Saturday, September 13, 2014

Phillips 13 Knot Anniversary

I have seen some great marketing ideas during my blogging days. There have beers in pine boxes. One litre sized cans in a German stein was nice. Glow in the dark labels are fun. Bottles hand wrapped in paper are very elegant. No one can deny the pull of an Advent Calendar full of beer. This marketing idea by Phillips almost tops them all. Who can pass up an drink combination that could be called the PNW boilermaker? An imperial IPA with a side of liqueur, this is great. Reminds me of something the legendary Bert Grant was rumoured to have done. He would place a few drops of hop oil extract into any beer he was drinking if it was deemed underhopped. There is a nice write up about the pricing and legality on Brian's Blog. So how does this marketing gimmick taste?

Phillips 13 Knot = 8/10

This review will be in three parts; IPA only, liqueur only and both together. Perhaps we should start with the best part, the Hop Drop liqueur. I am certainly not an expert on spirits, but this hop drop is darn tasty. The favour is similar to a dry hopped mezcal. Ample honey sweetness and smooth with a slight pine and citrus addition. Very nice. This the best part of the package. Drink the spirit, trade the beer.

The Impy IPA on its own tastes like any other Phillips hop bomb. It reminded me like last years anniversary IPA and the year before last years. A beverage sure to please the hop heads in BC. Massive hop bitterness that is a mix of key limes, grass, pine and tropical fruits. The acidic mouthfeel feels like you did a face plant into a pile of pine needles. Once the initial attack fades, there is a lot of flavours to work through. There is cotton candy, pine sol, geraniums, pie crusts (Thanks Brian), and bread dough.

The two parts together make it a quite syrupy sip with acetone vapours. It almost becomes hard to taste anything, but there are whole wheat croissants, pine resin and a citrus fruit basket.

Interesting fact: It is illegal in some states to display a noose. 

Taste +3
Aftertaste +2
Alcohol Content +1 (11.8 or 13%)
Value +1 (the liqueur is worth the cost)
Appearance +1 Great packaging

Glassware: Definitely a tulip.

Food Pairings: I honestly can't think of any food that could stand up to this exorbitantly hopped beverage.

Cellar: Maybe, since I plan to have a few bottles left over.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Thoughts and rants on GCBF

Last year someone mentioned that there was no Beer Fest thoughts by a local blogger. There was a reason for this; it is our time to enjoy, be with friends and relax. No thinking, no analysis just enjoy some great local beer. Lucky for you I have no friends and can't learn to relax. Here are my thoughts about this years Great Canadian Beer Fest.

The food looks great this year. There are two regulars (Ali Baba Pizza and that delicious Caribbean place) and four food trucks. Thank you food trucks! Menus are posted on-line so you can plan ahead.

I'm assuming there will be lots of awesome volunteers, great musicians and entertainers. I wonder if that guy in the Mad Hatter outfit will be doing card tricks again. But enough of that; let's talk about the beer.


In previous years the local brewers have delivered lackluster casks, with the exception of Lighthouse, Moon and Swan's. Many of the other casks in attendance were a dry-hopped regular beer. That is not a cask, it's an afterthought. This year, we cask people are in for a treat. Of the 40 casks that I noticed, there were only three that mentioned they were dry hopped regular beers. Twenty two casks did not mention anything unique about ingredients or yeasts. To me this says beer in steel barrel and put on counter to look good. While the remaining fifteen noted a unique brewing technique or ingredient addition. Top cask picks in no particular order
- Central City - Impy IPA collaboration with Ninkasi, P49, Gigantic aged in Cognac and Bourbon barrels
- Driftwood Singularity - Extra long boil them matured in Makers Mark bourbon barrels
- Lighthouse Currant Event - Soured with whacky yeast collection for nine months with additions of black currents, wheat, spelt, rye
- Moon x2 - Anniversary ale with grape juice on oak and Berliner with raspberry and Brett.
- P49 - Sour red ale in French oak for 18 months. Now that is planning
- Townsite - Kombuca wheat. This one sounds interesting.
These casks will be available on Friday. It should be sadly noted that Tofino will not have a cask at beer fest. Their spruce tip IPA last year was stellar.

New Breweries

I noticed 14 new BC breweries in attendance at this years beer fest. This is only 1/2 of the number of new breweries that opened in 2014, according to Jan Zeschky. I plan to check out the ones that are furtherest from: Three Ranges (Valemont) and Wheelhouse (Prince Rupert). True, Barkerville brewing is far away in Quesnel, but their beers are readily available in Victoria. The list of new beers to try is daunting, but here are my picks:
- Brassneck Magic Beans - Brown ale with cold brewed coffee
- Canoe Rye IPA - brewed in collaberation with Gerry Hieter.
- Cider Riot from Portland - everything
- Deep Cove - patersbier
- Fuggles and Warlock - Black Rye IPA (the name says it all)
- Green Leaf Acid Trip - Berliner weiss
- Three Ranges Red Ale
- 33 Acres Seasonal (unnamed at time of GCBF listings) perhaps Axel M or Schol.

US Pavilion
Most of the US breweries will be nestled within their own little enclave, with exception of Cider Riot from Portland. This area will be a mix of must and must not try beers. There are a large portion of these beers you can currently find on store shelves in Victoria. While the masses are lined up to try Stone's IPA, Fat Tire or 90 Minute IPA check out these hidden gems:
- Caldera Brewing IPA
- Kulshan Brewing IPA
- Saugatuck Milk Stout
- 90 Minute IPA - yah it's worth the wait.
- New Holland - Dragon's Milk Stout - Bourbon Barrel Aged HELLO!

Hopefully attendees will explore new beer options and not just drink stuff they can find on tap anywhere. Of the local stuff here are the items I am looking forward to trying:
- Big Rock Rhine Stone Cowboy Kolsch - Yes Big Rock. I had a sample of this Kolsch and found it very nice
- Lighthouse new Pilsner (Yes the Pilsner market it saturated but not many are any good)
- Longwood Ginseng - Just for an Untappd tick and giggles
- Old Yale Sasquatch Stout - this beer is great. 2014 BC beer of the year. Maybe Old Yale should mention this on their website
- Steel and Oak red pilsner - sounds like a nice twist
- Water from the cooler. Must stay hydrated

See you all there. I will be the one in my usual blue Hawaiian shirt.