Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Auburn Ale - Cameron's Brewing (Canada - Ontario - Oakville)

Auburn Ale - Cameron's Brewing (Canada - Ontario - Oakville) 5.0%

A dark or charred amber in a glass. A green hoppy and caramelized malt aroma with a moderate hoppy and strongly toasty taste.

The pronounced roasted malt flavours are quite dark, moving beyond a caramelized sugariness to roasted malt which can border on chocolatey but is mostly a delightful toasty maltiness. As well there is a very pleasant amount of lightly floral, barely citrus-like and not quite cedar hops - not quite because it isn't resiny as it lacks that sticky quality. The cedar hops character is less like the branches and more like a cedar plank you'd roast fish on.  An interesting American Amber Ale, refreshing but full of character.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Antigravity Light Ale - Flying Monkeys (Canada - Ontario - Barrie)

Antigravity Light Ale - Flying Monkeys (Canada - Ontario - Barrie) 4.0%

A light ale that promises to have flavour. We shall see.

A slightly pale gold in a glass. A sweet malty aroma with a touch of green hops and a fruit hint. A nicely light malty toasted dinner roll flavour with just a touch of hops that gives some nice, albeit light, balancing bitterness. Not a boatload of flavour but nice flavour indeed. Antigravity Light Ale lives up to its billing.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Alexander Keith's Hallertauer Hop Ale (Canada)

Alexander Keith's Hallertauer Hop Ale (Canada) 5.4%

Full gold, nearly brass coloured, in a glass. Not much of a head. The aroma is resiny with a bit of pine and grain; lightly spicy and vegatal. The taste is characterized by a dry vegetal and lightly spicy herbal hops character. There is also a little pine and resin as well. The finish is not very bitter at all but instead and dry with touches of that same herbal tone, but now even more mild, and some light grain. This is a pretty nice American Pale Ale. As I have written before I quite like the idea of this series of beers by Alexander Keith's, although they're not the first to do such a thing.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Harviestoun Bitter & Twisted Blond Beer (Scotland)

Harviestoun Bitter & Twisted Blond Beer (Scotland) 4.2%

A pleasantly complicated hoppy beer. Bitter but well rounded, a little fruity with tones of citrus (particularly lemon) though mainly hoppy but overall quite a light tasting beer.  It you are interested in different flavours of hops or would like to get to know hops better, this beer would be a fun experience for you. Great bottle cap too.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Schooner -Oland (Canada)

Schooner - Oland (Canada) 5.0%

A little maltier than most lagers, but really similar to the rest. It has a fuller flavour but is still pretty ordinary but it is a good enough beer, fine for those that just want a lager but still want some depth of flavour. In Schooner's case the depth comes in its maltier body.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Blonde Du Quai - Shiretown (Canada - New Brunswick - Dalhousie)

Blonde Du Quai - Shiretown (Canada - New Brunswick - Dalhousie) 4.5%

Very hoppy and floral with a sweet and malty flavour capped with a punch of grain flavour. The flavour makes it quite bitter but it doesn't dominate as there is a lot of nice things going on here. A very nice blonde ale.

As far as where to get your hands on it, well, it is available in growler for from the brewery in Dalhousie, N.B., on tap in a few fine beer bars in New Brunswick (Marky's Laundromat Espresso Bar and the Garrison District Ale House) and Shiretown has recently announced they are going begin bottling and selling their beer through NB Liquor so look forward to that.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Newcastle Brown Ale (England - Dunston)

Newcastle Brown Ale (England - Dunston) 4.7%

Mildly malty and moderately bitter, this brown is very drinkable and refreshing which probably explains why it finds its way (in draft form) into pubs and bars all over the world.

It is a dark reddish brown in a glass, well carbonated, fairly sweet and tastes a little like caramel. A mix of nuttiness from the malt and barely green hops flavour give this ale a few wooden tones.

All in all a good beer; not a heavily malty brown that could be intimidating to those more accumstomed to beers that are gold and fizzy. This beer is definitely easy to drink and to enjoy for people with a wide variety of tastes. For those looking for a beer that sticks to your ribs and leaves tiger stripes on your glass, you're better off with a thicker brown or a porter.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Molson Export Ale (Canada)

Molson Export Ale (Canada) 5.0%

Yellow and fizzy, a little more malty than an international lager and it has a hint of the thickness you'd expect from an ale.

Monday, April 22, 2013

The Legendary Muskoka Spring Oddity

The Legendary Muskoka Spring Oddity 2012 (Canada - Ontario - Bracebridge) 8.0%

Hint of melon in the hops, some banana. Sweet malt. Quite sweet and quite bitter - hops and distinctly gin-like with the juniper berries. A orange peel flavour rather than the sweetness of orange flesh. A bit of alcohol warming, toasted bread bordering on caramel in the malt. Full gold in a glass, no sediment in the glass or the bottle. A bit spicy maybe a bit of honey finish. The juniper, orange peel and malt form a really nice mix that puts me in mind of nectar though the mouthfeel is not thick, though not quite watery. As it warms and loses carbonation (it is well carbonated by the way) it tastes more and more like honey.

I wonder how this beer would age, if it were bottled on lees? It seems like the flavour could go from good to great however it's not bottled on lees so it would only grow musty and stale; it even has an expiry date. It also has great artwork on the label and an interesting story you can read in the image below.

King Brewing Vienna Lager (Canada - Ontario - King Township)

King Brewing Vienna Lager (Canada - Ontario - King Township) 4.8%

Full gold, bordering on brass, colour in a glass. Quite a roasty and bitter aroma. Very sweet taste with a punch of fruit like flavours and an alcohol taste which is stunning since it's only 4.8% - it actually has hints of sherry despite the low alcohol. A moderately bitter aftertaste with some flavour of crusty bread. A very tasty beer all and all, despite the surprise alcohol flavour, with nice roast flavours. Reminds me of Spitfire Premium Kentish Ale specifically and UK Pub Brews in general.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Warsteiner Dunkel (Germany) 4.8%

Warsteiner Dunkel (Germany) 4.8%

Warsteiner Dunkel is a dark brown with only a hint of amber and a off white head that faded fairly quickly. The aroma is an appetizing mix of sweet milk chocolate and light coffee with just a hint of smoke from the roasted malt.

The taste is exactly along the same lines: quite sweet with milk chocolate and hints of light coffee. This really is a nice dark beer that is light on the palate but still well representative of dark malt flavours.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Merry Time Pilsner (Cask) - Pump House Brewery (Canada - New Brunswick - Moncton)

Merry Time Pilsner (Cask) - Pump House Brewery (Canada - New Brunswick - Moncton) 5.6%

A very light mango or passionfruit hop aroma; grain and malthouse also. Yellow and cloudy in a glass with a thin white head with good resilience and lacing. Lots of grain and malthouse in the taste too, a bit raw, some barnyard with a little hay and vegetal hops and the barest hint of citrus (lemon). No sign of the more exotic hops tones I initially picked up in the aroma.

Merry Time Pilsner (Draft) - Pump House Brewery (Canada - New Brunswick - Moncton) 5.6%

A dry hops and malt taste that is just a little bit nutty with a nice grain background flavour. The aroma is one of dry hops and lightly grain. Clear, pale gold in a glass without much head. A good Euro style Pilsner.

These two different formats make beers that are quite different, though there are similarities, which just goes to show how different a beer can be as a result of cask conditioning.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Blanche Neige - Brasserie Dieu du Ciel (Canada - Quebec - St Jerome)

Blanche Neige - Brasserie Dieu du Ciel! (Canada - Quebec - St Jerome) 8.3%

A surprisingly clear gold colour in a glass, there is some sediment in the bottom of the bottle but not much in solution. The aroma is a delectable, and strong, cinnamon and cloves combination that reminds me of late Autumn, early Winter nights.

The taste is very strongly, and still deliciously, cinnamon with the tasty spice of cloves joining the chorus of flavours. The malt body is pleasant and lends a perfect amount of balance with a creamy quality I associate with wheat in beers. There is a bit of an alcohol mouthfeel a mild chest warming sensation; not much considering it's 8.3%.

Dieu du Ciel!'s Blanche Neige has a bitter finish that fades into a sweet and spicy aftertaste. It is a very in teresting twist of a Wit Beer: spicy, potent and highly delicious.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Kostritzen Schwarzbier (Germany) 4.8%

Kostritzen Schwarzbier (Germany) 4.8%

A dry hoppy aroma with a bit of sweetness and a darker malt roast tone that dances between molasses and wooden tones. The beer is black, nearly opaque. Good head and lacing.

The taste is mild considering the appearance but darkly roasty, closer to coffee grounds than coffee, quite bitter with a Euro Lager dry hops flavour. Easy drinking, quite bitter moderately sweet. No alcohol flavour which some people find unpleasant because it's only 4.8% but the dark roasty flavours and bitterness are often associated with stronger beers - it is a little like low alcohol Yule Beers in that way. Pleased it came in a (stylish) 500 ml bottle as it is quite nice and I was glad to be able to top up my glass. Definitely worth trying: an interesting style well executed.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Solstice d'Hiver - Brasserie Dieu du Ciel! (Canada - Quebec - St. Jerome) 10.2%

Solstice d'Hiver - Brasserie Dieu du Ciel! (Canada - Quebec - St. Jerome) 10.2%

A glowing reddish brown in a glass with a nice off-white head that leaves behind good lacing. There is a little bit of sediment in the bottom of the bottle. The aroma is sticky and malty with dark fruit tones, a bit of alcohol, raisins, molasses, cherries and barley candy.

There is definitely a taste of alcohol but that doesn't obscure too much of the nice flavour of dark and red fruits (particularly cherry) along with roasty, toasty and sticky malt. While sweet, Solstice d'Hiver is also just a little bit hoppy with some wood tones (pine mainly) and a quite bitter aftertaste. A nice Barley Wine, a bit more bitter than others I've had.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Pénombre - Brasserie Dieu du Ciel! (Canada - Quebec - St. Jérome) 6.5%

Pénombre - Brasserie Dieu du Ciel! (Canada - Quebec - St. Jérome) 6.5%

A very dark brown, not quite opaque with a tan head that leaves behind good lacing. The aroma is roasty with dark chocolate and coffee/espresso hints but also some resiney hops. I'm looking forward to tasting this one - the aroma sets my mouth watering.

Sooo nice, smoky, dark chocolate, roasty malt with bitterness especially in the aftertaste. There is a pleasant and mild cedar or resin flavour to the beer as well. A bit of pine comes out as the beer warms. Pénombre is a really nice beer, it bills itself as a Black IPA but it seems more like an American Stout but it's a blurred line not a clear demarcation so if they want to call it a Black IPA I'll call it a delicious one.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Waterloo Classic Pilsner - Brick Brewing (Canada - Ontario - Kitchener)

Waterloo Classic Pilsner - Brick Brewing (Canada - Ontario - Kitchener) 5.0%

Gold to pale gold in a glass, a nice wide head that was admittedly a bit quick fading. An entirely Pilsner-ey aroma: malty with light and dry European hops tone.

Smooth, lightly creamy mouthfeel, malty taste with just a touch of grain and a pleasant bitter finish. There is the slightest trace of resin to the hops character but only very slightly - not enough to be out of place in a Pilsner.

Overall, Waterloo's Classic Pilsner is a top notch Pilsner. I very much like it and would reach for it before the classic Pilsner Urquell: it tastes at least as good and it's brewed a whole lot closer to home.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Don De Dieu - Unibroue (Canada - Quebec - Chambly) 9.0%

Don De Dieu - Unibroue (Canada - Quebec - Chambly) 9.0%

A lovely Belgian Blonde Ale aroma: sweet, herbal hints, something not quite minty, not quite pink bubblegum, malt and nectary floral tones. Barely, barely cloudy and gold in a glass with a big white head.

The taste is lighter and sweeter than Unibroue's darker offerings, more honeyed, lightly herbal and the yeast notes are quite demure. Don De Dieu is quite delicious and, though lightly bitter to lightly moderately bitter, it goes down easier than some of Unibroue's more complicated brews. I still like their Fin Du Monde best but Don De Dieu is a nice middle-ground of high alcohol and good flavour without being overpowering; in fact, it is highly quaffable.

Don De Dieu is a nice beer that pairs well with plenty of foods because of its only moderately strong flavour. It is a fine choice for beer lovers and beer aficionados who want something a little simpler to sip on and share, as well as being a suitable choice for someone who is just getting into big flavour, Belgian style ales.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Gouden Carolus Tripel - Brouwerij Het Anker (Belgium) 9.0%

Gouden Carolus Tripel - Brouwerij Het Anker (Belgium) 9.0%

Very fruity bouquet. Frothy tasting with a lovely apricot taste and an alcohol burn. Mead like but pleasantly balanced. This Belgian Tripel is a great choice to try out how many Belgian brewers brew a beer without any fruit ingredients but that ends up tasting very fruity.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Brava - Labatt (Canada) 4.9%

Brava - Labatt (Canada) 4.9%

Pale gold in a glass with a frothy head and decent lacing. Creamy, malty, white bread, sweet aroma. Sugary sweet taste, very thin mouthfeel, lightly skunky; barely hopped and somewhat malty. A pretty standard international lager by a mega-brewery. Not worth a beer geek's time.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Alexander Keith's Red Amber Ale (Canada) 5.0%

Alexander Keith's Red Amber Ale (Canada) 5.0%

Alexander Keith's Red Amber Ale has lightly caramelized malt aroma with a slight sticky sweetness too, in short the aroma is quite a lot like the one a Red Ale should have. That aspect tends to fade leaving an aroma of mostly plain malt with a bit of a dry hops touch to the aroma too. A darkish red amber colour in a glass with a decent head that even leaves some lacing.

The taste has some Red Ale-like sweetness with a bit of stickiness and a caramelized touch. There are even a few red fruit esters to lend a slightly fruity and barely tart touch that make Alexander Keith's Red Amber Ale even more like what I would expect from a typical Red Ale. The malt and overall body are a bit thin for a Red but otherwise Alexander Keith's Red Amber Ale is surprisingly tasty.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Waterloo Iron Horse Bock - Brick Brewing (Canada - Ontario - Kitchener) 5.5%

Waterloo Iron Horse Bock - Brick Brewing (Canada - Ontario - Kitchener) 5.5%

Gold in a glass with a nice head of white foam with a very sweet and creamy aroma that reminds me of sugar cookies and has just a touch of something ineffably lager-esque. It's a very appetizing smell.

The taste is also sweet at first, with a touch of grain and a creamy mouthfeel but it has a bitter finish and some vegetal hops too. Waterloo Iron Horse Bock does not exactly have the typical Bock flavour I expected however they call it a Spring Bock (a variety I hadn't heard of before) and there is something appropriately like Spring in the moderate hops bitterness and the lower than typical (for a Bock) alcohol content. Keep in mind that there is more hops to this beer than there are to other Bocks and I think you'll find it quite enjoyable.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Molson Canadian Wheat (Canada) 4.5%

Molson Canadian Wheat (Canada) 4.5%

Pale, slightly cloudy gold colour in a glass but with a bit of a brownish hue and a big white head. The aroma is a little like a wheat but with a skunky, disappointingly weak malt aroma.

The taste is disappointing also: there is a bit of sweetness and a vague bit of wheat flavour but it tastes mostly like someone poured three drops of a Hoegaarden into a Molson Canadian.  I had high hopes for this beer because megabreweries have been making efforts to crack the craft beer market and Molson Canadian Wheat's back label even includes the proper wheat beer instructions on the back (pour most of it into a glass, swirl and then pour the rest). However I was disappointed. Save yourself $12.78 and don't pick up a 6-pack of Molson Wheat, it's not terrible but it's not much of a wheat beer.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Fruli Strawberry (Belgium) 4.1%

Fruli Strawberry (Belgium) 4.1%

A cloudy red with a brown or amber tint. Even the head has a slightly pink hue. A strong tart raspberry aroma with a strawberry mix and a bit of grape and lemon. A very sweet taste with some wheat grain flavours and LOTS of fruit juice. Quite a lot of sediment in the bottom of the bottle it's pretty fine though. Fruli Strawberry is a nice juice to drink and quite tasty but it's kind of weird for a beer, there's not really any beer flavour to speak of it's more like a slightly spiced fruit punch. It does however make a really good beer cocktail (or beertail) when mixed with a chocolate stout (Young's Double Chocolate Stout in particular).

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Faxe Amber (Denmark) 5.0%

Faxe Amber (Denmark) 5.0%

Sweet, honeyed, lightly caramelized malt aroma with a bit of dry hops. A brown tinted amber in a glass.

A moderately caramelized malt flavour which is to be expected from an Amber: a little bit like the crust from dark bread. Also quite bitter and the taste of alcohol is there occasionally despite it only being 5.0% ABV. Unfortunately there's a unpleasant sour taste that comes through sometimes which is not nice. Overall, it's not bad for a mass-produced Amber (which isn't saying much) except for that sour flavour which can be really off-putting. Actually, between the sour flavour and the oddly unmasked alcohol taste Faxe Amber isn't very good. Some other Faxe products are just as cheap but actually quite a bit better.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Innis and Gunn Canada Day 2012 (Scotland) 7.7%

Innis and Gunn Canada Day 2012 (Scotland) 7.7%

Oaky and very sweet aroma but with some dry European hops hanging around too. A dark amber in a glass with a off-white head. The taste is strong in oak barrel tones (as are all of Innis and Gunn oak aged beers) but less sweet and more bitter than many of their other brews and there is a fairly prominent dry hops character to the taste as well. The malt is flavour is caramelized and sweet.

The suggested serving temperature is 4-6 degrees Celcius (39 to 43 degrees Fahrenheit) which seems more than a touch too cold in my judgement. At that temperature the alcohol taste is a bit strong. As Innis and Gunn Canada Day 2012 warms, the malt tones develop some more sugary caramel characteristics and the dry hops continue to figure prominently but the alcohol doesn't come out in the taste as much anymore. At any temperature you'll feel some alcohol warming and a tingling sensation on your tongue from the walloping 7.7% alcohol by volume.

Innis and Gunn Canada Day 2012 is an interesting beer and distinct from the rest Innis and Gunn's other offerings, although it certainly hails from the same region on the taste spectrum: the detectable use of hops is unique, as far as I have experienced, but the barrel notes and the high level of sweetness is typical of Innis and Gunn ales. It drinks a lot like a Scottish Wee Heavy actually although it is probably too light on the malt characteristics to fit that mould perfectly. Nice to see (taste?) that this special beer is indeed special and not just any other Innis and Gunn is a pretty box.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Barrel Full of Monkeys - Paddock Wood (Canada - Saskatchewan - Saskatoon) 10.0%

Barrel Full of Monkeys - Paddock Wood (Canada - Saskatchewan - Saskatoon) 10.0%

Super dark in a glass and completely opaque. A hefty, thick, delicious, dark and strongly malty aroma: raisins, dates, a bit of pear, chocolate, wood tones, some alcohol as well as a hops impression that adds only bitterness and balance. At times this tasty aroma reminds me a bit of molasses cookies.

Coffee and dark chocolate for an instant but then washed over by a spectacular flood of dark dried fruit flavours of raisin, prunes, dates and smoky wood notes; chocolate returns only with a little alcohol which puts me in mind of liquere and fruit filled chocolates. The beer definitely imparts a alcohol glow right away but the alcohol doesn't do anything but accentuating the flavour; Barrel Full of Monkeys doesn't taste at all like it is one tenth pure ethanol (at least). The malty, smoky aftertaste with touches of the aforementioned dark fruit is very appetizing so while this beer deserves to be savoured on it's own it would go very nicely with some darker olives and other such strong flavoured finger food.

Words don't seem to do it justice in describing how tasty this beer is and they also make a cherry version. Paddock Wood's Barrel Full of Monkeys is only an annual release so if you get the chance to buy some DO IT!

Monday, April 1, 2013

Alexander Keith's Cascade Hop Ale (Canada) 5.5%

Alexander Keith's Cascade Hop Ale (Canada) 5.5%

A clear brass colour in a glass with a fluffy white head. The aroma is roasty and very sweet with the distinct Cascade notes of resin and citrus (tangerine): it is a aromatic combination that is quite appealing. The taste is not quite as hoppy as the aroma but the hops are clearly there: resiny and green with notes of cedar and light citrus (orange). Alexander Keith's Cascade Hop Ale is fairly sweet, moderately bitter and the malt body is there (and roasty) but really only as a stage for the hops character to play upon. All in all this beer drinks as a pretty good American Pale Ale which is honestly a bit of a surprise since it is an Alexander Keith's product. It could do a better job of portraying the Cascade hop flavour if it had a bit of a stronger hop flavour but that is getting nit-picky. Worth trying though and actually sessionable.