Bridge To The Max Charity Ale

bridge_tothemaxBrewer: Bridge Brewing, Vancouver, BC
Style: Pale Ale
ABV: 5.5%
IBUs: 41

Description: A special release by Bridge Brewing, To The Max is a pale ale that is brewed to help raise awareness and money for the BC Cancer Foundations’ Ride to Conquer Cancer. For every bomber or glass sold, Bridge will donate $1.00 to a team of local cyclists called “To the Max”.

Tasting Notes: This brew was a decent pale ale, with a solid malt base and enough hop bitterness to keep it West Coast appropriate! It was a tad on the bitter side and not as balanced as I would have liked, but its still a good brew and for a good cause! Get some while supplies last!

Appearance: Amber, cloudy, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Pale malt, notes of citrus, hints of pine, grassy hops
Taste: Smooth malt, good body, citrus rind, piney and resin hops
Aftertaste: Lingering hop bitterness and citrus rind
Overall: 7.8/10

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Mt. Begbie Powerhouse Pale Ale

mt.begbie_paleBrewer: Mt. Begbie Brewing, Revelstoke BC
Style: Pale Ale
ABV: 4.7%
IBUs: Unspecified

Description: This is one of Mt. Begbie’s year-round offerings, and is fashioned using pale malt and mild hopping to achieve a smooth, sessional character. It also had the honor of being the Gold Medal Winner at the 2004 Canadian Brewing Awards.

Tasting Notes: This beer was definitely on the lighter side and a good example of sessional pale ale. The malt character is smooth, creamy, and slightly tangy, and the hop profile is understated, with notes of citrus and grass that linger through to the end.

Appearance: Medium amber, clear, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose:  Rich malt, baked biscuits, mild floral and grassy hops
Taste: Smooth, creamy malt, mild tang and minerality, hint of citrus and grassy hops
Aftertaste: Lingering malt flavor, tang and grassy hops
Overall: 7.8/10

Category 12 Critical Point Pale Ale

C12_criticalpointBrewer: Category 12 Brewing, Central Saanich, BC
Style: Pale Ale
ABV: 5.6%
IBUs: 49

Description: The latest in Category 12’s lineup, this Northwestern-style Pale Ale is brewed with a combination of Superior Pale Ale and Crystal malts and fermented using American Ale yeast. It is also bittered with Cascade and Falconer’s Flight hops, some of which added late in the boil to boost its hoppy profile.

 

Tasting Notes: This beer was quite an enjoyable pale ale. When it was first released, I had a chance to sample it at the brewery (located right in my neighborhood). At the time, I was admittedly turned off a little by the sheer bitterness of it. However, after rebooting the recipe a bit, this brew and its brewmaster have struck a pretty good balance. The late-boil addition of hops does make things a bit heavy on the bitter citrus side, but it is still wonderfully hoppy overall with a good, crisp malt base.

Appearance: Deep amber, clear, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Crisp malt nose, grassy, piney and resiny hops
Taste: Crisp malt, immediate dose of bitter citrus, grass and pine hops
Aftertaste: Lingering bitterness and citrus rind
Overall: 7.8/10

Big Rock Anthea Wet Hop Ale 2014

bigrock_antheaBrewer: Big Rock, Calgary, AB
Style: Wet Hopped Pale Ale
ABV: 6%
IBUs: 39

Description: As part of the Alchemist Edition, a series of one-off, very limited release small batch brews, the Anthea is Big Rock’s contribution to move towards locally-sourced, wet-hopped beers. The name means “blossom” in Greek, and the brew is fashioned from Pale and Caramel Malt with Fresh Cascade hops sourced from the Yakima Valley in Washington state.

Tasting Notes: It’s rather difficult for me to find anything from Big Rock’s limited releases out here, so I was pleasantly surprised when I found this. Like most wet-hopped ales I’ve had, this one was rather subtle and easy drinking. The relatively crisp and smooth malt is balanced by hop flavor that has discernible citrus and grassy notes that are understated, but present throughout.

Appearance: Golden amber, cloudy, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Gentle malts, mild floral and citrus hop notes
Taste: Crisp malt, hint of grapefruit, gentle hop bite, grassy and citrus notes
Aftertaste: Mild lingering hop flavor, crisp malt, refreshing finish
Overall: 7.7/10

Hoyne Wolf Vine Pale Ale 2014

hoyne_wolfvineBrewer: Hoyne Brewery, Victoria, BC
Style: Pale Ale
Alc/Vol: 5.3%

Description: Hoyne’s fall seasonal release is back, employing fresh Centennial and Cascade hops from Sartori Farms to create a “wet-hopped” West Coast-style pale ale. Brewed in conjunction with the hop harvest, this beer is available for only a short time during the early Autumn.

Tasting Notes: This is my second sampling of the Wolf Vine, after it first premiered last year, and I was suitably impressed again. Much like its predecessor, this pale ale has achieves a nice balance between smooth pale malt and a lovely hop palette that is both varied and subtle. At once dry, citrusy, herbal and grassy, this brew is reminiscent of both a West Coast Pale and an ESB. Glad they chose to bring it back!

Appearance: Deep amber, clear, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Mild pale malt, mild notes of dry citrus and herbal hops
Taste: Smooth malt, mild tang, dry, subtle notes of herbal, grassy, and citrus hops
Aftertaste: Lingering malt flavor, and dry subtle hop flavor
Overall: 9/10

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

Saltspring Homegrown American Pale Ale

saltspringBrewer: Gulf Island Brewing, Saltspring Island BC
Style: American Pale Ale
Alc/Vol: 5.5%
IBUs: 80

Description: Brewed for the Hopoxia 2014 – the fourth annual festival dedicated to the brewing of hoppy craft beers – the Homegrown Pale Ale is made using a combination of locally sources hops. These include 90% Nugget, 5% Willamette, and 5% Cascade hops, all grown here in BC and added fresh to this hoppy, unfiltered ale.

Tasting Notes: This ale, in addition to using locally-sourced English and West Coast varieties of hops, was also definitely of the wet-hopped variety. This is clear from the hop flavor which is complex, ever-present, but always subtle. Definitely an interesting offer for Hopoxia – a heavily hopped beer that manages to stay clean tasting and refreshing throughout.

Appearance: Amber, cloudy, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Mild malts, dry, herbal hops, notes of citrus and orchard fruit, pine
Taste: Smooth malt, subtle wet-hopped flavor, piney, herbal, touch of apricot
Aftertaste: Lingering subtle hop bitterness, relatively clean finish
Overall: 8.2/10