So remember when I alluded to there being potential for another Beerea I poorly dubbed “CHUGa Choo Choo”? Well two minutes on google maps and I realize it’s a reality (or rather maybe very soon). Off the Rail Brewing is setting up shop just off Clarke at 1351 Adanac St Vancouver, BC V5L 2C3. If you are good at geography you will notice that it is a short walk to both Bomber and Strange Fellows brewery! Awesome a new Beerea (an area in which 3 or more breweries are in walking distance). So lets consider this from a transit hub point of view:
So what do we know about Off The Rail? Well i scoured their website, which is in fact really good for a brewery that hasn’t opened. First of all the owner, and perhaps brewer, is a current, or former, owner of the Railway Club; hence the name. Without having spoken to the brewer it looks like there will be an emphasis on traditional styles with an eye to english beer specifically. I mean a pale ale that emphasizes golding hops? Whats old is new again. Of note though is the mention of two row rather than maris otter which makes it more North American. “English” peppers the seasonal list too, so as someone who got into beer through traditional english ales this is quite exciting. Here’s the bad news, Silence from Off the Rail since December despite claiming to be open in late fall. I hope all goes well and we are tasting their beer soon. In any case this area will make for exciting Sunday Adventures.
Here’s a nasty confession, I originally wasn’t crazy for Yellow Dog’s IPA. What you say? That beer is critically acclaimed by the likes of Barley Mowat! Yes, yes it is, but despite that i was underwhelmed. Regardless, whenever I went to a local pub and heard it was on tap I ordered it. Whenever I went to the tasting room i ordered it too, strange. But then came winter and i like to drink seasonally so i was on to darker beers. The other day I was coming home from work and decided to stop by the brewery for a fill. I’d been drinking the Smoked Porter a lot lately so I thought a change might be in the cards and lo and behold i picked the IPA despite being a self-described Pale Ale lover. I got it home and WOW! Why was i all of a sudden so impressed by this beer? Because it’s so god damn well done it just sneaks up on you! Here’s a better explanation. With the craft beer revolution (JOE WIEBE!) came an explosion of IPA’s it’s the beer of the revolution, that’s fine its just not my favourite style. It seemed with every new brewery opening came a NEW SUPER HOPPY-BITTER BREW. These beers are usually packed with flavour and most of the time are pretty good but alas they are not my cup of tea. This is what i was expecting from Yellow Dog and their IPA, but what i got was just an extremely well-balanced and palatable beer.
It pours a beautiful copper tone with a white head. A Tropical fruit scent emanates from the glass before flowing into a quiet sweet maltiness before Piney-Citrus flavour takes over. The big take away here for me though is despite its holiness and bitterness the beer does not shatter my palate with bitterness and rather invites another taste. I’m actually stoked to have had this beer again and it is currently my new favourite IPA.
Well its Xmas and if your Xmas is anything like mine you are attempting to make sure your cat doesn’t OD on Cat Nip.
Actually that’s probably less likely. What we do likely have in common since you frequent a beer blog, is planning your grog for the night. So here’s what I’m drinking and why:
I’ll start by sharing the Gratzer seasonal beer from Moody Ales. This Is a light pale beer with a smokiness thats almost sweet on the pallet. This beer is good to start with as it isn’t overly complexed but has rewarding unfamiliar flavour to most. Remember the first lambic you had? This is a similar experience if not slightly more accessible.
Ill probably have the Imperial Porter from Central City following that. I got this one in my Mystery Gift Pack and i’m excited to enjoy it. The contrast between the paler cleaner tasting gratzer i feel will be welcome, and shit, it supposed to be cold so i deserve a warmer!
At this point it should be about dinner time. For that i have a bottle of Glassbender Farmhouse Saison from Craig Noble at Postmark brewing. This is Craig’s personal brand that is brewed out of Postmark yet remains separate. I had the pleasure of talking with Craig extensively as i actually labelled the whole first run of this beer (Yes, i got the mistake bottle). This beer is a product of Craig’s passion for beer and is a subject of his film “Craft” ( http://www.craftbeermovie.com ). This beer is unlike many Farmhouse beers i’ve had before in that its carbonation gives it an incredible bite. Drinking this beer is an experience! Craig would be able to tell you all the intended food pairings for this beer, unfortunately i don’t have that depth of experience. In any case i’ve been waiting for a while to enjoy this one.
Dessert time, I think at this point its time to enjoy Thor’s Hammer Barley Wine, Bourbon Barrel. There is not much i can say about this beer that hasn’t been said. Like its name sake Thor’s Hammer sits in the Pantheon of Godly BC beers, and should you have the chance, drink it.
By the end of the night hopefully all who remain are the family you actually like. This is the time of the night where you can let your hair down and stop being as pretentious about beer. For many this means cracking a GIB winter ale. Most nights i would too, but tonight I’m taking on Whistler’s Dunkel a beer I like despite beer gets occasional disdain for the brewery itself. This is the Terry’s chocolate orange of winter beers and that’s ok i like chocolate oranges, i also like fine swiss chocolate but its a free country and we can like what we want.
So this is the end of the effort to blog the mystery gift in full. Why because fuck you, this is my blog “I’ll do what I want!”
But actually the Beer got too damn good! Today i opened the day 22 beer and god damn it, it was Thor’s Hammer Bourbon Barrel.
Before that was the Imperial Porter also from Central City and to boot a god damn Ugly Sweater from Parallel 49. Look i work i have a life and doing this blog meant coming home as early as possible and wolfing down a beer for a review. Thats fine when we are talking pilsner and pale ales, but i am not going to do it with Imperial Porters and Thor’s Hammer. Furthermore whats the point? You all know (or at least you should) how good those beers are. Me telling you they are good won’t change much. So I will post something about these beers (probably) in the future, but it will be on my time. I am not a slave to anyone.
Parallel 49 once again gives us another seasonal is Salty Scot. A malt heavy beer a scent of caramel comes off the pour. Taking it in you are treated to a marly sweetness that quickly transitions to a satisfying saltiness that lingers on the tongue. Despite being a flavour that sounds out of place in a beer it forms a delicious malt forward beer.
Another seasonal from Parallel 49! This time its Sahti Claws, an old word recipe with old world ingredients like juniper berries but brewed modernly with hops. Basically this beer is a hybrid and a good one at that. You are first treated to a sweet maltiness which is complimented by a juniper berry flavour. To be honest although i am sure i’ve had juniper berries at some point i can’t remember what they taste like so its more like I’m assuming its juniper berries. The malts are balanced against Chinook and Simcoe hops which don’t steel the stage. This is a nice malty beer complimented with a berry flavour that works nicely with the malt. Its a damn decent beer perfect for winter.
Parallel 49 Sahti Claws- 3/5
So i just drank Sahti Claws whilst my room-mate and his girlfriend tickled each other on the couch, how inconsiderate right?. Anyways i’m slightly buzzed and read some of past posts and wow, a lot of errors. What i mean by that is I wasn’t making use of benign or little known grammatical tricks you were unaware of, i simply make a lot of mistakes, you should probably call me on it. OH Sahti Claws is 7.7% its all coming together now. With a buzz well on (you may not know but using “well” there was an allusion to british colloquialisms because I’m “well’ hard).
In any case, IMPERIAL IPA FROM CENTRAL CITY! Remember how i said Central City makes arguably the best IPA in BC? Well here is the steroid version! Thats what you’d think, but no. Opening the bottle lets loose a beautiful hoppy flavour, not fruity or citrus but of actual hops. Taking the beer in you taste fruit, and citrus in abundance which turns into a broad bitterness that lingers for a short time before finishing cleanly. Wow this beer is not just “HOPS!” but rather “hops” which are very apparent yet not pallet destroying. It is oh so drinkable and for that, it gets:
So hopefully this will be fast a furious, the beer-how it tastes-and a rating, nothing more. So without further adieu:
Parallel 49 Gypsy Tears. An old favourite for many but not necessarily me. While others have lauded this beer for ages i drank it near to P49’s launch, disliked it, and never picked it up again. So what do i think now? Pours a reddish ruby (surprise of the century right?) with a strong citrus-y (i love my “-y”) aroma emanating from the glass. The sip brings with it a blast of sweet malt and citrus bitterness like being punched by two people simultaneously. Like being punched i don’t find the flavour profile to be a pleasant sensation. Just as fast as the flavour punch comes it seems to leave, like a cute girl/guy at the bar you were totally just about to say hi to but thought “hey I kinda need to go to the washroom but more realistically need to get my shit together”, only to com out and find she/he left.
Parallel 49 Gypsy Tears- 2/5
A beer thats been called the best IPA in B.C., and i’d have to agree. In fact a lot of beer writers agree and they have done much better writing than i have to describe it, so rather than re-hash it, i’ll be brief.
Uncap this beer and BAM! a nice bouquet of fruity and citrus flavour comes through cleanly. Taking a first sip you are treated to a heavy floral and fruity hoppiness against a muted malt (which isn’t actually negative) this flows into closing citrus bitterness that gives a clean closure to the beer.
Almost caught up, now lets drink some beer! Beginning with day 14, Central City ISA. India Session Ales seem to be fairly new in BC, having popped up a few summers ago. As the name suggests these beers are intended to be more drinkable IPA’s. This can, but is not always, achieved by use of the lions share of the hops nearer to the end of the boil. Generally the longer a hop is boiled the more bitterness and less flavour and aroma, whereas with less boiling it gives less bitterness and more flavour and aroma. A simple grain bill is often utilized to emphasize the hop flavour, and that seems to be the case here. The beer pours a beautiful colour a shade or to less than a copper with a white head. A crisp round citrus flavour worts from the head as it pours. Sipping the beer i was treated to a crispness that rolls into a brief citrus-y bitterness before finishing cleanly. This beer is perfect for killing a six pack in an evening at a cabin, what its doing in a Christmas pack i have no idea.
Cascadian Dark Ale, Whoops! Sorry Steamworks, Christmas Dark Ale MMMmmm. Another Seasonal offering from Parallel 49 and the one of the ones i was hoping to see in the pack. It pours a beautiful black colour with brownish head. It smells of rich sweet dark roast malts and i’m honestly stoked to try it again. Tasting it the first thing you notice is the sweetness of the malt, and of course this beer is malt heavy. Next comes the roastiness which becomes part of the flavour profile, this tastes are bookended with a robust bitterness the give the whole thing a real closure. Of course beer is subjective, and Cascadian Dark Ale is one of my favourite styles. Although i like this beer and this style its not among the best i’ve had but is a solid offering none the less.