Barley Mowat 

August Beer of the Month

with one comment

Bet you guys thought I forgot, eh? Yeah, I know that the BOTM widget sat sad and un-updated for the month of July, and yeah I was totally called out on it. I’d like to say it was due to intellectual reasons, and declare that no beer was worthy, but the reality is that I just plain old forgot. However, that is not the case for August. For August I would like to draw everyone’s attention to a particular beer.

This beer was released quite a while ago, and everyone hemmed and hahhed about it, because it wasn’t as great as its immediate predecessor. And then this beer slowly started disappearing from LRS shelves, and everyone subsequently forgot about it. Now that the weather is hot, though, I would recommend that we all take a long, hard look at this puppy.

Look at it! LOOK AT IT!

Yup, the August Beer Of The Month is Lighthouse Belgian White. The quantity available has gone down a bit since I last mentioned this beer, but it’s still pretty widely purchase-able via the LDB, of all places, and you know what? Despite this being Not As Good as Belgian Black, it’s still a pretty freaking good beer. Maybe Black was amazing and we’ve all become jaded assholes, or something. I know I have.

But when the sun is shining and you’re feeling pretty dang good about yourself, this beer is a fantastic companion. So go out, buy it all, and make Lighthouse think that producing good beer is a profitable venture.

Written by chuck

August 3rd, 2012 at 4:57 pm

Posted in Beers,Breweries

Tagged with ,

Focus on the LDB

with 4 comments

Nope, this isn’t a rant… well, it isn’t entirely a rant. I looked out the window this afternoon and noticed it was kinda nice out. Then a cloud floated by which sorta looked like a “patio” and I thought “bang up idea, Mr Cloud!” (Note: pretty much all clouds look like a patio to me)

Of course, patio means patio beers. And with that thought came images of Belgian White. Long since gone from the private stores, Belgian White is available rather ubiquitously at the LDB, making for a rather shocking aberration from the LDB’s otherwise near perfect record of stocking pretty much entirely dreck and calling it beer.

So I wander over to the LDB website to find out where to buy this great concoction, and I see this.

Sigh. No funny caption. Just sigh.

Sure, there is such a thing as a nice wine to have in the summer heat, and this wine myopia on the LDB website is nothing new. However, there was just something about my particular context today and made this sting a bit more than usual. So I hung my head in a little bit of mini depression for how awful our provincial liquor board is.

Sensing that I was particularly vulnerable at that moment, the LDB website went for a “kick Chuck while he’s down” approach and scrolled this by.

Oh fuck off, LDB, just fuck right off.

I have officially given up hope that the LDB will ever give a focus to beer, period. Yet they sometimes have nice or unique products in stock. So screw you, LDB, I’ll do it for you. Thus, I present my first Focus on the LDB, a periodic post that will highlight interesting or special beers available in the LDB right now. This is not meant to be a comprehensive list, just two or three beers in stock at the LDB that I happen to like (and are therefore good).

Beer 1: Lighthouse Belgian White

Dean’s follow up to their highly acclaimed Belgian Black, the White is a more traditional take on a Belgian Wit Ale. I love this beer, and am happy to see it widely available. Sure, it’s not as over-the-top great as the Black, but sometimes a simpler beer is just what the doctor ordered. This is effectively the perfect patio beer.

Price: $6.50 for 650ml
Availability: Wide

Beer 2: Hopworks Secession

I guess someone ordered too much of this and had to dump it at the LDB to get rid of it. Having said that, this is perhaps the one of the best CDAs available in Cascadia. Grab some of Vern’s locally produced GIB CDA while you’re at it, and do a side-by-side comparison to see who wins in a CDA-off.

Price: $7.75 for 650ml
Availability: Limited

Beer 3: Parallel 49 Sampler

Ok, fine, this isn’t a beer, but rather four beers. So that’s got to be four times better, right? The newest BC brewery on the block decided to jump into the LDB with a splash, giving us all four of their summer lineup in one box. The four are: Seedspitter Watermelon Wit, Old Boy Classic Ale, Gypsy Tears Ruby Red, and Hoparazzi India Pale Lager. Each is a slightly unusual and interesting beer, and I love them all. The only problem is that every time I look down my glass is empty.

Price: $23.50 for 12x341ml
Availability: Limited

Written by chuck

July 21st, 2012 at 2:46 pm

Great Barrel Experiment: Beer Two Review

zero comments

Next up: Bourbon barrel-aged Howe Sound Pothole Filler. First, the specs:

Source Beer: Howe Sound Pothole Filler Imperial Stout (2 Litres)
Barrel: 2 Litre Bourbon-infused American Oak
Age: 3 weeks in barrel; 4 weeks in bottle
Adjuncts: Vanilla seeds
Carbonation: Brettanomyces in-barrel, then Dextrose/Champagne intro’d in-barrel, then in-bottle at capping

Damn if that doesn’t at least sound tasty. I mean, who doesn’t like a complex imperial stout. The burn of the bourbon should balance the sweetness of the vanilla, and the original chocolate tones should bind it all together. At least, that’s the theory. And we all know how theories usually wind up.

Legislated out of existence by US governments, that’s how.

Of course, reality has that nasty habit of not giving a shit about what you want to happen, and that explains my beer. The problem I had from day one with this barrel was in keeping the fermentation going. The imperial stout’s high alcohol and low specific gravity meant that the brettanomyces I threw into it had a very hard time getting going. The goal here was to dry out the beer a bit and add a slight belgian funk tone. While this might seem odd at first glance, it’s exactly the formula of one of the best stouts I’ve ever had (a one-off at Upright Brewing).

The brettanomyces, though, were rather put out at not being given tasty, easy-to-digest fruit to consume (such as was happening one barrel to the left), so they protested in about the only way they could: they up and died. With no active fermentation to keep pressure inside the barrel up, the risk of oxygen intruding and oxidizing the beer became real. So I whipped up some champagne yeast with dextrose, and tried that, which promptly died as well. Repeat this process a few more times, and finally one batch stuck and a slight positive pressure was keeping O2 at bay.

So what did I wind up with? The resultant beer was slightly less carbonated than the store-bought variety, but had an intriguing vanilla tone throughout. At the end of each sip, the bourbon would give you a little mellow burn and make you want more. There was also something else lingering on the edges of my tongue. Something… unpleasant… even… cardboardy. Damnit. Oxidization had crept in after all.

Again, I had the brilliant idea of blending this with my saved bottle of Pothole Filler, and this saved it. Not only did the blend take the edge of the oxidization, but a mix of about 75% barrel-aged, 25% shelf Pothole Filler was a vast, vast improvement over the original. Howe Sound makes a fine product, but ultimately I wouldn’t consider Pothole Filler to be cellar worthy. My concoction, though, is definitely that.

In the end, this is a recipe I’d want to tinker with and improve, but it definitely squeaks onto the list of “will do again.”

Last, but not least, is my Driftwood White Bark + “everything I could find” concoction. I should probably get to it sometime this week; as I was pulling the Pothole Filler out of the closet, I heard it laughing at me from the dark corner. This seems like the sort of situation one needs to address sooner rather than later.

Written by chuck

July 15th, 2012 at 12:42 pm

Posted in Beer and You

Tagged with