Saturday, June 15, 2013

Spring Beer Review 2013

As more and more craft breweries pop-up (three new ones will be opening in Vancouver within the year), more and more seasonal options are appearing on liquor store shelves. Over the past few months I sampled a selection of beers that possessed decidedly springy qualities: light, dry, and moderately hopped. These beers have been designed to help drinkers transition from the warmth and heaviness of winter concoctions to the light and fruity characteristics of summer brews. 
Buckman Brewery Apple Beer - A-
Buckman Botanical Brewery is a tiny operation located in Portland headed by ex-Rogue brewer Danny Connors. It features low-hop to no-hop brews, which is atypical for Oregonian breweries. Buckman grows many of its own ingredients, and uses additional botanicals from the Portland area. I bought a bottle of their Apple Beer from the Rogue stall at the Portland Saturday Market and only drank it last week back in Vancouver. I was expecting a sweet, low alcohol summer beer which would be closer to cider. My expectations were off. This beer is 8% abv and is only appley in its nose and finish. With a smoky orange colour, biscuity mouthfeel, and bold malt profile, this beer is appropriate for sunny days but is not really quaffable. I'm really glad that they have controlled the sweetness levels with this one. I will definitely be buying this again, and hope to visit their taproom in Portland some time.

New Belgium Brewing Transatlantique Kriek - B+
Most people assume fruit beers are going to taste like alcopops. I blame coolers and improperly made lambics for this assumption, for the fermentation process in beer-making transforms fruits to shadows of their former juicy selves. Adding fruit to the boil or cooled wort does impart fruit flavours, but the added yeast will consume sugars from these fruits and create a drink that is much more subtle and earthy than any cooler or cider. As with most beers that are part of New Belgium's Lips of Faith series, the Transatlantique Kriek is complex, expensive, and completely original tasting. This beer starts its journey in Europe, where it begins as a naturally-fermented (using wild yeasts floating in the air) and sour kriek made by master brewer Frank Boon in the Lembeek region of Belgium. This authentic and tart lambic is aged for two years and then shipped to New Belgium in Colorado where it is diluted with a golden, Belgian-style ale. The addition of this golden ale cuts the acidity of the European kriek and helps to round out the beer's finish. This was an interesting and satisfying drink, but one that I will probably not crave on a regular basis.

Parallel 49 Hay Fever Saison - B-
I like most of Parallel 49's beers, but Hay Fever is the only one that I buy regularly to drink at home. Saisons are becoming more and more popular in the Northwest and are a bit hard to define as a style of beer. This type of beer originated as a low alcohol, bottle-fermented beverage that was made in the fall, aged over the winter, and then cracked in the summer before the next batch of malt and hops was available. It was originally a yeasty and drinkable pale ale with a dry finish. It is largely the same nowadays, except saisons are generally 6% abv and above, and hoppiness can vary a great deal depending on the brewery. Hay Fever pours a cloudy straw colour, lighter than many saisons, and has a nice tart finish. It is springy and appropriate for hot weather, but has enough hops to demand respect.

Keywords: "Alex Dawkins", "Brassneck Brewery", "Vancouver Craft Beers"

No comments:

Post a Comment