Phillips Benefit Brew and King of the Carboy

philips_benefit_carboyWinter is shaping up well for Phillips, the brewery that is famous for its abundant supply of limited releases. And recently, they outdid themselves by unveiling not one, but two limited releases, one being their Benefit Brew for 2013, the other being their King of Carboy release of the year. These are their Little People of BC Blood Orange Wit and the Glen Marhsall American IPA. I bought both yesterday, and was able to premiere my new collection of beer glasses with them!

And both were really quite pleasing, especially when served in an appropriate glass. For the Wit, I broke out the hefeweizen glass, while the American IPA was especially delectable in an English pub-style pint glass. I tell ya, glassware counts for a lot. But I digress…

Little People of B.C. Blood Orange Wit:
As already mentioned, this beer is part of Phillips annual Benefit Brew, where Phillips partners with a local charity group to produce a limited-release beer and donate the proceeds to charity. This year, the charity in question was the Little People of BC – a charitable organization dedicated to promoting awareness here in BC – and the beer they chose to go with was a Belgian-style Wit infused with blood orange. And like a good wit, it is clean, refreshing, has a nice mellow body with good yeasts and carbonation, and the blood orange provides a subtle, but everpresent kick of sweet citrus that lingers in the aftertaste. After a few sips, I was honestly reminded of Orange Crush, but with the delightful kick of Belgian yeast and alcohol!

Appearance: Golden orange, cloudy, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Strong notes of orange, Belgian yeast and wheat malt
Taste: Smooth wheat malts, discernible yeast and citrusy, orange flavor
Aftertaste: Clean finish with lingering orange and yeast
Overall: 8.5/10

Glen Marshall American IPA:
This beer, as the name would suggest, was crafted by Glen Marshall, an amateur brewer who’s handcrafted brew won in the IPA category at this year’s CAMRA Victoria Amateur Brewing Competition, and was therefore chosen by Phillips to be this year’s the King of the Carboy. And I personally can attest to its quality, being a complex and highly hoppy India Pale Ale with a deliciously semi-sweet and strong malt base. In a lot of ways, I was reminded of Parallel 49’s own Snap, Crackle and Hop, another IPA that boasted some seriously sweet, savory and herbal hop flavor. Not bad for a basement brewer. May his craft find purchase in the form of a brewery!

Appearance: Light amber, clear, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Pale malt, mixed hops nose, citrus, grass and pine notes
Taste: Slightly sweet malt and strong hops, piney, resiny, herbal and citrusy
Aftertaste: Lingering bitterness and citrus, mild malt coarseness 
Overall: 9/10


Driftwood Gose-Uh

driftwood_logoBack again with another limited release from the Driftwood Brewery. And this time around, its the late summer seasonal known as the Driftwood Gose-uh. According to the commercial description, Gose (pronounced gose-uh) is a rare type of German beer that originated in Leipzig. Using both wheat and barely malt, sea salt, coriander spice and the same type of yeast strain that gives sours their tart taste, this beer has apparently gone extinct twice, but is once again being brought back by artisan brewers who want to revitalize it.

driftwood_gose-uhAnd after sampling it, I could certainly see why efforts are underway to restore it. Much like a good Belgian Wit, the Gose is light in color, cloudy in appearance, and has a gentle malt profile and a some nice spicey notes due to the addition of coriander spice. But the Gose manages to augment all that with a little saltiness and a smooth, clean finish that has just a hint of sour flavor. All in all, it’s basically a nice light ale with some added complexity that is well paired with spicey food, or just on its own as a way to beat the soon-to-gone summer heat. Personally, I hope the style catches on again and remains popular amongst the artisan brewing community and beer drinkers alike. I don’t imagine I need to tell anyone that a beer going extinct diminishes us all!

Appearance: Light yellow, cloudy, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Wheat malts and traces of yeast, strong notes of coriander spice
Taste: Good concentration of wheat malt, coriander spice, mild saltiness
Aftertaste: Lingering spice flavor, slight notes of sour, quite clean
Overall: 8.5/10

What’s next for the Driftwood Brewery and its seasonal/limited-release lineup? Well, multiple visits to the brewery to get my growlers filled has yielded some insight there. Though there are no plans as of yet to release another in the Bird of Prey series, the brewery does have an anniversary coming up and promises to greet it with a specialty beer of some kind. I’ll let you know more as I hear about it!

Moon Under Water This is Hefeweizen

MoonLogo1Hi all and welcome to another installment from Moon Under Water! Lately, the product lineup has been expanding, and I was sure to do my best to get in on the ground floor. Not long ago, I managed to snag a bottle of one of their first limited releases – their Brewvic Maibock – and was quite pleased. But this latest addition is permanent addition with year-round availability. So I felt that impressions counted doubly here.

moonunderwater_this_is_hefThough this is not the first wheat beer to be introduced to the brewery’s product line – i.e. the appropriately named Victorious Weizenbock – this wheat is purer example of the brewing tradition. I’m guessing that with all their success thus far, the brewers felt they needed to add a straight-up German wheat, with no crossovers or merging of styles to speak of. And the end product is certainly consistent with that, a very good, clean tasting hefeweizen that weighs in at an even 5.5% alc/vol. However, it manages to retain some spicy characteristics which are reminiscent of a Belgian Wit as well, mainly in the notes of clove and coriander, and rounds it out with a hint of vanilla.

Appearance: Deep orange, cloudy, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Distinct yeasty notes and wheat malts
Taste: Mild wheat malts, very smooth, hints of coriander, clove and vanilla
Aftertaste: Very smooth, hints of wheat malt and yeast, mild spice
Overall: 8.5/10

Overall, I was quite impressed with this beer and will definitely seek it in the future. Though there has been no shortage of limited-release hefeweizens and wits available of late, this one stands out for me as being one of the more drinkable and subtle. Delightfully colored, smooth, clean, refreshing, and with a subtle but discernible spice palate, it is an all around winner and perfect for these last few weeks of summer!