Four Winds Juxtapose Wild IPA

fourwinds_brettipaBrewer: Four Winds Brewery, Delta, BC
Style: India Pale Ale
ABV: 6.5%
IBUs: 50

Description: As part of Four Winds Brewing’s Zephyrus Series, which focuses on hop-heavy West Coast-style ales, this IPA combines pale malts with a generous dose of Pacific Northwestern hops, and is fermented using wild brettanomyces yeast to achieve a layered flavor. It is also the Silver medal winner of the 2014 World Beer Cup Awards in the American-Style Brett Beer category, and the Bronze medal winner of B.C Beer Awards in the category of Belgian/French-style beers

Tasting Notes: This IPA definitely benefited from the addition of a little Brett, which I didn’t think would work, to be honest. And the strong herbal, citrus and grassy hops were well balanced by the crisp malt base and the subtle kick of sour cherry yeast flavor, with a nice lingering spicy finish to compliment the bitterness. Score another one for Four Winds!

Appearance: Golden/orange, cloudy, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Strong malt, herbal hops, fruity esters, notes of citrus and tropical fruit
Taste: Crisp malt, hop bitterness, dry, grassy, piney, citrus rind, hint of sour yeast
Aftertaste: Lingering hop bitterness, spicy yeast backbone
Overall: 9/10

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Parallel 49 Rye The Long Face Imperial Rye IPA

p49_ryethelongfaceBrewer: Parallel 49 Brewing, Vancouver BC
Style: Imperial IPA
ABV: 8.5%
IBUs: 86

Description: Part of Parallel 49 Spring Seasonal lineup, this Imperial IPA combines a hefty combination of pale and rye malts, and is then bittered using a similarly robust amount of Chinook, Simcoe, Amarillo and Centennial hops.

Tasting Notes: As Imperial IPAs go, this beer was quite smooth and drinkable. Surprising considering its strength and the hefty dose of rye. And yet, the rye malts and heavy helping of Pacific Northwest hops balance out to create a pretty subtle but complex brew.

Appearance: Deep orange, mildly cloudy, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: rich malt, rye notes, citrus, pineapple, and passion fruit hops
Taste: Smooth, slightly crisp malt, notes of herbs, citrus, peach, pineapple
Aftertaste: Lingering tang, citrus and tropical fruit and rye bitterness
Overall: 8.3/10

Parallel 49 Banana Hammock Summer Hefeweizen

parallel49Summer is in full swing and I’m back with more summer beer! Today, I have the honor of sampling Parallel 49’s latest limited release, a summer Hefeweizen which they have – as always – given a clever, punny name! Banana hammock… yeah, that doesn’t elicit images of ugly speedos in your mind, does it? But you have to admit, it gets your attention when you’re beer shopping! And so I picked up the bottle, unsure what to expect from this brewery that is used to throwing curve balls!

wheatbeerAnd I have to admit that I was surprised to see Parallel 49 create something so conventional, at least by their standards. From their Salty Scot ale that combined actual sea salt and caramel with a “Wee Heavy” ale, to their Humphrey Biere de Garde, a farmhouse beer with added rosewater, very few things seem off limits to these people, and no combination appears too strange. Imagine my surprise when I discovered this beer contained no actual banana or other assorted ingredients.

But of course, the end result is a very good brew, consistent with a true Munich/Bavarian wheat ale that contains a fruity, banana-like flavor with yeasty notes and clove-like spice. It began as somewhat light, but this may have been due to the fact that it was served ice cold. I found the flavors asserted themselves at warmer temperatures, the fruit and spice working their way into my palette the more I drank.

Appearance: Deep golden orange, cloudy, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Yeasty, notes of banana and cloves
Taste: Light burst of banana followed by yeasts, mild clove spice
Aftertaste: Lingering yeasty flavor and mild sweetness, quite clean
Overall: 8.5/10

Not at all bad, and they did without any strange additives or stylistic crossovers. I’m impressed all around! Until next time, have a great summer and be sure to compliment this warm weather with a cold brew, preferably on a patio with plenty of friends and food!

Parallel 49 Humphrey Biere de Garde

parallel49As anyone familiar with BC craft beers would know by now, the Vancouver-based Parallel 49 brewery is renowned for their interesting and weird combinations, producing beer that is both appealing to drink and esoterically complex. And they seem to know no limits when it comes to variation and experimentation, combining different processes, ingredients, and merging disparate styles to create something new every few weeks. And whenever they decide on a new combination, it comes in the form of a limited release.

P49_humphreyThe latest is Humphrey’s Biere de Garde, a malt-forward twist on a traditional style of beer that, similar to Saison, is a farmhouse beer that comes to us from northeastern France. A cottage industry for the longest time, large-scale breweries have taken to producing Biere de Gardes in recent years, especially craft-brewing operations. So it is little wonder why Parallel 49 chose to tackle this beer, which is also a seasonal variety that was typically brewed during the spring and stored for the summer months. The twist, which is to be expected when dealing with P49, comes in the form of rosewater, which was added to provide another dimension of flavor. Typically used to scent and flavor foods, perfumes and ointments, the admixture of this syrupy, fragrant liquid provides for a drinking experience which is at once traditional and at the same time odd and interesting…

Appearance: Amber, clear, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Rich malts, hint of sweetness
Taste: Semi sweet malts, syrupy and viscous, slight floral, herbal infusion,
Aftertaste: Lingering sweetness, chewy mouthfeel, relatively clean
Overall: 8/10

As you may be able to tell, it was quite difficult to describe the flavor of this beer. All throughout, I had the feeling that I was getting notes of something sweet, distinct, and not really consistent with malt or hops. I wasn’t sure how to describe this, and didn’t want to fall back on the all-too-convenient “like rosewater”, especially since I’ve never tasted it before. But the end result of this beer is certainly something that most beer drinkers will at least partially recognize – a malt forward beer that is reminiscent of a nice amber ale that also comes with a herbal/floral taste provided by a rosewater tincture. Not P49s best beer by my measure, but definitely worth sampling.