Barley Mowat 

Dead Frog Furious Rocket Friar Man

with one comment

Continuing their tradition of spamming the local craft beer market to see what sticks, Dead Frog recently pushed out two more seasonals, logically sourced from the opposite ends of the planet: an Aussie-hopped ESB and a Belgian IPA.

In addition to making these beers, they were also brave/stupid enough to send me some for review, so let’s get to it.

Furious Friar Belgian IPA

I’m just going to come out and say it: this beer is awful. Many of the constituent components of a great Belgian IPA are here, and the colour and nose definitely get your hopes up. If you were to get that far, and then somehow fail to actually put the liquid in your mouth you might have a favourable impression of this ale, but alas I did run some past my tongue. I regretted this decision immediately.

Okay, maybe that might be a bit dramatic. This beer didn’t scar me for life like, say, Voodoo Donut. Instead, it’s just super hot. The long chain alcohols give you a definite nail polish, fire-water tone that simply doesn’t go away. There are some nice banana/clove esters in there as well, but you don’t get to enjoy them because you’re preoccupied by being worried about going blind*.

* Note: Long chain alcohols, while unpleasant, won’t actually make you go blind. At least not in the levels achievable during normal fermentation.

APPEARANCE Cloudy yellow/amber with just a hint of red. Thin, quickly dissipating head. Pretty beer.
NOSE Faint, light Belgian esters. No hops.
TASTE Harsh hotness that’s only made worse by the heavy handed hopping.
STATS 9.0% ABV / ~70? IBU / Belgian IPA
SHOULD I BUY IT? Do you have silverware you need to clean?

Rocketman Interstellar ESB

To be honest, I’m not sure what an “Interstellar ESB” is, in terms of style. Since interstellar space is really just a nigh limitless void of emptiness, maybe drinking this beer will make you go mad from perceiving the infinite? Or maybe it’s a cheeky play in the heavy use of Apollo Hops coupled with not quite knowing enough space history to realize that “Translunar ESB” would be a much better, more awesome-sounding name for this beer. Whichever.

What about the beer, though? After the Furious Friar I was frankly frightened to try this puppy out. I even gave myself a 24 hour no-beer-cation to let my taste buds reset. So, with a fresh mouth and a heaping sense of impending doom I cracked the bottle, poured it into a glass, and did my job.

The result? This is a pretty good beer. I wasn’t sold on it for the first 1/2 glass, but over time the malt backbone did what it was supposed to do: make me want more.

APPEARANCE Pours deep cloudy/almost opaque dark brown with tight, long lasting white head.
NOSE Classic bitter. Good caramel / biscuit malt with well integrated hops.
TASTE Great malt backbone below a decent helping of fruity NZ-style hops (despite no actual NZ hops). Hops aren’t over done, but rather well balanced.
STATS 6.5% ABV / 40 IBU / ESB
SHOULD I BUY IT? Absolutely. Even if you don’t have to forget drinking FF.

Brewery Dead Frog
From Aldergrove
Name Furious Friar Rocket Man
Style Belgian IPA Interstellar(?) ESB
SOA Now None Bronze
SOA Potential n/a n/a
Drink Now Now
Potential as rocket fuel Decent Ironically, none
Availability Most LRSs/some LDB
Cost ~$6-9+ per 650ml
Similar Beers Fernie Snowblind Red Racer India Red, Driftwood Naughty Hildegaard


One out of two ain’t bad

Written by chuck

August 14th, 2014 at 2:47 pm

Posted in Beer and You

Tagged with

Feature Beer: GIB x BM Lost in the Barrels

with 4 comments

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.

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

Tagged with

Why does East keep beating West?

with 2 comments

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