Last night, after a long day in the sun, I found myself faced with a difficult choice upon entering The Wild Fennel on Mayne Island, BC (a great restaurant, check it out!). Would I have my usual, Phillips Brewing‘s Double Chocolate Porter, or their recently released limited edition, The Double Barrel Scotch Ale. OK, so this wasn’t a difficult choice, as the limited releases can be hard to come by. In fact, The Wild Fennel was only able to procure 3 bottles of the stuff. Our table was able to get two of those bottles, and upon our purchase the restaurant’s owner claimed the last. I’m sure in parts of BC the stuff is filling the shelves, but in these parts it’s scarce.
The first impression, as with all of Phillips’ offerings, is the size of the bottle – an imposing 650ml – enough to solidly fill two glasses. The beer’s name owes to the time it spends first in Kentucky bourbon barrels, and then in Cabernet Souvignon barrels. As in Innis & Gunn, this adds an array of great whisky flavours, including a peaty undertone and a rich vanilla nose, as well as strong herbal notes, particularly dill. In addition, the wine barrels add a strong fruitiness that is almost (emphasis almost) out of place. All in all this is a very complex and rich beer. If you can find some, pick it up.