Driftwood Pilsner Doehnel

driftwood_pilsnerBrewer: Driftwood Brewery, Victoria, BC
Style: Pilsner
ABV: 5%
IBUs: Unlisted

Description: This latest release by Driftwood’s is also the brewery’s first-ever attempt at a lager. In keeping with that venerable tradition of brewing, they have chosen to go with a Czech-style Pilsner. And in true craft brewing fashion, they fashioned this brew using malts that were grown and malted on the Saanich Peninsula by artisan Maltster Mike Doehnel. Hence why it is named in his honour. It was then lagered for six weeks prior to being released this past June. Get it while it lasts!

Tasting Notes: This Pilsner was definitely a great addition to Driftwood’s lineup – a Czech-style lager with a West Coast twist. Crisp malts intermix with notes of citrus, herbs and minerals, and finish very cleanly, offering a refreshing and tasty brew with just enough complexity. Kudos to Driftwood for expanding into unknown territory and creating a winner in the process!

Appearance: Straw gold, slightly cloudy, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Sharp, grainy and crisp malts, dry, herbal hops, minerals
Taste: Crisp malt, mineral tang, dry, herbal hops
, mild citrus rind bite
Aftertaste: Lingering malt and mineral tang, citrus bitterness, clean finish
Overall: 9/10

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Phillips 3rd Blind Mouse Triple IPA

Phillips-Third-Blind-MouseBrewer: Phillips Brewery, Victoria, BC
Style: Triple India Pale Ale
ABV: 10.2%
IBUs: Unspecified (high)

Description: The latest Spring Seasonal from Phillips, this Triple IPA is aptly named and pretty straightforward. A strong malt base, and a good dose of West Coast hops provide a very strong, but balanced flavor profile that will appeal to hop heads and fans of their Hop Drop liqueur (noted for its powerful hop flavor and alcoholic strength!)

Tasting Notes: Seriously, I have to wonder what inspires Phillips with its limited-release creations! These guys obviously love high alcohol content, IPAs, and IBUs, and this beer delivers all three in spades! I was honestly reminded of their Hop Drop when drinking this, mainly because the potent combination of hops and alcohol was just too reminiscent of that lovely liqueur. Still, the combination manages to balance out quite nicely, making for a powerful, but relatively easy-going drinking experience.

Appearance: Light amber, clear, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Rich malt, strong hop nose, floral, tropical, passion fruit and herbs
Taste: Strong malt, potent hops, citrus, tropical fruit and dry herbs, bitter, alcoholic finish
Aftertaste: Lingering herbal hops bitterness, alcoholic bite
Overall: 7.8/10

Red Truck Riding Shotgun Belgian Blonde Ale

Credit: untappd.com

Credit: untappd.com

Brewer: Red Truck Brewery, Vancouver BC
Style: Blonde Ale
ABV: 6%
IBUs: 25

Description: This Belgian-style blonde ale is one of the the brewery’s many limited releases, from their “Limited 650” series. It is fashioned using Superior Pils, Vienna, and Specialty B malts, bittered with a combination of Noble, German Spalt and Saaz hops, and then aged for 21 days before being bottled.

Tasting Notes: Ever since I got back from Belgium, I have been missing good , clean-drinking blonde ales. So it’s nice when local breweries do one and do it right. Like a good blonde, this one has all the right yeasty notes, a hint of sugar, and some crisp, clean malt flavor. It also has a discernible apple cider-like scent and flavor going on.

Appearance: Light gold, clear, medium foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Sharp malt, mild hops, strong Belgian yeast, hint of sugar, apple cider
Taste: Crisp malt, mild tang, yeasty notes, hint of apple, mild tartness
Aftertaste: Lingering malt and yeast flavor, refreshing, clean finish
Overall: 8.5/10

Big Rock Anthea Wet Hop Ale 2014

bigrock_antheaBrewer: Big Rock, Calgary, AB
Style: Wet Hopped Pale Ale
ABV: 6%
IBUs: 39

Description: As part of the Alchemist Edition, a series of one-off, very limited release small batch brews, the Anthea is Big Rock’s contribution to move towards locally-sourced, wet-hopped beers. The name means “blossom” in Greek, and the brew is fashioned from Pale and Caramel Malt with Fresh Cascade hops sourced from the Yakima Valley in Washington state.

Tasting Notes: It’s rather difficult for me to find anything from Big Rock’s limited releases out here, so I was pleasantly surprised when I found this. Like most wet-hopped ales I’ve had, this one was rather subtle and easy drinking. The relatively crisp and smooth malt is balanced by hop flavor that has discernible citrus and grassy notes that are understated, but present throughout.

Appearance: Golden amber, cloudy, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Gentle malts, mild floral and citrus hop notes
Taste: Crisp malt, hint of grapefruit, gentle hop bite, grassy and citrus notes
Aftertaste: Mild lingering hop flavor, crisp malt, refreshing finish
Overall: 7.7/10

Fernie Black Mammoth Winter Ale

Fernie_blackBrewery: Fernie Brewing, Fernie, BC
Style: Winter Black Ale
ABV: 8%
IBU: 25

Description: This winter ale began production in winter of 2013 in honor of Fernie Brewing’s 10th anniversary. It is brewed with chocolate malt and spiced with an infusion of cocoa and curacao orange peel before being lightly hopped.

Tasting Notes: This beer put me in mind of other well-known black BC brews, not the least of which are VIB’s Hermann’s Dark Lager and Hoyne’s Dark Matter. The dark, roasted malt comes through with notes of chocolate and espresso, while the curacao peel lends it a mildly sweet, slightly citrus taste that compliments the roasted flavor quite well. Not a bad seasonal at all, and definitely a good winter warmer.

Appearance: Black, opaque, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Roasted malt nose, notes of espresso and dark chocolate
Taste: Roasted malt, hint of sweetness, dark chocolate, espresso, mild citrus
Aftertaste: Lingering chocolate and espresso, roasted malt flavor
Overall: 8.5/10

Phillips Cherry Heiter Smoked Cherry Ale

Phillips_Cherry-HieterBrewer: Phillips Brewing, Victoria BC
Style: Fruit-infused, smoked ale
ABV: 7%

Description: A Phillips seasonal limited-release, this fruit-infused beer combines cherries with smoked malts to create an ale that combines elements of a Rauchbier and a fruit ale. Available just in time for Fall.

Tasting Notes: It must be kismet, seeing as how a bunch of limited release beers that incorporate smoked malts began coming out so soon after I reintroduced myself to Rauchbiers. And while it may seem like an odd idea, the combination of a cherry-infused ale and a smoked ale actually makes for a pretty interesting experience. The soft, slightly sweet flavor of cherries provides some sense of balance to the smoke and tang of the malts. I must be growing as a beer drinker, since this style no longer seems difficult or distasteful to me!

Appearance: Dark ruby, clear, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Smokey malts, light notes of cherry
Taste: Immediate burst of smoked malt, mild tang, soft notes of sweet cherry
Aftertaste: Lingering smoke tang and mild bitterness
Overall: 8/10

Central City/Elysian I-5 Amarillo Ale

Central-City-Elysian_Amarillo_I-5Brewer: Central City Brewing, Vancouver BC, Elysian Brewery, Seattle WA
Style: American-Style Pale Ale
Alc/Vol: 5%
IBU: 35

Description: Brewed in tandem by Elysian and Central City, and as part of the cross-border effort Brewers Without Borders, this pale ale is crafted specifically for Joey Restaurants in Canada, WA and soon CA. Brewed using Munich malts and all Amarillo hops, it is available on tap at Joey locations and in 650ml bottles as a limited release.

Tasting Notes: As a single malt, single hop combination, there’s very little that is obscure or complex about the taste of this pale ale. However, it still manages to have a layered profile, with a good malt base that calls to mind baked bread and biscuits, and hops that provide a dry, citrusy and slightly peppery flavor that is not unlike an ESB. Definitely a good collaboration brew and an example of what brewers all over the Pacific Northwest can do.

Appearance: Amber, clear, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Biscuity malts, dry, grassy, citrusy hop notes
Taste: Good malt, tang, baked bread, burst of dry hop flavor, herbs, citrus, pepper
Aftertaste: Lingering dry hop finish, herbal taste
Overall: 8.5/10