getting a taste I immediately recognized but couldn’t quite place. And then I remembered the last time i had hot wings or a spinach salad! Ordinarily, I love blue cheese, but not so much in my beer. So I had to give this one a slightly mixed review. Great to be branching out, but 2016’s Barrel aged Cardena is not quite what I was hoping for.

Appearance: Deep brown, clear, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Strong malt, brown sugar, whiskey, dark fruits, spices, alcohol, yeast
Taste: Rich malt, immediate whiskey bite, blue cheese, sugar, dark fruits, alcoholic bite
Aftertaste: Lingering whiskey, malt, cheesy flavor, alcoholic warmth
Overall: 7.2/10

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
Aftertaste:
Lingering minerality, mild hop bitterness

Overall: 7.8/10