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The Beer Diaries

Spring Guide

As winter hopefully gasps its last, we turn to bocks, Märzens, and all things Irish to welcome in spring (your mileage may vary, give or take a month or so). The snow ain't gone yet, but our collective memory of it soon will be - pass me a craft brew!


What's Inside

Here are the beers in this guide. Click a link below to read the full beer review.

  • Schneider Weisse Cuvée Barrique

    Reviewed by on June 1, 2017 in Spring Guide
    Schneider Weisse Cuvee Barrique-landscape

    So, what we have here are two famous wheat bocks (Aventinus and the Eisbock), aged in unspecified Swiss wine barrels, and then blended.  Hoooo boy! This 750ml bottle (2016 edition) pours a murky, dark orange-brick brown colour, with one skinny finger of mostly just bubbly and fizzy tan head, which leaves pretty much nil in […]

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  • Pivovar Náchod Primátor Maibock

    Reviewed by on May 3, 2017 in Spring Guide
    Primator Maibock-landscape

    It’s always nice to see a new Continental (in this case, Czech) seasonal offering show up as we kick off the merry, merry month of May. This 500ml bottle pours a clear, medium golden amber colour, with a near-teeming tower of puffy, finely foamy, and somewhat bubbly ecru head, which leaves some decent cannonball splash […]

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  • Kith & Kin Teeling Cask

    Reviewed by on March 17, 2017 in Spring Guide
    Innis & Gunn Kith & Kin-landscape

    Kith & Kin (which means ‘friends and family’ in Scotland) comes in a nice black cardboard case, and is a stout aged in Teeling ‘small batch’ Irish Whiskey casks, straight from Dublin.  Happy St. Patrick’s Day, y’all! This 330ml bottle pours a solid black, with subtle amber basal edges, and three fingers of puffy, rocky, […]

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  • Beau’s Strong Patrick Irish Red Ale

    Reviewed by on March 10, 2017 in Spring Guide
    Beaus Strong Patrick-landscape

    Part of this brewery’s ‘Wild Oats Series’ (no. 18, apparently) – but no mention of any barrel treatment on the label, as far as I can tell, but if there was, I’m sure that it was organic in nature. This 600ml bottle pours a clear, dark red-brick brown colour, with three fingers of puffy, loosely […]

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  • Clown Shoes Archdruid

    Reviewed by on March 3, 2017 in Spring Guide
    Clown Shoes Archdruid-landscape

    It’s a fortnight until the big day (if you have to ask, I’m not telling), and thus it’s always nice to see another Irish Whiskey aged brew come around to my town. This 22oz bottle pours a murky, dark orange-brick amber colour, with two thrifty fingers of puffy, loosely foamy, and bubbly light tan head, […]

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  • Tree Leap Beer Smoked Bock

    Reviewed by on August 1, 2016 in Spring Guide
    Tree Leap Beer Smoked Bock-landscape

    An oddly-timed arrival at this particular time of year, especially as this seems to have been targeted for an occasion five months prior to now. Ok, then – still cool to see Beau’s name attached to a brew available in Alberta, I gotta say. This 650ml bottle pours a clear, bright medium red brick colour, […]

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  • Grizzly Paw Spring Bock

    Reviewed by on June 5, 2016 in Spring Guide
    Grizzly Paw Spring Bock-landscape

    Touted as the Limited 20th Anniversary Edition, I gather that this is a remake of a bock that they made back in 1996?  Made with the usual good stuff, in addition to some new Mandarina Bavaria hops, from of course, Germany! This 650ml bottle pours a clear, medium copper amber colour, with four fingers of […]

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  • Old Yale Screaming Banshee Irish Cream Stout

    Reviewed by on May 25, 2016 in Spring Guide
    Old Yale Screaming Banshee-landscape

    Screaming Banshee Stout comes to us from Chilliwack, BC, and is part of Old Yale Brewing’s Tall Tale series, and obviously aimed at Irish Cream fans, as it seems to be their base (and award-winning) Sasquatch Stout on steroids (and Irish Cream). This 650ml bottle pours a solid, light-destroying black, with the barest of basal […]

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  • Aecht Schlenkerla Fastenbier

    Reviewed by on May 24, 2016 in Spring Guide
    Aecht Schlenkerla Fastenbier-landscape

    ‘Fastenbier’ translates to ‘Lent Beer’, and it’s a bit late for that particular observation this year, but whatevs – more new stuff from this brewery is always an interesting prospect, at the very least. This 500ml bottle pours a clear, dark orange-brick amber colour, with a near tower’s worth of puffy, rocky, and chunky beige […]

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  • Canuck Empire Sunrise To Sunset Saison

    Reviewed by on May 15, 2016 in Spring Guide
    Canuck Empire Sunrise to Sunset Saison-landscape

    Sunrise to Sunset is a Saison that is proclaimed to be ‘Spring in a bottle’, eh? Well, the sunsets around here aren’t very late right now, but they will be soon! This 650ml bottle pours a hazy, medium golden yellow colour, with a teeming tower of puffy, finely foamy, and somewhat creamy bone-white head, which […]

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  • Parallel 49 Brews Brothers Bat Outta Hell

    Reviewed by on May 4, 2016 in Spring Guide
    P49 Bat Outta Hell Dark Helles Bock-landscape

    ‘Bat Outta Hell’ is part of the current Brews Brothers Vol. Two mixed pack, and a collaboration with North Van’s Bridge Brewing. This time they’ve gone with some good ol’ Meat Loaf as the musical accompaniment, to make a so-called ‘dark Helles bock’ – isn’t that an oxymoron of sorts? This 341ml bottle pours a […]

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  • Gigantic Kiss The Goat

    Reviewed by on May 3, 2016 in Spring Guide
    Gigantic Kiss the Goat Black Doppelbock-landscape

    Doppelbocks (a Springtime brewing staple) are usually on the dark side colour-wise, relative to their little siblings, but leave it to these guys to further darken (both literally and figuratively) the traditional bock’s association with billy goats. This 22oz bottle pours a clear (I think), very near-black brown colour, with prominent orange cola highlights, and […]

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  • Big Sky Shake A Day IPA

    Reviewed by on April 28, 2016 in Spring Guide
    Big Sky Shake a Day IPA-landscape

    At first glance, I wondered what it is about this particular IPA that makes it ‘seasonal”?  It turns out that Big Sky just wanted to make a different IPA from their main one, and turned to Australian, as well as PacNW hops to create a sidestep offering, available from March to May, aka ‘Spring’, in […]

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  • Mill Street Madawaska Maple Ale

    Reviewed by on April 22, 2016 in Spring Guide
    Mill Street Madawaska Maple-landscape

    Madawaska Maple Ale is another cog in the current Mill Street Spring mixed pack, and is an Irish Red Ale, made with traditionally sourced maple syrup from the titular valley, or so sez the back label marketing spiel. This 355ml bottle pours a clear, medium copper amber colour, with three fat-ass fingers of puffy, finely […]

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  • Bridge Brewing Lemon Gin Saison

    Reviewed by on April 21, 2016 in Spring Guide
    Bridge Brewing Lemon Gin Saison-landscape

    This is North Van’s Bridge Brewing’s current (I guess that means Spring?) seasonal, a Saison made with lemon and gin – I resolve to keep my panties unbunched and right where they belong. This 650ml bottle pours a hazy, medium golden amber colour, with a teeming tower of puffy, loosely foamy, and somewhat creamy eggshell […]

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  • Fernie The Eldorado Single Hop IPA

    Reviewed by on April 19, 2016 in Spring Guide
    Fernie The Eldorado Single Hop IPA-landscape

    This is the most recent (Spring 2016, A.D.) offering in the Fernie Brewing Company’s ‘Bucket List’ IPA series, made with ‘The Eldorado’ hops, and lemongrass to boot. This 650ml bottle pours a sort of hazy, medium golden amber colour, with three fingers of puffy, rocky, and sticky eggshell white head, which leaves some stellar bonsai-tree […]

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  • Mill Street Big League IPA

    Reviewed by on April 13, 2016 in Spring Guide
    Mill Street Big League IPA-landscape

    Big League IPA is part of Mill Street’s current Spring mixed pack, and an ode to the recent kickoff of the 2016 Major League Baseball season. This 355ml bottle pours a clear, bright medium copper amber colour, with a teeming tower of puffy, loosely foamy, and bubbly off-white head, which leaves some mirror world continental […]

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  • Central City The Fabulator

    Reviewed by on April 8, 2016 in Spring Guide
    Central City The Fabulator Rauchbock-landscape

    The Fabulator was part of the 2015 Craft Crossing Calendar, and is apparently named after Central City’s own Fabian Specht, who must be a fan of the smoke. This 330ml bottle pours a clear, bright medium red-brick amber colour, with one finger of puffy, loosely foamy, and mostly bubbly beige head, which leaves a bit […]

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  • Brauerei Heller Aecht Schlenkerla Eiche

    Reviewed by on April 7, 2016 in Spring Guide
    Brauerei Heller Aecht Schlenkerla Eiche-landscape

    Northern Germany’s Brauerei Heller are the progenitors of the Rauchbier (smoked beer) style, and they also produce a seasonal doppelbock, made with smoked oak, rather than smoked beechwood – hmmmm, I wonder if Anheuser Busch has tried out that option, eh? This 500ml bottle pours a slightly hazy, medium copper amber hue, with two beefy […]

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  • De Molen Ball & Chain

    Reviewed by on April 6, 2016 in Spring Guide
    De Molen Ball & Chain-landscape

    Ball & Chain is a brew made in Holland by De Molen, in collaboration with Washington State’s Sound Brewery, and self-described as ‘smoked dubbelbock-ish’. This 330ml bottle pours a clear, dark orange-brick amber hue, with two chubby fingers of puffy, loosely foamy, and bubbly ecru head, which leaves some stringy coral atoll lace around the […]

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  • Dunham Saison Du Pinacle

    Reviewed by on April 5, 2016 in Spring Guide
    Dunham Saison du Pinacle-landscape

    I know, Saisons are typically a summer quaffing staple, but the snow-capped mountain label imagery leads me to opt for the translation of ‘Peak Saison’, which works very well with the current Spring skiing season, I would imagine.  Oh, and this is hopped with Citra, Simcoe, Topaz and Sylva, FYI. This 750ml bottle pours a […]

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  • Old Yale Yeti White Stout

    Reviewed by on April 4, 2016 in Spring Guide
    Old Yale Yeti White Stout-landscape

    BC’s craft brewers have cranked out another winter-summer bridging pale stout (Steamworks’ was my most recent exposure), its colour the only thing not typically stoutish about it. I do rather like the tagline: ‘Light Colour, dark intentions’. Heh. This 650ml bottle pours a clear, bright medium copper amber colour, with two fingers of puffy, loosely […]

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  • Wild Rose Czech Style Pilsner

    Reviewed by on March 30, 2016 in Spring Guide
    Wild Rose Czech Style Pilsner-landscape

    Calgary’s Wild Rose Brewery continues their ‘Rare’ release series, with a Bohemian-style Pilsener for the Spring of 2016, made with German malt, and Czech Saaz hops – very promising! This 650ml bottle pours a clear, bright pale (I know) golden yellow colour, with one flabby finger of puffy, rocky, and somewhat creamy bone-white head, which […]

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  • Fernie & Whistler Spring Shred Red Session Ale

    Reviewed by on March 28, 2016 in Spring Guide
    Fernie Spring Shred-landscape

    Spring Shred (dubbed a ‘Red Session Ale’) is a collaborative effort wherein the brewing boyz from Whistler headed on out east to Fernie, to help out their fellow BC mountain town suds-makers.  And if the marketing pap surrounding this release is any indication, that’s not all they shared whilst sitting around the kettles and fermenters! […]

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  • Dungarvan Copper Coast Irish Red Ale

    Reviewed by on March 25, 2016 in Spring Guide
    Dungarvan Copper Coast-landscape

    Ireland’s Dungarvan (the brewery, at least) sure does a swell job of illustrating its local historical landmarks in its released products. This 500ml bottle pours a slightly hazy, medium bronzed amber hue, with three fingers of puffy, densely foamy, and somewhat caked off-white head, which leaves some broad and sudsy archipelago lace around the glass […]

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  • Ninkasi Expo 58

    Reviewed by on March 23, 2016 in Spring Guide
    Ninkasi Expo 58-landscape

    Oregon’s Ninkasi Brewing releases this as a marker for the end of winter, and it is also an ode to Expo 58 (the first one after World War II), which was in Brussels – hence the Belgian-style brew. This beer appears a hazy, rather pale golden straw colour, with one finger of foamy, bubbly, and […]

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  • Dungarvan Helvick Gold

    Reviewed by on March 22, 2016 in Spring Guide
    Dungarvan Helvick Gold-landscape

    Dungarvan is a craft brewery from county Waterford in the southeast of Ireland, and they make this ‘Irish Blonde Ale’ (named after a local natural landmark), something to keep in mind for the next go-round of greened-up lager, or ubiquitous Guinness, eh? This 500ml bottle pours a hazy, yet bright medium golden copper hue, with […]

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  • Alley Kat’s Sherbrooke Shenanigans Kölsch

    Reviewed by on March 17, 2016 in Spring Guide
    Sherbrooke Shenanigans Kolsch-landscape

    Alley Kat has produced a ‘seasonal’ green beer for Sherbrooke Liquor Store in the past – this now appears to be Alley Kat’s Kölsch, with a ‘healthy’ dose of the appropriate food colouring, and thus a different offering than the Belgian-styled Shamrock offering of years’ past, IMHO. This 1L howler pours a clear, rather bright […]

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  • New Belgium Hoppy Blonde

    Reviewed by on March 16, 2016 in Spring Guide
    New Belgium Hoppy Blonde-landscape

    Hoppy Blonde is a new offering from Colorado’s New Belgium Brewing, and is touted as a Mosaic-fueled ‘full-flavored free-fall’ for celebrating spring.  Ok, then. This 12oz bottle pours a clear, bright medium golden amber colour, with three fingers of puffy, loosely foamy, and bubbly off-white head, which leaves some decent sudsy stratified lace around the […]

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  • Moody Ales Vienna Lager

    Reviewed by on March 14, 2016 in Spring Guide
    Moody Ales Vienna Lager-landscape

    It’s always nice to pay heed to one’s friends, and the Beer Diaries would like to thank its internet pal Lee for sending a few samples from his brother’s brewing concern our way!  Mmmm… Vienna Lager sounds so ‘springtime on the Danube’ anyway, doesn’t it? This 650ml bottle pours a clear, bright medium bronzed amber […]

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  • Pacific Schwarzbock

    Reviewed by on March 11, 2016 in Spring Guide
    Pacific Western Schwarzbock-landscape

    Brewed in remote northern British Columbia, this ‘schwarzbock’ (black bock, sure) apparently has some intriguing ‘lost at sea’ Bavarian recipe heritage, if you’re the type who believes the marketing babble on back labels. This 473ml can pours a clear, dark red-brick brown colour, with three fingers of puffy, densely foamy, and mildly creamy beige head, […]

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  • Oskar Blues Death By Coconut Irish Porter

    Reviewed by on March 9, 2016 in Spring Guide
    Oskar Blues Death by Coconut-landscape

    Colorado’s (and now North Carolina’s, as well) Oskar Blues make this chocolate and coconut flavoured porter – I wonder what about that makes this particularly ‘Irish’? This 12oz can pours a deep, dark brown colour, with bright basal cola edges, and three fingers of puffy, rocky, and creamy beige head, which leaves a few random […]

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  • Picaroons Timber Hog

    Reviewed by on March 7, 2016 in Spring Guide
    Picaroons Timber Hog-landscape

    Picaroons is a craft brewery from the province of New Brunswick, and Timber Hog is their interpretation of an Irish Dry Stout, and fancy that, available just in time for St. Paddy’s Day! This 500ml bottle pours a rather solid black abyss, with subtle red cola basal edges, and three fingers of puffy, rocky, and […]

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  • O’Hara’s Irish Stout

    Reviewed by on March 4, 2016 in Spring Guide
    O'Hara's Irish Stout-landscape

    O’Hara’s is a brand produced by Carlow Brewing, a craft brewery in the Southeast of the Republic.  It’s always nice to see another Irish stout, from well, you know, Ireland! This 500ml bottle pours a solid black, with prominent basal cola edges, and three fat fingers of puffy, loosely foamy, and fairly bubbly chocolate milk […]

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  • Sierra Nevada Beer Camp: Tropical IPA

    Reviewed by on March 2, 2016 in Spring Guide
    Sierra Nevada Beer Camp Tropical IPA-landscape

    Sierra Nevada will be releasing their Beer Camp Across America collaboration variety pack again this year, and in advance of that, they have put out a Spring seasonal that appears to somehow be related to the process, and is of the currently popular ‘Tropical’ IPA style. This 12oz bottle pours a clear, bright medium golden […]

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  • Brewsters Lanigan’s Irish Ale

    Reviewed by on March 1, 2016 in Spring Guide
    Brewsters Lanigan's Irish Ale-landscape

    Calgary’s Brewsters Brewing is now bottling more of their classic products, including this Irish Ale, named after the founders of the company, and released in due time for Mid-March’s ode to all things green and boozy in the name of Eire. It’s been a while since I used to put these back after soccer practice […]

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  • Erdinger Pikantus

    Reviewed by on June 9, 2015 in Spring Guide
    Erdinger Pikantus-landscape

    Erdinger is a brewer of weissbier, or wheat beers, from the town of Erding, situated northeast of Munich.  As such, their bock, a staple style of springtime, is made with wheat in the malt bill, and is thus referred to as a Weizenbock, or ‘dark wheat beer of bock strength’, by all accounts. This 500ml […]

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  • Hofbräu Maibock

    Reviewed by on June 8, 2015 in Spring Guide
    Hofbrau Maibock-landscape

    Spring is not quite done with us yet this year, and we have another old-world Maibock to, um, celebrate the fact.  Hofbräu is one of the oldest breweries in Munich, and claim this as that city’s first of the style. Weird tent-raising spectacle depicted on the label. This 330ml bottle pours a crystal-clear, bright golden […]

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  • Grizzly Paw Bruinator Doppelbock

    Reviewed by on May 29, 2015 in Spring Guide
    Grizzly Paw Bruinator Doppelbock-landscape

    Grizzly Paw released this offering on tap at their Canmore brewpub, and in bottle format for Spring 2015, with the tagline: ‘Enjoyed by monks worldwide!’.  I do like their employment of the -ator naming structure for the style, and still keeping it in the grizzly bear theme.  Since Spring is almost over (tell that to […]

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  • Paddock Wood Maibock

    Reviewed by on May 25, 2015 in Spring Guide
    Paddock Wood Maibock-landscape

    Saskatoon’s Paddock Wood Brewery releases this Maibock as their Spring Specialty Brew, with lots of German malt and hops.  A sturdy-looking billy goat keeps an eye on things on the label. This 355ml bottle pours a beautifully clear, medium ruby amber hue, with one thick finger of tightly foamy, and yet a wee bit bubbly […]

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  • Paulaner Salvator Doppelbock

    Reviewed by on May 19, 2015 in Spring Guide
    Paulaner Salvator Doppelbock-landscape

    There is plenty of evidence to suggest that Paulaner’s version is the oldest doppelbock currently being made, as the story of its creation goes all the way back to the Paulaner Friars in the late 17th century. This 330ml bottle pours a mostly clear, bright orange-brick amber colour, with a few fingers of puffy, loosely […]

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  • Lake of Bays Spring Maple Belgian Blonde Ale

    Reviewed by on May 8, 2015 in Spring Guide
    Lake of Bays Spring Maple-landscape

    This is Lake of Bays’ spring offering, and a bit of an ironic tipple in Alberta right now, where hell has apparently frozen over, and not just because there’s a ton of fresh snow on the ground in early May. This 750ml bottle pours a hazy, medium golden yellow colour, with three fingers of puffy, […]

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  • Burnside Spring Rye

    Reviewed by on April 30, 2015 in Spring Guide
    Burnside Spring Rye-landscape

    Spring Rye is PDX brewery Burnside’s springtime offering, and is quite the mix of styles and/or ingredient substitutions, it would seem. I’m guessing that the lack of filtering, and the coriander provide a certain Saison-like character, so hence the ‘Spring’ seasonal association. This 22oz bottle pours a hazy, medium golden amber colour, with one fat […]

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  • Rogue Dead Guy Ale

    Reviewed by on April 29, 2015 in Spring Guide
    Rogue Dead Guy Ale-landscape

    Believe it or not, way back in the mid-to-late 90s, this was the only American microbrewery, except for maybe Sam Adams, that was available in my fair burg. The times, they have since a-changed, so let us take a stroll down memory lane, with this so-called bock. This 22oz bottle pours a hazy, medium golden […]

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  • Sound O’Regan’s Revenge

    Reviewed by on April 28, 2015 in Spring Guide
    Sound ORegans Revenge-landscape

    A very old-country sounding brew, in both name and main ingredients.  Maybe this is a little late arriving for this year’s St. Patrick’s day celebrations, but ’tis ok by me – the countdown’s on for 2016! This 22oz bottle pours a clear, dark orange-brick amber hue, with three fingers of puffy, densely foamy, and rather […]

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  • Ninkasi Spring Reign

    Reviewed by on April 27, 2015 in Spring Guide
    Ninkasi Spring Reign-landscape

    Spring Reign is Ninkasi Brewing’s Spring (natch) seasonal offering, made in the ‘traditional’ PACNW manner of hopping it to the nuts.  I also find humour in their statement on the label that a 6% ABV pale ale is ‘a session beer…’. This 22oz bottle pours a slightly hazy, pale golden amber colour, with three fingers […]

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  • Cannery Stumbling Goat

    Reviewed by on April 21, 2015 in Spring Guide
    Cannery Stumbling Goat Maibock-landscape

    Penticton’s Cannery Brewing have released a spring seasonal ‘dry-hopped’ Maibock, which is seemingly applying widespread new-world techniques to an old-world standard, and it sports a dark and sinister-looking label to boot. This 650ml bottle pours a clear, bright medium golden amber hue, with three fingers of puffy, loosely foamy, and certainly bubbly off-white head, which […]

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  • Brooklyn Silver Anniversary Lager

    Reviewed by on April 14, 2015 in Spring Guide
    Brooklyn Silver Anniversary Lager-landscape

    This anniversary offering (their 25th, in 2013) from Brooklyn, New York’s eponymous brewery is referred to as an intensified version of their flagship Brooklyn Lager, or more specifically, a doppelbock.  Each bottle is festooned with one of four custom labels courtesy of local artists – this one comes from Joe Amrhein, and is titled ‘A […]

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  • Pump House Bière De Garde

    Reviewed by on April 9, 2015 in Spring Guide
    Pump House Biere de Garde-landscape

    The Bière de Garde style is French in origin, and were traditionally brewed in the winter and early spring to take advantage of the cooler storage temperatures (‘beer for keeping’ is the translation).  They are then consumed after a few months, when spring and early summer take hold.  Although they have much in common with […]

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  • Holsten Maibock

    Reviewed by on April 8, 2015 in Spring Guide
    Holsten Maibock-landscape

    Holsten is a brewery from Hamburg, in the north of Germany, and this is their spring offering, though it appears to be available year-round – same mounted knight emblem imagery as the other Holsten offerings. This 500ml can pours a perfectly clear, medium golden amber colour, with three fingers of puffy, tightly foamy, and even […]

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  • Fernie Quiet Rye’t

    Reviewed by on April 7, 2015 in Spring Guide
    Fernie Quiet Rye-T Rye IPA-landscape

    Fernie’s namesake brewing company is in the second iteration of releasing their Bucket List IPA series, wherein they create a different IPA for each season – and spring means rye in yer eye(PA), it would seem. Awesome punny 1980s rock music reference in the name – my me(n)tal health could use a bit of a […]

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  • DAB Maibock

    Reviewed by on April 6, 2015 in Spring Guide
    DAB Maibock-landscape

    Not a lot of new products hit the shelves around here from established German brewers, so it’s nice to see a seasonal Maibock from a well-known Dortmunder lager producer. Oh well – I am sure of the beer in front of me (and it ain’t no frontal lobotomy). This 500ml can pours a clear, bright […]

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  • Cameron’s Deviator Doppelbock – Bourbon Barrel Aged

    Reviewed by on April 3, 2015 in Spring Guide
    Camerons Deviator Doppelbock BBA-landscape

    More spring-time brew (this time it has spent 6 months in some barrels from Bourbon County) from metro Toronto’s Cameron’s Brewing, and as it’s still snowing outside around here in April – good thing about this one’s er, warmth, then, eh?  Also, an enjoyable take on the ‘-ator’ terminology for the doppelbock style. This 650ml […]

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  • Rogue Farms Pumpkin Savior Ale

    Reviewed by on April 2, 2015 in Spring Guide
    Rogue Pumpkin Savior-landscape

    Wait, what? A pumpkin brew in the springtime? Oh, I see, Rogue had an excess of said gourd for last fall’s pumpkin brew, and thoughtfully froze the leftovers, in order to make a witbier (?) in the new year, hence the ‘savior’ terminology.  750ml white lacquered bottle, denoted as the ‘Spring 2015’ edition. This beer […]

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  • Mikkeller Frelser

    Reviewed by on April 1, 2015 in Spring Guide
    Mikkeller Frelser-landscape

    Frelser is gypsy brewer Mikkeller’s idea of a further amped-up doppelbock – a triple bock, or Trippelbock Holy Ale, in their words!  The label has some fun with the early springtime Christian rite of Ash Wednesday, by depicting the ashes on the forehead as forming the iconic Mikkeller cowboy hat, instead of a cross. This […]

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  • Eggenberg Doppelbock Dunkel

    Reviewed by on March 31, 2015 in Spring Guide
    Schloss Eggenberg Doppelbock Dunkel-landscape

    A brewing operation in the Austrian Alps, Castle Eggenberg produces this dark doppelbock, festooned with an elegant paper-wrapped cap, and stern black and white label presentation. This 330ml bottle pours a clear, radiant dark copper amber hue, with one fat finger of foamy and sudsy ecru head, which drops away quickly, leaving a few specks and […]

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  • Tree Captivator Doppelbock

    Reviewed by on March 30, 2015 in Spring Guide
    Tree Captivator Doppelbock-landscape

    Captivator, named in the doppelbock tradition of adding ‘-ator’ to the end of a bombastic descriptive term, is Kelowna, BC’s Tree Brewing’s limited release spring time offering.  The dark, ominous monastic dudes on the label pay due testament to the original (not that it’s totally gone away) nature of the season. This 650ml bottle pours […]

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  • Ayinger Celebrator Doppelbock

    Reviewed by on March 27, 2015 in Spring Guide
    Ayinger Celebrator-landscape

    One of the more famous versions of this dark, rich, warming springtime style, Ayinger’s Celebrator Doppelbock sure sounds like a barrel of fun, coming as it does from this well-respected Bavarian brewery.  And the little ornamental plastic goat hanging around the bottleneck is pretty cool too. This 330ml bottle pours a moderately hazy, deep dark […]

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  • Dieu du Ciel! Équinoxe du Printemps

    Reviewed by on March 26, 2015 in Spring Guide
    Dieu du Ciel Equinoxe du Printemps-landscape

    Translating to ‘Spring Equinox’, Montreal’s Dieu du Ciel! brewery creates this offering once a year, in January, and ages it until mid-March, when it is released – a big Scotch ale that is topped off with local Quebecois maple syrup. This 341ml bottle pours a murky, dark brownish orange colour, with three fingers of thick, […]

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  • Mill Street Spring Thaw Maple Ale

    Reviewed by on March 25, 2015 in Spring Guide
    Mill Street Spring Thaw-landscape

    Spring Thaw is part of Mill Street’s Spring Mix seasonal sampler. Made with smoked malt and local maple syrup, maybe this will finally cast off the shackles of the lingering snow mass in this town. This 355ml bottle pours a clear, dark brassy amber colour, with two fingers of mildly bubbly, loosely foamy, and somewhat […]

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  • Cameron’s Rye Bock

    Reviewed by on March 24, 2015 in Spring Guide
    Camerons RyeBock-landscape

    Suburban Toronto’s Cameron’s Brewing produces this ode to the maibocks of German alpine springtime, wherein they add some rye malt to spice things up.  Snow’s ‘a meltin’, so time to get at ‘er! This 650ml bottle pours a glassy, medium bronzed amber hue, with two pudgy fingers of densely foamy, frothy, and bubbly ecru head, […]

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  • LTM Grande Cuvée Doppelbock

    Reviewed by on March 23, 2015 in Spring Guide
    LTM Grande Cuvee Doppelbock-landscape

    Les Trois Mousquetaires are a craft brewery from suburban Montreal, and this is their doppelbock, described on the label as the ‘liquid bread used by Bavarian monks during Lent’.  It used to be called ‘Printemps’ (Spring), but I suppose they’ve now dropped the redundant part of the name.  And having this kind of thing as […]

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  • Anchor Saison Spring Ale

    Reviewed by on March 20, 2015 in Spring Guide
    Anchor Saison Spring Ale-landscape

    The Spring Ale is the latest Anchor seasonal to make it up here, north of 49, where said season is just starting to feel like it’s gonna stick. Yeah, right.  Made with locally-produced ‘saison-style yeast’, and a trio of apparently California-bred ingredients – lemongrass, lemon peel, and ginger. This 12oz bottle pours a clear, medium […]

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  • Weltenburger Kloster Asam Bock

    Reviewed by on March 19, 2015 in Spring Guide
    Weltenburger Kloster Asam Bock-landscape

    Doppelbocks are the stronger German lagers originally brewed by monks to aid them during their fasting periods, most prominently Lent.  The Weltenburg Abbey brewery’s version is also a dunkel, so we can expect some even bigger, more complex flavours. This 500ml bottle pours a clear, dark red brick amber hue, with two fingers of puffy, […]

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  • Harp Lager

    Reviewed by on March 18, 2015 in Spring Guide
    Harp Lager-landscape

    Ok, so maybe the cobwebs are a little denser this morning, after yesterday’s mid-week frivolities, and you need something crisp and straightforward to settle yourself.  Guinness also makes something for that, in the form of their lager, Harp (a none-too-subtly named brew, IMHO). This 500ml can pours a clear, pale golden yellow colour, with three […]

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  • Guinness Draught

    Reviewed by on March 17, 2015 in Spring Guide
    Guinness Draught-landscape

    It is one of the holy days of beer, whether it’s green or not, and today I’m going with that most famous of Irish-made brews – the draught (draft) version of Guinness.  The black stuff, good for you, Irish Champagne, etc.  The makers of Guinness produce many other forms of their stout, yet it is […]

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  • Porterhouse An Brain Blásta

    Reviewed by on March 16, 2015 in Spring Guide
    Porterhouse An Brainblasta-landscape

    Dublin’s Porterhouse is one of the few independent Irish craft breweries – and they package their product with clever labels, and a potentially deep gash accident prone cap enclosure. What gives – is this a draconian Irish countermeasure to binge drinking, or something? This 330ml bottle pours a clear, dark red brick amber hue, with […]

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  • Smithwick’s Premium Red Ale

    Reviewed by on March 13, 2015 in Spring Guide
    Smithwicks Premium Red Ale-landscape

    Smithwick’s is an Irish brand that was brewed in Kilkenny until the end of 2013, when production was moved to St. James Gate in Dublin, to be made alongside that other famous Irish beer.  For interest’s sake, the ‘w’ in the name is generally elided over, so remember that when ordering this over the next […]

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  • Rogue Irish Style Lager

    Reviewed by on March 12, 2015 in Spring Guide
    Rogue Irish Style Lager-landscape

    Ah…the Beer of Kells – memories of Trinity College during my visit there many years ago. Maybe forgo for now this brewery’s latest gimmick (the Sriracha Stout), and try out their ode to one of the lesser-known styles of beer in Ireland – the lager. This 22oz bottle pours a rather hazy, medium golden straw […]

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  • Kilkenny Irish Cream Ale

    Reviewed by on March 11, 2015 in Spring Guide
    Kilkenny Irish Cream Ale-landscape

    As March 17 nears, it’s about time to delve into the famous Irish quaffs produced by brewing behemoth Guinness.  Kilkenny is an Irish cream ale, named after the town in Ireland where it originated.  It is packaged with a nitrogen-widget thingy at the bottom of the can, which releases the gas upon opening. This 440ml […]

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  • Innis & Gunn Irish Whiskey Finish Stout

    Reviewed by on March 10, 2015 in Spring Guide
    Innis & Gunn Irish Whiskey Finish-landscape

    St. Patrick’s Day is nigh on a week away, so for a craft beer to anticipate the occasion, how about a Scottish stout, finished over Irish Whiskey wood – a potential Gaelic love-in, to be sure.  Innis & Gunn has just such a thing kickin’ around for us to try! This 330ml, clear as ever […]

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  • Russell Luck Of The Irish

    Reviewed by on March 9, 2015 in Spring Guide
    Russell Luck of the Irish-landscape

    Surrey, BC’s Russel Brewing has been rather consistent with their seasonal releases of late, and now, my first Irish-themed brew of the year, as we slog our way through early March, to hopefully pass the Ides, and finally arrive to THE day. This 650ml bottle pours a clear, medium red-brick amber colour, with two fingers […]

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  • Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier Märzen

    Reviewed by on March 6, 2015 in Spring Guide
    Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier Marzen-landscape

    Germany is famous for its bock-style beers to herald the arrival of spring, but also for this esoteric brewing method from the northern region of Franconia – called ‘rauchbier’, or ‘smoked beer’.  The base beer’s malt (a Märzen, or March beer) is kilned over beechwood log fires (yeah, Budweiser), and you kind of have to […]

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