Lighthouse Jackline Rhubarb Grisette

LIGHTHOUSE_JACKLINEBrewer: Lighthouse Brewing, Victoria, BC
Style: Saison
ABV: 5.5%
IBU: Unspecified

Description: This Table Saison, or Grisette, is the latest addition to Lighthouse’s Explorer Series. Alongside 10 other beers, it made its debut at the “Craft Beer Thunderdome” during Victoria Beer Week, and is now available. Consistent with this Belgian-style ale, it is brewed with wheat, oats, Pilsner malt, and fresh rhubarb from the Fraser Valley before being fermented using Saison yeast.

Tasting Notes: Saisons and farmhouse ales seem all the rage lately! And I definitely liked what Lighthouse did with this one. The combination of malts made for a very clean, smooth malt base, and the addition of tart rhubarb flavor added was very nice compliment to the Saison yeast, which is usually sharp and spicy. This beer will go great with the approaching summer weather!

Appearance: Light golden, clear, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Mild malt, Saison yeast, tart, tangy notes of rhubarb
Taste: Smooth, mild start, burst of tart rhubarb flavor, slightly sharp yeast finish
Aftertaste: Lingering rhubarb tartness, smooth malt finish, quite refreshing
Overall: 8.5/10

Lighthouse Barque Belgian Golden Strong Ale

belgian_blondeBrewer: Lighthouse Brewery, Esquimalt, BC
Style: Belgian-style Strong Ale
ABV: 8.2%
IBUs: Unlisted

Description: The latest in Lighthouse’s Uncharted Series, this Belgian-style strong ale is named in honor of the class of sailing ship that once served as the workhorse of the Pacific – including Captain Cooke’s HM Endeavour. This beer is brewed with a Pilsner malt and bittered with a combination of Saaz, Styrian Golding, and South Pacific Wai-iti hops.

Tasting Notes: I’ve always loved the Uncharted Series, mainly because of its emphasis on big flavor and strength. And this was certainly a big flavor-take on the traditional Belgian Blonde, employing rich malts, lots of candi sugar, notes of honey, white grape and other sweet fruits, and plenty of yeasty effervescence.

Appearance: Light gold, clear, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Strong malt, candi sugar, yeast, grapes, citrus, floral hops
Taste: Rich malt, honey, sugars, yeast, white grapes and fruity esters
Aftertaste: Lingering malt flavor, yeasty bitterness, fruity esters
Overall: 8.5/10

Lighthouse Rhubie Rhubarb Ale

Lighthouse_RhubieBrewery: Lighthouse Brewery, Victoria, BC
Style: Wheat Ale
Alc/Vol: 6.2%

Description: A seasonal brew released just in time for Spring, this Lighthouse fruit-infused wheat ale is brewed using Pilsner malt, flaked wheat, hops, Belgian wheat ale yeast, and is then flavored with organic rhubarb from BC’s Fraser Valley.

Tasting Notes: The Rhubie comes across as very light and refreshing, which is what one would certainly expect from a Krystallweizen (the filtered, clear version of hefeweizen), especially one that is infused with fruit. However, added to this are the subtle, discernible notes of rhubarb, which add a hint of sweetness and some mild acidity to the mix.

Appearance: Light gold, clear, some sediment, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Mild wheat malt, yeast, hint of rhubarb acidity
Taste: Mild and smooth malt, hint of yeast, hint of sweetness and tang
Aftertaste: Very clean and refreshing, lingering malt and tang
Overall: 8/10

Lighthouse Sauerteig Farmhouse Ale

photo (2)Brewer: Lighthouse Brewing, Victoria, BC
Style: Farmhouse Ale
Alc/Vol: 7%

Description: Named after the rye flour that is used to make sourdough bread, this farmhouse ale is made using rye, wheat and barley flakes, malted wheat and rye, spelt flour and sauerteig prepared by Byron Fry at Fry’s Red Wheat Bakery. Done in the Farmhouse style, the beer is unfiltered and fermented using Belgian yeast.

Tasting Notes: This latest installment from Lighthouse was consistent with the quality I’ve come to expect from them with their seasonal and limited releases. As a farmhouse, it has a distinctly Belgian flavor which is due to the choice yeasts that impart spicey notes reminiscent of coriander. The combination of starches and malts also lends it a particularly malty, but smooth and complex flavor. And despite the presence of rye malts and flour, it is somewhat subtler and cleaner than most farmhouse ales I’ve tried.

Appearance: Medium gold, cloudy, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Distinct Belgian yeasts, baked bread, coriander spice
Taste: Smooth, flavorful malts, strong yeast, mild rye bitterness, discernible spices
Aftertaste: Lingering malt flavor, yeasts and rye flavor, light and refreshing
Overall: 8.5/10

Lighthouse Desolation Imperial Oyster Stout

Desolation-1024x682Back with more holiday beer! And for tonight’s review, I have decided to take in the latest limited release from the Lighthouse Brewery, which just happened to be their Desolation Sound Oyster Stout. As the name might suggest, this is a rather interesting and unique contender, an imperial stout made from 10 malts and a full shuck of Okeover organic oysters that were harvested directly from Desolation Sound.

Desolation_oysterstoutAnd in truth, I kind of avoided this beer for many weeks, thinking it was just a little too experimental for my taste. However, it came highly recommended from a trusted source who works at my local beer store, who compared it quite favorably to Parallel 49’s Salty Scot. Between that, and Driftwood’s recent Gos-uh brew, there really hasn’t been a shortage of local beers that incorporate sea salt. And I had no complaints about any of them.

And as promised, the end result was quite pleasing. In addition to possessing all the proper qualities of a fine, well-rounded and strong stout, the addition of oysters provided a certain briny, smoky texture that was actually quite complimentary. And what resulted from all this was a very smooth beer with a supple mouthfeel and a varied flavor profile – one which ranged from salty and sweet to smoky and bitter. And at 9.3% alc/vol, it also provides a strong alcoholic kick, but one that manages not to overpower the taste.

Appearance: Black, opaque, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Rich stout malts, hint of smoke, briny, salty backbone
Taste: Smooth, sweet malts, mild licorice, hint of smoke, espresso, hint of saltiness
Aftertaste: Lingering licorice and espresso malt, smoke and salt
Overall: 8.5/10

Salt and beer… not something we North Americans tend to think of as being entirely natural. And yet, it is surprising how many styles of beer incorporate sea salt in order to effect a varied, balanced flavor. But it does serve to remind us just how diverse and varied the art of beer making is. Until next time!

Lighthouse 15th Anniversary Ale

Lighthouse_15thanniversaryAs promised, I’m back with one of Victoria’s most important and summer limited releases. It seems that this year marks the Lighthouse Brewing Company’s 15th anniversary. And to celebrate, they have produced an anniversary ale which was clearly made with the brewery’s history in mind. I say this because over the years, the brewery has shown quite the range when it comes to producing different styles of beer. This has included the standard lineup, consisting of your typical British and American-style ales, but has also extended to include continental and time-honored varieties that are sightly more esoteric.

And it seems that all of these have gone into the creation of this ale, which interestingly enough, names no specific variety on the label. And you’ll understand why as soon as you taste it. It’s dark and possesses some of the toasted, subtle tones of a brown, but is packed with some discernable sugars and is potently strong. And then there’s the hops and yeast, distinctly British in origin, and the Maibock like tang and sweetness that lingering on the palate. It is a brown? It is a barely wine? Is it a bock? Is it a bitter? Well… yes, and no, and all the above.

Appearance: Dark brown, transparent, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Dry English hops, light, nutty brown malts, sugars
Taste: Immediate burst of roasted malts, tang, notes of brown sugar and dry, bitter hops
Aftertaste: Lingering sweetness and tang, similar to Maibock, and dry hop bitterness
Overall: 8.5/10

Not a bad way to mark 15 years of brewing: produce a beer that cuts across styles and traditions and offers some very varied taste. And of course, Lighthouse is no stranger to this trend, as exemplified by their Big Flavor series. Here, they would combine two distinct styles to produce some rather powerful and flavorful beers. This time around, they appear to have combined about four that I can discern, and with some rather flavorful results. Get some before its gone!

Oh, and Happy Birthday Lighthouse!

Lighthouse 3 Weeds Belgian Wit

lighthouse_maibock_3weedsHello folks. Today, I come to you with a review of a beer that I’ve been neglected for a few weeks now. While this beer has been available, at least in my area, since May, I’ve been hesitant due to the sheer number of Belgian Wits and other assorted wheat beers that have been making the rounds lately. But of course, I am a fan of the variety and I really can’t stand letting a limited release pass me by, so I decided to get on it!

It’s known as the 3 Weeds Belgian Wit, and much like their recent Mountain Goat Maibock (which I have tried a few times but have yet to review), was released in May in honor of spring. Brewed in the traditional Belgian wheat style, it combines pilsner and wheat malts with rolled oats, hops and a dose of coriander spice and ginger. This makes for a brew that can rival the better wits I’ve tried, boasting a gentle malt profile, a yeasty backing, and a some spicy notes that are varied and complimentary.

Appearance: Golden, cloudy, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Spicy nose, yeast, discernible coriander
Taste: Immediate burst of yeast and mild fruit, pineapple, citrus, spiciness
Aftertaste: Lingering spice and yeast flavor, ginger tang
Overall: 8.5/10

Overall, I enjoyed this beer quite a bit. And I was especially intrigued by the addition of ginger, which manages to compliment the coriander quite nicely. Whereas most Wits rely on orange rind or some other citrusy addition to do this, here you get a more layered spicy flavor in the end. It’s especially good as a warm weather beer, but was well-paired with the spicy food that I ate alongside it. I’m actually sorry I resisted it for as long as I did. This and the Maibock would have made a great two-fer review!