Deep Cove Loud Mouth Pale Ale

label_loudmouth-300x300Brewer: Deep Cove Brewery, Vancouver, BC
Style: Pale Ale
Alc/Vol: 5.5%
IBU: 56

Description: The Loud Mouth Pale Ale is one of Deep Cove’s year round products and is a blend of English and West Coast influences. This results in an ale that is initially malt-forward, but is hopped to a respectable 56 IBUs to achieve a balance of flavor.

Tasting Notes: As the first beer that I’ve ever tried from Deep Cove, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I could definitely sense the English influence as I drank it, which is present in the form of subtle but ever-present malts and the notes of toffee and caramel. However, there was also enough of a hop presence that one can detect the West Coast influence, which comes through in a slightly bitter, citrusy, and herbal accompaniment. It then finishes quite clean, with lingering notes of both malt and hops on the palate that further enforce its balanced character. Definitely a good intro to this brewery from North Vancouver!

Appearance: Deep amber, clear, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Strong malt presence, notes of toffee and shortbread, mild hops
Taste: Good malt, mild tang, notes of toffee, caramel, slightly bitter citrus, herbal hops
Aftertaste: Relatively clean, lingering toffee malts and mild bitterness
Overall: 8.5/10

More Summer Beer Additions!

summer-beerOnce in awhile, I find myself coming back from the beer store with a number of similar selections from different breweries. These I generally buy because they are limited releases, share a common theme, or are beers I simply haven’t tried yet. A few weeks ago, I made such a selection, recorded my observations, but then forgot to share them! Alas, I discovered my error and am now correcting that, and bringing to you some summer beers that are sure to still be available.

They are VIB’s Vicfest and Granville Islands Cloak and Dagger, both of which I found while rummaging around the Cook St. Liquor Store. Every time I go in there, I feel like a kid in a candy store and cant seem to make a decision of what to boy. But since VIB and Granville Island have a few things in common – large-scale breweries that are located here in BC, but who are committed to their craft brewing roots – these two limited releases seems like a good buy. And here is what I thought…

Vancouver Island Brewery Vicfest Festival Ale:
Vicfest-650-Bottle-Mock-FLATInteresting case of timing here, since Vicfest is just a week away. However, VIB and the people of Vicfest teamed awhile back and begin brewing this beer well in advance for this summer’s Vancouver Island Cultural Festival. According to a statement released by the brewery, they were going for something that captured the light, rhythmic sense of the island festival and the people who regularly attend. Or as they put it:

This festival ale is brewed in celebration of the amazing art, music and culture here on Vancouver Island. We’re proud to support local cultural events like VIC Fest that strengthen our island’s unique collection of bouncing souls and kindred spirits. Brewed with a rhythmic blend of malts and lightly riffed hops this beer is a thirst quenching and sensory expanding experience. Turn it up and enjoy.

And I’d say that’s what they wound up with as an end result. Though an west coast ale, the light, crisp and clean quality of the beer is more reminiscent of a lager or altbier. And as such, its quite consistent with warm weather, the outdoors, and summery evenings.

Appearance: Light gold, clear, mild foam and good carbonation
Nose: Light malts, mild hops, lager-like
Taste: Crisp, mild malts, Munich-style hops, trace minerality
Aftertaste: Clean finish, mild hops
Overall: 8/10

Almost as good was sample number two, otherwise known as …

Granville Island Cloak & Dagger Cascadian Dark Ale:
cloak&dagger_cascdarkHere we have a limited released that was produced by the folks at Granville Island Brewing as past of their Black Note Book Series. And as has been increasingly the fashion with GIB of late, they’ve been getting in on the craft brewing train with a long lineup of small batch beers, all of which appear to be consistent with the latest Northwest trends. This Cascadian Dark Ale, which combines aspects of a stout, IPA, is no exception, being a rather popular style of late.

And for the most part, I found this one enjoyable and flavorful, though it was slightly on the light side. With a malt profile of a stout or dark ale and the hoppiness of an IPA, one expects a bit more challenge and flavor. However, the Cloak and Dagger remains a very pleasant spring beer and I hope to see it again.

Appearance: Black, opaque, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Dark toasted malts, bitter citrus hops
Taste: Immediate burst of bitter hops, mild tang, relatively light, smooth malts
Aftertaste: Mild and lingering bitterness, otherwise clean aftertaste
Overall: 7.5/10

That’s all for now. Soon enough, I will be back with more seasonal brews, strictly summer one this time! And given the sheer supply of breweries and styles that are in vogue this season, I’m not sure what to expect. But that’s part of the fun of beer shopping, the selection!

Parallel 49 Brewing!

parallel49_labelsA Vancouver-based operation, Parallel 49 is a relatively new brewery, but is quickly growing in popularity. They only recently got on my radar thanks to their seasonal Lost Souls  Chocolate Pumpkin Porter. And thanks to the BCL, who is now purveying their sample pact, I managed to get my hands on every beer in their lineup.

This includes their Old Boy Classic Ale, the Gypsy Tears Ruby Ale, the Hoparazzi India Pale Lager, and the new Seedspitter Watermelon Wit. Quite the ambitious variety, and it certainly shows a preference for experimentation on behalf of the brewers. Needless to say, I was both intrigued and ambivalent when I picked up the pack, but was pleasantly surprised by the time I had sampled them all. Here’s what my taste buds and other senses had to say.

Old Boy Classic Ale:
A traditional British ale, malty, smooth, and low in hop content (25 IBUs). The appearance is deep brown and clear while the scent is reminiscent of toffee and caramelized sugar. It comes on with mildly sweet and tawny malts, finishing with a light touch of caramel sweetness. A very smooth and subtle ale, clean drinking and quite pleasant. 8.5/10

Gypsy Tears Ruby Ale:
A twist on the traditional pale ale, this “ruby” combines dark malts with west coast hops and dry hopping to produce a complex and layered ale. Dark red in appearance, clear, and boasting a mild, floral aroma, the flavor comes on strong with a burst of citrus hops, moving on to a lingering dry hop flavor. There are also discernible malts that augment the hop finish with a slightly coarse aftertaste. A very appealing new beer and a welcome addition to my favorite pales! 9/10

Hoparazzi IPL:
Another twist on a classic, this so-called India Pale Lager, combines the attributes of a golden lager with some of the more strong characteristics of an IPA. This includes alcohol content (6% alc/vol) and hop content (50 IBUs). Nevertheless, the character is still distinctly that of a lager, with the color a gold-orange and the nose grassy. The taste, while slightly more bitter than your average lager, with notes of grapefruit that linger into the aftertaste. Not sure this was an ideal combination, but the result is still pleasantly refreshing and clean. 8/10

Seedspitter Watermelon Wit:
Now here’s a twist I never would have considered. It’s a well established tradition to combine wheat beer with fruit, but a watermelon wheat? Suffice it to say, it comes through in the flavor. Golden-white in color and translucent, the beer has a strong scent of watermelon and wheat malts. The flavor is much the same, starting with a strong burst of fruit and giving way to a clean, malty finish. 8/10

Not bad Parallel 49. Not bad at all. A rather interesting combination of flavors and styles. I think it’s fair to say that I will be following your exploits with some interest from now on.