Saturday, August 31, 2013

Bia IPA - Birrificio Del Ducato (Italy)

Bia IPA - Birrificio Del Ducato (Italy) 6.5%

Full gold in a glass with a slight haze. The head faded fairly quickly leaving minimal lacing. The aroma is sweet, honey and grain with hops that smell of tropical fruits: papaya, nectarine and maybe some peach.

The taste is quite sweet with touch of candi sugar and caramel while still having a bitter bite and finish. To my taste this beer is heavily loaded with drying hops that you would expect in a pilsner or European lager; there are, no doubt, other hop types used as well since the hops character of this beer features more than dryness and some hops spice but also subtle tropical fruit flavours. However, this heavy use of pilsner hops stands out to me because its use in an IPA in conjunction with other types is interesting and I can't quite think of another beer that does it to this extent. Combined with the sweetness of this IPA, the hops come across as more nectar than resin with faint fruity notes of peach and tangerine that remind me of a zinfandel wine. Bia IPA is an interestingly subtle IPA that still packs in the hops but is different from those North American IPAs that tote loads of cedar and resin flavours.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Pumpkin Ale 2013 - Black Creek Historic Brewery (Canada - Ontario - Toronto)

Pumpkin Ale 2013 - Black Creek Historic Brewery (Canada - Ontario - Toronto) 5.0%

A dark amber but appropriately orange also with a thin head. The aroma is very strongly pumpkin and spices: ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg and maybe a hint of cloves. An extremely appetizing aroma and, even though it has a hefty spiced character, distinctly pumpkin.

The taste is pumpkin and the same yummy spices from the aroma with a little dry hops. The finish is very roasty and sweet with lingering pumpkin and spices. So, basically, there are flavours of pumpkin and spices throughout but they are most strongly in the aroma. After I got over the step down in intensity from the initial aroma to the taste I found Black Creek's Pumpkin Ale to be most delightful and very refreshing on this unseasonably hot day at the end of August.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Sinha Stout - Lion Brewery Ceylon PLC (Sri Lanka)

Sinha Stout - Lion Brewery Ceylon PLC (Sri Lanka) 8.8%

Black and utterly opaque in a glass. A vigorous pour generated a inch of mocha foam that settled quickly but did not completely dissipate sticking around the edges and and left some nice lacing. The aroma is chocolate heavy with some coffee, and a touch of grape or perhaps more like raisins and prunes. There is something also a little milky, like you'd find in a milk stout in the aroma. No signs of the 8.8% alcohol in the aroma until it warms up just a little. There is an issue with the aroma though, it is a little bit musty which may be as a result of a little oxygen tagging along in the bottle during the travel time from Sri Lanka to Ontario.

Milk chocolate flavours but a bit of a thin mouthfeel with some taste of alcohol in the finish. Ah, but let it warm up a little bit and the mouthfeel is there as well as the chocolate flavour, dark fruit, some leather tones. Also the finish is more smoke and dark chocolate with some alcohol, but not much, and just a little of that musty flavour. The aftertaste is dark fruit first and then some chocolate.

Overall, Sinha Stout is actually pretty good considering it was only $2.15 and it is 8.8% ABV. It is not the best stout but the only real knock on it is that is was musty and thin at times.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

New Grist - Lakefront Brewery (USA - Wisconsin - Milwaukee)

New Grist - Lakefront Brewery (USA - Wisconsin - Milwaukee) 5.3%

Very pale gold in a glass, almost like a cider with a nearly nonexistent head. All of which is typical of gluten free beers. The aroma is very lightly citrusy (tangerine perhaps) and fairly tart.

The taste is a just little tart at first, especially in the finish, but is otherwise very beer like. New Grist is a little overcarbonated to my tastes but has a convincing malt flavour with light grain flavours and even some light dry european hops. This is a very convincing Pilsner style gluten-free beer and while it is a little light on flavour that makes it a whole lot better than some of the gluten-free options out there. If Lakefront added just a little bit more dry hops flavour I think it would be about as close to a Pilsner as a gluten-free beer could be.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Baldwin Fish-Eye - Kensington Brewing Company (Canada - Ontario - Toronto/Guelph)

Baldwin Fish-Eye - Kensington Brewing Company (Canada - Ontario - Toronto/Guelph) 6.5%

An amber orange in a glass with a frothy white head with impressive staying power. Seriously this head last and lasts, it may contribute to the flavour being more bitter since the foam often contains the more volatile hop oils. An aroma like a pine and cedar forest but with some citrus (orange) and a perfumy floral touch too. I could contentedly just sit and smell this beer for quite a while.

Hoppy cedar and resin taste along with nice toasted bread and grain flavours. Pleasant orange flavours and malt sweetness balance some of the hops.  Quite a grain heavy finish. Late onset of a robustly bitter aftertaste. A nice IPA, more orange flavour with a more bitter aftertaste than the average IPA (if the term 'average IPA' means anything). If you like really bitter beers and the citrus character of hops this one is a riot and would go well with just about any strong flavoured food.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Opa's Gose (Wild Oats Series #05) - Beau's All Natural Brewing (Canada - Ontario - Vankleek Hill)

Opa's Gose (Wild Oats Series #05) - Beau's All Natural Brewing (Canada - Ontario - Vankleek Hill) 5.0%

A cloudy gold in a glass with a thin head and a sour, citrusy (lemon) aroma that features tones of grain and some dry Pilsner like hops.

Quite sour with plenty of yummy yeast flavours: nectar, floral and herbal with banana as well. I grew accustomed to the sour flavour very quickly and by the third sip or so didn't really notice it much more than I would with other yeast heavy beers that sometimes comes across as a touch sour. Other Gose beers (sour ales) have been much, much more sour so this one is tame in comparison. There is sediment at the bottom of the bottle but it only adds further strength to the yeast flavours - no additional acidity. The included sea salt is fun: in small doses I found it did add to the flavour somewhat and caused some amusing but under control foaming action. But for goodness sake don't put in the whole four gram package, the baggie pictured below was photographed after I had added the desired amount of salt.

Opa's Gose would pair well with plenty kinds of foods. I found that it paired well with some greasier fare as the tart touch cut through the grease nicely and was quite refreshing.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Boneshaker Unfiltered IPA - Amsterdam Brewery (Canada - Ontario - Toronto)

Boneshaker Unfiltered IPA - Amsterdam Brewery (Canada - Ontario - Toronto) 7.1%

A deep, slightly orange and nearly glowing amber in a glass with an off-white head that fades fairly quickly but leaves pleasant lacing. Grapefruit, mango and passionfruit dominated hops aroma at first, but then it mellows into an aroma featuring more melon and resin tones. A swirl of the glass with bring back a finger of foam as well as the hoppy tropical highlights of mango and passionfruit for a moment. The taste is of resin and cedar mellowed with some melon and mango tones; strong hops bitterness and a sweet malty body that is caramelized and a little sticky like a Red Ale. The finish reveals some very nice caramel tones and the aftertaste is very much bitter for the most part but eventually fades into a nice grain flavour with lingering notes of pine. No alcohol taste that I detected but there is enough in this fine ale to set your tongue tingling at times.

Boneshaker is a very nice India Pale Ale and, seeing as how it tips the scales at 7.1%, it could even be considered to be a very nice Imperial IPA. Lots more tropical fruit flavours than other IPAs but that's part of the reason why IPAs are fun: sure they are almost all very hoppy but they can be hoppy in dramatically different ways. One final note about the hops-borne tropical fruit flavours, they come out even more so as the beer warms a little which decreases the extent of the bitterness.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Le Sang D'Encre - Le Trou Du Diable (Canada - Quebec - Shawinigan)

Le Sang D'Encre - Le Trou Du Diable (Canada - Quebec - Shawinigan) 5.5%

As is to be expected from a beer with a name such as this one (translated to The Blood of Ink), Le Sang D'Encre is pitch black, completely opaque and also features a solid head of off-white to light brown (or mocha if you prefer) foam that leaves nice lacing.

The aroma is darkly malty, light wood tones, coffee, some hints of molasses and smoke. The mouthfeel is smooth and creamy though the beer is well carbonated. Coffee first and foremost, malt and some dry hops; chocolate, smoky wood tones and the lightest hints of caramel. The aftertaste is rather bitter and smoky but very pleasant.

Friday, August 23, 2013

La Pitoune - Le Trou Du Diable (Canada - Quebec - Shawinigan)

La Pitoune - Le Trou Du Diable (Canada - Quebec - Shawinigan) 5.0%

Gold in a glass with a big white head of foam and that gradually collapsed into a large iceberg of very resilient foam in the middle of the glass. There is some very fine sediment and it makes the beer a little bit cloudy. A dry european hops aroma that is herbal and has a bit of yeast too.

The taste is drily bitter with a floral, herbal and lightly spicy touch. The herbal flavours sometimes comes across as the slightest bit of banana while the malty body has tones of grain and loads (or loaves?) of toasted bread flavours. It is refreshing and quite nice even though this style doesn't give the brewers at Le Trou Du Diable a chance to show off some of their exceptional flavours like their other beers do. La Pitoune is a nice Pilsner on the bitter side of the average Pilsner and also with more of a herbal taste.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Tall Ship Amber Ale - Garrison Brewing (Canada - Nova Scotia - Halifax)

Tall Ship Amber Ale - Garrison Brewing (Canada - Nova Scotia - Halifax) 4.6%

A reddish amber coloured drink, this ale tastes sweetly of toasted caramel malt. Its aftertaste is slightly bitter and builds as you drink but the initial flavour is of sweetness and malt. Like many ambers this would be a good place to start for someone looking to expand their palate from boring old international lagers for the first time.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Gosser (Austria) 5.2%

Gosser (Austria) 5.2%

A creamy malty aroma that is a bit musty and has occasional hints of misplaced banana. Gold in a glass with a resilient head. The taste is fairly bitter, a little sour and just a little bit... cheesy. Gosser's taste reminds me more of a gluten free beer than a conventional beer. Hey, with food you may not even notice the weird taste and mouthfeel which is slightly drying. This beer does not taste good.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Sir John A's Honey Wheat Ale - Gahan House/PEI Brewing Company (Canada - PEI - Charlottetown)

Sir John A's Honey Wheat Ale - Gahan House/PEI Brewing Company (Canada - PEI - Charlottetown) 4.5%

Sweet with hints of a darker honey. A touch of yeast with a strong grain and malt flavour, tastes like the way it smells to be in the heart of a craft brewery: a very nice raw, mash tun flavour. Certainly fitting with the "all natural" proudly emblazoned on its side.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

G. Menabrea E Figli - 150 year anniversary (Italy)

G. Menabrea E Figli - 150 year anniversary (Italy) 5.0%

Musty, malty, sweet, a touch bitter and a little acidity, very light hop tones as well. Amber, almost brown, more flavourful than other Italian beers I have tried and it has a beautiful bottle cap.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Dominus Vobiscum Blanche - Microbrasserie Charlevoix (Canada - Quebec - Baie-Saint-Paul)

Dominus Vobiscum Blanche - Microbrasserie Charlevoix (Canada - Quebec - Baie-Saint-Paul) 5.0%

A moderately cloudy, pale, blonde gold in a glass topped with a huge frothy white head that fades very slowly and leaves very impressive lacing. A delightful aroma that seems both creamy and tart all at the same time; some lemon, nutmeg and a softly herbal grain component.

The taste is lightly (and deliciously) spicy with chamomile and nutmeg that accents perfectly the creamy wheat mouthfeel and wheat flavours. The lemon aroma is mirrored in the flavour but much more lightly - never coming across as tart. There is a moderately bitter finish at times that eases into the aftertaste but fades rather quickly leaving mostly that flavour between chamomile and nutmeg with some very light roasted grain flavours. Dominus Vobiscum Blanche is very refreshing and absolutely delicious.

Before pouring I placed the bottle on its side and gently rolled it gently a half rotation forward and a half roation back. I did this because it had been resting in my cellar and then my fridge for a few weeks and I wanted to activate some sediment for full flavour. I recommend doing so because otherwise you might miss out on the impressive head of foam and some of the depth of flavour; and with a witbier this delicious you want all the flavour and it deserves proper presentation.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Wayward Son - Radical Road Brewing (Canada - Ontario - Toronto)

Wayward Son - Radical Road Brewing (Canada - Ontario - Toronto) 7.5%

Sweet, slightly nectary or floral nose. Tones of the very sweet Belgian candi sugar with just some very slight bitter hop touches. Some red wine and barrel notes as a gentle preview of that flavour to come. Gold and a little cloudy in a glass with a white head. The taste is sweet and a little roasty with distinct red wine and barrel notes. Wayward Son has a bit of a thicker mouthfeel that I think suits this style very nicely. A sugary, sticky, lightly roasted and a bit floral aftertaste.

Radical Road's Wayward Son is a very nice Belgian Blonde or Belgian Gold Ale and the use of pinot barrels adds some really interesting notes that make Wayward Son really stand out. Also the artwork on the box (Michael slaying the Dragon I assume) by Glenn Davis Group is absolutely exquisite and makes the box an item I will proudly display in my home.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Iron Throne Blonde Ale - Brewery Ommegang (USA - New York - Cooperstown) 6.5%

 Iron Throne Blonde Ale - Brewery Ommegang (USA - New York - Cooperstown) 6.5%

Full gold and slightly cloudy in a glass with a big frothy white head. The aroma is yeasty with banana, cloves and is also just a little minty - the latter two traits are from the seeds of paradise the label mentions.

The taste is spicy, lightly bitter (more so it is cold) with a bit of a creamy mouthfeel, from the wheat, and yet it seems a tad thin at times. Some coriander flavours, that also turn out to be accreditable to the seeds of paradise. The slightest bit of lemon. Iron Throne Blonde Ale is a Belgian Blonde Ale that is just a little bit more hoppy than usual and whose mouthfeel come across as a bit attenuated at times but is, overall, pretty nice.

This beer is the first in Ommegang's Game of Thrones series. The next one to be released is a stout by the name of Take the Black.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Hops and Bolts India Pale Lager - Mad and Noisy Brewing - Creemore Springs (Canada - Ontario - Creemore)

Hops and Bolts India Pale Lager - Mad and Noisy Brewing / Creemore Springs (Canada - Ontario - Creemore) 5.3%

Slightly cloudy, full gold with a distinct orange hue and a big, frothy off-white and touched with orange or gold head of foam that leaves some pretty nice lacing as it fades.

Hoppy cedar or pine aroma with a little resin, some malty tones and something that is distinctly lager-like in there too. Caramelized malt coupled with resin and cedar in the flavour. Fairly bitter, particularly in the finish. A roasty and a little sticky aftertaste with a grain flavour that sometimes borders on nutty.

Hops and Bolts is a neat example of an India Pale Lager, essentially a very hoppy lager, and I quite like it. It is certainly worth a try, especially if you are in Ontario, because it is tasty and it might be fun to compare Hops and Bolts with a similarly hoppy India Pale Ale to consider the differences between a lager and an ale.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

River Walker Summer Ale - Lake of Bays Brewing (Canada - Ontario - Baysville)

River Walker Summer Ale - Lake of Bays Brewing (Canada - Ontario - Baysville) 6.0%

Full gold in a glass with a big, white, fluffy head. A nice ginger aroma that is sweet with hints of citrus (lemon) as well as some added melon tones, perhaps from the hops, that comes across as cantaloupe with just a hint of cucumber. But the ginger spice really is first and foremost and quite delightful.

The ginger continues in the taste but River Walker also has quite a bitter bite. There is also melon (still cantaloupe) and a grain sweetness. The ginger isn't overpowering at all but it is the main player. The citrus is fairly faint in the taste and the mouthfeel is a little creamy from the wheat but with a crisp, quite a dry finish. In the aftertaste, ginger and melon are there along side a distinctly toasted wheat taste, that builds to be quite toasty actually. The aftertaste is almost a little sticky with some resiny hops flavours presenting themselves.

The ginger and melon mixture actually reminds me of a few [pumpkin] beers I have had but is quite nice and, although it is marketed as a Summer Ale I think River Walker is better suited to late August and early September where there is just a touch of autumn in the air and you want to enjoy a summer day's warmth or savour the excitement of a late-summer night's chill.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Euro Life Lager - Big Rock (Canada - Alberta - Calgary)

Euro Life Lager - Big Rock (Canada - Alberta - Calgary) 5.0%

Crisp dry hops aroma, pale gold and crystal clear in a glass. A touch of the grain I associate with Big Rock. Dry hops taste just like a Euro Lager, not musty probably because it's fresher than any actual European Lager you could get in North America. They aimed to make a Czech style pilsner and they did a great job - they nailed this style.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Scottish Pale Ale - Innis and Gunn (Scotland)

Scottish Pale Ale - Innis and Gunn (Scotland) 7.0%

Sweet, caramel-heavy aroma filled with barrel tones but not dark, smoky barrel tones. Instead it is a light oakiness of a white wine. Full gold in a glass and crystal clear with a fairly thin head.

A taste that is sweet and yet more balanced overall than many Innis and Gunn oak aged beers. The oak comes in rather light, is in balance with the sweetness and there is even some subtly peppery hops bitterness. A lightly sugary finish of caramel and a lingering oak aftertaste.

Innis and Gunn's Scottish Pale Ale is deceptively high in alcohol. I say deceptively because it is easy drinking and you certainly do not taste any alcohol despite it being 7.0% ABV. Innis and Gunn's oak aged beers, though still very good, are often very sweet and very oaky but, because of the amount of hops used, their Scottish Pale Ale is neither really. As a result, if you found some previous Innis and Gunn's beers too flavourful, this one may be more your speed; however, for those of you hoping for a hops forward beer from Innis and Gunn, this one is not it but it is still very good.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Martens Pilsener (Belgium)

Martens Pilsener (Belgium) 5.0%

Gold in a glass with a surprisingly large frothy head of foam. Malty taste but sweetly thick with a touch of dry hops. Just an ordinary Euro lager - not much to it but a touch thick on palate and quite sweet.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Hoptical Illusion - Flying Monkeys (Canada - Ontario - Barrie)

Hoptical Illusion - Flying Monkeys (Canada - Ontario - Barrie) 5.0%

Reddish brown gold in a glass. Nice frothy head. Hoppy cedar aroma with some sweet slightly dark and caramelized malt. Interesting deception here in the taste: not as hoppy as it smells. Cedar and resin or sap in the hops, fairly sweet and not very bitter - pretty nice and a mild man's American Pale Ale. Pretty neat concept, an illusion of strong hops in the aroma but actually having a much more mild hops flavour, and it was well executed with a clever name, a cool bottle cap and a cool label.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Sticke Alt - Les Trois Mousquetaires (Canada - Quebec - Brossard)

Sticke Alt - Les Trois Mousquetaires (Canada - Quebec - Brossard) 6.0%

A reddish brown and slightly cloudy colour in a glass with an off-white head of resilient foam. The aroma is sweet and sticky with dark fruit and caramelized sugar tones that border on light molasses. Toasted bread and nuts with some faint wood tones as well in the aroma.

Roasty sweet taste with a strong, nutty, grain flavour. Quite a bitter finish and just a bit spicy from the hops. Raisin, molasses (not blackstrap, much lighter instead), prunes, touches of apple. Put all that together and I would say Les Trois Mousquetaires's Sticke Alt tastes like baked red apples, prunes and raisins with honey, and half-caramel molasses over toasted nutty bread with a bitter finish and a umami aftertaste. A beer such as this is best paired with food and, as the label suggests, grilled food and semi-soft cheeses are well suited.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Maibock - Les Trois Mousquetaires (Canada - Quebec - Brossard)

Maibock - Les Trois Mousquetaires (Canada - Quebec - Brossard) 6.8%

Gold and clear in a glass with a fairly quick fading white head. There is some fine sediment at the bottom of the bottle and as long as the beer has been resting for a while most of it will stay there. Although, as you pour out the last drops, the beer in your glass will get cloudy but the flavour does not change noticeably.

A distinctly lager-like aroma plus some dry, European hops tones, grain, a hint of apple-like fruit esters and just a little impression of creamed corn (DMS) and something like the yeast smell of leavening bread.

A surprisingly bitter (though not very bitter) taste. It's only surprising because I didn't pick that up at all in the aroma. Floral and herbal tastes, a little peppery on the tongue, as well as grain and the taste is also a little bit yeasty. There is some sign of the high alcohol content as drinking Maibock certainly warms your chest.

This Maibock by Les Trois Mousquetaires is an excellent example of the style (except for the lack of the mostly superficial resilient head of foam). Maibock, for the record, is brewed in the spring and is essentially a Helles Bock that is brewed to a higher alcohol level.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Kellerbier - Les Trois Mousquetaires (Canada - Quebec - Brossard)

Kellerbier - Les Trois Mousquetaires (Canada - Quebec - Brossard) 5.5%

Full gold in a glass with a head of white foam that leaves behind nice lacing. A banana, herbal and slightly sweet grain aroma. There is some very fine sediment in the bottom of the bottle of this unfiltered beer but only the very slightest amount ended up in the glass.

Quite bitter with a distinct herbal taste with just a touch of citrus (lemon). Toasted bread and grain tones make up the malty body. A very bitter finish and lingering bitter aftertaste with an appetizing grain flavour and hints of the aforementioned herbal flavour. The bitterness fades as your taste buds adjust but also as the beer warms a bit.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Gose - Les Trois Mousquetaires (Canada - Quebec - Brossard)

Gose - Les Trois Mousquetaires (Canada - Quebec - Brossard) 3.8%

Lime, coriander and light floral hops aroma; sour and very intriguing. Orange and somewhat cloudy in a glass with fine sediment swirling about. Some fine sediment also remains in the bottom of the bottle.

Very tart taste. Coriander works it's way into the flavour once you get used to just how sour this sour beer is. There is even some sweetness too as well as creamy wheat flavours and mouthfeel. The combination of coriander and the sour flavour reminds me more of sour limenade than the sour lemonade mentioned on the highly attractive label but, at any rate, Gose has a flavour much like that of a sour and tasty citrus beverage.

The interesting flavour of sour beers makes them suitable for food pairings with light foods like salads or sushi, but also Gose would go great with guacamole or similar flavourful food that has a trace of lime.

Like every other product by Les Trois Mousquetaires, Gose is well-made, very tasty and presented in a beautiful bottle with a sharp looking label that is full of useful information. This is a perfect summer beer and a much more interesting, traditional and flavourful alternative to lagers flavoured with lime.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Mad Tom IPA - Muskoka Brewery (Canada - Ontario - Bracebridge) 6.4%

Mad Tom IPA - Muskoka Brewery (Canada - Ontario - Bracebridge) 6.4%

Cedar, resin, kumquat, passionfruit, grapefruit and a little orange rounds out the delectable aroma. A brass colour in a glass with a big, resilient, frothy white head of foam.

Unlike some IPAs with fruity and floral hops aroma the passionfruit and citrus continues in the taste along with the sticky cedar. In fact these delightful flavours are first and foremost. Mad Tom IPA is fairly sweet, especially in the finish, but still has plenty of the bitterness expected from an IPA. Its tasty aftertaste is sticky resin along with a certain pleasant grain touch. Overall, Mad Tom is a really nicely flavourful IPA.