New Belgium 2015 La Folie Sour Brown Ale

La_Folie2015Brewer: New Belgium Brewing, Fort Collins, CO
Style: Oud Bruine
ABV: 7%
IBUs: 18

Description: This is New Belgium’s 2015 vintage of their La Folie series of sours. Much like last year’s, this beer is brewed in venerated Oud Bruine style of Belgian sours, combining Pale, Munich Carpils, C-80, Chocolate malts are combined with Nugget hops. It is then fermented using wild brettanomyces strains and then barrel aged in oak barrels for up to 3 years.

Tasting Notes: This year’s offering was much as I remember, tart and sour as all get-out! And much like a good sour brown, it possessed all the usual oaky, fruity, and yeast notes, bringing to mind flavors of sour cherry, plum skin, and red wine tannins.

Appearance: Dark brown, clear, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Mild malts, lactic acid, yeast, green apple, oak, red wine
Taste: Smooth malt, burst of tartness, plum skin, sour cherry, green apple, tannins, oak
Aftertaste: Lingering tartness, yeast and oaky notes
Overall: 8/10

Advertisements

Driftwood Blackstone Porter

Driftwood_porterBrewer: Driftwood Brewing, Victoria, BC
Style: Porter
ABV: 5%
IBUs: Unspecified

Description: As one of the breweries regular-lineup creations, this London-style Porter is brewed with a combination of caramel, black and chocolate malts. As was relatively common with pre-Industrial Porters, the brewers also added partial sour mash to the mix, creating a beer that combines a slight tartness with chocolaty malts.

Tasting Notes: This Driftwood brew has been a standout for me, at least as far as reviews go. It is a weakness of mine, I tend to avoid porters and stouts because they are not my favorites. And yet, I can always find things to rave about when one is done right; and this would be one such case. The Blackstone came highly reviewed by peers of mine so I decided it was high time to sample it again. The subtle nature of the sour mash, combined with rich dark malts that elicit flavors of roast espresso and bitter chocolate are quite lovely.

Appearance: Tar black, opaque, thick foam retention and good carbonation
Nose: Rich, dark malt, sour notes, notes of coffee and chocolate
Taste: Rich, roasted malt, mild tartness, notes of espresso and bitter chocolate
Aftertaste: Lingering malt bitterness, coffee and hint of licorice
Overall: 8.25/10

Fernie Black Mammoth Winter Ale

Fernie_blackBrewery: Fernie Brewing, Fernie, BC
Style: Winter Black Ale
ABV: 8%
IBU: 25

Description: This winter ale began production in winter of 2013 in honor of Fernie Brewing’s 10th anniversary. It is brewed with chocolate malt and spiced with an infusion of cocoa and curacao orange peel before being lightly hopped.

Tasting Notes: This beer put me in mind of other well-known black BC brews, not the least of which are VIB’s Hermann’s Dark Lager and Hoyne’s Dark Matter. The dark, roasted malt comes through with notes of chocolate and espresso, while the curacao peel lends it a mildly sweet, slightly citrus taste that compliments the roasted flavor quite well. Not a bad seasonal at all, and definitely a good winter warmer.

Appearance: Black, opaque, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Roasted malt nose, notes of espresso and dark chocolate
Taste: Roasted malt, hint of sweetness, dark chocolate, espresso, mild citrus
Aftertaste: Lingering chocolate and espresso, roasted malt flavor
Overall: 8.5/10

Muskoka Winter Beard Double Chocolate Cranberry Stout

muskoka_beardBrewer: Muskoka Brewery, Bracebridge ON
Style: Strong Stout
ABV: 8%

Description: Muskoka’s Winter seasonal beer, this stout is brewed using dark roasted chocolate malts which are then infused with cocoa, 70% dark chocolate, and freshly harvested local cranberries. The result is a strong stout with hints of sweetness and a smooth backing.

Tasting Notes: This is one of those “long time coming” drinking experiences. I can recall seeing this beer on the shelves back when I visited Ottawa, and made a mental note to try it once I saw that it was available here in BC. It took awhile, but I finally managed to get my hands on one and give it a go. And the combination was pretty pleasing. Tart and sweet cranberry flavor play well with a strong stout, cutting the bitter malt flavor, while chocolate provide an undertone of smoothness.

Appearance: Black, opaque, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Rich, roasted malt, chocolate, hint of espresso, licorice
Taste: Dark, rich malts, cocoa and espresso, hint of tartness and sugary finish
Aftertaste: Lingering roasted malt flavor, chocolate and espresso, licorice
Overall: 8.5/10

4 Mile Brown Ale

4mile_brownBrewer: 4 Mile Brewing, Victoria BC
Style: English-style Brown Ale
Alc/Vol: 5.3%
IBUs: 40

Description: This English-style brown ale is crafted using five different types of malt, including crystal, chocolate & roasted barley. The result is a dark, full-bodied malty beer with a discernible bitter hop finish.

Tasting Notes: This is my second sampling from the 4 Mile Brewery, and the English inspiration was once again very much apparent. The strong notes of roasted barely and baked bread are immediately apparent upon opening the bottle, and carry on through from the first sip to the last. These are further balanced out with some hop bitterness and malty notes of coffee, caramel and cocoa. A truly lovely beer-drinking experience!

Appearance: Deep brown, clear, mild foam retention and good carbonation
Nose: Toasted malt, baked bread, caramelized sugar, mild coffee
Taste: Dark roasted malts, tang, slight caramel sweetness, notes of coffee, cocoa
Aftertaste: Lingering roasted malt bitterness, hints of coffee and cocoa
Overall: 9/10

No-Li Spin Cycle Red Ale

no-li-brewhouse-logo-squareBrewer: No-Li Brewhouse, Spokane, Washington
Style: Extra-Special Bitter (ESB)
Alc/Vol: 5.75%
IBUs: 49

Description: A combination of English, German and American brewing techniques, this beer takes its name from the fact that it brings 2-Row, Crystal, Munich, and Chocolate malts together with Cluster, Liberty, and Cascade hops to achieve a balanced pale ale. Formerly known as Crystal Bitter ESB, this beer has the distinction of being the 2012 Gold Medal Winner of the Great American Beer Festival.

Tasting Notes: As ESB’s and Red Ales go, this beer is certainly consistent, combining that dry, subtle hop flavor with a malt profile that is nicely syrupy with just a hint of sweetness. The combination of malts is also discernible, with a sharp tang and a slight taste of cocoa that comes from the Munich and Chocolate malts. It also manages to finish clean, with a slight bitterness that lingers just long enough on the tongue. A refreshing and complex brew.

Appearance: Dark copper, clear, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Subtle malt nose, mild syrups, light hint of dry hops
Taste: Sweetbread, honey, dry herbs and hop bitterness, mild cocoa
Aftertaste: Mild, lingering bitterness, quite clean finish
Overall: 9/10