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Parallel 49 Crane Kick, Snap Crackle Hop

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It’s been a while since I reviewed some beers, so I figured I’d dip my toe back into the critic water and see how it feels. Not surprisingly, P49 has seen fit release a couple one-offs, so let’s talk about those. Rather pointedly, I did not get around to posting a review of their previous special release: L’il Red. This was not due to any sort of beer blogger politeness (many other folk declined to review it, or even rate it on Untappd, because they’re nice) but rather because my day job was busy enough to prevent me posting a multi-page profanity-strewn rant about how bloody awful it was.

Or, I should say, is. Yup, it’s still around. That limited release that should have evaporated like all other P49 releases (which vary from decent to great) is still on shelves everywhere, including all over the LDB. That worries me, since the LDB gets a low of beer newbies, and this beer could be their first exposure to Parallel 49 or even craft beer in general. I’m not sure on the finances of pouring out a few dozen hectolitres of barrel-aged beer versus the risk of bad branding, but minimally they should have considered putting it in the corner for a year or so until they figured out what to do with it, like Driftwood did.

Anyway, I digress. Onwards with the current batch.

Tasting notes:

Crane Kick

I’m not normally a Pilsner kinda guy. Usually I like my beer big, robust, and greedy with hops. However, sometimes you’re looking for something just a little bit lighter. Lighter, though, doesn’t mean lacking in flavour. A few local lagers/pilsners have upped the ante in terms of how good the lighter side could be (notably Central City Pilsner and 33 Acres Ocean), but what would Graham With do? How about a single-hop release based on Sorachi Ace?

It’s a curious combination, but once you have that first sip it makes sense. In the recent arms race to giant floral hops from New Zealand, we’ve forgotten about the subtle delights of Japan’s Sorachi Ace variety. The light sweetness and balanced citrus aroma works well with the cereal rich pilsner malt. So well, in fact, that I’m shocked I didn’t think of this until I tried it.

STATS 5.8% ABV
APPEARANCE Pours transparent hay with strong carbonation and a lasting white head. Aka “like a pilsner”
NOSE Pilsner malt, cereal grain and a light hop finish. Aka “like a pilsner”
TASTE Clean taste with great hops/malt balance. The hops are a little stronger than I’d expect from the style, but the elements of the Sorachi Ace are just fantastic. Aka “like a pilsner, if it was very good and hopped with Sorachi Ace”
SHOULD I BUY IT? Depends. Are you a fan of interesting pilsners? Then yes. Do you consider pilsners to be too close to macros? Then no. Also, branch out, man.

Snap, Crackle, Hop

Okay, here we go. Hop pun in the title? Check. Hops on the label? Check. High ABV? Check. Yup, it’s a giant craft double IPA alright. These all need gimmicks, though, so what’s the gimmick here? Rice. It’s brewed with rice. Rice is what’s used to brew most US Macros, and for a good reason: it ferments very cleanly, leaving very little in terms of residual flavour aside from a faint, well, rice-i-ness.

So, what’s this doing in a giant West Coast IPA, where the malt character needs to balance out all those hops? Not a lot, as it turns out. The hops are way out of balance here. There is basically no body to speak of. If the hops weren’t the current “it” hop Motueka we’d be in major trouble. Motueka, though, is almost sweet on its own. Big florals, big citrus notes, and really quite a beautiful hop profile dominant this beer from start to finish.

In the end, though, I miss the body. If you’re a massive hophead who desires nothing else than no barriers between you and the latest trend in NZ hops, then have at ‘er.

STATS 9.3% ABV, 70 IBU
APPEARANCE Hazy copper with tight off-white head. Medium carb.
NOSE NZ hops: sweet kiwi, jackfruit, citrus. Bitter sweetness in the air.
TASTE Punch in the face of hops. Sweet front with a long lasting bitterness. Bright acidity over a very subtle, almost non-existence grain body.
SHOULD I BUY IT? Sure, why not. It’s a good showcase for Motueka, and sometimes you just gotta get you some hops.

Coles notes:

Brewery Parallel 49
From Vancouver
Name Crane Kick Snap, Crackle, Hop
Style Pilsner Double IPA
SOA Now None awarded. None awarded.
SOA Potential n/a n/a
Drink Now Now
x times better than L’il Red? 10 8
Availability Most LRSs, some LDB
Cost $5-7 per 650ml bomber
Similar Beers (you can buy) CC Pilsner None

Written by chuck

September 10th, 2013 at 3:54 pm

Posted in Beers

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Beer Fight: East vs West

with 10 comments

Here’s a fun idea: pick two craft brewing regions, and elect three beers from each to compete in a battle royale for the coveted Most Awesome Beer Place title. To keep it varied, pick a category for each brew (otherwise you’ll wind up wading through nothing but Imperial Stouts), say categories of Barley, Hops and Yeast.

Sounds fun, right? Well, I’m doing exactly that this weekend. My buddy Jer is coming back to BC for a week of family-themed relaxation and, for reasons that honestly elude me, I’m invited. As part of this beachside orgy of sun, bocce and venison-consumption we’ll pit West Coast vs East Coast in a battle of breweries from states/provinces that border the ocean. Here is simultaneously both my and Jer’s take.

Chuck

This should be a bloodbath, right? Well, just because the West has some rather famous beers doesn’t mean I can magically conjure up a bottle of said beer. Pliny the Elder? Yeah, right. Also, even with the raw lower number of highly acclaimed East Coast breweries, there are still some great freaking beers to be found out there. The competition will be stiff, and I’d best bring my A-game.

Luckily, though, I did just come back from a trip to Portland so I’m not limited to just the Great White North and what friendly US breweries deem fit to import. What with my desire to not dive into my unfairly huge cellar, I am handicapped somewhat, but hopefully not too much.


Barley
Hair of the Dog Adam (Batch 88)
Traditional Ale – 10.0%
Ratebeer: 100;100

This is my hands-down most favourite beer on the planet, from my most favourite brewery on said same. Batch 88 is the latest, so this is a fresh and un-oaked version, but it’s a legend for a reason. Sure, I could have pulled some Singularity out of the cellar (well, I’m doing that anyways), but when honour is on the line you just gotta go HotD.


Yeast
Cascade Barrel House Vlad the Imp-Aler (2011)
Sour/Wild Ale – 10.6%
Ratebeer: 99;97

This is a beer that is for sale in Portland, Oregon for $30 a bottle. Thirty freaking dollars per bottle. This is the same Portland, Oregon, where Hair of the Dog (a mere 1 kilometre away) retails at $15 a bottle. Yet people buy this beer. They but a lot of it, and come back for more. Think about that for a second.


Hops
Parallel 49 Hopnotist
Imperial IPA – 8.5%
Ratebeer: 88;41

I’m not going to a beer fight on the BC coast without a BC beer. Don’t let that low RateBeer score fool you; this is a massive, amazing IPA. RB scores take time to get up high, and with only 13 reviews to its name so far, Hopnotist is being weighted down artificially. I’ve had both Hopnotist and Pliny the Elder, and I’ll take Hopnotist.

Jer

I’ll be honest: challenging Chuck to a East vs. West Coast beer war was just an excuse to get a picture of him drinking a beer out of a can. Then disaster struck, and my road trip to Vermont was cancelled, so I was stuck trying to assemble a competitive lineup from second-stringers. No Heady Topper, no Hill Farmstead… what’s an East-Coaster to do?. Chuck insisted on a strict ‘states on the Eastern seaboard’ rule, so the KSB and Bourbon County I’m bringing with me weren’t allowed to be on the roster. I’m not going to give him any, just out of spite.

I think I managed to field a decent trio of beers, but I’ll admit I’m the underdog. With that in mind, I tried for interesting over obvious.


Barley
Evil Twin Even More Jesus
Imperial Stout – 9.8%
Ratebeer: 100;98

This beer is called Even More Jesus. I figure Chuck can’t possibly vote against a beer with that name. Plus, Evil Twin is a great brewery, and this is a big, complex, punch-you-in-the face imperial. If you’re thinking Evil Twin is in Denmark, you’re wrong. They’re a Denmark/Brooklyn brewery – and this one was brewed in very coastal South Carolina.


Yeast
Captain Lawrence Rosso e Marrone
Flanders Oud Brouin – 10%
Ratebeer: 100;99

I wanted to pick at least one beer from New York State, and this one is pretty special. An American Sour, fermented with grapes & Brett and aged in wine barrels. Captain Lawrence is a fairly big brewery, but they made just 250 cases of this. I haven’t had this batch, and it’s still young, but it feels like a good wildcard for the funky category.


Hops
Maine Brewing MO
American Pale Ale – 8.64%
Ratebeer: 99;100

I eyed up some doubles and Imperials, but I thought trying to fight IPA with IPA would be a losing battle with the Cascadians. So here’s an American Pale from Maine Brewing Company. MBC is hovering right on the border of brewing fame right now, and I’ve been very impressed by what I’ve had. This one is a nice hoppy pale, brewed with Warrior, Falconer’s Flight, and Simcoe. I also have a bottle or two of Zoe, on hand for a taste comparison.

Sweet mudda of Gord those are some high quality freaking beers. This will be an epic weekend, for sure.

Written by chuck

July 25th, 2013 at 4:05 pm

Happy Birthday!

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Every once in a while a bit of information you already knew suddenly sinks in and becomes real, rather than an abstract thought. If you’re confused by this, imagine the different way that your mind regards the factual tidbit “Things what glow red are hot” immediately before and immediately after you lean on an electric stove element at a house party.

That difference leads you to exclaims such obviously true statements as “Holy shit! That glowing red element is HOT!” as if it was divine revelation that you must evangelize to the masses. “Of course it’s hot. It’s glowing red!” someone might mock, but you’ll still feel the need to impress upon them The Trust: “No, really! It’s really, really hot! I mean, wow! HOT!”

In much the same way I received the news yesterday of Parallel 49’s first birthday party. I mean, I KNEW this brewery was only just barely over a year old, but the party somehow made that abstract grain of knowledge come crashing down all around me. Holy shit. They’re only one.


They grow up so fast!
He’ll have his first DUI by Age 3.

This is a brewery that has produced probably 10 of my top 20 BC beers in the past year, and they’re ONLY ONE. Hopnotist, East Van With Love, Ugly Sweater, Schadenfreude, Seedspitter, Hoparazzi: all those beers didn’t exist a year ago. A SINGLE YEAR. Those are just my favourites; there are about a dozen other good beers that I didn’t feel like listing.

Or, look at it this way, since I first visited P49 and their half-finished tasting room in mid-June 2012, they have garnered, from me, 6 Seals of Approval (5 Bronze, 1 Gold), 2 Beers of the Month, and one coveted 2012 Beardie. For those counting, that’s more acclaim than that biased favourite of mine: Driftwood.

Not only have they succeeded in producing lots of different awesome beers, but they’ve also succeeded in producing huge volumes of said same. There was a time when the common consensus was that you could sell a lot of beer, or you could sell good beer, but not both. Parallel 49 has shown that age-old wisdom to be bunk, as they are now, by most learned estimates (aka me) the second largest craft brewery in BC after Phillips (and just ahead of Lighthouse). That’s a lot of good beer.

Again, all of this in a year. Well played, guys. So, happy birthday to Parallel 49, happy birthday to yoooouuuu. (And many more. No, seriously, if you go out of business I will do something violent… okay, I’ll just drink all the P49 beer in my cellar in one sitting… and get violently ill. That sorta counts, right?).

Written by chuck

June 21st, 2013 at 1:53 pm

Posted in Breweries

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