Utopias 2013 (Aged 2 years) – Samuel Adams


Limited Edition
Bottle 6,561 of less than 15,000

From Samuel Adams out of Boston Massachusetts comes the Holy Grail of most beer nerds “Utopias” 2013 Vintage (also the most expensive beer to date).  This beer destroys your perception of what a beer is as not only is it uncarbonated but it is also 28% alcohol and is a blend of beers some of which have been aged in barrels for up to or more than 20 years!  This years edition has been aged in Bourbon barrels, 8 year old port barrels and rum barrels and the finished product is blended together with a small amount of their beer the Komsic Mother Funk.  Before you pour this beer understand it is not meant to be refrigerated and should be served at room temperature in one or two once pours.  The beer pours a deep brown colour with absolutely no head which makes sense as this is uncarbonated. The aroma consists of maple syrup, cognac, whiskey, booze, vanilla and some dark fruits.  The flavour is of maple syrup, dark fruits, vanilla, cognac, whiskey, alcohol warmth, chocolate, cherry, earth, brown sugar, rum, butterscotch, toffee, honey and plums.  This is a huge beer at 28% and there is no doubt when you drink it.  I still really enjoyed this beer although I have to say that there has not been a huge change over the last year since I tried this last.

Commercial Description:  Utopias is brewed using traditional methods. The brewers begin with a blend of two-row Caramel and Munich malts that impart a rich, deep amber color. Noble hops – Hallertau Mittelfrueh, Spalt Spalter and Tettnang Tettnanger – are also added to lend complexity and balance. During fermentation, several yeast strains are used, including one normally reserved for champagne. The beer is then blended with a variety of different brews, some of which have been aged in different wood barrels for more than 20 years. As a result of the blending and aging, Utopias invokes the flavors of a rich vintage Port, fine Cognac, or aged Sherry while feeling surprisingly light on the palate.

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Categories: Barrel Aged, Strong Ale, Super Imperial | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Helter Smelter Amber Ale – Rossland Beer Company


From Rossland Beer Company in Rossland BC comes their “Helter Smelter Amber Ale”.  This review is part of my lost notes that were recently found from my Summer trip to the Kootenays.  The beer pours a deep amber colour with off white head.  The aroma consists of biscuit malts, citrus and a sweet finish.  The flavour is of biscuit malts, fruity and citrus with a mild hops bitterness at the finish.  The alcohol content comes in at 5% with an IBU of 22.  Being a Nano Brewery in the Kootenays makes it hard to find their beer as it is only sold out of the brewery itself but if you find yourself in Rossland make sure to stop buy and get a growler fill!

Commercial Description:  Our helter smelter is a classic amber with biscuit notes and a soft warming alcohol touch in the aroma and flavor. The hops aren’t your typical citrus hops, but they are still refreshing and crisp. Perhaps what’s best about this beer is that it has universal appeal to any and all beer drinkers.

rossland helter smelter amber

Categories: Amber Ale | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Bourbon County Brand Stout 2013 – Goose Island Beer Company (Aged 1 Year+)


From Goose Island Beer Company out of Chicago Illinois comes their highly sought after “Bourbon County Brand Stout”.  This beer has been aged in bourbon barrels and bottled on November 8th, 2013.  Don’t let the fact that AB InBev purchased this brewery in 2011 keep you away from this brew as it would be a serious mistake.  The beer pours a opaque black with a brown head.  The aroma consists of bourbon, vanilla, toffee, roasted malts, sweetness and alcohol.  The flavour is of toffee, caramel, chocolate, vanilla, bourbon, oak, roasted malts, tobacco, maybe some leather, raisins, sweetness and lots of alcohol warmth.  The beer comes in at a huge 14.9% alcohol (yes you heard that correctly) with an IBU of 60.  This is no tame stout and one bottle is probably enough to get you going!  I would say this is one of the best stouts that I have every consumed and I have had many stouts.

Commercial Description:  Brewed in honor of the 1000th batch at our original Clybourn brewpub. A liquid as dark and dense as a black hole with thick foam the color of a bourbon barrel. The nose is an intense mix of charred oak, chocolate, vanilla, caramel and smoke. One sip has more flavor than your average case of beer.

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Categories: Barrel Aged, Imperial, Stout | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Hyper Combo Red Rye IPA – Dead Frog Brewing (Fuggles & Warlock Craftworks)


Dead Frog Brewery has declared a war against Fuggles & Warlock Craftworks in their new Collaboration brew “Hyper Combo Red Rye IPA”.  The beer pours a dark amber colour and an off white head.  The aroma kicks you with rye notes, big malts and tropical fruits.  The flavour will knock you off your feet with rye, earth, big malts, tropical fruits, citrus, pine and lots of bitterness.  This Hyper Combo comes in at 8% alcohol and a big IBU.

Commercial Description:  A tropical hurricane kick dry hopped with citra, amarilla & galaxy. The Hyper Combo Red Rye IPA is a robust, medium-bodied dark amber ale with the aroma of citrus, bread, and honey. A burst of lemon gives way to tropical fruit, then a tingling spiciness that slowly fades into a dry, lingering finish.

Ingredients: water, malted barley, hops, yeast
Malts: 2-Row, Munich, Rye Malt, Carapils, Crystal 80, Crystal 40, Crystal 20, Midnight Wheat
Hops: Citra, Amarillo, Galaxy
ABV: 8%

Suggested food pairing as per breweries: aged Gouda, hot pastrami sandwich, Rogan Josh, Xi’an cumin lamb pulled noodles.

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Categories: Double IPA, Imperial | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Hobbit: The Gollum Precious Pils – Central City Brewers & Distillers


Central City Brewers & Distillers out of Surrey have taken on a different kind of challenge with The Hobbit series of beers.  The other two beers in this series are not their creations but a brewing and distribution deal through MGM and (from my own understanding) Fish Brewing (USA Version) and BevLink LLC although this beer is a complete departure from the American cousin.  Three beer have been released as part of this series including the “The Gollum Precious Pils”.  This Pilsner pours a light straw yellow colour with a white head.  The aroma consists of biscuit malts, bread, citrus and floral hops.  The flavour is of bread and biscuit malts, citrus and some very mild hops bitterness.  The alcohol content comes in at 5% with an IBU of 30.  This is a well crafted pilsner to be sure but I am not sure why Central City Brewers & Distillers decided to change this recipe from the 9.5% and an IBU of 85 as this would be much more appealing to the craft beer focused consumer.  I wish I tried this while in the USA recently as it sounds awesome!

Commercial Description:  With flavors as smooth and crafty as Gollum himself, the Gollum Pilsner (5% alc./vol) is brewed in the classic Bavarian tradition, using only the finest two-row barley, and hops from the Hallertau region of Germany. This light and golden Pilsner has a distinct hop aroma and flavour, with a dry, crisp finish.Like the One Ring which Gollum has spent his life pursuing, the “precious” pils, if your quest leads you to it, may not extend your life, but it may make your journey a little more enjoyable!

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Categories: pilsner | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Border Porter – White Rock Beach Beer Company


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The White Rock Beach Beer Company’s seasonal offering is their Border Porter, a Baltic style porter.

This has the look I expect from a Baltic Porter, dark to the point of opacity, held up to a light light only makes it through the narrow part of the glass at the bottom.  The head doesn’t stick around for long but has a nice brown colour.

The nose has a light, fruity sweetness reminiscent of cherries over cocoa with a bit of yeastiness and a promise of a dry taste.

The flavours have a dark caramel bass line with cocoa running through the low treble.  Occasional fruit notes punctuate the taste and nice dry bite.  A little bit of biscuit flavour creeps in occasionally.

I think a nice charcuterie plate or well sauced ribs would make a good pairing for this beer.

Categories: Porter | Tags: | 3 Comments

Nectarous Dry Hopped Sour – Four Winds Brewing Company


Extremely limited release

From Four Winds Brewing in Delta BC comes their “Nectarous Dry Hopped Sour”.  This beer falls withing the Eurus Series beers that come in 750ml bottles with a cork and cage.  The beer pours a cloudy orange colour with white head.  The aroma consists of peaches, nectarines, citrus, passion fruit and an overall sweetness.  The flavour is of a medium lactobacillus tartness, peaches, nectarines, citrus, passion fruit, lime, sweetness, a touch of brettanomyces funk and a very mild hops bitterness.  The alcohol content comes in at 5.5% with an IBU of 61.  I thought that their Saison Brett was epic but I think this may have surpassed even that!  Cascade Brewing in Portland better watch out!

Commercial Description:  “In the pursuit of sour, peach and nectarine play lead, while galaxy hops lend notes of citrus and passionfruit.” NECTAROUS is a dry-hopped, kettle soured beer that is intended to drink fresh! Keep refrigerated!

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Categories: Sour Ale | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Cartel Coffee Lab – Tempe Arizona


In Tempe Arizona there is a really cool coffee shop where they roast their own beans in house.  The Coffee shop is called Cartel Coffee Lab.  Most coffee shops would be very happy with being just a great coffee shop but not these guys.  They also have a small nano brewery in house!

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The coffee shop itself is pretty funky with the roasters off to the side so you can see the process.  There is a ton of seating and very helpful staff.

I wish I had taken more photos of the coffee shop side but I don’t drink coffee so at the time I just didn’t think of it.  The side I really cared about though was the brewery side and the lounge on that side.  The brew system looks like a really high end home brew system in the back with some tanks tucked in the other corner of the lounge.  I was quite impressed with the quality of beer that was being produced out of this coffee shop and I really think someone in Vancouver needs to look into doing this!

If you head to the Tempe (Phoenix) area in Arizona make sure to check out this coffee shop and brewery or one of their satellite locations around  the state.  You will not be disappointed in the beer or the coffee!

Cartel Coffee Lab

http://www.cartelcoffeelab.com

225 West University Drive
Tempe, Arizona

Categories: Beer Travel, Brewery | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Guizer Northern Milk Stout – Strange Fellows Brewing


Every Month Strange Fellows Brewing will hold a special Strange Days event over a weeks time.  For January 2015 they are Celebrating “Up Helly AA” a Scottish Tradition.  For this event they have crafted their “Guizer Northern Milk Stout”.  The beer pours a deep brown colour with a small tan head.  The aroma consists of roasted malts, lactose and some sweet chocolate.  The flavour is of Toasted malts, burnt coffee, mild chocolate, very mild lactose sweetness and a dry finish.  This beer is much less sweet than the average milk stout.  The alcohol content comes in at 4.5%.  If you are looking for a sweet milk stout you may be disappointed but this is a great full flavour stout that almost anyone could get behind (including me).

Description of Up Helly AA from brewery: UP HEIIY AA MIDWINTER – SHETLAND ISLANDS, SCOTLAND

PUFFS OF BREATH MIST THE COLD AIR AS A LONE HORN SIGNALS TO THE CROWD OF HAIRY, TORCH‘BEARING MEN. OLD BALLADS & THE SOUND OF THOUSANDS OF STAMPING FEET ACCOMPANY A MASSIVE VIKING LONGSHIP AS ITS DRAGGED THROUGH THE DARKENED STREETS. THE PROCESSION ENDS WITH THE TORCHING OF THE LONGSHIP, SYMBOLIZING THE REBIRTH OF THE SUN. FOLLOWED BY UPROARIOUS CELEBRATION UNTIL THE WEE HOURS, THIS PAGAN FIRE FESTIVAL MARKS THE END OF YULETIDE FEASTING, 8. HONOURS SHEIIANDEIIS‘ NORSE ANCESTRY.

WE HAVEN’T GOT A LONGSHIP TO BURN, BUT WE CAN STILL HONOUR OUR INNER VIKING WITH A GLASS OF ALE THAT WILL STICK TO YOUR RIBS, PRDCLAIMING “DIIINII HAIL — I DRINK & GOOD LUCK BE To YOU”.

CELEBRATING IN THE TASTING Room JANUARY 21st – 27th

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Categories: Stout | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

That’ll Do India Pale Ale – Huss Brewing


From Huss Brewing out of Tempe Arizona comes their “That’ll Do India Pale Ale”.  The beer poured an amber colour with an off white head.  The aroma consisted of a lemony citrus with a sweet and floral finish.  The flavour of the beer is of big bitterness and earthiness with caramel, citrus, lemon peel and a resinous finish.  Like I found with most Arizona beers it was sweeter than West Coast IPA’s but very tasty.  The alcohol content came in at 7.1% with an IBU of 91.

Hops used for brewing: Simcoe, Columbus and Zythos Hops.
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Categories: India Pale Ale | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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