Sleigh Booster Imperial Red Ale – Bridge Brewing Company

From Bridge Brewing out of North Vancouver comes their “Sleigh Booster Imperial Red Ale”. The beer pours a deep red colour with a tan head. The aroma consists of fruit, a hint of roasted malts, bitterness and some caramel. The flavour is of fruit, sweetness, caramel, roasted malts, bitterness and some earthiness. The alcohol content comes in at 9% and an IBU of 71. I really enjoy these big imperial red ales and this was no different.

Commercial Description:  Pouring a brilliant ruby red, this Imperial Red Ale is loaded with depth and flavour, with caramel character shining through from the Crystal, Caramel and CaraVienna malt. This is balanced with a hefty hop bill containing Chinook, Columbus and Centennial, which can handle the big flavour provided by the malts. The perfect warming beer for cooler weather!

bridge brewing sleigh booster

BC Breweries 30th Anniversaries

This year was the 30th Anniversary for three different BC Breweries.  First off there is Spinnakers Brewpub in Victoria BC the very first Brewpub in Canada.  The other two breweries that are celebrating their 30th are Vancouver Island Brewery in Victoria and Granville Island Brewing in Vancouver (Owned by Molson).  The craft beer boom may be going strong but these are some of the real pioneers for craft beer in Canada.  I would like to congratulate the breweries on fighting the good fight all these years!

All three breweries released a beer to celebrate this occasion.  Granville Island Brewing released a new 6 pack offering as the start of a new series of beers called the Under The Bridge Series and the beer was called Swing Span Amber Ale.  Read the review here.


Both Spinnakers and Vancouver Island Brewery released special one off bomber releases.  Spinnakers Brewpub released “30th Anniversary Grand CRU” while Vancouver Island Brewery released a “Thirty Years Imperial Red Ale”.  In great BC tradition both beers were very big imperial ales with tones of flavour that packed a punch.

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Because Spinnakers and Vancouver Island Brewery brewed special one off releases I wanted to honor them together with a combined review.

Spinnakers Brewpub – 30th Anniversary Grand CRU

The beer poured a dark amber almost brownish colour with an off white head short lived head.  The aroma consisted of sweet dark fruits, caramel, candied sugar, wine, spices and some yeast notes.  The flavour was of sweet dark fruits such as raisins, earthiness, candied sugar, spices, Belgian yeast, tartness, some herbal notes, mild bitterness and some alcohol warming.  The alcohol content comes in at 8% with an IBU of 20.  This beer although a little thin was very full of flavour and a really good commemorative brew.  I would like to see Spinnakers play around with this style more and untap the possibilities.

Commercial Descripiton: In celebration of our 30th Anniversary, we present our Grand Cru as a token of thanks. Brewed with UK Marris Otter Pale malt, Belgian yeast and dark candi sugar, our Grand Cru is a medium-dark, malt-forward, complex ale best enjoyed with friends.

Cheers to the next 30!


Vancouver Island Brewery – Thirty Years Imperial Red Ale

The “Thirty Years Imperial Red” poured a ruby red colour with a tan head.  The aroma consisted of sweet fruits, dark fruits, anise, sweet caramel malts, molasses which is very reminiscent of barleywines.  The flavour was of fruity with good notes of dark fruits (rasins), sweet Caramel malts, orange, citrus, rum, mild hops bitterness and an alcohol warmth at the end.  The alcohol content came in at 8.5% alcohol.  Other than Vancouver Island Brewery’s Hermannator Ice Bock this is their most complex and exciting beer to date (That I have tried that is).

Commercial Description:  For over 30 years we’ve lived the belief that one trend is here to stay – true craftsmanship and quality. With this in mind we decided to pay tribute to our long standing Piper’s Pale Ale and ramped up the recipe to create a big, bold and robust beer. This malty, well-hopped Imperial Red Ale is our way of saying thank-you for your support. Cheers!


Both of these beers are extremely well crafted brews and well worth being commemorative 30th anniversary beers.  I would like to congratulate all three breweries on 30 years of brewing and look forward to the next 30+!

Congratulations from Mike’s Craft Beer!

I was lucky enough to go over to Victoria and celebrate the 30th Anniversary of Spinnakers Brewpub with the Brewery and locals.  Click here to check it out!



The Red Sea of Cacao – Big Island Brewhaus

From the town of Kamuela on the Big Island of Hawaii’s Big Island Brewhaus & Tako Taco Taqueria comes their “The Red Sea of Cacao” an Imperial Red Ale.  This beer is a collaboration between Big Island Brewhaus and Caldera Brewing Company out of Ashland Oregon.  The beer pours a reddish copper colour with an off white head.  The aroma consists of sweet caramel, chocolate, fruits and sea salt.  The flavour is of caramel, chocolate, molasses, malts, fruits, sea salt and pepper.  There is some alcohol warmth to finish this beer off.  The alcohol content comes in at a big 8.6% with an IBU of 30.  This is a very weird beer in a very good way!  This was a very well made beer.

Commercial Description:  This beer is a collaboration with brewer Jim Milla (SP) from Caldera Brewing Company in Ashland, Oregon.  An Imperial Red Ale reminiscent of a liquid chocolate-caramel-sea salt candy bar with a touch of fruity spice.  Brewed with barley, hops, molasses, chocolate, pink sea salt and black peppercorns.  Quite amazing really.  (Transcribed from a blurry photo.  I tried to go for a perfect copy)

big island brewhaus - red sea of cacao

Imperial Double Red Collaboration Ale – Central City Brewing (Flying Monkeys Craft Brewery)

O’hare’s Beer Club June 2013 Box

Limited Edition

Red on Red Collaboration (East Coast meets West Coast )

This beer was a collaboration between Central City Brewing (Red Racer Brewing) out of Surrey BC and Flying Monkeys Craft Brewery out of Barrie Ontario.  The beer “Imperial Double Red Collaboration Ale” is what came out of this collaboration.  The Imperial Red Ale pours a deep copper/red with an off white head.  The aroma consists of hops, hops and more hops with papaya, guava, and malts.  The flavour is of huge Mosaic hops up front with papaya, guava and a malty finish.  The alcohol content of this brew is 9.5% but it is not noticeable.    This is a beautiful Imperial Red Ale and I am glad I have a second bottle in the fridge.

Commercial Description: The Canadian flag – red in the east; red in the west. Double Red. A perfect style for the “East meets West” collaboration born at the 2012 Session Toronto Craft Beer Festival between BC’s Central City Brewers & Distillers and Ontario’s Flying Monkeys Craft Brewery.  This Limited Edition Double Red Ale has been single-hopped using the first release of the brand new “Mosaic” hops bringing out floral notes of Papaya and Guava, creating a unique flavour and aroma when married with the Pale, Munich and Three Crystal malts.

Food Pairing according to O’hare’s Beer Club notes are as follows:  Semisoft cheese, Gouda, havarti

Central City Brewers and Distillers
Flying Monkeys Craft Brewery

Click here to check out the August 2013 Box

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