Saturday, 6 December 2014

10 New Tasters @ Alibi Room

What better way to wipe the Green Leaf taste out of our mouths than to head to one of Vancouver's best watering holes? Hell yeah, Tammy and I took a trip (right after Green Leaf) down to the Alibi Room for some proper brews.

When we arrived, we had a very knowledgeable and happy server named Nadja. We originally ordered a taster flight that included the 2014 batch of the Thor's Hammer Barleywine from Central City Brewing (Red Racer), but since they were out of it, she brought us each a "sampler" taster to see what our fourth tasting cup would be. Do I ever say no to a free craft beer? Well, usually not.

Enough with the introductions! Let's get started on the brew reviews. Keep in mind, I only have pictures of 8 out of the 10 brews. I got a little excited and missed 2 of them. My bad.

Here is 1 to 4:

Yellow Dog - Coconut Smoked Porter
Brassneck - Passive Aggressive Pale Ale
Howe Sound - Total Eclipse of the Hops
Powell Street - Sour Saison (in place of Thor's Hammer)
@ Alibi Room
Photo: Brewji

1. Yellow Dog Brewing Co. - "Shake A Paw" Coconut Smoked Porter (ABV ?)
Okay, let me just say that I have been excited to try anything from Yellow Dog Brewing because they're pretty much the first craft brewery that's opened up in Port Moody. I used to live about a 10 minute drive from there, and I took Tammy to Rocky Point Park about a week ago (which is right near Yellow Dog).

The smell of this porter wasn't very strong, but there was some vanilla notes in it. I could hardly smell any roasted cocoa or malts...quite scent-less. On taste, it was like a watered down Guinness. I hate to be blunt, but after drinking Green Leaf, I was in the mood for a really good brew. A full-bodied smoky coconut-y stout was on my mind, and it just wasn't there. There was no coconut flavour, hardly any smoke to speak of, and in fact maybe had a little vanilla in there.

What I've learned through tasting classes at Purdys and Xoxolat, is that vanilla is used to cover "things gone wrong" in creation processes of chocolate and beer. Perhaps vanilla was used as a cover-up? If not, it wasn't an advertised taste, and there definitely wasn't any coconut. Not necessarily complaining, just curious.

I'm a huge porter and stout fan, and it just didn't do the trick for me. So sorry, Yellow Dog, maybe next time.

I give the "Shake A Paw" Coconut Smoked Porter an at-least-it's-better-than-GreenLeaf 6 / 10
Tammy gives the "Shake A Paw" Coconut Smoked Porter a 6 / 10

2. Brassneck - Passive Aggressive Pale Ale (ABV 7.0%)
Tammy and I have been to Brassneck in person, and we've both tried the Passive Aggressive Pale Ale, but damn did we ever need a real beer on our taster flight. Our wonderful server Nadja told us that the owner of Brassneck is also the owner of the Alibi Room! Well that makes sense, good beer at both locations, right?

The brew smells of hops with a little backfire of malts. It's an epic smelling pale ale, because you can smell the punch of hops but there is something more to it. On first sip, you get the initial roll-up of the hops, but instead of an IPA follow-through, you get a malt-y suede finish. It definitely deserves the name of Passive Aggressive, as its taste is just as such.

Finally, a beer that rocks my taste buds! It had been a long day of not-so-great tasters, and I think we just found our first great brew of the day.

I give the Passive Aggressive Pale Ale an slightly-super-delicious 9 / 10
Tammy gives the Passive Aggressive Pale Ale an 8.5 / 10

3. Howe Sound Brewing - Total Eclipse of the Hops (ABV 8%; 90 IBU)
This is Tam's first brew from Howe Sound Brewing, so I let her take the lead on this brew. She can smell the hops on scent, and describes it as floral, and it's probably going to be bitter.

On taste, she describes the floral notes of the hops, and then it leads to a bitter punch. But it's very flavourful and full-bodied, which is delicious. It lingers with a bitter after taste. The taste notes flow from floral hops to toffee to a bitter caramel-like flavour.

Tammy gives the Total Eclipse of the Hops an 8 / 10
I give the Total Eclipse of the Hops an I-agree-with-you-honey 8 / 10

4. Powell Street Brewing - Sour Saison (ABV 6.5%)
Well, you can kind of see it in the picture, but this brew pours a hazy amber-like colour. It has a light and flowing tea, grass, and maybe citrus on the nose? I don't know, it's sort of complicated to explain. It smells incredibly new and interesting to me through. Sours aren't my area of experience, but this just smells delicious.

On taste, you get tart fruits, a little lemon, and roasted malt. It is absolutely delicious. It's pretty much a flavour bomb with tart fruits. Definitely worth it, and highly recommended! Best beer of the night so far. Thank you Powell Street Brewing! It's too bad you guys are only open until 8 or 9pm during the week, because you're only a 15 minute bus ride away from home! I'd love to pop by and do some tasters with Tammy.

I give the Sour Saison an uniquely-flavour-packed 9 / 10
Tammy gives the Sour Saison a 9 / 10

-- The next picture contains the Yellow Dog Porter again, I'll skip as it has been reviewed above --

Yellow Dog Brewing - Shake A Paw Coconut Smoked Porter
Barkerville Brewing - Sternwheeler Scotch Ale
Steel and Oak - Oatmeal Stout
Bomber Brewing vs. Stone Brewing - Blood From a Stone Red Rye IPA (in place of Thor's Hammer)
@ Alibi Room
Photo: Brewji
5. Barkerville Brewing - Sternwheeler Scotch Ale (ABV 6.9%)
I've had Scotch Ales kind of spoiled for me, with Russell Brewing's version of a scotch ale. However, let's see what Quesnel, BC can produce! Barkerville's Sternwheeler is something to look forward to. On sniff it's got toasted malts and caramel notes. It's your standard "what-you'd-expect" smell from a scotch ale.

On taste, it's got a caramel and slight cocoa malt note, with a rustic sweetness to it. What does that mean? I don't know, those are the exact notes I made about the brew. Tammy compares this to the Salty Scot ale from Parallel 49, but without the salt-y notes, and a bit of a hard liquor note to it. Overall, it's decent, but not quite my type of brew.

I give the Sternwheeler Scotch Ale a good-for-a-change-up 7.5 / 10
Tammy gives the Sternwheeler Scotch Ale a 7 / 10

6. Steel and Oak - Oatmeal Stout (ABV 5.8%)
Everything I've ever had from Steel and Oak has been above average, so I didn't even feel the need to write a review for this one. However, I am a particularly picky porter person, and I won't let it just slide.

On sniff, I get standard cocoa smells, and some malts, but nothing really sweet that you'd get in most oatmeal stouts. I'm not saying I'd like it to be like other oatmeal stouts, but something smells rancid in the brew. On taste, I get exactly what I smell, but there is something sweet in there. It's rancid, but it's slightly sweet, and kind of complex. It's not the good kind of complex though. You can't break down the taste, and it tastes just a little off.

Tammy mentions something I didn't notice, that there's no middle taste. The porter has no body to it. That's a sad day, when a good brewery makes a porter / stout that lacks body. I'm sorry Steel and Oak, but maybe it's just a bad batch?

I give the Oatmeal Stout a maybe-next-time 6 / 10
Tammy gives the Oatmeal Stout 6 / 10

7. Bomber Brewing vs. Stone Brewing - Blood From a Stone Red Rye IPA (ABV 6.8%; 60 IBU)
Damn, the headline is almost as long as the review for this brew. Long story short, Bomber Brewing and Stone Brewing got together for a collaboration on a Red Rye IPA, and they named it Blood From a Stone.

You get some mild hops on smell, and some caramel notes as well. On first sip you get the hops combined with a dry caramel-like flavour. It has a lingering bitterness, but it's not too heavy. It's got a medium to lighter dry finish on it. A solid brew!

I give the Blood From a Stone Red Rye IPA an I-can-be-quite-wordy-too-ya-know 8 / 10
Tammy gives the Blood From a Stone Red Rye IPA an 8 / 10

8. Ninkasi Brewing - Transcendentale (ABV 5%; Not pictured, sorry!)
Tammy decided on the Ninkasi Transcendentale as her next brew, and damn, she hasn't been this excited since she met me! Hahaha, seriously though, she absolutely loves this brew. She didn't really smell it first, just kind of took a sip.

"It's like a HUG IN A GLASS!", she exclaims.

After taking a sip myself, it's pretty much what she said. It really is a warm, fuzzy hug in a glass! It combines floral notes, with sweet and citrus-y notes. It almost tastes like it has cinnamon hearts in the brew. Sounds a little weird, but it is absolutely delicious! Tammy said it best.

Tammy gives the Transcendentale a hug-in-a-glass 10 / 10
I give the Transcendentale a warm-and-fuzzy 9.5 / 10

9. Moon Under Water Brewing - Maxminer Altbier (ABV 5.4%; Not pictured, sorry!)
My next brew of choice was the Maxminer Altbier from Moon Brewing. If you've been reading my blog for awhile, you'll know that I always reference the Crooked Coast Altbier and the Vancouver Craft Beer Week 2013 collaboration brew when I reference Altbiers. They are just so flow-y and extremely well built on the west coast.

Caramel and hops on the nose. It's light, bread-y, and a bit nutty. It's not too complex on taste, but it does the job. I'm sorry that it doesn't compare to the crooked coast, but it's still quite solid. It all flows together like it should, but there's nothing special about it.

I give the Maxminer Altbier a cute-but-nothing-special 8 / 10
Tammy gives the Maxminer Altbier an 8 / 10

-- Got a picture of why... --

Storm Brewing - SSSOURRRR Flanders Red Ale
@ Alibi Room
Photo: Brewji

10. Storm Brewing - SSSOURRRR Flanders Red Ale (ABV 14%)
Good God, I don't even understand why I ordered this thing. I thought it was making me look like more of a man or something? We all make stupid decisions when we drink.

This has got to be the strongest "beer" I've ever ordered. It smells like cherry wine. It tastes like a carbonated cherry wine, but not in a good way (does wine ever have a good way? No.). My word for word notes on this beer:
- "Strong as F***"
- "Like a cherry wine with mild beer carbonation"
- "Vinegar wine with a hint of fruit before it turns sour"
- "Worse than a 4 year old bottle of open wine that tastes like you're drinking balsamic vinegar" - Tammy

DON'T. Just don't. Please, good god. Storm Brewing, I've had your stouts before, and they're delicious...but what were you thinking? Ugh.

I give the SSSOURRRR Flanders Red Ale a glass-full-of-regret 1 / 10
Tammy gives the SSSOURRRR Flanders Red Ale just-because-it-is-alcohol a 0.5 / 10


Well, I hope you found something you might like!


1 comment:

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