Barley Mowat 

Dead Frog Fearless IPA

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Dead Frog Brewing is perhaps best known for crafting horrible fruit/beer combinations that should never have existed outside of the mind of a madman–and a madman who can’t brew particularly good beer, at that. I’m talking about their Mandarin Orange Amber and Pepper Lime Lager, specifically, but there are plenty of other examples out there.

Or perhaps they’re better known for starring on The Big Decision, a Dragon’s Den spin-off that focuses on small businesses facing bankruptcy.

Either way, their reputation precedes them, and that reputation is not exactly stellar. But, could there be hope? I had completely written off this brewery, and wasn’t expecting much when I took a sample of their new IPA at the BC Beer Awards. Tasting that made me loudly proclaim “THEY’RE NOT DEAD YET!”

Is their most recently bottled IPA release as good as the massively hopped IPA I had at the BC Beer Awards? Nope. It’s better.

Fearless is a huge, Cascadian-style IPA. Massive hops and tropical fruit aromas dominate the nose, but a smoother malty body backs it up. It’s as well balanced as Cascadian IPAs get (aka so heavy to the Hops side of the scale the bottle almost falls over).

This beer is such a great IPA, in fact, that I am wondering how it would stack up against the reigning big boys of BC Hop Madness. How does it taste when Fat Tug, Red Racer and Switchback are all in the room? I’ll be doing a blinded IPA tasting in the near future, and will definitely inform y’all of the results.

Until then, go out and buy this great beer from Dead Frog. Please do it. They need the money.

Coles notes:

Brewery Dead Frog
From Aldergrove, BC
Name Fearless
Style Cascadian IPA
SOA Now Bronze
SOA Potential n/a. Not a cellaring beer.
Drink Now. Please.
Number of good beers they’d have to brew to make me forget Pepper Lime Around 200.
Availability Widely available at LDB and LRS
Cost $4.99-7.00 per 650ml bottle.
Similar Beers Driftwood Fat Tug, Central City Red Racer IPA, Lighthouse Switchback
Chuck says It goes down fast and good. If we buy enough maybe they’ll make more.


See? Breweries with bad track records CAN produce good beer.

Written by chuck

November 18th, 2012 at 3:27 pm

Posted in Beers

Tagged with

Parallel 49 Ugly Sweater

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For those that need a primer, a Milk Stout is much like a regular stout, but in addition to fermenting all those lovely malt-derived sugars (maltose) we also get the lazy, good-for-nothing, cows to pitch in and contribute something for a change. That something is lactose, and yes, Milk Stout is effectively raw milk… but mixed with beer… okay, maybe I’m not adequately selling it here…

Believe it or not, all that milk really IS a good thing. Milk Stouts have the richest, creamiest body you could possibly imagine, and brewers exploit that to float very strong, heavy flavours on top of that creamy body. Southern Tier makes a fantastic Crème Brûlée Milk Stout, each sip of which requires solid concentration to consume, and a bottle of which is a solid winter’s evening project.

All of this creates a problem for Ugly Sweater. You see, if it’s in a six pack from Parallel 49 it’s meant to be a sessionable beer, aka something you can quaff 3 or 4 of without thinking twice. The choice of a Milk Stout as a session ale is confusing at best, and definitely worrisome.

But you know what? They pulled it off. Galldernit if those guys over on Triumph street are managing to not only not screw up unlikely beer combinations, but to actually make them delicious. Pumpkin in a Märzen? Golden. Caramel in a Scotch Ale? Solid. And a Milk Stout as a session beer? Done.

The trick is that this beer is not so much a stout as it is a solid porter, and rather than using the lactose to build a massive sweet chocolatey body on top of which to build a skyscraper of flavour, they’ve dialed it down to just a nice creamy mouthfeel with a hint of cocoa.

Serving temperature matters with this guy. You’re looking for about 50F (10C), which means leaving it outside in the day around now should be just about right. At that temperature, you should definitely pick out the chocolate, but also some coffee, toffee and definitely a little bitter bit from the hops. Before you know it, though, your glass will be empty and you’ll be reaching for another.

UPDATE: Dave Shea, who actually–you know–brews beer, corrects me: milk stouts just contain lactose, not fermented lactose. In fact, lactose is added specifically because it doesn’t ferment, which is the source of all that creamy goodness… mmm… creamy goodness… anyone else thirsty?

Coles notes:

Brewery Parallel 49
From Vancouver, BC
Name Ugly Sweater
Style Milk Stout
SOA Now Bronze
SOA Potential n/a. Not a cellaring beer.
Drink Now. In sixes.
Preferred attire for drinking Oddly enough, a smoking jacket.
Availability Widely available at LRS & some LDB
Cost $12.25-16.00 per 6x341ml bottle.
Similar Beers None in BC
Chuck says Buy a six pack. Drink it. Buy a six pack. Drink it. Buy a six pack…


I’m running out of Bronze medals.

Written by chuck

November 16th, 2012 at 3:46 pm

Posted in Beers

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Going Once, Going Twice, Gone

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You know the stories; you hear about it all the time: tales of rare or forgotten bottles of wine, still covered in dust from decades of storage, being auctioned off for truly astonishing amounts of money. With all the proceeds going to Charity, of course.


Sure, it’s a fiver at a time, but she gets it all eventually.

Even in BC, with our draconian liquor laws, such things were known to happen. Turns out, though, that we were breaking the law the whole time. The Sun has the scoop. TL/DR version: A theatre in Victoria was bitch-slapped by the LDB because they had the nerve to auction off wine for a local charity. But never fear, Rich Coleman is here! No sooner does the article talk about how everything was called off then Uncle Rich parachutes into the scene and starts slinging around words like “outdated liquor policies” and promising to make everything all better. The BC LCLB even decided to throw down a press release detailing the change. Bam! Your government works!

So, I guess we’re done here? Nope. It seems to me that every time something like this happens we craft beer types assume the best and then Capt. Coleman* winds up finding a way to swap out “liquor” for “wine” as soon as we’re not looking, or even in the case of the farm-gate amendment rather pointedly putting in “vineyards and distilleries.” If I’m not being clear here, let me put this in very bold, simple terms: If we don’t jump on this bitch, Uncle Rich will straight up fuck us on this one.

Sure, just as he did with BYOB, he’ll whip out that tone you use when explaining the Real World to a toddler, and try to convince us that beer just isn’t as special as wine, and that no one would ever pay money for it in auctions. Surely having beer at auction would sully the charity’s reputation. Lot 1: Château Haut-Brion 1988, sold to the lady in the blue evening gown for $2,750. Lot 2: A six pack of “Bud Lite,” sold to the… rotund… gentlemen in the stained undershirt for… Four dollars and eighty-six cents. What’s that, sir? Ugh… no… financing is most certainly NOT available.

I mean, that’s the fear right? Beer just isn’t worth as much as wine and won’t sell at auction for any real sum of money. What’s that? $2,368.73? For ONE bottle? One 375 millilitre bottle? Holy shit. That’s like $4750 for 750ml. You could buy a bottle of wine for that!

CAMRA, I’m looking at you, here. Get on this.

* My fact checkers are informing me that Rich Coleman is, in fact, not a Captain. That’s odd, cuz it just sounds so right. Screw ’em, I’m leaving it in.

Written by chuck

November 15th, 2012 at 11:40 am

Posted in Beer and You

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