Once again, I am back with another review of a fine Victoria-based brewer. And much like Canoe Club, Swann’s and Spinnakers, this craft-brewer is located in a waterside pub that boasts a full line of beers, pub grub, and upscale entrees. In terms of their beer, they specialize in “session ales” – beer that falls into the category of Bitters. Typically, these are beers that have lower gravity, alcohol and hop content, and are characteristically smooth and balanced.
Upon my first tasting, I noticed that each beer in their regular lineup was possessed of the same smooth, clean taste and light finish. In addition, the alcohol content was consistently lower than what one would expect: ranging from 3.8 to 5.2% alc/vol. I was curious as to why this was, until I read up on their brewery’s mission statement and realized that this was in keeping with their commitment to sessions. Outside of the UK, sessions are somewhat rare, so it is certainly interesting to see this kind of experimentation going on right here in my own backyard.
And now, let’s get to their regular lineup:
Blonde Ale: The lightest tasting beer in to come out of the Moon Under Water brewery, this beer is a combination of barley and wheat malts (90/10) that is fermented using traditional Saaz pilsner hops. The result is a clean, refreshing tasting beer with a light crisp hop bite and a highly clean finish. Ordinarily, I like my beers to have a bitter ending, something that will play out on the tongue for awhile. However, this beer is a great companion to rich and/or spicey foods and is perfect with warm weather drinking. 7.5/10
Lunar Pale Ale: A hoppier beer, though still quite light with a very clean finish. Relying on a combination of barley and rye malts (again a 90/10 split) and English hops, this beer has an aroma and taste that is smooth and gentle, yet ever so slightly reminiscent of rye bread. The hops are dry, calling to mind an ESB, but also boasting a touch of bitterness that is more consistent with West Coast Pales. Again, the finish is very clean, with subtle rye and hop notes that linger on the tongue. 8/10
Moon Bitter: The truest production to come from this brewery, a bitter which is most consistent with the tradition of sessions. It is also the lightest, being 3.8% alc/vol, and combining a fine balance of barley malts and West Coast dry hops. The result is a smooth, tawny, light-tasting beer that boasts a dry bite and a clean finish. During the 2011 CAMRA Vancouver Session Beer Cask Festival, this beer placed 1st out of 17 other contenders. 8.5/10
India Pale Ale: And now we get to the strongest, hoppiest product in the brewery’s lineup. Much like their Pale and Bitter, it uses multiple malts and dry hops that are quite balanced. The taste begins with a smooth malt flavor, a respectable bitter bite, and a subtle dry-hop finish. At 5.2% alc/vol, it is their most alcoholic beer, but still manages to come across as quite light compared to most West Coast IPA’s and is a good accompaniment to most pub and bistro dishes. 8.5/10
Located on Bay Street in the Gorge/Rock Bay area, Moon Under Water is a traditional English-style pub and brewery that boasts live music every Saturday night and where beer service happens at the bar! I for one want to check it out! It would be good to see how well their beer pairs with their food.