Tag Archives: sleeman

Bowen Island Cove Lager

The Bowen Island pub occupies a lovely little spot of British Columbia. The island is quite out of the way, which is part of its charm, but still accessible enough from Vancouver to easily constitute a day trip. There’s water, mountains nearby, thick forest with woodpeckers, ducks – and in Snug Cove, the main town on the island, there’s beer.

The Cove Lager is an interesting brew. Apparently produced to a recipe designed by the publican, the actual beer is brewed off site at Sleeman’s then imported back to the island. It doesn’t really make a lot of sense intuitively, but it does economically – and that’s what the bartender said. It’s brewed at one of the nation’s biggest breweries, way off on the mainland where the malt is, but to an original recipe the island can call its own.

This light lager beer is blonde gold and clear. It has little head and zero aroma; faint bready malt and light, flat lavender notes. It’s almost a flavourless, maltless beer, but does taste clean and dry. You know the words: inoffensive, like sex in a canoe. A very plain beer for its origin story and ultimately a disappointment. Would be OK on a hot day. Slightly more flavour than Bud Light.

I drank this beer on draught at the Bowen Island Pub, British Columbia.

Sleeman Honey Brown Lager

The Sleeman Brewery has a different background to most of the new craft breweries, being born from a beer import business in Canada that started out specialising in English ales. However, the business mind behind the brewery is the latest in a long line of Canadian brewers – so the company can (and does) focus on family heritage in its marketing. In 2015, Sleeman’s is a conservative brewery with open, proven beers designed to please widely. I recently shot some pool with one of their more interesting beers: the Honey Brown Lager.

This smooth, rich 5.2% ABV beer presents in toffee and amber tones, with a sizeable creamy head. It has faint hints of rust on the nose, blanketed in – believe it or not – rose petals. The aroma is very unique. I am hard-pressed to identify its contributing ingredients … maybe from the honey? One thing’s for sure: it smells wholesome and delicious.

The Honey Brown Lager features a restrained sweetness and a mellow bitterness. As a lager its flavours are delicate, but well achieved and appreciable. Brown malts are just noticeable and the dry mouthfeel helps it go down. It’s a combo; light, dry, yet smooth, creamy, and fluffy. Not at all cloying. An exciting beer that I could easily drink a pitcher of, and leagues ahead of the macro lagers in Australia.

I drank this draught beer at Soho Billiards, Yaletown.