Four Winds Nectarous Dry-Hopped Sour Ale

fourwinds_nectarousBrewer: Four Winds Brewing,
Style: Sour Ale
ABV: 5.5%
IBUs: 6

Description: As part of their Eurus Series – a line of limited-released European-inspired bottle-conditioned ales – this ale is made using a combination of Pilsner, Munich and acidulated malts. It is then dry-hopped with a modest amount of Galaxy hops and fermented using Brett Trois, Lactobacillus and Belgian strains of yeast.

Tasting Notes: This was a very interesting take on a sour ale. By employing a light malt base and mild dry-hopping, you really get to appreciate the yeasty, effervescent sour flavor. What comes through are some strong notes of peach and passion fruit, but the most noticeable is the lemonade flavor. Quite interesting!

Appearance: Yellow/orange, cloudy, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Gentle malt, yeast, citrus, lemon, peace, passion fruit

Taste: Smooth malt, yeasty effervescence, lemonade, peace, passion fruit
Aftertaste: Lingering sourness, yeasty flavor, lemonade
Overall: 8/10

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Russel 19th Anniversary IP G’Day IPA

Russell_IPG'DayBrewer: Russel Brewing, Surrey BC
Style: India Pale Ale
ABV: 6.5%
IBUs: 53

Description: Brewed in honor of Russell Brewing’s 19th birthday, this India Pale Ale pays tribute to one of their brewers – Scott Bohanna-Martin‘s – Australian roots, This they did by using  Galaxy, Ella and Topaz hops that were grown Down Under.

Tasting Notes: This was a nice twist on the conventional West Coast IPA. In many ways, I was reminded of a fresh-hopped IPA and an ESB, in that it packed some strong notes of herbs, citrus rind, grass and pine, but in a way that slightly dry and subtle. Despite the moderately bitter rating of 53 IBUs, it was quite hop-forward, and had a strong but smooth malt backbone.

Appearance: Dark ruby, clear, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Strong hop-forward nose, grassy, herbal notes, hint of citrus and pine
Taste: Rich malt, strong infusion of herbal, bitter hops, citrus rind and grass
Aftertaste: Lingering bitterness and notes of citrus rind and herbs
Overall: 8.5/10

Fernie Brewing Last Cast Summer IPA

Fernie_summeripaBrewer: Fernie Brewing, Fernie, BC
Style: India Pale Ale
ABV: 6.7%
IBU: 70

Description: The final beer on Fernie Brewing’s Bucket List IPA Series, the Last Call is a summer-seasonal IPA is lighter bodied than their previous offerings. Much like the others, it is bittered using a combination of new hops, including the Falconer’s Flight, Amarillo, Ahtanum and Galaxy varieties.

Tasting Notes: An unusual IPA, to be sure, the Last Call was reminiscent of both a Pilsner and an IPA. This comes through in the crisp malts (which I can only assume are Munich, Pilsner and/or Vienna), but is reinforced in the hop combination that brings out a certain herbal and slightly skunky flavor, in addition to a good citrus bite. A nice combination and a good way to finish off a lineup!

Appearance: Golden, cloudy, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Grainy malt, dry, herbal hops, mild skunk
Taste: Crisp, grainy malt, good tang, strong bite of bitter, herbal, citrus hops
Aftertaste: Lingering citrus bitterness and herbal notes
Overall: 8/10

Deep Cove Star Struck Rye IPA

deepcover_starstruckBrewer: Deep Cove Brewery, Vancouver BC
Style: India Pale Ale
Alc/Vol: 7%
IBUs: 82

Description: As part of their year round series, the India Pale Ale is the first beer to be released since their initial lineup. In addition to what is surely Pale and Crystal (as well as Rye) malts, it is generously hopped with Galaxy and other West Coast strains.

Tasting Notes: This beer is my latest sampling from the Deep Cove Brewery, and came highly recommended to me by the good staff at my local beer store. And they certainly knew what they were talking about! This IPA comes in with some nice, smooth malt, a good dose of citrus and tropical hop flavor, and a nice hint of rye that manages to smooth and round out the flavor.

Appearance: Amber-orange, slightly cloudy, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Good malt, citrus hops, passion fruit, pineapple and rye
Taste: Smooth malt, good tang, tangerine, passion fruit, pineapple
Aftertaste: Lingering hop bitterness and notes of tropical fruit
Overall: 9/10

Lighthouse Numbskull Imperial IPA

Numbskull-1024x682Lighthouse has been doing some impressive things of late. Whether its been their “Big Flavor” series, or their Mountain Goat Maibock and Three Weeds Belgian Wit, or their Switchback IPA and Tasman Session Ale, they’ve been pretty much killing it as of late. And now they’ve unveiled this latest beer, the Numbskull Imperial IPA, which pretty much accomplishes everything an extra strong, hopped-up IPA should. This includes boasted a rather rich malt profile, a wide array of hops (in heavy concentration), and a strong and powerful alcohol content (9.1% alc/vol).

According to the brewery’s own website, the malts of choice include Munich, Pale and Caramel Malts, which allow for a sweet and potent combination. Meanwhile, the hops include the Rakua, Galaxy and Citra varieties, which add up to a citrusy and tropical profile that is both appetizing and quite potent. Especially where the tropical nose and flavor come through. I can honestly attest that it’s like drinking pineapple juice, except with a lovely, malty, alcohol-laced kick!

Appearance: Gold, light amber, clear, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Very strong hop bouquet, floral, citrusy, tropical aroma, strong malts
Taste: Sweet, syrupy malts, some coarseness, notes of pineapple, citrus
Aftertaste: Lingering coarse malt and hop bitterness
Overall: 9/10

Next up is their anniversary ale, which I intend to enjoy thoroughly! Congratulations, Lighthouse, you’ve been blowing it out of the water of late. At this rate, you might just become my favorite BC brewery!

Dead Frog Fearless IPA

I just got a special delivery… and I do mean special! After liaising with the good folks over at Dead Frog brewery a few weeks ago, I was told to expect some samples of their new Fearless IPA. Today was the day that my samples arrived. Yep, three bottles all wrapped up in bubble wrap and sealed in a paper-wrapped box. The sampling began shortly thereafter…

From the earliest indications, the Fearless looks, smells and pours like a true IPA, with an amber color, a hoppy bouquet, and mild foam retention. However, it is slightly different in that it has a very good clarity, which one does not always find with IPAs. The alcohol content and hop content are also consistent with a Northwestern India Pale, weighing in at a respectable 6.5% per/vol and 77 IBUs.

And then of course comes the interesting hop combination. By using Galaxy, Zythos, Cascade and Columbus hops, the brewmasters were clearly going for a unique combination of sweet and robust. The former two strands are Australian and a combination variety that are known for achieving a tropical fruit taste and smell. The latter two are well-known amongst beer drinkers as being what gives Northwestern Pale Ales and IPA’s their citrusy profile. The end result is what one might describe as a rippling effect of flavor.

Appearance: Crystal clear, good amber hue, mild foam
Nose: Citrus notes and hints of pineapple and passion fruit
Taste: Immediate burst of bitterness and malt giving way to citrus and slight sweetness
Aftertaste: Lingering piney flavor, intermittent pineapple
Overall: 8/10

As it stands, this is the third IPA that I’ve sampled from Dead Frog, all of which are only available in the 650ml bottle. First there was their limited release Fusion Hop, followed shortly thereafter by the Citra IPA. Of the three, I think this one ranks the highest. Many beers get bonus marks for experimentation, but this beer gets its marks for being an experiment done right. And just in case people were wondering, absolutely no marks were given for home delivery! 😉 Kudos Dead Frog, congratulation on a fine product and thanks for the sample!