Thursday, March 31, 2011

Brewday - Frontiersman Pale Ale (All-Grain)

The Frontiersman has been one of my favourite beers since the first time I brewed it and thus I've never really toyed with the recipe too much. At my recent Tasting Shindig it received a lot of good comments but only placed in a tie for fifth after the scores were tallied. I mostly chalked this up to the fact it is more of a drinking beer, the beers that placed higher were all extreme and unusual, which is the kind of thing that will probably stand out at a non-vertical tasting. (a tasting that features many different styles) Nonetheless, I still wasn't completely satisfied with this beer and this time I wanted to make some bigger changes.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Basement Breweries Homebrew Shindig

Another tasting shindig at Basement Breweries is in the books and we had a great turnout this time around. After the success of last year's tasting party I was looking forward to holding another gathering and putting up my new beers for general review. This time there were nine beers to try ranging from an easy drinking saison to a heavy-duty Imperial stout. We got more organised about it and printed up scoring cards so everyone could rate the beers and leave comments on their impressions. Many thanks go out to all those who helped make this night come together.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Brewday - Disheveled Dwarf Belgian IPA

I was pretty excited as I began my preparations to brew my first Belgian IPA, the Disheveled Dwarf. This is still a developing style and has yet to be precisely defined, and this is part of the excitement of making a beer like this, you are helping to shape its future. Generally, most Belgian IPAs feature Belgian-style malt with North American hops fermented with a Belgian yeast. The result is a beer that is often dry and bitter, usually high in alcohol, and has flavours that can be earthy, floral, fruity, citrusy, and spicy. When done well it can be a cornucopia of complex, well balanced flavours; when done poorly it can be a complicated mess.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Review - Upright Brewing Five

Upright Brewing, located in Portland, Oregon, is without a doubt an unconventional brewery. It specializes in farmhouse beers that it bottles in 750 ml wine-style bottles, uses simple numerical names for its products, and employs techniques such as open fermentation in making its beer.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Spinnakers Spring Firkin Festival

My last outing to a beer festival, the Island Beer Fest, was memorable for all the wrong reasons so I was hopeful the latest cask festival at Spinnakers would be a big improvement. At $35 dollars a ticket ($30 for CAMRA members) it wasn't cheap, but when it comes to beer events, I rarely take much convincing.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Review - Green Flash Brewing Imperial IPA

The Green Flash Brewing Co. is known for their big beers, and this one is no exception. With 101 IBU's (International Bitterness Units), 9.4% abv and the word Imperial printed in huge letters on the bottle, this is clearly not a session beer. I'm a fan of their West Coast IPA so I was excited to try this bigger, bolder brew.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Review - Howe Sound Total Eclipse of the Hop

I have fond memories surrounding the beers from Howe Sound Brewing, one of the originators of the local micro-brew movement, located in Squamish. Some of these are from visits to their fine brew-pub, but mainly they revolve around visits to the liquor store in 100 Mile House. 100 Mile is a small town in the interior of BC that many people have never heard of, and few of those who have ever found reason to stop there. It is where I have spent much of the last three summers stationed as a wildfire fighter. I'll say it now, 100 Mile is no Victoria. In regards to beer this means that domestic lager is the norm, and anything outside the norm... well, let's just say they don't much like those sorts of things up there.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Review - Bear Republic Hop Rod Rye

I normally wouldn't buy a beer from the Bear Republic, a brewery located in Healdsburg, California. Last year they filed a trademark infringement lawsuit against the Red Racer brand from the award-winning Central City Brewing located in Surrey, BC. Their claim was that Red Racer infringed on copyrights of two of their products, Racer 5 IPA and Red Rocket Ale. This highly frivolous claim, was reminiscent of the ridiculous lawsuit filed against Phillips Brewing by the unscrupulous Red Truck Brewing Co. of North Vancouver. Fortunately, a US judge denied Bear Republic's motion for an injunction last June.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Brewday - Beast of Burden Brown Porter II

My motive for a new brown porter came from the successes, and the failures, of my last batch. The first incarnation of the Beast of Burden was interesting and very drinkable for a darker beer, but it lacked complexity and body, likely a symptom of the malt extract in its recipe. This time I would brew an all-grain version in an effort to make up for some of these shortcomings.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Brewday - The Philosopher's Stone Barleywine

Attempting a barleywine, an ale that is often upwards of 10% abv, is something I've long wanted to try. Until now I've always gotten sidetracked by other styles and other recipes, and truthfully, the challenge of brewing a beer of such high gravity held me back. When a friend of mine surprised me with a gift of a hefty chunk of BC homegrown "special hops" in the name of experimental brewing, I knew the time was at hand. The Philosopher's Stone Barleywine was underway.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

The Island Beer Fest

I very nearly didn't go to the Island Beer Fest, which was held at Club 9One9, downstairs from the Strathcona hotel. I figured that maybe it would just be all the beers I was used to seeing in the pubs around Victoria without much that was new or exciting. But a number of my friends were going and I figured maybe there would be some upcoming beers available for the first time, so I relented. I wish I'd gone with my first instinct.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Review - Hop Head Double India Pale Ale

I've been working on a couple of posts over the last few days, one on a new and special beer I'm brewing, and another on a classic Victoria brewpub, so I was going to hold off until they were finished. But when a bottle of this year's Hophead Double IPA came into my possession just as my week of sobriety was coming to a close, I knew it must be destiny.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Basement Breweries Beer Tasting

Recently, I was able to sit down with three of my new beers that were now ready to drink, to see how they came out. The beers were all fairly different, an amber ale, a roggenbier (rye beer), and a brown porter, but they were all brewed using a similar method, the mini-mash. This technique lies somewhere between all-grain and extract brewing, and employs both a mash with malted grain and the use of malt extract. It allows the brewer to gain some of the enhanced character and body of brewing with grain as well as some of the ease and security that comes when using extract. But enough beer geek talk, lets get down to the beers.