Moon Under Water Year One Red Wheat Wine

moon_year1In honor of their first year since the new ownership took over, the Moon Under Water brewpub chose to release this limited reserve wheat wine. And I finally got my bottle! Not that long ago, I wandered into their operation for the first time and got to meet some of the management. They seemed like a family that was seriously committed to craft beer, so when they chose to release their first anniversary brew, I knew I had to have some.

And I have to say, red wheat wine is really quite interesting. I’ve had my share of interesting brews in the past. Much like a barleywine, it is darker in color due to its high gravity and heavy malts, and is unfiltered. It’s also generously flavored with Citra hops and fermented dry with three different strains of yeast. What results is a beer that is a deep orange-red, is cloudy to the point of being opaque, and very strong (11.5% alc/vol).

Appearance: Orange-red, cloudy and opaque, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Strong wheat malt, citrus hops, baked bread
Taste: Wheat malt, dry grapefruit, strong notes of alcohol, yeasts
Aftertaste: Lingering bitterness, citrus rind, malty sourness
Overall: 9.5/10

My one complaint about this beer is the amount of yeast found within. Once I poured this bad boy into a tall glass, I noticed quite a bit of floating cultures! But that’s to be expected from a beer of this strength, and one that’s unfiltered! All in all though, this was a VERY not bad first year for Moon Under Water. I sincerely hope they choose to greet fall and the coming of winter with a brown, a stout, a barleywine and/or a straight bock. Not that their lineup particularly needs these, I would just be interested to see what they would do with them. If there’s one thing they’ve demonstrated a knack for, its experimentation!

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VIB Black Betty Blackberry Saison

black-betty-bottle-mock-smWhen I heard this beer was making the rounds for summer, I knew I had to get some. Call it a weakness, but I find that when it comes to beer, there are two things brewers don’t do nearly enough. Blackberries and sour cherries! So on the odd occasion when a beer comes along that combines malted barley goodness with my favorite fruit, I gotta jump on it!

And the combination is quite a good idea. Saison is a variety of beer that is not only associated with summer drinking and quite refreshing, it is also quite popular with craft brewers these days. So it was wildly appropriate that Vancouver Island Brewery chose to combine a seasonal summer berry with a seasonally appropriate saison to create this seasonal beer. You ever hear a word so many times that it lost all meaning?

However, I found the end result a little light for my taste. In addition to the yeast being not very noticeable, the fruit flavor was quite mild as well. What I was hoping for was a tart, berry explosion followed by a spicy yeast finish. Instead, I got a mild but refreshing beer that while pleasing, was kind of underwhelming.

Appearance: Light amber, clear, light foam retention and good carbonation
Nose: Light tartness, discernible fruit, mild yeasts
Taste: Immediate hints of blackberry, light tart kick, saison-style yeast
Aftertaste: Lingering yeast and berry flavor, very light
Overall: 7.75/10