Ruby Da Dawg: An Ale Worth Drooling Over

For fans of ales like Innis and Gunn, and Old Speckled Hen, here’s Ruby Da Dawg, from Red Truck Beer.

Named after Ruby, “da brewmasta” Sam Payne’s dog, this is a strong and very delicious ale.  And with an alcohol content of 6.9 %, and a distinct flavour, this is certainly the sort of ale that can sneak up on you.

Red Truck calls Ruby Da Dawg an, “English Strong Ale, or English Old Ale.”  Like other English ales, it boasts a bit more alcohol than standard beer, a malt flavouring, with just enough hops to balance it out.  It’s a dark amber colour, with aromas of caramel, vanilla, butterscotch, and bourbon.  The flavour is mostly of a caramel malt, and on the finish you’ll taste a bit of booze.

Ruby Da Dawg was aged in French oak barrels for three weeks, so it has an oak flavour not often found in beer.  Again, if you like Innis and Gunn, another barrel aged beer, you’ll easily love this.  Between the aroma, flavour, and finish, it’s a more complex beer, and it usually requires a few pints to properly analyze.

There are loads of pairings with this beer, like Chinese style pork, or Southern BBQ pork, so take a look at the Red Truck Beer website, to get some ideas.  The Red Truck website also has a map of all the establishments serving their products.

So if you’re in the mood for something a tad stronger, and definitely delicious, try to tackle a couple of pints of Red Truck Beer’s Ruby Da Dawg.

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Get Buzzed, with Killer Bee Dark Honey Ale

If you’re looking for a full flavoured craft beer to accompany you to your next campfire, or sit with you on a warm summer night, then pick up a bottle of Tin Whistle Brewing Company’s Killer Bee Dark Honey Ale.  Here’s an ale that might be difficult to track down, but well worth the hunt.

It’s dark brown in colour, and definitely loaded with flavour.  This surprisingly smooth ale contains four specialty honeys and just a bit of spice; it’s more on the malty side, but well-balanced with hops.  The aroma, like the flavour, is malt forward with a hoppy accent to back things up.  Overall, it’s an ale that stands out in today’s craft beer world.

And while many breweries are putting out excellent IPA’s, strong Belgian style ales, and even some barrel aged ales, it’s refreshing to find a micro brewery doing something slightly different.  This is a traditional English ale, great for a summer or fall evening.  The full flavour and low carbonation make it a nice partner with dark meats, heavier meals, or simply on its own. Some people can’t get enough of this ale, and others recommend slowly savouring a bottle over the course of an hour.

So pick up a 650 mL bottle of this gem of an ale, put your feet up by the campfire, and enjoy Tin Whistle Brewing Company’s Killer Bee Dark Honey Ale.

Photo by Brianne Adams.

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Small Brewery, Big Flavour: Three Reasons to Check Out Cannery Brewing Company

Naramata Nut Brown Ale

For ale drinkers who fancy something smooth, and a tad on the dark side, look no further than Cannery Brewing Company’s Naramata Nut Brown Ale.

Nut brown ales are something not widely available in liquor stores, but like any style of beer, there’s always a dedicated audience for it.  Cannery describes Naramata Nut Brown as a, “velvety soft ale.” What you’ll experience are layers of malts, followed by a smooth finish and a bit of a hoppy bitter flavour left in your mouth, when all is said and done.  The rich malts are a key aspect of this ale, so if you lean towards something maltier, keep your eyes peeled for Naramata Nut Brown Ale, available in 650 ml bottles, and 6 x 355 ml cans.

Squire Scotch Ale

Like nut brown ales, scotch ales are a beer that can be hard to come by.  Again, there’s always a crowd looking for a solid scotch ale, and Cannery Brewing Company has managed to put out a distinct product, with their Squire Scotch Ale.

Squire Scotch Ale hits two birds with one stone: it’s  an ale that scotch drinkers will appreciate, and it’s an ale that craft beer drinkers will appreciate.  Some scotch ales go for a heavy peaty flavour, which would be recognised by a scotch drinker, but not always enjoyed by a craft beer drinker.  So rather than loading up on the peated malts, Cannery has gone for an alternative classic scotch trait, by making their scotch ale smoky.  The hops are gentle, and there’s a bit of sweet flavour to it as well.  It’s smooth, with only hints of peat, and a smoky finish.  So do as Cannery Brewing Company suggests:  get your plaid on!

Blackberry Porter

Amazing, simply amazing.  The best weapon in Cannery’s artillery is easily their blackberry porter.  Other breweries may boast about their IPA, or pale ale, or stout, but how many can boast about an award-winning blackberry porter?

This is the essence of craft beer.  Five varieties of malts, three kinds of hops, and natural, pure blackberry make up this dynamic porter.  It’s the rare sort of craft beer that pretty much any craft beer drinker would appreciate and savour.  Just before it reaches your lips the blackberry aroma hits your nostrils.  The flavour is of a classic porter with hints of blackberry.  This isn’t a fruit beer by any means.  The blackberry has been added to produce a perfectly balanced, and truly unique porter.  It will surprise lager drinkers, ale lovers, and fans of any dark beer.  Cannery describes it as, “an easy sipping wonder,” and that pretty much sums it up.  With craft beer on the rise throughout North America, and competition growing, this porter is a gem.

Available in 650 ml bottles, Cannery Brewing Company’s Blackberry Porter should be catapulted to the top of any craft beer drinker’s list.  Grab a bottle, a cold glass, sit back, get comfy, and let the sippin’ begin.

More info at:

Photos by Brianne Adams

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Russell Brewing Nectar of the Gods Wheat Wine Ale: By the Beard of Zues!

Remember your father telling you that drinking beer puts hair on your chest?  Well if that’s true, drinking this beer should turn any smooth bodied male into a Robin Williams or Alec Baldwin.  It’s Russell Brewing Company Nectar of the Gods Wheat Wine Ale.


Released on March 2, 2012, Nectar of the Gods is Russell’s first barrel aged beer.  Here are a number of reasons to swing by your local liquor store before this gem is gone for good.  Four months in Kentucky whiskey barrels, 10% alcohol content, a unique blend of malts and hops, and let’s not forget the fact that the entire batch has been pre sold.

As mentioned above, this single batch premium ale is Russell’s first barrel aged beer.  It’s something not many micro breweries attempt, but at the rate barrel aged beer flies off the shelves, it seems to be growing in popularity.  The time spent in the barrels gives Nectar of the Gods a Kentucky whiskey aroma and flavour, as well as subtle accents of fruit and vanilla.  It’s surprisingly smooth, but the finish is when you get that Kentucky whiskey taste, making it a sipping ale.

Russell blends 50% wheat malts with Pilsner and Munich malts, and seasons this ale with Columbus hops and French Strisselspalt hops.  The hops add elements of black currant and bitterness, rounding out Nectar of the Gods with a truly complex taste.

Like other barrel aged beers, Nectar of the Gods isn’t for your standard lager drinker.  Beers like this are created by the brewmasters, people who love beer, who are passionate about beer – people who buy it, who appreciate it, who revel in a release like this, fall under that same umbrella.     

Available in 650ml bottles, and only in select liquor stores, this is an ale for beer drinkers who demand real flavour.  Even whiskey drinkers would probably give this ale a nod of approval.  It’s great for a night off, and a wonderful topic of conversation at parties, so prepare your taste buds, and pick up a bottle of Russell Brewing Company Nectar of the Gods Wheat Wine Ale.

Photo by Brianne Adams Photography

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Driftwood Singularity Russian Imperial Stout: All Hail!

Few beers can be described as truly distinct. Well, here’s one of them: Driftwood Brewery’s Singularity Russian Imperial Stout.

Everything about this limited release stout, from Driftwood Brewery, sets it apart from the competition: the bottle, the flavours, and most of all the experience.
It’s big, it’s black, and its tip is covered in wax…cough…it’s the 650 ml bottle that houses this one of a kind stout. When you stroll through the craft beer section, it will jump out. The lettering is a deep charcoal on a black label, so you’ll stop just to see what this beer is. When you notice the details, four months in bourbon barrels, limited release, and an 11.5% alcohol content, you’ll ignore the price and grab a few bottles off the shelf. As mentioned before, it’s wax sealed, giving it a cellar beer appearance.

Second, the flavours. The list goes on with everything Driftwood has packed into this stout. Before it even reaches your lips, the bourbon aroma will get you warmed up. Follow this up with chocolate, licorice, caramel, vanilla, espresso, even cookie according to some, and bourdon to top it all off, and you’ve got one happy stout drinker. Another treat is a bit of an alcohol flavour, so it becomes a beer you’d sip, savour, and simply enjoy. Some reviews claim the 2012 release is smoother than the 2011, so for those who found it to be too much last year, may want to give it a another shot.

Lastly, the experience. When a friend asks you what this beer is like, you’ll have trouble putting it into words. Without a doubt you’ll most likely say, “it’s an experience.” It can’t be compared to anything else, and with so many flavours, and all beer drinkers tasting some more than others, you can’t really pin point one that is dominant.  Driftwood describes it as a, “beer of infinite density.”  They also note that, “four months in Kentucky bourbon barrels have transported this formidable ale to a place beyond the event horizon.”  Sounds about right.

So if you’re a fan of craft beers, and are in the mood for an experience, pick up a bottle of Driftwood Brewery’s Singularity Russian Imperial Stout.

Photo by Brianne Adams Photography


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Vancouver Island Brewery Pod Pack: A Delicious Dozen

Vancouver Island Brewery has been in business since 1984, and holds the prestige of being the Island’s first craft brewery.  Along with supporting a number of local charities, this brewery has consistently produced world craft beer, and racked up a number of national and international awards over the past couple of decades.  Here’s a quick rundown of their Pod Pack: twelve bottles, four distinct beers, and very worthy of the title, The Delicious Dozen.

Piper’s Pale Ale

This copper coloured, medium bodied pale ale has a great balance between a hop and malt flavour.  Vancouver Island Brewery uses roasted chocolate and caramel malt along with some distinct hops to give it a crisp taste, with an outstanding finish.  If you’re looking to turn a friend or family member onto craft beer, this one is definitely a contender.

Hermann’s Dark Lager

This dark lager is easily the most unique addition to the Pod Pack, as well as style of lager most breweries stay away from.  It’s a nice follow up to the Piper’s Pale Ale, since it also contains chocolate malt and caramel malt.  With more body, and a subtle hop finish, this German style dark lager stands out from the rest.  It’s one of the original recipes from when the brewery first opened, and is also recognized as an international premiere dark lager.

Spyhopper Honey Brown

Using locally produced wildflower honey, this light amber coloured lager makes a splash.  Sporting a full body, a mild hop flavour, and a honey finish, this might be the beer that goes down just a little too well.  Vancouver Island Brewery crafted it after the playful spirit of the orca whales, who can be seen popping their heads up out the water to take a look around.  And with only a handful of breweries attempting the honey brown, this ale is another unique addition to their Pod Pack.

Sea Dog Amber Ale

As a tribute to Canada’s Naval history, Vancouver Island Brewery developed their Sea Dog Amber Ale. This German Altbier amber ale combines four different malts, is lighter in its body, and has a welcoming burst of hop flavour.  The bottle also displays a well-built man with red hair, and a mighty red beard, so if there are any gingers in your life, this would be the beer for them.

Selection packs are a huge gamble for any brewery.  Beer drinkers, craft beer or otherwise, are particular in what they drink, so putting out a mixed twelve pack can be a sink or swim situation for the brewery.  Pod Pack is unique, delicious, and has four beers that all go well together.  Vancouver Island Brewery has a proud history on the Island, and also takes the time to dedicate their ales and lagers to local history, characters, and tradition.  So if a six pack just won’t cut it, or you’re looking for a great addition to any party, pick up a Vancouver Island Brewery Pod Pack.

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Russell Brewing Company A Wee Angry Scotch Ale: Nothing Small About This.

Here’s a rare one, and something a real beer drinker will appreciate.  From Russell Brewing Company, this is A Wee Angry Scotch Ale.

Boasting a 6.5% alcohol content, and only available in a 650 ml bottle or on tap, this scotch ale is dark, strong, medium in body, and has a truly distinct flavour.  It’s crafted in the spirit of a 19th century 90 shilling Scotch Ale, and achieves its great taste through a unique malt accent.  By adding Scottish specialty malts, including a peated malt, A Wee Angry Scotch Ale is a stand alone beer.

Craft breweries are on the rise throughout North America, and most have a variety of IPA’s, stouts or porters, and flavoured beers.  Russell is one of the few breweries to release a Scotch Ale, so it’s safe to say that competition is on the way.  Before scotch ale is all over the shelves at the liquor stores, grab a bottle for an event or party.  If there’s a scotch drinker, it’ll be great to hear his or her feedback, and if there are beer drinkers, you’re sure to see some smiling faces before the bottle is empty.

Along with these reasons, Russell Brewing Company landed themselves a bronze medal at the 2010 World Beer Cup.  So if you’re in the mood for something new, and legitimately unique, track down a pint of A Wee Angry Scotch Ale.

Photo by Brianne Adams Photography.

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