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Archive for November, 2012

Lighthouse Uncharted

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Belgian IPAs are growing in popularity (especially amongst friends named “Edan”) but still remain a niche style in the shadow of both their progenitors (Belgian Ales and IPAs). Luckily, year round we can get two decent Belgian IPAs in BC: Phillips Hoperation and Green Flash Le Freak. Hoperation is great and affordable while Le Freak is a better take on the style, but costs almost twice as much.

For a few short weeks in the fall, though, a third option is available. Lighthouse Brewing’s recent focus on Belgian beers (think Deckhand, White and Black) and IPAs (Switchback, duh) should give you some inkling that a Belgian IPA is something they can pull off.

I mean, if the base case is dumping a vat of Deckhand into Switchback and calling it a day, then a purpose brewed release should be great, right? And it is. The 2012 release of Uncharted is a solid Belgian IPA, and takes it’s rightful place right between Hoperation and Le Freak on the continuity of Goodness (and price).

Tasting notes are pretty much what you’d expect: a solid Belgian funk over a tangy rich New Zealand hoppiness. Mouthfeel is thick and creamy, as one would hope for from a Belgian abbey ale. Despite the label’s claims about the lack of filters and general cloudiness, the beer pours a crisp clear light amber with absolutely no trace of residual yeasts. I’m not saying it’s filtered, but I am saying that getting an unfiltered Belgian this clear and clean is a pretty slick technological feat.

A big bodied Belgian Abbey Ale like the base of this guy should age well, but the second you add those NZ hops you’re asking for disappointment if you put these down. So buy ’em and drink ’em, but not all at once. At 7.5% ABV a couple bottles of this will get you into trouble.

Coles notes:

Brewery Lighthouse Brewing
From Victoria, BC
Name Uncharted
Style Belgian IPA
SOA Now Bronze
SOA Potential Bronze. The Belgian part might age, but the IPA part won’t. They’ll meet in the middle, says I.
Drink Now.
Odds that someone, somewhere, has the label as a tattoo Better than 30%
Availability Broad LRS and rumours of LDB
Cost $5.50-$7.00 per 650ml bomber
Similar Beers Phillips Hoperation, Green Flash Le Freak
Chuck says Might as well pick up a few, in case Edan comes over.


It might age, but I’m not the guy to do it.

Written by chuck

November 11th, 2012 at 6:59 pm

Posted in Beers

Parallel 49 Black Christmas

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I suspect the recent increase of seasonal one-offs from Parallel 49 is a calculated attempt to monopolize my blogs’s beer review bandwidth. In addition to Salty Scot yesterday and today’s post, I have Ugly Sweater to get up in the near future (preview: buy it), and P49’s brewmaster Graham With has dropped severals hints of small batch release craziness still in the pipeline.

So what should we expect from P49’s third bomber release, coming directly on the heels of #2 on Wednesday? “Black Christmas” is marketed as a “Christmas Dark Ale,” but don’t go opening one of these guys hoping for a fantastical P49-style twist on your precious sweet, sticky Christmas Ales*. Nope, this guy is a CDA, straight up. I’m not sure where the “Christmas” aspect plays in, aside from the creepy label (side note: it was originally supposed to be the Grinch but the LDB nixed that, saying that a cartoonish label would inspire kids to drink it. To the LDB: The fuck?! Why are you selling beer to kids?)


This is so much… better?

One detail that’s hidden away in the small text on the label is that this beer makes use of “100 Mile Fresh Hops.” Usually beers containing fresh hops have that fact splattered in bold print all over the front, or even incorporated into the name, but not this one. In fact, even while discussing the beer with Graham, the freshness of the hops was not brought up.

But what does it taste like? As you’d expect with a CDA (Xmas or regular Cascadian variety), it pours nearly pitch black with a good deal of carbonation. The fresh hops announce themselves in the nose, followed by a nice malty/raisin scent.

Upon liberally pouring this down your beer hole, you get basically more of the same. The malty-raisin builds slowly sip to sip, and even presents a bit of rhubarb over time. The mouthfeel is rich, creamy, and definitely well executed. Bittering hops are not overdone. Essentially this is a nice well balanced English IPA that’s been coloured black through roasted wheat malt.

Overall, despite Graham’s obvious enthusiasm for this particular beer, I’m not as sold on it. It’s definitely a decent CDA, but the fresh hops throw an off-putting twist on the style. That’s the thing with experimenting, sometimes you get amazing results, and sometimes Chuck’s not a huge fan. Oh well, y’all should still (try to) buy it and drink it, it’s definitely worth a taste, it’s just not something I’ll likely grab again given all the other beers I’m morally obliged to taste and tell you about.

* Update: I’ve heard from the brewery that Christmas was used because of the timing of the release and the pine-forward hops, and that also there’s some trademark issues around “Cascadian”. I’m researching that and will post a hyper-rant if true.

Coles notes:

Brewery Parallel 49
From Vancouver, BC
Name Black Christmas
Style Cascadian Dark Ale
SOA Now Swing and a miss
SOA Potential n/a; not a cellaring ale.
Drink Now.
What Chuck really wanted for Xmas A CDA crossed with an Xmas ale. That would have been swell.
Availability Very limited release to LRS and at brewery
Cost $7.00-$9.00 per 650ml bomber
Similar Beers Howe Sound Gathering Storm, GIB CDA
Chuck says Buy it if you can find it.

Written by chuck

November 10th, 2012 at 12:19 pm

Posted in Beers

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Parallel 49 Salty Scot

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I guess they installed those 3 new 100hl conditioning tanks over at Parallel 49 (and thus freed up their line of 25s), because they’re just pumping out the seasonal releases now. First Ugly Sweater was dumped upon us (more on that later), then Salty Scot, and next week we get Grinch’d (an Xmas Dark Ale).

P49’s MO from the get go was to take intriguing twists on regular styles and make session-able beers out of them. This is why they’ve been producing six packs since day one. Recently they’ve branched out a bit with a series of 650ml bombers. These releases bring a bit more of The Flavour and a little less of the Must Drink Five More Right Now, but their origin in a session-focused brewery is undeniable.

The 2nd bomber release from P49 brings us Salty Scot. This is a Scotch Ale infused with sea-salt and caramel. I don’t know where they get their ideas from–perhaps from doing drugs on the loading dock–but keep it up guys, so far all the odd flavour pairings have worked, and this beer is no different.

Adding actual caramel to a beer has the potential to go all kinds of wrong. How do you get the flavour to stand out without adding so much caramel that the beer is sickly sweet in the end? Well, they did it. This beer has a nice hint of caramel, even toffee, backed by the solid smooth mouthfeel of a nice scotch ale.

The nose is light caramel and malty beer. Often heavier malted beers come across as “caramel-like” but this is the real McCoy, and the subtle different is quite nice. This is one of those rare beers that is just a joy to stick in your face and smell.

And then, right at the end of the taste, you get a nice salty punch. As is the theme here, it’s neither too strong or too light, it’s just right. About half a glass later, you feel all warm and squishy inside, and inquire as to what, exactly, the ABV of this guy is. Yup, it’s 7.5%, and it sneaks up on you, but that’s okay. Sometimes a little liquor warmth is a nice thing.

Coles notes:

Brewery Parallel 49
From Vancouver, BC
Name Salty Scot
Style Scotch Ale
SOA Now Bronze
SOA Potential n/a; not a cellaring ale.
Drink Now.
Adverse effects Marked increase in your daily use of “Yaaarrr!”
Availability Small release to LRS and at brewery
Cost $5.00-$8.00 per 650ml bomber; $10 in growler at the brewery
Similar Beers Russell Wee Angry, Storm Highland
Chuck says Buy several bottles to keep you company on those long, lonely nights at sea.


Yaaarrr!

Written by chuck

November 9th, 2012 at 11:38 am

Posted in Beers

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