Bowen Island Reef Break Hemp Blonde Ale | Bowen Island Brewing Co. Ltd.

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Bowen Island Reef Break Hemp Blonde AleBowen Island Reef Break Hemp Blonde Ale
29 Ratings
Bowen Island Reef Break Hemp Blonde AleBowen Island Reef Break Hemp Blonde Ale

Brewed by:
Bowen Island Brewing Co. Ltd.
British Columbia, Canada

Style: American Blonde Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
We use a base blonde ale recipe that’s light and refreshing. Then, we add a gentle amount of hemp and finish off with a distinct Pacific Northwest hop. Enjoy this well-rounded, flavourful brew alone or with your buds!

Added by Derek on 06-05-2011

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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 29 |  Reviews: 9
Reviews by BigBry:
Photo of BigBry
3.5/5  rDev -0.6%

More User Reviews:
Photo of FadetoBock
3.52/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of LDuke
3.4/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Photo of biboergosum
3.53/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

355ml can, a new arrival for this BC brand here in Alberta.

This beer pours a clear, medium brassy amber colour, with two fingers of foamy and bubbly beige head, which leaves a few rock bridge profiles of lace around the glass as it nonchalantly slinks away.

It smells of lightly bready, grainy malt, while some pear juice and muddled melon fruit notes detract from any readily discernible hop characteristics. The taste is grainy, pastry-like malt, a flat, herbal mustiness, and some barely differentiated leafy and weedy (heh) hops.

The carbonation is fairly restrained, the body a sturdy enough medium weight, and more or less smooth. It finishes off-dry, the malt still running the show, but tied up in a guessing game with the mildly musty and dirty hippie seeming hops.

Huh. Why is it that BC brewers have this unique (in Canada, anyway) predilection for producing hemp-influenced beers? Oh, right. In this instance, we have an above-average blonde ale, with a decent bakery-borne malt, and some hemp rope essence, rather than that of the more common form of this particular weed's popular incarnation.

 1,112 characters

Photo of headlessparrot
3.24/5  rDev -8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Like a few of Bowen's other entries, this one pours a confusing colour given its style: a dark copper, almost ruby colour, mostly transparent, with two fingers of loose head that recede quickly to nothing. Blonde Ale, eh? Not so much.

Smell is caramel, toasted malt. A touch herbal, yeasty, biscuity. My problem with this one is that I'm not sure I've ever tried hemp on its own, and am not certain what scent or taste it is I'm looking for here to confirm its presence. There is a kind of teabag, musty sort of note? Something leafy, almost weedy. Light bitter greens?

Taste is nutty, caramel, but with a green, leafy (not grassy, but leafy?) kick that I--by default--attribute to the hemp. Not an intense flavour, but not an unpleasant one. Again, a bit of biscuit, cracker. Definitely malt forward--I've never met a Bowen Island that was proud of its hop profile--but the hemp adds *something* here, even if I can't articulate what. Grainy, slightly sweet. Slight citrus, somewhere? Body is light but not too watery, and the carbonation is moderate-high but not obtrusive. The whole affair recalls a lot of Big Rock beers--decent but forgettable, and reminding you of the yeast at all times.

I don't hate this. My guess is that that the hemp covers for the absence of any serious hop presence, which allows this brew to retain its discount-brand status (hops being expensive and all). But as fair as discount-brand beers go, this is one of the better ones I've encountered--it might not be good, but it's better than mediocre, and at the very least it's *interesting*.

 1,574 characters

Photo of Trancesexual
3.5/5  rDev -0.6%

Photo of BcCraft710
4.02/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

TBH I have bought about 10 X 6 packs of these, i used to pour them into a tulip/pils... however i have recently been using them for road hockey beers and they taste even better out of the can! more concentrated hemp flavour? im not sure, but try it out!

 253 characters

Photo of beerhaver
3.5/5  rDev -0.6%

Photo of Svingjo
3.27/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Photo of WCKDVBZ
3/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Photo of Derek
3.41/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This actually has a nice hemp flavour, without going over-the-top and leaving you with a taste like you've been sucking on a rope. Hints of fruity esters and a modest bitterness. It's well attenuated with a crisp, dry finish.

It's very drinkable, though not overly enticing.

 277 characters

Photo of Noxious26
3.18/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

355ml can poured in a pilsener glass. Thanks to Scott for the beer!

Pours out golden hued and slightly hazy with a thin off-white cap. Recedes to a thin little island.

Aroma is largely sweetness with hints of hops in the background.

Cloying sweetness with some grainyness throughout. A few hints of hops, but largely a plain sweet ale

Light bodied with moderate carbonation.

This is ok, but nothing to write home about. A decent representation of the style.

 462 characters

Photo of Corson
3.33/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Photo of wordemupg
3.35/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

355ml poured into pint glass 6/6/12

A clear light copper with some big bubbles that feed a short lived finger of foam that leaves no lace

S sweet grains with some leafy hops, not a whole lot going on really

T caramels and a little herbal tea bag, the hops a re faint but there and its an improvement over the smell

M has some body too it and good carbonation, its fairly smooth with a weedy aftertaste, no pun intended

O OK beer, easy enough too drink but nothing amazing

for a discount brand its pretty good, maybe worth picking up between paydays

 557 characters

Photo of Jiffster
4.6/5  rDev +30.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Of all the beers in the sampler.. This was definitely my favourite.

67 characters

Photo of morganwray
3.25/5  rDev -7.7%

Photo of Gobzilla
3/5  rDev -14.8%

Photo of canucklehead
3.5/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Once again Bowen offers a decent beer for a great price. The hemp adds a little extra nutty flavour to the basic blonde ale. The hops are there but not really adding much to the beer but cold out of the can it works well with the summer patio action.

 250 characters

Photo of Sathanas
3.72/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of ZachT
4.04/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Bunman3
3.49/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Another solid choice for times when funds are tight. Bowen Island has a nice variety of discount beers and this is a unique brew. The hemp adds a nice earthy quality to the flavour profile. I'm not a huge fan of blonde ales, but the darkness and depth of Reef Break helps make it pretty unique.

 294 characters

Photo of Poupae
3.75/5  rDev +6.5%

Photo of AdamFoyle
3.77/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Photo of Olek4374
3.8/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Photo of maclean25
3.43/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The final beer in the sampler pack (~$1.63 per can) and the one I was most looking forward to. It pours with lots of soapy-foamy, light beige head which reduces quickly. The body is clear with an orange-copper colour. It has a very faint aroma of mostly fruit salad and yeast. Not a strong taste either. However, I get herbal flavours (probably from the hemp) and milky-creamy taste. There is a light carbonation and creamy feel to it with a light-to-medium body. Overall, it is meets all the standard qualifications from a Blonde Ale but comes with a light hemp-herbal flavour. Generally nice.

 594 characters

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Bowen Island Reef Break Hemp Blonde Ale from Bowen Island Brewing Co. Ltd.
Beer rating: 3.52 out of 5 with 29 ratings