Steamworks Imperial Red

steamworks_imperialredaleBrewer: Steamworks Brewery, Vancouver, BC
Style: Imperial Red Ale
ABV: 8.5%
IBUs: 80

Description: One of Steamworks seasonal releases – available only in Spring – this Imperial Red Ale combines Maris Otter, Munich, Caramalt. Crystal, and Simcoe malts in significant quantities to achieve a strong, malty base. It is then bittered using significant amounts of Cascade, Centennial & Simcoe hops, dry-hopped, and then bottled unfiltered.

Tasting Notes: This Imperial Red was a bit more subtle than I expected. Normally, one expects some sweet, coarse malts balanced out by strong hops. However, this time around, the strong malt base was balanced by a strong and varied hop mixture, plus some dry-hopping that made everything a bit more downplayed. Basically, despite its strength, this brew is both balanced and subtle.

Appearance: Dark copper, cloudy, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Rich malt, citrus, floral, grassy and piney hop notes
Taste: Strong, syrupy malt, citrus rind, fruity esters, dry herbs, alcoholic bite
Aftertaste: Lingering dry hop and citrus bitterness, dry hops, coarse malt
Overall: 8/10

Advertisements

Steamworks Jasmine IPA

Steamworks_JasmineIPABrewer: Steamworks Brewery, Vancouver BC
Style: India Pale Ale
ABV: 6.5%
IBUs: 60

Description: This beer is part of Steamworks regular lineup and is brewed is a combination of Maris Otter, Caramalt, and Munich malts. It is then dry-hopped with Centennial , Celeia & Bramling Cross hops, infused with Jasmine flowers and fermented using Ardennes yeast.

Tasting Notes: When I first drank this beer, what I immediately noticed was the sharp tang of Saison-style yeasts in addition to some Jasmine. I was encouraged to see that my taste buds were not off. In addition, the dry-hop flavor also comes through in the end, providing a nice citrus backing. Nevertheless, the overall taste experience is still quite refreshing and clean, which you might not expect from an IPA that has some serious Saison yeasts going on. I strongly recommend sampling this brew alongside other Jasmine IPAs, a style which is fast becoming popular here in the Pacific Northwest!

Appearance: Golden/amber, cloudy, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Light malt, saison-style yeast, dry, citrus, floral hop infusion,
Taste: Semi-sweet malts, bitter citrus, sharp yeast backbone, jasmine, dry hop flavor
Aftertaste: Lingering dry hops, bitterness and yeasty flavor, refreshing
Overall: 8.5/10

Steamworks Rollin’ Golden Belgian Ale

steamworks_rollingoldenBrewer: Steamworks Brewery, Vancouver, BC, and New Belgium Brewery, CO
Style: Belgian-Style Pale Ale
Alc/Vol: 7%

Description: A collaboration ale produced in tandem by Steamworks and the New Belgium Brewery, this Golden Belgian Ale is a very eclectic mix. It starts with Pilsner and Cara 45 malts and then bitters them with Stryian Celeia and Stryian Golding hops. The mix is then given additional flavor from Ancho chillies, De Arbol chillies, and Szechuan peppercorns, and fermented with Belgian yeast.

Tasting notes: While this beer is very consistent with a good Saison, it also packs in influences that range from the traditional Belgian, German and British, and Slovenian. What I immediately noticed was the powerful ginger spice, coriander and yeast. But in time, the Pilsner malts, peppery notes and spiciness really came through. A very interesting combination, and one that brings together two of my favorite breweries.

Appearance: Deep golden/amber, slightly cloudy, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Light malt, Belgian yeast, coriander and mixed spice
Taste: Light malt, immediate burst of ginger spice, yeast, coriander and hot chillies
Aftertaste: Lingering malt, yeast, and spice notes, refreshing and spicy
Overall: 8.5/10

Steamworks Blitzen

steamworks_paleYears back, while in Vancouver, the wife and I had a chance to visit the brewpub and I can recall enjoying a tall, frosty Trappist glass of this winter ale. Since that time, it has been damn near impossible to find  bottle of it on the island. As a tribute to the style of Belgian Tripel ales, it was not only strong, malty, and highly yeasty, it was highly reminiscent of one of my favorite beers of all time – La Fin Du Monde.

The beer is golden blonde, slightly cloudy, spicy, malty, mildly hoppy (20 IBUs), and has a strong alcoholic punch (9% alc/vol). Brewed with Pilsner malt, flavored with Fuggles and Sterling hops, this beer is also = in true-Belgian fashion – fermented with some added candi sugar. The end result is a strong ale that has both subtle and saccharine malts, calls to mind the flavors of a Bavarian lager as well as a good-old fashioned Belgian Tripel, with just a hint of Duvel.

Appearance: Golden, cloudy, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Belgian yeast, semi-sweet, sharp and spicy malts
Taste: Strong malt start, mild tang, spicy yeast notes, mild hop bite and alcohol
Aftertaste: Mild yeast and lingering malt flavor, sharp and clean
Overall: 8.5/10

Glad I could finally find some of this beer in the bottle. As always, seasonal beers are a rare and delightful treat, and Steamworks has generally been known to produce some pretty impressive seasonal specialties in addition to their regular lineup.

Steamworks Saison

steamworkssaisonJust in time for… uh, Fall! Yes, I know this is not technically appropriate to the season, but the recent arrival of Steamworks Saison to one of the local dispensaries was not something I could very well ignore. More and more, I am seeing this Vancouver-based craft brewery’s good turning up here on the island, and its exciting. In fact, almost a year ago I took a trip to their brewery for the third time and sampled as much of their lineup as I could. I really must publish the results one of these days…

steamworks_saisonBut in the meantime, I am satisfied to sample their Saison, a tribute to the French-speaking province of Wallonia in southern Belgium where the style originated. Typically brewed in the colder, less active months of autumn, this variety of beer is generally milder and lighter than your typical Belgian ales – that is to say 7% alc/vol, as opposed to those with a heftier rating of 9% and above. And like many of its compatriot beers, Saisons tend to boast notes of fruit and spice, either the result of the specialized yeast that is used in fermentation or due to the additional of actual fruits and spices. In keeping with that tradition, Steamworks’ own Saison is made using a combination of wheat and barley malt, is light and yeasty, and slightly stronger than your average fare, clocking in at a respectable 6.5% alc/vol.

Appearance: Light blonde, cloudy, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Distinct notes of Belgian yeast, dry, slightly spicy
Taste: Slightly bitter hops, strong yeasts, hints of coriander, fruit reminiscent of dry cider
Aftertaste: Lingering yeast and coriander flavor, mild bitterness
Overall: 8/10

Yes, this beer did much to enthrall and confound me. On the one hand, it was very consistent with what I’ve come to expect from a Belgian Saison, loaded with its distinct yeast and malt flavor with hints of coriander. At the same time, I was reminded of cider, another regional favorite, since the nose and flavor of it seemed dry and acidic. But like I said, Saison beers are renowned for being spicy and fruity, and this one certainly measures up in both regards! Islanders would be well advised to get some while they can…

Steamworks Heroica Oatmeal Stout

steamworksHello again fellow beer drinkers! As we slowly make our way through the month of February and the season of winter winds down, I continue in my efforts to tackle as many seasonal beers as possible. And adding to the already impressive lineup of Steamworks beers that I’ve tried, I managed to get my hand on a bottle of their Oatmeal Stout at last. This beer, I should mention, is one that has eluded me for months, and that’s in spite of a visit to the brewery itself! Lucky for me they deliver to the south island.

Needless to say, I had some high expectations going in. Having tried just about everything the brewery is renowned for, including their Espresso Stout – a beer thick as tar, just as black and loaded with caffeine and alcohol – I half-expected this one to a heavy hitter as well. However, I was surprised to find it was much the opposite. In addition to being 5% alc/vol, lower in gravity and with no caffeine to speak of, the Heroica is pretty light as stouts go.

Appearance: Molasses dark, slightly transparent, low foam and good carbonation
Nose: Mild coffee and chocolate notes, roasted malts
Taste: Slight tang, light hint of espresso, tawny roasted malts and slight dose of crisp hops
Aftertaste: Mild coffee bitterness, relatively clean finish
Overall: 8/10

Not a bad installment, Steamworks! I wish I could get my hands on every item in your lineup, as there are a few there that fit with the theme of winter beers so perfectly! I guess I’ll have to be content with the half dozen beers that are available in my neck of the woods, and which have ranked 8 or higher in my reviews. Woe is me!