4TH ANNIVERSARY ALE (Barleywine) – Powell Street Craft Brewery

From Powell Street Craft Brewery in East Vancouver comes their “4TH ANNIVERSARY ALE” a barleywine aged in oak barrels with brettanomyces.  They made 4 barrels of this beer and in the end did not blend them so all 4 beers are quite different.  This review is of a bottle of 3 of 4 barrels as I was told this was the funkiest of the 4.  This was bottle 64 of 266.  The beer pours a deep chestnut brown with cloudiness and a tan head.  The aroma consists of big funkiness, dark fruits, toffee, caramel, brown sugar and sweetness.  The flavour is of brett funk, dark fruits, toffee, treacle, brown sugar, roasted malts, oak,  earth, bitterness and alcohol.  The alcohol content comes in at 10.4% with an IBU of 44.  I had  this beer on tap at the brewery and also this bottle and being a huge barleywine fan I was very excited about how this beer turned out.  Not only was it a great barleywine but the Brettanomyces really added some amazing character and Brett is not often added to this style for some reason.

Commercial Description:  Our fourth anniversary ale is a Barleywine aged for 18 months in French oak barrels with Brettanomyces Bruxellensis and Brettanomyces Lambicus. A pleasant and distinct funky aroma leads into flavours of dried dark  stone fruits and umami overtones which are then complemented with a dry sherry-like finish.


Figaro (2013 Project) – Cascade Brewing

From Portland Oregon’s Cascade Brewing comes their “Figaro (2013 Project)” a Northwest Style Sour Ale.  This beer was aged in Oak Barrels with White Figs and lemon Peel.  This beer was my very first Cascade Brewing bottle that I was able to purchase in Canada!  The beer pours a cloudy orange with a white head.  The aroma consists of tartness, lemon, lemon peel and maybe some figs.  The flavour is of big tartness with lots of lactic acid, lemon, lemon peel, fig and really quite fruity and sweetness.  This batch of the beer comes in at 10.7% alcohol.  This is an amazing sour ale although drinking a full 750ml bottle gives me some crazy heart burn.  Next time I will have to just share a bottle (any takers?).

Commercial Description:  Strong blond beers were aged in fresh Chardonnay barrels for three months and then additionally aged with dried Adriatic white figs and Spanish lemon peel. Aromas of sweet malts, figs, raisins and citrus zest greet you in the nose. Hints of Chardonnay grapes, lemon peel and sweet figs roll across the palate, leading to crisp lemon sharpness in the finish that will leave a lingering sweetness on the tongue.


The Vine – Cascade Brewing

From Portland Oregon’s Cascade Brewing comes their “The Vine” a sour ale aged with grape juice from white wine grapes.  The beer pours a cloudy orange with a very little head.  The aroma consists of white wine, sour, vinegar, oak and come citrus peal.  The flavour is of sour, vinegar, oak, grapes and some vanilla.  The alcohol content comes in at 8.85% but is not all that present in the flavour.  This is an amazing sour ale just like everything else that Cascade Brewing is doing.  The difference here is with grapes being added it has an ever so slight wine flavour coming though with the other great flavours.  I am not a wine fan but it can compliment a great beer fore sure!

Commercial Description:  This Northwest Style Sour Ale is a blend of Blond ales that were aged in oak barrels for up to 12 months before cold aging on fresh pressed grapes for an additional three months.


Black 黑 – Mikkeller

Mikkeller is a phantom brewery from Copenhagen, Denmark that contract their beer to be brewed all over the world.  This brew was brewed at De Proefbrouwerij in Belgium and is called ” Black 黑 “.  This is an extreme beer in every way!  This beer is aged on French Whiskey barrels for a full 3 months.  The beer pours a deep opaque black with a chocolate brown head.  The aroma consists of whiskey, vanilla, roasted malts and licorice.  The flavour is of whiskey, vanilla, burnt malts, licorice, wood, tobacco, chocolate, hops bitterness and some mild alcohol.  The beer also has a pretty good warming effect.  The alcohol content of the beer is 17.5%… yes you read that correctly it is 17.5% and only tastes mildly of alcohol!!!  This is an amazingly smooth beer and is very dangerous as it just does not taste strong at all!

Just to show I am not crazy it has a rating of 98/100 on Ratebeer.com and 85/100 on beeradvocate.com.

Commercial Description:  The strongest beer in Scandinavia. This imperial stout is the craziest, wildest, strongest beer from Mikkeller to this date. Not for sissies…….! Sample it fresh or store it for many many years to come!
Ingredients : Water, malt, roasted barley, dark cassonade, ale yeast and champagne yeast.


Imperial Sour Flanders Red Ale – Storm Brewing

From Storm Brewing out of Vancouver BC comes the very interesting “Imperial Sour Flanders Red Ale” a Belgian sour style beer. Storm brewing is only available on tap locally and this pint was enjoyed at St Augustine’s pub on Commercial Drive. The beer pours a deep brownish red with a white head. In every way this beer packs a bloody punch! The aroma of this beer is of Sour fruits such as cherries, some spices and a real tartness. The flavor is intense with Sour fruits like cherry, some sweet undertones as well as a very tangy vinegary taste. The beer also has a woody taste that comes from aging the beer in Oak barrels for over a year! This beer sits at a very impressive 11% alcohol while being very easy to drink with little to no alcohol taste present.

If you are not an adventurous beer drinker avoid this beer as it will not be for you. If you like to live on the wild side though, buy a glass and take it a sip and savor the brew in all its glory!