Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Channel Ocho - Beau's All Natural Brewery (Canada - Ontario - Vankleek Hill)

Channel Ocho - Beau's All Natural Brewery (Canada - Ontario - Vankleek Hill) 8.9%

It pours an opaque dark dark brown, bordering on black, with tan head of foam that faded fairly quickly. Lots of dark, dried fruit, like figs and prunes in the aroma; leather, dark chocolate, some plum, something a bit floral and a spicy note that makes my nose tingle.

This beer is spicy! And very chocolatey but the dark fruit flavours continue as well. I can't quite place the name of the spice (habanero?) but it is quite familiar and its flavour comes through as well as its heat. You cannot taste the alcohol but it may be contributing to the warming feeling I attributed to the spice. There is a bit of a gingery flavour too.

This is a nice spicy ale, I've had a couple (and tried to make one) but this is the best execution.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Honey IPA - Trafalgar Ales and Meads (Canada - Ontario - Oakville)

Honey IPA - Trafalgar Ales and Meads (Canada - Ontario - Oakville) 5.5%

A dark, amber colour, smoke and fire kissed - kind of like the colour of sap. Resiny, coppery aroma, with a distinct sweet honey tone and touches of lavender and clover - maybe a bit of toffee too.

A fairly mellow hops flavour actually; resiny with much of the bitterness in the aftertaste. Sweet honey adds to the malty body of crusty bread and some nearly roasty malt flavours. A bit of a toffee flavour too that is well balanced by the bitterness. Also a subtle nutty flavour like the kind you'd taste from multigrain bread.

Overall I think this beer is pretty good, it's not an really IPA, by flavour or by alcohol content, however it's a fine American Pale Ale and I like the honey twist.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Russian Gun Imperial Stout - Grand River Brewing (Canada - Ontario - Cambridge)

Russian Gun Imperial Stout - Grand River Brewing (Canada - Ontario - Cambridge) 8.5%

Dark brown in a glass with a veritable explosion of mocha coloured foam that leaves behind highly impressive lacing and a iceberg like cap of foam on the beer. A bit of alcohol, earthy yeast, dark chocolate, subtle red and dark fruit tones, brown sugar, some wood tones and maybe a touch of leather in the very pleasant aroma.

The taste has, in my mind, the perfect amount of alcoholic bite for a Russian Imperial Stout. The flavour is comprised of hearty umami, brown bread, dried fruit a touch of espresso, smoky wood tones, earthy, chocolate, a bit of a hops edge too - like pine needles which also fits my concept of the style.

I really like this Russian Imperial Stout, I'm very fond of the taste. It also seems to drink a bit higher in alcohol than 8.5%, good times.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Burnt Rock - Beau's All-Natural Brewing (Canada - Ontario - Vankleek Hill)

Burnt Rock - Beau's All-Natural Brewing (Canada - Ontario - Vankleek Hill) 4.9%

Opaque, dark brown with a gigantic mocha head of foam. Earthy chocolate and dark fruit aroma, vanilla and light wood smoke.

Strong vanilla flavour, a bit of coffee to go with the milk chocolate flavour; there is an earthy tone underlying everything as well. The vanilla makes up a much greater share of the flavour than it does of the aroma. A very nice beer, I find the vanilla flavour a bit strong in the afternoon or if you are drinking for a buzz but it would be perfect as a dessert beer.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Dogstalker April Bock - Grand River Brewing (Canada - Ontario - Cambridge)

Dogstalker April Bock - Grand River Brewing (Canada - Ontario - Cambridge) 6.0%

Pours a orange, reddish amber in a glass without much of a head; some sediment at the bottom of the bottle. The aroma has caramel sweetness, actually more like toffee, brown or even molasses bread and some, nay lots, of apple-ey red fruit as well as some dark fruit (prune) notes.

The aroma is a bit like malt syrup used in homebrew but isn't nearly that sweet. The occasional roasty smell drifts in and out but it never shows up in the flavour, instead it is well on the sweet, caramelized, red ale side of the Maillard process. Lots of brown bread and toffee. There is some underlying tartness and syrupy sweetness reminds me of sherry and unfortunately it is the cooking kind that springs to mind not the drinking kind. When combined with overly forward red fruit flavours it kind of ruins this beer for me. 

The difficulty for me with invented (or at the least styles I haven't heard of and don't show up in my beer encyclopedia) styles like an April Bock is that I'm not sure what the brewer was going for. It could be that they nailed this and it is just not to my taste because I have liked other Grand River Brewing products but I am not really a fan of this one. If I am on the right track with what the concept, an April Bock would be pretty good if the fruit flavours had been a bit more subdued and if the sweetness was less syrupy and more malty. 

Friday, April 11, 2014

Portage Ale - Mill St (Canada - Ontario - Toronto|Ottawa)

Portage Ale - Mill St (Canada - Ontario - Toronto|Ottawa) 5.0%

A mild creamed corn aroma with a hint of hops, something oddly lager-like (turns out it is aged with lager yeast - pretty cool) and a touch of almost tart bitterness.

A toasted bread taste with some bitterness, this carries on in the aftertaste as well, it's nice and quite an appetizing flavour. At times I pick up faint nearly smoky roasty flavours. Overall this is a refreshing beer and a highly quaffable ale perfect for the canoe trips the name implies and afternoons on patios (you know, when the weather finally warms up).

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Irish Potato Stout - Black Creek Historic Brewery (Canada - Ontario - Toronto)

Irish Potato Stout - Black Creek Historic Brewery (Canada - Ontario - Toronto) 5.0%

Opaque in a glass with a thin tan coloured head. This beer pours quite flat but is carbonated well enough on the tongue. Earthy, roasty, smoky aroma with a sweet dark fruit aspect as well. Dark chocolate tones and coffee are mixed in there with a very, very faint black licorice impression.

Smooth mouthfeel, smoky yet sweet dark chocolate flavour - earthy as well with some dark fruit flavours. Stick to your ribs thick actually. I had never heard of a stout (or any beer for that matter) made with actual potatoes but you can certainly tell there is an extra ingredient here. It is not in the flavour but just based on how hearty this Black Creek ale is: I'm pretty sure I could live off a strict Irish Potato Stout diet.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Liefmans Cuvee Brut (Belgium)

Liefmans Cuvee Brut (Belgium) 6.0%
A strong, sweet, tart cherry aroma. A cloudy red colour in a glass that is so dark it is almost brown. A sugary, darkly malty taste and a little bit of chocolate as well as the anticipated tart cherry flavour: which when you put it together is a bit like a Black Forest Cake. This is a very interesting fruit beer, there is something about the cherry flavour that is very different from other cherry beers. It perhaps tastes the way it does because the cherry sugars have had a chance to ferment with the beer rather than being added to a finished beer. It is an intriguing variation and certainly worth trying as long as you don't hate fruit flavoured beers.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

8th Sin - Hop City (Canada - Ontario - Brampton)

8th Sin - Hop City (Canada - Ontario - Brampton) 5.0%

Very dark, nearly opaque, with an off-white head which is lighter than I expected for a beer with such a dark body. Milk chocolate aroma, with a subtle earthiness, a bit of coffee, a tiny bit of grain. Chocolatey flavour with a bit of dark, dried fruit tones and a grounding earthiness as well as the taste of the crust of dark bread. The mouthfeel is a bit surprisingly (and pleasantly) light while still being creamy. The aftertaste is more strongly earthy with light prune and raisin flavours to match the chocolate.

This is a really tasty beer, I can honestly say I have never had a Black Lager that had this depth and breadth of dark malt flavours. The is something to it that I am finding hard to put into words that seems more like a lager than an ale but I think I would be bluffing if I asserted that, in a blind taste test, I'd be able to tell the difference between this and an equally tasty dark ale with a similar light mouthfeel.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Sham Bock - Railway City Brewing (Canada - Ontario - St. Thomas)

Sham Bock - Railway City Brewing (Canada - Ontario - St. Thomas) 6.8%

Just about opaque in a glass with a thick mocha head of resilient foam. Chocolate aroma with maple and a bit of hops as well as maybe just the slightest bit of booze.

Maple and chocolate flavour. Sweet but with an earthy tone as well as roasty malt flavours and a bitterness in the finish that keeps Sham Bock grounded. Railway City's use of maple merges better with the dark roasty malt flavours than I would have expected for quite a tasty beer.