Barley Mowat 

Feature Beer: GIB x BM Lost in the Barrels

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The latest release from Granville Island Brewing’s Small Batch series is a barrel-aged Pale Ale, fermented with Brettanomyces yeast. This beer represents GIB’s first attempt at a Brett beer, and the very limited distribution of this puppy is more due to their reluctance to run Brett through the bottler than any real limitations in batch size.

Enough about the background, though. Is it any damned good? I normally like to beat around the bushes on reviews before lowering the boom, but let’s jump straight to it there. This beer is bloody awful.


Well, maybe not this bloody awful.

It’s a total mess. The nose is lemon zest with a hint of pepper. The taste is firm, but not overwhelming Brett with a good sugar/caramel backbone, and the finish is a long, lingering dryness with complex barrel tannins. Colour? Try a light pale ale that looks like it’s been aged in used red wine barrels long enough to pick up some of the red.

Only an imbecilic bearded beer geek could come up with a shite recipe like this. Someone so out of touch with the common craft beer community that they feel that whatever beer they like will be good enough for everyone. In short, only a colossal ego-maniac with a sense of self-worth completely out of touch with reality could have devised this disgrace to Pilsner. Heck, they probably put their name right in the title.

What’s that? This beer is “Granville Island X Barley Mowat Lost in the Barrels”? Huh… that would have been useful information about three paragraphs ago. Well, damn. In that case, this beer is actually brilliant. A home run. Better than water.

All joking aside, though, this is a pretty decent ale. The tasting notes above are basically bang on, just sub-out “total mess” with “interesting and complex.” It’s a lighter version of the more popular Brett Ales you see around town, and I just love it to bits. I want to name it George and make it my very own.


And I’ll hug it and squeeze it.

Am I perfectly happy with it? Not by a long stretch. In the end, I felt it wound up a bit too sweet and picked up a bit too much of the barrelling, and the Brett could be a touch stronger (not a lot; just a little). All this would be solved by a shorter, more vigorous Brett fermentation, so if this is a hit perhaps GIB Brewmaster Vern Lambourne can try that for round two.

However, as the guy who brewed it* I’m too invested in it to give a fair review. I will pick up on faults that only Vern and I can perceive, and I will laud praise upon it like a new mother talking about how smart their crotch fruit is, because their child started walking earlier than 55% of other infants. In summary, there is simply no way that this review will be worth reading, but that doesn’t mean I won’t write it anyways.

* Please note that Vern actually brewed this beer. I lifted malt, sweated, and turned the odd dial (half of which Vern discretely turned back after I’d wandered away to screw up something else).

APPEARANCE Pours deep auburn with thick, quickly dissipating white head
NOSE Lemon, pepper, some other Brett funk
TASTE Good mouthfeel. Sweet start and a dry finish from the Brett. Brett character develops well over multiple sips. Long, lingering dry finish.
STATS 6.3% ABV / 30 IBU / Brett Pale Ale
SHOULD I BUY IT? Yes. High sales means Vern can play around with Brett again. We want that.
CHECK IN

Brewery Granville Island
From Vancouver
Name Lost in the Barrels
Style Brett Pale Ale
SOA Now Bronze
SOA Potential Bronze
Drink Now
Percent of mash that was actually labels and string from grain bags 0.01%
Availability GIB Taproom
Cost I have no idea
Similar Beers Commons Flemish Kiss

 


All this beer did was whet my appetite for more blog collabs

Written by chuck

August 5th, 2014 at 4:59 pm

Posted in Beer and You

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Why does East keep beating West?

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Shame. It comes at you in waves. First, you try and deflect it or deny it. Then you get angry. Why did this happen to me? Who hates me so much? What did I do to them?

Eventually, though, the pain ebbs and the reality sinks in. You fucked up. Again. East beats West, and now all we can do is reconstruct the pieces and ask ourselves Why? Why did Chuck let this happen? Again?

Well, there’s no easy answer to that. I put three very good beers on the table, but Jer put three ever-so-slightly better beers on the same table. What’s important, though, is that we drank the beers, on a patio, by the ocean.

Here’s the blow by blow.

Round 1 Yeast
East Beer Grimm Ales Bees in the Trappe
West Beer Logsdon Peche ‘n Brett 2014
Decision 3-3 tie
Chuck Says I voted for the Logsdon. It was a beer displaying perfect delicate balance between sour and sweet, like a refreshing summer’s day. The Grimm was a very good beer, but in the end I felt the intriguing Belgian-meets-Mead approach to be, well, not perfect.

Round 2 Malt
East Beer Evil Twin Imperial Biscotti Break
West Beer Lighthouse Belgian Black 2013
Decision 4-2 vote for Evil Twin
Chuck Says I had hoped that the pirate beer from Lighthouse would be pouring perfectly, as it has been recently, boy was it. Beautiful malt accentuated by a lovely Belgian yeast and esters. Complex, beautiful, and graceful like a sailboat in full flight.

Then I had a sip of the Imperial Biscotti Break and realized that I’d brought a freaking sailboat to a drag race. Evil Twin makes some great Imperial Stouts, and this is one of them. Gimicky ingredients aside, the heavily roasted malt balanced out the syrupy sweetness perfectly.

The Black was just behind Biscotti in mind, but then committed the double fault of inheriting its awesomeness from malt and yeast, whereas the Biscotti was a purely awesome display of malt prowess. I voted for ET.

Round 3 Hops
East Beer Other Half Green Diamonds
West Beer Central City IPA
Decision 4-2 vote for Other Half
Chuck Says Contention! I strongly disagreed with the crowd vote here. To me, the Other Half was a B-level DIPA. While I did love the strong Aussie hops, they weren’t integrated into the beer well, and the very thin mouthfeel made the relatively modest 8.6% ABV seem like a much harsher >10%. B-level is still a pretty good beer, but it’s not coast-winning

The CC IPA was pouring as good as it ever has, and it did just win a blind three-IPA tasting that afternoon against Fat Tug and Four Winds IPA. Democracy is a sham.

There ya have it. The East Coast takes the trophy back to their Brooklyn river-front loft for a second straight year. Oh well, I didn’t have a spot on my wall for it anyways.

Written by chuck

July 31st, 2014 at 3:48 pm

Posted in Beer and You

Beer Fight: East vs West Round Two

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Last year, I sat down at a table with my good buddy Jer, and we drank beer. What made this time unusual, though, was that we were critically analyzing six beers to see which coast of North America produced the best oat soda.

The combatants were from a variety of must-have breweries: Hair of the Dog, Maine, Captain Lawrence, Parallel 49, Cascade Barrel House and Evil Twin all made an appearance, but sadly East took the title 2-1. Tables were flipped, fires were started, punches were thrown and I’ve been informed that I may have pulled a knife. I have vague memories of a brief hostage taking, as well. All in all, I think I took it pretty well.

Another summer brings another beach retreat, and another beach retreat beings another round of East vs West. Will Jer retain his shoddily made driftwood trophy? Will I triumph and accept it as gracefully as I am wont to do? Only time will tell.

First up, though, the contenders:

Chuck

I was humbled last year. West is best but the evidence was quite clearly in my mouth. I couldn’t believe it. This time, I’m going in less cocky and with more safety. Instead of trusting my two month old IPA to be great, I’m taste testing three local competitors the day-of to ensure only the freshest IPA gets in.

As well, I’m digging into the cellar and upping my BC representation to a solid 2/3. Let’s do this.


Malt
Lighthouse Belgian Black (2013)
Belgian Strong – 9.0%
Ratebeer: 97;95

Batch two of Dean’s best beer ever is drinking pretty much perfectly right now, and I’ve been keeping a select few in my cellar just waiting for a moment like this to happen. Time to bust one open and let the world know about it.


Yeast
Logsdon Peche n Brett (2014)
Sour/Wild Ale – 10%
Ratebeer: 100;99

Okay, I didn’t have a bottle of my own to contribute to the cause. In fact, I had to pull in some favours to even get this. Okay fine, I had to pull more than favours. At night. In an alley. I’m a whore paid in beer, is what I’m saying. It’ll be worth it though, as this is one of the best beers ever made by a brewery not exactly known for making shitty beer.


Hops
Central City Red Racer IPA
India Pale Ale – 6.5%
Ratebeer: 99;99

Knowing that great hoppy IPAs live and die by how fresh their hops are, I put Driftwood Fat Tug, Central City Red Race IPA and newcomer Four Winds IPA to a blind taste test and choose the winner. The winner was Central City, by a country mile. This could be a factor of the beer simply being fresher, or maybe that shiny new, state of the art brewery with all its fancy quality control has something to do with this.

Jer

After winning a contest I didn’t expect to win last year, I decided to make it even harder on myself this time by restricting my picks to beers from NYC. So, though I’m bringing along some nice beers from Maine (Lunch) and Maryland (Stillwater), all three of my picks are from brewers in the 5 boroughs. Actually, all three are from brewers in Brooklyn. NYC has a brewing scene in its infancy, so it wasn’t easy picking, but I think I’m representing strongly.


Malt
Evil Twin Imperial Biscotti Break
Imperial Stout – 9.8%
Ratebeer: 100;100

Last year I lost this category with Even More Jesus. I’m pretty sure I’m just going to bring another Evil Twin beer until one actually wins, because I’m stubborn, and because they have SUCH GOOD NAMES. Also, there’s apart of me which believes that drinking ET beers will magically summon a portal to Luksus, which would be pretty excellent. I made a game time decision between this and Love you With My Stout. We’ll see how it plays out.


Yeast
Grimm Ales Bees in the Trappe
Bier au Miele – 8%
Ratebeer: 82;74

Grimm is a gypsy brewery from Brooklyn. Their beers are consistently interesting and well-brewed. This one is a Tripel, brewed with honey. Largely I picked this one because it’s super small-batch, and it’s something that no one out here will likely get the chance to try. It’s the underdog of the lot, for sure.


Hops
Other Half Green Diamonds
American Double – 8.6%
Ratebeer: 89;47

Other Half is the best new brewery in America, and Green Diamonds is their best beer. This is a resinous double in the vein of Heady Topper. Brewed with Golden Promise malt and Australian Galaxy hops. The only risk here is that the growler I brought is showing its age, but it was counter-pressure filled and I’ve kept it cold, so… fingers crossed.

How did it all play out? Tune in later this evening on Twitter, or later this week right here for the results.

Written by chuck

July 28th, 2014 at 5:46 pm

Posted in Beer and You

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