Lion’s Winter Ale from Granville Island Brewing Company in Vancouver, British Columbia is a deep, cola-like ruby colour and yields a large and frothy tan-coloured head that gets retained as a thin cap and leaves small spots of lace on your glass. This winter warmer has strong aromas of store bought chocolate syrup and vanilla extract that choke notes of roasted grain and red berries.
The predominant chocolate flavour of Lion’s Winter Ale tastes more natural than it smells and has a nice dryness to it that helps to balance a rich sweetness, but falls just short. The finish has notes of vanilla and cedar, along with a subtle hint of peppermint that comes through in the aftertaste. This ale has a thin, yet mainly syrupy body that doesn’t really stand up to the richness of the flavours presented, a low amount of carbonation and a vague graininess.
Hop Circle IPA from Phillips Brewing Company in Victoria, British Columbia is golden yellow in colour and has a slightly wavy look to it with a moderate off-white head that remains as a thin but persistent collar through the glass and leaves a thick frosting of lace behind. This American IPA smells of grains, grapefruit, pineapple, mango and strawberry, with a distinct sun-dried tomato note.
The taste of Hop Circle IPA tastes of toasted grains, umami (sundried tomato and salt), lemon oil, grapefruit, light caramel and black tea. A salty bitterness hits sharply on the tongue and lingers between sips along with a mildly earthy aftertaste. The ale has a medium body, low carbonation, a subtle tingle of yeast and is rather oily, particularly in the finish.
Squire Scotch Ale from The Cannery Brewing Company in Penticton, British Columbia pours a deep, golden-amber colour with a frothy off-white head that leaves moderate lacing and settles as a thin film and collar. Aromas of peat moss, light but sharp caramel malts, musty wood and smoke come through, along with a warm floral hop character.
Squire Scotch Ale has a thick, butterscotch-like malt flavour with a strong wood character and a grassy hop accent that brings crispness with it. This beer is nicely balanced and not bitingly sweet like many Scotch ales. A full body and mild carbonation contribute to a creamy and somewhat syrupy mouthfeel. The finish has a mild bitterness while peat and smoke linger in the heavy aftertaste.
This flavoured American porter from The Cannery Brewing Company in Penticton, British Columbia is dark brown and ruby in colour and yields a thick, frothy beige head when poured that leaves some chunky lace and has great retention. Cannery Blackberry Porter has a bright and juicy fruit aroma that brings to mind not only blackberry, but cherry and raspberry as well. The backing is very dark, smelling of coffee, cocoa and roasted grain.
The taste of Cannery Blackberry Porter is anchored by a rich and malty blend of chocolate and toffee flavours, with blackberry not only contributing to the taste, but adding a sturdy tartness to the brew that remains throughout the finish. The porter is full-bodied with a creamy, yet grainy mouthfeel. Sweet fruit and bitter chocolate and coffee notes linger in the aftertaste.
Red Racer IPA from the Central City Brewing Company in Surrey, British Columbia pours a clear, golden tinged copper-amber colour with a moderate, tan-coloured head that sticks around as a thin collar while leaving a light amount of fine lacing. This hop-laden American IPA has a very rich and bright aroma. It has lots of tropical fruit smells, like mango and pineapple, as well as grapefruit, pine and even a hint of cherry. Fresh grains, creamed honey and a nice lightly toasted wheat smell make up the backing.
The taste of Red Racer IPA has a bread-like malt tone to start before a crisp grapefruit citrus taste punches the palate. A buttery caramel comes through on the tongue and the finish has an assertive, but under control bitterness. The beer has a fairly thin mouthfeel and a mild prickly sensation from the long lasting collar. It gets quite oily on the back of the tongue and a fruity tartness lingers in the aftertaste just enough to make you want another sip.