Howe Sound Inn and Brewery is one of the most well known craft breweries in Western Canada. Located in Squamish, BC an hour north of Vancouver Howe Sound brews unique and tasty brews made with many local and odd ingredients. Super Jupiter is an American style IPA brewed with four types of Pacific NW hops.
Super Jupiter pours a bright golden orange with a massive fiamy beige head. The head is very sticky and leaves a few big blotches of foam on the glass. The first sniff has a rather potent pine and grapefruit heavy aroma. A mild toasted caramelized malt evident in the burgeoned orange appearance and mild sweetness. A mild flavour profile in the middle with a few sweet toasted malt notes and a hint of fresh squeezed grapefruits. The finish although potent with big grapefruit flavours and hop accents is rather subdued and mild. Overall this is an interesting beer that just falls a bit short of the line.
Over the past weekend I along with several friends went on a celebratory trip to Las Vegas, Nevada the so-called Sin City. After my friends missing their flights and myself arriving 7 hours earlier than their deferred flights I found myself wandering into a Pub in Monte Carlo. This aptly named “Pub” happened to have a hell of a tap list and had six Left Coast beers on $5 pint specials for the afternoon. I surely couldn’t miss that offer. After a quick google I learnt that Left Coast Brewing Co. is a chain of Brewpubs and pizza restuarants with four locations in California. The first beer I decided to try was the Hop Juice Double IPA which was chosen for obvious reasons. The Hop Juice is a hop heavy San Diego style Double IPA brewed to a whopping 9.7% ABV with 82 IBU’s through the addition of Cascade, Mt Hood, Centennial, CTZ and Simcoe hops. Hop Juice is also dry hopped for two weeks with Centennial for extra hop power. The pour is a glorious bright orange in the body and has a thick and sticky frothy head that coats the entire glass after a few sips. The aroma is pronouncedly resinous including noted herbal and pine scents and fresh grapefruit zest notes. A rather full and floral nose with heavy tropical fruits and mild toasted caramalized malts atop the heaps of hop aromas. My first few sips were quite sweet and resin forward with enhanced bitterness and dry astringency after a few more sips. The bitterness and resinous smack is long lasting and adds a few tropical pineapple and grapefruity citrus flavours into the mix. The boozyness goes unnoticed with a prolonged bitterness stealing the show.Light floral notes and subtle toasted malts are subtley shoved aside in the heavy hop centric flavour profile. Overall, a nice Double IPA overall with a heavy staying power and big bold hops throughout.
The smaller and equally powerful cousin of the Hop Juice is the Trestles. Trestles is single IPA brewed with CTZ, Chinook and Simcoe hops as well as dry hopped with Simcoe and Centennial to 92 IBU’s and 6.8% ABV. Trestles pours a brilliant gold with a hue of light orange in the body and a thin creamy off white head that somehow looks out of place. The aroma much less brutal and intense with poignant pine resins but with mild citrus and light floral accented hops aromas. There are a few mild grainy malt and toasted malts notes in the aroma despite the rather golden appearance. Sweet citrusy hops in the first sips with more caramel malts than expecting adding sweetness and a good balance. Mild resinous and piney flavours add an interesting character to the mix with moderately heavy bitterness shortly following. The finish is overly astringent but a solid aftertaste of resinous hops is present. Not exactly tasting as much bitterness and drying hops as expected but a nice well balanced hop heavy brew none-the-less. Overall, a solid brew I am glad I tried. Unfortunately I wanted to try the Voodoo Stout after this but the keg ran dry.
I recently had a pint of Calgary based Brew Brothers’ Amarillo IPA a single hopped IPA brewed to 6% ABV. Brew Brothers has been a small almost hidden fixture on the Calgary craft beer scene for quite a few years. Until recently finding their beers on tap around town was very difficult but thanks to recent renovations, draft is more available as are fill and go growlers.
Amarillo IPA has a beautiful light glowing orange pour with a fluffy beige head. The nose has a beautiful forward Amarillo aroma with forward grapefruit and sticky resinous hop notes. Mild caramelized and toasted malts balance well with the rather intense hop character. The first small sip gives evidence to light toasted and sweet caramel malts along with hints of citrus fruits and light grassy hop flavours. The finish has a forward citrus splash with noted pine needle and resinous smack before quickly fading into the aftertaste. The finish although not as intensely bitter nor resinous as I like, a solid astringent finish with a mouth of piney grapefruit hops.
Grade: 84/100 Price: $6.50/20 oz Draft
Hog’s Head Brewing Company is Alberta’s newest brewery; located in St Albert near Edmonton, Hog’s Head currently brews only a few beers but have a heavy handed hop style. The Hop Slayer is a 7.5% ABV “pseudo Imperial IPA” with above 100 IBU’s.
Hop Slayer pours a rather dark burgundian amber with a thick frothed up creamy yellowish beige head. Tons of massive lacing splotches and rings form along the glass as the massive head calms down. Overall, this looks like a rather malty IPA. The aroma has a caramelized and toasted malt aroma with light roasted notes and a moderate grapefruit and lemony citric hop nose. A rather smooth sip up front with a rather heavy roast for and IPA with noted toasty and toffee malts. Light grapefruit hop flavours with mild resinous and pine needle notes. Not exactly my type of an IPA and more so an Imperial Brown Ale via the heavy toasted (roasted) malts and toffee notes. Overall, a nice addition to Alberta’s beer market. I genuinely hope Hog’s Head continues to create unique and tasty craft brews.
Grade: 86/100 Price: $15/ 6 pack
Since Coronado Brewing was recently added to many beer shelves in Alberta, the newly formed A-Z Imports has brought us six big and boisterous American beers. Hoppy Daze is the newest Coronado Beer to arrive in Alberta and is brewed in the burgeoning style of Belgian IPA. In essence, a Belgian IPA is a hop forward beer brewed with Belgian yeast instead of a normal ale yeast and is in most cases left unfiltered to give a cloudy hazy body.
Hoppy Daze pours a bright golden yellow with a tight pacing of tiny white bubbles in the head along with a solid stream of bubbles towards the surface. The nose has a mild lemon and banana fruit aroma with hints of wheat malt and herbal ester notes. The malts are mostly unimpressive and lack an overall presence amongst the noted resinous and citric hops. The hops have a heavy presence mid palate with tart lemon notes, mild honey and pine sweetness and a noted apple or pear flavoring. The finish has just a bit of boozy warmth together with noted peppery spice and a saison esque yeast flavor. There is a definite heavy hop finish with a moderate astringent bitterness. After half a bottle or so a lingering flavour in the back of mouth of a soft smelly cheese is apparent. Despite that one odd and a bit offputting drawback, this is a solid Belgian IPA.
Grade: 87/100 Price: $10.79 (22 oz)
After a short break from beer blogging due to midterms I thought I would give a special seasonal IPA from Winnipeg’s Fort Garry Brewing. The Portage and Main IPA is a 6.5% IPA fashioned as follows:
A west coast style IPA brewed with high quality barley, whole west coast and Manitoba flower hops! Brewed especially with whole hops to give it a solid 60 IBU and a strong, refreshing aroma of citrus fruits
A super foamy and sticky mess of a head with a rather dark amberish orange body and no carbonation in the body. The glass has a solid coating of resin and hop slime coating over the entire surface. A fresh and floral hop aroma bursts with citrus fruits, crystal and caramel malt notes as well as a noted pine resin. A rather potent hop forward aroma heavy wine pine and grapefruit aromas. The first sip is a bit sweet noting caramelized and honey malt notes afront mild citrus fruits. Medium bodied and sticky mouthfeel gives way to a bitter but not overburdening finish. The astringent hops stay well into the aftertaste as a mild reminder of the heavy floral and resinous pine flavours. Overall, a nicely hopped well rounded IPA with a bland hop flavour. This is an exceptional attempt by Fort Garry and a gigantic step forward for the brewery towards being a fantastic craft brewer.
Grade: 86/100 Price: $8.00
During the age on cartography and adventure in the times of Columbus and Magellan uncharted areas of a map would be filled with an ominous sketch of a sea monster. As an ode to the rare Riwaka hops from New Zealand and the estery Belgian yeast, Lighthouse Brewing’s Uncharted is adorned with a terrifying sea monster daring those hopheads brave enough to try the unique brew. Brewed in Victoria, BC by the Lighthouse Brewing Co., Uncharted is a 7.5% ABV IPA that has finally made its way to the hop thirsty Alberta beer market.
Uncharted has a bright orange glow with a few popping bubbles and a light yet dense off white head that has a noticeable stickiness. A few sticky lacing blotches cling to the glass despite me pouring more into the tulip glass. The nose is potent and well hopped with big sticky tropical fruit aromas and a mild caramel malt mostly lost with the fresh estery yeast aromas. An odd aroma with lack of balance between the Riwaka hops and the yeast. A bit of a sweet middle with a lack of malt character and a overburdening Belgian yeast. Big floral, grassy and citrus fruit esters completely tilt the balance and leaves a wholly Belgian yeast finish lacking in resinous and bitter astringency like a great IPA. Regardless of the obvious problems with balance, Uncharted is one hell of a unique brew with a medley of incredible flavours.
Amidst a torrent of American craft beers recently released unto the Alberta market are several beers from the mostly unheard of Devil’s Canyon Brewing Company of Belmont, California. At the current, Devil’s Canyon has a small but expanding lineup of diverse craft beers most of which are sold in 500 mL cans. After surviving a grueling pre-Christmas cold and finally getting my senses of taste and smell back, I could hardly wait to dig into some of Devil’s Canyon’s offerings.
The Deadicated Amber ale pours a deep amber and bright ruby red colour with a finger of bland beige head with a solid stream of bubbly carbonation. The nose is sweet with prominent caramel and toffee malts, light floral hop notes and a mild roasted malt. The flavour has a rather sweet foreground with notes of caramel and a hint of molasses. A mild bread and toffee malt flavour throughout with a hint of citrus fruits and floral hop notes. A good balanced with a mild caramel malt and a pent up floral hop bitterness with moderate astringency on the finish. Overall, Deadicated Amber is a flavourful, balanced and sessionable Amber ale. Grade: B-
At 75 IBU’s and 7.1% ABV, California Sunshine IPA is definitely not a beer directed at the general beer audience. California Sunshine pours a bright orange with a thick frothy white head with a wafting aroma of orange peels and freshly squeezed grapefruit. The aroma is mostly of fresh citrus fruits and juicy hop resins with a hint of pine. Toasted rye bread and slightly caramalized malt flavours with a monotone citrus hop taste and prolonged moderate hop bitterness. Mild sticky and resinous hop notes accompany a moderate and lingering hop bitterness. Overall, a great hop forward beer with a genuine crisp taste and a mild yet lingering bitterness.
Full Boar is a 7.4% ABV Scotch Ale brewed in the traditional Scottish “Wee Heavy” style. A beautiful dark burgundy pour with a thick creamy beige head standing high atop. An aroma of rich roasted malts, light chocolate and vanilla notes and a mild smoky and earthen wood aroma. A rather sweet malty first sip with brown sugar and molasses flavours accompanying toasted bready malts and roasted chocolate notes. A bit of a smoky undertone with beautiful chocolate and earthen subtleties. Full Boar Scotch Ale is far and wide the best of this bunch with a big roasted flavour.