Dead Frog Sunset Sencha Tea Infused Sour Saison

Dead_frog_sunset_senchaBrewer: Dead Frog Brewery, Aldergrove, BC
Style: Sour Saison
ABV: 6%
IBUs: 30

Description: Dead Tree’s latest limited release is their contribution to the current sour trend. And in their case, it involves a sour saison-style beer that combines Pilsner, aromatic and rye malts with Sterling hops which is then infused with Sunset Sencha leaves – a type of Japanese green tea.

Tasting Notes: This latest sour was certainly interesting. Combining saison yeasts, sour fermentation and tea contribute to a beer that is very tart, but also quite light and refreshing. Basically, its highly reminiscent of sour lemonade. While it was (much like most sours I’ve had this season) a little tart for my liking, it is undeniably refreshing and creative.

Appearance: Deep golden, cloudy, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Mild malt, tart fruit, yeast, lactic acid, strong citrus, green tea leaves
Taste: Gentle malt, burst of tart lemon flavor, hint of green tea, and 
Aftertaste: Lingering lemon flavor, subtle tea notes, clean finish
Overall: 7.7/10

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P49 Apricot Opus Apricot Sour Saison

APRICOTOPUS-500-WEBBrewer: Parallel 49 Brewing, Vancouver, BC
Style: Apricot Sour Wheat Ale
ABV: 6.3%
IBUs: 6

Description: This summer seasonal release is a twist on the summer saison. In addition to the infusion of apricots into a wheat and Pilsner malt base, it is fermented with wild strains of Lactobacillus yeast give it a tart, sour twist.

Tasting Notes: Again, this beer made for a interesting combination. The wheat malts are gentle, the apricot provides a hint of sweetness, and the yeast gives it a touch of spice and a mild sour kick that compliments things nicely. It finishes a little on the light side, but still manages to make for a pretty tasty and refreshing brew.

Appearance: Golden, cloudy, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Wheat malt, sharp yeast, spices, pronounced fruit, plum and apricot
Taste: Smooth wheat malt, hint of apricot, sour yeast, golden plum
Aftertaste: Mild tart fruit, yeasty and light wheat malt finish, quite refreshing
Overall: 8/10

Sound Entendez Noel Belgian Style Pale Quadrupel

sound_quadrupelBrewer: Sound Brewery, Poulsbo, WA
Style: Belgian-style Quadrupel
ABV: 10.6%
IBUs: 50

Description: This special seasonal release is part of the Sound brewery’s Belgian-style lineup. It is fashioned using Belgian Pilsner malt, bittered with Motueka hops, and then fermented with cane sugar and Trappist yeast to create a strong, fruity, hoppy, and balanced quadrupel.

Tasting Notes: Another Advent Beer Calender offering, one which comes from Washington and is Belgian-inspired. Like a good quadrupel, it delivers in the flavor department with plenty of strong malt, brown sugar, and dark fruit flavor. However, there is also an interesting twist added by some Pacific Northwest hops that add some pineapple notes and hop bitterness. And of course, its got quite the alcoholic bite, but manages to remain smooth and fruity throughout.

Appearance: Amber, cloudy, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Rich malt, sugars, floral hops, citrus, raisins, tropical fruit, alcohol
Taste: Smooth malt, brown sugar, yeast, raisins, dates, pineapple, alcoholic bite
Aftertaste: Lingering alcoholic warmth, yeast, malt and fruit
Overall: 9/10

Lighthouse Jackline Rhubarb Grisette

LIGHTHOUSE_JACKLINEBrewer: Lighthouse Brewing, Victoria, BC
Style: Saison
ABV: 5.5%
IBU: Unspecified

Description: This Table Saison, or Grisette, is the latest addition to Lighthouse’s Explorer Series. Alongside 10 other beers, it made its debut at the “Craft Beer Thunderdome” during Victoria Beer Week, and is now available. Consistent with this Belgian-style ale, it is brewed with wheat, oats, Pilsner malt, and fresh rhubarb from the Fraser Valley before being fermented using Saison yeast.

Tasting Notes: Saisons and farmhouse ales seem all the rage lately! And I definitely liked what Lighthouse did with this one. The combination of malts made for a very clean, smooth malt base, and the addition of tart rhubarb flavor added was very nice compliment to the Saison yeast, which is usually sharp and spicy. This beer will go great with the approaching summer weather!

Appearance: Light golden, clear, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Mild malt, Saison yeast, tart, tangy notes of rhubarb
Taste: Smooth, mild start, burst of tart rhubarb flavor, slightly sharp yeast finish
Aftertaste: Lingering rhubarb tartness, smooth malt finish, quite refreshing
Overall: 8.5/10

Tree Rickshaw Raspberry IPA

tree_rickshawBrewer: Tree Brewing, Kelowna, BC
Style: Fruit-infused India Pale Ale
ABV: 5%
IBUs: 64

Description: A spring/summer seasonal beer, Tree’s Rickshaw combines traditional lager malt (Pilsner and Vienna) with a significant dose of Northwestern hops (Centennial, Cascade, Columbus, and Crystal) and an infusion of fresh raspberries.

Tasting Notes: As combinations go, this one seemed a bit odd and quite gutsy. For instance, I would have expected an IPA to employ a pale malt base rather than ones consistent with a lager. That, and the combination of raspberries with an IPA-size dollop of hops seemed especially gutsy. But guts aside, the end result seemed mainly skunky and bitter, with very little raspberry to speak of and not as much refreshment as say a raspberry wheat, pale or lager. Not a bad idea, but needs a reboot!

Appearance: Deep ruby/orange, cloudy, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Crisp, skunky malt, notes of herbal hops, hint of raspberry
Taste: Smooth malt, strong hop bitterness, citrus rind, skunk, light raspberry finish
Aftertaste: Lingering skunky malt and citrus rind bitterness, hint of fruit
Overall: 7.2/10

Lighthouse Barque Belgian Golden Strong Ale

belgian_blondeBrewer: Lighthouse Brewery, Esquimalt, BC
Style: Belgian-style Strong Ale
ABV: 8.2%
IBUs: Unlisted

Description: The latest in Lighthouse’s Uncharted Series, this Belgian-style strong ale is named in honor of the class of sailing ship that once served as the workhorse of the Pacific – including Captain Cooke’s HM Endeavour. This beer is brewed with a Pilsner malt and bittered with a combination of Saaz, Styrian Golding, and South Pacific Wai-iti hops.

Tasting Notes: I’ve always loved the Uncharted Series, mainly because of its emphasis on big flavor and strength. And this was certainly a big flavor-take on the traditional Belgian Blonde, employing rich malts, lots of candi sugar, notes of honey, white grape and other sweet fruits, and plenty of yeasty effervescence.

Appearance: Light gold, clear, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Strong malt, candi sugar, yeast, grapes, citrus, floral hops
Taste: Rich malt, honey, sugars, yeast, white grapes and fruity esters
Aftertaste: Lingering malt flavor, yeasty bitterness, fruity esters
Overall: 8.5/10

Spinnakers Happy New Beer Honey Kolsch

Happy_New_Beer_Bottle-WEBBrewer: Spinnakers Brewery, Victoria BC
Style: Kolsch
ABV: 4.5%

Description: A limited release that is brewed for the holidays, the Honey Kolsch is a twist on the popular Cologne-style of ale. In addition to Canadian Pilsner malt and a touch local honey, the end product is lagered, cold fermented, and on the lighter side as far as alcohol content is concerned.

Tasting Notes: While very refreshing, this beer was a little on the light side for my taste. While the honey certainly comes through in the delightful scent, there was little honey flavor to speak of. What’s more, the hop flavor is muted, which leaves the drinker with a malt base that tastes less like champagne (which is what they were going for) and very much like mineral water. A refreshing brew, and well-paired with spicier dishes, but not what I would expect from a holiday beer.

Appearance: Light golden, clear, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Light malt, notes of honey, mild hops, minerals
Taste: Gentle malt, mild tang, reminiscent of mineral water, touch of honey
Aftertaste: Lingering mineral flavor, tang and malt flavor
Overall: 7.5/10