Category 12 Dry-Hopped Sour

c12-bottle-shot-DryHoppedSour-20160608-ABrewer: Category 12 Brewing,
Style: Sour
ABV: 5%
IBUs: 14

Description: The latest in C12’s Elemental Series, this limited summer release is soured with a Lactobacillus culture and then fermented with Saccharomyces Trois wild yeast. It is then dry-hopped using new German hop varieties Mandarina Bavaria and Huell Melon for balance.

Tasting Notes: This is definitely a summer seasonal, since it calls to mind backyard lemonade, made from squeezed lemons and ice water. It is quite mild and clean, but just like unsweetened lemonade, it has has some serious tartness that somehow manage to slake your thirst. Add to that a yeasty backbone which brings the lactic acid, and some mild notes of tropical fruit, and you’ve this experimental ale.

Appearance: Light yellow, cloudy, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Gentle malt, yeasty, dry, tart, melon, lemony nose
Taste: Mild malt, immediate acidity, tart lemon, yeast and lactic acid
Aftertaste: Lingering lemon and yeasty flavor
Overall: 8/10

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Phillips Super Cooper Anniversary Ale

Super-Cooper-Anniversary-AleBrewer: Phillips Brewing, Victoria, BC
Style: Imperial Pale Ale
ABV: 11.6%
IBUs: Unlisted

Description: In honor of their anniversary, Phillips offers another specially-themed limited release brew. This time around, the theme is Donkey Kong, which alludes to the bourbon barrel-aging process the Imperial Ale goes through. The result is then dry-hopped with American varieties, giving it a flavor profile that is potent and flavorful.

Tasting Notes: I was reminded of Russel’s Nectar of the Gods with this one, though with some added octane! The bourbon barrel-aging adds a hint of smokey, vanilla-like flavor and fruity esters that pair well with the strong malt base, which is then complimented by notes of citrus, tropical fruit and herbs. And of course, the alcoholic bite, which is present throughout, but not overwhelming. Still, not a beer for the faint of heart or weak of liver!

Appearance: Dark golden, mildly cloudy, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Strong malts, bourbon, vanilla, cherry, tropical fruit, citrus, herbs
Taste: Rich coarse malt, hint of vanilla, passion fruit, citrus, whiskey bite 
Aftertaste: Lingering whiskey flavor, alcoholic bitterness, dry herbs
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

Four Winds Sovereign Super Saison

fourwinds_sovereignBrewer: Four Winds Brewing, Delta, BC
Style: Saison
ABV: 8.5%
IBUs: 20

Description: As part of Four Wind’s Eurus series, which is named after the Greek god of the East Winds – Sovereign is a bottle conditioned ale that is brewed according to a venerable European tradition. Like a good Saison, it is brewed using pale malt, mixed fermentation and then dry-hopped to create a spicy farmhouse ale.

Tasting Notes: Four Winds did it again, providing me with one the better beers I’ve had in recent memory. It starts with a strong but smooth malt base, and then gets into some yeast cultures that just pop in your mouth. Notes of citrus, lavender, and oak linger on the tongue before things finish with a lingering bitterness that’s full of dry hops and spices.

Appearance: Deep amber, cloudy, very good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Rich malt, citrus, herbs, dry hops, lavender, strong yeast
Taste: Smooth malt, citrus rind, lavender, effervescent, spicy yeast, oak, fruity esters
Aftertaste: Lingering yeast and hop bitterness, notes of citrus and lavender
Overall: 9.5/10

Phillips Apteryx IPA

phillips_apteryxBrewer: Phillips Brewing, Victoria, BC
Style: India Pale Ale
ABV: 6.5%
IBUs:

Description: Phillips latest limited release, which is named in honor of the iconic Kiwi bird, is a tribute to New Zealand. As such, this India Pale Ale features a generous dosing of Nelson Sauvin hops, which are then added post-boil for a dry-hopped profile.

Tasting Notes: This Phillips release was definitely one I could get behind. The combination of strong pale malts, Nelson Sauvin hops, and the fact that it’s dry-hopped made for a very tasty, but also subtle and complex character. The malt base is strong but sweet, and the hop flavor comes through with notes of citrus, grass, pine, and grape – but at no point is it overwhelming.

Appearance: Amber, clear, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Good malt, strong notes of grape, hints of citrus, grass and pine
Taste: Strong malt, hint of sweetness, hop bitterness, herbal, grapes, citrus
Aftertaste: Lingering hop bitterness, citrus rind and pine
Overall: 8.5/10

Maui Big Swell IPA

maui_ipaBrewery: Maui Brewing, Lahaina, HI
Style: India Pale Ale
ABV: 6.8%
IBU: 82

Description: As part of their Flagship Beer (aka. regular lineup), the Big Swell is a classic example of a Northwestern IPA. It combines pale malt with four different Pacific northwest hop varieties, which are added both during and after the boil to add an additional layer of dry-hopped flavor to the mix.

Tasting Notes: This is my first sampling of the Maui brewery, and given my soft spot for IPAs I naturally I had to start with theirs. And this one definitely delivered in all departments. The malt was smooth and rich, the hop flavor was powerful, explosive and at once citrusy, grassy, herbal and dry on the tongue. Definitely a faithful Northwestern IPA! Onto the next Maui brew!

Appearance: Light amber, clear, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Rich malt, mixed nose of hops – grassy, piny, floral, lots of citrus
Taste: Smooth malt, syrupy, grassy, dry hop and powerful notes of citrus, and grapefruit
Aftertaste: Lingering hop bitterness, citrus rind and mild malt sweetness
Overall: 8.8/10

Big Rock Fowl Mouth ESB

fowl_mouth_esbBrewer: Big Rock, Calgary AB
Style: Extra Special Bitter
Alc/Vol: 5.5%

Description: Part of the brewery’s Brewmaster Series, the Fowl Mouth is made in the “Cornish Bitter” fashion and combines Pale and Crystal malts with East Kent Golding and U.K. Fuggle Hops to create a dry-hopped English-style pale ale.

Tasting Notes: It’s been some time since I enjoyed a Big Rock beer. I can remember quite fondly when they first began to appear in pubs in Ottawa in the late 90s, and enjoyed many a pint of their Traditional Ale as they years went on. And these days, their product catalog only seems to be expanding, so I knew I had to start catching up. And as far as ESBs go, this one was quite refreshing, had a lovely malt profile, and was surprisingly fruity, in addition to the subtle, dry-hop profile. I definitely want to see more from the Brewmaster Edition and will do my best to review in the future.

Appearance: Copper, clear, milder foam retention and  carbonation
Nose: Rich malt, notes of orchard fruit, English hops
Taste: Smooth crystal malt, mild tang, sweet bread, hint of blackcurrant, dry hop finish
Aftertaste: Lingering malt, chewy bread, mild citrus and dry hop flavor
Overall: 9/10