Dear James S.M.A.S.H. Saison – Trading Post Brewing


From Trading Post Brewing in Langley comes their “Dear James S.M.A.S.H. Saison” a Single Malt and Single Hop beer.  The beer pours an cloudy orange gold colour with a white head.  The aroma consists of tropical fruit, sweetness, yeast and grassy hops.  The flavour is of tropical fruit, apricot, citrus, candied sugar, yeast and mild bitterness.  The alcohol content comes in at 6.5% with an IBU of 26.  Trading Post has a knack of making tasty beers and this one is no different.

Commercial Description:  Dear James refers to a letter written to HBC Chief Trader James Murray Yale, urging him not to marry a woman for whom he had been enamoured with during his first years at the fort. Ignoring the outrageous pleas, James married the woman he loved and fathered two daughters with her.  Known as the quintessential artisanal brew, this farmhouse style Saison, has notes of apricots, citrus and spice. Brewed using Bohemian pilsner malt and Mosaic hops, this complex and refreshing beer shimmers a golden straw colour and is perfect for farmers.

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No 82 Amaretto Altbier – Doan’s Craft Brewing Company (Sons of Vancouver Distillery)


From Doan’s Craft Brewing Company in East Vancouver in collaboration with Sons Of Vancouver Distillery in North Vancouver.  This beer is a blend of Doan’s Altbier and Sons of Vancouver’s No 82 Amaretto and called “No 82 Amaretto Altbier”.  The beer pours a deep amber colour with a tan head.  The aroma consists of honey, vanilla, caramel and apricots.  The flavour is of vanilla, honey, caramel, brown sugar and apricots.  The alcohol content comes in at 6% with an IBU of 25.  While Doan’s Craft Brewing makes a tasty Altbier adding the Amaretto from Sons of Vancouver takes it to the next level.  This is a crazy good dessert beer without being really sweet.

Commercial Description: The story goes that Evan met James Lester from SOV back when the two were homebrewing funky beers. Evan, then working at Dan’s Homebrewing on Hastings, struck up a conversation with James. A few years later the two now small business owners were cheersing one day and thought it might be nice to collaborate on something. The idea was to fortify one of the Doan’s darker beers with the No.82 Amaretto. And so the Altaretto was born.  Releasing a subtle nuttiness from the Amaretto, the new beer is surprisingly well balanced with a great base provided by the German style pale that finishes with a light honey sweetness. Buy a pint at either the Brewery or at the Distillery in North Van.

Barrel Aged Apricot Ale – 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 this is one of the first beers in the series. The beer is aa called  “Barrel Aged Apricot Ale” but sadly with this beer they did not bother to number the bottles on this release like the last Barrel Aged Scotch Ale.  This golden ale was aged in a blend of white and red French Oak wine barrels.  The beer poured a deep orange colour with an off white head.  The aroma consists of apricots, sweetness and some wine.  The flavour is of apricots, sweetness, red and white wine, wood, lots of fruit and some oak and alcohol.  The alcohol content comes in at 8%.  Not as complex as their last barrel aged beer but this is really enjoyable and I would recommend you pick up a bottle if you can find it.

Commercial Description:  This golden ale has been aged to perfection for one full year in a blend of red & white French Oak wine barrels.  After careful selection the beer was moved on to farm fresh apricots for a month of infusion.  This bold ale has a beautiful balance of alcohol warming notes, oak and fruit leaving a pleasurable unique lasting impression of barrel aged intensity.  Open now or later, but always enjoy with friends and family.

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Apricot Sour – Red Collar Brewing


Red Collar Brewing in Kamloops has ventured into an area of brewing their brewmaster David has never gone.  Worried about infecting a brewery with wild yeasts a problem that can be very real with sour beers David had always avoided the style.  Working with the university in Kamloops in the lab he was able to find a yest strain that he could kettle sour his beers with that would pose little risk to the brewery overall.  From this has come his first ever sour beer their “Apricot Sour” a Berliner Weisse.  The beer pours a cloudy yellowy orange colour with a white head.  The aroma consists of apricot with a tart and yeasty finish.  The flavour is of a good tart hit up front with apricots, citrus, some mild earth and maybe a hint of wheat and yeast.  There is not much sweetness in this beer and it lets the tart notes take over.  The alcohol content comes in at 5% with an IBU of 10.  This is a pretty darn good sour and it is even more impressive as it is Davids first attempt at a sour.  I hope this beer is a success and we see more sours coming out of Red Collar Brewing especially if they could end up in bottles!

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Fou’ Foune 2013 – Brasserie Cantillon


From Brussels, Belgium’s Cantillon comes their “Fou’ Foune 2013″ an Apricot Lambic.  This beer was bottled on August 30th, 2013 and consumed on April 14th, 2014.  The beer pours a light golden orange colour with a white head and no lacing to be found.  The aroma consists of some mild funk, apricot, unripe fruit and some yeast.  The flavour is of some funky acidity, apricots, unripe fruit, yeast and an overall tartness.  The alcohol content comes in at fairly standard 5%.  This is just another great beer being produced by Cantillon.  I don’t know if I would pay the huge premium for this beer again or hunt as hard as I had to to buy this bottle but I would love to have it again in the future regardless.

Commercial Description:  A marvellous wine grower’s house with a view on the Rhône river. A large table with a perfectly roasted young goat and delicious wines (Hermitage and Saint-Joseph).  Around the table, only good friends.  It was 1998. There was a friendly atmosphere, the food was excellent, it was a perfect occasion to improve the world and let our imagination run away. Improving the world has remained an illusion, but one of our fantasies has become reality.  François Daronnat, an apricot grower nicknamed “Foufoune” was one of the participants.  He kept on singing the praises of his “Bergeron” apricots : they were the most natural, the most beautiful, the most delicious, sweet and acid at the same time.  “With those apricots, I could brew you a beer, dear François”, I told him. But my spirits got bemused by the great Rhône wines and I forgot all the dreams and crazy ideas which pop up at these great moments.  Foufoune, however, hadn’t forgotten about the apricots and the beer: on a morning in July 1998, I discovered all of a sudden 300 kgs of deliciously mature “Bergerons” outside the Cantillon brewery.  Foufoune was obviously someone who kept his promises.  It was up to us now. The result was perfect and the limited production of apricots lambic was destined for a small part of the French market.  Due to the success of our provençal beer, 1200 kgs of apricots are delivered now every year to the Cantillon brewery. The fruits are stoned by hand before being soaked in 2 years old lambic. The beer extracts the taste and the aromas very quickly and the Fou’Foune is bottled after two months. The beer is rather sour, slightly turbid and has a pale gold colour. Its production is limited to 3000 liters a year. A large part of the bottles go back to the region where these apricots come from. People there consider the Fou’Foune Cantillon as a local beer.

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