Archives for posts with tag: IPA

Hey everyone, Phillips is back!

Now that it’s fixed, I feel like I can come out and say it: for the last couple of years, Phillips Brewing has had a DMS problem. DMS is a compound whose chemical precursor occurs naturally in barley and is normally largely banished in the malting and boiling processes. In small amounts it’s a normal part of the flavour of any beer and it is a major flavour component in European lagers; if you like German lager, you probably love DMS and don’t even know it. The trouble is, it doesn’t belong in any ale beyond trace amounts and Phillips had a fair whack of it in all of their beers.

DMS is a weird off-flavour because it changes a lot depending on the beer it’s in. I find that on its own as a pure chemical in a tasting sample it smells exactly like kimchi – that crazy Korean fermented cabbage that I simultaneously find alluring and disgusting. In a lager, it can be a bit like corn or creamed corn. It gets a bit more vegetal in darker beers and tastes a bit like cabbage in a pale or brown ale. If you ever find it in a stout, it might taste like tomato juice.

Anyway, Phillips went through some growing pains and their process must have changed when they opened their huge new brewery, because all their beers developed a DMS problem. DMS isn’t bad for you and if you don’t mind the taste, it isn’t a problem, but I count myself as being pretty sensitive to DMS and I’m not a huge fan, so for me it was a problem.

Well, I’d heard rumours while I was gone over the summer that Phillips had kicked their DMS problem, and it turns out it’s true. I’m so happy. It’s like a new craft brewery was opened. More choices!

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Vancouver Island Brewing Flying Tanker White IPA, 6.8% abv, something like $4.50 from BC Liquor

I can’t tell you how excited I was when I heard that Vancouver Island Brewery was getting in the business of brewing more exciting beers that they’d release in large bottles. First it was Lighthouse getting in the act, departing from their regular lineup of competently-brewed but staggeringly boring beers and brewing bigger, better, more exciting beers, and now it’s Vancouver Island Brewery. Things are getting better all the time.

Vancouver Island Brewery has broken out and started a new series, which is apparently either named the “Vancouver Island Series”, or “Brewer’s Batch” (the label carries both of these appellations and the brewery’s website doesn’t offer any help because it makes no mention of this beer).

Presenting the first beer of the new series, Vancouver Island’s Flying Tanker White IPA!

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It’s time to rethink Lighthouse Brewing.

Lighthouse used to be thought of as a beginners’ brewery for people getting into craft beer. They put out a line of beer in six-packs that were not bad, but not exactly interesting enough to set the world on fire. Then, a couple of years ago, they started putting out their Big Flavour series in 650ml bottles, including Deckhand, which I thought very good.

Well, now they’ve put out a beer in the six-pack format that is emphatically not a beginners’ beer.

I’m pleased to announce that British Columbia officially has a new hop-bomb of an IPA (by my count, that makes three). This thing is legitimate. It’s the real deal. It’s a bonafide rip-your-face-off northwest IPA. Certainly not everyone will like Switchback IPA, but for those of us who either have no concept of moderation or balance in a beer, or are willing to temporarily suspend our belief in moderation so we can enjoy the pleasure of being run over by a truckload of hops, this thing is a gateway to nirvana.

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