Dieu du Ciel Moralite American IPA

dieuduciel_moraliteBrewer: Dieu du Ciel, St. Jerome, Quebec
Style: India Pale Ale
ABV: 6.2%
IBUs: Unlisted (high)

Description: This IPA is one of the breweries year-round offerings, and is the result of a collaborative effort with John Kimmich – the brewmaster of The Alchemist brewery in Waterbury, Vermont. In the American IPA fashion, it is fashioned using a rich malt base and then bittered using an “immoral” amount of Simcoe, Citra and Centennial hops. 

Tasting Notes: This is definitely a classic IPA. Strong in the alcohol department (though not too much), rich in the malt department, and strong and diverse in the hop flavor department. I’ve been a fan of just about everything Dieu du Ciel creates, and I am glad I found this one too.

Appearance: Golden-orange., cloudy, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Rich malt, notes of grass, pine, citrus, floral hops
Taste: Strong malt base, hint of sweetness, citrus, herbs, lemon, pine and resin
Aftertaste: Lingering bitterness, herbal and piney hops
Overall: 8.5/10

Russel Peaks and Valleys Extra Pale Ale

Russel_peaks&valleysBrewer: Russel Brewing, Surrey, BC
Style: Extra Pale Ale
ABV: 5.7%
IBUs: 40

Description: In the tradition of locally-sourced, craft beer, Russel’s Peaks and Valleys (a limited release), is made entirely from malt and hops from interior BC. This includes Centennial hops grown by Chilliwack Hop Farms in Chilliwack, BC, and malts produced by Gambrinus Malting in Armstrong, BC. The end product is an extra pale ale that is dry-hopped and unfiltered, and perfect for summer.

Tasting Notes: This beer was a bit of the light side in terms of malts, and a tad on the dry bitter side, at least as far as extra pale ales go. Nevertheless, hoppy without being overwhelming, and smooth enough to be an easy-drinking pale ale. But most of all, it is a testament to the move towards locally-sourced craft brewing that is sweeping the world!

Appearance: Mild amber, cloudy, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Mild malt,s dry hop nose, citrus, grass, hint of lemon and pine
Taste: Crisp malt, dry hop bitterness, notes of citrus rind and grass
Aftertaste: Lingering hop bitterness, dry herbs and citrus rind
Overall: 7.8/10

Steamworks Imperial Red

steamworks_imperialredaleBrewer: Steamworks Brewery, Vancouver, BC
Style: Imperial Red Ale
ABV: 8.5%
IBUs: 80

Description: One of Steamworks seasonal releases – available only in Spring – this Imperial Red Ale combines Maris Otter, Munich, Caramalt. Crystal, and Simcoe malts in significant quantities to achieve a strong, malty base. It is then bittered using significant amounts of Cascade, Centennial & Simcoe hops, dry-hopped, and then bottled unfiltered.

Tasting Notes: This Imperial Red was a bit more subtle than I expected. Normally, one expects some sweet, coarse malts balanced out by strong hops. However, this time around, the strong malt base was balanced by a strong and varied hop mixture, plus some dry-hopping that made everything a bit more downplayed. Basically, despite its strength, this brew is both balanced and subtle.

Appearance: Dark copper, cloudy, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Rich malt, citrus, floral, grassy and piney hop notes
Taste: Strong, syrupy malt, citrus rind, fruity esters, dry herbs, alcoholic bite
Aftertaste: Lingering dry hop and citrus bitterness, dry hops, coarse malt
Overall: 8/10

Category 12 Insubordinate Session IPA

c12_insubordinateBrewer: Category 12 Brewing, Central Saanich, BC
Style: Session IPA
ABV: 4.5%
IBUs: 58

Description: In what is Category 12’s latest seasonal release, the Insubordinate is a sessional take on the Pacific Northwestern India Pale Ale. Crystal and Vienna malts provide the base, which is then bittered using Centennial and Columbus hops, along with an infusion of Zythos for some extra dry-hopping.

Tasting Notes: Given that this brewery is right here in my neighborhood, I was able to snag some bottles of this brew direct. And while sampling, I was even able to guess the hops used (well, it took a few guesses to get all three). In any case, this brew is a good addition after the powerhouse that was their Transmutation, employing a lighter malt base with a good hopping that employs both a bitter, citrus and tropical fruit start with a herbal, dry hop finish. An all around crisp and refreshing take on the Pacific Northwestern IPA.

Appearance: Amber/orange, clear, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Gentle malt, tropical fruit nose, pineapple, passion fruit, herbal infusion
Taste: Crisp malt, citrus, pine, herbs, dry hop bitterness, mineral tang
Aftertaste: Lingering dry hop bitterness, herbs, citrus rind, quite refreshing
Overall: 8.5/10

Parallel 49 Rye The Long Face Imperial Rye IPA

p49_ryethelongfaceBrewer: Parallel 49 Brewing, Vancouver BC
Style: Imperial IPA
ABV: 8.5%
IBUs: 86

Description: Part of Parallel 49 Spring Seasonal lineup, this Imperial IPA combines a hefty combination of pale and rye malts, and is then bittered using a similarly robust amount of Chinook, Simcoe, Amarillo and Centennial hops.

Tasting Notes: As Imperial IPAs go, this beer was quite smooth and drinkable. Surprising considering its strength and the hefty dose of rye. And yet, the rye malts and heavy helping of Pacific Northwest hops balance out to create a pretty subtle but complex brew.

Appearance: Deep orange, mildly cloudy, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: rich malt, rye notes, citrus, pineapple, and passion fruit hops
Taste: Smooth, slightly crisp malt, notes of herbs, citrus, peach, pineapple
Aftertaste: Lingering tang, citrus and tropical fruit and rye bitterness
Overall: 8.3/10

Tree Rickshaw Raspberry IPA

tree_rickshawBrewer: Tree Brewing, Kelowna, BC
Style: Fruit-infused India Pale Ale
ABV: 5%
IBUs: 64

Description: A spring/summer seasonal beer, Tree’s Rickshaw combines traditional lager malt (Pilsner and Vienna) with a significant dose of Northwestern hops (Centennial, Cascade, Columbus, and Crystal) and an infusion of fresh raspberries.

Tasting Notes: As combinations go, this one seemed a bit odd and quite gutsy. For instance, I would have expected an IPA to employ a pale malt base rather than ones consistent with a lager. That, and the combination of raspberries with an IPA-size dollop of hops seemed especially gutsy. But guts aside, the end result seemed mainly skunky and bitter, with very little raspberry to speak of and not as much refreshment as say a raspberry wheat, pale or lager. Not a bad idea, but needs a reboot!

Appearance: Deep ruby/orange, cloudy, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Crisp, skunky malt, notes of herbal hops, hint of raspberry
Taste: Smooth malt, strong hop bitterness, citrus rind, skunk, light raspberry finish
Aftertaste: Lingering skunky malt and citrus rind bitterness, hint of fruit
Overall: 7.2/10

Stone Ruination IPA

stone_ruination_ipaBrewer: Stone Brewing, Escondido, CA
Style: India Pale Ale
ABV: 8.2%
IBUs: 100+

Description: As part of their regular lineup, the Ruination IPA (so named because of its strength and intense hop flavor) is basically the same recipe as their Stone IPA, but with an extra-large helping of malt and a very large dose of of Magnum, Chinook and Centennial hops.

Tasting Notes: This is only my second sampling from the Stone Brewery, which began with their Arrogant Bastard Ale. And again, it seems they’ve got me pegged with their wares! Comparable to the better Imperial IPAs I’ve had, this brew has a strong malt base (minus the sweetness I’ve become accustomed to) and some truly decent hop flavor that combines intense grassy, citrus and piney flavors. I have to say, I highly approve of the hop-forward nature of this beer, and their choices of hops since it lends it a distinctly dry and bitter flavor.

Appearance: Light gold/amber, slightly cloudy, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Light malt, strong notes of grassy, herbal, citrus and piney hops
Taste: Smooth malt, tang, plenty of herbal, grassy, dry hop flavor, citrus notes
Aftertaste: Lingering dry hop and herbal/grassy bitterness
Overall: 9/10

Central City Red Racer ESB

red_racer_esbBrewer: Central City, Surrey, BC
Style: Extra Special Bitter
ABV: 5.6%
IBUs: 60

Description: This brew, which is part of their regular Red Racer lineup, is Central City’s take on the classic English ESB. It combines with UK Maris Otter and Superior Pale Ale malts with a blend of Crystal malts, and is then bittered using a combination of German Magnum, Horizon, Centennial and Cascade hops.

Tasting Notes: I’ve come to expect good things from Central City, and the ESB has been something I’ve been meaning to review for awhile now. Like a classic bitter, it has the smooth malt base and the dry hop flavor. But owing to a combination of British and Pacific Northwest influences, it also has some a nice balance of citrus, grassy and herbal notes, and a hint of sweet malt flavor that rounds everything out nicely.

Appearance: Ruby amber, cloudy, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Mild malt, mild citrus, dry hops, grassy, herbal, minerals
Taste: Smooth malt, mild sweetness, dry hop flavor, grapefruit, citrus rind, grassy, herbal
Aftertaste: Lingering bitterness, grapefruit and herbal hops
Overall: 9/10

Driftwood Entangled Hopfenweisse

entangled-circular-logoBrewer: Driftwood Brewery, Victoria BC
Style: Hefeweizen/IPA
ABV: 7%

Description: This Fall limited release combines a Hefeweizen base that employs wheat malts and Hefeweizen yeast, along with a generous dosing of North American hops (what I assume are Centennial, Cascade and Columbus – the 3 Cs) to create a fusion brew the combines a German Wheat beer with a West Coast IPA.

Tasting Notes: This brew was quite delicious, combining the smooth drinkability and yeasty backbone of a Hefeweizen with a serious infusion of fruity, floral and bitter West Coast hops. Definitely an improvement on the many Belgian IPAs that have been fashionable these past few years. I do hope this is the beginning of a trend.

Appearance: Orange, cloudy, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Mild malt, rich hop nose, strong citrus, tropical and passion fruit notes
Taste: Smooth malt, strong tang, yeast, notes of grapefruit, passion fruit, pineapple
Aftertaste: Lingering hop bitterness, citrus rind, yeast bitterness
Overall: 9/10

Driftwood New Growth Pale Ale

Driftwood_newgrowthBrewer: Driftwood Brewery, Victoria, BC
Style: Session Ale
ABV: 5.5%

Description: Driftwood second seasonal release using Sartori harvest hops, which like its predecessor was made in honor of the return of locally brewed, hand-crafted ales. This time around, the beer is a sessional pale ale that is bittered using a combination of Centennial and Newport hops.

Tasting Notes: One can immediately taste the presence of Sartori Centennial hops in this brew, which came through in the noticeably aromatic and powerful herbal taste, not to mention the notes of pine, citrus and grass present throughout. The addition of Newport hops, on the other hand, offers  a layer of piney, resiny flavor not found in their Sartori Harvest IPA or in other Sartori-hopped ales. A good beer and definitely a must try for the hop heads out there!

Appearance: Light amber, clear, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Light malt, good nose of citrus, grassy hops
Taste: Smooth malt, good tang, herbal hops, piney, resiny, and citrus finish
Aftertaste: Lingering hop bitterness, citrus rind
Overall: 7.8/10