Monday, August 19, 2013

Beer O'Clock: Unparalleled 6 Pack

It's not often that I explore ales that come from outside my own province, with the exception of Québec. Every so often, I come across a beer from Nova Scotia (but not that Alexander Keith stuff), and of course I try lots of beer from the U.S., but I seldom check out beer from other parts of Canada.

Recently, one of my Twitter buddies suggested a couple of breweries from the western coast, in British Columbia. Of the three breweries he mentioned, two of them were available at the LCBO; thankfully, they were both at my nearest store.

Of the two breweries, I absolutely loved one of them, and I'll provide a review of the three beers that I tried from them in the near future.

But the other brewery proved to be a good one too, and that's where I'm focusing this review.

And because I haven't written a review in a while, I'm giving you three beers.

Parallel 49 is a brewery in Vancouver that was the dream child of three friends (why do brewers hang out in threes?) who first started a restaurant in 2008 and then hired brewers to make their brewery dreams come true.

The brewery produces four year-round styles and more than a half-dozen seasonals, but they package three of their regular brews in a six-pack sampler, which is what I picked up and tried.

Let's take a look at them:
Hoparazzi India Pale Lager (5.5% ABV)
Parallel 49 Brewing Company
Vancouver BC
Beer O'Clock rating: 3.5
Appearance: bright amber with a foamy whitish head.

Nose: citrus—lime and orange.

Palate: orange rind, gentle hops, and light caramel that culminate to a light, refreshing finish that lingers.

Overall impression: though I was unsure about drinking this lager first from the Unparalleled 6 Pack because I wouldn't do that with a traditional IPA, with its bitter hops, I have no regrets. This is a gentle lager that is flavourful but not overpowering. It's an easy-drinking beer.
Gypsy Tears Ruby Ale (6% ABV)
Beer O'Clock rating: 3
Appearance: auburn, with a beige head that dissipates quickly to a fine cap.

Nose: there's a tawdry sweetness of toffee, mild coffee, and faint hops. The nose is enticing.

Palate: a bold, burnt toffee and sour hops.

Overall impression: this is a sassy red ale with a delicate side. It seems to grab you and then push you away, but it wants you and you can't resist. But is this a keeper ale, or merely a fling?

I'd have it again, gladly.

On a side note, when my youngest daughter first saw the label on Gypsy Tears, she said, "Look a the size of her boobs! They must be fake."

"It's a drawing, sweetheart," I said, "everything about her is fake."

Except the taste.
Old Boy Classic Brown Ale (5% ABV)
Beer O'Clock rating: 3
Appearance: deep, clear, walnut brown with red highlights and a taupe head that vanishes almost immediately, leaving a faint lace.

Nose: coffee, licorice, and traces of chocolate.

Palate: coffee and chocolate right off the start but that end in a watery finish.

Overall impression: this ale was a bit of a disappointment in that it built itself up with its good looks, inviting aromas, and assertive taste. But then it fell off in the finish, its taste vanishing as quickly as the head faded. I wanted more in the finish.

That said, it was a good, easy-drinking ale. In fact, all three of the samples in the six pack were enjoyable enough for me to want to try more. I'm glad that this brewery was brought to my attention.

With any luck, the LCBO will bring in some of the seasonals (that chocolate pumpkin porter sounds good to me).


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