Sunday, August 31, 2014

Wilco Tango Foxtrot - Lagunitas (USA - California - Petaluma)

Wilco Tango Foxtrot - Lagunitas (USA - California - Petaluma) 7.8%

An amazing aroma and taste to match: very hoppy (melon & cucumber), hints of peaches but also malty and roasted.  Dark and almost chocolatey tasting at times. It's not bitter at first (or maybe there is just too much going on to really notice it) but it does have a bitter finish. As far as colour, just like one of the many humourous lines to read from the label: "We're not quite in the Red, or in the Black...". It tastes like they mixed a heavily hopped beer with maybe a stout. It's really really good. Too bad it was only a limited release.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Impact Altbier - Stack Brewing (Canada - Ontario - Sudbury)

Impact Altbier - Stack Brewing (Canada - Ontario - Sudbury) 5.2%

A deep amber in a glass. Quite a sweet aroma with some crusty bread and toasty malt tones and a hint of fruitiness and light molasses.

The flavour is certainly more sweet than bitter but it is not overly sweet and not even as sweet as it smelled. The crusty bread and toastiness are there, the hint of fruitiness is still subtle and there is a bit of hop bitterness, just a bit herbal, not strong but balancing some of the malt. In fact the hops character blends nicely with the toasty, caramelized though not-quite-roasty malt body and the touch of fruitiness. This is a very pleasant altbier.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Smoke 'n Oak - Stack Brewing (Canada - Ontario - Sudbury)

Smoke 'n Oak - Stack Brewing (Canada - Ontario - Sudbury) 5.5%

A crystal clear burnt amber colour in a glass with an off-white head of soda like foam. A smoky, maple aroma that made me say "Mmm!" outloud to myself. Oak tones as well and the smoke aroma is quite strong, just on the tasty side of acrid; which is exactly what I would expect from a smoked ale that even has smoke in the name.

A sweet flavour, oak and smoke;  that list is roughly in the order of flavour strength. The smoke and oak in Smoke 'n Oak really comes across as a flavour you could imagine being from fresh cut oak boards that were toasted just long enough for some of those wood sugars to caramelize without very much charring. Also, that could be exactly what it's from. Smoke 'n Oak is a tasty smoked beer that is a bit on the sweet side and makes good use of oak.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Saturday Night - Stack Brewing (Canada - Ontario - Sudbury)

Saturday Night - Stack Brewing (Canada - Ontario - Sudbury) 5.3%

A yummy cream ale. There a few mild fruit esters and a bit of a bitter bite at first which fits with a British style Cream Ale, and then a creamy mouthfeel supplemented with a strong nutty malt flavour, a bit like sunflower seeds, that I find extremely appetizing. This beer is fairly light, refreshing but with a satisfying malty body. A good ale on a summer day: pairs easily with all kinds of foods, thirst quenching, tasty and lends itself to big gulps.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Maredsous 10° Tripel (Belgium)

Maredsous 10° Tripel (Belgium) 10.0%

A slightly reddish full gold colour, just barely cloudy with a large, creamy head of white foam. A sweet toasted malt and herbal aroma with hints of apple, pear, touches of alcohol and honey.

Honey and nectar-like sweetness, apple blossoms, toasty malt and a slightly herbal flavour; a bit of seeds of paradise and maybe even light licorice at times. The high alcohol is exposed at times and Maredsous 10° Tripel will certainly warm your chest but most of the time it doesn't taste like it is 10% ethanol.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Belgian Cherry IPA - Mill Street Brewing (Canada - Ontario - Toronto)

Belgian Cherry IPA - Mill Street Brewing (Canada - Ontario - Toronto) 7.0%

A Belgian candi sugar-esque sugary aroma that is beyond caramelized onto the sticky not quite roasty sweetness of a glaze. Slightly tart smelling cherry tones as well and some subtle Belgian yeast tones that are floral with a bit of earthiness.

The flavour is much the same but with more tartness from the cherry: the Belgian candi sugar and floral yeast characteristics provide a nice counterpoint to the cherry. No surprises tasting it after considering the aroma but it is a bit surprising to not detect any appreciable hop flavours in either based on the name. I guess Mill Street is aiming for a Belgian style, cherry version of an English style IPA; now that's a mouthful of a name. English IPAs have more muted hops flavours than the hoppier and better known North American IPAs.

The flavour is quite nice but I do have a bit of an issue with the name: when there is so much else going on in the name (and the flavour) why not a simpler name like Belgian Style Cherry Ale? Mill Street is more or less creating a style here so I would prefer a name that doesn't confuse the lineage even further by calling it an IPA. The cynic in me wants to ascribe the use of the IPA tag to the marketing department as a way to draw in hopheads.

All that said, if you like cherries this beer makes good use of them. Additionally calling it a Belgian style beer is certainly legitimate in my opinion as the sugary flavours and the yeast tones fit the style nicely.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Deviator Doppelbock - Cameron's Brewing (Canada - Ontario - Oakville) 8.6%

Deviator Doppelbock - Cameron's Brewing (Canada - Ontario - Oakville) 8.6%

Earthy, molasses, dark fruit (prunes) and sticky sweet aroma with the bourbon barrel notes coming through clearly and deliciously. Very dark but actually clearly translucent if you hold it up to a bright light which reveals a deep red hued brown colour. Some sediment towards the bottom of the bottle but very light and without a noticeable effect on the flavour.

Make sure you allow this and all Doppelbocks to warm up from refrigerator temperature before you drink them. Of course you don't have to wait for it to warm all the way up before you open it, in fact pouring it and warming it with your hands and sampling it over time allows you to pick out the temperature you prefer.

Smoky, malt flavours with chewy dark fruit undertones. Bourbon barrel flavours like oak, smoke and a little bit of spice are again quite prominent, which delights this bourbon fan. This beer is bitter with the smoky malt flavours and some subtle hop bitterness but has a molasses-like sweetness too. Something about the mix of flavours reminds me of chocolate and cherry confectionary such as a black forest chocolate cake or those chocolate orbs stuffed with a cherry and syrup that everybody's mom seems to like. This is a nice Doppelbock and the barrel aging complements the flavour excellently.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Kissmeyer Nordic Pale Ale - Beau's All-Natural Brewing (Canada - Ontario - Vankleek Hill)

Kissmeyer Nordic Pale Ale - Beau's All-Natural Brewing (Canada - Ontario - Vankleek Hill) 5.6%

Full gold in a glass, cloudy too. It totes a resilient heady of creamy white foam. A berrylike (gooseberry?) touch to the hoppy floral, herbal, pine and citrus (tangerine) aroma.

The taste is floral, spicy, herbal, resiny, sweet but perfectly bitter with a delightful berry flavour throughout that is a little tropical and never seems out of place or inappropriate. A very tasty beer. Overall the impressive ingredient list (rose hips!) and the delightful flavour combine for a spectacular beer.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Rhyme & Reason - Collective Arts Brewing (Canada - Ontario - Burlington)

Rhyme & Reason - Collective Arts Brewing (Canada - Ontario - Burlington) 5.7%

Brilliant gold in a glass with a big fluffy white head of foam. Very citrusy hops aroma of grapefruit as well as peach and mango tones with cedar and resin as well.

Fairly bitter hoppy flavour: pine, cedar and other woods tones as well as citrus flavours reminiscent of grapefruit peel and oranges. Quite bitter, still very drinkable as long as you like bitter beers. There is a toasty, biscuit malty body that, in combination with citrus hops character, reminds of range marmalade on scones.

Collective Arts Brewing does something interesting with their labels, there are different ones on nearly every bottle. There seem to be upward of 60 different labels in at least 2 serieses. It makes the completionist in me want to buy far too many bottles of beer but at least the contents are also enjoyable.