Longwood The One That Got Away Red Wheat Ale

longwood_redwheatBrewer: Longwood Brewery, Nanaimo, BC
Style: Wheat Ale
Alc/Vol: 6%

Description: This seasonal “red wheat” ale was inspired by the annual West Coast Tuna Shootout, a fishing derby that takes place in the wild waters off Bamfield, BC. Made using a mix of wheat, barley and a dose of Crystal Malt, it is fermented with what I assume is a combination of yeasts (including a hint of brettanomyces) and then served unfiltered.

Tasting Notes: This is actually the second time I’ve taken a run at this seasonal ale by Longwood’s. The last time around, I noted a rather sharp, almost burnt tang that didn’t sit well with me, and worried I might be sampling a bad batch. However, the second time around, I’ve noted the same basic taste. This is too bad, because it does kind of diminish an otherwise very pleasant beer which comes on smooth, has good notes of yeast, wheat and crystal malts and a hint of tart fruit esters that reminds me of a sour ale. In short, not bad, but not great either.

Appearance: Red/amber, cloudy, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: mild malts, sharp yeast, notes of sour fruit
Taste: Bitter malt, sharp tang, sour cherry fruit esters, mildly grassy finish
Aftertaste: Lingering malt bitterness and sour fruit esters
Overall: 7.5/10

Longwood Berried Alive Raspberry Ale

longwood_berried_aliveHello folks. Today, I managed to snag another brew from one of my favorite Island operations, and one which has been undergoing a bit of rebranding as of late. I refer of course to the Longwood Brewery located in Nanaimo, BC, a venerable brewpub that has been expanding its distribution in the past year and creating some new brands to share. I was quite excited to hear about this, since its damn near impossible to find any Longwood products outside of the Nanaimo area.

berried-alive-bottle-isolatedHowever, that excitement has since abated somewhat due to a number of reasons. For one, I still await the arrival of the free samples of the full lineup that were promised to me months ago. Back then, I was contacted by an advertiser who works with the brewery who offered to ship me some; and to this date, none have arrived. Second, thus far, the majority of their beers I have managed to get my hands on have been very light, mild, and generally in tune with British-style ales and not so much the Pacific Northwest.

Here on the West Coast, we tend to like our beers hoppier, stronger and more flavorful than your average British operation. I can certainly see the value in trying new things, but I would like to remind Longwood that Moon Under Water did the same thing with their sessionals, and that didn’t go so well. However, this does not meant that I’ve been unimpressed with their newer brews, and the lineup is still evolving, so its really too soon to assume what direction the brewery is taking. And with this latest sample, I am just one beer short of having tried everything they’ve produced so far. Here’s what I thought:

Appearance: Dark red, clear, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Tart berry nose, mild malts
Taste: Immediate tartness, slight transition to mild wheat malts
Aftertaste: Mild bitterness and lingering tart berry flavor, quite clean
Overall: 7.75/10

Overall, it was a refreshing and fruity brew, but again, a little light for my taste. This is due to the combination of wheat and barley malts, which lends it a mixed malty profile that is neither particularly effervescent, yeasty, or syrupy. This certainly works in the refreshing department, but leaves it a little high and dry in the flavor department. In terms of fruit, there’s plenty of tartness, but very little sweetness or complexity. In short, it’s good, but I think they can do better.