Photo
Mt. Begbie: Darkside (Coffee Stout)
Pours like root beer, complete with rich head. Coffee nose is medium roast, some acidity, light milk chocolate.Coffee flavour is robust and sturdy, but not overpowering. Blended well with malty body, maybe a touch of caramel or brown sugar. Very pleasant creamy chocolate malt finish.
I’ve always felt Mt. Begbie played things a bit too safe with their regular lineup, but now setting this alongside the masterful Bob’s Your Dunkel, I may have to start paying closer attention.
Pairing: Kammarheit, “The Starwheel”. Simple but classy and effective darkness.

Mt. Begbie: Darkside (Coffee Stout)

Pours like root beer, complete with rich head. Coffee nose is medium roast, some acidity, light milk chocolate.

Coffee flavour is robust and sturdy, but not overpowering. Blended well with malty body, maybe a touch of caramel or brown sugar. Very pleasant creamy chocolate malt finish.

I’ve always felt Mt. Begbie played things a bit too safe with their regular lineup, but now setting this alongside the masterful Bob’s Your Dunkel, I may have to start paying closer attention.

Pairing: Kammarheit, “The Starwheel”. Simple but classy and effective darkness.

Photo
Moon Under Water: Shatterbier (Golden Ale with Coffee)
This received a limited run of 1500 bottles and given how long I let this sit I can’t imagine that there are any bottles left for sale, but given that it’s an ambitious pitch by a still new name (at least on the mainland), I thought this was worth a review even at this late date.
Nose is nice and yeasty like a golden should be, coffee is very mild. Head has just a hint of offwhite colour, and, as can be seen, I borked the pour.
Hmm! That’s pretty freaking tasty! A creamier than usual golden flavour, with the coffee just enriching things the tiniest bit. I was skeptical about this (as far as European styles go MUW aced the weizenbock but flubbed the dunkel), but it’s turning out quite okay.

The finish is superb, probably better than the mouth, with a lively and sparkling mix of hops and malt with the coffee taking on toffee notes in the back of the mouth.

Pairing: Ashbury Heights, “Take Cair Paramour”. A rich, heady, and almost heavenly swirl of decadence from relative newcomers.

Moon Under Water: Shatterbier (Golden Ale with Coffee)

This received a limited run of 1500 bottles and given how long I let this sit I can’t imagine that there are any bottles left for sale, but given that it’s an ambitious pitch by a still new name (at least on the mainland), I thought this was worth a review even at this late date.

Nose is nice and yeasty like a golden should be, coffee is very mild. Head has just a hint of offwhite colour, and, as can be seen, I borked the pour.

Hmm! That’s pretty freaking tasty! A creamier than usual golden flavour, with the coffee just enriching things the tiniest bit. I was skeptical about this (as far as European styles go MUW aced the weizenbock but flubbed the dunkel), but it’s turning out quite okay.
The finish is superb, probably better than the mouth, with a lively and sparkling mix of hops and malt with the coffee taking on toffee notes in the back of the mouth.
Pairing: Ashbury Heights, “Take Cair Paramour”. A rich, heady, and almost heavenly swirl of decadence from relative newcomers.
Photo
Boy howdy has it been forever since I wrote anything here. Been having lots of growler and beer sorbetto fun (thank you, P49) in the interim, but I make no apology: this thing has always come second to ID:UD, third to summer reading, and fourth to watching the Jays lose. Anyway, back to basics: quick BC beer reviews and pairings.
Phillips: Twisted Oak Rye Barrel Aged Bock (Victoria)
Pours a light cola brown with some reddish undertones. Light and short thin head. Nose is sweet but ashy, not unpleasant tobacco.
Definitely a bock with plenty of cereal flavours, but some fruity sweetness as well.  Rye flavours are subtle, really only smoothing out the edges and bringing that touch of smokiness I got on the nose. A little bit of the sawdust taste that I like rye for, with a bit of dusty cocoa further down the glass.

Not the delicious, full-bodied monster of the rum cask, but a fair bit more even than the scotch cask wee heavy.

Pairing: Minor augmentations to a plain style that don’t get in the way of the core simple pleasures. Kraftwerk, “The Mix”.

Boy howdy has it been forever since I wrote anything here. Been having lots of growler and beer sorbetto fun (thank you, P49) in the interim, but I make no apology: this thing has always come second to ID:UD, third to summer reading, and fourth to watching the Jays lose. Anyway, back to basics: quick BC beer reviews and pairings.

Phillips: Twisted Oak Rye Barrel Aged Bock (Victoria)

Pours a light cola brown with some reddish undertones. Light and short thin head. Nose is sweet but ashy, not unpleasant tobacco.

Definitely a bock with plenty of cereal flavours, but some fruity sweetness as well.  Rye flavours are subtle, really only smoothing out the edges and bringing that touch of smokiness I got on the nose. A little bit of the sawdust taste that I like rye for, with a bit of dusty cocoa further down the glass.
Not the delicious, full-bodied monster of the rum cask, but a fair bit more even than the scotch cask wee heavy.
Pairing: Minor augmentations to a plain style that don’t get in the way of the core simple pleasures. Kraftwerk, “The Mix”.
Photo
Steamworks: Frambozen (raspberry wheat, Vancouver)
Pours slightly cloudy reddish-brown, half finger creamy head. Nose is sweetened raspberry, somewhat nutty malt, very mild hops.Initially super sweet and rich, but flavour disappears quickly leaving acidic finish. Not especially sour, but very tart.The lack of interest this beer inspires depresses me, especially when I think of the good times I’ve spent in its pub of origin in years past. What changed, Steamworks or my palate? Did I leave the brewpub or did the brewpub leave me?
Pairing: Painful reminder of glory days. Ministry, “Rehab”

Steamworks: Frambozen (raspberry wheat, Vancouver)

Pours slightly cloudy reddish-brown, half finger creamy head. Nose is sweetened raspberry, somewhat nutty malt, very mild hops.

Initially super sweet and rich, but flavour disappears quickly leaving acidic finish. Not especially sour, but very tart.

The lack of interest this beer inspires depresses me, especially when I think of the good times I’ve spent in its pub of origin in years past. What changed, Steamworks or my palate? Did I leave the brewpub or did the brewpub leave me?

Pairing: Painful reminder of glory days. Ministry, “Rehab”

Photo
Russell: Summer Daze (Saison, Surrey)
Pours pale gold, half finger white head. Skunky sweet head. Grass, pickle brine.Hmm. Tastes like a mild pilsner: super light body, grass hops. And yeah, pickle brine finish which might be yeasty in origin, but calling this a saison seems a stretch. Strong recommendation to avoid.Pairing: Weak, forgettable. Code 64, “Departure”.

Russell: Summer Daze (Saison, Surrey)

Pours pale gold, half finger white head. Skunky sweet head. Grass, pickle brine.

Hmm. Tastes like a mild pilsner: super light body, grass hops. And yeah, pickle brine finish which might be yeasty in origin, but calling this a saison seems a stretch. Strong recommendation to avoid.

Pairing: Weak, forgettable. Code 64, “Departure”.

Photo
Big Rock: Rosmarinus (traditional ale, Calgary)
Pours amber, no real head. Nose is malty, overly sweet. Smells like their regular Traditional Ale. Not getting any rosemary…Ah, there it is. Lighter body and less malty than the nose let on, rosemary pairs well with light grassy hops. Stays right in the taste from beginning to medium finish. What malt there is still feels a bit sickly and unbalanced, though.Not bad, but I’m not sure how quickly I’ll work through the sixer. Good option to split with a friend.
Pairing: A gimmick that somewhat carries a pedestrian offering, but not far enough. Inkubus Sukkubus, “Viva La Muerte”.

Big Rock: Rosmarinus (traditional ale, Calgary)

Pours amber, no real head. Nose is malty, overly sweet. Smells like their regular Traditional Ale. Not getting any rosemary…

Ah, there it is. Lighter body and less malty than the nose let on, rosemary pairs well with light grassy hops. Stays right in the taste from beginning to medium finish. What malt there is still feels a bit sickly and unbalanced, though.

Not bad, but I’m not sure how quickly I’ll work through the sixer. Good option to split with a friend.

Pairing: A gimmick that somewhat carries a pedestrian offering, but not far enough. Inkubus Sukkubus, “Viva La Muerte”.

Photo
Lindemans: Cassis (lambic, Vlezenbeek)
Pours pure dark blueberry, one finger pale red-purple head. Nose is lovely: a clean cool sour sour with plenty of black currant.Mouth is frothy and juicy, first bitter fruit, raspberry as well as black currant, then cleaner and sweeter, with the sour coming in strong on the swallow. That said, fruit lasts much longer than the sour on the finish, with string juicy flavour just setting up camp. Definitely not much funk (though there might have been some on the nose): this is a strictly fruity sour profile, the orchard standing well clear of the barnyard.
Pairing: Normally solid darkwave not at their best. Clan Of Xymox, “Notes From The Underground”.

Lindemans: Cassis (lambic, Vlezenbeek)

Pours pure dark blueberry, one finger pale red-purple head. Nose is lovely: a clean cool sour sour with plenty of black currant.

Mouth is frothy and juicy, first bitter fruit, raspberry as well as black currant, then cleaner and sweeter, with the sour coming in strong on the swallow. That said, fruit lasts much longer than the sour on the finish, with string juicy flavour just setting up camp. Definitely not much funk (though there might have been some on the nose): this is a strictly fruity sour profile, the orchard standing well clear of the barnyard.

Pairing: Normally solid darkwave not at their best. Clan Of Xymox, “Notes From The Underground”.

Photo
Fernie Brewing Company: Rusty Tractor (weizenbock, Fernie)
Pours cloudy copper, minimal mocha head. Nose is cool, maybe some raspberry in the malt. Cola, bit of earthy yeast.Mouth is very malt forward, and yes, earthy; maybe leather, too. Lightly bitter, touch of berry (and Belgian) sweetness at the end. Good medium mouthfeel, short finish, but a bit too much alcohol warmth showing up later down the glass.
Pairing: Bit thick for its own good. Latter era Manson or KMFDM.

Fernie Brewing Company: Rusty Tractor (weizenbock, Fernie)

Pours cloudy copper, minimal mocha head. Nose is cool, maybe some raspberry in the malt. Cola, bit of earthy yeast.

Mouth is very malt forward, and yes, earthy; maybe leather, too. Lightly bitter, touch of berry (and Belgian) sweetness at the end. Good medium mouthfeel, short finish, but a bit too much alcohol warmth showing up later down the glass.

Pairing: Bit thick for its own good. Latter era Manson or KMFDM.

Photo
Granville Island: Uncle Monty’s Best Bitter (session bitter, Vancouver)
Pours rust, light froth but no real head, as you’d want from a bitter. Nose is big, lively pale malts, sweet red fruit, medium hops.Mouth: hey, not bad! Clean body, pale, bittersweet malt flavour, with tiny hints of fruit. Bit too much hops and carbonation on the end to feel properly English, but still a lot closer to the style than most get (the Old Stone’s bitter in Peterborough might still be the best English bitter I’ve had in Canada).
Points for the Withnail & I ref, and at only 3.6% it is indeed a great session option.
Pairing: Light but lively offering from unexpected corners. Battery, “Distance”

Granville Island: Uncle Monty’s Best Bitter (session bitter, Vancouver)

Pours rust, light froth but no real head, as you’d want from a bitter. Nose is big, lively pale malts, sweet red fruit, medium hops.

Mouth: hey, not bad! Clean body, pale, bittersweet malt flavour, with tiny hints of fruit. Bit too much hops and carbonation on the end to feel properly English, but still a lot closer to the style than most get (the Old Stone’s bitter in Peterborough might still be the best English bitter I’ve had in Canada).

Points for the Withnail & I ref, and at only 3.6% it is indeed a great session option.

Pairing: Light but lively offering from unexpected corners. Battery, “Distance”

Photo
Ninkasi: Spring Reign (blonde ale, Eugene Oregon)
Pours bright peach, one finger translucent head. Nose is fruit, mango, zesty hops, lots of barley. Not sure that they can term this a session beer in good conscience at 6%, but hey, I’m not one to judge how they do in Oregon.Mouth is light and clean, good malt; I guess it’s sessionable in that regard. Balanced, not that ambitious or showy. Suitably refreshing, but not huge on character.
Pairing: Adequate seasonal fare. Iris, “Disconnect”.

Ninkasi: Spring Reign (blonde ale, Eugene Oregon)

Pours bright peach, one finger translucent head. Nose is fruit, mango, zesty hops, lots of barley. Not sure that they can term this a session beer in good conscience at 6%, but hey, I’m not one to judge how they do in Oregon.

Mouth is light and clean, good malt; I guess it’s sessionable in that regard. Balanced, not that ambitious or showy. Suitably refreshing, but not huge on character.

Pairing: Adequate seasonal fare. Iris, “Disconnect”.