Barley Mowat 

Parallel 49 Crane Kick, Snap Crackle Hop

with 8 comments

It’s been a while since I reviewed some beers, so I figured I’d dip my toe back into the critic water and see how it feels. Not surprisingly, P49 has seen fit release a couple one-offs, so let’s talk about those. Rather pointedly, I did not get around to posting a review of their previous special release: L’il Red. This was not due to any sort of beer blogger politeness (many other folk declined to review it, or even rate it on Untappd, because they’re nice) but rather because my day job was busy enough to prevent me posting a multi-page profanity-strewn rant about how bloody awful it was.

Or, I should say, is. Yup, it’s still around. That limited release that should have evaporated like all other P49 releases (which vary from decent to great) is still on shelves everywhere, including all over the LDB. That worries me, since the LDB gets a low of beer newbies, and this beer could be their first exposure to Parallel 49 or even craft beer in general. I’m not sure on the finances of pouring out a few dozen hectolitres of barrel-aged beer versus the risk of bad branding, but minimally they should have considered putting it in the corner for a year or so until they figured out what to do with it, like Driftwood did.

Anyway, I digress. Onwards with the current batch.

Tasting notes:

Crane Kick

I’m not normally a Pilsner kinda guy. Usually I like my beer big, robust, and greedy with hops. However, sometimes you’re looking for something just a little bit lighter. Lighter, though, doesn’t mean lacking in flavour. A few local lagers/pilsners have upped the ante in terms of how good the lighter side could be (notably Central City Pilsner and 33 Acres Ocean), but what would Graham With do? How about a single-hop release based on Sorachi Ace?

It’s a curious combination, but once you have that first sip it makes sense. In the recent arms race to giant floral hops from New Zealand, we’ve forgotten about the subtle delights of Japan’s Sorachi Ace variety. The light sweetness and balanced citrus aroma works well with the cereal rich pilsner malt. So well, in fact, that I’m shocked I didn’t think of this until I tried it.

APPEARANCE Pours transparent hay with strong carbonation and a lasting white head. Aka “like a pilsner”
NOSE Pilsner malt, cereal grain and a light hop finish. Aka “like a pilsner”
TASTE Clean taste with great hops/malt balance. The hops are a little stronger than I’d expect from the style, but the elements of the Sorachi Ace are just fantastic. Aka “like a pilsner, if it was very good and hopped with Sorachi Ace”
SHOULD I BUY IT? Depends. Are you a fan of interesting pilsners? Then yes. Do you consider pilsners to be too close to macros? Then no. Also, branch out, man.

Snap, Crackle, Hop

Okay, here we go. Hop pun in the title? Check. Hops on the label? Check. High ABV? Check. Yup, it’s a giant craft double IPA alright. These all need gimmicks, though, so what’s the gimmick here? Rice. It’s brewed with rice. Rice is what’s used to brew most US Macros, and for a good reason: it ferments very cleanly, leaving very little in terms of residual flavour aside from a faint, well, rice-i-ness.

So, what’s this doing in a giant West Coast IPA, where the malt character needs to balance out all those hops? Not a lot, as it turns out. The hops are way out of balance here. There is basically no body to speak of. If the hops weren’t the current “it” hop Motueka we’d be in major trouble. Motueka, though, is almost sweet on its own. Big florals, big citrus notes, and really quite a beautiful hop profile dominant this beer from start to finish.

In the end, though, I miss the body. If you’re a massive hophead who desires nothing else than no barriers between you and the latest trend in NZ hops, then have at ‘er.

STATS 9.3% ABV, 70 IBU
APPEARANCE Hazy copper with tight off-white head. Medium carb.
NOSE NZ hops: sweet kiwi, jackfruit, citrus. Bitter sweetness in the air.
TASTE Punch in the face of hops. Sweet front with a long lasting bitterness. Bright acidity over a very subtle, almost non-existence grain body.
SHOULD I BUY IT? Sure, why not. It’s a good showcase for Motueka, and sometimes you just gotta get you some hops.

Coles notes:

Brewery Parallel 49
From Vancouver
Name Crane Kick Snap, Crackle, Hop
Style Pilsner Double IPA
SOA Now None awarded. None awarded.
SOA Potential n/a n/a
Drink Now Now
x times better than L’il Red? 10 8
Availability Most LRSs, some LDB
Cost $5-7 per 650ml bomber
Similar Beers (you can buy) CC Pilsner None

Written by chuck

September 10th, 2013 at 3:54 pm

Posted in Beers

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8 Responses to 'Parallel 49 Crane Kick, Snap Crackle Hop'

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  1. Motueka (previously named B Saaz) is not particularly new (released 1997), nor is it particularly rare in BC. Would have gone nicely in the Crane Kick.


    11 Sep 13 at 09:35

  2. @Dean – Good to know. I did know they were previously B Saaz but the recent surge in Motueka this and Matueka that in BC made me think general availability is fairly recent here. You, though, would have much better insight into this than I would 🙂

    I’m not sold on its use in CK, though. I think it would have overwhelmed the beer much like it did SCH. Although, I guess the key might be in adding it by a unit other than “bucketful”


    11 Sep 13 at 09:51

  3. It’s a cross-bred sterile ‘mule’ triploid, where one of the three ‘parents’ is the classic Saaz, and it retails a lot of Saaz character. Finds good application in modern versions of Bohemian Pils.


    11 Sep 13 at 12:34

  4. Typo; retains, not retails.

    Riwaka is other Saaz-based triploid, and I prefer these over the Hallertau derived NZ varieties.


    11 Sep 13 at 12:42

  5. Seems like an idea for a series of pils releases.


    11 Sep 13 at 13:08

  6. Saaz is a much nicer hop than hallertau, flavour-wise.

    Crane Kick used Sorachi Ace. Sorachi Ace is the devil. Dill in beer is horrible.


    11 Sep 13 at 16:47

  7. So I think the review for SCH is pretty spot-on (I thought it was awesome for the same reasons you docked it, I guess), but I’m a bit confused: you recommend getting it in your review, and then in your side-panel thing, you recommend skipping it. Which is it?


    19 Sep 13 at 00:18

  8. @Smekermann — One reason I don’t like reviewing beers all that much is that it’s so subjective, even to the same person on two different days. To keep things simple, I try and keep the right hand bar a reflection of “would I buy it again?”

    For the reviews, though, I try to make it more of a “Should someone else buy this?” Enough people commented about how this beer showcased only the hops that I felt it warranted a Sure, why not?

    Are these good reasons to back up reviews? Bloody well not, but after all, this is a beer blog and we can get away with being wishy washy.


    19 Sep 13 at 13:45

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