Driftwood Belle Royale Kriek

Brewer: Driftwood Brewing, Victoria, BC
Style: Kriek
ABV: 7.6%
IBUs: Unlisted

Malts: Pilsner, CaraMunich, Munich, Aromatic, and Dark Wheat
Hops: Hallertauer
Yeast: Brett Brux

Description: A massive dose of Morello cherries gives a rich red hue, and complemented by the cherry pie notes courtesy Brett Brux, this rich, complex-yet-dry sour beer delivers layers of fruit and funk. Aged for a year in used French Oak wine barrels. This beer is cellarable and will appreciate with age.

Tasting Notes: The Belle Royale was definitely one of my favorite of the Bird of Prey Series, which specialized in sours of different varieties. Since its re-release, it has been relabelled as a Kriek, owing to its combination  of Morello cherries and wild yeast. And the product is just as good as I remember – rich, robust, sour, with a strong nose and flavor smacking of sour cherries, tart lactic acid, and an oaky aftertaste.

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Vichtenaar Flemish Ale

vichtenaarBrewer: Brouwerij Verhaeghe, Vichte, Belgium
Style: Flemish Red-Brown Ale
ABV: 5.1%
IBUs: Unlisted

Description: Named after the town in which it is brewed, this beer is brewed in the tradition of Flemish reds. This includes combining deeply burned malt, spicy and fruity hops, and soft water pumped from a local well. It then undergoes primary fermention using wild yeast strains, a second lagering, and then a third fermentation in oak casts, where it matures for several months.

Tasting Notes: This beer get solid marks for its commitment to tradition, but I deducted several because of the flavor, which was far too vinegary for my taste. When you initially smell it, you get strong traces of apple cider vinegar and sugar. When you taste it, you realize that’s pretty much all its got going on. In many ways, it reminded me of Krampus, another vinegar-heavy sour ale that really didn’t do much for me.

Appearance: Deep red-brown, clear (appears opaque at first), mild foam and carbonation
Nose: Rich malt, brown sugar, apple cider vinegar, yeast
Taste: Smooth start, sugars, vinegary bite, yeasty effervescence
Aftertaste: Lingering sweetness and vinegar flavor
Overall: 7/10

P49 Flanders Red Sour Ale

p49_flandersredBrewer: Parallel 49 Brewing, Vancouver, BC
Style: Flanders Red
ABV: 6.7%
IBUs: 6

Description: This beer is P49’s latest installment in their barrel-aged series. Accordingly, it is brewed in the fashion of Flanders Red ales, which means it is fermented using wild strains of Brettanomyces and lactic yeast, and then aged in oak barrels (previously used to store Cabernet Sauvignon).

Tasting Notes: This beer may or may not be a response to Driftwood re-releasing their Flanders Red (renamed Latus), or it could just be the inevitable result of all the experiments they’ve been doing with sours and barrel-aged beers lately. Either way, I was less than happy with it. Whereas a good Flanders Red has a strong malts and some serious oaky notes to round out the sourness, this beer’s is quite overpowering in the sour department. It is at once too light and too sour, and the red wine notes add some serious tartness on the aftertaste.

Appearance: Dark ruby, clear, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Powerful notes of sour fruit, yeast, lactic acid 
Taste: Mild malts, sour cherry, yeast, hint of oak, tart fruit and red wine tannin finish
Aftertaste: Lingering lactic acid, tart sour cherry and red wine flavor
Overall: 6/10

Image courtesy of scoutmagazine.ca

Category 12 Dry-Hopped Sour

c12-bottle-shot-DryHoppedSour-20160608-ABrewer: Category 12 Brewing,
Style: Sour
ABV: 5%
IBUs: 14

Description: The latest in C12’s Elemental Series, this limited summer release is soured with a Lactobacillus culture and then fermented with Saccharomyces Trois wild yeast. It is then dry-hopped using new German hop varieties Mandarina Bavaria and Huell Melon for balance.

Tasting Notes: This is definitely a summer seasonal, since it calls to mind backyard lemonade, made from squeezed lemons and ice water. It is quite mild and clean, but just like unsweetened lemonade, it has has some serious tartness that somehow manage to slake your thirst. Add to that a yeasty backbone which brings the lactic acid, and some mild notes of tropical fruit, and you’ve this experimental ale.

Appearance: Light yellow, cloudy, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Gentle malt, yeasty, dry, tart, melon, lemony nose
Taste: Mild malt, immediate acidity, tart lemon, yeast and lactic acid
Aftertaste: Lingering lemon and yeasty flavor
Overall: 8/10

Four Winds Nectarous Dry-Hopped Sour Ale

fourwinds_nectarousBrewer: Four Winds Brewing,
Style: Sour Ale
ABV: 5.5%
IBUs: 6

Description: As part of their Eurus Series – a line of limited-released European-inspired bottle-conditioned ales – this ale is made using a combination of Pilsner, Munich and acidulated malts. It is then dry-hopped with a modest amount of Galaxy hops and fermented using Brett Trois, Lactobacillus and Belgian strains of yeast.

Tasting Notes: This was a very interesting take on a sour ale. By employing a light malt base and mild dry-hopping, you really get to appreciate the yeasty, effervescent sour flavor. What comes through are some strong notes of peach and passion fruit, but the most noticeable is the lemonade flavor. Quite interesting!

Appearance: Yellow/orange, cloudy, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Gentle malt, yeast, citrus, lemon, peace, passion fruit

Taste: Smooth malt, yeasty effervescence, lemonade, peace, passion fruit
Aftertaste: Lingering sourness, yeasty flavor, lemonade
Overall: 8/10

Longwood Wild Child Ale

longwood_wildchildBrewer: Longwood Brewery, Nanaimo, BC
Style: Wild Fermented Ale
ABV: 7%
IBUs: Unlisted

Description: Wild Child is essentially Longwood’s Brewery’s version of a sour ale, aka. one fermented using naturally-occurring yeast. It is also the first in Longwood’s new “small batch series”, a series of one-off limited release ales that are experimental in nature.

Tasting Notes: As wild-fermented ales go, this was interesting, but a little unbalanced. The wild yeast flavor comes through with some rather tart raspberry notes, but the malt base is decidedly very light. So its a little weak in one respect and a little overpowering in another.

Appearance: Dark amber, translucent, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Mild malt, powerful notes of raspberry, wild yeast and lactic acid
Taste: Gentle malt start, immediate yeasty tones, tart raspberry, lactic acid 
Aftertaste: Lingering tart fruit, yeasty aftertaste, slightly watery
Overall: 7.3/10

Image credit: uptappd.com

Driftwood De Auras Wheat Sour

driftwood_deaurasBrewer: Driftwood Brewery, Victoria, BC
Style: Sour Wheat Ale
ABV: 6.5%
IBUs: Unspecified

Description: Released in time for the Fall harvest season, this sour wheat ale is the latest in Driftwood’s Bird of Prey sour ale series. It is fashioned using a combination wheat malt, raw wheat, hops, and three different kinds of yeast – brettanomyces, lactobactillus, and pediococcus, all lactic-acid producing strains.

Tasting Notes: This was definitely a nice combination, one which I have to admit that I’m not typically crazy about. But in this case, the gentle wheat malt base does well when combined with a whole lot of sour yeasts, adding dimensions of fruit flavor that are reminiscent of sour cherries and tart fruit. And I definitely prefer it to their last offering as well, Oscuritas. Looking forward to what’s next!

Appearance: Amber/orange, cloudy, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Gentle wheat malt, lactic acid, sour cherry, orchard fruits
Taste: Smooth wheat malt, fruity esters, sour cherry, lactic acid, clean finish
Aftertaste: Lingering sourness and lactic acid, gentle malt flavor
Overall: 8.25/10