Thursday, 14 May 2015

Laurelwood Brewing - Canadian Kick-off (Part 1 of 2)

Want to taste some of Portland's finest? You've come to the right post.

Laurelwood Brewing stopped by at the Hop and Vine Neighbourhood Pub this past Friday, and launched a fresh line-up of brews! They will now be available in Canada (particularly here in BC) for purchase!

Laurelwood Brewing - Tap Takeover List
@ Hop and Vine Neighbourhood Pub, Burnaby BC
Photo: Brewji

I was lucky enough to be invited by Andrew at BeerThirst, and joined by some great company as well! I brought Tammy with me, and also met the Founder of Laurelwood Brewing, Mike De Kalb!

Everyone was in good spirits as I was able to taste all 8 of their brews on tap that night.

Here are beers 1 to 4 from the taster flights:

Laurelwood Brewing - 4-Taster Flight
@ Hop and Vine Neighbourhood Pub, Burnaby BC
Photo: Brewji

1. Organic Free Range Red Ale (6.1% ABV; 60 IBU) 

What's first up? A red ale. I don't really know what to expect, seeing as one of the only red ale's I've really enjoyed was the older Elysian Men's Room from before they got bought by one of the big bad breweries. Let's see how this measures up!

On sniff, you get a little malt, with a little toffee. It's slightly sweet, with a hint of a hop finish. Nothing too strong, but nothing out of whack either. Smells like it should be sessionable.

On taste, you get the the malt, which slowly fades into the caramel-toffee sweetness, and finishes off with a crisp touch of hops. Its lightly transitioning flavours help make this one of the most balanced, flowing red ales I've yet to sample. To me, it definitely sets itself up as one of my favourite reds.

Well done as a first impression! I look forward to more!

The Organic Free Range Red Ale gets a really-damn-good 8.5 / 10
Tammy gives the Organic Free Range Red Ale a 7.5 / 10

2. Mother Lode Golden Ale (5.1% ABV; 25 IBU)

Now, when I read "Golden Ale" on the paper, I thought it might either be an improperly named econo-lager, or a weak wheat ale. Damn, was I wrong.

On sniff, you get nothing. Straight up. nothing. This could be a good it's supposed to be a really sessionable ale.

On taste, good God. Tammy and I just looked at each other with wide eyes.

Holy mother of sessionable-patio-drinking, beer-pong-qualified beers! This is something I would order a beer tower of, for myself. This is absolutely light, golden, and delicious. There isn't too much going on flavour-wise, but what there is, is delicious. You get a little bread-y taste, with a slight hint of fruit, at the most.

I absolutely found my beer of the summer. I'm just thinking, what would happen if I put a little raspberry syrup in this? This is definitely en par with the "Checkpoint Charlie" from Main Street Brewing. Both amazing, delicious brews.

I give the Mother Lode Golden Ale a pitcher-for-myself-please 9.5 / 10
Tammy gives the Mother Lode Golden Ale a delicious 8.5 / 10

3. Piston Pale Ale (5.6% ABV; 35 IBU)

Now for something a little more common out here on the west coast. This is a good old Pale Ale.

On smell, you get about your average west coast Pale Ale, done right. Notes of citrus, with a faint hops note.

On taste, you get what you smell. You get the notes of citrus-y grapefruit, a little note of hops, and a slight caramel taste to it as well. I'd actually call this a baby IPA. If you really want to see if your friend (or special someone) would like an IPA, I'd recommend this. As little as I write for this one, it's still quite well done. I'd just prefer something else from Laurelwood, but this is a necessary part of the west coast brewery puzzle.

I give the Piston Pale Ale a solid 7.5 / 10
Tammy gives the Piston Pale Ale a 7.0 / 10

4. Green Elephant India Pale Ale (7.0% ABV; 70 IBU)

From what I've heard, Laurelwood knows their IPAs.

I smelled this brew, and my eyes lit up. Tammy agreed right away as we dove into this one. On sniff, you get notes of herbs along with hops. It's almost a mellow citrus with a blend of hops.

On taste, you get hints of lemon, mild herb, and a sweetness in a fruit-like, not too hop-forward finish. For something that's 7% ABV, you don't taste it. This is a unique, and absolutely well-crafted brew. If you've gotten past trying a few IPAs in your beer drinking career, consider making the move to the Green Elephant.

I give the Green Elephant India Pale Ale a new-set-of-IPA-expectations 9.0 / 10
Tammy gives the Green Elephant India Pale Ale a great 8.5 / 10

There's still more to come!

Part 2 of 2 will be released very soon! There may even be a perfect 10 in Part 2...


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