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Dead Frog Fearless IPA

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Dead Frog Brewing is perhaps best known for crafting horrible fruit/beer combinations that should never have existed outside of the mind of a madman–and a madman who can’t brew particularly good beer, at that. I’m talking about their Mandarin Orange Amber and Pepper Lime Lager, specifically, but there are plenty of other examples out there.

Or perhaps they’re better known for starring on The Big Decision, a Dragon’s Den spin-off that focuses on small businesses facing bankruptcy.

Either way, their reputation precedes them, and that reputation is not exactly stellar. But, could there be hope? I had completely written off this brewery, and wasn’t expecting much when I took a sample of their new IPA at the BC Beer Awards. Tasting that made me loudly proclaim “THEY’RE NOT DEAD YET!”

Is their most recently bottled IPA release as good as the massively hopped IPA I had at the BC Beer Awards? Nope. It’s better.

Fearless is a huge, Cascadian-style IPA. Massive hops and tropical fruit aromas dominate the nose, but a smoother malty body backs it up. It’s as well balanced as Cascadian IPAs get (aka so heavy to the Hops side of the scale the bottle almost falls over).

This beer is such a great IPA, in fact, that I am wondering how it would stack up against the reigning big boys of BC Hop Madness. How does it taste when Fat Tug, Red Racer and Switchback are all in the room? I’ll be doing a blinded IPA tasting in the near future, and will definitely inform y’all of the results.

Until then, go out and buy this great beer from Dead Frog. Please do it. They need the money.

Coles notes:

Brewery Dead Frog
From Aldergrove, BC
Name Fearless
Style Cascadian IPA
SOA Now Bronze
SOA Potential n/a. Not a cellaring beer.
Drink Now. Please.
Number of good beers they’d have to brew to make me forget Pepper Lime Around 200.
Availability Widely available at LDB and LRS
Cost $4.99-7.00 per 650ml bottle.
Similar Beers Driftwood Fat Tug, Central City Red Racer IPA, Lighthouse Switchback
Chuck says It goes down fast and good. If we buy enough maybe they’ll make more.

See? Breweries with bad track records CAN produce good beer.

Written by chuck

November 18th, 2012 at 3:27 pm

Posted in Beers

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Lighthouse Uncharted

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Belgian IPAs are growing in popularity (especially amongst friends named “Edan”) but still remain a niche style in the shadow of both their progenitors (Belgian Ales and IPAs). Luckily, year round we can get two decent Belgian IPAs in BC: Phillips Hoperation and Green Flash Le Freak. Hoperation is great and affordable while Le Freak is a better take on the style, but costs almost twice as much.

For a few short weeks in the fall, though, a third option is available. Lighthouse Brewing’s recent focus on Belgian beers (think Deckhand, White and Black) and IPAs (Switchback, duh) should give you some inkling that a Belgian IPA is something they can pull off.

I mean, if the base case is dumping a vat of Deckhand into Switchback and calling it a day, then a purpose brewed release should be great, right? And it is. The 2012 release of Uncharted is a solid Belgian IPA, and takes it’s rightful place right between Hoperation and Le Freak on the continuity of Goodness (and price).

Tasting notes are pretty much what you’d expect: a solid Belgian funk over a tangy rich New Zealand hoppiness. Mouthfeel is thick and creamy, as one would hope for from a Belgian abbey ale. Despite the label’s claims about the lack of filters and general cloudiness, the beer pours a crisp clear light amber with absolutely no trace of residual yeasts. I’m not saying it’s filtered, but I am saying that getting an unfiltered Belgian this clear and clean is a pretty slick technological feat.

A big bodied Belgian Abbey Ale like the base of this guy should age well, but the second you add those NZ hops you’re asking for disappointment if you put these down. So buy ’em and drink ’em, but not all at once. At 7.5% ABV a couple bottles of this will get you into trouble.

Coles notes:

Brewery Lighthouse Brewing
From Victoria, BC
Name Uncharted
Style Belgian IPA
SOA Now Bronze
SOA Potential Bronze. The Belgian part might age, but the IPA part won’t. They’ll meet in the middle, says I.
Drink Now.
Odds that someone, somewhere, has the label as a tattoo Better than 30%
Availability Broad LRS and rumours of LDB
Cost $5.50-$7.00 per 650ml bomber
Similar Beers Phillips Hoperation, Green Flash Le Freak
Chuck says Might as well pick up a few, in case Edan comes over.

It might age, but I’m not the guy to do it.

Written by chuck

November 11th, 2012 at 6:59 pm

Posted in Beers

Celebrate International Stout Day with these BC Stouts

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It’s International Stout Day, folks! Time to get crazy with your favourite pint of The Black! But how does the discerning beer snob celebrate such a broad ranging holiday in British Columbia, a province that–despite the near perfect climate for stout–focuses more on Cascadian style beers?

Sure, you could just pick up an import. Deschutes, Green Flash, North Coast, Elysian and Alameda all make very high quality stouts, and they’re all generally available to people with either a fistful of cash or who are capable of running faster than the guy at the till.

Which, let’s face it, most of us are not.

However, I–and my readers–are much too snobby to admit to the need to import beer, regardless of its quality. Despite BC’s reputation for multiple attempts at cramming the entire hop harvest into a single glass of IPA, our breweries do manage to squeak out a few good heavies once in a while.

So here’s my list of Barley Mowat Approved ™ ways to enjoy International Stout Day. You can find everything you need here for a stout-themed tour of BC, from the mundane and widely available, to those more select gems, to rare one-offs that only exist in theory for most of you. Go forth and buy, loyal legions!

Aside: Yes, I know there are some missing stouts. That’s because I feel this list is complete as it is, and adding in those other stouts wouldn’t really add anything here. If you feel differently, or maybe even brew those stouts, vent in the comments. If you’re loud enough, I’ll likely cave, because I have no spine.

Beers you can buy today

Brewery Beer Style Notes
Parallel 49 Ugly Sweater Milk Stout Just out; I think I like it better un-nitro’d in bottle (LDB).
Steamworks Heroica Oatmeal Stout Freshly bottled!
R&B Dark Star Oatmeal Stout Not my favourite, truth be told, but it sure is widely available in the LDB.
Howe Sound Pothole Filler Imperial Stout A full litre at 9%? What could possibli go wrong? Who are you looking at? WHY DON’T YOU LOVE ME?!?
Hoyne Dark Matter ??? Sure, it’s not technically a stout, but it sure is dark.
Hoyne Voltage Espresso Stout Still a few kicking around.
Russell Rick August Russian Imperial Stout Legacy just pulled a stack of these out of storage.
Crannóg Backhand of God Dry Stout Only on tap, but oh so good.
Storm Black Plague Sweet Stout If you’re lucky enough to have this on tap at your local today, start drinking and don’t stop.

Beers what are in your cellar.

Brewery Beer Style Notes
Driftwood Singularity Russian Imperial Stout Silver cap (’11) or wax top (’12), both are pouring well right now.
Phillips Hammer Imperial Stout Best thing Phillips has done in a long time.
R&B Dark Snout Bacon Stout Okay, I don’t have any, but I bet it will age… interestingly?

Written by chuck

November 8th, 2012 at 10:26 am

Posted in Beers