Fuggles and Warlock & Moody Ales Bella Rossa

fugglesandwarlock_moodyales_bellarossaBrewer: Fuggles and Warlock, Richmond, BC; Moody Ales, Port Moody, BC
Style:
ABV: 6.5%
IBUs: 39

Commercial Description: Red wheat ale with juniper berries. A blend of East Coast Ale yeast and Belgian Saison yeast makes for an elegant and unique finish. Dry-hopped with Mosaic, Simcoe, Citra and Galaxy.

Tasting Notes: This beer is an interesting mix of styles. Deep red in hue, cloudy, and very hoppy on the nose, it is reminiscent of a good IPA. However, the wheat malt make it a little lighter on the palate, while the juniper ale adds a crisp bitterness that goes well with the dry hops. The addition of Saison yeast adds some funk to the taste.

Twin Sails Roggenweizen

twinsails_roggenBrewer: Twin Sails Brewing, Port Moody, BC
Style: Rye-wheat ale
ABV: 6.7%
IBUs: 12

Description: This limited release by Twin Sails is a German-style hefeweizen brewed with a combination of wheat, rye and caramel malts. This results in slightly sweeter and maltier take on your conventional hefeweizen, which is then mildly hopped and served unfiltered.

Tasting Notes: This beer has all the benefits of a hefeweizen, which include a smooth wheat malt base, yeastiness and a refreshing aftertaste. The addition of caramel and rye malts also add some depth of flavor and color, giving it some added some sweetness to go with the banana and natural spice flavor.

Appearance: Red, cloudy, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Gentle wheat malt, hefeweizen yeast, banana, hint of clove spice
Taste: Smooth wheat malt, hint of sweetness, yeasty effervescent, banana, hint of spice
Aftertaste: Lingering maltiness, cloves, banana, yeasts
Overall: 8.5/10

Driftwood De Auras Wheat Sour

driftwood_deaurasBrewer: Driftwood Brewery, Victoria, BC
Style: Sour Wheat Ale
ABV: 6.5%
IBUs: Unspecified

Description: Released in time for the Fall harvest season, this sour wheat ale is the latest in Driftwood’s Bird of Prey sour ale series. It is fashioned using a combination wheat malt, raw wheat, hops, and three different kinds of yeast – brettanomyces, lactobactillus, and pediococcus, all lactic-acid producing strains.

Tasting Notes: This was definitely a nice combination, one which I have to admit that I’m not typically crazy about. But in this case, the gentle wheat malt base does well when combined with a whole lot of sour yeasts, adding dimensions of fruit flavor that are reminiscent of sour cherries and tart fruit. And I definitely prefer it to their last offering as well, Oscuritas. Looking forward to what’s next!

Appearance: Amber/orange, cloudy, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Gentle wheat malt, lactic acid, sour cherry, orchard fruits
Taste: Smooth wheat malt, fruity esters, sour cherry, lactic acid, clean finish
Aftertaste: Lingering sourness and lactic acid, gentle malt flavor
Overall: 8.25/10

P49 Apricot Opus Apricot Sour Saison

APRICOTOPUS-500-WEBBrewer: Parallel 49 Brewing, Vancouver, BC
Style: Apricot Sour Wheat Ale
ABV: 6.3%
IBUs: 6

Description: This summer seasonal release is a twist on the summer saison. In addition to the infusion of apricots into a wheat and Pilsner malt base, it is fermented with wild strains of Lactobacillus yeast give it a tart, sour twist.

Tasting Notes: Again, this beer made for a interesting combination. The wheat malts are gentle, the apricot provides a hint of sweetness, and the yeast gives it a touch of spice and a mild sour kick that compliments things nicely. It finishes a little on the light side, but still manages to make for a pretty tasty and refreshing brew.

Appearance: Golden, cloudy, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Wheat malt, sharp yeast, spices, pronounced fruit, plum and apricot
Taste: Smooth wheat malt, hint of apricot, sour yeast, golden plum
Aftertaste: Mild tart fruit, yeasty and light wheat malt finish, quite refreshing
Overall: 8/10

Townsite Zwarte Wheat

townsite_zwartewheatBrewer: Townsite Brewing, Powell River, BC
Style: Dark Witbier
ABV: 5.2%
IBUs: Unspecified

Description: Townsite’s latest offering, this beer is described as an “accidental seasonal”, meaning that its creation was no-doubt serendipitous. Combining the tradition of Witbier with the addition of midnight wheat, we get a dark take on the Belgian wheat that is just in time for summer.

Tasting Notes: I am a lover of dark wheats, but those have typically taken the form of Dunkelweizens. So it was both interesting and educational to try a dark wheat with a Belgian twist. In addition to being very smooth, clean and refreshing, it had a slight tang and a yeasty bite that could only come with Belgian yeasts and dark roasted malts. A good summer refresher!

Appearance: Deep brown/black, opaque, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Gentle wheat malts, mild toasted notes, yeast, minerals
Taste: Smooth wheat malt, mild tang, yeasty bitterness, hint of sourdough bread
Aftertaste: Lingering yeast notes, clean finish, quite refreshing
Overall: 8.5/10

New Belgium 3 Floyds Lips of Faith Grätzer Ale

New_Belgium_Three_Floyds_GratzerBrewer: New Belgium, Fort Collins CO/3 Floyds, Munster IN
Style: Gratzer (Smoked Wheat Ale)
Alc/Vol: 4.5%

Description: A collaboration between the New Belgium Brewery of Colorado and 3 Floyds of Indiana, this seasonally-appropriate, Halloween-themed ale resurrects the age-old Polish style of smoked wheat ale that has nearly gone extinct. The brew is fashioned using oak-smoked wheat and Midnight Wheat, which is then fermented using a wild strain of top fermenting yeast that gives it a slightly sour flavor.

Tasting Notes: Another interesting sour from the Lips of Faith series (and of course their friends at 3 Floyds), this beer is also a style that I was previously unfamiliar with. And though the flavor was a bit unusual and took some getting used to, I ultimately enjoyed its particular strengths. Like a stout, it starts with dark, roasted malts and notes of coffee. Like a Rauchbier, it has that smokey aged-whiskey flavor with a peaty finish. And like a wheat, it has a clean, refreshing profile that buoys up the middle. I was also impressed with the effort made by these two breweries. Much like Driftwood’s recent experiments with the Leipzig-style of Gose, this beer is an example of the power of craft brewing to bring old and venerated styles back from the brink.

Appearance: Black, opaque, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Roasted malt nose, hint of smoke, espresso, stout-like
Taste: Toasted malt, tang, clean, giving way to smoky flavor, notes of peat
Aftertaste: Lingering peat flavor, smoke and malt flavor
Overall: 8/10

Longwood Winter’s Own Weizenbock

longwood_wintersownBrewer: Longwood Brewery, Nanaimo, BC
Style: Weizenbock
Alc/Vol: 6.5%

Description: Longwood’s winter seasonal beer, the Winter’s Own is a German-style hefeweizen that is fashioned from a combination of 50% wheat and barley malt and brewed bock-style to create a slightly darker, stronger wheat ale.

Tasting Notes: This is a beer that has been difficult for me to get my hands on, due in part to seasonal availability and distribution. Luckily, while having lunch at Longwood’s this weekend with my folks (happy birthday Pop!), I managed to snag one. And I was a bit surprised by what I found. Typically, a weizenbock is a smooth, malty, and rich beer, combining the best of a German wheat and bock. Such a beer would certainly be a good winter warmer. However, this beer is fermented using what I can only assume is brettanomyces yeasts, which give it a sour, oaky punch, which when combined with a rather light malt base, leads to an entirely different experience. Not bad at all, just not what I would have expected given the style and the fact that its a winter seasonal release. I think this brew would have been better targeted to summer drinking. Still, good marks for taste and authenticity, but some deductions for missing the mark.

Appearance: Amber-orange, cloudy with sediment, good foam and carbonation
Nose: Light wheat malt, yeasty, sour cherry, apple cider, oak
Taste: Mild wheat malt, tang, hint of sour cherry, tart apple, oak, dry finish
Aftertaste: Lingering yeast bitterness, tang, and sour fruit flavor
Overall: 7.5/10

4 Mile Summer Wheat Ale

4Mile_summerwheatBrewer: 4 Mile Brewing Company, Victoria, BC
Style: Wheat Ale
Alc/Vol: 4.5%
IBUs: 24

Description: A summer seasonal beer, and what I believe is the first limited release from the brewery, this wheat ale is a mild brew that is decidedly English in inspiration. This translates to a sessional-style wheat with mild malts, a lower alcohol content, and a mild hopping that results in a smooth, refreshing taste and little aftertaste.

Tasting Notes: When it comes to wheat ales, I tend to expect some banana flavor, some coriander spice, a little orange zest, some serious yeasts, or some tangy fruit flavor to offset a milder malt. However, this is due to my being accustomed to strong hefeweizens and Belgian wits, and that really didn’t diminish this beer’s refreshing nature and smooth character. Mild wheat malts, a subtle yeast backbone, and a clean finish with a Pilsner-like grainy and herbal flavor characterize this beer. Definitely a good summer thirst quencher.

Appearance: Golden, slightly cloudy, mild foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Mild wheat malt, yeast, Pilsner-like graininess, herbal hops
Taste: Smooth malt, milt tang, hint of yeast, herbal (Noble) hops finish
Aftertaste: Lingering malt bitterness, yeasts and Noble hop notes
Overall: 8.3/10

This completes my sampling from the 4 Mile Brewery, either through their bombers or from tastings at the brewpub itself. I can’t wait for a Fall Seasonal or some more limited releases!

Longwood The One That Got Away Red Wheat Ale (2014)

https://d1c8v1qci5en44.cloudfront.net/photo/2014_08_15/d7333af8244a89b47e52a55c4b9438ce_640x640.jpgBrewer: Longwood Brewery, Nanaimo BC
Style: Wheat Ale
Alc/Vol: 6%

Description: Inspired BC Tough’s annual West Coast Tuna Shootout, a fishing derby that takes place in the wild waters off Bamfield, BC, this wheat ale is crafted using 50% Wheat and a healthy dose of Crystal Malt. The end result is a copper colored, unfiltered ale that is cloudy, malty, and effervescent.

Tasting Notes: Last summer, I had my first sampling of this beer and was not very pleased. I chose to not to review it that time, thinking it might be a bad bottle. However, a subsequent tasting confirmed that the beer was in fact quite coarse and somewhat metallic-tasting. However, this latest batch, recently released with a new bottle (as you can see from the picture above) was surprisingly better. While it still has that characteristic, slightly bitter tang to it, this is nicely balanced amidst flavors of yeast, some tart fruit esters, and a bubbly character. I am therefore upgrading this beer a full point!

Appearance: Dark amber, cloudy, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Wheat malt, tart and bitter fruit esters, minerality, yeast
Taste: Wheat malts, tartness, yeasty effervescence, sour cherry, citrus
Aftertaste: Lingering malt bitterness, minerals and yeast
Overall: 8.5/10

Bocq Blanche De Namur

blance_de_namurBrewer: Brasserie de Bocq, Purnode, Belgium
Style: White (wheat) Ale
Alc/Vol: 4.5%

Description: Brewed in honor of the daughter of John, Count of Namur, this wheat ale carries the nickname she was given upon becoming Queen of Norway. Brewed with coriander, licorice and orange peel, it was named “Europe’s Best Wheat Beer” at the 2009 World Beer Awards in the category of Belgian Style Witbier.

Tasting Notes: This beer is an interesting twist on your Belgian Wit, which are renowned for being fruity and spicy (usually from the addition of coriander and orange rind). But in addition, the smooth malts are complimented by a hint of sweetness, both in terms of aroma and taste, thanks to the addition of licorice. The light character also lends a very clean and refreshing finish that has no traces of yeasty bitterness.

Appearance: Light gold, cloudy, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Wheat malt, yeast, coriander spice, orange rind, licorice
Taste: Smooth malt, effervescent yeast, hint of orange, sweetness and spice
Aftertaste: Lingering effervescent yeasts, very clean and refreshing
Overall: 8.5/10