Central City Red Racer ESB

red_racer_esbBrewer: Central City, Surrey, BC
Style: Extra Special Bitter
ABV: 5.6%
IBUs: 60

Description: This brew, which is part of their regular Red Racer lineup, is Central City’s take on the classic English ESB. It combines with UK Maris Otter and Superior Pale Ale malts with a blend of Crystal malts, and is then bittered using a combination of German Magnum, Horizon, Centennial and Cascade hops.

Tasting Notes: I’ve come to expect good things from Central City, and the ESB has been something I’ve been meaning to review for awhile now. Like a classic bitter, it has the smooth malt base and the dry hop flavor. But owing to a combination of British and Pacific Northwest influences, it also has some a nice balance of citrus, grassy and herbal notes, and a hint of sweet malt flavor that rounds everything out nicely.

Appearance: Ruby amber, cloudy, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Mild malt, mild citrus, dry hops, grassy, herbal, minerals
Taste: Smooth malt, mild sweetness, dry hop flavor, grapefruit, citrus rind, grassy, herbal
Aftertaste: Lingering bitterness, grapefruit and herbal hops
Overall: 9/10

Thor’s Hammer Barley Wine

thors-hammer-bottleBrewer: Central City Brewing, Vancouver BC
Style: Barley Wine
Alc/Vol: 11.5%

Description: This award-winning barley wine is an annual release from Central City, and is an especially strong take on this traditional English-style. In addition to choice malt, it is hopped using a combination of German Magnum, Horizon, Centennial, and Cascade, and then bottle conditioned for a year before release.

Tasting Notes: As barley wines go, this one was a real ass-kicker in all departments. That includes malt strength, sweetness, and alcoholic strength. In addition, it delivers in all the key aspects of flavor, which includes a rich, malt-forward character, strong notes of brown sugar and molasses, dark fruits, and a slightly hoppy finish. It’s high time that I got around to sampling this one!

Appearance: Mahogany-brown, very cloudy, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Sweet, slightly coarse malts, molasses, raisins, plums
Taste: Sugars, slight tang, brown sugar, molasses, dark fruit and walnuts
Aftertaste: Lingering molasses, smokiness, coarse malt and citrus
Overall: 9/10

New Belgium Rewind India Pale Ale

New-Belgium-Rewind-India-Pale-Ale1Brewer: New Belgium, Fort Collins, CO
Style: India Pale Ale
Alc/Vol: 7%
IBUs: 64.5

Description: As part of their Hop Kitchen series, the Rewind IPA is brewed and named in honor of the brewery’s roots and the heyday of craft brewing during the early 90’s. Maris Otter and Special B malts give this beer its malt base, while Horizon, Willamette and Galena hops provide the hop flavoring. 

Tasting Notes: As India Pale Ales go, this beer is quite different, being rather subtle and complex at the same time. Rather than the sweet and coarse profile one typically expects from an American IPA, the Rewind has slight, subtle, and mildly syrupy malts. The hop pallet is also quite complex, combining earthy tones, grassiness, and traces of orchard fruit. I’m tempted to say it’s more akin to a British IPA, but its more of a standalone example really, and a quite interesting one.

Appearance: Deep amber, clear, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Mild malts, grassy and floral hops, notes of peach and orchard fruit
Taste: Subtle malt flavor, slightly syrupy, apricots, peaches, grassy, earthy hops
Aftertaste: Relatively smooth finish, lingering hop flavor and mild fruit
Overall: 8.5/10