Phillips Dogwood Rescue Society Red Lager

phillips_benefitbrewsBrewer: Phillips Brewery, Victoria, BC
Style: Red Lager
ABV: 5.0%
IBUs: Unlisted

Description: This beer is one of two Benefit Brews made by Phillips for the year of 2015. For the province of BC, the Benefit Brew that was selected was a red lager, and all sales of the beer will go to support of the Dogwood Rescue Society’s mission is to re-home homeless, unwanted or abused sporting and working dogs.

Tasting Notes: This beer manages to combine the syrupy malt flavor of red ale with the crisp, refreshing finish of a lager. It was a bit on the mild side, and could seem just the slightest bit watery initially. However, with further sipping, I was able to discern some layers of flavor that included some dry hops, herbs, mild citrus, some tart apple, and minerals. A good beer for a good cause!

Appearance: Dark amber/red, clear, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Rich malt base, minerals, mild herbal and dry hop aroma
Taste: Syrupy malt, hint of sweetness, mineral tang, tart apple, dry hops, mild citrus
Aftertaste: Lingering malt and mineral aftertaste, quite clean
Overall: 7.8/10

If you’re interested in supporting the Dogwood Rescue Society, check out their website.

Phillips Cherry Heiter Smoked Cherry Ale

Phillips_Cherry-HieterBrewer: Phillips Brewing, Victoria BC
Style: Fruit-infused, smoked ale
ABV: 7%

Description: A Phillips seasonal limited-release, this fruit-infused beer combines cherries with smoked malts to create an ale that combines elements of a Rauchbier and a fruit ale. Available just in time for Fall.

Tasting Notes: It must be kismet, seeing as how a bunch of limited release beers that incorporate smoked malts began coming out so soon after I reintroduced myself to Rauchbiers. And while it may seem like an odd idea, the combination of a cherry-infused ale and a smoked ale actually makes for a pretty interesting experience. The soft, slightly sweet flavor of cherries provides some sense of balance to the smoke and tang of the malts. I must be growing as a beer drinker, since this style no longer seems difficult or distasteful to me!

Appearance: Dark ruby, clear, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Smokey malts, light notes of cherry
Taste: Immediate burst of smoked malt, mild tang, soft notes of sweet cherry
Aftertaste: Lingering smoke tang and mild bitterness
Overall: 8/10

Philips Octofox India Pale Ale

Philips_octofoxBrewer: Philips Brewery, Victoria, BC
Style: India Pale Ale
Alc/Vol: 6.5%

Description: As part of their Area 52 series, the Octofox IPA comes straight from the Philips Brewery’s “hoptomology lab”, where the brewers combine different strains of hops to achieve unique IPA flavors. The Octofox was one of their earliest specimens, and for the first time is available in a bomber as a Fall limited release!

Tasting Notes: This is my first exposure to an Area 52 release, and hence the work of the Philips “hoptomologists”. The beer is what one could expect from a solid West Coast IPA, consisting of some good strong malt. And the hop profile is definitely varied and complex, consisting of citrus, tropical fruit and pine-resin flavors that come from what I can only assume is a blend that includes Zythos, Columbus, Centennial, Cascade and Amarillo hops.

Appearance: Light amber, clear, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Rich malt, bright bouquet of floral hops, citrus, pine, tropical fruit
Taste: Strong malt, milt coarseness, strong notes of grapefruit, pineapple, and pine
Aftertaste: Lingering hop bitterness, citrus rind and pine and tropical fruit
Overall: 8.5/10

Spinnakers Jolly Hopper Imperial IPA

Jolly_Hopper_Bottle-WEBBrewer: Spinnakers Brewpub, Victoria BC
Style: Imperial IPA
Alc/Vol: 8%
IBUs: 100

Description: Named after the flag pirate ships would fly to signal imminent attack, this Imperial IPA is brewed is using a variety of experimental hops, and in significant doses. The end result is a very strong, very hoppy India Pale Ale that combines English-style and West Coast-style brewing traditions.

Tasting Notes: This beer delivered in all the usual departments. It had the strong, coarse malts of an Imperial IPA, plus a very significant dose of hop bitterness. And you can sense the varied hop profile in both the smell and the taste. While it comes through with what appear to be West Coast Cascade, Centennial and Amarillo hops in the taste department, the nose calls to mind Kent, Golding and Fuggles – all English strains. A good IIPA, but definitely not for the faint of heart or unaccustomed.

Appearance: Amber, slightly cloudy, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Rich malt, fruity, English-style hops
Taste: Heavy malt, coarse and tangy, bitter burst of grapefruit
Aftertaste: Citrus rind, lingering malt coarseness
Overall: 7.8/10

4 Mile Pale Ale

4mile_paleBrewer: 4 Mile Brewing, Victoria BC
Style: English-style Pale Ale
Alc/Vol: 5.2%
IBUs: 38

Description: A combination of brewing styles, this pale ale is brewed using English malts and West Coast hops (most likely of the Cascade/Centennial and Amarillo variety). Further indications of its English roots come in the form of extensive dry hopping, which results in a subtle ale with dry, but pronounced hop character.

Tasting Notes: I have to admit, this beer was a tad on the light for me. While I certainly appreciate subtle brews, the hop bitterness was a little too light for my taste, and the finish a little too clean and watery. What was missing was a malt backbone, then the dry hops may have come through better. However, I am prepared to admit that this may have been a false positive. I’ll need another bottle for confirmation, stay tuned!

Appearance: Amber-orange, clear, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Mild malt, citrus notes, grassy and piney hops
Taste: Mild malt, dry citrus bite, notes of grass, pine, and grapefruit
Aftertaste: Mild, dry lingering bitterness, very clean, watery finish
Overall: 7.5/10

Moon Under Water Tranquility IPA

MoonLogo1moonunderwater_ipaIt has taken me some time, but I have managed to finally complete Moon Under Water’s new lineup, ever since the brewery underwent a change in leadership and stopped producing sessionals. Unfortunately, I have been rather remiss in taking notes and providing comprehensive reviews. And since I refuse to do reviews based solely on memory (as mine can’t be trusted anyway!), I’ve finally managed to pick up some fresh bottles and resample them.

And here’s what I thought of the Tranquility IPA, a beer without which no West Coast brewery operation would ever be complete. True to its roots, this India Pale Ale combines a strong, semi-sweet malt character with a generous dose of hops. And in what is increasingly becoming the norm with Northwestern IPAs, it combines multiple varieties of hops in order to produce a more complex hop profile.

Appearance: Light golden-amber, transparent, good foam and carbonation
Nose: Citrus and tropical fruit, notes of melon
and passion fruit
Taste: Strong malt beginning, burst of citrus and piney hops, touch of sweetness
Aftertaste: Sweetness giving way to hint of coarse malts, bitter hop finish
Overall: 8.5/10

Not bad Moon, you’re three for three so far. Now there’s the matter of sampling your Victorious Weizenbock, and giving it a fitting review. Spoiler alert: it was good! But as usual, neglected to take notes! I will try to do better next time…