Sunday, August 23, 2015

La Bonne Aventure - Pit Caribou Microbrasserie (Canada - Quebec - Perce)

La Bonne Aventure - Pit Caribou Microbrasserie (Canada - Quebec - Perce) 5.0%

Pours a clear, copper penny colour with a decent head of white foam. The aroma has caramel and a faint impression of light sweet molasses and crusty bread.

Solid malt flavours: grain, seeds and crusty bread. Caramel sweetness and a balancing touch of hops bitterness in the finish. La Bonne Aventure has a solid malt body and is very well balanced. A good example of the Rousse style.

If you are interested in reading more about this style this article by is worth a read.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Imperial Black Berliner Weisse - Collaboration Pit Caribou Microbrasserie & Broadway Microbrasserie (Canada - Quebec)

Imperial Black Berliner Weisse - Collaboration Pit Caribou Microbrasserie & Broadway Microbrasserie (Canada - Quebec) 7.0%

Very dark brown and cloudy in a glass with a creamy head of foam. An oatmeal touch to the aroma, chocolate and earthy touch. The taste of this collaboration Imperial Black Berliner Weisse is unique as in very sour. I'm really glad I read the label so that this didn't catch me off guard, to wit:

The sour flavour hits all upfront, and fades out to be mostly replaced with roasty chocolate and coffee flavours in the mid-mouth taste. The aftertaste is smoky with a hint of grain and chocolate. The flavours of this sour beer work nicely together and is an interesting take on a dark wheat beer.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Celeia Hop Ale - Alexander Keith's (Canada)

Celeia Hop Ale - Alexander Keith's (Canada) 5.5%

Darkish gold in a glass. Not much of a head of foam, but maybe I coddled the pour too much.

The aroma is fairly subtle, I found it pilsner-like even before I read that these are a Slovenian hop which seems close enough to the Southern Germany and the Czech Republic for me. Hints of citrus (lemon) throughout the aroma and flavour. The hops flavour is quite peppery and has a touch of wood tones but it always remains in the background mingling with the borderline caramelized malt flavours. This ale is bitter but in a way that builds as you drink rather than hitting you all at once.

I like Alexander Keith's Hop Series Ales because each beer gives me an easy way to learn about one specific type of hop and usually the beers are fairly good too, in my opinion. The Celeia hops ale is a bit of a let down in the latter regard as the hops better suit a lager/pilsner style beer and the mouthfeel leaves a bit to be desired and coats the mouth a bit too heavily.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Moonlight Porter - Waller Street Brewing (Canada - Ontario - Ottawa)

Moonlight Porter - Waller Street Brewing (Canada - Ontario - Ottawa) 6.3%

Very dark in a glass, more or less opaque with only a very fine ring of bubbles around the edge of the glass. Toasty coffee and chocolate aroma with a pine and maybe slight citrus hops touch that blends well with the dark malt bitterness.

The flavour is strong and really good. Hoppy bitterness plays throughout but with coffee and chocolate tones and plenty of dark, earthy, dried fruit tones that intermingle with the evergreen, hops leaving you with delicious chewy, fruity, malty wood flavours. This is an excellent American Porter from Waller Street Brewing.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Black IPA - Big Rig Brewing (Canada - Ontario - Ottawa)

Black IPA - Big Rig Brewing (Canada - Ontario - Ottawa) 6.2%

The first things I check when I have been served or pour a Black IPA are the obvious ones: is it dark and is it hoppy. Big Rig's Black IPA meets both those criteria. It is a very dark (and damn near opaque) mahogany colour (or maybe even darker than that) with a thick and creamy mocha coloured head of foam. It also has a very nice resiny hop aroma with loads of tropical fruit tones. To the taste the first thing I noticed was a earthy, toasted, nutty, slightly coffee-like malt flavour followed closely by a strong hops flavour of cedar and resin with a strongly bitter finish. This is a really nice Black IPA and, to top it all off, the design on the can is super cool.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Chocolate Manifesto - Flying Monkeys (Canada - Ontario - Barrie)

Chocolate Manifesto - Flying Monkeys (Canada - Ontario - Barrie) 10.5%

I was amazed by the intensity of the aroma, dark chocolate and milk chocolate primarily but with hints of tobacco, espresso and the slightest hint of dark fruit.

The flavour is of the same forceful character. Strongly chocolatey as designed but also dark fruit, some hints of dark cherry and other dark fruit, as well as a certain nuttiness. There is a cool, creamy, freshness to the flavour and though there is a long chocolate aftertaste and the beer is very sweet I don't find Chocolate Manifesto to be cloying or particularly heavy.

This is an exceptional beer, the kind that makes me happy to be a beer geek and to try new and innovative beers. There are lots of chocolate infused beers out there, I really like this one.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Dragon's Milk - New Holland Brewing (United States - Missouri - Holland) 11.0%

 Dragon's Milk - New Holland Brewing (United States - Missouri - Holland) 11.0%

Dark brown in a glass with a silky head of mocha coloured foam. A really nice, almost chewy, aroma of dark fruit and chocolate; plenty of oak and vanilla as well.

Dark fruit flavours, and oak and vanilla abound. There is some distinct alcohol tingling in the mouth and warming of the chest. Strong bourbon spice in the finish, that same spice may explain some of the tingling I had ascribed to the alcohol. The mouthfeel is creamy as you drink it but thin once you swallow leaving a nice espresso, vanilla and hints of oak aftertaste but very little lingering texture for a stout (probably because of the cleansing properties of the high alcohol content).

I have found in the past that oak accentuates the taste of alcohol (and I don't think that's just because I, as a bourbon fan, associate oak with hard liquor BTW) but I think the strongish alcohol sensation and a bit of a taste are actually from the alcohol content. Now you may wonder why I'd comment on this when reviewing a beer that is listed at 11% but I've had other 11% beers that carried their alcohol less obviously. All that said, I think Dragon's Milk might be even stronger than the 11% indicated on the label, considering how squishy my head is feeling already. While Dragon's Milk carries its booze a bit more obviously than some other ales I think they did a bang-up job making a tasty chocolatey and oaky stout that is well suited to their High Gravity (aka high alcohol) series.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Gigantic IPA (United States - Oregon - Portland)

Gigantic IPA (United States - Oregon - Portland) 7.3%

A cloudy bronze in a glass with a resilient head of foam. A cedar and melon aroma. The flavour is very nice, a much more mellow IPA than I expected: cedar and melon. The aftertaste is more bitter but still not a hops character that slaps you across the face - which is perfect if you've grown tired of overhopped IPAs. That isn't to say that Gigantic's IPA isn't hoppy and bitter, it is, but the flavours are put together in such a way that the malty sweetness and hops bitterness work as partners rather than the flavour just being all hops.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Accumulation - New Belgium (United States - Colorado - Fort Collins)

Accumulation - New Belgium (United States - Colorado - Fort Collins) 6.2%

A whole bunch of tropical fruit makes up the aroma to this cloudy golden beer: mango, papaya, passionfruit and grapefruit. The taste is quite bitter, especially initially and in the finish, and it is full of the same tropical fruit mix but with more orange. The mouthfeel is a little bit creamy with some classic wheat herbal tones (coriander) in the finish. As far as the combination of the two flavour spectrums of a Belgian White and an IPA I think Accumulation does it best of the, admittedly few, I have tried.

Despite the wintery scene on the label, Accumulation's flavour seems like a tropical breeze - or maybe that's the point. Accumulation certainly is a refreshing break from the winter.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Blue Buck - Phillips Brewing (Canada - British Columbia - Victoria)

Blue Buck - Phillips Brewing (Canada - British Columbia - Victoria) 5.0%

Full gold in a glass with a resilient if not overly large head of foam. Nice caramel touch to the slightly raw malt flavour that reminds me of a malthouse. The hops are subtle but lend balancing hints of cedar and forest tones to the flavour. This beer delivers as promised as a tasty session ale, one that features more malt than hops character.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Abandoned Abbey - Big Rock Brewery (Canada - Alberta - Calgary)

Abandoned Abbey - Big Rock Brewery (Canada - Alberta - Calgary) 9.2%

A strongly yeasty, herbal aroma; cloves and banana. Very dark in a glass without much of a head of foam.

The taste is also strongly yeasty: banana, herbs, cloves. Lightly spicy, the faintest bit of licorice. Sweet with some dark, dried fruit flavours. A bit of chocolate comes out in the finish, and dark crusty bread out in the aftertaste. These same flavours are there in the main body but overshadowed by the Belgian yeasty tones. A well constructed Belgian Style Dark Ale that conceals it's hefty alcohol content dangerously well.