Phillips Double Barrel Scotch Ale

Some things just get a whole lot better with age.  Strong ales with lots of character and bold flavours are one of those things that get better with age.  Especially when it’s aged in Tennesse whiskey barrels.  So how about if you age a scotch ale in Tennesse whiskey barrels, then age it cabernet sauvignon wine barrels?  It’ll probably taste quite complex right?  It probably should, but it wasn’t the case at all with the Phillips Double Barrel Scotch Ale.

The Phillips Double Barrel Scotch Ale was a little disappointing last year, but this year’s is absolutely horrendous.  It’s not the barrel-aging process that made this beer an epic failure, but the scotch ale itself.  There was no richness from the malts or any sign of caramelization.  It’s as if they barrel-aged carbonated water in whiskey and wine barrels.

The Phillips Double Barrel Scotch Ale has a slightly nutty and caramely smell with a tiny hint of whiskey.  It tastes like watery vanilla and whiskey, with a tiny red wine-like aftertaste.  It’s light-bodied with no presence of the scotch ale.

Overall the Double Barrel Scotch Ale was like drinking barrel aged carbonated water.  It really makes you wonder how Phillips Brewing went from the best brewery in BC to this downward spiral.  The answer is they got too big, they’ve taken on too many projects, and they release way too many new beers all the time.  There’s no passion or any sort of TLC in their “seasonal releases” and it shows in the taste.

If you’re new to craft beer or just beginning to try out different styles of beer, go ahead and buy it.  You’ll enjoy it.

If you’re a craft beer aficionado who has tried great commercial examples of scotch ales, scotch-style ales, or barrel aged beers, this beer is not worth your money.

The Phillips Double Barrel Scotch Ale is available at The Brewery Creek, Firefly, Viti, Legacy Liquor Store, Central City Liquor Store and more.

Post by Beer Geek Ben





Posted in Beers | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Driftwood Son Of The Morning

Sometimes it’s the most beautiful things that you have to watch out for.  Because behind the morning star, an innocent looking child, or a gorgeous woman, is where you’ll find the devil hiding.   And when it comes to beer, the favorite place for the devil to hide is inside an enticing, golden-coloured ale with a massive white head.  So as beautiful as it may appear, be careful of the devilishly potent, alcoholic strength of the Driftwood Son Of The Morning Strong Golden Ale.

By now everyone in BC knows about Driftwood Brewing.  So if you’re aware of Driftwood Brewing, you know that they specialize in Belgian-style beers.  Brewmaster Jason Meyer has shown us his interpretation of a Witbier, Saison, an Abbye ale that resembled Orval, and a Flanders Red.  This time it’s a Belgian Golden Strong Ale with the Son Of The Morning.

Belgian Golden Strong Ales originally developed as a response to the growing popularity of Pilsners after World War 2.  References to the devil are included in the names of many commercial examples of a Belgian Golden Strong Ale, referring to their potent alcoholic strength and as a tribute to the original example, Duvel by Moortgat brwery.  Damnation, Lucifer, Delirium, PranQster, Horny Devil, Judas, Salvation, all pay tribute to Duvel with their name, and the Driftwood Son Of The Morning is no exception.

Son Of The Morning is a clear and beautiful, golden coloured ale that’s best served in a Duvel glass.  The nose is very complex with a peppery, slightly floral, honey-like aroma with significant fruity esters of apples, pears and oranges.  It’s full-boded and very effervescent, with a sweet and spicy flavour of candy, white pepper, coriander, apples, pear, oranges, and the tiniest hint of banana.  It has a dry finish and it leaves a bold, alcoholic, warmth on the palate.  Which is no surprise since it’s 10% ABV.

Overall the Driftwood Son Of The Morning is a great example of a golden strong ale, but it’s a lot more malty than Duvel or other commercial examples of this style.  The maltiness doesn’t take away anything from this beer but it’s definitely noticeable.

This beer would work great with a tangy, pasty, goat cheese, chicken or duck liver parfait, and maybe beef tartar.  It would also be interesting to pair this with spicy Thai dishes or maybe even Phoa noodles.

The Driftwood Son Of The Morning Strong Golden Ale is a great beer, and you better hurry up if you want to try it.  It’s a great addition to their line up of limited release beers.

The Driftwood Son Of The Morning is available at Brewery Creek, Firefly, Viti, Legacy Liquor Store, Darby’s, Central City Liquor Store and more.

Posted by Beer Geek Ben


Posted in Beers | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

2012 The Georgia Straight Golden Plates

I shouldn’t be surprised. And I’m not. 

by Barley Mowat

Sometimes being a ticking time bomb of beer geek fury has its drawbacks. The continued preference of the general public for the insipid, watery crap that passes for beer in this country leads to anger, and that leads to broken glass.

So, when the guy who sells me replacement windows sent me a link to the results of this year’s Golden Plates Awards, I was just as shocked as he was that I felt… nothing. Nothing at all. Last year, I was a little bit taken back at the results. This year, meh.

Yeah, I guess things improved a bit, compared to last year:

Best Locally Brewed Beer2. Stanley Park Amber2. Red Racer IPA

Category 2011 2012
Best Canadian Beer Brewed Outside BC 1. Alexander Keith’s 1. Steam Whistle
Best BC Beer Brewed Outside Vancouver 2. OK Springs Pale Ale 2. Driftwood Fat Tug


And the private LRSs made some good showings, but overall the list still shows off the general public’s lack of anything even remotely resembling good taste. And I don’t care that much.

I mean, it’s the Straight. Asking questions of People Who Read The Straight about Popular Brands in BC. You take those ingredients, execute on that plan, and I just can’t be surprised at the outcome. We all saw it coming. Don’t act surprised or shocked when the inevitable happens.


Picture of Steve Irwin irresponsibly handling a venomous animal included for no reason.


Sorry to disappoint, folks, but there won’t be a rant here. I have been watching the daily traffic to my site rise slowly the day after the results were released, almost certainly in anticipation of an entertaining meltdown. But alas it’s not to be. People are still idiots. Oh well, at least there’s more good beer for me this way.

Post by Chuck from Barley Mowat.


Posted in Beers | Leave a comment

Lighthouse Dark Chocolate Porter

Dark Chocolate Porter (Lighthouse) by Ian from Left 4 Beer.

Lighthouse Dark Chocolate Porter. Lighthouse Brewing Dark Chocolate Porter

So, it begins. The great Victoria beer battle started with a new deployment. This week Lighthouse has released a dark chocolate porter suitable named “Dark Chocolate Porter”. It doesn’t take a genius – certainly not with my low IQ -  to figure out that this is a direct market challenger to Phillips Longboat Double Chocolate Porter. Apparently Phillips sells a crapboat load of this beer; I can’t confirm this but supposedly it is one of the best selling bombers in BC. Lighthouse Dark Chocolate Porter
“The base beer was a solid robust porter and it was pretty chocolatey itself from good malt selection. We then soaked it for two weeks on dark cocoa nibs from Ghana and then bottled it.” says Dean Mcleod, the newest brewer at Lighthouse, “Nothing fancy, no tricks or gimmicks, just a good ol’ beer if you like that sort of thing.”
So which porter is better? “We’ll let chocolate porter drinkers discover that for themselves”, muses Dean.
What does the beer prick think? Lighthouse Brewing Dark Chocolate Porter

Dark Chocolate Porter (Lighthouse) = 5/10

It starts out with the standard porter aromas: dusty cocoa, bittersweet chocolate with a bit of smoke. Stick your nose in a can of Fry’s cocoa for a similar sensation. The mouthfeel is chewy with lowish carbonation. Add to this a fullness enhanced by mild roasted astringency. Chocolate is the name of the game here; of which there is ample. A dusty cocoa anaconda wraps around a 65% bittersweet chocolate backbone and squeezes out a hint of alcohol warmth mixed with dark berries (blackberries and elderberries). The finish is long, dry and cooling. This is not powerhouse porter action, but it is very tasty. A must for the chocolate beer lover.  Is it better than Longboat? I have my thoughts, what are yours? Lighthouse Dark Chocolate Porter

Taste +3

Aftertaste +1
Alcohol Content 0 5.5%
Value +1
Appearance 0 (no description of taste or brewing techniques)

The Lighthouse Dark Chocolate Porter is available at The Brewery Creek, Firefly, Viti, Legacy Liquor Store, and more.

Post by Ian from Left 4 Beer




Posted in Beers | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Lighthouse Switch Back IPA

SwitchBack IPA (Lighthouse) by Ian from Left 4 Beer.

This beer is clearly going for the throat in the fierce BC IPA battle. It must take on Phillips Hop Circle, Red Racer, Tree’s Hop Head and the current reigning champion Driftwood’s Fat Tug. The choice of the six pack means it is going for the regular drinker and not the beer geek bomber crowd. What I found interesting about the beer was the clearly displayed hop choices: Citra, Zythos and Falconer’s Flight. Don’t go start flipping through your homebrewing books for information on these hops because two of them are proprietary blends. Falconer’s Flight is a blend by HopUnion and named after brewing guru Glen Hay Falconer. It’s a blend of 14 different hops, including Citra, Simcoe and Sorachi Ace. Zythos is another PNW IPA hop blend by HopUnion. This is akin to an uber-meritage of hop IPA goodness. How does it taste? Three words: fricken awesome stupid. Lighthouse switch back ipa

Switchback IPA (Lighthouse) = 9/10

The nose is all Citra goodness: tropical fruits, jet fuel and nail polish. Added to the nasal punch is passion fruit, minor pine, and mixed citrus. Each sip delivers these flavours with a memorable bitter astringency. This is not an overly sweet IPA. Malts be damned. But if they must mentioned, then call it earthly with a wisp of caramel. Then ending is tongue scraping and long lasting of lemons and pomelos. Lighthouse Brewing Switch Back IPA

I plan to adapt this as my go-to six pack IPA when I visit friends. It strikes me as a Brockton IPAturned up to 11; drinkable but extremely flavourful. Bias be added; yes I am friends with Dean (and now Dave) from Lighthouse. Sometimes your loudest critic is also your biggest fan. Well done.  Switch Back IPA 6 pack lighthouse brewing

The Lighthouse Switch Back IPA is available at Brewery Creek, Firefly, Legacy Liquor Store, Darby’s Liquor Store, Central City Liquor Store and more.

Post by Ian from Left 4 Beer

Posted in Beers | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment