Posts in New Beer Releases

BC Beer – December Releases

December 20th, 2011 Posted by British Columbia, New Beer Releases No Comment yet

As the Winter Solstice is upon us, we’ve got a number of seasonal brews. The Christmas Beeracle has returned from Dead Frog, and this year they’re donating a portion of the proceeds to the BC Children’s Hospital. This bomber is a great little stocking stuffer, supporting an excellent cause. Dead Frog’s Winter Mixer is also back again in BC, but it’s also making its debut in Ontario. It’s currently available at the LCBO, as well as a few of the self-serve Beer Stores. These mixers are great to have on-hand for entertaining and introducing friends and family to the diversity of craft brews.

Whistler Brewing has released a new Winter Dunkel that’s brewed with chocolate and orange rind.
Mission Springs
has released their new Mr. Brown’s Mashing Pumpkin Winter Ale in bottles as well.

Russell and Storm Brewing have done a collaboration brew, the “Big Smoke Ale”, which is brewed with 10% (a relatively large amount) of peat-smoked malt. Once again, the Vancouver Beer Blog has an excellent writeup.

Driftwood’s seasonal Blackstone Porter is back on the shelf, along with their Old Cellar Dwellar. Phillip’s Trainwreck Barley Wine is back again as well.

Hoppy Holidays!

BC Beer – November Releases

November 21st, 2011 Posted by British Columbia, New Beer Releases No Comment yet

The Driftwood Brewery has just released the first of their Bird of Prey Wild Ale Series. This Flanders Red “spent a year conditioning in a mix of American & French oak wine barrels. Tart & funky, this beer can be aged for a very long time, but will be enjoyed now!”

The Anceint Forest Alliance was selected as Phillips Benefit Brew for 2011. Some of our old growth forests are truly remarkable {pics}, and this worthy organization will be receiving the proceeds from the Phillips Ancient Brown Ale. So drink up! Phillips is also introducing a Root Beer Style Ale called Old Sarsaparilla, as well as their Mash-up Baltic Porter, which they brewed in collaboration with Garrison Brewing (after doing the Belgian IPA on the East coast).

Christmas is coming and there’s a few seasonals back on the shelf. Look for Dead Frog’s Christmas Beeracle and Tree Brewing’s Spiced Reserve Ale.

If spices aren’t your thing, R&B Brewing has their Auld Nick Winter Ale. This unadulterated Scottish Wee Heavy weighs in at 6.5% abv, with a restrained 18 IBU from the East Kent Golding hops. It took home a gold at the 2011 BC Beer Awards, besting the excellent Cannery Squire and Russell Wee Angry Scotch ales.

BC Beer – October Releases

October 19th, 2011 Posted by British Columbia, New Beer Releases No Comment yet

October is BC Craft Beer month and the BC Craft Brewers Guild has put together two sampler/mix packs. The beers showcased in the 12 bottle pack are Blue Buck, Sea Dog Amber Ale, Powder Mountain Lager, Dead Frog Nut Brown Ale, Hop Head IPA and Blackheart Organic Oatmeal Stout. The 12 can pack includes Naramata Nut Brown Ale, Red Racer IPA, High Country Kolsch, Race Rocks Ale, Russell Cream Ale and First Trax Brown Ale.

Phillips Brewing is treading a hoppy new path with the introduction of an India Pale LAGER, called the Eternal Optimist.

Also brand new this month is Tree Brewing’s Jumpin’ Jack Pumpkin Ale. This one is brewed with real, caramelized pumpkins and a restrained spicing. It has a slight residual sweetness to compliment the pumpkin-pie-like flavours, and at 6.4% abv it does pack some nice flavour.

Pumpkin ales have also returned from Granville Island, Swan’s, Fernie, Howe Sound, Phillips and Central City (see Gary’s video).

For those that aren’t a fan of the pumpkin, Granville Island is also making a Fresh Hop ESB; Driftwood has their Sartori Harvest IPA (this years is fresh/wet Centennial hops from the Sartori Cedar Ranch, as well as locally malted barley from Vancouver Island making this a true harvest ale); Plan B Brewing Co. has hooked up with Bitter Bine Hops and also brewed a fresh-hopped IPA! (Unfortunately it’s only available at their nano-brewery).

We’re starting to see some of the winter releases appear as well. Granville Island now has the Lions Winter Ale in 6 packs of bottles as well as cans; Tree Brewing’s Vertical Winter is now available in 6 packs; Last but not least, Vancouver Island’s Hermannator Ice Bock should also be available next week.

Congrats to Dockside for celebrating their 10th anniversary. I imagine their patio will be a little cool for the party on the 27th, but hopefully their special anniversary cask will keep everyone warm!

BC Beer – September Releases

September 22nd, 2011 Posted by British Columbia, New Beer Releases No Comment yet

Big Surf Beer Co. has quietly started brewing in Kelowna, BC. The owner is no stranger to the beer industry, having been a national sales manager for Labatt and currently owning two of the most craft-friendly pubs in Kelowna: Doc Willoughby’s and the Old Train Station Public House. Big Surf is launching with a “Laid Back Lager”, which their Austrian brewmaster has crafted using “European hops and the finest Canadian malt”. 6-packs of cans are now available at BC Liquor Stores.

Russell Brewing has released their Märzen just in time for Octoberfest. “At 5.5% alc./vol. this amber-hued Lager has been brewed with Pilsner, Munich and Caramel Vienna Malts and Hallertau Hops”.

Lighthouse Brewing Company has released the 4th edition to their Big Flavour Series: Uncharted Belgian IPA. This 7.5% brew was fermented with two different strains of yeast and showcases Riwaka hops from New Zealand. The Vancouver Beer Blog had a nice interview with brewer Dean Mcleod.

Pacific Western Brewery was established in 1957, and they’re currently celebrating their last 20 years of ownership with a limited edition Schwarzbock. This was crafted by Peter Boettcher, who has brewed in Germany, Switzerland, and now PWB (since 2010).

In celebration of their 10th anniversary, Phillips released a special IPA in a 3L bottle. Here’s some nice coverage from A News. More recently they released their (Twenty-four Mile) Blueberry Pail Ale, and we should see their Crooked Tooth Pumpkin Ale very soon.

Granville Pumpkin Ale is currently available at BC Liquor Stores, as well as Howe Sound’s Pumpkineater. Fernie Brewing’s Pumpkinhead Brown Ale should also be available soon. Expect to see some more pumpkin brews appearing in October, which is also officially BC Craft Beer Month.

Driftwood Twenty Pounder

August 15th, 2011 Posted by British Columbia, New Beer Releases No Comment yet

Also being released this week…


(Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words)

BC Beer – July/August Releases

August 13th, 2011 Posted by British Columbia, New Beer Releases No Comment yet

It’s the time of year that many craft brewers are scrambling to keep up with production, so it’s not surprising that the number of new releases is somewhat limited.

Granville Island Brewing has the benefit of having their regular listings brewed at the larger Molson facility nearby. This takes the load of their original brewery, allowing Vern to craft a wide range of limited releases. They bottled their Bitter at the end of July, and their Belgian Wit is now available at BC Liquor stores.

The Dead Frog Brewery has a new head brewer from England (the Vancouver Beer Blog recently featured an interview with Sam). For the summer they’ve added two new brews to their Beermaster Series, Toasted Coconut Wit and Fusion Hopped Pilsner.

Tofino Brewing has added a couple of new brews, and if you’re lucky, you might find the Hoppin’ Cretin IPA and Fogust Wheat Ale on-tap.

For those in Ontario, Central City’s Red Racer IPA has been brought in as a special release. Get it while you can, and maybe you’ll see more of their products in the future. In response to the quick sell-out of the Tree Hop Head DIPA (read Troy’s blog), the LCBO has made Tree’s original Hop Head a regular listing. It should start hitting the shelves this week!

West-Coast E.S.B.

July 6th, 2011 Posted by British Columbia, New Beer Releases No Comment yet

What’s a West-Coast E.S.B.? It could simply be considered as an E.S.B. that’s brewed on the west coast, though more recent examples are typically a little stronger in alcohol, bitterness, hop flavour and aroma.

The first widely distributed modern example may have been Rogue’s Brutal Bitter. With a complex malt bill, 59 IBU and about 5.9% abv (15P and 76%AA), this ‘extreme’ bitter pushed the boundaries of the style. They’ve actually recently renamed it “Brutal IPA”. Whatever they call it, it’s still a great brew and has almost sold out at the LCBO once again.

As for BC brewers, Howe Sound Brewing was one of the first to market a hopped-up Bitter. They’ve had the “Bailout Bitter” (5%) as well as the Baldwin and Cooper Best Bitter (now 5.5%). Around the same time, Central City had their Boomer’s Red Ale (5.5%), and they now sell the Red Racer ESB (6.5%) in cans. These examples seem to have a light residual sweetness from the malt, but it’s still over-powered by the bitterness from the west-coast hopping.

Driftwood brought their Naughty Hildegard back this year, though now it has British hops. This one’s 6.5% abv and 70 IBU, which is admittedly bordering on an IPA, but that’s how they do things on the west coast. For comparison, try their Fat Tug IPA, which packs 7% abv and 80 IBUs.

A more recent addition from Russell Brewing is the Blood Alley Bitter. An interview with the brewmaster on the Vancouver Beer Blog reveals the addition of crystal malts, a bit of chocolate malt for colour and flaked barley for body. The boil is finished with Columbus and it’s dry-hopped with Cascade & Willamette. The result is an incredibly well crafted brew. It’s somewhat similar in character to Rogue’s Brutal, with a plethora of hop flavour and aroma, but slightly lighter in alcohol & bitterness (5.5% abv and 50 IBU).

The newest release is R&B’s East Side Bitter. At only 4.5% abv, this one is a seriously sessionable hop fix. Although the west-coast hopping may be extra special, the strength and bitterness are really closer to a Best/Special Bitter.

So what’s the difference is between an E.S.B., Pale Ale and I.P.A.? If you don’t care, stop reading now… but if your inner geek can’t resist, here’s some style guidelines:

The BJCP has the English Pale Ales, comprising Standard/Ordinary Bitter, Special/Best/Premium Bitter and Extra Special/Strong Bitter. American Ale is a peculiar mix of Pale, Amber and Brown Ale, while the IPAs are found in a separate category.

Alternatively, in Designing Great Beers Ray Daniels has separated the Bitters (Ordinary, Best/Special and Strong/Extra-Special) and the Pale Ales (English, American and India), based on the 1995 National Homebrew Competition Guidelines. This segregation of Bitters and Pale Ales is still seen in the current Brewers Association 2011 Beer Style Guidelines. They have a really nice description for E.S.B. listed under “British Origin”:

Extra special bitter possesses medium to strong hop aroma, flavor, and bitterness. The residual malt and defining sweetness of this richly flavored, full-bodied bitter is more pronounced than in other styles of bitter. It is light amber to copper colored with medium to medium-high bitterness. Mild carbonation traditionally characterizes draft-cask versions, but in bottled versions, a slight increase in carbon dioxide content is acceptable. Fruity-ester character is acceptable in aroma and flavor. Diacetyl (butterscotch character) is acceptable and characteristic when at very low levels. The absence of diacetyl is also acceptable. Chill haze is allowable at cold temperatures. English or American hops may be used. (English and American hop character may be specified in subcategories.)

Original Gravity (ºPlato) 1.046-1.060 (11.5-14.7 ºPlato) ● Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (ºPlato) 1.010-1.016 (2.5-4 ºPlato) ● Alcohol by Weight (Volume) 3.8-4.6% (4.8-5.8%) ● Bitterness (IBU) 30-45 ● Color SRM (EBC) 8-14 (16-28 EBC)

The West-Coast E.S.B.’s could certainly be considered a sub-category of E.S.B., as defined by the Brewers Association. But while they typically include American (west coast) hops, they’re often a little stronger in alcohol and bitterness as well.

So how’s that different from an I.P.A.? Well, they typically have less alcohol than a West-Coast I.P.A., but have a more complex malt bill (and still finish relatively dry).

Basically, they’re an E.S.B. that’s brewed on the west coast.

Like hops?

Garrison Invades The Rhino

June 1st, 2011 Posted by Bar/Restaurant News, New Beer Releases No Comment yet

The Rhino, a great beer bar located at 1249 Queen Street West in Toronto, has just received a massive private order of beer from Garrison Brewing of Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Garrison, a renowned craft brewery (represented in Ontario by The Bar Towel) has seen its Imperial I.P.A. on the LCBO shelves in 2010 and a number of brands hit bars including Bar Volo and Burger Bar, but never like this.  The following Garrison brands will be available at The Rhino (all in bottle):

  • Imperial I.P.A.
  • HopYard Pale Ale
  • Raspberry Wheat
  • Jalapeno Ale
  • Irish Red Ale
  • Martello Stout
  • Black I.P.A.
  • Grand Baltic Porter
  • Blackberry Wheat
  • Winter Warmer
  • Ol’ Fog Burner Barley Wine

A number of these beers are making their public debut in Ontario.  The Rhino has limited quantities of all of the above beers – so get out there and try some before they’re gone!

BC Beer – May Releases

May 18th, 2011 Posted by British Columbia, New Beer Releases No Comment yet

The May 2-4 weekend (aka Victoria Day) is generally recognized as the start of the cottage & camping season. So I’m sure everyone will be excited to hear that Howe Sound Brewing has just released their new lager in a can! Now this isn’t your fathers lawnmower beer, this one’s packed with bready malt and a serious bitterness. Currently only available at private liquor stores.

Fernie Brewing is also launching their new Buck Wild Ale in cans, and is also available in their summer sampler. They describe this crisp blonde ale as lightly hopped with a touch of wheat.

Russell Brewing is also releasing a Summer Craft Collection Pack of cans including their Cream Ale, Extra Special Lager, Pale Ale & Lemon Ale.

Bowen Island has just released a new Hemp Blonde Ale, which is brewed with a “gentle amount of hemp and finish off with a distinct Pacific Northwest hop”. This one is canned, but not currently part of their craft beer sampler pack.

There’s a couple of 2011 BC Beer Award winners on the shelf as well (both silver medalists). There’s the Granville Island Nut Brown, which is only available at their retail store, and R&B Brewing’s East Side Bitter, which is now available in private stores. It’s great to see another sessionable ‘West-Coast’ ESB!

Whistler Brewing now has their Weiss beer and Powder Mountain Lager in BC Liquor Stores.

Driftwood is releasing another brew made from local malt. This Spring Rite Abbey Ale is deep golden in colour, seriously fruity, and has a nice hopping. Apparently it’s bottle-conditioned with Brettanomyces, so it’ll be interesting to see how it develops over time.

If your headed for the outdoors, look for some quality craft in a can… and leave no trace behind.