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Feature Beer: Dageraad Blonde

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From Burnaby comes a new Feature Beer. Ben Coli’s new Dageraad Brewery caught some local beererati attention with the release of Beta, an aborted batch of their Belgian Amber that was too good to throw out. For the outcome of an “oh shit, oh shit, oh shit” moment it was a pretty good beer. Heck, even if it was the outcome of a carefully measured and executed brewing process it would still be considered a pretty good beer.

Beta, alas, has come and gone, never to return. Replacing it are the first of Dageraad’s permanent lineup: Blonde and Amber. Amber isn’t quite as good as Beta was–frankly it could use a bit of dialling in–but that’s not the beer I want to talk about today. Today I’m talking about Blonde.


Oh right. That’s what happens when you Google “Blonde Beer.”
There actually is a beer in there somewhere, I’m told.

And ho boy is this a good Belgian beer. I should know; I was just in Belgium, and honestly this beer could slide into a Bruges café and no one would be the wiser. It’s not perfect, but its faults are subtle.

In addition to just being a lovely beer, I picked Dageraad Blonde as a Feature Beer for two additional reasons. First, the brewery is a true micro. Ben, Mitch and Erin are literally the whole show, and Erin’s only working part time. Second, this is the first honest-to-Gord Belgian brewery in BC.

Sure, others have flirted with Belgian-style beers here and there, but mostly via buying a vat of Belgian yeast from Wyeast and then cramming the kettle full of hops. Sure, I like a hoppy Belgian, but they’re not exactly authentic, now are they?

Enter Dageraad and their balanced, round Blonde. Buy some, drink some, and cellar some. This beer will improve with time, much like its Old World ancestors.

APPEARANCE Pours bright cloudy yellow with a thin, persistent white head.
NOSE Standard Belgian yeast esters: banana, lots of clove
TASTE Good mouthfeel. Sweet start and a balanced dry end, some citrus/lemon. Perhaps every so slightly overhopped on the finish, but really splitting hairs here.
STATS 7.5% ABV / <20? IBU / Belgian Blonde
SHOULD I BUY IT? Yes. Absolutely. Ignore the lumpy label and buy the damned thing.
CHECK IN

Brewery Dageraad
From Burnaby
Name Blonde
Style Belgian Blonde
SOA Now Silver
SOA Potential Silver
Drink Now-2017
Bottles of this you could buy instead of a ticket to Belgium 156
Availability Most LRSs
Cost ~$8-10+ per 650ml
Similar Beers None locally

 


Seriously, let’s all go to Bruges and do a blind taste test… then just go drink Quads until we’re blind.

Written by chuck

June 20th, 2014 at 3:12 pm

Posted in Beers

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Feature Beer: Turning Point (Stanley Park) Wit

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Whoa, now THAT’S a controversial headline, eh? Bet you didn’t see that coming. So, what happened? Did Stanley Park make a beer good enough to get off my shit list? Have I sold out? Did I burn my tongue horribly and now perceive everything around me to be full of fruity esters and lemon peel? Did I forget my long-standing feud and dislike of the most dishonest brewery in BC?

None of those things happened. Well, maybe the sellout thing, because this was a sample beer sent to me for review and frankly there is no other way I’d crack open a Stanley Park beer outside of whatever bent moral obligation I feel to at least taste the horrid dreck that shows up in the mail. So I guess that counts as a sellout.

The other thing that didn’t happen is the whole “good beer” aspect. This beer is not amazing. In fact, it might be the most boring beer I’ve ever featured. However, what this beer is not, though, is insipid pond water filtered within an inch of its miserable existence in order to appeal to a mouth breathing moron who only just now set down his empty Molson Canadian but yet can’t wait the five minutes it will take to change the keg, so he orders the next tap instead.


A little further to the left and, with a little luck, his life was ruined forever.

It might even qualify as “not bad” and that, my fiends, solidly makes it the Best Beer Turning Point Has Ever Made. Remember my whole spiel a few months back about how a mediocre beer from a terrible brewery is as worthy, if not more worthy, of praise then yet another home run from someone like Four Winds? Well, time to put my blog where my mouth is.

Not only is the quality (and unfiltered-ness) of this beer a big improvement for Turning Point, but so is the branding. Previous Stanley Park beers were wrapped in packaging so dishonest it would make the Ministry of Truth proud. This iteration does away with a few of the nastier claims, but doesn’t quite come clean. Gone are the picture of an impossibly tiny windmill and the ludicrous claim that it somehow powers a major brewery (it doesn’t), and the image of the late 1890′s Stanley Park brewery with the implied claim that this is somehow the same entity (it’s not).

Improved, yes, but not perfect. Still missing are some key facts, including that there is no such entity as Stanley Park Brewery (seriously, there isn’t), and that the beer in question is brewed by Turning Point Brewing which is owned by the Mark Anthony Group (better know for Mission Hill wine, Mike’s Hard Lemonade, and Palm Bay).

Additionally, the beer now claims to be one of the best beers on the planet (it isn’t). This is a curious claim backed up by absolutely nothing, much like the bottle’s other claim of being produced in Canada’s first sustainable brewery (it isn’t). I guess if you listed every beer on the planet in order of quality and called it “A List of the Best Beers on Earth” then this beer would indeed appear on said list, but honestly that’s stretching things a bit.

Lastly, the beer 100% claims to be produced in “Vancouver BC” (it isn’t) and gives us a postal code (no address though) that correlates to somewhere around Main and 2nd. No where to be found is the awful truth: that the beer is produced on Annacis Island somewhere around the sewage treatment plant. Further research indicates this location is, in fact, not in Stanley Park.

Still, things are getting better, and that deserves some praise. Despite the ugly neighbours, the brewery on Annacis Island is capable of producing some amazing beer, if only they would try, and we have to encourage them to try.

APPEARANCE Cloudy yellow, almost glowing. Honestly, this is a pretty beer.
NOSE Some Belgian yeast esters, some lemon/orange.
TASTE A boring Wit, but not awful. I cannot stress this enough. Lemon esters are present but subdued. Orange peel is nice at the start but provides a bitter finish towards the end.
STATS 5.0% ABV / 14 IBU / Belgian Wit
SHOULD I BUY IT? Do you want something light ‘n fruity but can’t be bothered to hit up a brewery? At a wedding and it’s either this or listening to the drawn-out speeches sober? Sure. Otherwise, skip it.
CHECK IN

Brewery Turning Point / Stanley Park
From Delta, down by the sewage treatment plant
Name Wit
Style Belgian Wit
SOA Now None awarded
SOA Potential n/a
Drink Now
Would Chuck buy it? Well, uh… no.
Availability Everywhere
Cost $12.25 per six pack
Similar Beers Driftwood Whitebark, Powell Street Wit, Moon Under Water Lightside

Written by chuck

May 9th, 2014 at 11:27 am

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Driftwood Singularity 2014

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It’s here. Singularity landed yesterday at private stores around the lower mainland (those lucky bastards in Victoria got it Friday). As a result, I spent a good chunk of my Monday evening going from LRS to LRS to buy the maximum they would sell me. As often is the case with these limited one-offs, the private stores put per-customer bottle limits in place to ensure more folk get a chance to buy some. Last year these limits were in the 4, 5 or 6 per person range. This year it’s more like 2 or 3. For future reference, this angers Chuck. Please let me buy it all, dammit!

Also notably, this is the first year that Driftwood has fessed up to the actual alcohol levels in Singularity. While previous years claimed either 11.9% or 11.8% to avoid a stiff tax increase at the 12% mark, the 2014 edition proudly calls out all 146 of its ABV points. Yup, this stuff is 14.6%. Tread with care, as even one bomber is far more than you should reasonably consume solo.

Is it worth the buzz? Maybe. Maybe not. It’s a very good beer (more on that below), but there are plenty of other, better Russian Imperial Stouts made in North America. The trick is that they’re just not available here. Walk into your local LRS and if you’re lucky, you’ll have three RIS’s to pick from: Howe Sound Pothole Filler, Parallel 49 RIS and this one. Sure, Singularity is the best of the bunch, but it’s not twice as good as P49′s quite decent–and still available–RIS.

Enough playing it down. How does it stack up against previous vintages? Well, I won’t dally with downplaying this beer anymore. This is perhaps the best Singularity vintage to date. All the best characteristics from previously vintages are here: deep chocolate, cherries, molasses notes from the malt, plus that smoothy, rich, creamy mouthfeel, plus a nice bourbon burn from the barrel aging. The nose and bourbon burn are a bit harsh, but those will be the first aspects to mellow with some time in the cellar. Even so, it drinks quite well right this instant. Well played, guys.

Special Mention: West Coast Liquor Kerrisdale is selling a 3 year vertical of Singularity. Love it!

APPEARANCE Inky black, with a thin, quickly fading deep tan head. Low carb.
NOSE Liquorice, cassis, chocolate, plus a slightly unpleasant medicinal alcohol tone.
TASTE All the big hits for dark malt complexity: dark fruits (cassis, cherries), sweet chocolate, almost imperceptible liquorice. Bourbon and alcohol are strong now, but will fade with some cellaring.
STATS 14.6% ABV / ? IBU / Russian Imperial Stout / 5.7 standard drinks per bottle / 4oz serving size
SHOULD I BUY IT? Oh please. You already have.
CHECK IN

Brewery Driftwood
From Victoria
Name Singularity
Style Russian Imperial Stout
SOA Now Silver
SOA Potential Gold
Drink Late 2015+
Does it taste like green apples? Nope!
Availability Widely available at LRS
Cost ~$13.50 per bomber
Similar BC Beers Parallel 49 RIS, Phillips Hammer, Howe Sound Pothole Filler

 


Almost gold for right now, as it is eminently drinkable.

Written by chuck

March 4th, 2014 at 11:44 am

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