Driftwood Belle Royale Kriek

Brewer: Driftwood Brewing, Victoria, BC
Style: Kriek
ABV: 7.6%
IBUs: Unlisted

Malts: Pilsner, CaraMunich, Munich, Aromatic, and Dark Wheat
Hops: Hallertauer
Yeast: Brett Brux

Description: A massive dose of Morello cherries gives a rich red hue, and complemented by the cherry pie notes courtesy Brett Brux, this rich, complex-yet-dry sour beer delivers layers of fruit and funk. Aged for a year in used French Oak wine barrels. This beer is cellarable and will appreciate with age.

Tasting Notes: The Belle Royale was definitely one of my favorite of the Bird of Prey Series, which specialized in sours of different varieties. Since its re-release, it has been relabelled as a Kriek, owing to its combination  of Morello cherries and wild yeast. And the product is just as good as I remember – rich, robust, sour, with a strong nose and flavor smacking of sour cherries, tart lactic acid, and an oaky aftertaste.

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Driftwood The Last Aurochs Weizenbock

Brewer: Driftwood Brewing, Victoria, BC
Style: Weizenbock
ABV: 8%
IBUs: Unlisted

Description: The Last Aurochs Weizenbock takes a traditional approach to the Weizenbock style, mixing hefeweizen yeast with the classic Bock malt profile for a bold, powerful beer. Complex flavours of dark fruit, spice and banana bread round out it’s effervescent body and deliver a delicious finish.

Tasting Notes:  Weizenbock is one of my favorite styles, and this brew is a reminder of why that is. It pours a dark brown, smells of roasted malt and banana, and has smooth velvety mouthfeel, hints of banana, brown sugar, and plenty of date and raisin notes in the mouth. Another limited release that knocks it out of the park, and by a brewery that is renowned for them.

Driftwood Old Cellar Dweller Barley Wine 2016

driftwood_ocd2016Brewer: Driftwood Brewing, Victoria, BC
Style: Barley Wine (apparently)
ABV: 11.2%
IBUs: Unlisted (but damn high!)

Description: This is the latest release of the Old Cellar Dweller, which is not quite seasonal, but intermittent throughout the year. The 2016 release coincides with the holiday season, and is brewed using a combination of Pale, Pilsner, Crystal malts, and then heavily bittered using Columbus and Cascade hops.

Tasting Notes: This year’s Old Cellar Dweller has been in keeping with what they’ve been doing in recent years, which is to produce an Imperial IPA and call it a barleywine. As is stated on their website –  “When young, it is a hoppy treat with plenty of citrus and pine; cellared for a few years and Cellar Dweller gracefully ages into a rich, round reward for patience, hinting at flavours of tawny port.” However, offering that were from 2012 and earlier were not required to undergo aging before they began to resemble actual barleywine. So… why do we wait for it to mature? And what’s with the mislabeling?

Appearance: Strong orange, clear, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Rich malts, strong notes of citrus, pine and tropical fruit
Taste: Sweet and coarse malt, tang, notes of pine, pineapple, passion fruit
Aftertaste: Lingering coarse malt, hop bitterness, alcoholic warmth
Overall: 8/10

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

Driftwood The Heretic Tripel

driftwoodDue to the sheer volume of good beer and great limited releases they’ve produced over the years, I think it’s safe to say that Driftwood has become one of my favorite breweries of all time. In addition to their Fat Tug IPA, Naughty Hildegarde, Twenty Pounder IPA, and many Flanders-style sour ales (the epitome of brewing perfection!), they’ve also been known to produce some excellent Belgian-style ales as well.

???????????????????????????????The lastest is known as The Heretic, a Belgian-style Tripel that is the second in a series made using locally grown, Saanich peninsula barley. And since the last one was a Dubbel (the Clodhopper), it only made sense to up the ante with this one! In addition, Heretic is brewed using candy sugar, a tradition that is employed in several strong Belgian ales to increase their alcohol content, the most renowned being Duvel. The end result is a beer that is light in color, heavy on alcohol (8% alc/vol), and boasts some strong, coarse, and spicy malts with an infusion of herbal hops. And I can honestly say, as a man who’s not normally a fan of this type of beer, that this one was most inoffensive and actually quite appealing.

Appearance: Light blonde, clear, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Mild yeast culture, distinctly Belgian malt, mild sweetness
Taste: Strong, accented malts, coarse and spicy
Aftertaste: Lingering yeasts and coarse malts, mild bitterness
Overall: 8/10

In truth, and with all due respect to the venerable brewery, Duvel was never a favorite of mine. In fact, I’ve never been much of a fan of the particular style of Belgian strong ale that involves added sugar. Though I am a big fan of powerful ale, somehow, beers made in this fashion always seemed too light and too coarse for me. And yet, this Driftwood product managed to not only nail the recipe but still remain appealing to my palate. Good job, guys! Looking forward to the next limited release!