Phillips Green Reaper IPA 2014

GreenReaper-300x416Brewer: Phillips Brewery, Victoria BC
Style: India Pale Ale
ABV: 6.5%

Description: This is Phillips third annual fresh-hopped special seasonal beer whose release coincides with the fall hop harvest. This year’s is hopped using fresh Cascade hops from local farms to create a smooth drinking, slightly citrusy, and well-balanced India Pale Ale.

Tasting Notes: This is my second time sampling Phillips Green Reaper, and this year’s is comparable to last year’s, but also has a few noted differences. For one, the malts were lighter in hue, and the hop palette was slightly different, packing more citrus and pine into the nose and flavor profile. However, it remains an overall subtle brew with gentle notes and an overall clean taste.

Appearance: Light amber, clear, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Strong malt, floral hop aroma, citrus, pine, pineapple
Taste: Smooth malt, mild tang, hint of citrus, pine and herbs
Aftertaste: Lingering dry hops, bitterness, clean finish
Overall: 8/10

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Driftwood Sartori Harvest IPA 2014

Driftwood_Sartori2014Brewer: Driftwood Brewery, Victoria BC
Style: India Pale Ale
Alc/Vol: 7%

Description: This limited release IPA from the Driftwood Brewery is crafted once a year, immediately following the Centennial hop harvest of Satori Cedar Ranch, located near Chilliwack BC. Combined with Canadian grown base malt, this fresh-hopped IPA is a celebration of locally-grown hops and craft brewing!

Tasting Notes: Back in 2013, I was introduced to wet-hopped Sartori brews, thanks to Hoyne’s Wolf Vine Pale Ale and Philips Green Reaper IPA. However, I somehow missed Driftwood’s Sartori Harvest IPA, a mistake I remedied this year. Compared to its compatriots, this brew is heavily infused with herbal, citrusy hops, and weighs in at a heftier 7% alcohol per volume. Still, it is comparable in that it is subtler and more layered than your typical IPA, but still appropriately hoppy, citrusy and bitter!

Appearance: Golden, clear, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Good malt, strong floral, herbal hops, notes of citrus
Taste: Smooth malt, tang, strong notes of grapefruit, herbs, grassy hops
Aftertaste: Lingering hop bitterness, citrus rind
Overall: 8.5/10

Breakside Wanderlust IPA

wanderlust-ipa-breakside-23608-1zBrewer: Breakside Brewery, Portland, OR
Style: India Pale Ale
Alc/Vol: 6.7%

Description: This India Pale Ale is part of the brewery’s regular lineup and is a signature example of a hop-forward fresh-hopped Pacific Northwest IPA. Compared to other IPAs, its malts are slightly subdued and its color lighter than usual. In terms of bitterness, it has a potent, but altogether drier and subtler hop profile.

Tasting Notes: This beer was definitely one of the lighter-tasting IPAs I’ve ever had. Its lower gravity – which resulted in malts that were not particularly coarse or sugary – combined with fresh hops, produced a less intense, but still potent, citrus flavor. All in all, I found it a highly pleasant beer and a interesting change of pace from IPAs that tend to be both sweet and profoundly bitter.

Appearance: Light golden/amber, clear, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Strong bouquet of grapefruit, floral and citrusy
Taste: Subtle malts, strong hops, hints of grapefruit, passion fruit, pine resin
Aftertaste: Lingering bitterness, relatively clean malt finish
Overall: 9/10

Parallel 49 Pound Sterling Pilsner

p49_sterlingI’m back with Parallel 49’s latest limited release, which has once again proven to be an interesting experiment. Lately, fresh-hopped beers have been all the rage, but so far, they have tended to take the form of IPAs or Pale Ales. So I was somewhat surprised when I saw that P49 had produced a Pilsner that just happened to employ fresh hops from BC’s own Satori Hop Farm. And the end result is really quite enjoyable, bringing just the right amount of tradition and experimentation together.

The beer pours a golden straw color, is clear and retains a good head. The Satori hops are immediately apparent in the nose and from the first sip, being smooth and slightly subdued with herbal notes and a mild citrus kick. The flavor germinates on the tongue, providing the crisp clean taste Pilsner malt with an infusion of hops that are subtle, but leave a lovely impression. Quite a good combination by Parallel 49, and definitely one I will seek out in the future.

Appearance: Light gold, clear, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Slightly subdued herbal hops, minerals, Pilsner malt
Taste: Immediate grainy malt, tang, smooth herbal hops, mild citrus
Aftertaste: Lingering tang, subtle hop notes and malt finish
Overall: 8.5/10

Philips Green Reaper Fresh Hop IPA

It seems just about everybody in Victoria was getting on the “wet-hopped” thing this past summer. First there was Hoyne’s Wolf Vine Pale Ale, then Driftwood’s Sartori Harvest IPA, and now Philips Green Reaper. What do these three venerable breweries and these most recent products have in common? They are all fresh-hopped (aka. wet hopped), meaning they use hops  that are local and fresh off the vine rather than of the usual, dried variety.

However, whereas the previous two beers used Sartori hops fresh from Vancouver, Philips uses Willamette hops were harvested from Nanaimo, mere hours before they were added to this latest limited release. Though I came to it late this past summer, I am happy to add it to my review lineup now.

Appearance: Light, rosy amber, good clarity, low foam
Nose: Light scent of floral and citrus hops
Taste: Light, sweet malts accented by mixed hops palate, herbal, mild citrus,
Aftertaste: Light bitterness, quite smooth and clean
Overall: 8/10

You may notice the word “light” being featured here a few times. Well, there’s a reason for that. As is the case with all fresh-hopped beers that I have now sampled, the flavors are quite subtle and smooth. There is of course the usual combination of citrus and grassy bitterness, but they come across as more subdued and layered. As we are now coming into winter, I have to admit that I will miss this variety of beer which I am quite new to. However, I’m quite sure the winter seasonals will keep me entertained until next summer!