Barley Mowat 

Archive for the ‘daBMV’ tag

Granville Island Cloak and Dagger

with 3 comments

Well, here we are. GIB has finally let loose with the 2013 version of their Cascadian Dark Ale, the 2012 version of which started the whole CascadiaGate issue. Or, at least, that’s Steamworks’ story and they’re sticking with it.

For their part, Steamworks has since announced that everything is fine, and they realized the errors of their ways. Anyone can use “Cascadia” in the style of a beer, just so long as they don’t use it as the name (then they’ll have to pay $1). But I digress, this is not a story anyone even remotely familiar with beer in BC is not completely sick of. Kind of like our overly restrictive beer laws. What? Those are still here? Crap.


Pictured: Great beer in Costco. This is a thing that happens elsewhere in the world.

GIB also took the opportunity to relaunch their Limited Release Series as the Black Book Series. The beers themselves will be familiar versions of Brewmaster Vern Lambourne’s brews of years past, but they will have funky new labels and, for the first time, names.

Naming the beers is a concession to the “style but not name” requirement from Steamworks above, but also overdue. Good beers deserve names. The branding, though, is curious, as it de-emphasizes the “Granville Island Brewing” aspect so prevalent on GIB’s Molson-brewed beers, and instead highlights the specific beer. Frankly, the difference in quality between Molson’s “Granville Island” and Vern’s “Granville Island” has long been ill-served by the similar-looking bottles, so I say “well played, GIB.”

Anyway, back to the beer. What was the point of everyone turning towards Steamworks last fall and muttered “The fuck?” if not to protect a brewery’s right to make a fantastic hoppy beer and rightfully–truthfully–call it “Cascadian.” Sadly, that hypothetical beer is not this one (although Parallel 49 just released a Cascadian Dark Lager…)

Cloak and Dagger is a Cascadian Dark Ale, and all CDAs tend to be good, but it lacks that massive hop punch that trademarks the style. In fact, this is somewhat of a sweet ale… with an approachable taste, and that’s my main issue. CDAs are a beer nerd’s nerdy beer, and this just isn’t that. Sure, it has some of the toasted malt we all like in our CDAs, but that’s about it.

Tasting notes:

NOSE Dark malt, some roast coffee, and a mild punch of hops
APPEARANCE Black as night with light tan head
TASTE Sweet malt, although some bitterness from the roasting, not a lot of hops to back it up
SHOULD I BUY IT? Depends. Do you like sweeter, maltier IPAs? Then yes. Otherwise, give it a skip.

Coles notes:

Brewery Granville Island
From Vancouver
Name Cloak and Dagger
Style Cascadian Dark Ale
SOA Now None Awarded
SOA Potential Not a cellaring ale
Drink Now.
Lawsuit odds I’ll give you 4:1. I just don’t see them doing it.
Availability Widely available at LRS
Cost $? per 650ml bottle (free sample).
Similar BC Beers Howe Sound Gathering Storm

Written by chuck

April 30th, 2013 at 6:58 pm

Posted in Beers

Tagged with ,

January Beer Of The Month

without comments

I know, I know… it’s, like, 1/2 way through January already, so what gives? Well, first off, I’m a very lazy man. Secondly, there was no clear beer to highlight for January, and Siren was just so very good that I figured I’d let it slide for a day or two… which became a week.

All that changed yesterday, when I visited Granville Island Brewing’s store to stock up on their Barley Wine for my cellar. Despite this release being rather limited at 360 cases, clearly visible in the brewery was a towering palette of unsold (and unwaxed) product.

Well sheet, that ain’t right. The single most ambitious beer ever produced by GIB cannot be allowed to sit unsold on the brewery floor. We have to encourage them to brew more barrel aged wonders, and about the worst way to do that is not buying the results. So, without further adieu, January’s Beer of the Month is Granville Island Brewing (Taphouse) Barley Wine.


Look at it, sitting there all sassy. How can you NOT buy it?

Sure, there are better Barley Wines out there right now, but you know what? This is still a pretty damned good one, and one ideally tuned for some cellaring. I’m seeing a lot more talk on The Twitter about cellaring beer, and no self-respecting Vancouver-based beer geek should give this one a miss.

Plus, it’s a beer that is priced well below it’s quality and potential. At $7.95 a bottle, Granville Island is practically giving this stuff away. Buy some, drink it now, and buy a few to put down as an intro to cellaring.

Some beers only change slowly or subtlety, requiring a bit of experience and patience to figure out what’s going on, but not this one. Over a year or two, this beer will show all the restraint of meth-addled hooker who’s gone clean for three hours. No secrets, and it’s all out there for whomever wants to see it.

Want to see how yeast in-bottle affects a beer? It’s there. Want to see how malt-forward sugars blend together over time? Check. What about the slow hops decline? Sold. Bourbon- and barrel-flavours mellowing? It’s got that too.

If you’re curious, the following stores have stock: Big Ridge, Bimini’s, Brewery Creek, Burrard, Central City, Clayton, Crosstown, Darby’s, Firefly Cambie, Granville Street, Legacy, Sutton Place, Sunshine Hills, Toby’s, West End, and Yaletown. And, of course, the GIB Store.

Go forth and consume.

Written by chuck

January 7th, 2013 at 3:22 pm

Posted in Beers

Tagged with ,

GIB Barley Wine

with 2 comments

On Wednesday I counted myself lucky enough to be invited down to Granville Island Brewery for a preview of their first ever Barley Wine. In addition to a glass goblet heavy enough to brain a horse, I was given unlimited access to their most recent brew, and even a nicely wrapped bottle to take home for offsite consumption.

So, is it worth a damn? Yup. Vern describes this effort as a stylistic middle ground between the more refined, traditional English-style Barley Wine and its loutish American/New World upstart offspring. I would agree with that sentiment, although the bourbon barrel ageing is a definite New World touch.

On pouring, this guy has an awful lot of carbonation for a barrel-aged Barley Wine… almost too much. It’s hard to say whether this is for sure artificial, as the beer is bottle conditioned. Even so, I’m unsure how much extra carb you’ll get out of yeast that’s given its all to make 11.5% ABV and then spent the last four weeks chilling in a used bourbon barrel.

The nose is very mild, almost imperceptible malt and a touch of bourbon. On tasting, the hops come through initially and then the bourbon follows up with a solid kick to your chest. The malt, though, is almost absent, with all those rich sugars effectively hidden behind the whiskey.

And that’s my main complaint about this beer: Where’d the malt go? The sugars, and all that caramel-y/toffee promise that they bring are definitely there–the hyper-smooth mouthfeel will testify to that–but the barrel ageing is all you’re going to pick up on right now.

My secondary complaint would be that this shares a certain je-ne-sais-quoi with GIB’s main beers, specifically their Pale Ale. Whether it’s the yeast or the hops, I can’t say (although I’m leaning towards hops), but it does have that unique GIB-ness about it.

The negatives I mention slowly fade over the course of 8oz or so, and the smooth mouthfeel and body build up nicely. The bourbon and hops create a nice spiciness, very similar to Central City Thor’s Hammer. Try one to see for yourself, but only try one… for now.

Ageing is not optional with this beer. Right now this beer is interesting, perhaps even decent, but give it a few months to half a year and it could become great.

With time, the bourbon and hops will fade, and hopefully give all that malt sugar a chance to come forth. At ~$10 a bottle, this is priced low enough that even inexperienced cellar-ers should pick up a few to see how it develops.

Lastly, I think the bottle-conditioning, cloudiness of the beer, and complete lack of filtering (aka potential for oak bits in your glass) give this beer a wonderful homebrew-y quality, which is the exact opposite of what you’d expect from a brewery that is, after all, a wholly owned subsidiary of MolsonCoors.

Coles notes:

Brewery Granville Island Taphouse
From Vancouver
Name Ltd Release
Style Barley Wine
SOA Now Bronze
SOA Potential Silver
Drink Mid-2013 to early-2014
Watch out for Bits of oak floating in your glass
Availability Select LRS (60 cases) & at GIB (300 cases)
Cost $9.00-$11.00 per 650ml bottle.
Similar Beers CC Thor’s Hammer, Driftwood OCD/OBD
Chuck says Buy several and use it as a tutorial on ageing beer


Turns out Barley Wines are good.

Written by chuck

December 21st, 2012 at 11:53 am

Posted in Beers

Tagged with ,