Thursday, March 24, 2011

Alexander Keith's Tartan Ale (Canada - Nova Scotia - Halifax)

Alexander Keith's Tartan Ale (Canada - Nova Scotia - Halifax) 6.1%

A delicious smoky, malty mix with sweetness and a refreshing carbonation. It doesn't taste like a beer with a high alcohol content but at 6.1% it certainly qualifies as a strong beer. A glowing brown, like a polished penny in a glass. Keith's Tartan Ale (a Scottish Ale) is a surprisingly complicated beer for a mega-brewery, it's a good beer and a hopeful sign that Keith's Brewery may have some interest in making some beers with more character than the typical bland international lager.

Since it is only out for a limited time: Go out and get this beer while it's available!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Berentsens Jule Avec (Norway) 9.0%

A velvety smooth pallet rich in dark chocolate and coffee with cream. I had to wait for it to warm up (suggested serving temperature was 10 Celsius) and had supper ready but put food on hold so I could savour this beer in its own right: it was worth the wait. Interestingly hoppy behind the malty chocolate and only mildly bitter for a beer this dark, strong and Yule-y. Pitch black in a glass.

(I can't believe I forgot this one - when doing my Yule beer specials 1, 2, and 3!)

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Picaroons: PART TWO

Picaroons is a great brewery located right in my own "backyard" here on the East Coast of Canada.

This is the concluding half to my review of the eleven Picaroons beers I've had the good fortune to try. In addition to the eleven I've tried, I'm looking forward to their Maple Cream Ale that I've heard is coming out at the end of March.

Irish Red - Picaroons (Canada - New Brunswick - Fredricton) 4.8%

Sweet roasted caramel malt, a dark taste with a bit of tang. Malty with a mildly bitter and sweet aftertaste. A good red though they are not my most favoured style.

Man's Best Friend - Picaroons (Canada - New Brunswick - Fredricton) 5.0%

Black in a glass with a velvety froth. Coffee, hints of the taste and mouth feel of oatmeal, malty, milk chocolate. It is sweet but bitter, well balanced and very pleasant. This is a good porter and like most porters you likely wouldn't drink more than one but you would drink the first one very happily.

Simeon Jones River Valley Amber Ale - Picaroons (Canada - New Brunswick - Fredricton) 4.5%

Smells of sweet caramel malt. Doesn't taste overly sweet though, tastes malty, barely bitter and a hint of what I would describe as pumpkin spice, with a roasted malt edge. A very pleasant amber ale.

Timber Hog - Picaroons (Canada - New Brunswick - Fredricton) 5.0%

Black, black, black in a pint glass. Smells sweet and of malty caramel. This stout is thick and even sounds thick as you pour it in a glass. It is sweet and tastes strongly of caramel malt, appropriately bitter, a little bit nutty and all round good. It is, however, very filling and 500ml was a little hard to finish. Although, it was good to the last drop.

Winter Warmer - Picaroons (Canada - New Brunswick - Fredricton) 7.5%

Lovely sweet smell of caramel malt that carries over into the taste: initially very sweet with a nice overload of caramel flavours; a touch of hops accents the malty tones. The combination leaves a mild bitter aftertaste. Quite nice and typical of North American winter beers.

Yippee IPA - Picaroons (Canada - New Brunswick - Fredricton) 6.5%

Smells of malt and hops - more malt than hops. Tastes of hops and malt - way more hops than malt: very green, hoppy and super bitter. Initially somewhat sweet and tastes of caramel malt but very quickly that is washed away by a stinging hopes taste that is very bitter and linger on and on. It gets less bitter with the drinking.

Since your bitter taste buds are more concentrated at the back of the tongue you can hold a tiny sip of this beer at the front of your mouth, just behind your teeth under but not touching your tongue, to enjoy the sweet caramel malt taste before swallowing it and fully activating the hoppy bitterness. It's an interesting beer because you can play with it like this. Picaroon's Yippee IPA definitely would be a fun entry in any beer tasting.