From Victoria’s Category 12 Brewing comes their “Belgian Golden Strong Ale (Barrelholder Release)”. This is the first release of a barrel program that was funded by the customers of the brewery. This beer was aged in red wine barrels. The beer pours a cloudy golden colour with a white head. The aroma consists of wine, oak, fruity notes including citrus and some, vanilla, caramel and spices. The flavour is of citrus especially lemon, melon, wine grapes, candied sugar, caramel, vanilla, oak, spices and a mild hint of alcohol. The alcohol content comes in at a high 10.6%. Once again Category 12 Brewing has hit it out of the park with this release. I am so happy that I happened to find a bottle in a Vancouver store!
Commercial Description: Our Barrelholder series pays homage to the contributors of a successfuly campaign that allowed us to get an early start on the delicious process of barrel aging. Cheers to the original Barrelholders, and to you, the holder of this bottle! This limited release Belgian Golden Strong Ale is crafted to be bright and crip with a medium body. Lightly fruity and spicy, the aging in red wine oak barrels has imparted delicate toasted oak and caramel notes. Combined with sweet vanilla overtones and a deceptive 10.6% ABV, the barrel process has added depth and complexity to an already delicious beer.
From Brouwerij Bosteels in Belgium comes their “Pauwel Kwak”. The beer pours a deep copper with a light tan head. The aroma consists of caramel, candied sugar, plums, sweetness and a hint of alcohol. The flavour is of toffee, caramel, candied sugar, raisins, earth, mild roasted malts and sweetness. The alcohol content comes in at 8.4%. This is a great Belgian Strong Pale Ale that hits on all the notes you would expect from the style.
From Old Abbey Ales the new brewery on the block in Abbotsford comes their “Dark Strong Ale”. The beer pours a deep almost ruby brown colour with a light brown head. The aroma consists of dark fruits, candied sugar and a sweet toffee finish. The flavour was of dark fruits, candied sugar, bananas, sweetness and an earthy finish. The alcohol content comes in at 9% and an IBU of 26. This is a solid beer to be launching a brewery with with a ton of flavour and a fairly smooth finish for a 9% beer. I look forward to when the bottle conditioned beers start to arrive in stores.
From Abbotsfords Surlie Brewing comes their “Solitaire” a Belgian Strong Dark Sytle Ale. This ale pours a deep brown with an off white head. The aroma consists of malts, dark fruits and candied sugar. The flavour is of caramel malts, dark fruits, banana, candied sugar, yeast with a mild sweet finish. The alcohol content comes in at a mildly strong 6.5%. This beer really reminds me of beers coming out of Belgium and is very tasty! Pick up a bottle for yourself to find out!
Commercial Description: “Solitaire is a strong beer with hints of dark, dried fruit and spice. The direct fire brew kettle brings out subtle caramel notes. Grab your favorite glass and enjoy this beer doing what you love.”
Food pairing as per Surlie Brewing: pairs well with aged cheddar.
From the Abbaye Des Rocs out of Montignies-sur-Rocs, Belgium comes their “Brune” a Belgian Strong Ale. This beer pours a dark ruby colour with an off white head with some sediment present. The aroma consists of roasted malts, spices, dark fruits and some raisins. The flavour is of sweet dark fruits, raisins, roasted malts, toffee, cherries, spice, bitterness and some warmth. The alcohol content comes in at 9%. This Brune is a very good beer an I will be hunting down a bottle or three more for future enjoyment!
Commercial Description: Abbaye des Rocs (9% alcohol vol.) is a pure malt beer, with no added sugar. The entire range of tastes is directly linked to the double fermentation, the precise quantities of malts (7 types) as well as the mixtures of three kinds of hops (Belgian, German and Czech). Its colour is a striking deep and majestic red. Its taste is rich and full of subtlety. It is tasted like a red wine with which it shares the ruby colour without having the tannin. It develops a strong sweet smell. It confirms the initial impression in the first mouthful, with a sharp body that is balanced with a certain fruitiness. It frees itself on the palate and develops an impressive depth of taste. Some traces of burnt wood are detectable, but never scorched even if it contains this kind of malt. The foretaste is very prolonged because of its rich and unctuous development throughout the mouth. The bitter and sugar tendencies (even though there is no sugar in its composition) compete and come back together to the taster’s great satisfaction. It is a deep, mystic and extremely mature beer to be classed among the great products of our soil.
Food Pairing according to O’hare’s Beer Club notes are as follows: Rochefort Cheese