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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GIB Cocoa Loco Chocolate Imperial Stout

GIB_cocoa_locoBrewer: Granville Island Brewery, Vancouver BC
Style: Imperial Stout
ABV: 8.7%
IBUs: 45

Description: A seasonal released for the winter months of November and December, this imperial stout is brewed using a combination of four different types of malt and Sterling hops, then flavored with cocoa and cocoa nibs to create a strong, and intense “winter warmer”.

Tasting Notes: I am especially interested in what breweries like GIB produce as part of their limited runs these days – mainly because it’s a testament to how breweries that went big are getting back to their craft brewing roots. In any case, this was a good example of an imperial stout (which I’m not usually a fan of) that was nicely rounded out. The infusion of cocoa provides a nice balance to the intense stout flavor, which comes through in some seriously strong malt and licorice favors.

Appearance: Dark brown, clear, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Roasted malt, strong notes of cocoa, espresso
Taste: Rich malt, notes of licorice, chocolate and roasted espresso
Aftertaste: Lingering malt, roasted coffee bitterness, and cocoa
Overall: 7.8/10

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.