Monday, September 30, 2013

La Trappe Tripel - Koningshoeven (Netherlands)

La Trappe Tripel - Koningshoeven (Netherlands) 8.0%

A lovely dark gold in a glass, this trappist ale (the only Trappist brewery outside of Belgium) has very mild honey and apple blossom aroma. Cloudy also and worth swirling to get a taste of the sediment.

The taste is strongly floral and sweet with a bitter backing that is powered by the distinct punch of cloves. Strong tasting for beer but actually quite mild for a Trappist tripel. Perfect for introducing non-initiates to the Trappist style of ale.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Autumn Hop Harvest Ale - Amsterdam Brewery (Canada - Ontario - Toronto)

Autumn Hop Harvest Ale - Amsterdam Brewery (Canada - Ontario - Toronto) 5.6%

Herbal, citrus (orange and a hint of grapefruit), a bit floral, pine and sticky resin rounds out hops character of the aroma while there is also some earthiness and biscuit and honey tones from the malty body. Clear full gold in a glass.

To go along with its moderately hoppy flavour and sweet grain tones, this beer made with fresh hops (as in added without being dried first) has a pleasant peppery earthiness. The combination of spice and earth tones feels to me a bit like autumn incarnate (distillate?) which I think is perfect for a seasonal such as Autumn Hop Harvest Ale. The aftertaste is moderately bitter hops that tastes of pine as well as a little herbal, citrus and some resin too. This is a nice American Pale Ale in its own right but I feel it also is a good example of the appeal of fresh hop beers and the variety they can bring.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Oktobock (Wild Oats Series #24) - Beau's All Natural Brewing (Canada - Ontario - Vankleek Hill)

Oktobock (Wild Oats Series #24) - Beau's All Natural Brewing (Canada - Ontario - Vankleek Hill) 7.0%

A deep gold in a glass, crystal clear with a head of white foam. The aroma is sweet, lightly malty with a distinctly lager yeast touch as well as that dry, lightly spicy hoppiness of Czech or German hops.

Drily bitter and spicy hops continue in the taste but are rounded out beautifully by a robust malty body and also have a slight herbal touch. Touches of caramel, a roast glaze and grain are highlights of a malt character that suits the style perfectly to my taste. Ocktobock's has a bitter finish (again, entirely appropriate) and a malty, roasty aftertaste.

Oktobock is just about exactly what I expect when I drink a Bock: that ineffable lager taste, drily bitter and barely spicy European hops, malty sweetness (an emphasis on roasty, sugary or caramel tasting malt as the brewmaster chooses), a refreshing feel even though the mouthfeel is thicker than a lager and marginally syrupy.

In a way my expectations are a little coloured by the travel time it takes for German bocks to arrive in Canada which can cause the hops to become a bit attenuated. With a beer brewed just outside of Ottawa the blush isn't off the rose, so to speak: the beer is fresh and the hops flavours have more depth and variety. Also since Oktobock is a Maibock interpretation, it is expected to be somewhat more bitter than a Bock or a Helles Bock.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Laziza Regular (Lebanon)

Laziza Regular (Lebanon) 0.00%

Gold in a glass with a faint blue hint to it that makes the naturally amber liquid appear slightly purple. A sweet malt candy sort of aroma, quite similar to the smell of the condensed wort syrup commonly used in homebrewing. The malt candy flavour continues in the taste along with just a hint of skunk due to UV-B exposure and a green bottle that offers no protection. A little bitter.

I don't find Laziza Regular to have a good flavour really and it certainly isn't nearly as good as any of the dealcoholized beers I've had. On the other hand, as far as malt beverages go it's a lot better than some (Tiger Malt beverage is particularly bad).

Monday, September 16, 2013

Saison - Nogne O (Norway - Grimstad)

Saison - Nogne O (Norway - Grimstad) 6.5%

Gold and a bit cloudy in a glass; some sediment at the bottom of the bottle also. The aroma is lightly lemony, just a bit herbal and spicy.

The taste is sweet and lightly spicy with herbal hops and yeast, and just a bit of a floral flavour. A touch pleasantly thick, almost creamy, on the tongue but also well carbonated. Dry finish to this beer. Nogne's Saison is tasty and refreshing and like most Saisons it tastes a bit off the beaten path. The food pairings on the label are all good suggestions, sea food and light meat, to which I would add green salads and bread with hard cheese.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Altbier Collaboration Ale - Creemore Springs (Canada - Ontario - Creemore)

Altbier Collaboration Ale - Creemore Springs (Canada - Ontario - Creemore) 5.0%

A deep amber in a glass with a resilient though modest head of white foam. The aroma immediately after pouring was slightly sulphurous and had some creamed corn (DMS) but that cleared quickly. What followed was a caramelized aroma with some earthy grain, a bit of citrus that is slightly floral and has some red fruit esters kicking around.

The taste is malty with a little bit of sticky caramelization like a sugary glaze. Also some grain flavours along with some dry and floral hops tones and hints of red fruit flavours, like a red delicious apple. Overall this is a pretty good Altbier but seems a little light than I think an Altbier should be but, on the other hand, it is quite quaffable.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Captivator Doppelbock - Tree Brewing (Canada - British Columbia - Kelowna) 8.0%

Captivator Doppelbock - Tree Brewing (Canada - British Columbia - Kelowna) 8.0%

Dark brown that is deep and nearly opaque but acquires some darkly glowing amber tones when you hold it up to the light; a fairly thin off-white head of foam. There is some light sediment at the bottom of the bottle but nothing you need to avoid.

The aroma is delicious. What, you want me to be more specific? Ok, it's richly malty and sweet with touches of caramel and white cake but it is heavily laden with sweet dark fruit tones like baked raisins or prunes as well as molasses tones and vanilla.

The taste is quite sweet and very malty, dark fruit tones and molasses a more than bit of vanilla. A mix of dry hops, tastes of alcohol and some faint wood tones takes some of the edge off of the sweetness but this is a very sweet and very delicious beer. This is a sweeter and lighter doppelbock than some that have more roasty or coffee, chocolate and smoke flavours but it is still loaded with malt flavour and it is quite high in alcohol

It is a limited edition so I strongly recommend checking your local stores to see if they have any left and buy a few. Enjoy one now and set aside a few for aging or for a special occasion.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Kellerbier - Creemore Springs (Canada - Ontario - Creemore)

Kellerbier - Creemore Springs (Canada - Ontario - Creemore) 5.0%

A cloudy gold in a glass - a colour a lot like honey actually - with a frothy head of foam. The aroma has citrus and spice and is more than a little reminiscent of a wheat beer. Great spicy hops and toasted bread taste. Moderately bitter with a touch of honeyed sweetness and a hint of grain. A creamy mouthfeel but a tasty citrus (orange) touch also lightens Kellerbier on your tongue. A very enjoyable beer with a good story (see image on the right).

Thursday, September 5, 2013

The Canadian Dream - Mikkeller Brewery (Denmark - Copenhagen)

The Canadian Dream - Mikkeller Brewery (Denmark - Copenhagen) 4.6%

An orange amber colour in a glass with a big off-white head of foam. A sweet and citrusy aroma with some resin and ever-so-slightly musty wood tones.

Very hoppy taste, cedar and light resin. Some citrus and tropical fruit flavours: I pick up papaya (think of those dried orange cubes in trail mix), some grapefruit and maybe tangerine. While this beer has sweet tastes at times it is also quite bitter and leaves the tongue tingling a little as a result.

There is a bit of confusion as to the alcohol content of this beer, the label claims 4.6% but I have seen it registered at 5.5% in several places on the internet. I think it is more likely to be 5.5% because this would otherwise be the hoppiest and lowest alcohol beer I ever had by a longshot. Roughly speaking, a higher alcohol content requires more sugar for the yeast to eat. Also, for a beer to be this hoppy without being overwhelmingly bitter there has to be a fair amount of balancing sweetness, this is something that I just don't think could be accomplished in a conventional beer that is only 4.6%. Regardless of the ABV, this is a very nice American Pale Ale.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Tatra (Poland)

Tatra (Poland) 5.5%

Pale gold in a glass with a fast fading head. The aroma is honey with an ever so slightly burnt, nearly acrid touch and faint pilsner-like dry Czech hops. Honey continues in the flavour as does the bitterness - in fact it has quite a bitter aftertaste. Tatra is a sweet pilsner with honey and biscuit flavours at first then followed by a bitter, slightly acrid, finish. Despite being slightly acrid it is not terrible but it's not great; however, considering how cheap it is, it is better than I expected. There is just something about the bitter finish that is a bit off to my taste.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Houblon Chouffe Dobbelen IPA Tripel - Brasserie D'Achouffe (Belgium)

Chouffe Houblon Dobbelen IPA Tripel - Brasserie D'Achouffe (Belgium) 9.0%

Gold, slightly cloudy in a glass with a big head of white and very light foam. A yeasty, nectar and herbal aroma with hints of mint and flowers. There is a bitterness of hops lingering in the background. The sediment at the bottom of the bottle is very fine but it does add to yeasty characteristic of this fine Belgian ale.

Bitter taste but also sweet and yeasty. Pine hops flavour without any sticky resin flavour; more like a dry bitterness that has flashes of pineapple to my taste. The pineapple may be as a result of mixing with some of the nectar and floral flavours of the yeast. The flavour is just what I expect from a Tripel: herbal yeast notes with floral hints while being sweet with some honey tones except it also has strong hops flavours and is not heavy on the tongue. In fact, many Belgian Golden Ales, Dubbels and Tripels are often a little syrupy (though in a good way) but I think Chouffe Houblon high alcohol content thins this beer a little so it plays lighter and thinner on the tongue, even though it is quite deliciously sweet. The bitterness of the hops also cleans out any very sweet highs. This is a really nice Belgian IPA or Double IPA if that's what they are calling it.