Red Arrow Old Style Lager

redarrow_lagerBrewer: Red Arrow Brewing Co., Duncan, BC
Style: Lager
ABV: 5%
IBUs: 20

Description: The latest addition to Red Arrow’s lineup, this brew is a traditional lager with West Coast influence. It is also aged for an extended amount of time in horizontal tanks to ensure smoothness and clarity.

Tasting Notes: This lager was quite refreshing and clean, and was definitely characteristic of a smooth and somewhat hoppy lager. At the same time, it had a malt characteristic that I’ve found is quite typical of Red Arrow beers – which has a slightly rubbery taste to it. This would seem to indicate that the brewery is still hitting its stride. But they are getting there!

Appearance: Straw gold, clear, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Slight rubbery nose, grainy malt, notes of Noble hops – grainy and herbal
Taste: Crisp malt, slight rubbery flavor, mild tang, grainy hops, mild grass and herbs
Aftertaste: Lingering malt flavor, mild hop bitterness, quite clean
Overall: 7.8/10

Les Trois Mousquetaires Hors Series Gose

TroisM_goseBrewer: Les Trois Mousquetaires, Brossard, Quebec
Style: Gose
ABV: 3.8%
IBUs: 9

Description: In addition to being a summer seasonal and a resurrected style, this beer has the added distinction of being brewed using malts that were exclusively grown in Quebec. These include wheat, oats, and Pilsner malt, which are then bittered with the slightest hint of Noble Mittelfrüh hops. The end product is then combined with salt and coriander to create a true Gose.

Tasting Notes: Gose’s – a style of beer native to Leipzig, Germany – are apparently making a comeback these days. And while this one was a bit mild for my taste, it did combine some rather interesting flavors and profiles. You get mild wheat malts mixed with a hint of salt, some sour flavor reminiscent of unsweetened lemonade, and just a touch of sharp coriander. Definitely an interesting brew and a great summer drinker!

Appearance: Dark golden, cloudy, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Wheat malt, lemonade, yeasts, hint of coriander spice
Taste: Smooth malt start, salt, yeasts, sour lemonade, coriander spice, mild herbal hops
Aftertaste: Lingering sour yeasts and lemon, hint of coriander spice and saltiness
Overall: 8/10

Loncium Imperial Schwarze Gams

Loncium_schwarzegamsBrewer: Loncium Brewery, Kötschach-Mauthen, Austria
Style: Dunkler Bock
ABV: 6.4%
IBUs: Unspecified (low)

Description: The Schwarze Gams is brewed in the Germanic tradition of Bock beer, employing dark, rich malts and a subtle dose of Noble hops to achieve a well-balanced, malty, and slightly sweet beer with intense mouth feel. It won the silver medal at the 2011 European Beer Star in the Dunkler Bock German Style category, the silver medal at the 2012 World Beer Challenge in the category of German Style Dark Bock, and the bronze at the 2012 Australian International Beer Awards.

Tasting Notes: This is yet another late sampling from the 2014 Advent Beer Calender, one which I tried already but didn’t get around to reviewing. As Bock’s go, this was definitely a very decent one. It was a tad subtle, compared to many others I’ve had. However, this is something that’s to be appreciated. Subtle, complex, smooth, malty, and slightly sweet.

Appearance: Dark brown, clear, medium foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Dark malt, raisins, brown sugar, molasses, mild herbal hops
Taste: Rich, deep malt, mineral tang, dates, raisins and brown sugar, herbal hop finish
Aftertaste: Lingering dark malts, sugars, and minerality
Overall: 8.4/10

Four Winds Saison

Fourwinds_saisonBrewer: Four Winds Brewing, Delta BC
Style: Saison
ABV: 6.5%
IBUs: 30

Description: As part of this mainland BC-based brewery’s Standard lineup, this beer is brewed with a combination of pale malt, then bittered with Noble and Pacific Northwest Cascade hops, then fermented using Belgian Saison yeasts.

Tasting Notes: This beer came highly reviewed from my local watering hole, and is perhaps one of the better Saisons I’ve had in recent years. A good, crisp malt base is augmented by a varied hop profile which gives it some citrusy, lemony notes. A strong yeast backbone lends it a degree of effervescence, strong carbonation, and finishes things off with a spicy, fruity finish. Definitely a great operation and one I need to learn more about!

Appearance: Golden, cloudy, very good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Strong malt, floral hops, citrus, yeasty, spicy
Taste: Crisp malt, notes of lemon and honey, yeasty effervescence
Aftertaste: Lingering yeast and malt flavor
Overall: 9.5/10

Weltenburger Kloster Anno 1050

weltrenburger_anno1050Brewer: Weltenburger Kloster, Regensburg, Germany
Style: Marzen
ABV: 5.5%
IBUs: Unlisted

Description: This Marzen is a classic example of the venerated German style, brewed by the world’s oldest Abbey brewery. Rich, deep colored malts combine with a mild dose of Noble hops to create a slightly sweet and syrupy lager.

Tasting Notes: The last of the advent pack, and this one the oldest of the bunch! As a big fan of Marzens, I was quick to appreciate what this beer had to offer. In addition to the usual richer malts and mild tang, I was surprised to notice a hint of smoke and brandy-like flavor. Definitely an interesting and very German

Appearance: Light amber/orange, clear, medium foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Rich malt, sugars, caramel, mild hops, minerals
Taste: Smooth malt, mild tang, caramel, hint of smoke, notes of brandy, minerality
Aftertaste: Lingering minerals, malt flavor, smokey sweetness
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

4 Mile Summer Wheat Ale

4Mile_summerwheatBrewer: 4 Mile Brewing Company, Victoria, BC
Style: Wheat Ale
Alc/Vol: 4.5%
IBUs: 24

Description: A summer seasonal beer, and what I believe is the first limited release from the brewery, this wheat ale is a mild brew that is decidedly English in inspiration. This translates to a sessional-style wheat with mild malts, a lower alcohol content, and a mild hopping that results in a smooth, refreshing taste and little aftertaste.

Tasting Notes: When it comes to wheat ales, I tend to expect some banana flavor, some coriander spice, a little orange zest, some serious yeasts, or some tangy fruit flavor to offset a milder malt. However, this is due to my being accustomed to strong hefeweizens and Belgian wits, and that really didn’t diminish this beer’s refreshing nature and smooth character. Mild wheat malts, a subtle yeast backbone, and a clean finish with a Pilsner-like grainy and herbal flavor characterize this beer. Definitely a good summer thirst quencher.

Appearance: Golden, slightly cloudy, mild foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Mild wheat malt, yeast, Pilsner-like graininess, herbal hops
Taste: Smooth malt, milt tang, hint of yeast, herbal (Noble) hops finish
Aftertaste: Lingering malt bitterness, yeasts and Noble hop notes
Overall: 8.3/10

This completes my sampling from the 4 Mile Brewery, either through their bombers or from tastings at the brewpub itself. I can’t wait for a Fall Seasonal or some more limited releases!

Muskoka Legendary Oddity

muskoka_oddityBrewer: Muskoka Brewery, Bracebridge ON
Style: Vintage Ale
Alc/Vol: 8%

Description: This limited release Spring-seasonal ale pays homage to the legends of the lumberjacks and furtraders who experienced the mysterious culture and wildlife of the North during the 1800’s. Brewed in the Belgian style, it brings together a combination of North American malts, Noble hops, heather tips, juniper berries and sweet orange peel shavings, before being fermented with Belgian yeast and fortified with Candi sugar. The end results is then bottled and cellar aged to bring the flavors together to maturity.

Tasting Notes: This beer brought to mind many drinking experiences, all of them pleasant. First, there are the distinctive Belgian-style elements, which are similar to a good Tripel; a barley-wine in terms of the sweet and sugary notes; and a juniper pale ale with the infusion of gin-like flavor and a crisp finish. I am always happy when I get to reconnect with breweries from back east that I don’t always have access to. And this beer was definitely a lovely and worthy addition to Muskoka’s lineup.

Appearance: Gold/orange, clear with sediment, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Rich malt, sugary nose, barley wine-like, floral, citrus, Belgian yeasts
Taste: Strong malts, sugars, Belgian yeast, citrus rind, crisp finish, hint of juniper
Aftertaste: Lingering coarse malt and yeast bitterness, juniper berry, citrus rind
Overall: 9.5/10

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

Fernie Rusty Tractor Weizenbock

Fernie_weizenbockBrewer: Fernie Brewing Company, Fernie, BC
Style: Weizenbock
Alc/Vol: 7.5%
IBU: 23

Description: This spring seasonal beer was inspired by the end of winter and coming of spring for Canadian farmers, hence the agrarian imagery in the name. Brewed with wheat, several different kinds of malts, noble hops, Belgian yeast, and served unfiltered, the resulting beer combines the elements of a wheat ale with a bock-style lager.

Tasting Notes: I am pleased to see the weizenbock style making the rounds, as it combines two distinctive styles that I’m quite fond of. And true to form, it combines the telltale flavor of wheat malts and yeasty flavor of a wheat ale with the dark fruit and chewy mouthfeel of a bock. It also manages to pack some tart fruit and some grassy hop flavor in there to boot, reminiscent of spring fruit and a refreshing lager. Very true to its name and a good addition to summer!

Appearance: Dark amber-brown, cloudy, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Strong wheat malt, yeast, sugars, plums, raspberries
Taste: Rich/coarse and viscous malt, tang, yeasts, notes of tart raspberries and plum
Aftertaste: Lingering malt and grassy hop bitterness, tart fruit flavor
Overall: 8.5/10