All the Beers from the P49 / Central City Seasons Greetings Advent Pack Ranked and Reviewed

Well, it certainly had its highs and lows, but here’s my overall rankings for all of the beers in the Season’s Greetings beer advent calendar from Parallel 49 and Central City.

20161206_111602-1Overall, P49 came out on top. All of their beers were much more interesting and off-the-wall, while the Red Racer ones tended to be a bit more pedestrian; however, when they did experiment with things like their imperial coffee stout and kiwi kettle sour, the results were good.

I gave P24’s Beerserker Scandanavian strong ale the #1 spot, because it was an interesting an unconventional take on a strong ale with the addition of akvavit. Also, I love vikings!

Central City’s Thor’s Hammer took #2. It would have been nice to have had a bottle conditioned rather than a bourbon barrel-aged one, but oh well. I’m surprised they played this card so early and didn’t save it till last.

It would be nice to see things mixed up with different breweries next year. A P49/Phillips calendar would be a great match. Maybe Central City and Russell or something?

Click through for full reviews.

#1 Beerserker Scandinavian strong ale – Parallel 49 – 4.25/5

#2 Thor’s Hammer bourbon barrel-aged barley wine – Central City – 4.25/520161219_032351

#3 Bodhisattva Dry-Hopped Sour – Parallel 49 – 4.25/5

#4 Filthy Dirty grapefruit IPA – Parallel 49 – 4.25/5

#7 Red Racer Jitter Buzz imperial coffee stout – Central City – 4/5

#6 Black Christmas Cascadian dark ale – Parallel 49 – 4/5

#7 Red Racer Southern Cross kiwi kettle sour – Central City – 4/5

#8 Salty Scot maple scotch ale – Parallel 49 – 4/5

#9 Top o’ the Mornin breakfast stout – Parallel 49 – 3.75/5

#10 Gong Show special Belgian quad – Parallel 49 – 3.75/5

#11 Rock the Bells cranberry sour – Parallel 49 – 3.75/5

#12 Red Racer Old School Lager – Central City – 3.75/5

#13 Mr. Needles Fir Pale Ale – Parallel 49 – 3.75/5

#14 Lil’ Red Sour Cherry Berliner Weisse – Parallel 49 – 3.75/5

#15 Anger Management Angry IPA – Parallel 49 – 3.75/5

#16 Red Racer Dopplebock – Central City – 3.75/5

#17 Red Racer Berliner Weisse – Central City – 3.75/5

#18 Smooth Rye’der Rye Lager – Central City – 3.75/5

#19 Red Racer Three Peaks Belgian tripel – Central City– 3.5/5

#20 Red Racer Wee Heavy – Central City– 3.5/5

#21 Curiosity desert stout – Parallel 49– 3.25/5

#22 Red Racer Belgian Strong – Central City– 3/5

#23 Red Racer Winter Ale – Central City– 3/5

#24 Fly by Night porter – Central City – 2.5/5



Advent Beer Review #24: Red Racer Fly by Night Porter from Central City

20161225_025216.jpgFrom the label:

Keep an eye to the sky as the countdown continues, the Fly by Night porter brings warm tidings to all being smooth bodied and rich with notes of coffee, chocolate and light roasted caramel.

Stats: ABV: 6%

This beer pours out a dark-tan/near-black colour with a finger of cream head that fades quickly and leaves some cloud-like lacing.

The nose is caramel, dark chocolate, dried dark fruit, coffee, and subtle noble hop bitterness. The palate is bready and caramel malt, coffee grinds, a hint of bitter-sweet chocolate, and a very faint touch of grassy hops. The mouthfeel is medium-bodied, with light carbonation, and a slightly dry finish.


Overall, I have to say I found this beer rather thin, like a watered down version of a porter. There was nothing remarkable at all about it; no special ingredients, no unique slant. That’s not always a bad thing, but when its the last beer in an advent calendar, there needs to be something extra!

Maybe I’m a little underwhelmed by it because I’m working my way through pack of Old Rasputin RIS, but this was bland as a piece of paper. Why wouldn’t they save Thor’s Hammer till last. Come on Central City, make a bloody effort next time!

Rating: 2.5/5

Advent Beer Review #23: Gong Show from Parallel 49

20161224_005138 (1).jpgFrom the label:

Things are about to get ridiculous in here, this Belgian quad spiced with chocolate, orange and habanero will leave your taste buds ringing.

Stats: ABV: 9%

This beer pours out a medium amber-copper colour with a finger of white head that dissipates slowly and leaves minimal lacing.

The nose is Belgian yeast esters, dark fruit, dark chocolate, and hint of bitter hops. The palate is caramel-biscuit malt, dark chocolate and chili peppers—the aftertaste of which linger for a long time. The mouthfeel is medium-bodied and spicy, with moderate carbonation, and a slightly sweet finish.

This is an interesting and rather unconventional take on a quad. The chocolate is very subtle and overpowered by the strong flavours of Belgian yeast and peppers. The spiciness isn’t overpowering, but more of a mild warm sensation in the aftertaste.

All in all, a fun idea, but it could do with a touch more balance between the competing flavours.

Rating: 3.75/5

Advent Beer Review #22: Wee Heavy from Central City

20161222_102029.jpgFrom the label:

The Red Racer Wee Heavy is a classic take on the Scottish Style. With a malty-caramel sweetness and smoky finish, this beer is big in flavour and has some momentum behind it. We put our back into this one and are shooting for 300.

Stats: ABV: 8%\

This beer pours out a dark amber-red colour with half a finger of tan head that dissipates slowly and leaves a touch of lacing.

The nose is smoke, caramel malt, brown sugar and some phenolic yeast odours. The palate is bready and caramel malt, treacle, smoke, peat, dark fruit and a touch of yeast esters. The mouthfeel is medium-to-heavy-bodied and rich, with light carbonation, and a slightly sweet finish.


I’ve had a lot of wee heavies in my time and found this one to be pretty average. There’s not enough peat for it to call itself peated, yet the peat is a distraction from the normal style. Then the yeast phenols and esters are not fitting of the style at all.

If you want to try a better example of the style, pick up a bottle of Brewdog’s Dogma. Now that’s a real wee heavy that’s actually brewed in Scotland.

Rating: 3.5/5

Advent Beer Review #21: Rock the Bells from Parallel 49

20161221_103222.jpgFrom the label:

Rock the Bells Cranberry Sour Ale is a tart and crisp ale, stuffed with cranberry flavour and a hint of brett.

Stats: ABV: 7%; IBU: 20

This beer pours out a hazy amber-red colour with half a finger of beige head that dissipates quickly and leaves no lacing.

The nose is cranberries, cherries, strawberry, biscuit malt, and a touch of brett barnyard funk. The palate is cherries, cherries, more cherries, and acetic acid sourness. The mouthfeel is medium bodied and tart, with moderate carbonation, and a slightly sweet finish.

This beer first appeared in last year’s calendar and was pretty average. It was too sweet and was a bit of a one-dimensional lacto sour. This year’s is way better though, as the cranberry comes through a lot better and the sourness comes with a wince-inducing brett funkiness.

P49’s earlier sours were pretty rough around the edges, but they are getting better and better!

Sidenote: This beer is also P49’s winter seasonal and is available in 650ml bomber bottles.

Rating: 3.75/5

Advent Beer Review #20: Jitter Buzz from Central City

20161221_010213.jpgFrom the label:

A full bodied, rich and complex Imperial stout with pronounced coffee notes and hints of molasses, cold pressed organic espresso supplied by Vancouver’s very own ‘Bean around the World’ add to this beers complexity and makes for a luscious drink anytime this winter.

Stats: ABV: 9%

This beer pours out a dark espresso brown with a finger of off-white head that leaves little in the way of lacing

The nose is espresso, toffee, and roasted nuts. The palate is black coffee, caramel, hazlenut, dark chocolate and dried dark fruits. The mouthfeel is full bodied and smooth, with light carbonation, and a slightly sweet finish.

This Is a really good coffee stout. It would probably get a higher rating if I hadn’t just finished off a pack off Con Leche from Twin Sails, which is about the best coffee/milk stout I have ever tried. Still very good, though.

Rating: 4/5

Advent Beer Review #18 Filthy Dirty Grapefruit IPA from Parallel 49

20161220_000722From the label:

Filthy Dirty Grapefruit I.P.A. is a blend of two of our favourite brands. Our signature west coast IPA is mixed with real grapefruit juice for a sweet but tart beer with a ton of hop flavour and aroma.

Stats: ABV: 7%; IBU: 76

This beer pours out a cloudy orange colour with a small off-white head that leaves no lacing. It looks just like a glass of orange juice.

The nose is very fruity with tons of fresh grapefruit and citrussy hop aroma. The palate follows through with mouth-watering red grapefruit zest flavour complimented by orange and passion fruit from the hops. The mouthfeel is medium-to-heavy bodied and tangy, with moderate carbonation, and a slightly sweet finish.

This beer is basically a mix between the standard Filthy Dirty IPA and the Tricycle grapefruit radler. I’m not usually a huge fruit beer fan, but they did a pretty god job on this one. The grapefruit isn’t overpowering and it has a much better balance than Phillips’ Citricity grapefruit IPA.

I feel like a this would be even more interesting if they took it another step and made it a dry-hopped grapefruit kettle sour. That would be seriously tart!

Rating: 4.25/5