Barley Mowat 

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November Beer of the Month

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Usually, when I pick a Beer of the Month, I consider all the beers on the market right now, and try to find something that’s interesting, good, or preferrably both.

I look at the current list of seasonals (conveniently kept up to date on the right), then I think over what beers I’ve had that were unique, and then I consider if this beer represents a departure from the norm for the brewery in question (this is why last month VIB was selected for Iron Plow, for instance).

This month, though, I’m throwing all that out the window and selecting a regular lineup ale that is very possibly the worst, most un-interesting beer, made by the brewery in question*. And instead of picking it for any of those reasons, I’m picking it because it has a swell logo. Take that, rigorous selection process that maintains any semblence of journalistic integrity I might have! Yeah!

Don’t you just want to kiss the glass? No?

If you haven’t guessed by now, I’m picking Parallel 49’s Old Boy because it really, really, really should be the official beer of Movember. If anyone else out there has a better candidate please let me know, perhaps maybe something actually MADE with moustaches? An Imperial Moustache Ale (imperial for the style of moustache and not because of the alcohol)? A Walrus Wheat? Pencil Porter?

* It turns out that the worst beer made by Parallel 49 is still quite a decent ale.

Written by chuck

November 1st, 2012 at 12:10 pm

Whistler Valley Trail Chestnut Ale

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I am very rarely surprised by beers. I’ve tasted hundreds, if not thousands, of beers, ranging from simple swill to divine amber liquid. If you can name a BC beer, then I’ve probably had it. Unless, of course, you name one of the more recent beers to be produced by Whistler Brewing (a shadow brand of Kamloops-based Northam Brewing).

The reason is simple. I don’t want to generalize here, but every beer Whistler Brewing has ever made is simply awful. And the public tends to agree with me… except this one. People seem to like it. People whose beer opinions I respect like it (well, people whose beer opinions I will actually read seem to like it).

Not being willing to ever completely write off a brewery, I decided to have a go and see what the fuss is all about. My thoughts? Wow. This beer has definitely made an impression on me. Sure, this brewery has a solid reputation for making awful beer, but to go out and make this beer takes talent.

Folks, this beer is–quite simply–one of the worst beers I have ever had. Top ten, if not better. It’s a thin, barely perceptible pale ale that’s had a fucktonne of hazelnut extract dumped in it, and then a few bittering hops thrown in randomly because, well, why not? (Note: I know what the label says; the aroma is 100% hazelnut)

The nose is HAZELNUTS punching you in the face, not the rich toasty roasted chestnuts promised by the label. Instead, imagine you did a headstand and your friendly Starbucks barista double-pumped your nostrils full of hazelnut syrup (or, hey, walnut, because once you have that many chemicals in something it’s not about the flavour). This beer has all the subtlety and grace of Mike Tyson on a PCP binge, and tastes just as chemically.

Balancing out that massive syrupy hit is… I’m teasing you here, there’s nothing balancing that wall of sweetness out. A pale bit of hops finishes the taste, but this more serves to seriously underline the awfulness of what you just swallowed rather than to cut the sweetness by any appreciable amount.

Did it get any better with my fifth sip? No idea. Drain pour.

Coles notes:

Brewery Whistler Brewing
From Whistler, BC
Name Valley Trail
Style Nut Ale
SOA Now No seal awarded
SOA Potential No seal awarded
Drink Never; don’t even look at it. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Minutes until you no longer taste the artificial flavour 20 and counting
Availability Widespread LRS & LDB
Cost $5.75-7.00 per 650ml bottle
Similar Beers OK Spring Pale Ale with a triple pump of hazelnut syrup.
Chuck says Ugh. I want to untaste this.

Written by chuck

October 30th, 2012 at 8:07 pm

Posted in Beers

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Howe Sound Pothole Filler

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Howe Sound surprised the beer geek culture last week by dropping Pothole Filler (their Imperial Stout) upon us a few months early. It turns out this change in production schedule is the result of Howe Sound fully tripling their production capacity this year. The word from HS is that we can expect their seasonals to, overall, be much less seasonal.

A big reason for the increased production is Howe Sound’s recent penetration (heh, penetration) of the Ontario market. This might also explain the wording on the side of the bottle, extolling the virtues of their brewing process, which utilizes “Coast Mountain” water. Locally, we like to call this “tap water.” I guess we have it good, though.

So what about the beer? The recipe is quite different from last years, at least on the surface. Twelve months ago we were treated to a giant whack of alcohol and then something stoutish, while this year all that booze is hiding behind a massive heap of roasted malt. Lots of toasted cereal flavours here, on a rich creamy mouthful, backed up by something not-quite-licorice-y on the nose. Sharp, bitter coffee rounds out the palate, giving this a bit of an unfinished feel.

Overall this is a decent–if not great–imperial stout. However, it is the only brewed-in-BC option if you want to keep your pint of high-octane black local. Rumour has it that Parallel 49 is doing something decidedly Impy sometime soon, and come the New Year all true BC geeks will start lining up outside our local stores for the annual release of the provinces reigning beer king: Driftwood Singularity.

Until those two rear their heads, though, this is the only game in town unless you want to go Yankee.

Coles notes:

Brewery Howe Sound Brewpub
From Squamish, BC
Name Pothole Filler
Style Imperial Stout
SOA Now No seal awarded
SOA Potential No seal awarded
Drink Now; cellaring will not likely improve this, but I won’t stop you.
Best non-drinking application Brain panning burglars with the bottle
Availability Widespread LRS
Cost $10-13 per 1L bottle
Similar Beers Driftwood Singularity, Elysian Dragonstooth
Chuck says Since this is the only Imp Stout available right now, buy one and drink it. The second another good Impy comes out switch to that.

Written by chuck

October 29th, 2012 at 4:44 pm

Posted in Beers

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