Tofino Hunt and Gather Kettle Sour

Hunt&GatherBrewer: Tofino Brewing, Tofino, BC
Style: Sour Ale
ABV: 4.0%
IBUs: Unlisted

Description: Tofino’s latest seasonal offering (available throughout the Summer and Fall) is a twist on one of the latest trends in brewing – which is the resurgence of kettle sours. Using west coast salal and blackberries, this beer is fermented using lactobacillus and saccharomyces yeasts, and then served unfiltered for a refreshing summer thirst-slaker!

Tasting Notes: I am a big fan of beers that incorporate blackberries. As far as I am concerned, that is a fruit brewers have not done nearly enough with! But this combination, which incorporates the venerable salal berry – a fruit with very deep roots in West Coast culture – was quite the treat. And its a good accompaniment to the sour yeast flavor, adding a level of tart fruit flavor to the lactic acid sharpness. And the light malt base ensures that it’s an entirely refreshing experience that cuts through thirst like cold lemonade!

Appearance: Amber/red, mildly cloudy, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Mild malt, wild yeast, lactic acid, tart fruit
Taste: Smooth start, burst of tart fruit, yeast, lactic acid,
Aftertaste: Lingering yeast and tart fruit flavor, very refreshing finish
Overall: 8/10

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Dieu du Ciel Solstice d’été (Summer Solstice) Sour Wheat Ale

Dieuduciel_summerBrewer: Brasserie Dieu du Ciel, St-Jerome, Quebec
Style: Sour Wheat Ale
ABV: 5.9%
IBUs: Unlisted

Description: This seasonal brew from Dieu du Ciel is inspired by the German-style of wheat sour beer. Wheat malts which are allowed to ferment pre-boil accumulate lactic acid, which is then complemented with the addition of whole raspberries during the fermentation process – creating and acid and fruity summer beer.

Tasting Notes: I was intrigued by the combination of a fruit-infused wheat with a sour twist. The summer fruit does a good job of balancing the acidity a little and providing some sharpness to the wheat malt base. But it was admittedly a bit on the tart side for my taste. There are plenty of notes in this beer, but the lactic acid tends to overpower them. Nevertheless, a good summer beer and another good offering from a great brewery.

Appearance: Deep ruby, cloudy, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Mild wheat malt, acidity, yeast, strong fruit esters, raspberries 
Taste: Smooth malt, strong tart burst, lactic acid, mild raspberry flavor finish
Aftertaste: Lingering tartness, raspberry fruit and yeast
Overall: 7.8/10

Dead Frog Immaculate India Golden Ale

dead-frog-immaculateBrewer: Dead Frog Brewery, Aldergrove BC
Style: India Pale Ale
Alc/Vol: 6.5%
IBUs: 50

Description: A seasonal release from Dead Frog’s expansive (and expanding) lineup, this IPA is brewed is light in color to pay homage to summer. It is fashioned using a combination of 2 Row, Belgian Aromatic, Cara 8, Pale, and White Wheat malts, and then bittered with Cascade, Centennial, and Zythos hops.

Tasting Notes: It’s been awhile since I tried a Dead Frog, and this beer was a good reintroduction. It’s complex malt profile was reminiscent of barley wine with its rich palette and sweetness, which is enhanced by the bitter, piney, citrusy and tropical fruit flavors offered by its varied hop content. It’s strength is well balanced and appetizing, which makes for a good summer IPA.

Appearance: Golden/amber, clear, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Strong malts, varied hop nose, grassy, citrus, pineapple, sugary
Taste: Rich malt, barley wine-like sugars, strong notes of pineapple, pine, citrus
Aftertaste: Lingering bitterness, sugars, citrus rind and pine
Overall: 9/10

Russel White Rabbit Hoppy Hefeweizen

hefeweizenBrewer: Russel Brewing, Surrey, BC
Style: Hefeweizen
Alc/Vol: 6%

Description: A seasonal beer brewed for summer, this German-style wheat ale is brewed with a significant dose of Citra hops to give it a Pacific Northwest flavor. The result is a hefeweizen with an IPA-like twist.

Tasting Notes: Like a proper hefeweizen, this beer is light and refreshing, and the mild malt and yeasty backbone provide a nice clean flavor with a spicy finish. The addition of a generous dose of Citra hops manage to augment this with natural grapefruit and peach flavors, adding to the summery feel.

Appearance: Golden-orange, cloudy and opaque, good foam and carbonation
Nose: Wheat malt, yeast, citrus hops, coriander and clove spices
Taste: Mild wheat malt, yeast, notes of citrus, hints of peach and clove spice
Aftertaste: Lingering yeast, citrus and cloves, clean and refreshing
Overall: 8.5/10

Deep Cove Sun Kissed Tea Saison Ale

sunkissed_saisonBrewer: Deep Cover, Vancouver, BC
Style: Saison
Alc/Vol: 5%

Description: A summer seasonal release, this pale ale is made in the Belgian farmhouse Saison style, and is then infused with a blend of apple, mango and papaya Rooibos teas.

Tasting Notes: As Saisons go, this one was a rather interesting mix and was definitely very refreshing, not to mention a good accompaniment to the coming summer weather. In addition to the mild malt, hints of spice and yeast, it has a delicate infusion of fruit flavor and a tea backing that plays nicely on the tongue, and a nice refreshing finish to boot.

Appearance: Golden orange, cloudy, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Grainy malt, yeast, mild hints of apple and tropical fruits
Taste: Light malts, discernible yeasts and spice, hint of apple and mango
Aftertaste: Mild malt and yeast aftertaste, some tea, clean finish
Overall: 8.5/10

Driftwood Gose-Uh

driftwood_logoBack again with another limited release from the Driftwood Brewery. And this time around, its the late summer seasonal known as the Driftwood Gose-uh. According to the commercial description, Gose (pronounced gose-uh) is a rare type of German beer that originated in Leipzig. Using both wheat and barely malt, sea salt, coriander spice and the same type of yeast strain that gives sours their tart taste, this beer has apparently gone extinct twice, but is once again being brought back by artisan brewers who want to revitalize it.

driftwood_gose-uhAnd after sampling it, I could certainly see why efforts are underway to restore it. Much like a good Belgian Wit, the Gose is light in color, cloudy in appearance, and has a gentle malt profile and a some nice spicey notes due to the addition of coriander spice. But the Gose manages to augment all that with a little saltiness and a smooth, clean finish that has just a hint of sour flavor. All in all, it’s basically a nice light ale with some added complexity that is well paired with spicey food, or just on its own as a way to beat the soon-to-gone summer heat. Personally, I hope the style catches on again and remains popular amongst the artisan brewing community and beer drinkers alike. I don’t imagine I need to tell anyone that a beer going extinct diminishes us all!

Appearance: Light yellow, cloudy, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Wheat malts and traces of yeast, strong notes of coriander spice
Taste: Good concentration of wheat malt, coriander spice, mild saltiness
Aftertaste: Lingering spice flavor, slight notes of sour, quite clean
Overall: 8.5/10

What’s next for the Driftwood Brewery and its seasonal/limited-release lineup? Well, multiple visits to the brewery to get my growlers filled has yielded some insight there. Though there are no plans as of yet to release another in the Bird of Prey series, the brewery does have an anniversary coming up and promises to greet it with a specialty beer of some kind. I’ll let you know more as I hear about it!