Hop City Barking Squirrel Lager

hopcity_lagerBrewer: Hop City Brewing, Brampton, ON
Style: Lager
ABV: 5%
IBUs: 24

Description: This lager, which is Hop City’s flagship beer, is brewed using a combination of of Pale Two-Row, Crystal, Dark Crystal , Munich, and Torrified Wheat malts, which are then bittered with Hallertau Mittelfrueh and Saaz hops.

Tasting Notes: This is the second time I’ve sampled Barking Squirrel, the first time being during my 2013 trip to Ottawa. Somehow, my review card was full and I neglected to give it a proper write-up, which I am corrected now! This is very much a good, clean-drinking lager, with some maltier notes that are reminiscent of a good Marzen. A crisp and slightly sweet malt base with notes of sweet bread and caramel combine with a dry, noble hop flavor to create a very quaffable and drinkable lager.

Appearance: Amber, clear, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Sharp and grainy malt nose, noble hops, dry grasses and herbs
Taste: Clean, crisp malts, sweet bread, caramel, grassy and herbal hops, minerals
Aftertaste: Lingering hop bitterness, grainy and sweet malt flavor
Overall: 8/10

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

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

Goose Island Matilda Belgian Style Pale Ale

GooseIsland_MatildaBrewer: Goose Island Brewery, Chicago IL
Style: Belgian-style Pale Ale
Alc/Vol: 7%
IBUs: 26

Description: Inspired by the legend of the grateful Countess Matilda who founded a monastery where, over centuries, monks have been brewing ale unique in character. In the character of a Trappist Ale, the Matilda is crafted using 2-Row and Caramel malts, bittered with Styrian, Pilgrim, Golding Celeia, and Saaz hops, and fortified with Candy Sugar. It is then fermented using the wild Brettanomyces yeast and bottle-conditioned for up to five years.

Tasting Notes: The inspirations were certainly clear in this bottle. Immediately, I got flavors that reminded me of a Flemish Red and a Trappist beer, combining the telltale sourness of the former with the solid malt and oaky undertones of the latter. I was not surprised at all to learn that this beer has brought home two silver medals and a gold from the World Beer Cup Awards.

Appearance: Amber, slightly cloudy, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Smooth malt, peach, yeasts, hint of sourness, oaky overtones
Taste: Strong malt, yeasty tang, burst of lactic acid, peach, sour cherries, oaky finish
Aftertaste: Lingering oak, fruity esters, yeast and bitterness
Overall: 10/10

Vancouver Island Surfrider Bohemian Pilsner

https://i1.wp.com/vanislandbrewery.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/slider-beers-surfrider.pngBrewer: Vancouver Island Brewing, Victoria, BC
Style: Pilsner
Alc/Vol: 5%

Description: As a Benefit Brew, the Surfrider Pilsner is brewed in support of the Surfrider Vancouver Island Foundation. The brewery donates 25¢ from the sale of each bottle to aid in their earth-conscious initiatives. The beer is fashioned from a combination of what appears to be Munich and Vienna malts and flavored using Saaz hops.

Tasting Notes: As Bohemian lagers go, this beer is a pretty faithful example and is quite a refreshing summer brew. True to form, it has a grainy flavor that is slightly sweet and crisp, has a bitter finish, and is all around well-balanced and clean.

Appearance: Golden, clear, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Rich, slightly sweet malt, spicy, crisp hops
Taste: Grainy, crisp malt, slight tang and hop bitterness, touch of sweetness
Aftertaste: Lingering malt bitterness, lemony hop bite
Overall: 8/10

Russel Eastern Promises Czech Pilsner

https://i2.wp.com/res.cloudinary.com/ratebeer/image/upload/w_250,c_limit,q_85,d_beer_def.gif/beer_225646.jpgBrewer: Russel Brewing, Surrey, BC
Style: Pilsner
Alc/Vol: 5%
IBU: 35

Description: As part of their Brewmaster Series, this Czech Pilsner is available year round and now comes in both 650ml bottles and six packs. In the tradition of Bohemian-style lagers, this beer is fashioned using Vienna and Munich malts, and then bittered with Noble Saaz hops.

Tasting Notes: It took me some time to review this beer, and I’m rather sorry I didn’t try it sooner. True to its roots, the beer is both crisp and slightly sweet, owning to the combination of Vienna and Munich malt, which also impart a slight, grainy texture to it. The addition of Saaz hops provides a slight bitterness which rounds this out nicely, leading to an all-around flavorful, but clean and refreshing, drinking experience.

Appearance: Light gold, slightly cloudy, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Grainy malt, crisp hops, hint of skunk
Taste: Crisp, grainy malts, mild tang, hint of sweetness, herbal and bitter hop finish
Aftertaste: Lingering hop and malt bitterness, refreshing and balanced
Overall: 9/10

Breakside Liquid Sunshine Pilsner

breakside-pilsner-breaks-22863-4zBrewer: Breakside Brewery, Portland OR
Style: Pilsner
Alc/Vol: 5.1%

Description: Located in Portland (with a second taproom/brewery in Milwauki, OR), the Breakside Brewpub has been making handcrafted beers for many years and has created a wide variety in that time. The Liquid Sunshine Pilsner is part of their current, regular lineup and is available year-round on tap at both of their locations, as well as for commercial sales and export.

Tasting Notes: This Pilsner was exceptionally crisp and refreshing and had a nice finish to it that was clean without being watery. The flavor profile was also very consistent with a good Pilsner, calling to the mind the grainy flavor of Munich malts and the sharp, grassy flavor of Saaz and Hallertau hops. Definitely a good hot weather beer, or just something for when you’re craving a good, clean lager.

Appearance: Light golden, cloudy, medium foam retention and good carbonation
Nose:  Gentle smell of Munich malts and Noble hops
Taste: Light grainy malt flavor, mild tang, crisp hop bite, mild bitterness and grassyness
Aftertaste: Mild lingering bitterness and malt flavor, very clean and refreshing
Overall: 9/10