Unsanctioned Saison – Category 12 Brewing

From the new Category 12 Brewing in Victoria comes their “Unsanctioned Saison”.  The beer pours a copper colour with a white head.  The aroma is of wheat, yeast, clove, spices and some fruit notes.  The flavour is of wheat, yeast, citrus rind, clove, spices, fruit and hops bitterness.  The beer comes in at 6.9% alcohol with an IBU of 27.  At 27 IBU I was surprised at the amount of hops bitterness that came through.  For me this was no problem though as I love some bitterness in my beer.

Commercial Description:  Our flavourful Saison is discreetly sessionable. It boasts a crisp body with a dry finish and a bouquet that is distinctly Belgian. Hints of clove and spice, complemented by aromatic hops, make us stand out where it matters most.


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Finale: Brewmaster’s Brunch – VBW – March 15th, 2015

One of the events that I was looking forward to the most at Victoria Beer Week was the Brewmaster’s Brunch on Sunday March 15th, 2015.  I had heard some great things about this event from the year before.  The premise was to pair 6 different 4oz pours of beer with 6 different food courses.  Seeing as I had to drive soon after this event I had to keep to just the 6 samples as it came out to 2 12oz glasses or just over a pint.  If you were not driving they would serve you full glasses of the beer on offer with the one rule that all of the 4oz samples of each beer had to be poured before they would serve full glasses.  Full glasses were at an extra cost.  The event took place at The Atrium building in downtown Victoria.  I find it amazing that this great location could be used as almost every tenant is a government organization.


At each place setting along the tables that snaked all over the room you could find a menu of all the food and beer that were to be enjoyed.

VBW Brunch-004

As you arrived you were handed the first sample of beer which happened to be Hoyne Brewing’s Voltage Espresso Stout.  Once in the doors you had to remember to not drink all your beer right away as it was to be paired with the first course.  With that in mind I found a seat.  I did move fairly quickly though as I was invited to sit with the Owner of West Coast Brewery Tours Elton invited me to sit with him and his Fiance (or Wife my bad I can’t remember).  Once the majority of people were seated the first course started to be served.

First Course
“Coffee & Dougnuts”
Chef Tara Black From Origin Bakery (Gluten Free bakery but these were Gluten Filled!)
Hoyne Brewing – Voltage Espresso Stout

VBW Brunch-006

The espresso flavour in the beer really cut down on the sweetness of the doughnuts.  Although the sweetness cuts though on some of the bitterness from the coffee also.  Come on who doesn’t like some espresso with their early morning (or late morning after cask fest)  breakfast sweets?

While we enjoyed this course Tara Black and Sean Hoyne got up to discuss the pairings.

Second Course
“Spring Green Salad”
Papaya, avocado, antioxidant papaya seed dressing by Chef Alesha Davies of AJ’s Organic Cafe
Lighthouse Brewing – Shipwreck IPA

VBW Brunch-013

You probably can not go wrong with pairing a very tropical fruity IPA with a fruity salad in my books.  Because of the fruit in the salad I found that the sweetness overtook the bitterness of the IPA fairly well and even seemed to please the group of people beside me that hated IPA’s.

Third Course
“Alder Smoked Salmon”
brioche, egg yolk, butternilk potato puree, wild nodding onion by Chef Brad Holmes from OLO Restaurant
Gladstone Brewing Co – Belgian Single

VBW Brunch-017

This was a tasty dish and was a hit from everyone around me.  I found the salmon to be a bit salty for my liking but don’t listen to me as I am very picky with my Sea Food and only like fish as it is.  The Belgian single is a style we need to see more of.  It is quite tasty although light with lots of yeasty notes like you would expect with a very low alcohol content.  Good on Gladstone for bringing out one of these beers that seem to be almost non-existent in Canada.

We had more speakers but I can not remember who they were but I would assume it was Brad Holmes of OLO and someone from Gladstone Brewing.

VBW Brunch-018

At this half way point Joe Wiebe the Thirsty Writer author of Craft Beer Revolution got up and spoke about how well Victoria Beer Week had gone on its second Annual event.   Seeing as it was a smashing success once again it was a very upbeat talk.  He did mention that all of the organizers would need some rest after pulling Victoria Beer Week off.

VBW Brunch-019

Fourth Course
“West Coast Beans & Toast”
Fernwood coffee rye eye braised saanich organic beans, Sloping Hill Farm’s pork belly, Spinnaker’s beer bread toast, Highland Bound Ranch smoked egg mimosa, locally foraged stinging nettle coulis by Chef Ali Ryan from Spinnakers Brewpub.
Spinnakers Brewpub – Reve de Londres Belgium Porter

VBW Brunch-022

Seeing as this beer was a collaboration between Spinnakers Brewpubs brewery and kitchen you know it would be good.  The food was amazing and my favourite course with great beans and minimal pork.  Do not ask me why the Chocolaty mildly fruity porter worked but it really did!

Once we got our plates Chef Ali Ryan and Kala Hadfield got up and talked about the pairing.

VBW Brunch-023

Fifth Course
“Scotch Tamale”
Parry Bay Mutton chorizo, quail egg, maseca, masa husk, mole, lime, cilantro by Chef Kelland from 6 Mile Pub.
Category 12 Brewing – Unsanctioned Saison

VBW Brunch-026 VBW Brunch-025

This course I was sadly was not big on. It seemed to lack in flavour and was a bit doughy.  The very mild spice did build a bit with the saison which was nice.

Sixth Course
“Chocolate Pretzels”
chocolate pate, salted caramel, Herman’s lager meringue by Chef Thomas Yesdresyski from the Westin Bear Mountain.
Vancouver Island Brewery – Herman’s Dark Lager

VBW Brunch-027

The Herman’s Lager meringue was to die for being nice and frothy.  The chocolate and pretzel where great tasting and went well with the roasted malts and chocolate flavours of the beer.

Not only was this a great brunch but the company was great also!  If this bunch and the whole Victoria Beer Week says anything about what next years festival will be like then you should be very excited!

One other exciting part of this brunch event is that there was a pop up liquor store.  With the new changes to the liquor laws some of the changes have been very beneficial to the average consumer (Not most but some!).  Spinnakers has a line of liquor stores on the island and they were the group that decided to set up the pop up store at this event.  At this store basically every Victoria brewery was sold as well as a few others including Salt Spring Island Ales.


Categories: Beer Travel, Tasting Event | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Brews Brothers Collaboration Mixer Pack – Parallel 49 Brewing

Parallel 49 Brewing in East Vancouver has come up with a great new product to hit the market.  Welcome the “Brews Brothers Collaboration Mixer Pack”.


This collaboration mixer pack includes 12 beer that have been made in Collaboration with 12 other breweries in BC.  Many of the breweries will be familiar but some may not be to the average Metro Vancouver beer drinker.  The pack includes collaborations with Townsite Brewing, Steel & Oak Brewing, Firehall Brewery, Bomber Brewing, Persephone Brewing, Storm Brewing, Rossland Brewing, Dageraad, Moon Under Water, Brassneck, Yellow Dog Brewing and Powell Street Craft Brewery.

As I write my reviews of these beer I will link back to this post.

Categories: Beer Launch Event | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Leaky Barrel Dunkel – Green Leaf Brewing Co

From North Vancouver’s Green Leaf Brewing Co at Lonsdale Quay comes their “Leaky Barrel Dunkel” a Dunkelweizen.  The beer pours a dark brown amber colour with a small beige head.  The aroma consists of roasty malts, dark fruit and brown sugar.  The flavour is of toasted malts, brown sugar, dark fruits, and earthy notes.  The alcohol content comes in at 6.2% with 25 IBU.  I do not know this style all that well but I enjoyed this beer.


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Closing Cask Night – VBW – March 14th, 2015

Every good beer week requires a great closing cask night.  Victoria Beer Week 2015 was no different.

VBW Closing Cask-009

On March 14th, 2015 the closing cask festival was held at the Victoria Public Market.  While the opening cask festival centered on Victoria beers the closing cask festival centered on Vancouver and other parts of British Columbia.  Being from Vancouver I was happy to see that most of the breweries on hand brought interesting one off casks not just standard fair.  This event seemed to really have a buzz especially as many of the beer on sample were from breweries that are not easily attainable on the island.  As I know one of the organizers I did not have to wait in line and was able to get a bit of an inside look into the setup of the event.  Here are a few of the photos I took while behind the scenes.

Once it got closer to the time that the doors would open I got a my grubby mitts on the list of beers that would be poured.

VBW Closing Cask-008

The beers included if the list is not clear enough:

Bomber Brewing – Winter Tropics’ Stout
Brassneck – Inertia II
Bridge Brewing – Black Rye IPA with Cocoa nibs
Cannery Brewing – Turbanido Sugar
Central City (Red Racer) – Oaked India Style Red Ale
Dead Frog Brewery – Belgian Mist
Fernie Brewing – Griz Pale Ale dry-hopped with Mosaic & Simcoe
Four Winds Brewing – Vexillum Imperial IPA
Green Leaf Brewing – Les Saisoniers
Howe Sound Brewing – Devil’s Elbow dry-hopped with Summit & Topaz
Main Street Brewing – Session IPA with Brettanomyces
Moody Ales – Raspberry Blond Ale
Old Yale Brewing – Hazelnut Sasquatch Stout
Parallel 49 Brewing – Rye the Sterling Face
Postmark Brewing – Dry-Hopped Citra & Simcoe IPA
Powell Street Craft Brewing- White IPA
Red Truck Beer – Fresh Squeezed Delicious
Stanley Park Brewery – Rum Soaked Oak Chips
Steamworks Brewing – Imperial Red Ale
Steel & Oak Brewing – 001 Azacca The Projekt
Strange Fellows Brewing – Talisman West Coast Pale Ale with Mosaic (not listed)
Townsite Brewing – Black Wheat Beer
Yellow Dog Brewing – Pineapple/Mosaic IPA

Once the doors were about to open I was able to get my glass that came with 8 drink bottle caps and one food ticket.  More could be bought at 4 beer tokens for $5 and one food ticket for $5 both of witch you would need more as the beer and food were both great!VBW Closing Cask-010

Once the doors opened it was a steady stream of ticket holders, brewmasters and brewery owners.  The event was very relaxed with little to no stupidity that can break out when you have alcohol involved.  People were way to excited to try amazing beer to be causing any trouble from what I could tell!

Overall the cask festival was an amazing event.  I met all kinds of great people be it festival goers or VBW volunteers.  For the Volunteers you know who you are thanks for being really friendly and chatty.  I also never need a reason to chat with all of the brewery owners and brewmasters from the Vancouver region and I did a ton of this at this closing cask event.  I have to say that Victoria seems to know how to hold a cask event to be sure!  Being inside of the Victoria Public Market really gave a cool vibe to the event also.  It is a really cool space that lends itself to large gatherings!


Categories: Beer Travel, Tasting Event | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Barrel Aged Scotch Ale (673 of 750) – Mission Springs Brewing

Mission Springs Brewing out of Mission BC have been quietly building up a brand new series of beers.  This series of beer is called the Stave Lake – Lost Barrel Series and the first beer in the series is a “Barrel Aged Scotch Ale”.  A portion of this beer was aged for 10 months in French Oak Barrels while another portion was aged in a freshly drained Okanagan Cabernet Sauvignon barrel for 2 weeks.  Large portions of both barrels were then blended with fresh stainless steel fermented scotch ale to create this beer.  Only 750 bombers were made and are hand numbered with this bottle being number 673.  The beer pours a deep brown colour with hints of ruby red under light and an off white head.  The aroma consist of roasted malts, peat, fruit, oak and a hint of Cabernet Sauvignon.  The flavour is of roasted malts, earth, caramel, toffee, dark fruits, Cabernet Sauvignon, maybe some cherries, oak and a sweet finish.  This is a very complex beer!  The alcohol content comes in at 8% alcohol.  I will probably have to try and hunt some more of this beer down as it is fantastic and only having one bottle to cellar would be awful!

Commercial Description from Head Brewer Kevin Winter:  We took a French Oak barrel and put Scotch Ale to sleep for 10 months. The Ale took on a complex oaky and soft silk-like spirit form. The second barrel had been drained of the previous tenant, Cabernet Sauvignon, the day before in the Okanagan and sent to us the following morning where we inoculated it immediately with our Scotch Ale for a short 2 week nap. It awoke with a massive red wine hangover and a gorgeous bouquet. We took the very best amounts of the two alongside fresh stainless steel fermented Scotch Ale to round it all together, and the result is what’s here in the bottle. A unique expression of barrel aging Ale in French Oak Red Wine Barrels.

IMG_20150324_224855 IMG_20150324_190643

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

Audible Ale – Redhook Brewery

From Redhook Brewery in Seattle Washington comes their “Audible Ale” a sessionable pale ale that was made in collaboration with the Dan Patrick show.  Although I cant stand the Dan Patrick show I do love our Local Sports talk station TSN 1040 so I can see the attraction of teaming up with a group like this that talks sports and only sports.  I think this draw to partner with sports shows is a little off base though as Macro is king in the sports world and so is drinking Macro swill excessively.  This beer had me worried from the get go though as it was dubbed as a “Crushable beer”.  I have not looked to crush beer since I was 19 years old give or take a few years (Its been a few since then).  Sadly Sports and crushing beer go hand in hand for to many people.  Lets get to the beer.  The beer pours a light copper colour with a white head.  The aroma consists of very light caramel and some fruity notes but they are hard to pick out.  The flavour is of again very light caramel with some fruity citrus.  The beer comes in at 4.7% with an IBU of 22.  There is nothing wrong with this beer as it is really easy drinking and would be a great beer to sit down to a sports game with.  I more have an issue with its marketing as it is really marketing to the Macro beer crowd and I like to distance myself from them.  The aim should always be to drink for flavour not to drink just to get drunk. But if you are looking for a 6 pack or three to over enjoy during a sports game this is a much better choice than macro.

Commercial Description:  Redhook has teamed up with Dan Patrick to brew the ultimate craft beer for watching sports: plenty of flavor and aroma, and crushable enough to make you want another — without making you sloppy by halftime. So, whether you’re watching the Dan Patrick Show in your mancave, or tailgating in a parking lot, it’s time to fill your passion bucket with crushable craft. Listen to your thirst. It’s Audible.


Categories: Pale Ale, Session Ale | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Red Dragon Imperial Red Ale – Dead Frog Brewery

Limited Release

If you live in British Columbia you are likely to have seen this symbol around town.

Photo credit

Recently Red Dragon Skateboarding (Red Dragon Apparel) out of Vancouver teamed up with Dead Frog Brewery in Aldergrove to create a new and exciting beer called the “Red Dragon Imperial Red Ale”.  The beer pours a cloudy brown colour with a tan head.  The aroma consists of passion fruit and an overall tropical fruit tone that overpowers everything else.  The flavour is of Passion Fruit and an overall tropical fruit hit with citrus, pine, hops bitterness and a sweet finish.  The alcohol content comes in at 8% with an IBU of 50.  Not only is the Label really cool (And will also be available on RDS t-shirts soon from my understanding) but the beer is also very tasty!  Its a big beer that holds up to a big skateboarding brand like RDS in BC.

Commercial Description:  This is a monstrous dark red ale with massive helpings of hops and malts.  A robust & rich malt base is perfectly balanced with a tropical citrus flavour & aroma provided by hearty helpings of citra dry hopping.

Water, malted barley, hops, yeast
Malts: Pale Ale, Cara Amber, Munich, Cara 20, Special B
Hops: Citra

Recommended glass as per brewery:  Hollowed out skull of your enemies.  For this beer I stuck a pint glass though.



Categories: Imperial, Red Ale | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Craft Beer Revolution Town Hall – VBW – March 13th, 2015

I was not lucky enough to make it out for the full week of Victoria Beer Week but I did make it early in the evening on Friday March 13th, 2015.  Once I checked into my hotel I headed over for the Craft Beer Revolution Town Hall event.  The event was sold with this sentence “A panel discussion with some of BC’s brightest craft beer minds exploring what’s next for the province and Victoria in particular.”  The talk was held at the Victoria Event Centre a medium sized room on the second floor of a building in downtown Victoria.

VBW Townhall-001 VBW Townhall-002

Once in the doors there were some great beers to consume including the following

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Before the event began we were encouraged to grab a beer and socialize.  They had some shirts and hats for sale as well as the second edition of Craft Beer Revolution for sale.  Some of the very well known Vancouver Brewmasters and Brewery owners were in attendance.

Once the room was full the event began.  To start it all off they showed a video.  Once the video was finished the host Khalil Akhtar of CBC called up the first panel.

Panel 1 consisted of Nigel Springthorpe owner of Brassneck Brewery, Iain Hill Brewmaster of Strange Fellows and Nigel Pike of Main Street Brewing.  The three well known brewery owners in Vancouver discussed all kinds of topics centering around the Vancouver Brewing scene.  The topic that kept on coming up though was brewery lounges.  seeing as breweries in Victoria for the most part don’t event have proper tasting rooms let alone lounges this is a very interesting topic for the people of Victoria.

Once the panel finished talking Joe Wiebe came up to the stage to discuss his second edition of his book Craft Beer Revolution.  The event was a book launch of sorts.  The first edition was released in 2013 and the second edition already has 40 new breweries!  Now that is what I would consider a revolution!

VBW craftbeerrev-001

Joe discussed his thoughts on the brewing scene in BC and specifically Victoria.  He also discussed what he would like to see happen in BC including filling growlers in local private liquor stores.  This point seems to be a point of contention in Victoria as was noticed in the second panel.  If you don’t have a copy of this book yet then you really need to pick up a copy!

VBW Townhall-021

After Joe talked there was a second video.  I wish I remembered what the videos were talking about but I was to busy socializing with Brewmasters and Joe.

The second panel then was called to the stage that included Joe Wiebe, Karen Kuzyk of Category 12 Brewing, Matt Phillips of Phillips Brewing, Ben Isitt a Victoria City Councillor and Steve Watson who is part of a group that wants to open a brewery in Victoria under the Vancovuer brewery lounge model.  This panel showed quite quickly that not all of BC is on the same page on the brewing scene.  For that matter not everyone in the City of Victoria is on the same page as this panel got heated at points.  Victoria seems to be under the impression that if breweries open up brewery lounges it will hurt their local buyers like bars and restaurants.  Victoria may be smaller than Vancouver but if my city has anything to say about this way of thinking it would be to say its a myth.  Every time a new brewery opens up in Vancouver with a lounge it gets busy.  The thing to look at is that every other brewery is also busy as well as every craft beer focused pub or restaurant.  Brewery lounges seem to just bring more people to the craft brewing scene that like to buy local.  If you have a local brewery where you can sit down and have a few sleeves you will build a connection and want to support that business.  Another point that came under fire was Joe Wiebe’s suggesting that we have growers filled at local liquor stores.  Breweries worry that beer won’t be served properly or lines won’t be cleaned correctly.  These are all great points but if we look at the United States for a second we can see that this model can work really well.  Not only at private liquor stores but at your local gas station also!  When I was in Arizona the best beer store that also happened to fill growlers was a Chevron station.  Sadly I think this will be a point of contention in the Province for a long time.

Once the panels were done talking the room was free to discuss the topics that were brought up in the room.  There was lots of discussion and more beer to be had by all.

This was a great event that made you think deeply about where the brewing scene is going in Victoria and around the province.  It is always good to keep and open mind and think of the best ways to help grow the brewing scene.  Good on the organizers for dreaming up this event!

Categories: Beer Travel, Tasting Event | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Maple Shack Cream Ale – Granville Island Brewing

From Granville Island Brewing out of Vancouver comes their new “Maple Shack Cream Ale” the last in their new Under the Bridge Series.  Like all of their small bottle beers this one is produced by their parent company. The beer pours a deep amber colour with a tan head.  The aroma consists of malts, toffee and maybe some maple.  The flavour is of malts, caramel, earth, maple with little to no hops bitterness.  The alcohol content comes in at 5% with an IBU of 19.  This beer is by no means ground breaking but for an entry level craft beer its well worth a pick up.

Commercial Description:  This malty, smooth maple cream ale has a hint of maple syrup, with a mild hop bitterness. It’s a tribute to both Quebec’s legendary sugar shacks, and the tin roofs that littered this island back in the day. Big saps welcome. Get Under the Bridge.

Food pairing as per brewery:  It’s roasted. Caramel malt flavours go well with all kinds of roasted meat flavours. Perfect pairings: Roast beef or BBQ ribs.


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

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