Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Imperial Stout - L'Alchimiste (Canada - Quebec - Joliette)

Imperial Stout - L'Alchimiste (Canada - Quebec - Joliette) 7.9%

Black and very much opaque in a glass with brown head of foam similar in colour to coffee with cream. Coffee, prunes, leather, chocolate and molasses make up the aroma with some slow-to-present wood tones.

Strong dark fruit flavours initially, fades to smoky wood tones with some dark red fruit esters (light hints of red apple) and into a long lingering, chewy, smoked molasses aftertaste. This is a delightful Imperial Stout with deep immersive flavours; sweet and balancedly bitter but without any bite of hops that you might expect from other Russian Imperial Stouts.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Rescousse - Dieu du Ciel (Canada - Quebec - St Jerome)

Rescousse - Dieu du Ciel (Canada - Quebec - St Jerome) 5.3%

A red hued brass colour in a glass with an off-white head that leaves behind thick Belgian lace. A strong malty aroma of grilled bread, toasty notes, maybe slightly nutty, a little bit of smoke and hints of tangy fruit tones. Rescousse has a lovely roasted malt flavour, sweet and nutty with just the perfect amount of lightly bitter hops to balance. The light smoky flavour along with a hint of fruit esters (apple) puts me in mind of autumn and leaves a roasty, umami aftertaste with the barest hints of smoke. The beer is absolutely delicious, a perfect example of the style and would be the perfect aperitif as Rescousse's robust umami flavour really whets the appetite. Bring a six pack of Rescousse to your next BBQ and you are sure to please and impress your hosts. Serve it to your guests and they may never leave.

As an added plus, eleven cents is donated to for each bottle sold in order to help species at risk in Quebec.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Boréale 25 - Les Brasseurs du Nord (Canada - Quebec - Blainville)

Boréale 25 - Les Brasseurs du Nord (Canada - Quebec - Blainville) 6.1%

A cloudy, light orange colour in a glass. A cedar and floral aroma, a little resiny maybe a little apricot as well and overall very attractive.

The taste is bitter with cedar and resin but also maybe a touch of alcohol. Orange tones, some sweetness and floral touches with an aftertaste of wheat though the body is a bit thin. I would not have expected a hoppy White IPA but this is a tasty and interesting choice for an anniversary beer from Boréale.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Blueberry Ale - Wachusett Brewing (USA - Massachusetts - Westminster)

Blueberry Ale - Wachusett Brewing (USA - Massachusetts - Westminster) 4.5%

Smells like real, fresh blueberries; tastes like it too. Also sweet, malty and floral with the coriander-esque spiciness of the wheat beer. Blueberry and first and foremost then the taste shifts to the sweet malt and then onto the floral and spice (and everything nice) but the blueberries make a reappearance in the lingering finish. Pale gold and clear in a glass. Quite light for all its flavour.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Lancaster Bomber - Thwaites Brewery (England)

Lancaster Bomber - Thwaites Brewery (England) 4.4%

Lightly floral/nectar aroma, roasty, a bit of caramel and wood tones and hops like melon or cut grass. It tastes quite sweet, a bit nectary, a very nice watery refreshing mouthfeel, toasty with wood tones, a slightly bitter taste but quite a bit more bitter finish.

Lancaster Bomber has a creamy head, lacing and is a reddish chestnut/mahogany colour in a glass. Overall a classic English pub ale, bitter and quite nice.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Pumpkin UFO - Harpoon Brewery (USA - Massachusetts - Boston)

Pumpkin UFO - Harpoon Brewery (USA - Massachusetts - Boston) 5.9%

Smells just like pumpkin pie, gingery also. Tastes just like it too. A little bitter and even more bitter towards the finish as well as somewhat tangy with hops. This would be a really fun beer to serve at Thanksgiving or Halloween, it really suits autumn.

As I drank it in the latter stages of August I got that familiar flutter of excitement in my chest that I always get during the fall. An orange cloudy amber colour in a glass.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Ola Dubh Ale - Harviestoun (Scotland)

Ola Dubh Ale - Harviestoun (Scotland) 8.0%

Ola Dubh Ale pours blackly opaque with a thick nice head leaving lovely lacing. The aroma is dark chocolate and loads of it, coconut, maple, toffee, smokey, a touch of booze and more than a bit of oak. It tastes of coffee, alcohol, with a oatmeal creamy mouthfeel; quite sweet, toffee, then the aroma flavours dark chocolate and coconut come through in the taste with a wood tone laden finish.

Monday, July 22, 2013

West Coast IPA - Churchkey Brewing (Canada - Ontario - Campbellford)

West Coast IPA - Churchkey Brewing (Canada - Ontario - Campbellford) 5.0%

Gold in a glass; not much of a head. The aroma and taste are very similar: dominated by the hops character of melon and muted grapefruit with a touch of cucumber and earthiness that combine to be something much like a gourd or mild squash - not quite pumpkin because the flavour is too cool and mellow. A slightly strange kind of IPA.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Shawinigan Handshake - Le Trou du Diable (Canada - Quebec - Shawinigan) 6.5%

Shawinigan Handshake - Le Trou du Diable (Canada - Quebec - Shawinigan) 6.5%

A cloudy orange colour in a glass, like the colour of a peach (just like the label suggests), with a nice fluffy white head. Sweet, honey and melon aroma with citrus (orange and nectarine) as well as a resin background.

Be warned before pouring: there is some heavy duty sediment at the bottom of the bottle. While a little of it may even enhance the flavour the dregs you'll get from pouring every last drop of this otherwise delicious beer, are overly yeasty, bitter and otherwise not very nice.

The taste is bitter at first with a great hops character of pine and still some melon and nectarine tones. Yeasty banana, maybe a little apple juice, green pear, and bread flavours really come out mid-mouth. The hoppy finish that is also heavy in slightly spicy honey is followed by an aftertaste that I would describe as dry cedar while the label calls it "dry spruce" and while I feel like there is a difference there, it is very slight.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Twice As Mad Tom IPA - Muskoka Brewery (Canada - Ontario - Bracebridge)

Twice As Mad Tom IPA - Muskoka Brewery (Canada - Ontario - Bracebridge) 8.4%

A colour between gold and brass in a glass with a thin darkened off-white head. Very sprucey and sweet aroma. The taste is bitter but also very sweet and loaded with a lovely sprucey hops flavour. A bit of sticky resin in the finish and aftertaste but overall this is a sweet and light-on-the-tongue Double India Pale Ale full of great "forest" flavours as well as a little citrus and floral touches. Deceptively high in alcohol: it certainly doesn't taste 8.4% alcohol.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Muskoka Summer Weiss (Canada - Ontario - Bracebridge)

Muskoka Summer Weiss (Canada - Ontario - Bracebridge) 5.0%

Gold in a glass, ever so slightly hazy. Cloves and banana all feature in the yeasty, floral aroma that is also slightly herbal with touches of mint.

The taste is also yeasty with herbal tones that reminded me for just a moment of black licorice. Mostly cloves and banana and typical Weiss flavours. A nice wheat beer, I (and many others) always thought that wheat beers go well with summer and this one by Muskoka seems particularly well suited.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Miami Weiss - Great Lakes Brewing (Canada - Ontario - Toronto)

Miami Weiss - Great Lakes Brewery (Canada - Ontario - Toronto) 4.5%

A very cloudy gold colour in a glass. Lots of pine, pineapple, passionfruit and maybe a little bit of guava, all from the hops, in the aroma.

Bitter taste with not nearly as much hops in the taste as in the aroma but it hoppy with some pine and guava. The mouthfeel is creamy, as is typical of a wheat, but with a bitter bite. There is light sediment on the bottom of the bottle; it doesn't change the flavour all that much when it ends up in your glass.

There is a pretty silly suggested serving temperature on the bottle: 1 to 3 degrees Celsius. That is about as cold as you can get a beverage and is more appropriate for flavourless light beers like Coors Light than a hoppy wheat beer like Miami Weiss. At that kind of temperature this beer is only very bitter with the faintest hit of hops, please ignore their suggestion and serve it warmer so you can enjoy the lovely hops character.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Creemore Springs Traditional Pilsner (Canada - Ontario - Creemore)

Creemore Springs Traditional Pilsner (Canada - Ontario - Creemore) 5.3%

A pale, bordering on full, gold colour in a glass. The aroma is mildly malty with hints of the hops to come. Lovely hoppy character, flowery and green, a little reminiscent of clover flowers. Malty, bitter and lively on the tongue. Very refreshing and very much a pilsner. This is a nice product and pairs well with both food and lazing around on a patio.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Rye Pale Ale - Cameron's Brewing (Canada - Ontario - Oakville) 6.6%

Rye Pale Ale - Cameron's Brewing (Canada - Ontario - Oakville) 6.6%

A glowing orange colour in a glass with big a fluffy off-white head of foam that left nice lacing as it faded.

A sweet hoppy aroma of pineapple, cedar, resin and a little floral. Strong, bitter taste with hops first: cedar, resin, a little citrus (orange) and some of that pineapple. The rye flavour really comes out in a grain loaded finish and aftertaste but this bitter brew is all about the hops which are strong throughout.

If you aren't a full blown hop-head and find Cameron's Brewing's Rye Pale Ale too bitter at first you are probably not alone. My suggestion would be to let it warm up most of the way and give a chance for the toasted bread (rye bread of course) and light caramel tones to really come out. Warmer and this RPA is still bitter but shows more balance.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Stonewell Light - Cool Brewery (Canada - Ontario - Toronto) 4.0%

Stonewell Light - Cool Brewery (Canada - Ontario - Toronto) 4.0%

Pale gold in a glass with a big white head of foam that fades quickly. An aroma of grain with a bit of creamed corn (DMS) a bit of either Euro Lager dry hops or just skunk from being light struck. The flavour is kind of creamy and buttery with some grain but so much skunk from being light struck that I can't say I really pick up on the "squeeze of lime" much at all. In a weird way the skunk and the butteriness kind of work together. Beer geeks aren't likely to pick this up anyway so who cares if it has lots of what are strictly considered off-flavours. Stonewell Light isn't so bad for a bargain light beer and maybe because it at least, unlike most big brand light lagers, it tastes like something.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Péché Mortel - Brasserie Dieu du Ciel (Canada - Quebec - St Jerome)

Péché Mortel - Dieu du Ciel (Canada - Quebec - St Jerome) 9.5%

Opaque and black in a glass with a tan head. Strong coffee aroma as well as dark chocolate with some dark dried fruit hanging about as well, some black licorice and maybe a touch of leather.

The taste is very strongly coffee at first sip. Then dark chocolate flavours bloom along with red and dark dried fruit, a bite of alcohol, leather and wooden earth tones. I found that with subsequent sips Péché Mortel began to taste less of coffee and more of the dark and red fruit tones. There are still plenty of coffee flavours to be sure but it is nice that this beer isn't one dimensional - not that I would expect such a thing from Dieu du Ciel. The coffee flavours, which as I have said are always there, seemed to reassert themselves as the beer warmed but the interesting mix of dried fruit flavours and other dark malt flavours I have mentioned remains. In short, Péché Mortel is a very nice coffee infused Imperial Stout and quite delicious but still maintains a complex mix of flavours throughout.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Montgomery's Courage (1830-1839) - Black Creek Historic Brewery (Canada - Ontario - Toronto) 5.0%

Montgomery's Courage (1830-1839) - Black Creek Historic Brewery (Canada - Ontario - Toronto) 5.0%

This beer has quite the aroma that I could smell immediately upon opening the bottle, even before I poured it: distinctly rye with some bitter cedar hops and a earthiness that gives the historic brew a rustic feeling of authenticity. A lovely glowing deep orange in a glass with a thin head that lacks some staying power.

Strong rye notes, grainy and hearty all in one, with cedar and resin hops flavours that demand to be taken seriously the moment the rye lead flavour subsides just a bit. The earthen tones of the aroma carry through in the flavour and, to my taste, do an excellent job of bringing together the hearty rye flavour, the Cracker-Jack caramelized sweetness with the resin and cedar bitterness. The finish is almost sweet with the hops peaking mid-mouth and the coming back strong, sticky and a little peppery in the aftertaste. I should note that I am drinking this quite warm (about 15 degrees Celsius at the time of opening) as I feel suits a historic brew such as this.

Montgomery's Courage is the third of Black Creek Historic Brewery's series of Historic Beers of Canada that brews it's way through the history of Canada one decade at a time, starting with Rifleman's Ration, followed by Dray Horse Ale and now Montgomery's Courage. Not only is it a delightfully historic recipe but it is so well balanced and delightful I think it will have to be the benchmark against which I measure all other Rye Pale Ales from this point onward. I look forward to whatever the Black Creek Historic Brewery has planned next.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Sorachi Lager - Duggan's Brewing (Canada - Ontario - Toronto) 4.0%

Sorachi Lager - Duggan's Brewing (Canada - Ontario - Toronto) 4.0%

Pale gold in a glass with a fizzy white head that fades fairly quickly. A light floral, citrus aroma that is almost tart and has a distinct pine backing. The taste doesn't have the same tartness as the aroma. It is instead mostly toasted white bread flavours with some of that same light citrus (lemon and subtly orange) touch and a floral tone that is tugging on something in my memory, maybe like a Forsythia? Duggan's Soriachi Lager's finish has a slight coconut note and a tasty umami aftertaste. All in all, this is a different lager with a nice flavour, and more flavour in general than most lagers, and yet it is still light and refreshing to go along with its complexities.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Chaudiere - Mill St (Canada - Ontario - Toronto)

Chaudiere - Mill St (Canada - Ontario - Toronto) 7.0%

A cloudy gold orange in a glass. Aroma of herbs, alcohol, nutmeg, strongly banana, yeast, apricot and blossoms. The taste was of sweet banana, yeast, alcohol, herbs with a bit of a bitter finish. Interesting beer and a cool style. Reminiscent of much a lighter Fin Du Monde.

Tried this one at the brewery in Toronto, it is a lovely spot in an interesting neighbourhood. Definitely worth checking out.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Aphrodisiaque - Brasserie Dieu du Ciel (Canada - Quebec - St. Jerome)

Aphrodisiaque - Brasserie Dieu du Ciel (Canada - Quebec - St. Jerome) 6.5%

Opaquely black in a glass with a fairly quick fading light brown head. Strong cocoa and vanilla aroma with dark dried fruit. The vanilla aroma is delicate yet forceful and reminds me cookies and baking generally - Aphrodisiaque may just be the comfort food of beer. The flavour is initially all chocolate (delicious chocolate) but on subsequent sips, the vanilla envelops and enhances the chocolate culminating in a delightfully dessert-like beer experience. The finish is still laden with chocolate and vanilla but also has a certain smoky quality. I expected Aphrodisiaque to be more bitter and while it is not overly sweet by any means, it probably isn't more bitter than some of the darkest chocolates. I think Dieu du Ciel was very wise in this regard and has done a good job of letting the natural bitterness of the cocoa and vanilla beans stand on their own without using much of a hops bitterness at all. This is a delightful beer and though filling like a traditional stout, I could be easily persuaded to drink several of these indulgent beauties rather than eating dessert (or eating at all).

Friday, July 5, 2013

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

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

A full gold in a glass. Roasty aroma with a hint of fruit esters and a faint touch of grain. Well carbonated but a creamy mouthfeel. Umami and roast flavours dominate; overall well balanced with moderate sweetness and bitterness. Cameron's Cream Ale is sessionable and very pleasant, not overly strong tasting but nice.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Wellington Russian Imperial Stout (Canada - Ontario - Guelph)

Wellington Russian Imperial Stout (Canada - Ontario - Guelph) 8.0%

Black and opaque with a slight red hue topped with a full, fluffy and fairly resilient brown head. A dark chewy malty aroma with some nice smoky tones. The taste is very malty and filled with dark dried fruit tones like prunes and dates as well as molasses and the same smoky wood tones as in the aroma. Some hints of alcohol in the aftertaste and some tongue tingling but still highly drinkable.

Just like lots of high alcohol and very malty beers I prefer this one fairly warm, maybe even quite warm. I find the alcohol blends better with the overall flavour and many more individual flavours reveal themselves for your enjoyment. There isn't too strong a hops flavour, though there is some pine, even though this Russian Imperial Stout is fairly bitter after all you'll get a fair amount of bitterness from your darker malts anyway. This is quite a nice Russian Imperial Stout though it doesn't have the hop forward taste some of the more aggressively hopped RISs do.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

IPA - Southern Tier Brewing Company (USA - New York - Lakewood) 7.3%

IPA - Southern Tier Brewing Company (USA - New York - Lakewood) 7.3%

A full gold in a glass with a thick white head that fades but shows some resilience. Melon, pineapple and citrus hops aromas first, followed by sweetness, a bit of mint and some cedar or resin.

The taste is not as hoppy as I expected, don't get me wrong it is still hoppy and bitter, but the malt flavours are very nicely blended and intricate with touches of grain, sweet toasted bread and a not-quite-caramel flavour that latches onto the sweeter more melon-like hops flavour and melts it over you palate. The finish is sweet and somewhat bitter with the aforementioned fruity and floral hops but some cedar and resin reveal themselves in the late finish and aftertaste leaving you with a pleasantly hoppy glow. Speaking of glow, there is no way to tell that this beer has such a high alcohol content. It is very easy drinking and smooth as well as being 7.3%: all this translates into Southern Tier's IPA being deliciously troublesome, try one.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Alohog Pale Ale - Hogs Back Brewing (Canada - Ontario - Ottawa)

Alohog Pale Ale - Hogs Back Brewing (Canada - Ontario - Ottawa) 5.2%

This coconut flavoured beer pours a barely cloudy orange-ish amber gold colour in a glass. The aroma is suitably full of coconut with a just little bit of DMS (creamed corn), malt with some touches of grain and tones of nectary almost floral hops.

The first sip is very coconut-ty but it becomes more balanced with the drinking. Besides the coconut Alohog isn't particularly sweet but there is a malty body with some sweetness with a bit of grain with a bit of grain in a coconut first, moderately bitter (slightly resiney) finish. The balancing bitterness makes Alohog actually quite bitter (it is a Pale Ale afterall). Also, the pint I had seemed to drink above 5.2% ABV.

Alohog is quite good, if you like flavoured beers and especially if you like coconut you should definitely try it. Because it has such a distinct coconut flavour there are lots of opportunities to play on that by pairing foods with coconut flavours.