This week’s Canada’s Craft Beer post comes from our West Coast craft beer guy, Bryan Clegg. Today he reviews the results of Parallel 49's second collaboration with 12 other BC craft breweries, resulting in Brews Brothers, Volume 2.
Last year, Parallel 49 released their inaugural Brews Brothers box, a collaboration between them and 12 other BC craft breweries. The reception, including my own, was incredibly positive. So naturally, they did it again this year. And thank goodness they did, because this year is even better than last. To be honest, there isn’t enough room here for me to tell you the ways I think this is awesome, but allow me to try …
First: Names. Last year P49 went with more of a blues theme for the beer names; pretty awesome, but I admit I didn’t recognize them all, or have a big connection to many of the names. This year, with a new rock theme, I found myself with a giant, stupid grin while reading the beer names. With songs/names like these — Bat Outta Hell, Gimme Shelter, Run To The Hills, Paranoid, Thunderstruck, and Sympathy for the Devil (among others) — how could anyone not engage in some nostalgic jammin'?
Second: Variety. Like last year, Brews Brothers is a great opportunity for everyone involved to stretch their creative muscles and come up with some fun and interesting styles. This year we have two Sours, a Hoppy Saison, an Oaked Wild Imperial Pilsner, Stout, Apple IPA, Rye Old Ale, Gruit, Helles Bock, Alt, Black IPA, and Belgian Golden Strong. That’s a pretty great selection!
Third: Price. $22.99 + tax at BC Liquor. Considering we’re looking at a dozen one-off beers created in collaboration with breweries all over BC, the price is phenomenal. Seriously, it costs less than a 12-pack of Bud Light Lime, which makes this roughly 10,000 percent better.
Fourth: Quality. Last year the beers were pretty good; I’d give the box an average rating around 6.5/10. This year, I feel like it’s been stepped up on the whole. Maybe a 7 or 7.5/10 this time around.
Fifth: Warm and Fuzzies. I really love what Parallel 49 is doing here, bringing together brewers across the province to showcase what they can do. It shows what a great community of craft brewers we have here, and I can’t say enough how awesome I think P49 is for making Brews Brothers happen.
So, without any further gushing, I’ll share a few beers that stood out the most.
Boys Are Back In Town - Nectarface - with Four Winds
Four Winds produces one of the greatest BC-produced sours ever, Nectarous. So obviously, expectations were sky high here. Nectarface actually comes in a lot harder on the tart side, making the name make a lot more sense (picture it). But it still holds a lot of the fruity elements that make Nectarous so delicious. Thumbs up.
Paranoid - Oaked Wild Imperial Pilsner - with Axe & Barrel
I’ve never been a big Pilsner fan; I’ve had a few that I like but I rarely find myself reaching for one at the liquor store. This one by Axe & Barrel, though, I’d definitely pick up. It’s big, thick and full of flavour. It has to be the fruitiest Pil I’ve ever had.
Comfortably Numb - Rye Old Ale - with Category 12
This one opens up with a big cherry nose. More cherry on the palate, along with rye, funkiness, and caramel. The Brettanomyces here do a great job adding a cherry funk without overpowering the malt backbone. This is a really excellent beer and makes me want to go test out some more from Category 12.
So my conclusion for Brews Brothers Vol. 2: Go Buy One!
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Bryan Clegg is the beer columnist for VanFoodies.com. Bryan has a wide and accommodating palate; whether it’s a tasty low-IBU ale or a ride on the IBU train to Hop Country, he’s happy to drink and share a story about the ride. Follow @vanfoodies on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook.