Spinnakers Festive Saison

spinnakers_festivesaisonSince I tried this one in the pub itself, I’ve been yearning to get my hands on a bottle so I could give it a proper review. Like many brews they produce, it can be a challenge to find some in a bottle. Luckily, this holiday season, some was retrievable at my favorite local watering hole. So here we are!

And as my second winter seasonal beer review, it was also quite impressive. To be fair, I’m not a huge fan of the Saison beer variety, but I do approve of a refreshing beer with notes of spice and fruit that is gentle on the palate and quite refreshing. And thought this one was a bit light for my taste, I still found plenty to enjoy about it.

Appearance: Light yellow, transparent and very mild foam retention
Nose: Belgian yeast, notes of coriander and clove spice
Taste: Light, slightly bitter tang, yeasty and clean
Aftertaste: Mild taste of coriander and clove spice, citrus rind
Overall: 7.5/10

Stay tuned! More holiday beer to come soon. And maybe a few more fall beers that didn’t quite make it out in time.

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Spinnaker’s India Session Pale Ale

Let the Summer Games begin! Hey all, the wife and I just got back from watching the Opening Ceremonies on our friend’s big-screen TV. And on the way home, we stopped by one of our favorite watering holes, Spinnakers Brewpub, for a little off-sale beer shopping. And it just so happens that they had some new arrivals to share…

The first is the India Session Pale Ale, a combination session/India Pale Ale that’s come just in time for the summer season. Combining a session’s drinkability with the long and venerated tradition of IPA’s here in the Pacific Northwest, this combination is one of many lighter ales that Spinnakers has been producing of late. Much like their Tour de Victoria and Discovery Ale, this beer is much lighter than their usual fare, but still manages to deliver flavor that will please the hop enthusiast.

Appearance: Light in color, golden and clear
Nose: Mild hop nose, very clean
Taste: Tangy, clean malts and mild but bitter hop delivery
Aftertaste: Slight, lingering hop bitterness
Overall: 8/10

Overall, this beer is light, refreshing, and highly drinkable, with just enough of a hop bite to avoid being classified as “close to water”. It seems well suited to hot weather and tilted beers on the patio with friends. Cheers, and hope the weekend finds you all well!

More new beers!

Another September 2011 entry, with a smorg sampler of new beers. No theme, just some new and exciting ones I happened to chance upon, though half were by Victoria’s own Spinnakers brewpub:

Recently, I found a very good Liqour Plus store here in the Saanich area that’s been known to stock up on all my favorites and plenty of ones I haven’t yet tried. So here I am with four more beers!

Tour de Victoria: This is a seasonal ale by Spinnakers, which is known for making damn good beer. The Tour is an especially light feature, brewed to commemorate the real Tour De Victoria. Though technically a session ale it is more reminiscent of a pilsner or lager because of its crispness and light finish. This is apparently because of the use of several different types of wheat malts and European hops. A nice addition to patio weather, and totally non-offensive! 3.75/5

Northwest Ale: Another Spinnakers creation. A dark, tawny ale with a rather light finish. Surprising for a northwest ale, which are usually hoppier and have a stronger, more citrusy profile. However, what it lacks in power it tends to make up for with smoothness and drinkability. Not what I was expecting, but a good fit given Spinnakers many heavier and hoppier numbers. 3.5/5

Starfish Imperial Red Ale: Hoppy, tawny and with a sweet finish, this strong red ale is reminiscent of Doppelbock and a northwest ale. In other words, its sweet and floral, but balances that with a sharp, hoppy aftertaste. Not a bad intro to this Washington brewery, can’t wait to try more! 4/5

Cheval Blanc:
Produced by the brewpub of the same name, located in the heart of Montreal, Quebec, this is another signature creation that makes me long for the old days when Quebec beers were so readily available! As far as wheat beers go, this is a fitting addition to my overall list of Quebec beers! Smooth, light on the palate, but with a lingering aftertaste and plenty of citrus notes. 4.5/5

More to follow, at some point I must do a review of Spinnaker’s beers! Good beer, good food, all around good operation. And a chocolatery to boot!