Thursday, February 24, 2011

Picaroons: PART ONE

Picaroons is a great brewery located right in my own "backyard" here on the East Coast of Canada. I have had the good fortune to try eleven of their beers and will be posting reviews of each them.

Presented here in PART ONE, and in alphabetical order, these are the first five. Cheers!

Best Bitter - Picaroons (Canada - New Brunswick - Fredricton) 5.2%

Sweet, delicious roasted caramel malt flavour that matches the pleasant burnt amber colour it has in a glass. A bitter aftertaste hits late but is a nice counterpoint to the caramel. The smell is almost surprisingly sweet like a malty candy store.

Blonde Ale - Picaroons (Canada - New Brunswick - Fredricton) 5.0%

Scent of hops spice mixed with malt. Quite a mellow sweet malt taste, a little buttery with a slightly bitter finish. Very drink-a-lot-able and pleasant.

Dark and Stormy Night - Picaroons (Canada - New Brunswick - Fredricton) 4.8%

Dark in a glass but translucent. Roasty and malty; bitter and a little sweet. It was a litle oddly sour but that does not detract from the other flavours. Good but tastes a little thin which could be a bit of a drawback if you were looking for a stick-to-your-ribs dark ale, however, on the plus side, it also means you could happily have more than one or drink it with food. Though it is a dark beer it is very drinkable even for people who wouldn't normally drink anything darker than a lager or maybe a red.

Feels Good Imperial Pilsner - Picaroons (Canada - New Brunswick - Fredricton) 7.0%

Smells like a strong pilsner. Tastes like a strong pilsner drowning in hops: way too bitter and green for my tastes. Also with a long lingering aftertaste that makes it slow to drink. In time, (ie. through much of the bottle) the hops mellows and the beer tastes sweeter but is still really bitter. If you just can't get enough of hops, then this one would be great for you!

Fox Tail Ale - Picaroons (Canada - New Brunswick - Fredricton)

Made specially for the Snooty Fox restaurant in Fredricton, New Brunswick, this draught beer is amber in a glass and has the typical Picaroons crystal/caramel malt taste, but its flavour is also fairly dark and roasty. A little waterier than most Picaroons offerings presumably because it's a draught beer rather than from the bottle; all in all, a fine choice from the taps.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Three Beers For Beer Geeks

Wychwood Brewery Hobgoblin Traditionally Crafted Legendary Ruby Red Beer (England - Oxfordshire) 5.2%

Fairly red, fairly bitter. Kind of fruity and caramel-ey. Generally mild in flavour despite the grandiose name.

Beer Geek Breakfast - Mikkeller (Denmark) 7.5%

Black, black in a glass. Smells bitter and faintly of black olives (?). Tastes malty and quite pleasantly bitter and most unsurprisingly of black coffee. Really tasty, I would recommend drinking this out of a wine or brandy glass if possible.

Erdinger Alkoholfret (Germany) 0.0%

Sweeter than most wheat beers, though I usually find that most no or low alcohol beers are sweeter than their counterparts (because the sugars weren't changed into alcohol by yeast? mayhaps) but still it has a mild wheat beer taste. A bright gold in a glass. Nice to look at, nice to taste, nice to have as a middle of the day alternative to alcohol bearing beer.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Rickard's Red, White & Dark

Rickard's Red (Canada) 5.2%

Creamy and springy on the tongue , has a faint smell of plum mixed with the expected malty beer scent. Tastes malty and sweet with a mildly bitter finish and a hint of rosemary. Quite a pleasant beer: a red made drinkable for the lay person and beer enthusiasts alike.

Rickard's White (Canada) 5.4%

This wheat beer is a cloudy bronzed gold colour in a glass. It smells sweetly spicy and a little of apricots even though it is brewed with orange peel. Most often it is served with a slice of citrus (orange or lemon) but I tend to eschew garnishes with beer. It tastes just like it smells: sweet and fruity with hints of spice and it is very smooth and creamy. Quite a good beer ... especially for a Molson product.

Rickard's Dark (Canada) 4.8%

Roasted malt, not much bitterness and a slightly sweet taste. For a beer that claims to be a porter (or at least porter brewed) the coffee or dark chocolate tones I associate with porters are completely absent. I should point out that not all porters have to taste that way but, in my experience, they usually do - at least to some extent. And though dark in a glass it is translucent and not black, more like a dark brown. Additionally the carbonation is standard not the smooth small bubbles giving it quite a different mouth feel from most porters.

All in all, not bad for a dark beer but as a porter this beer is a bust though not at all bad tasting. It certainly isn't "a punch in the mouth of flavour" like the advertizing likes to claim. It's more like a darker version of Rickard's Red and a damn shame that they stopped making their delicious Rickard's Honey Brown, especially for This.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Beer Maven's Superbowl Picks

In honour of the single biggest event in American sport, I am reviewing a handful of American beers that I think would go great with this year's (or, I suppose, any year's) Superbowl.

Miller Genuine Draft (USA - Milwaukee - Wisconsin) 4.7%

Light tasting but not without character; it's malty and sweet. This beer is lightly carbonated and as a result does come across like a draft beer. Not at all strong tasting, MGD is a nicely drinkable beer that still has something to its flavour which makes it my pick for Superbowl viewers who are looking for something that is very easy to drink but isn't just another international lager.

Samuel Adams - Boston Lager (USA - Boston - Massachusetts) 4.8%

Reddish gold in a glass. A little malty, sweet, hoppy and pleasantly bitter. Smells of spicy hops. This is a very pleasant beer, if only more lagers were this interesting. A good American drinking beer for the Superbowl viewer with a taste for better, more flavourful beers.

Lagunitas - Little Sumpin' WILD (USA - Petalume - California)

An interesting hop flavour with strong tastes of melon, grapefruit and passion fruit, and a mild bitter bite. Smells a little of pine and is a nice gold colour in a glass with a frothy head. The bitterness does not overpower the aftertaste but instead fades into the background to allow the beer's sweetness to come to the fore. It's hard to believe this beer is almost 9% but it's obviously crafted with care and this beer is well balanced. This beer is included in this list of Superbowl beers for the true beer geek out there that won't even take the Superbowl off from tasting.