Wild Rose Hef Nelson

Wild Rose Brewery is often considered to be the old guard in a scene that is finally starting to flourish and expand. Opening in 1996 at a time when there were only two other “microbreweries” in Alberta (Alley Kat and Big Rock) Wild Rose has been taking a very Albertan approach for almost 20 years. Hef Nelson is a mixture of styles per say. A traditional German Hefeweizen with a unique and modern hop. Nelson Sauvin are a New Zealand hop strain that is known to produce a myriad of fruity notes akin to white wine. The similarity is so pronounced that the hop got its namesake from the Sauvignon Blanc that is produced in New Zealand’s Marlborough area. Hef Nelson is brewed touting a sessionable 5% ABV and a heavy 40 IBU’s (heavy for a hefeweizen).

Pouring out of the amazing 90’s esque bottle that brings back the memories of watching WWF (now WWE) in my friends basement is a cloudy, opaque bright straw yellow. A minor highlight of orange in the body with a thin almost soapy white head. The aroma is beautiful with tons of floral and fruity ester  notes, banana, apple, cloves, coriander and the typical Nelson influenced stonefruit, mango, kiwi and gooseberries. Grapefruit and passionfruit are more apparent in the flavour profile. Mildly sweet malts, toasted wheat, bready notes, light honey and caramel. The fruit is the big show in this beer with tons of tropical notes sparring off against the hefeweizen yeast esters of clove, coriander, lemon rind and banana. Nice crispness on the finish with a moderate bitterness that doesn’t linger long. A nice contrast between the hefeweizen components and Nelson Sauvin hops leads to a nice balance in the profile and an extremely complex yet drinkable brew.

Grade: 84/100

Parallel 49 Lost Souls Chocolate Pumpkin Porter

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East Vancouver’s newest and best craft brewery has been releasing some of British Columbia’s most inventive craft beers. Last fall they released the spixed pumpkin ale Schadenfreude to many accolades. A stronger big bottle version which includes chocolate malt was made available in Alberta this paat week. Lost Souls is a 6.8% ABV stronger porter classified as a spice or vegetable ale.

Pouring out a nearly opaque black with a thin beige head that settles quickly to nothing. The body has a slick almost syrupy appearance in the glass. Leaning in for a first smell I notice a mild pumpkin and spice combo of ginger, cloves and cinnamon.  Beautiful roasted malts, toasted nuts and toffee balance out the spice in the aroma. The mid palate is sweet and syrup-like with moderately bitter roasted malts and an overlying vegetable like flavor.  The finish is mildly bitter with a heavy spice and pumpkin taste that fades with the bitter finish. Overall Lost Souls is a good brew that exhibits an interesting new side of pumpkin beers.

Grade: 83/100
Price: $8.39

Schneider Aventinus Eisbock

DSC_0302Weissbierbrauerei G. Schneider & Sohn is a traditional Bavarian style brewery that has been in operation since 1872. The brewery remains family owned to present day with George Schneider VI currently at the helm. Aventinus is a strong Weizen Bock style beer named after Johannes Aventinus a Bavarian humanist historian. The Aventinus Eisbock is a stronger version of the well known Aventinus whose origin came to fruition accidentally. According to the brewery the story goes as follows:

“Aventinus, the Wheat Doppelbock of Bavaria, has always been known to be the most intense and complex wheat beer in the world. This was the case for the past sixty years, but not anymore…
Up until the 1940’s, Aventinus was shipped all over Bavaria in containers lacking temperature control. Consequently, the precious drink partially froze during transportation. Unaware that the brew was concentrated by the separation of water from the liquid. People were baffled by this unique version of Aventinus. By chance, the first Aventinus Eisbock was created. Well aware of this story, Hans Peter Drexler, brewmaster of the Schneider brewery, decided to recreate this classic “mistake” in a modern controlled facility. Thus, the Aventinus Eisbock is reborn sixty years later …”

As far as I can recall I’ve never been able to try another Eisbock mostly due to the scarcity of the style. Aventinus Eisbock pours a silken opaque brown with a smooth pillowed head of creamy beige. A small stream of tiny carbonation bubbles slowly cascade towards the head. The nose is fruit forward with banana aromas and a note of brown sugar malts. At 12% its tough to hide alcohol aromas but Aventinus manages to just have a mild warming whiff of booze. The first sip has a gorgeous malty sweetness with candy and brown sugar notes, roasted barley and wheat malts. The bananas and a splash of light citrus fruits show despite the strong malt character. The finish has a supremely smooth and silky mouthfeel lacking an overly abashing bitterness or alcohol aftertaste. The overall taste profile is extraordinary and without prior knowledge I would never have guessed this clocks in at 12% making it a tad dangerous.

Grade: 92/100