Sunday, 21 July 2013

4-Brew Taster!

Hey folks, it's been awhile! I just graduated from university, so I had to find a job in between my last blog post and now. Found one thanks to my buddy Danny! Climbing up the corporate ladder, one beer at a time.

So to celebrate the joyous occasion, I had a 4-brew taster down at the Hop and Vine Neighbourhood Pub in Burnaby. What did I taste?

Four Winds Brewing Co. Saison (ABV unknown)
Cannery Brewing Blackberry Porter (ABV 6%)
- Parallel 49 Gypsy Tears (ABV 6%)
- Granville Island Uncle Monty's Best Bitter (ABV 3.6%).

Four Winds Saison || Cannery Blackberry Porter || Parallel 49 Gypsy Tears || Granville Island Uncle Monty's
@ Hop and Vine Neighbourhood Pub, Burnaby BC

First off, we have the Four Winds Brewing Co. Saison. The smells to me have yeast, spices, and wheat. Being a saison, it's not supposed to be a strong brew. For those of you who don't know, the saison beer was brewed for seasonal farm workers; usually it brewed through the fall and winter, and was drinkable in summer. They were generally low ABV, as it was the closest thing to clean water that could keep the farmers hydrated and not die from water-borne illness. Pretty cool, huh?

Anyways, on first sip, I got a very nice, dry mouthfeel, and it stayed all the way through. It tasted like the smells, but also had a hint of fruit. Four Winds Brewing Co. is the newbie in town, and maybe it's just me, but I think they've notched the saison. It's usually not at the top of my list, but this brew just has a light to moderate taste, not offensive at all, and is very mellow. I'd recommend this to anyone -- it's one of those "good at any point of the summer" brews. Coming home from work, maybe at a lunch, or even a dinner. I don't know what other people would pair food-wise with this beer, but I feel it would pair well with yam fries or pecan pie. Just my personal preference.

Overall, the Four Winds Brewing Co. Saison gets a where-have-you-been-all-my-summers 8.5 / 10


Secondly, I got a taster of the Cannery Brewing Blackberry Porter. Keep in mind, I've had this once before, but I wasn't doing reviews back then. Everything I've tried from Cannery so far has been stellar, especially their Maple Stout. If you haven't tried that, do it. That aside, this porter pours like any other, dark and rich. The smell is great, like a flavoured porter should be. It has sweet scents as if you're smelling part of a blackberry jam (wouldn't that have made an awesome phone name?).

The taste is just as it smells. I love my stouts and porters, and I hold the standards pretty high. Nonetheless, if you're new to the darker brews, and aren't a fan of maple or chocolate, then this is the brew for you! If you don't like maple or chocolate, you need new taste buds.

The Cannery Brewing Blackberry Porter gets a sweet 8.5 / 10


My third brew is the Gypsy Tears Ruby Ale from Parallel 49. I had high hopes for this one, as I've tasted a few of their brews that I really loved. Their Hoparazzi and VCBW 2013 Altbier were incredible. I tried to dampen my hopes as I smelled this one. I didn't want to set the standards too high. I smelled malty notes, it kind of smelled just like a Rickard's Red. Not the best sign, but hey, smell isn't always 100% accurate.

I took the first sip and kind of cringed at the taste. I was just expecting more, it felt watered down. In fact, I think the first words that came out of my mouth at the table were "Watered down Rickard's Red". Don't get me wrong, I really like me a Rickard's Red, but one thing I don't like is watered down brews. Maybe it was the keg, but the Hop has been pretty stellar when it comes to the quality of their brews. Just not really a fan of this one. But hey, if you like really light-tasting red ales that might be disappointing, this one's for you!

The Parallel 49 Gypsy Tears Ruby Ale gets a Molson-did-it-better 4.5 / 10


Last one on the list is Uncle Monty's Best Bitter from Granville Island . You know what an ESB is, if you've read my blog (or perhaps you're Googling it now), but this is something different. You know how the econo-brands are releasing light beers for the summer? The ones with low ABV, some with low calories, and definitely low taste? Well, the fine folks at Granville Island have come up with the solution to all that mess. Meet Uncle Monty -- part light beer, part bitter.

It smells like an ESB would, malty and all. The kicker? It's 3.6% ABV, that's lighter than most light beers. Now keep in mind, it's not going to be mind-blowingly full of flavour like a full 6% bitter, but it has to be the most rock-solid light beer on the market. For all of us that want something lighter once in awhile, but don't want to have to turn to a garbage cup of urine, or sorry, Molson 67, we get to have something delicious instead!

What does it taste like? Well there's the most important question. It's got it's malty notes up front, followed by what would normally be a punch of flavour from a bitter, but instead a watered version of that. You can still notice some grapefruit, and something a bit sweeter like caramel. It almost reminds you that you're drinking a lighter beer, but it still feels good. And that's the best part, you still feel good because it tastes good and it's 3.6%. Pair this brew with BBQ or hot wings, even beef dip sandwiches and if you stretch it, maybe a poutine.

Because it's a light beer, I will rate it in terms of a light beer.
Oh yeah, this is a limited time brew. Go get some!

Uncle Monty's Best Bitter from GIB gets a holy-crap-I-can-enjoy-a-light-beer 9.0 / 10


Hope you liked the 4-brew taster review!
Do you like the taster format, or the single brew posts?


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