Winter Bourbon Barrel Bomber – Grand Canyon Brewing

From the Grand Canyon Brewing Company in Williams Arizona (Near the Grand Canyon) comes their “Winter Bourbon Barrel Bomber” witch contains a Flavor Bomb that contains a bourbon soak oak stick to condition the beer.  The beer pours an amber brown colour with an off white head.  The aroma consists of malts, oak, caramel and floral hops.  The flavour is of big malts, vanilla, caramel, chocolate, oak, spices, earth and bitterness.  The alcohol content comes in at 5.6% with an IBU of 20.  The bourbon is very muted in this beer with the only hints coming from the vanilla.  Not the best brown ale that I have had but still a really well made brew and worth the price.

Commercial Description:  Seasonal Brown Ale with maple syrup and aged on bourbon barrel oak. (Oak chips according to a source) also has oak chip flavor bomb inside the bottle. Our seasonal brown ale brings the warmth back to the winter. Brewed with maple syrup, and aged on bourbon oak.


Underdog Pale Ale – Torchlight Brewing

From Torchlight Brewing (Beacon Brewing when I was there) out of Nelson in the Kootenays comes their “Underdog Pale Ale”.  This review is part of my lost notes that were recently found from my Summer trip to the Kootenays.  The beer pours a copper colour with an off white head.  The aroma is very fruity with a good malt backbone.  The flavour consists of big fruits, lots of malts and a medium hops bitterness to finish it off.  The alcohol content comes in at 5.4% with an IBU of 40.  This is an average pale ale to my palate but I recommend you head out to this great little nano brewery and try it for yourself as you may just think its great.

beacon brewing underdog pale ale

Wooly Bugger Barleywine 2013, 2014 – Howe Sound Brewing (BC Beer Bloggers Local Winter Favourites Part 2, #3)

BC Beer Bloggers Local Winter Favourites – This special review is part of a multi-blog collaboration between five BC Beer Bloggers (including a guest from over the mountains in Alberta) where we each chose our top three local winter releases and are blogging about them. Please take a look at the bottom of this review for the other links to see all the beers we chose in no particular order and bookmark these sites so you can check them often.
West Coast Beer Geek

Winter beers are often higher in alcohol content and darker in colour.  With higher alcohol content comes the opportunity to age beer and see how they change over time.  With this in mind I got my hands on Howe Sound Brewing’s 2013 and 2014 vintages of their “Woolly Bugger Barelywine”.


When I poured both beer side by side I did notice that the 2013 was slightly lighter in colour although both were a dark chestnut colour.  Much like the differences in colour the 2014 had a much more active and larger tan head than the 2013.


Woolly Bugger Barleywine 2013 Vintage

The aroma consists of dark fruits, big malts, caramel and molasses.  The flavour is of dark fruits, big malts, caramel, molasses, some sweetness, pine and hops bitterness.  There is a hint of alcohol but more present as warmth.


Woolly Bugger Barleywine 2014 Vintage

The aroma consists of dark fruits, sweet malts, caramel and some brown sugar.  The flavour is of dark fruits, big malts including caramel, brown sugar, sweetness, hops bitterness and pine.  This beer is still fairly hot with alcohol but it is still very drinkable.  It is obvious that this beer was fairly fresh with the high alcohol content.

Both Vintages of this beer come in at a big 10.5% alcohol by volume and an IBU of 75.  As both versions warm up the flavour builds and this is quite noticeable with the bitterness.  With a year of aging this beer looses a big chunk of its boozy nature and the malts take over.  Not every beer should be aged but when it comes to big winter ales like Barleywines it is almost better to buy a couple bottles and hold onto them for at least a year before consuming.

Commercial Description:  A rich, malty barley wine-style ale, with an intense the depth of flavour. Named for the Woolly Bugger wet fly, one of the most effective and widely used patterns in fly fishing. Brewed with pale, crystal, cara, chocolate and special B malts, Nugget, Fuggles and Golding hops, water and ale yeast.

Food Pairing as per brewery:  The malt & caramel flavours of this barley wine make it a great accompaniment with hearty meals and desserts and aged cheeses, nuts and winter specialties.

Awards for beer
2014 Bronze Medal in the North American Beer Awards
2013 Bronze Medal in the North American Beer Awards
2012 Gold Medal in the Canadian Brewing Awards
2011 Bronze Medal in the Canadian Brewing Awards

Participating Bloggers: be sure to check them daily, I’ll add in their links as they go up!

West Coast Beer Geek – A beer geeks perspective on craft beer, beer events, beer pairings and more.

Mike’s Craft Beer – Not for the weak of taste buds. Lots of great beer reviews, brewery reviews and events on this site.

Dennis the Foodie – Weaving a personal story of food and beer in Vancouver, BC. Very thorough food reviews, great photos and beer pairings.

Western Suds – An Alberta craft beer blog written by a craft beer enthusiast and ambassador for the growing Alberta craft beer scene.

Beer Rater – A beer guide without all the fluff, just some straight forward drinking advice.

How to stay tuned into what we are doing? Look for the hashtag #bcbeerbloggers as we will be using it a lot. Please engage us in conversations, enjoy our posts, try these beers and share our work if you like it.


2012 Whiteout Port Barrel Aged Barleywine – Burnside Brewing

From Portland Oregon’s Burnside Brewing comes their “2012 Whiteout Port Barrel Aged Barleywine” a blended barleywine with a portion of 2012 whiteout aged in port barrels then blended with some young 2013 whiteout.  The beer pours a reddish brown with an off white head.  The aroma consists of port, dark fruits, semi sweet cherries, mild tartness and some malts.  The flavour is of port, dark fruits, cherries, mild tartness, big malts, hops bitterness and some mild warming.  The beer comes in at 10% alcohol with an IBU of 55.  This barleywine is amazingly different and I would love to have a few more bottles to age!  This release was limited to 2136 total bottles.

Commercial Description:  With Golden Promise, Crystal and Honey malts, flaked oats Centennial and Meridian hops. The 2012 Whiteout was aged for a year in Port barrels that were used to age Big Bottom Whiskey, and then blended with a portion of young 2013 Whiteout.



Swing Span Amber Ale – Granville Island Brewing

From Granville Island Brewing out of Vancouver comes their new “Swing Span Amber Ale” the first beer in their new Under The Bridge Series.  This series has been created to celebrate the breweries 30th anniversary.  This new recipe was created by the brewmaster Vern Lambourne from the Granville Island location but brewed by the parent company Molson.  The beer pours an amber colour with a small tan head.  The aroma consists of tropical fruits, citrus fruits, malts and caramel.  The flavour is of big malts and caramel with tropical fruit, citrus and a decent amount of hops bitterness for a finish.  The alcohol content comes in at 5.6%.  This has to be the best standard bottle beer that Granville Island Brewing produces.  It is right in line with all of the bomber bottle releases!

Commercial Description:   Vancouver, BC – Making great beer “under the bridge”  (UTR) since 1984, Granville Island Brewing is celebrating our 30th birthday by paying tribute to the uncompromising roots of our home turf. We’re thrilled to introduce the new Swing Span Amber Ale.  “Swing Span’s a perfect brew to toast to Dirty 30,” says GIB brewmaster Vern Lambourne. “It’s a medium-bodied, deep amber ale that’s rich with aromas of premium Mosaic and Cascade hops. With Swing Span, we’re living on the edge without neglecting what’s made our beers so special for 30 years: premium brewing, all-natural ingredients and our irreverent Left Coast attitude.”  Way back when, Granville Island was the industrial heart of Vancouver. Daring workers pushed themselves to their limits in gritty factories serving the forestry, mining, construction and shipping sectors. Until 1950, Granville Island operated beneath a swing span bridge that opened up whenever a tall ship sailed through.  Today’s Granville Island is one of the city’s top destinations for tourists and locals alike—home to markets, artisans and, of course, Granville Island Brewing.  A nod to our heritage, Swing Span Amber Ale is part of Granville Island Brewing’s new Under the Bridge series, where every beer experience is a trip down the road less travelled to a destination of delectable discovery. Available in six-packs or on tap at your favourite bar or restaurant, Swing Span is assertive enough to pair well with spicy and savoury flavours or an exciting exploration on its own. Sound the horn for Swing Span!  Make things. Do things. Craft things. Brew things. That’s what we’re all about on the Island—always has been. Get Under the Bridge: It’s good to be here.

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