Bowen Island Moontide Winter Ale

Reviewed by on January 28, 2016 in Winter Guide

The Details

  • Brewery: Bowen Island Brewing Co. Ltd.

  • Origin: Vancouver, BC, CA

  • Rated On: January 28, 2016

  • Best Before: canned November 27, 2015

  • ABV: 5.0%

  • Ideal Temperature: cool to cellar temperature

  • Style: Winter Ale

  • Rating: GOOD !

The Review

Bowen Island is a contract brewer of ‘economy craft’ beers, who have their products made at the Kamloops Brewing Company.  One of their newer packaged offerings is available in the current seasonal mixer – a self-described ‘mild winter ale’.

This 355ml can pours a clear, dark orange-cola brown colour, with three chubby fingers of puffy, finely foamy, and bubbly tan head, which leaves a bit of cannonball splash aftermath lace in places around the glass as it quickly recedes.

It smells of weak chocolate-covered raspberries, bready caramel malt, muddled Christmas baking spice, a hint of stale vanilla, and maybe a suggestion of wispy cold coffee. The taste is more raspberry and strawberry fruitiness, now divorced from the discount shelf chocolate wafers, soft, and sort of doughy caramel malt, a vanilla-tinged black licorice thing, and some very, very understated (hiding, maybe?) earthy hop bitterness. The carbonation is adequate in its supportive and not so frivolous frothiness, the body a so-so medium weight, and mostly smooth, nothing but a wee clamminess stepping in here to play the foil. It finishes on the sweet side, that mixed berry character still going strong, in front of a steady, if underwhelming malt.

Overall, I gotta say that I wasn’t expecting much here, and the typical winter warmer essences (spice, vanilla, and, yeah, booze) are indeed lacking, but that red berry fruitiness, combined with simple cocoa notes renders this a pleasant and somewhat engaging tipple. Just not one too indebted to the current season – no big loss.

Brady White

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