Hoyne Wolf Vine Pale Ale 2014

hoyne_wolfvineBrewer: Hoyne Brewery, Victoria, BC
Style: Pale Ale
Alc/Vol: 5.3%

Description: Hoyne’s fall seasonal release is back, employing fresh Centennial and Cascade hops from Sartori Farms to create a “wet-hopped” West Coast-style pale ale. Brewed in conjunction with the hop harvest, this beer is available for only a short time during the early Autumn.

Tasting Notes: This is my second sampling of the Wolf Vine, after it first premiered last year, and I was suitably impressed again. Much like its predecessor, this pale ale has achieves a nice balance between smooth pale malt and a lovely hop palette that is both varied and subtle. At once dry, citrusy, herbal and grassy, this brew is reminiscent of both a West Coast Pale and an ESB. Glad they chose to bring it back!

Appearance: Deep amber, clear, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Mild pale malt, mild notes of dry citrus and herbal hops
Taste: Smooth malt, mild tang, dry, subtle notes of herbal, grassy, and citrus hops
Aftertaste: Lingering malt flavor, and dry subtle hop flavor
Overall: 9/10

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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

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!