Schwarzwald Porter- Parallel 49 Brewing (Central City Brewers & Distillers) (Dec 1, 2014)

Beer Advent Calendar 2014

The first beer in the Mystery Gift Holiday Countdown Craft Beer Advent Calendar happened to be a collaboration between Parallel 49 Brewing and Central City Brewers & Distillers.  Brewed at Parallel 49’s location in East Vancouver comes the “Schwarzwald Chocolate Cherry Ale” basically an attempt at a black forest cake porter.  The beer pours a deep black colour that gives way to some ruby red when held to a light and a small tan head.  The aroma consists of sweet artificial cherries, chocolate syrup and some cough syrup.  The flavour is of cherry syrup, tart cherries, chocolate syrup and cough syrup with some smoke and alcohol warmth.  The alcohol content came in at 9% with an IBU of 22.  I really enjoyed this at the launch party but it seems to have changed a bit to much and seems a bit artificial now for some reason.

Commercial Description:  The Black Forest region of Germany is known for its clocks, cakes and tales of Hansel & Gretel giving a witch her “just desserts”.  Here in East Van. Graham & Gary have teamed up to bring you this cake inspired brew filled with cocoa nibs and cherries.  While you may not end up living happily ever after, it’s still a pretty sweet ending.

Mystery Gift Holiday Countdown 2014

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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.



Solstice d’hiver – Brasserie Dieu Du Ciel

Seasonal Release

From Montreal Quebec’s Brasserie Dieu Du Ciel comes their “Solstice d’hiver” a winter seasonal Barleywine.  The beer pours a deep ruby colour with a tan head.  The aroma is of malts, dark fruits and a decent floral hops kick.  The flavour is of malts, dark fruits, caramel, hops bitterness, earthy and some alcohol warming.  The alcohol content comes in at 10.2% as per bottle (website says 9%).  I am a big fan of barleywines and this beer is no different in as much as I think it tastes great.

Commercial Description:  This noble winter beer is brown in colour with flaming red highlights. Its taste is delicately sweet and liquor-like with a hint of burnt caramel coming from the malt and a prolonged boiling time. It is a very bitter beer with aromas of hops and alcohol, and flavours reminiscent of red fruit brought by the English-type yeast we use to ferment it. The aftertaste is accentuated by the wonderful flavour of hops. Solstice d’Hiver is brewed only once a year, and is then aged for 4 to 5 months before being sold. This aging process is necessary to achieve an ideal equilibrium between the sharp bitterness and the other flavours in the beer.

Solstice d’hiver is brewed only once a year, at the end of the summer. It is then aged for a few months in order to attain a perfect balance in taste. Then, it is sold starting mid-December of each year, until stocks last.


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!



Pohaku Nui Imperial IPA – Kona Brewing Company

From Kona Brewing out of Kailua Kona, Hawaii (The Big Island) comes their “Pohaku Nui Imperial IPA” a draft only beer at the brewpub. The beer pours a copper colour with an off white head.  The aroma consists of tropical fruits, citrus, malts and floral hops although the aroma is understated.  The flavour on the other hand is not understated at all!  The flavour is of pine, resin, big hops bitterness, citrus rind, citrus, tropical fruits and caramel malts with alcohol present.  The alcohol content comes in at a huge 11% with an IBU of 75.  This has to be the best Imperial IPA that I have had in the State of Hawaii.  It is a very big beer but if you are into big beer and have the chance to take a swing over to the Big Island of Hawaii before they run out do it!

Malts: Pale 2 Row Premium, Honey Malt, Caramel 20, Caramel 80Hops: Millennium, Experimental 369, Wakatu, Vic Secret

Commercial Description:  “Pohaku Nui” is a Hawaiian term that translates to “large rock”.  We built this imperial IPA as a testament to our ongoing passion for this big rock that we call the island of Hawaii.  Loaded with premium malts and packed with aromatic, experimental hops, this brew pays homage to our dedication for crafting great beers for our islands, year after year.  On our Brewpub’s fifteenth anniversary, we present to you our celebratory brew, that  melds rich caramel flavors with citrus and floral contributions from a heavy-handed dry-hopping.  This beer finishes with a warmth and a mouth-pleasing hop-bitterness.  Cheers to 15 years!

Food pairing as per the brewery: Big bold beer pairs well with big bold food.  Try to match strength when pairing this beer.  Some recommendations, Pawai Pepperoni Rolls, chipotle Chicken dip or black sand porter bbq chicken sandwich.

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