Wednesday, October 27, 2010

St. Ambrious Oatmeal Stout

Ratebeer 3.95 100th percentile
Beer Advocate A-

Taste +5
  • nose: slight berry, roasted malts with only the faintest hint of bitter chocolate.
  • very assertive roasted/burnt with bitter chocolate and espresso
  • slight hopiness shows through with earthy and flowery
  • at the end a slight hit of molasses
Aftertaste +2
  • long lingering of bitter roasted chocolate and watery coffee
Alcohol Content 0 5%

Value +1

The best mass produced stout around.

Ingame Enhancement +1

Every day is a good day when you drink this beer.

Overall 9/10

If you like dry chocolaty stouts, this is the one. If you like Guinness, try this one and you will never go back to the black can again.

Blackheart Oatmeal Stout
Hammer Imperial Stout and Get Rich Quick
Stone Bitter Oatmeal Stout and Failure

Double Wit by Great Divide

Ratebeer 3.43 90th percentile
Beer Advocate B+

Taste +5
  • nose: wheat, spicy, yeast and lemon citrus
  • very assertive yeast blast lots of citrus fruits
  • long upfront yeast and ample carbonation
  • slightly acidic but not very astringent
Aftertaste +1
  • alcohol warmth with yeast, citrus tartness that faded too quickly
Alcohol Content +1 8.1%

Value +1

This a great strong wit. Certainly puts Hoegaarden to shame.

Ingame Enhancement +1

I don't care but it deserves the extra point.

Overall 9/10

Whoever says witbiers are bland and tasteless need to step away from the Rickard's White and grab one of these.

Red Racer White Ale
Estrella Damm Inedit

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Beer and Pancreatic Cancer? Please say it isn't so.

I never miss an issue of International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (IJERPH). Normally these sorts of wishy washy articles never get mentioned; especially when the ending states "need to be further evaluated". So you are not actually going to give us an answer. I know science asks more questions but don't push it.

Anyways.. one of the big complications of alcoholism - along with loss of friends, money and life - is pancreatic cancer. However some studies have shown that alcohol alone does not cause pancreatic inflammation. Also not good news is that beer drinkers have a higher risk of developing pancreatitis when compared to wine or spirit drinkers. But don't worry the risk only really jumps up if you drink more than 14 beers a week. It is thought that the greater amounts antioxidants in wine may protect you from pancreatic damage.

Back to the IJERPH article, which states that beer also contains antioxidants that can help prevent pancreatitis. This article mentioned that beer and wine both contain resveratrol but they never provided referencing proof. This is not true, at least not yet. The super antioxidant resveratrol is primarily found in red wine. For the non cork dorks you can also find it in peanuts and most small dark berries. Sadly this factual oversight ruins about 1/2 of the IJERPH article. Beer does contain the strong antioxidants quercetin (so do apples), catechins (like but not the same as green tea) and ellagic acid (raspberries). In animal studies all of these antioxidants protected against pancreatitis. So good for beer.

In conclusion don't read the full IJERPH article it is not very good. It also has a crappy acronym; even if I did just make it up. While unknown non-alcoholic compounds in beer can cause pancreatitis; other antioxidant compounds in beer can protect against pancreatitis. Both real and imaginary. Oddly they never mentioned the uber antioxidant in xanthohumol from hops.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Shipwrecked Triple IPA and a Salty Attitude

I don't really think I'm a salty dog, but I feel a little bitter. After a wonderful night of cask beer at Clive's I picked up a bomber of the new Lighthouse Shipwrecked IPA. Reluctantly, a bottle of Phillips Grow hop also made its way into my fridge. As I was telling Dave (beerinbc), the last thing this town needs in another uber-IPA. There was much hope in my heart that this beer would change my mind. Sartori fresh hopped IPA was OK, but not as good as last year. It's not to say that Sartori was not good, it was delicious. Everything these days is so hoppy; Hop Donkey is a prime example. Hop Donkey was also excellent, but still; can we get something different please. The bottle art on the Shipwrecked was a plus; it is beautiful. It was done by local artist Ken Faulks and is worth a purchase just for the bottle. So how did it taste?

Taste +3

The nose was oddly faint, but you can pick out sweet citrus and pine. It worked well and added great hopes of things to come. The first sip was complicated, so I took another. Let's break this big beer down: the mouth-feel was full and creamy and it provided a warmth in the mouth, but a burning in the gut. If I were to describe the taste it would be unfocused bitterness. Your tongue tingles partly from the hops and partly from the alcohol. The hops were big, but not too big, and centered around the pine and citrus (tangerine). There was also a light dose of cotton candy and wood. Malts were there also but who cares about caramel in a big IPA.

Aftertaste +2

It was long with solvent and coating amounts of pine and tangerines.

Alcohol Content +1 10%


Value 0

I came to this bomber with hope, but left with tears in my eyes. I wanted to like this beer so much. It was Lighthouse's first bomber and was hoping it would be a winner.

Ingame Enhancement 0

Even thought there was Hoarders on TV, there was sadness in my heart.

Overall 6/10

It is so hard to release an IPA in this town, because there are so many good ones already. The Shipwreck is a must try for any hophead. It has all the standard features of an uber-IPA; citrus, pine, sweetness and a lot of them. I wanted so much to love this beer, but it just wasn't there. The number of saddened sighs in this article totaled 24.

What I am looking forward to is the fulfillment of rumors about dopple bocks and barley wines.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

I feel is not what you think

I was sitting in my Las Vegas hotel room when the message came on my phone. The text message contained love; no it was not solicited. It was my main man Shawn from Clive's Classic lounge. He was saving me one of the last samples of his famous wood aged negroni. At this moment I learned that I was in Shawn's inner circle. I have this feeling Shawn's inner circle is like a Costco membership; not everyone one has one but lots do. Shawn is like that, he makes everyone feel welcome and special. This text was touching; I felt the love. Upon returning to Victoria I visited Clive's with gifts. Note to self: don't bring a famous bartender glassware. It is akin to bringing your carpenter a bag of nails.

I learned that there were to be more casks at Clive's. Thursday October 14th, there will be a cask from Salt Spring Island Brewery. To my knowledge this is the first cask done by Salt Spring Island Brewery. But I could be wrong; I often am. The style will be an alt style with estate grown hops. I'm looking forward to it. Also for all those glassware hoarders (myself included), ask about Oktoberfest. During the month of October, if you drink two glasses of everything on tap you get a box of various European/Belgian beer glassware. I would love to get my hands on a Delirium tulip glass.

Let the rumors fly. There might be a Left4Beer beer pairing dinner at Clive's in the new year. I have hosted a few before but this will be at a real restaurant. There may also be a few rare/aged beer tasting sessions in the back room. Dave from beerinbc will be helping with this one. Stay tuned. There is a lot of beer love out there.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Skookum Cascadian Dark Ale

Ratebeer 3.54 94th percentile
Beer Advocate A-

The black IPA is currently not a BJCP recognized style. However this has not stopped brewers or homebrewers from exploring this wonderful style. Some beer writers have recognized Phillips as being the first real producer of this style.

Taste +4

The nose is hop forward with pine, citrus but there is added roast and light chocolate. Pine vapours hit the palate first before the liquids arrive. Your tongue is washed with a large doses of citrus and pine with malts that are lightly roasted with chocolate. In case you were curiousm the mouth feel was medium to full, like most Phillips beers.

Aftertaste +2

The coating at the end was light with menthol. But the big winner was the long lingering of tart citrus with grapefruit, tangerine and slight resin. Oddly this is not a tongue coater.

Alcohol Content +1 6.5%

Value +1

This is a style all beer lovers should seek out.

Ingame Enhancement +1

This was enjoyed on tap at Fort Street cafe. Good beer is always better with good food.

Overall 9/10

The adds the pleasures of a big IPA with a light porter.

W10 Pitch Black IPA
Session Black Lager
Iniquity Black Ale

Ranger IPA (New Belgium)

Ratebeer 3.54 94th percentile
Beer Advocate B+

Taste +4

With a big nose with pine, roast and a slight resin your know this in an IPA that means business. This is backed up by an assertive pine, toasted and resinous hop presence. This sweet hop lineup is supported by a continent of caramel and bready malts. It is mostly pine. The mouthfeel was sticky and left a gloriously sweet and bitter tongue coating. If you are keeping track; it has 70IBU.

Aftertaste +2

The mouth puckering and tongue coating aftertaste was all pine bitterness.

Alcohol Content +1 6.5%

6.5% seem to be the magic number for big IPAs

Value +1

Sure to be a hop-head favourite.

Ingame Enhancement +1

Still in Seattle loving the great beer selection

Overall 9/10

New Belgium has once again shown that there is no hop shortage with the flavours in this beer. It is big with pine and resin with just enough bready malts to make it enjoyable.

Brew Free or Die IPA
Broken Halo IPA
Diamond Knot IPA

For the love of a good lager

I have never been fanatical about lagers or other pale beers. Perhaps my memories are tainted by pale yellow liquids that were tasteless and had short names. This bias stayed with me for many years and was only recently called into question. The beer that changed my mind was Session Premium Lager by Full Sail. It was light, refreshing but did not lack in taste. The grassy, honey and vegetal were backed up by a crisp floral and spicy hop blast. This beer was best described with two words; delicious and more please!

This lead me to try other lagers. I went out and bought an 8 pack of Vancouver Island Brewery Islander Lager. Rarely do I buy a six pack of anything, let alone an eight pack. There is not a review on my website; I decided to just enjoy the beer and not be critical by rating it.

So I decided to stay away from the IPA's that seem to dominate the Pacific Northwest beer palate and focus on trying lagers. Making a good lager is a hard thing; there is no hop blast to hide the off flavours.

This has lead me to try many lagers. This has also lead to some bad experiences; there are a lot of crappy lagers out there. There are also a lot of good lagers to be had. The risk of palate damage is worth the reward of a great refreshing lager. So bold beer drinkers, reign in your lust for the powerful hop slap. Reset your taste buds on low and enjoy a lager.