Philips Green Reaper Fresh Hop IPA

It seems just about everybody in Victoria was getting on the “wet-hopped” thing this past summer. First there was Hoyne’s Wolf Vine Pale Ale, then Driftwood’s Sartori Harvest IPA, and now Philips Green Reaper. What do these three venerable breweries and these most recent products have in common? They are all fresh-hopped (aka. wet hopped), meaning they use hops  that are local and fresh off the vine rather than of the usual, dried variety.

However, whereas the previous two beers used Sartori hops fresh from Vancouver, Philips uses Willamette hops were harvested from Nanaimo, mere hours before they were added to this latest limited release. Though I came to it late this past summer, I am happy to add it to my review lineup now.

Appearance: Light, rosy amber, good clarity, low foam
Nose: Light scent of floral and citrus hops
Taste: Light, sweet malts accented by mixed hops palate, herbal, mild citrus,
Aftertaste: Light bitterness, quite smooth and clean
Overall: 8/10

You may notice the word “light” being featured here a few times. Well, there’s a reason for that. As is the case with all fresh-hopped beers that I have now sampled, the flavors are quite subtle and smooth. There is of course the usual combination of citrus and grassy bitterness, but they come across as more subdued and layered. As we are now coming into winter, I have to admit that I will miss this variety of beer which I am quite new to. However, I’m quite sure the winter seasonals will keep me entertained until next summer!

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Wings!

Here is an old review, dated May 2011, of my favorite haunts to get chicken wings on the island. Be warned, I get a little fanatical when it comes to my wings. So if you don’t agree with my assessment… well, then let me know and I’ll be sure to check out any place you deem fit! Having a good wing is more important to me than being right ;):

Great wings on the island!  Yep, I’m dedicating an entire entry on the subject of chicken wings, and who does em right!  I know there are other wing enthusiasts out there and I hope they will appreciate this info.  For simplicity sake, I use a simple grading scale. 1-5, with one being the worst and 5 being the best.  Okay?  Here goes:

Avenue, Comox: 3/5  Okay, technically they’re not wings.  They are “chicken drummettes”.  What’s the difference you ask?  You pay a lot more for them and there aren’t that many!  But they are nevertheless tasty and satisfying, both in terms of meatiness and flavor.

Christie Carriage House, Victoria: 3.5/5  Not bad, both the Louisiana and the Five Alarm are spicy and relatively plump.  Except on Wing Night!  Then they get a bit skinny, but everybody knows wing night when they get rid of their B-grade stuff, and its cheap, so you pretty much get what you pay for!  Otherwise, not the best I’ve had, but pretty good overall!  Also best when enjoyed with a nice cold brew, and the house has many taps!

Craig Street Brewery, Duncan: 5/5 Yep, best wings I’ve had on the island.  Not only is the chicken healthy (that is to say, neither the hormone-fed tasteless variety, nor the skinny kind), the sauce is awesome.  My favorite is the suicide hot!  Holy crap it’s hot!  And best when washed down with a few of their microbrews.

Fat Teddy’s, Mount Washington: 2.5/5  What can I say?  You get what you pay for, and Fat Teddy’s isn’t exactly gourmet.  It’s a nice place to sit and have an after-ski beer, and these wings fit that bill just fine.  And they got a relatively nice spicy number, though I suspect its just Franks Red.

Longwood Brewpub, Nanaimo: 4.5/5  Runner up to the Craig’s.  Plump and delicious, and the beer-b-q sauce is one of the best I’ve ever had.  It comes in at a close second for one reason only, no spicy flavors!  I need a little kick in my wings.

Lorne Pub, Comox: 1/5  Worst wings I’ve had since moving to the island, possibly ever!  Not only were the wings dry and emaciated, they were over fried and the sauce came on the side!  And it was obviously just a cup of tabasco!  What the hell man!

Spinnakers, Victoria: 3.5/5  Not bad, definitely not bad.  But not exactly stellar given the ostentatious nature of their menu and beer.  The beer-b-q sauce sure is decent enough, and the chicken is neither too plump nor too skinny.  But dang it if I don’t want a spicier flavor on the menu!

Swan’s Brewpub, Victoria: 3/5  Nothing to write home about, but they’re not offensive, /just not very special.  They aren’t very plump, and the sauces, while somewhat creative (beer-b-q flavor is never a bad idea!), don’t put them over the top.

The Black Fin, Comox: 3.5/5  These are a little harder to rank.  Pound for pound, the Fin makes a damn good wing.  They’re plump and the Louisiana sauce is hot, hot, hot!  On the other hand, they don’t always add up to a pound!  Ten bucks is a lot to pay for a mere hand-full.  If they get this squared away, they can expect a better review.

Note: this list has seen been updated due to some changes and one instance of fire. To the Lorne, my humble apologies for criticizing your wings. Had I know Comox’s most historic building was about to burn down, I would have kept my mouth shut and warned you about the impending crisis! Rest In Peace!