From Torchlight Brewing in Nelson BC comes their “Gruit (Traditional Medieval Ale)”. The beer pours a deep brown colour with a tan head. The aroma consists of lots of different spices and a sweetness but I can not really differentiate what is what. The flavour is of a mixture of spices, sweet caramel, some sourness and lots of fruit notes. The alcohol content comes in at 8%. I will admit the first time I had this beer when it was still fresh I was not a huge fan but this bottle has really mellowed out and I quite enjoyed it. I will also admit I enjoy very few Gruits as I am not a big fan of most of spice combinations they use.
Commercial Description: Definitely not for everyone this ancient ale is sour and less carbonated than anything we drink today. The recipe is from the Middle Ages and the herbs used to make it were used before hops were discovered. Flavoured with things like mugwort, yarrow, meadowsweet, heather tips, and fermented with some brettanomyces this is definitely a strange taste experience and not for the wary. It’s bottle conditioning and best when aged so putting it away to cellar will vastly improve its taste and carbonation.
Big Ridge Brewing in Surrey did their 1000th brew on December 9th 2016. To celebrate the event they brought together all of their former brewers to do this brew right with current head brewer Ashley Brooks.
Starting from back left working around front to right back Dave Callendar (Current Assistant Brewer), Dave Varga (Head Brewer 33 Acres), Nick Bolton, Ashley Brooks (Current Head Brewer), Tariq khan (Head Distiller Yaletown Distilling), Tony Dewald (Head Brewer Trading Post Brewing)
The beer they made was called the “Brew 1000 Wee Heavy Scotch Ale” and was released February 3rd 2017. The beer poured a chestnut brown with a brown head. The aroma consists of sweet caramel malts, mild roasted malts, earth and some fruit. The flavour is of sweet caramel, roasted malts, fruity, maybe a hint of peat with some mild bitterness. The alcohol content comes in at 7.6% with an IBU of 26. I’m not surprised with all of this brewing talent that this was a great beer. Try to make you way out to the brew pub in Surrey or watch their social media to see where the odd keg may end up.
From Winnipeg Manitoba’s Half Pints Brewing Company comes their seasonal brew the “Burly Wine 2014″ a beer that has not been released in a few years. The beer pours a cloudy brown colour with a small head. The aroma consists of a sweetness with dark fruits and an overall malty background. The flavour is of raisins, dark fruit, candied sugar, malts, some bitterness, sweet caramel and mild alcohol. The alcohol content comes in at 10.5% with an IBU of 75. This is a seriously good Barleywine and Half Pints really needs to make this more often!
Commercial Description: At Half Pints, we live by our motto: small brewery, BIG FLAVOR. Nothing proves this more than when we brew this extra strong ale. It is packed with five different malts for a strong dried fruit character and is hopped with UK Fuggles and Goldings for a woody, herbal aroma. This Barleywine is meant to be shared fireside with friends. Try it with a cheese plate of sharp Cheddar, Stilton, and Gorgonzola or a slice of rum soaked fruit cake. It will continue to improve with careful aging in a cool dark place, so try to save a bottle to compare with the new vintage. Serve at 12 degrees celcius in a brandy snifter. Unfiltered and unpasteurized. 75 IBUs Decoding Vintages:(2006 – Tan Beeswax) (2007 – Burgundy) (2008 – Green) (2009 – Blue) (2010 – Tan Wax, New Label) (2014 – No Wax, New Label) As seen in “World’s Best Beers” by Ben McFarland.
Parallel 49 Brewing out of East Vancouver released the second beer in their N2 nitrogenated beers the “ESB” an extra special bitter. The beer pours a copper colour with a really creamy tan head. The aroma consists of caramel, toffee and sweet fruits. The flavour is of flowery hops, sweet caramel and a fruity finish. The alcohol content comes in at 5%. Probably due to the nitrogen carbonation this tastes rather different than most ESB. This is a great easy drinking beer and a great second release in the N2 series.
The Jeff O’Neil Show on 99.3 the Fox loves their beer and their bacon and from what I understand they enjoy both in the mornings on air. Recently they teamed up with Central City Brewers & Distillers (Red Racer Brewing) out of Surrey BC to create a new limited Edition beer. The beers name is a hand full at “The Jeff O’Neil Show Red Racer Maple Bacon Breakfast Ale”. This amber ale pours a copper colour with a creamy white head. The aroma consists of big maple notes with smoke, malts and an overall sweetness. The flavour is of lots of maple, malts, sweet caramel, maybe some salt and lots of smoke. The alcohol content comes in at a normal 5%. I have heard very mixed reviews on this beer ranging from it was repulsive to it was amazing! I come in at this is a very well crafted beer with some very interesting notes. I did not taste any bacon but that is not surprising as there is no actual bacon in the brew. If you can somehow still find a bottle of this beer I recommend you pick it up and make your decision.
Commercial Description: The World Famous CFOX & Central City Brewers + Distillers present The Jeff O’Neil Show Red Racer Maple Bacon Breakfast Ale. It’s a mouthful… of deliciousness! Easy drinking amber with hints of maple and smokey bacon!