Townsite Barrel Aged Cardena Belgian Quad 2016

townsite_barrelagedBrewer: Townsite Brewery, Powell River, BC
Style: Quadruple Ale
ABV: 10.5%
IBUs: 30

Description: The third installment in their “Hulk Series” – named for the decommissioned vessels that make up the floating breakwater in Powell River – Cardena is a Belgian-style Quadrupel ale. And since 2015, they have be re-releasing this ale as part of the breweries new barrel-aged lineup, where established brews are aged in whiskey barrels.

Tasting Notes: I loved Cardena when I first tried it. In fact, it would be fair to say that it was one of the best beers I had in 2014. So I was a little intrigued and surprised by the addition of the barrel-aging process, which I’ve had mixed experiences with. In this case, the end resuilt was interesting, but a bit perplexing. On the one hand, you have all that was great about the Cardena. A strong Abbey-style ale rich with notes of brown sugar, dates, raisins, and figgy pudding.

But add to that the bite of whiskey and the end result was (and I’m not bullshitting here) a bit like blue cheese! It was the oddest thing, getting a taste I immediately recognized but couldn’t quite place. And then I remembered the last time i had hot wings or a spinach salad! Ordinarily, I love blue cheese, but not so much in my beer. So I had to give this one a slightly mixed review. Great to be branching out, but 2016’s Barrel aged Cardena is not quite what I was hoping for.

Appearance: Deep brown, clear, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Strong malt, brown sugar, whiskey, dark fruits, spices, alcohol, yeast
Taste: Rich malt, immediate whiskey bite, blue cheese, sugar, dark fruits, alcoholic bite
Aftertaste: Lingering whiskey, malt, cheesy flavor, alcoholic warmth
Overall: 7.2/10

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Townsite Lil’ Red Sour Red Ale

townsite_Lil-RedBrewer: Townsite Brewing, Powell River, BC
Style: Sour Ale/Red Ale
ABV: 6%
IBUs: 14

Description: Like all Townsite creations, this seasonal beer is named in honor of something that calls to mind the town’s history. In this case, it is a little red chair that has been “photobombing Powell River landscapes since August 2010.” The brew is fashioned using a red malt base, and the fermented using wild yeast strains, and fortified with Belgian candi sugar.

Tasting Notes: It’s been awhile since I’ve reviewed anything by Townsite. And I’ve had a bit of a bad run with sours lately – being either too light or too vinegary. So this beer was both timely and refreshing. On the one hand, it seems like a fine addition to Townsite’s seasonal lineup. On the other, it is a very lovely take on a sour ale, which has a good red malt base and packs plenty of tart raspberry flavor on top of it – rather than sour cherries, apple cider vinegar, or other familiar sour flavors. It also has usual notes of oak, zesty yeast, and lactic acids to boot. A good reintroduction to the brewery and a lovely sour!

Appearance: Dark ruby, clear, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Rich malt, raspberries, wild yeast cultures, oakiness, lactic acid
Taste: Syrupy malt,tart raspberry, lactic acid, hint of oak, mild and zesty yeast bite
Aftertaste: Lingering zest, tart raspberry, yeasts, acid, quite clean
Overall: 8.5/10

Townsite Cardena Belgian Quad

https://i2.wp.com/townsitebrewing.com/wp-content/uploads/CARDENA-web.pngBrewer: Townsite Brewery, Powell River, BC
Style: Quadruple Ale
Alc/Vol: 10.5%
IBU: 30

Description: This is the third beer in the Hulks Series named for the decommissioned vessels that make up the floating breakwater in Powell River. Brewed in the Abbey ale-style, the Cardena is a quadruple. And consistent with this style, it employs a strong malt base with a high alcohol content.

Tasting Notes: It’s always a delight to try one of Townsite’s specialty brews. Without exception, they’ve done great things with their Hulk Series and this one was no exception. In addition to being deliciously malty, dark, fruity and sugary, it’s got a well balanced flavor due to just enough citrus hop bitterness. It’s a lot like a barley wine, but except with the infusion of the telltale Belgian yeasts that give it an added distinctive flavor. Like Kerstmis in the glass!

Appearance: Deep amber/brown, clear, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Rich malt, dark fruits, brown sugar, yeast, hops
Taste: Rich malt, raisins, dates, sugar, good tang, yeast, snap of citrus hops
Aftertaste: Lingering malt bitterness, fruit and yeast
Overall: 10/10

Townsite Charleston Belgian Triple

Townsite_Charleston1Brewer: Townsite Brewing, Powell River, BC
Style: Belgian Triple
Alc/Vol: 9%
IBUs: 34

Description: A reboot of the breweries original Charleston, one of several beers in the Hulk series, this beer is another bottle-conditioned Belgian Triple that honors Cédric the brewmaster’s Belgian heritage. Due to popular demand, the beer has been brought back, with some minor alterations – including increased alcohol content and a slightly different flavor.

Tasting Notes: In addition to being a faithful example of a Belgian Triple, with plenty of malt flavor and yeasty notes, this beer has a smooth profile and some nice honey overtones. While it what was not as pleasing to me as their YOGN 82, it is still a delight and I am glad I got a chance to sample it. The original Charleston escaped me; and with the exception of the Timewarp and the new Cardena, it was the only beer in their lineup I had yet to try.

Appearance: Deep orange, slightly cloudy, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Belgian pale malt, yeast, honey, alcohol
Taste: Smooth malt flavor, good tang, yeast, sugars, honey sweetness
Aftertaste: Lingering malt bitterness, alcohol, mild hops and yeasts
Overall: 9/10

Townsite Perfect Storm Oatmeal Stout

townsite_perfectstormAt long last, I am closing in on my goal of having sampled the entire Townsite lineup. Ever since they began delivering to the Island, I have been steadily working my way through every beer they have put out since my wife and I first visited their operation. At this point, only seasonal releases remain; and after tonight, only one beer will be left! But since I’ll have to wait until October to try that one (their Time Warp Wet-Hopped Pale Ale), there’s nothing to but wait and enjoy this one!

As far as Oatmeal Stouts go, this one was very good. In addition to the usual stout characteristics – black and opaque body, a rich malt with notes of coffee and chocolate, and a pleasantly bitter finish – this one has a hint of coffee liqueur of the nose. Not something I was expecting, but it certainly didn’t detract from the overall experience. In fact, I might go as far as to say this is one of the best stouts I’ve had in some time.

Appearance: Pitch black, opaque, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Rich malt, notes of espresso, dark chocolate, coffee liqueur
Taste: Coffee-like dark malt and mild hop bite, semi-sweet and bitter chocolate
Aftertaste: Lingering bitter malts and espresso flavor
Overall: 9/10

In truth, there are actually two Townsite beers that I have yet to try. But from what I’ve been told, the Charleston Belgian Triple was discontinued after its first year and replaced by the YOGN 82. As such, it is beyond my reach and any reasonable expectation of sampling. Unless anyone has a bottle of it lying around they would be willing to part with…?

Townsite Biere D’Hiver Winter Ale

townsite_dhiverIt has taken me some time, but I appear to be closing in on my goal of trying every single beer the Townsite brewery has yet produced. It hasn’t been easy keeping up with them, thanks to their prolific nature and the fact that they only recently started distributing to the island. But I still consider it a lucky break that I finally managed to secure a bottle of this seasonal beer before winter officially ended and it would no longer be available.

Another beer that was inspired by local legend, the Biere D’Hiver is another Belgian-style brew that is dark, yeasty, has a sugar and dark fruit malt taste, and is spiced with coriander, star anise & brewmaster’s own hand-made Candi Sugar. The end result is something that seems like a cross between a winter warmer, an extra strong Belgian brown, and a spiced Wit. And of course, it has some serious strength (7.5% alc/vol).

Appearance: Dark molasses brown, virtually opaque, strong foam and carbonation
Nose: Notes of caramelized sugar, plums, dates, and coriander
Taste: Immediate spice and malt sweetness, coriander and sugars, strong yeast
Aftertaste: Slight coarse malt bitterness, lingering sugars and spice
Overall: 9/10

Between this and their Shiny Penny Belgian IPA (another winner!), and this latest installment, I am now just two beers away from sampling everything Townsite has ever produced. That would include their Perfect Storm Oatmeal Stout and their Time Warp Wet Hopped Pale Ale. My kudos to Cédric for his endlessly inventive spirit!

 

Townsite’s Latest

townsite-logo-Back with some new beers from the Townsite Brewery of scenic Powell River BC! Since it first opened less than two years ago, they’ve been producing hit after hit. From their regular lineup, to their seasonal (their Blackberry Festivale was the first I tried while staying there in the summer of ’12), to their YOGN 82 (best Tripel I’ve had in years!), there’s very little that this brewery has produced that I didn’t find highly impressive.

I’m especially happy about this for a couple of reasons. For one, they are a local brewing operation, which is a mark of sophistication for any community that has one. Second, it is very convenient to be able to find great beer on one’s own doorstep! And third, all too often, craft brewers find themselves unable to compete in a market dominated by major and not-so-micro operations. Knowing that they are producing an extensive lineup of really good beer gives me confidence that they will be around for some time to come…

So here are the latest Townsite beers that I’ve managed to sample and what I had to say about them!

7800 Saison:
Townsite_7800_SaisonThe 7800 is named in honor of the distance that lies between the Townsite Brewery of Powell River and the brewmaster’s home in Horrues, Belgium. Brewed in the Saison farmhouse fashion, once again owing to the brewmaster’s Belgian roots, this beer is made with a combination of barley, spelt, oats, and rye. The end result is cloudy in appearance, golden orange, and has the characteristic Saison flavors. These include a spicy, yeasty character, but also some complex malt flavor that is more bitter than usual. This is due to the admixture of rye, oats and spelt, which achieve a bite that is somewhat reminiscent of an oatmeal stout or rye ale, unexpected but certainly welcome to the mix.

Appearance: Golden-orange, cloudy, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Distinctive yeasty and spicy notes
Taste: Smooth malts, spicy yeast backbone, giving way to bitter, grainy bite
Aftertaste: Lingering bitterness, rye flavor, yeast
Overall: 8.5/10

Shiny Penny Belgium IPA:
townsite_shinypennyThe beer is named after the gastropub that brewmaster Cédric Dauchot and his wife (and brewery manager) Chloe Smith, planned to open in Saskatoon. As their take on a new style that is becoming all the rage, the Belgian IPA is a marriage of Belgian yeasts and strength with the characteristic hoppyness and higher malt gravity of a Pacific Northwest IPA. And when you drink it, that is precisely what you get: a rich, malty brew that boast plenty of citrus and tropical fruit. The appearance is consistent with an Imperial IPA, dark amber, but has little head or carbonation to speak of. The total gravity is 21.5 Plato, and the alcohol strength is just shy of a Tripel (8.5% alc/vol). A very interesting and, as usual, awesome product from this brewery!

Appearance: Dark amber, slightly cloudy, mild foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Floral, citrus hops, thick, syrupy malts
Taste: Heavy malts, slight sweetness, Belgian yeast, citrus hops, coarse malt flavor
Aftertaste: Lingering hop and malt bitterness, passion fruit, yeast and sugars
Overall: 9/10

With these two down, there are only two seasonals that remain to be had. This includes their Perfect Storm Oatmeal Stout, and their Beer D’Hiver Winter Ale. Man, these guys are productive as hell! I hope I can keep up…