Barley Mowat 

Archive for the ‘Breweries’ Category

Election Day

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In honour of election day south of the border, I figured I’d be a pageview whore and throw up a meaningless poll. Go ahead, friends, and waste 5 seconds of your work day voting in this here poll for best beer in BC. Consider the comments section to be a write-in ballot. If enough folk nominate a new beer, I might just add it.

This poll closes… whenever I feel like, but likely sometime today.

Rules for consideration:

  • One entry per brewery, max
  • Must be a regular beer. No seasonals.
  • Initial list was populated by pulling from the Top 25 Beers in BC, according to RateBeer.
  • Plus Steamworks Pilsner… because that didn’t make the top 25, despite winning “Best in BC” recently.

Update: It’s over! Driftwood walks away with the crown, despite a late rally by Cannery Brewing in favour of their Maple Stout. Final Tally:

Driftwood Fat Tug: 45%
Central City IPA: 25%
Cannery Maple Stout: 13%
Crannog Backhand of God: 11%
Phillips Amnesiac DIPA: 5%
Steamworks Pilsner: 1%

Total Votes: 64

Written by chuck

November 6th, 2012 at 10:49 am

Phillips Super Release

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It’s three, three, three craft beer releases in one! A lot of local breweries put out special releases for BC Craft Beer Month. Some of those were special one-offs, and some where regular releases that just happened to fall in the month of October.

Phillips decided to one-up them all by doing a bit of both, and releasing three beers in one whack. The three beers represent wildly different styles, so there’s no real theme here. But how are they? Might as well dive in.

First up, the “Eric Jourdan” Northwest Style Amber Ale. This is the latest beer in the growing category of “beer recipes devised by home brewers but produced by commercial breweries.” As with all the others, there was a competition at some point, and the winner is awarded a phat contract with a local brewer to have their dreams fulfilled. If this sounds familiar, it should. Yup, it’s basically the same concept as reality TV, only with beer. Canada’s Kidz Got Brewing, if you will.

For those not in the know, putting “Northwest” in the title of a beer is basically code for “fucktonne of hops,” and boy is it accurate in this case. Whoa. You can’t solve all your problems by throwing new-world hops at it. This was likely a decent amber ale, but then someone decide to quadruple the C-hops component. Or at least that’s my theory, there’s no way to tell as there’s nothing left of that theoretically nice amber ale in this beer. Yes, I said it’s too hoppy. Deal with it.

Next up is the Green Reaper, Phillips take on a fresh-hopped IPA. It even comes with a great little video on how it was made, complete with the staff of Phillips giving themselves what must have been severe cases of hop-burn (use gloves next time, guys).

How does it taste? Fresh hops over medium body, but not so much as to hide the malt. Could be hoppier and more aromatic, but overall not a bad take on the subject matter. The freshness of the hops shine through here, but it needs to decide if it’s an IPA or a pale ale. This one kinda ends up in the middle. Since it says on the label that it’s an IPA I’ll say on the blog that it’s a bit disappointing.

Lastly, rounding out the pack is The Puzzler. This beer is a collaboration between Phillips and Great Lakes Brewing from back east, and is described as a “Belgian Black IPA.” Yup, that’s three styles all in one there. With so much going on, this will be a very hard beer to get right. The hops are going to fight with the heavy malt of the black IPA while the Belgian funk will hanging out around the edges. This beer by all reasonable means should be a hot mess without any real direction, but it’s not.

Each component comes through nicely balanced. You can taste the heavy malt, Belgian yeast and hops individually as well as together, making for a surprisingly interesting brew. I’m not sold on the style overall, but this is a great beer none-the-less.

As a side note, does anyone else notice a solidly metallic tang to all of Phillips’ beers? It’s got to be either the yeast or their piping, but it’s there and it makes these beers stand out in a negative way.

Coles notes:

Brewery Phillips Brewing
From Victoria, BC
Name Eric Jourdan Green Reaper Puzzler
Style NW Amber Fresh Hopped IPA Belgian Black IPA
SOA Now N/A N/A Bronze
SOA Potential N/A; not cellaring beer.
Drink Now.
Best simulation of that unique Phillips style Suck on penny then take a swig of any beer
Availability Widespread LRS
Cost $6.50-$9.00 per 650ml bomber
Similar Beers (you can buy) Any dry hopped IPA Hoyne Wolf Vine None
Chuck says Skip Try it Drink heavily


One out of three ain’t bad.

Written by chuck

November 4th, 2012 at 2:22 pm

Posted in Beers

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Vancouver Island Hermannator 2012

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BC’s original cellaring beer is back for another year. Sure, VIB tends to push out a main production line of beers that bounces between awful (Sea Dog) and… okay? I guess? (Double Decker), they have always managed to release a single edition of a solidly awesome Ice Bock, and that Ice Bock is Hermannator.

This year mark’s the 25th such release. Yup, long before most of today’s batch of beer geeks were even born, a brewmaster on the island named Herman looked at the pale insipid mess that was local beer, said “Fuck it” and made a freaking Ice Bock. For context, this would be the beer-equivalent of whipping out an iPhone in 1989. I’m surprised he wasn’t burnt at the stake as a witch.

Hermannator is a beer built for the cellar, but each year has its own personality. While 2010 is still drinking strong today, 2011 gave up the ghost a few months ago. So where does 2012 find us? Let’s just say VIB’s recent expansion into craft beer (think Flying Tanker and Iron Plow) has paid some dividends. The 2012 Hermannator is a solid Ice Bock that is enjoyable now, but will cellar well for years to come.

The beer pours black with virtually no carbonation. This is a great beer to drink in front of non-beer geeks, as you can invariably spark some discussion when you explain that, yes, this is actually a lager. Nose is virtually non-existant, but will likely develop with some time.

How does it taste? How about great? Palate is dense sweet fruits of the sort that spell cellaring potential. Think raisins, cherries, dates, and plums, all minced together with a big double fist punch of boooooooooooze. Yup, you definitely notice the 9.5% on this puppy. Maybe not straight away, but after a half glass you develop the sort of boozey warmth that makes the rain outside seem less import, maybe even cheerful.

All is not perfect, though, as I’ve detected some subtle variations even in the few bottles I’ve sampled so far. One was fruitier, while the next had a more noticeable hops character. Considering that they were from the same six pack, the blend was likely identical, so that’s not it. Frankly, I’m at a loss to explain this difference, but I have to mention it in the sense of thoroughness.

Don’t trust me on this, though, Hermannator is widely available, and attractively priced for a beer of such quality. Buy a six pack and try it yourself, then put a few down as a low cost intro to cellaring.

Coles notes:

Brewery Vancouver Island Brewery
From Victoria, BC
Name Hermannator
Style Ice Bock
SOA Now Silver
SOA Potential Gold. Yes, Gold. There, I said it.
Drink Now through 2015, maybe longer.
Risk of Chuck buying it all like he does for Singularity Zero. They made a fucktonne of this.
Availability Widespread LRS & LDB
Cost $13.50-$16.00 per 6x341ml pack
Similar Beers None.
Chuck says Buy a few flats and pull one out every month or so to see how it goes.


If only the rest of VIB’s beers were this good.

Written by chuck

November 3rd, 2012 at 3:45 pm

Posted in Beers

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