Review: Phillips Blue Buck Ale

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Review: Phillips Blue Buck Ale by Cody La Bière
Currently listening to: John K Samson - When I Write My Masters Thesis

Back many many years ago, I interviewed CBC Radio 3 host Grant Lawrence for the school's newspaper, and one of the questions I remember vividly asking him was "What's your favourite beer?" He jumped to that question immediately and giddily, it was Phillips' Blue Buck Ale. I never tried the beer.. that is.. until today. He's the reason why I'm listening to John K Samson at this very moment, and he's the reason why I'm reviewing Blue Buck today, as it's now available at local Liquormarts in Manitoba.

Blue Buck is an English-style Pale Ale, which is more of a hop and malty style pale ale than the traditional pilsner/lageresque pale ales we are accustomed to on the prairies. As Grant Lawrence tweeted yesterday: "fun fact: the mighty Blue Buck grazes exclusively on hops and barley."

So let's try it out.

Appearance: Before reviewing this beer, I was expecting more of a Canadian style pale ale or lager, a pale golden straw. Instead, it was a rich clear caramel amber ale with a good one and a half fingers thick of beige foam. Looks similar to some IPAs you can get in Manitoba, not a bad looking beer at all.

Aroma: Crack open the can and the first thing I noticed was a wave of citrusy floral hops. It can't be that bad compared to what I've heard from friends like Stephen, who only keeps a bottle in his fridge for "joke beer". As the beer settles in the glass, the floral hoppy aroma dies down a bit, it gives off a slightly roasted caramel malt aroma. For a beer of this amberness, it's quite roasty, which is strange. A bit of a barleyesque straw aroma is appearing ther as well.

Taste: The hops aren't as present as they were at the first whiff, it's a caramel malted ale with the roasted aroma I noticed now turning into a bit of a nutty brown ale in some ways. A bit of a bitter aftertaste present from the hops. Not much there other than that, but it's not bad.

Overall Thoughts: For a pale ale, it has a decent caramel maltiness to it with a mild nuttiness, though the hops fell short of what I was hoping for from the first whiff. Not as bad as people tell me about it, sure it's not something I would ever go out of my way to find, but it's sure better than a Keith's. I expected a corny/straw pale ale, and it turned out to be a bit caramelly nutty pale.. that ain't bad. Blue Buck has 5.0% ABV, comes in 355ml single cans at $2.69/can, which is pretty affordable for the size format.

Also check out my review of Phillips' Hoperation Tripel Cross Belgian IPA, which is also now available in Manitoba!

phillipsbeer.com/Beers/blue-buck

grantlawrence.ca/

3 comments

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canali
AUTHOR
27 April 2013 at 13:27 delete

fab beer isn't it...so balance: not too light, not too heavy, yet sooo tasty....and sorry but there is no longer any traditional cdn pale ale or lager " Before reviewing this beer, I was expecting more of a Canadian style pale ale or lager, a pale golden straw'' the big breweries molson, labatts etc and their 'piss in a bottle' limited 'dumb as a stump' varieties are competing against the smaller and innovative craft breweries (esp there in the pnw) and thank god for that!

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Lost Av8r
AUTHOR
14 July 2013 at 22:37 delete

I'm just going to throw in my two cents and say, while I do enjoy a good hopped IPA pretty regularly, I go for Blue Buck on a regular basis too. It's easy drinking but has some flavour behind it.

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1 July 2014 at 20:02 delete

Better than Keith's? Somebody needs to be hit with golden shovel of enlightenment. At least Keith doesn't make you less of a retard by posting that you have to remove cap before drinking......

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