Lighthouse Seaport Vanilla Stout

Lighthouse_SeaportBrewer: Lighthouse Brewery, Victoria BC
Style: Vanilla Stout
ABV: 5.5%

Description: This latest release is part of the brewery’s Explorer Series. It begins with dark roasted malts, and finishes with the infusion of Madagascar vanilla beans. This beer is also part of their Bounty series – alongside the Tasman Ale and Shipwreck IPA – as part of the breweries new look and structure.

Tasting Notes: The addition of vanilla to this West Coast-style stout creates a well-balanced and smooth drinking experience. With the addition of chocolate and coffee notes, it wasn’t dissimilar to a Mochachino, or a Milk Stout with a hint of cocoa. And it certainly was an interesting departure for the Lighthouse Brewery, a fan of big flavor that usually involves hops!

Appearance: Tar black, opaque, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Deep roasted malts, espresso, chocolate and vanilla
Taste: Smooth malt, creamy, strong hint of vanilla, chocolate, hint of coffee
Aftertaste: Lingering vanilla flavor and smooth malt flavor
Overall: 8/10

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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!

Mushroom Jerk Chicken and Mash

mushroomsI’ve been thinking, it’s been awhile since I did a post on the subject of comfort food. But with the winter beer season upon us, this was to be expected! Yes, I am just making excuses, so here is what I decided to come back with. My favorite Mushroom Jerk Chicken!

To be fair, this particular dish is not my own creation. It was inspired by Anita Zacker – hey Anita! – who floated me the recipe during a conversation about the merits of jerk chicken. It was she who just how awesome this dish could be when combined with mushroom gravy.

After attempting it for myself, I was blown away and immediately moved to put my own twist on it. Just the way I am, it seems, always trying to put my stamp on things! However, this came with the addition of my own garlic mash to the recipe, plus some spinach or mixed greens. And from this combination, a recurring favorite was born!

Zacker/Williams Mushroom Jerk Chicken and Mash:
jerk_seasoning_16x94 white mushrooms
2 boneless chicken breast
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 clove garlic
4 large red skinned potatoes
1 bunch spinach or mixed greensjerk seasoning or sauce
sour cream

Chop garlic and mushrooms, slice chicken, combine in a frying pan, cook until chicken begins to brown. Add jerk seasoning and mushroom soup, stir until soup is liquified, lower heat and simmer. In a separate pot, heat water to a boil, add chopped potatoes and boil until thoroughly cooked. Remove from heat, add sour cream and chopped garlic, mash thoroughly. Layer plate with spinach greens and scoops of mashed potatoes, add chicken with gravy on top and serve.

Beer Pairing:
parallel49_labelsGiven the nature of this food, combining spice, cream, and salty mushroom gravy together in one package, a beer that is relatively light and clean, but still packs a hoppy bite would seem well suited. As such, I would recommend a good pale ale to go with this food.

Given that I have sampled many good ones in my time, I am somewhat torn as to which I would favor for pairing with this food. However, I think that Parallel 49 Gypsy Tears Ruby Ale or Lighthouse Tasman Ale. Either are very enjoyable beers and would be well suited to tackling the various flavors of this food.

Lighthouse Tasman Ale

As I might have said before, Lighthouse has really been knocking it out of the park lately. Their Big Flavor series was a celebration of craft brewing that included several crossover beers that combined high alcohol content and a hefty dose of hops. And it was followed shortly thereafter by the release of Switchback, a true IPA, but which was part of their regular lineup.

And now, they’ve gone a step further with the introduction of the Tasman Ale, an amber ale that is made with local malts and hops imported directly from Tasmania (indicated by the Tasmanian devil on the label). Like the Switchback, this beer is available as part of their regular lineup, in spite of the fact that it’s much more curious than anything else they’ve created thus far. And whereas the IPA is a robust, citrusy ale with strong, rich malts, this beer is more on the dry side of things, combining a sweat and refreshing malt flavor with dry hops and a slight citrus kick.

Appearance: Deep amber, clear and light head
Nose: Mix of dry hops and cascade hop citrus, slight notes of caramel malts
Taste: Slightly sweet malts and mild tang, giving way to a mix of dry and bitter hop bites
Aftertaste: Mild tang and lingering bitterness, finished quite clean
Overall: 9/10

Like many recent releases, this beer is just in time for the hot weather fronts we’ve been having! Like a good amber, it is mild and refreshing, but the unique hop combination lends it a taste of an ESB combined with an pale ale. All of this leads to a well-rounded drinking experience which helps subdue the heat!