Dead Frog Weeping Reaper Blood Orange Helles Bock

deadfrog_weepingreaperBrewer: Dead Frog Brewery, Aldergrove, BC
Style: Fruit Pale Bock/Maibock
Alc/Vol: 7%

Description: This seasonal beer is offered as an alternative to the usual run of Autumn Pumpkin ales and Marzens. Appropriately, this beer is crafted from a combination of Pilsner, Vienna and Munich malts. It is then bittered with Norther Brewer and Hallertau hops before being infused with a dose of blood orange, giving it an extra citrus kick that balances well with its pale, rich malt.

Tasting Notes: This was certainly an interesting seasonal release, but one which is not dissimilar to the lagers – aka. Oktoberfest/Marzen lagers – that usually come with Fall. But to just to be real experimental, it comes with a fruit infusion that screams warm weather! But that’s Dead Frog for ya! The only people I know who are more unconventional are the folks at P49. In any case, this was an appealing and refreshing brew that was just out of the ordinary enough to be interesting without being inappropriate for the season.

Appearance: Orange/amber, clear, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Rich pale malt, hint of sweetness and citrus rind
Taste: Slightly sweet malt, syrupy, good tang, hint of sweetness, citrus bitterness
Aftertaste: Lingering malt sweetness and citrus rind
Overall: 8/10

P49 Schadenfreude Pumpkin Oktoberfest

P49_schadenfreudeBrewer: Parallel 49 Brewing, Vancouver, BC
Style:  Pumpkin/Marzen Lager
Alc/Vol: 5%

Description: Parallel 49’s seasonal beer, this Pumpkin Oktoberfest melds together a Pumpkin-style beer with an Marzen lager that is spiced with a combination of allspice and vanilla. Much like the name, it is a mashup, but one that brings together the best of two seasonal worlds to achieve a balance of flavor.

Tasting Notes: This beer came highly recommended, and from a fellow beer snob, no less (hi Mike!). And this year, I was lucky enough to find myself some before it went out of stock. As pumpkin ales go, this one was both interesting and quite appealing. As per usual, the P49 folks have committed to a hybrid that marries two separate but not unrelated styles. In addition to the rich, viscous malts of a Marzen, it employs the spice palette and infusion of flavor that comes from being a Pumpkin, and manages to finishes very clean and refreshing. I was especially impressed with this; whereas many pumpkin ales seem to land too heavy or too light (in my experience), this one lands right where it needs to!

Appearance: Golden orange, clear, medium foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Mild malt, pumpkin flesh, hint of vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg
Taste: Smooth malt, hint of sweetness, notes of vanilla, allspice, pumpkin pie
Aftertaste: Lingering malt flavor, pumpkin and spice notes, quite clean
Overall: 8.5/10

Russel Marzen Oktobefest Lager

russel_marzenBrewer: Russel Brewing, Surrey BC
Style: Marzen Lager
Alc/Vol: 5.5%

Description: Brewed in honor of Oktoberfest, this seasonal Fall release from Russel is fashioned using traditional German malts and Noble hops. The end result is a beer consistent with this darker, maltier variety of lager made especially to toast the Fall harvest.

Tasting Notes: I am a sucker for Marzen and I’ve come to be a fan of what Russel has been doing of late. And I was an instant fan when I drank this one for the first time. In addition to its lovely dark color, rich malt, and subtle noble hop flavor, it has a smooth, refreshing taste that really won me over. Definitely a drinking experience I hope to repeat during the course of this season!

Appearance: Dark amber, clear, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Roasted malt, syrup, minerality, gentle hop notes
Taste: Rich malt, slight sweetness, nice tang, mild dry, grassy and herbal hop finish
Aftertaste: Lingering malt, tang, and mild hop bitterness
Overall: 9/10

Iron Plow Harvest Marzen

Hello and welcome back to the Fall Beer series! After a brief diversion to sample a new brewery, well new to me (Parallel 49), I’m back on the seasonal beer horse! And the beer in question is Vancouver Island Brewery’s Iron Plow Harvest Marzen, a pale lager that commemorates the end of the summer harvest and the beginning of the fall season.

And much like many of their other limited release or seasonal beers, I was quite happy with this one. Not only was it a pleasant drinking experience, it confirms that Vancouver Island is once again excelling at craft brewing, making small batch, high-quality beer that has good flavor and is faithful to the best in brewing traditions.

Appearance: Light orange hue, clear and low foam
Nose: Mild hop aroma, slightly sweet, mild notes of honey
Taste: Light creamy malts, tangy and slight minerality, mild bitterness
Aftertaste: Clean and refreshing finish, mild bitterness
Overall: 8.5/10

I’ve now sampled this beer a total of five times and still find myself still going back for more. But that’s the thing with a good, refreshing Marzen lager. They get the job done and go very well with food, especially the kind of spicy or warm, comfort food that goes so well with dreary fall weather and cold, early evenings!

FYI, this is my 100th post as the GCBS! Cheers!