Barley Mowat 

Parallel 49 Robo Ruby, Granville Island Auld Skool

with 4 comments

Nothing like a couple of big, malt-heavy beers to battle it out for my winter booze budget. It seems like only yesterday that I was pining for the return of thicker beers to the market and here I am reviewing two of them. Sure, this might have something to do with it being winter, but I’m dumb like that, and haven’t yet pinned down a season-to-beer-style correlation. Instead I’ll just choose to believe that my asking for big malt beers last summer has directly caused those same beers to appear this winter.


Speaking of which,
where are all the light refreshing lagers at?

Parallel 49 Robo Ruby

First up, yet another seasonal issue from Parallel 49’s never-sleeping one-off brew crew. Somehow they find time to take breaks from brewing Hoparazzi, Old Boy and Gypsy Tears 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to crank out a never-ending stream of unique bombers. There’s honestly no better way to tweak the two-sizes too-small heart of your local curmudgeonly beer geek than to constantly flood the market with interesting beer. Sure, not every release they’ve put out has been an amazing success, but that’s to be expected from the shotgun approach to beer styles: try a few dozen, see what works, refine, reiterate.

The bottle says “Red IPA” but I’ll call this an Imperial Red Ale, if only so I can compare it to Lighthouse Siren. Why would I do that? Quite simple: to have an excuse to purchase both of these excellent ales and drink them side by side in the name of science.

That I would even bother performing such an experiment means I’m unsure which is better, and now that I have done so I’m no further enlightened. Both are absolutely great beers, and deserving of some shelf space in your fridge. Siren is the maltier, boozier* of the pair, while Robo comes through with a complex hop profile to scratch that Humulus itch. (* Boozier in taste, not ABV)

Sure, the current canned Siren hasn’t quite lived up to how great I recall the original release being, but of course very few things are as good as we remember them. For instance, I recall early dial-up BBSs being perfection embodied: pure, simplistic delight at the thought of a connection to the outside work. Frankly, the modern internet simply cannot hold a candle to those early days.


Oh wait, yes it can

APPEARANCE Deep amber red/auburn. Long lasting, thick head.
NOSE Caramel malt with a giant double fist of big sweet hops. Cantaloupe, kiwi, jackfruit. Wow.
TASTE Wow again. Seriously impressive sugar complexity that plays very well with the sweet fruitiness of the hops. Alcohol definitely present, but only serves to intensify rather than distract.
STATS 9.3% ABV / 60 IBU / Red DIPA
SHOULD I BUY IT? Hells yes. This might be in the top ten of P49’s one-offs thus far.
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Granville Island Auld Skool

I’m an unabashed fan of the work being done down on Granville Island by Vern Lambourne. Perhaps this is because of the fact that I will be there next week to brew some Barley Mowat Official Unnamed Beer, or maybe the reasoning is vice versa. In any event, I don’t lose my bashfulness for a brewery without reason.

The reason, in this case, is excellent beer. Vern has always taken pride in running an interesting one-off program from his modest 10 hl brewhouse under the bridge (which is, admittedly, a show-brewery for tourists that has as little to do with GIB’s normal beers as flavour does). However, is it just me or has Vern seriously upped his game in recent months?

Starting around mid-summer with Pucker Meister, the beers produced there have gone from “competently brewed, overlooked and underrated” to “seriously good and WHY IS NO ONE TALKING ABOUT THIS??!”

Stacked on top of those releases is this year’s GIB Scotch Ale, rechristened under their new naming/branding scheme as “Auld Skool.” This is, quite simply, one of the best Scotch Ale’s produced in BC. The colour is perfect, the carbonation is perfect, the mouthfeel and spicy finish? You guessed it, perfect. Perhaps some more pronounced smokiness would enhance things a wee bit more, but then again, maybe I should leave the recipes to the brewmaster.

APPEARANCE Dark brown, almost black. Thin persistent off-tan head.
NOSE Caramel malt with a spicy end-note.
TASTE Complex sugar caramel with a spicy finish. Lovely.
STATS 6.5% ABV / 20 IBU
SHOULD I BUY IT? Yup. Track this guy down and give the friendly clerk your money.
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Coles notes:

Brewery Parallel 49 Granville Island Taphouse
From Vancouver Vancouver
Name Robo Ruby Auld Skool
Style Imperial Red Ale Scottish Strong Ale
SOA Now Silver Bronze
SOA Potential n/a n/a
Drink Now Now
Availability Most LRSs, some LDBs and at the brewery
Cost ~$7 / 650ml ~$6/ 650ml
Similar Beers Lighthouse Siren Russell Wee Heavy Scotch (ish)


Gonna need a new run of Silver SOAs at this rate

Written by chuck

January 21st, 2014 at 3:15 pm

4 Responses to 'Parallel 49 Robo Ruby, Granville Island Auld Skool'

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  1. Agreed on the Auld School – I was very impressed with it, and like you, thought a little bit of smoke would make it even better. For me, it ranks right under Central City’s Scotch Ale, which is my favourite (and had some nice peat smoke to it).

    At least as I remember it.

    No One Special

    28 Jan 14 at 15:46

  2. […] Parallel 49 Robo Ruby (slightly better), Lighthouse Siren (slightly worse) […]

  3. I love that a brewery barely more than a year old can have a top 10 of one-offs.

    Matthew

    12 Feb 14 at 00:39

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