We are nearing the halfway point of this 24 beer journey and so far I’ve been pretty impressed with the beers I’ve had. Because I know people are not reading all of these, I want to take a minute to reiterate something. I am not a beer judge, I just really like beer and as I’ve been drinking it my palate has become better. I’m by no means perfect and there are a lot of things I still have to learn. All the ratings I do in this are based on my own personal opinion of the beer. Like I’ve said before, I don’t always listen to people when they rate beers and I don’t expect you to either.
The main focus of these 24 posts is to learn about the breweries and the styles of beers. The ratings are so I can look back at the end of this and decide which one I liked the best. I hope that in reading these you will at least learn a bit more about the breweries, styles, and make up your own mind if you’d like to give them a try.
Today we have a beer from Bridge Brewing Company located in North Vancouver, BC. The beer is called Sleigh Booster and it is an Imperial Red Ale.
Bridge Brewing Company opened in 2012 as Vancouver’s first nano-brewery. Bridge was housed in a 1,000 sq/ft space and was brewing beer in 800 litre batches. Craft beer drinkers loved their beers and they’ve been working hard to expand production as much as possible to meet their demand. They have since expanded their brew house and brought on some help in order to meet the demand for their beers.
What is really interesting about Bridge Brewing is that they are committee trying to be a zero-waste brewery. At present they are 99% waste free. As they brew in small batches their hops and grains in small quantities so that they make sure they get the most use out of them. This also helps them ensure high quality standards in all of their batches of beer.
Speaking of beer, they brew quite a lot of different styles from year-rounds, their iron-worker series, as well as seasonal beers. The beer we are having today is from the Seasonal selection and sounds pretty tasty. I’ve had the opportunity to try another one of their season beers, their Uganda Sipi Coffee Brown Ale and I thought it was pretty good.
Imperial Red Ales tend to use American hops and has a perception of hop bitterness to the flavour. Typically, with a solid malt profile and a beautiful deep amber to deep copper colour, these beers tend to bring a good balance between hop bitterness and malty sweetness. While Imperial Red Ale itself is not a traditional style, it is an example of North American brewers taking the traditional Irish Red Ale style and ramping up the flavours. Typically using a lot of hops to bring out that bitterness, these beers can also be bottled conditioned with results in slight fruity esters. These beers also tend to be quite high on the ABV range, 7.9%-10%, and the alcohol flavour is a noticeable part of the taste profile. I’m looking forward to giving this one a try.
Appearance: Deep amber in colour with about 1” of off-white head that retains well.
Smell: Low aroma. Slight spice, malty caramel and toffee notes. These malt notes are the most evident.
Taste: Malt is front and centre on this with alcohol notes a close second. Front is chocolate, caramel and toffee with a bitter finish and strong hop notes.
Mouthfeel: Creamy mouthfeel with soft carbonation, bitter and alcoholic finish. This is a strong ale, alcohol notes are expected.
Overall: As an Imperial Red Ale it is pretty good. The body, head, and flavour notes are near an Irish Red Ale but ramped up. The use of strong hop notes is uncommon to the Irish Red Ale category but to be expected in the Imperial Red Ale. Good tasting beer that balances the malty sweetness on the front with the hop bitterness on the finish.
Do I like it: I enjoyed drinking this beer but it wasn’t something I was over the moon about. I felt that the malty sweetness was good and it balanced well with the hop notes. I did enjoy it and I’d be happy to drink it again. It makes me curious to try the other brews from Bridge.