Archive for February, 2012


Howe Sound Inn and Brewery (http://www.howesound.com/home.aspx) is located in Squamish, British Columbia. Located on  its    namesake Howe Sound an hour’s drive north of Vancouver. Established in 1996, Howe Sound Brewing is one of British Columbia’s most well known craft breweries. Their signature 1L pot-stopper bottles are very unique and also recognizable in stores with hundreds upon hundreds of craft beers.

Howe Sound’s Winter seasonal, Pothole Filler, is a “Russian” Imperial Stout by style with 9% alcohol by volume. Pothole Filler is brewed with roasted barley, black malt, flatted barley as well as Warrior, Green Bullet and Willamette hops. The addition of these hops give Pothole Filler an impressive 65 IBU’s (International Bitterness Units).

Pouring this brew into my snifter, I admire the nearly pure black body with a foamy finger of tan head. Light brown tints along the edges of the glass. The head dies rather quickly leaving a thin tan coloured head and a few thin lacing rings. A whiff of intense roasted malts and alcohol wafts off the top of the glass after the pour. Notes of chocolate, roasted espresso, toffee, a hint of licorice and the warmth of alcohol are all present. The nose is a bit too sweet overall, but the roast and the hint of licorice make up for that shortfall. My first sip is sweet in the middle with a bit of a coffee note and a dry, astringent roast concluding with a mild alcohol burn. The notes of coffee and licorice are present with a bit of a lactic chocolate sweetness in the middle. Roasted malts encroach upon these notes and leave a dry, alcohol present finish. In general, the hops are not tasted in this brew, but rather add a modest hop bitterness on the finish.

Overall, Pothole Filler has a smooth, creamy mouthfeel with a bit of soft carbonation. While not the best Imperial Stout, Howe Sound did not disappoint with this offering. Pothole Filler could have had a more intense roast and giving this brew a bit more of the licorice I noted would be truly delactable. Regardless, this is a fantastic Imperial Stout.

Grade: A-

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At 9% alcohol, this Belgian Style double from Microbrasserie Charlevoix in Baie St. Paul, Quebec packs a punch. For some reason I’ve never had this beer, but I’ve absolutely loved everything I’ve had from Charlevoix. I’m especially fond of their single hop Double IPA series which has produced some of Canada’s most unique beers.

Dominus Vobiscum Double pours out a dark brown, fully opaque in the most of the body with a thin, creamy beige head. Bands of thick creamy lacing stick around the glass. The nose has an overall sweetness and fruity aroma. Notes of nuts, plum, caramel, raisin, cherry and a mild presence of alcohol. My first taste is sublime with a bit of a wheat malt subtly presenting itself midst a nutty, caramel malted middle. A sweet, cherry and beery taste with a plum and raisin aftertaste. The finish has a nice alcohol warmth, but not too much taste of alcohol. The body is a bit too thin, but creamy and delicious regardless.

Overall, a bit too sweet and not enough a roasted, toffee malt common in this style. I still like the real Belgian ones better.

Grade: A

Driftwood Fat Tug IPA

Driftwood Brewing, located in Victoria, BC has a very limited distribution area. As such, I was given this beer from a friend who just returned from the province. Fat Tug is a 7% alcohol by volume, 80 IBU India Pale Ale. Not only am I extremely excited to try this as it is a much hyped beer from a brewery I’ve never had anything from, but this is also my 800th beer. I’m excited to crack this one open.

The pour is a light brownish orange with a light yellowish white head full of tiny, tiny bubbles. A thick ring of lacing is left on the glass after my first gulp. A few bubbles cascade upwards in the body.The head slowly died to a thin, densely packed finger of off white foam. The nose is sweet and fruity with a resinous hopped up aroma and a light caramel malt. A bunch of grapefruit and piney notes atop a bit of a sweet apricot and tropical fruit with a whif of alcohol and resinous hops. In the middle I get a sweet, slightly pined note with a bit of a brown sugar and toffee malt. The finish has a resinous smack and slick, sticky mouthfeel. A bit of alcohol in the aftertaste with a mild grapefruit tang. A lingering hop bitterness stays on well past swallowing. Overall, this is a fantastic IPA; sticky, resinous, bitter and sweet. Fat Tug manages to drink less than 80 IBU’s whilst still adding the resinous smack of sticky hops to overall libation. Cheers!

Grade: A