Review: Glutenberg Blanche (White)


I thought I did a review about Glutenberg's Blanche beer back in January.. but apparently I haven't. Glutenberg's the first gluten free brewery I've tried that makes gluten free beer that actually tastes like beer. Their witbier-style blanche was no exception.

Appearance: The Blanche has a cloudy golden orange body, a moderate amount of carbonation and a good amount of white head that diminishes pretty quickly.

Aroma: Note of buckwheat which gives it a bit of a woody character, a good deal of coriander, lemongrass and bubble gum for sweetness. Fairly straightforward.

Taste: For the most part, it's just like the aroma. There's a liberal amount of coriander in here that gives it that typical North American witbier vibe to it. A bit woody/gritty from the grains used, a bit of a pickle juice flavour which may not be for everyone and a nice amount of lemon zest in there.

Overall Thoughts: Easy drinking gluten free witbier-style beer. This is something where if I didn't know this was gluten free, I wouldn't notice either way. Easy drinking, liberal on coriander, perfect for summer weather.



Review: Fernie Pumpkin Head Ale


When the topic of pumpkin spice comes up, there's a big circlejerk about how the trend needs to die in a fire. I hear more about the negativity towards pumpkin spice more often than actually seeing someone savouring something with pumpkin spice. In beer, I wouldn't miss pumpkin spice ales if they no longer existed but since they still exist, I'll still check out the pumpkin spice beers I've never had before.. as I see it, brewing beer is about experimentation in this day and age. As a picky eater, I absolutely hate the taste of pumpkin so it's weird that I don't mind pumpkin spiced ales.. but hey, it reminds me of autumn. 

Tonight I'm checking out Fernie's Pumpkin Head Ale. Fernie's beer has been growing on me lately so whenever something new comes out, I have to try it. Pumpkin Head tops out at 5% ABV and 13 IBU.

Appearance: Pours a heavy dark brown with a bit of an orangey-caramel hue to it. Not really carbonated but leaves a really nice layer of beige head with a fine amount of residue on the side of the glass.

Aroma: The very first thing that pops out at me is a moderate roasted malt smell that gives off a light roasted coffee aroma.. which is welcoming on the first official day of fall. A hint of cinnamon, nutmeg and an aroma that all I can describe as Starbucks' White Chocolate Mocha.. yep, it's fall! Sort of sweet but fairly light for the most part.

Taste: Toffee. A good deal of coriander which I wasn't really expecting, lightish notes of cinnamon and nutmeg. Light roasted malt notes and only a light roasty aftertaste for the most part. Fairly toned down compared to many pumpkin spiced beers on the market, but it's incredibly smooth and easy to drink.

Overall Thoughts: As I just said, incredibly smooth and easy to drink. For those looking for that overly spiced cinnamon and nutmeg taste, this isn't it - instead this is a nice dark ale with nice notes all over that just balance it out really well. On a chilly day like today, it's appreciated!



Might as well go for a soda!

Originally posted in the Brandon Sun, August 26, 2016

Review: Tyskie Gronie


Originally posted in the Brandon Sun, September 2, 2016

It’s been a long time since I had a beer from Poland, in fact - the last Polish beer I ever had was Black Boss Porter, a rich, roasty, heavy porter that was not only affordable but made Guinness look like swill.. but unfortunately MLCC stopped carrying the porter two or three years back. I tend to stay away from beers from Eastern Europe because the selection of Eastern European beers we get here in Manitoba is minimal and generally are only imports that are made at breweries owned by AB InBev, SABMiller or MolsonCoors, rarely the rare craft beers that truly show off a region. 

Today I’m checking out Tyskie Gronie lager made by Tyskie Browary in Poland, but in reality.. a SABMiller import. The appearance of Tyskie is clear straw yellow with a moderate amount of carbonation, a light amount of snow white head that leaves behind a light amount of residue as the beer is being sampled. To me, the aroma of Tyskie is what most Eastern European lagers seem to be for me - malt heavy, sweet and skunky. The second I opened up the bottle, a huge whiff of skunky beer poured out intoxicating the room. As I poured the beer in the glass, the aroma went away for the most part just to leave behind the smells of not-so-fresh hay, overly sweet malt and a hint of grassy hops. The flavour is too sweet for my liking, a bit too much sugar.. but it’s mostly in the malt. I get flavours of soaked straw, a flavour that tastes like what paint smells like and a metallic aftertaste. Somewhat bitter but in the usual hoppy bitter sort of way, it’s more of that soaked straw taste leaking out. It’s fairly watered down so it’s easy for me to drink even if I’m shaking my head as I’m writing this up.. there’s so many better beers out there, especially Polish beers! At least Tyskie isn’t annoyingly skunky as Heineken or Stella Artois are because to me.. the taste of skunk in beer shouldn’t even exist unless if some hipster brewer wanted to make that “a thing”. 

As you can tell, I’m not a fan of Tyskie.. but with the beer being a whopping $2.88 per 500mL bottle, it’s not exactly breaking the bank, in fact - it’s pretty cheap for an import, so I can’t be too harsh here. It’s pretty easy to drink but the flavours of “paint” and “soaked straw” aren’t exactly pleasant, and the malt sweetness is leaving a sugary film on my tongue.. yuck! You can find Tyskie at Liquor Marts in Brandon, Killarney, Minnedosa, Neepawa, Russell and Virden, as well as the Keystone Motor Inn beer vendor. 2/5 Pints

Beau’s is back in town! After a quick sellout of Beau’s organic Lug Tread Lager, the beer is back in stock at the Corral Centre and 10th & Victoria Liquor Marts. The beer is also now available at the Liquor Marts in Minnedosa and Virden. Beau’s is also bringing their Tom Green Beer and Oktoberfest Mix Pack to Manitoba in the coming weeks. The Tom Green Beer is a milk stout with notes of espresso, burnt caramel and a creamy chocolate milky finish.

Beer scene in Minot, North Dakota - 2016


Originally posted in the Brandon Sun, July 29 2016


I just got back from the North Dakota State Fair in Minot and I just find it interesting to see a beer scene boom in a city with a similar population and demographics as Brandon. While I was talking with the locals, the biggest thing mentioned was that the oil price crash has affected the local economy to the point where restaurants and pubs were closing down due to lack of business. Two years ago I wrote about Souris River Brewing, a booming brewpub that had nearly all tables full whenever I visited.. but in my most recent visits this year, there were usually three or four other patrons at any given time… So has the craft beer bubble bursted in the Magic City?

Actually no, while Minot’s economy is more focused on the oil industry than Brandon’s economy, the craft beer scene has actually scene a boom since I first wrote about about Souris River Brewing back in 2014. For Souris River themselves, their original brewmaster/part owner of Souris River recently visited the guys over at the always amazing Rebellion Brewing in Regina to create a Canada/USA collaboration beer. Unfortunately since then, the brewmaster left the brewpub and Souris River Brewing is now under new ownership, and with that - they have a new brewmaster. According to the staff over at Souris River Brewing, the new brewmaster has a microbiology background, which could mean that Souris River is planning on creating their own strains of yeast, creating more sour beers (they had two on tap when I was there) and changing their beer lineup. The beer lineup while I was there were the beers from the old brewmaster - Sour Vice - an incredibly sour ale that makes your mouth puck up, Funk Farm - a sour saison that appears to have notes of Brett yeast which gives the beer a flavour that I can only describe as “barn yard flavour” - which was actually being worked on when I visited the brewmaster back in April, so I was glad to be able to try the beer before it was gone for good! Now, Souris River’s first “new brewmaster beer”, a German-style hefeweizen wheat ale is being released today, just in time for near the end of the North Dakota State Fair. Unfortunately I’m not able to try it out but next time I’m in Minot, I’ll be back at Souris River to see how the beers have changed with the new brewmaster.

If you’ve ever gone down to Grand Forks or Fargo, you’ve likely heard of JL Beers, a regional chain pub is all about serving the best craft beer available and keeping the menu very simple - only fresh made burgers, fries and fresh cut potato chips. I’ve now been down to Minot’s new JL Beers location three times since it opened up and I have a blast every time I go down. This past weekend JL Beers had a tap takeover by Founders Brewing out of Michigan. This is more of a tap takeover than Liquor Mart’s Barn Hammer tap takeover at 10th & Vic (2/4 beers is not a takeover, MLCC). While the beer tap takeover wasn’t a full tap takeover, Founders Brewing had seven beers on tap! If you’ve never had Founders’ beer before, they are regarded as one of the best breweries in the world. Founders’ delicious Breakfast Stout actually got banned in a few states for the label depicting a toddler eating breakfast. Founders’ Kentucky Bourbon Stout is rated on RateBeer.com as the 12th best beer in the world, and it is freaking amazing.. but the staff flat out laughed at me when I didn’t think I wanted more than a sample of it.. but I obliged and at $8.75 USD for a 12oz tulip glass, it may seem like I was getting ripped off.. the beer is 12.4% ABV. Before going for a full 12oz glass of the beer, I had a flight of five other Founders’ beers ranging from a Raspberry Wheat Ale to a strong Double IPA that tops out at 12%. I discovered that with the beer tap takeover, they were giving away swag to anyone who ordered the beer, so I ended up with a Founders bottle opener, pint glass and a tshirt! How sweet is that?! I hope we see a pub like JL Beers in Brandon one day, but for now we do have Barley Brothers in Winnipeg - their Pembina Avenue location boasts the largest beer tap list in the entire country at 150 beers, though much of their stock is beyond its best before date.


One common discussion I overheard customers discussing at both Souris River and JL Beers was “Have you gone to the ‘Pour House’ yet this week?” The Pour House is Minot’s newest craft beer pub, a small pub two blocks over from Souris River Brewing that gives you the right to pour your beer, just like as if you were filling up a soda at a fast food restaurant. The ability to pour your own beer is too liberal for Manitobans, but it’s common in places like the West Coast in the United States and especially in Europe. So at the Pour House, you show up, show some identification and a credit card (for legal reasons), you get an NFC enabled tap card that you use to turn on the tap for the beer you want to drink. The cool part about this is that you’re not paying for a pint or a glass or a small pour, you pay per ounce and the general going rate was approximately 40 cents per ounce. I went with a 10 ounce pour of a very foamy Belgian-style witbier from the ever great Oskar Blues Brewery out of Colorado followed by an amazing Double IPA by Fulton Beer out of Minneapolis. In fact, when I was deciding between two Double IPAs, one of the customers told me not to bother with the other Double IPA as she felt that Fulton’s Double IPA was pure heaven, sure enough - she was right! The Fulton Double IPA was tropical, very bitter, yet easy to drink. I had a very brief chat with the bartender/owner and he told me that the Pour House has been open for only two months now and while Minot’s economy is tanking, he’s consistently getting a great turnout night after night, in fact - I saw him changing kegs no less than twice in the 45 minutes I was there. 

For off-sales, most of you know that the Marketplace Liquor right off of Broadway is one of the best places to get beer, whether it’s tall cans, craft beer or two fours of Bud Light. Minneapolis’ Surly Brewing is now available in Minot so their beer is well worth picking up when you’re in town. Marketplace Liquor actually has some real competition now with Cashwise Liquor on 16th Street SW (near Gordman’s), not only does Cashwise have every single one of their beers available in their wall-to-wall coolers, they also have a selection of beers that you can’t find at Marketplace, and not only that - their staff is incredibly passionate about their beer. I purchased a six pack of Surly Furious IPA at Cashwise and had a 5 minute chat about the brewery, and this isn’t the first time it’s happened there - last time it was a five minute chat about Belgian-style ales I should be checking out. The big upside to Cashwise was that they had a larger wheat ale selection in stock, which was a huge plus for me as I was getting sick of IPAs during my entire trip, but Marketplace on the other hand was promoting the heck out of IPAs.. which isn’t a bad thing, especially when their staff told me that the six pack I was picking up of Oskar Blues’ Dale’s Pale Ale was available fresh and cold in the cooler.

If I had the money and time, I’d spend more than two or three days just checking out the beer scene in Minot. One place I miss out every time I’m in Minot is the Tap Room - a pub/restaurant that’s more catered to the Cody's in the world - heavy influence on Belgian imports (not Stella) and beer that pairs well with a fine meal. Maybe next time!

Review: Sub Zero Imperial India Pale Ale (Mortal Kombat X) - Sound Brewing


Right after work yesterday I went to the liquor store across from my workplace just to check out what was new in stock, as well as pick up a bottle of Beau's Lug Tread Lagered Ale. A few new treats popped up that I didn't expect - turns out that there's a beer series promoting the Mortal Kombat X game by Sound Brewing out of Poulsbo, Washington. The imperial-style beers were launched in time for Comi-Con - Sub Zero Imperial IPA, Scorpion Imperial Stout and Raiden Imperial Saison. Well, I haven't played Mortal Kombat in 20 years.. since Sega Genesis days, but I knew I had to check out the beers! The downside is that each 650mL bottle costs $11.10 CDN.. which is incredibly pricey for this poor guy, but hey.. if I don't buy it, someone else will.

Right now I'm checking out their Sub Zero Imperial India Pale Ale. 8.5% ABV, unknown IBU.

Appearance: Incredibly rich reddish brown ale, almost a ruby in the shitty room lighting.. but more a caramel amber in reality. Thick beige head to start off, diminishes to a bit of a film and leaves behind a moderate amount of foamy residue on the glass.

Aroma: Not sure if this is supposed to be a malt forward Imperial IPA or if it's past its best before date. If it's more of an English IPA, then I get a lot of caramel malt, hint of mint, light toasty grains, hint of wet laundry right before you put it in the dryer, aaand hint of lightly burnt toffee and a hint of when you're licking a tootsie pop and it's in between the point where it's solidified corn syrup and faux chocolate insides.. that smell. If it's supposed to be hoppy, then this is likely past its prime.. but it's not bad if it's supposed to be more malt forward..

Taste: The bitterness makes a big appearance in the flavour department as I'm getting a heavy taste of bitter hops.. not quite piney but has a bit of a hint of earthiness to it. Leaves behind a bit of a metallic hop aftertaste. The Imperial IPA has a bit of a caramel malt sweetness, light bready and that's about it. I'm finding that it's giving off a bit of a cool sensation on the palate.. kind of like a cool spearmint gum.

Overall Thoughts: It was certainly alright, good amount of hop bitterness in the taste profile but it missed out completely in the aroma. I won't be spending $11.10 on this again. It's alright but coming from the Pacific North West... there's a million other Imperial IPAs out there that are substantially tastier.

Edit: From the beer description - Refreshing cooling on a warm day, yet also warming in cool weather. An Imperial India Pale Ale that's not all about the hops, or all about the alt, but a whole ot of both fighting it out for supremacy. Drink icy for more hops, warmer for more malt.

Review: Brasserie Dunham Berliner Melon Weisse


I've been dreaming for months now to see a Brasserie Dunham beer in Manitoba, but hey... this is Manitoba - the province of mediocrity. I'm content with trading awesome Manitoban beers to Quebec for stuff like Dunham, but to find out that a distributor is bringing Dunham to Manitoba.. it made me giddy! Dunham was once available on tap at Barley Brothers in Winnipeg two years back, but that was a one time thing. Berliner Melon Weisse is Dunham's very first bottled beer to come to Manitoba. Dunham's Berliner Melon Weisse is just over $8.00 per 750mL bottle which.. at first seems a bit pricey for a beer that's 3.9% but we have to remember that this is Brasserie Dunham! Their own bottled beers at their tasting room in Dunham are just as pricey.. and insanely worth it!

Appearance: The Berliner Melon Weisse pours a pale golden straw with a light amount of cloudiness to it. There's a minimal amount of snow white head but it seems to retain itself pretty well, leaving a bit of residue on the side of the glass.

Aroma: The very second I opened the bottle I got a liberal aroma of sour and funky notes.. this is a very sour Berliner weisse! So yeah.. sour, a light lemon juice tartiness, the barnyard funkiness you come to love from the folks over at Dunham and a mild fruitiness from the melon.

Taste: Like the aroma, quite a sour beer with barnyard funk, a combination of lime and lemon to give it an almost cringe-worthy sourness to it, a bit of fizzy carbonation on the tongue and again, a light melon flavour to it.

Overall Thoughts: In this beer, the melon compliments the medley of flavours more than most beers, rather than it trying to be the main flavour of the beer. It's incredibly sour but at 3.9% ABV and 8 IBU, holy hell.. this is a freaking delicious beer! I'm going to be buying another bottle tomorrow. It's only a matter of days until the beer will disappear completely from shelves here in Brandon.. so if I want it again (like Dieu du Ciel's Grande Noirceur or Charlevoix's Dominus Tripel), I'll have to trade with buddies in Quebec.. not that I mind or anything.

Speaking of Dunham.. I still have to post pictures of my visit to the brasserie back in June!

Three non-alcoholic beers worth checking out


Originally posted in the Brandon Sun, August 12, 2016

The most common request I get from people around Westman is that I should review Bud Light. Most of the time people say it in a jokingly manner as it’s the top selling beer in the region. A recent request I’ve been getting from a few people was that I should do a review of a non-alcoholic beer. Non-alcoholic beers are likely going to be the next trend with the big multinational breweries ever since Labatt introduced Budweiser Prohibition earlier this summer (See my original review HERE). At your local grocery store or Liquor Mart, there’s already between two and eight non-alcoholic beers at any given time, but the problem is that they taste horrible. The problem with non-alcoholic beer is that sure they’re brewed to have a very low alcohol content, but in most cases - it tastes pretty bad. So when you go to the grocery store, you always see those two fours of Molson Exel collecting dust because nobody’s wanting to spend money on beer that tastes worse than Minhas Boxer Lager. Even in the craft beer scene, breweries are constantly coming out and experimenting with low alcoholic beers while seeing if they can keep the product flavourful and comparable to the full alcohol brews they make, with this we have a category of beers called “Session beers” which top out at generally 4 to 4.5% ABV.. which is still pretty far from being low alcohol. Then there’s the popular summertime treat - the Radler, a 50/50 combination of wheat ale and grapefruit juice which ends up topping out around 2.5 to 3.5% on average, making it closer to low alcohol content. How about non-alcoholic beer that tastes like beer? Well, it’s my duty to go out and see if I can find any non-alcoholic beers that actually taste like beer!

Budweiser Prohibition - While I’m not going to review Bud Light, I’m trying out Budweiser Prohibition because this beer has single handedly rejuvenated the non-alcoholic/low alcohol beer market to the point that it’s only a matter of time until we see the beer on tap at local pubs from seeing how well it’s selling out at Liquor Marts around Brandon. Budweiser Prohibition is rated at 0.0% ABV containing de-alcoholized beer, malt extract, natural flavours, hop extract, phosphoric acid and hop extract. The thought of extract being used rather than the real ingredients kind of annoys me but considering how big of a scale Labatt brews their beer in each facility, they have to keep the product as consistent as possible. Prohibition pours a light straw yellow with a good amount of carbonation, reminiscent to your typical Budweiser. The aroma gives off sweet creamed corn, hint of rice, typical light sweet and grainy prairie barley malt aroma you see in most North American lagers, hints of grass from the hops and bubble gum. The flavour has a bit of a cracker/frozen pizza crust taste to it, quite a bit of sweetness from the malt extract, creamed corn, light metallic aftertaste, a hint of rice and a hint of bubble gum. The flavour isn’t as crisp as your typical Budweiser but does it taste like it could be a Budweiser product? Yep. It has a lot of the same characteristics as your typical Bud but without any alcohol. Very easy to drink but priced higher than most non-alcoholic beers with it being around $2.65 per 473mL can at Liquor Marts around Manitoba and between $9.60 to $13.00 for 6-341mL bottles at Liquor Marts, beer vendors and grocery stores.. so it's incredibly accessible. While I’m not a fan of Budweiser, Labatt deserves serious props for making a non-alcoholic beer taste consistent with their main brand. 2.5/5 Pints

Krombacher Radler Alkoholfrei - A few Liquor Mart employees recommended this beer to me when I was asking how well the sales of Budweiser Prohibition was doing. I rarely ever say no to a beer recommendation, except for the time when someone suggested that I’d love Bud Light Lime.. no thanks. The first thing I noticed about this beer is that there’s no English translation on the label, which means that Manitoba may be one of the only markets outside of Germany that currently gets this beer. The radler pours light golden straw, incredibly fizzy/carbonated like a soda. There’s a thick amount of white head that quickly yet gradually fizzes away. The aroma has sweet grapefruit with a hint of something herbal that appears to be either ginger or green tea. I’m not noticing any beer-like aromas such as bready or grass aromas from the wheat/barley used. The taste is sweet and mild grapefruit, a bit sugary, hint of lemongrass and a hint of beer somewheres.. mostly in the aftertaste, which gives off a grainy bitterness. Krombacher Radler Alkoholfrei tops out at no more than 0.5% ABV and can be found at Liquor Marts in Brandon, Minnedosa, Neepawa, Roblin, Swan River and Virden for a whopping $1.49 per 330mL bottle. 3.5/5 Pints

Erdinger Alkoholfrei - Another non-alcoholic beer out of Germany. Many of you are likely familiar with Erdinger’s beers already as their Erdinger Weissbier is one of the top selling German beers in Manitoba. Their alkoholfrei pours a cloudy golden wheat ale with a very thick amount of fluffy white foam on top that gradually goes down. The aroma is sweet, citrusy with a bit of a skunkiness meets a light grapefruit vibe to it, light grassy hops and a bit of an aroma that can only be described as the smell of being in a brewery on a hot summer day. The taste starts off with a strange roasted, almost coffee-like maltiness that’s more common with darker ales, has a bit of a skunkiness to it as well as a light grapefruit sweetness, light lemongrass flavour and the taste of saltine crackers at the end. Unfortunately it’s pretty disappointing considering that Erdinger generally makes pretty decent beers. The beer tops out at no more than 0.4% ABV and can be found at Liquor Marts for $2.79 per 500mL bottle. 2/5 Pints


It’s only a matter of time until breweries like Molson will introduce a new generation of non-alcoholic beers and I can already predict the future with Molson Canadian .0067, which wouldn’t be that hard for them to do seeing that their regular Molson Canadian 67 is only 3.0% ABV already. That being said, I can’t really see smaller craft breweries getting into the non-alcoholic trend as smaller breweries tend to stay away from those sort of trends.. just like how most craft breweries stayed away from the caffeinated beer trend of 2005, the lime beer trend of 2009 and the malt based fruit cooler trend of 2015.

Fernie Eldorado Single Hop IPA


Originally posted in the Brandon Sun, May 6, 2016

I feel that 2016 beer trends are pushing towards Belgian-style farmhouse saisons and incredibly tart/sour beers that taste more like a wine than a beer, but one trend that doesn’t seem to be dying down is the classic India Pale Ale. One of the biggest complaints I get from local beer drinkers is that too many breweries have their own IPAs and that they’re always too bitter. The trend for overly bitter IPAs is currently on the decline so instead we are seeing more releases of IPAs brewed with one strain of hop to show off the characteristics of what the hop is supposed to smell/taste like in a beer. Alexander Keith’s had a lukewarm “Hop Series” of pale ales that did just that with five single hopped beers. In the end, Keith’s drinkers simply preferred the lack of hop presence of the traditional Keith’s “IPA” so they have, for the most part, abandoned the project.

The folks over at Fernie Brewing in Fernie, BC have a “Bucket List” series of IPAs that are mostly experimental IPAs that range from a tropical citrusy IPA to a full on Rye IPA. Their newest (to me) IPA is their “The Eldorado Single Hop IPA”, an IPA brewed with lemongrass. I’m not familiar with the Eldorado strain of hops so I get to try something completely new to me!

The Eldorado pours the typical IPA pour, it’s a cloudy orange beer with a nice amount of creamy beige head on top, the head quickly diminishes into just a thin layer of sediment clinging to the side of the glass. The aroma is first, and foremost a lemongrass aroma, it’s fairly moderate and citrusy, grassy, gives off a bit of an herbal… almost tea like essence to it. Hint of pine and grapefruit in there as well.  The flavour starts out all tropical, which is great with the heat we’re getting right now, there’s a quench of pineapple and grapefruit that make an appearance right out the gate. The hops aren’t as bitter as your typical cascade “bitter” hopped IPAs, so this one gives off more of a lemongrass summertime patio vibe to it. With all that being said, it does still have that typical IPA bitterness that most of you know and hate, I love it! 


I’ve had a bunch of beers from Fernie’s IPA Bucket List and I feel that this may be their best beer yet as it’s a nice citrusy, grassy India Pale Ale that’s not overwhelming in any fashion. It’s light to mildly bitter and has a bit of a creamy feel on the palate. This is truly a patio worthy IPA in my opinion! You can find Fernie Brewing’s The Eldorado Single Hop IPA at all three Brandon Liquor Marts for $6.50 per 650mL bottle. Tops out at a surprising 6.8% ABV, certainly stronger alcohol content than your typical 5-5.5% IPAs on the market today.

The Maritime Blueberry Ale War by the Drunk French Canadian


Oni Dèls, the Drunk French Canadian is back! He had his own bièrcation recently with visiting the Maritime provinces and wanted to write a bit about some of his favourite beers he had on vacation, blueberry beers!

Gather around kids (at heart.. because you know, beer), uncle Dèls is going to tell you a fabulous story.

Actually, it’s not really fabulous. I did a 4 day road trip in the Maritimes just to go buy beers I didn’t have access to in my neighbourhood. I ended up coming back home with 57 different beers, so I was glad my fridge was empty when i got back.

Aaaaanyway, now I will pit Moncton, New Brunswick's Pump House Blueberry Ale against Charlottetown, PEI Brewing's Gahan House Blueberry Ale.

First off, the main difference, aside bottle vs can, is that Pump House is a blueberry flavoured ale, while Gahan is a wheat ale brewed with blueberries. Of course both NB and PE are renowned for their blueberries, nice people.. and long bridges. The longest covered bridge is in NB and of course the confederation bridge that links PE to the mainland. But this is slightly off track.

Back to our beers, the colour/smell/taste description:
My little eye sees...
Pump House has a clear, crisp gold, with some nice bubbles. While Gahan has a thicker blonde orange/­amber and barely any bubbles.

My little nose smells...
The Pump House is simply.. only blueberry. It literally smells of candy and fruit, with no beer aroma to it, which is common in flavoured beer. On the other hand, Gahan’s a typical ale smell, with a subtle sweet aftersmell (is that a thing? I’m making it a thing.)

My little tongue tastes...
Well, nice of you to skip straight to the taste test. You didn’t miss much, besides the part about me wrestling a bear while wearing a kilt. So... the taste...
Pump House is very fruity, without being syrup­y or sugary. It doesn't have much of an alcohol taste, nor aftertaste, nor.. you know, taste of anything else but blueberry. It’s not a bad thing, but this is clearly a summer beer, made for hot, humid days. A beer you can easily drink 5 or 6 in a row without complaining. For the Gahan, with it being an unfiltered wheat beer, you have a nice cereal taste with a very subtle blueberry taste that is chase away by a nice aftertaste of alcohol.

So all this being said, I’d say while the two beers are very different style of blueberry beers, they both have their pros and cons. Maybe you should check them both out and decide for yourself, but I rate them both 4 out of 5 pints. Although in the “right now”, I prefer Gahan’s. I guess I prefer the all natural vibe to it.

So to settle this fight, I decided to pour both beers in a glass filled with actual blueberry, and this unholy alliance makes an awesome fruity cocktail akin to a bubble tea.. but with beer!
Anyway, I will have more story about my Maritimes trip, more comparisons of beer (that will most likely end up in a beer fusion again...), And obviously, some more Québec’s beer, if I can find some that Cody hasn’t talked about already... (Cody's note: Oh, I've already had both of the beers featured in this review!)



Kruhnen & La Décapsule's King Cogne Rye Pale Ale


What happens when a popular beer blog teams up with a brewery to create a collaboration brew? King Cogne happens! Two years back, my buddy David and his brother Alex over at La Décapsule teamed up with the folks over at Brasserie Kruhnen to create a Rye Pale Ale called King Cogne. In fact, according to Untappd, King Cogne is Kruhnen's most popular beer to this very day! As a lover of Rye PAs, I'm excited!

Appearance: King Cogne pours a thick, very cloudy blonde ale with a nice, thick, frothy snow white head on top. Moderate amount of fizziness taking place and a hint of foam residue left behind on the side of the glass.

Aroma: First off I'm getting a bit of a sweet, light tropical/fruity aroma of tangerine and grapefruit. Moderate amount of hop bitterness giving off a bit of a pine aroma and just a hint of rye. So far... so good!

Taste: When I was opening this bottle, I entirely forgot that this was a Rye PA until I took my first sip. The rye makes a dominant presence at the beginning, giving off a rich, bitter rye flavour to it (a hint of a woodiness), pepper spice, slight amount of graininess, a nice compliment of tangerine/grapefruit zest and a moderate pine hop presence that leaves a light metallic bitter aftertaste. For a Rye Pale Ale, the rye isn't as bitter/in your face as most Canadian Rye Pale Ales, rather the rye works with the hops and malt to give off a bunch of great flavours.

Overall Thoughts: Incredibly solid Rye Pale Ale, I love a good Rye Pale Ale and it's unfortunate that rye beers aren't as common as they should be.. but it's getting better. Not overpowering like many I've had over the years, very easy to drink and even has a bit of spiciness to it. 6.5% ABV/60 IBU

Now if only I knew how to brew beer.. I'd love to have a BeerCrank themed saison s'appelle La Saison de Crank. The folks over at Double Trouble Brewing suggested a Cranky Cody Cascadian Dark & Bitter. Ha!

http://www.kruhnen.com/king-cogne/

La Voie Maltée - Session IPA (Série Frimée)


Back in June when I was on my bièrcation with Alex from Le Malt Incarné, we took a tour of rural southern Quebec, checking out places like Brasserie Dunham and various brewpubs in the region. We stopped at Marché du Village in Ange-Gardien, Quebec. According to Alex, this grocery store - in a small town no less - happened to have one of the best beer selections in all of Quebec. Not only that, they had a locked cabinet dedicated exclusively to aging beers (but unfortunately the person in charge of the beer aging display was not there).. oh and the super market also acted as the local SAQ agent as there wasn't a nearby SAQ, making this one of the best damned liquor/beer stores in all of Quebec! We spent about 20 minutes just going through beer, I was loopy as hell because I got minimal sleep that week, but I picked up as many beers as I possibly could carry. La Voie Maltée's Session IPA from their Série Frimée popped out at me, so I decided to pick a can of that up.

Appearance: The Session IPA tops out at a whopping 3.7%, making it a true session, not a "4.8%" session like many I see on the market already. As soon as I open the can, it's quite foamy - thick white head. The beer is a moderately cloudy and straw yellow/lemon peel.

Aroma: Decently hoppy and tropical. Notes of cascade hops giving it a nice pine aroma, bit of lemon grass and tropical notes of grapefruit, hint of pineapple and somewhat herbal. Very solid aroma.

Taste: Starts off with a bit of a gritty barley graininess followed by lemongrass, a moderate amount of cascade for hoppy bitterness. A light amount of soapy aftertaste, hint of nuttiness and a light amount of grapefruit citrusness. Good deal of various cereal bitterness lingering on the palate.

Overall Thoughts: Solid session IPA but I've never had a bad beer by La Voie Maltée so it's not a surprise at all! Even at 3.7%, they still packed in a good deal of hops in the brew - to the point where I'm getting a moderate hop burn in my throat!

Photos: A visit to Torque Brewing


Seeing that Torque Brewing is officially canning their beer sometime this week, it only made sense to post photos of my trip to Torque from a week ago! This summer has been busy for new breweries in Winnipeg... and this is just the beginning!

Enjoy!



They were starting to brew their Witty Belgian witbier when I arrived. I can't wait to see how the final product turns out!


Barrels for future barrel aging projects!


Brew Technician Matty "Cool Beans" Wolff! It's been a year since I last visited him at Fort Garry.






With the guys over at Torque being the "mechanics of beer", you better bet that they have wrenches all over the place in many different sizes!


Dried orange peels from California for Witty Belgian

Not only that.. they also add fresh orange, lemon and lime peel shavings for the Witty Belgian

Lots of room to grow.. assuming that the pallets of cans don't end up taking up lots of the space

Adding the yeast

"Cold Beer"


Next time I'll be there, the tasting room will be up and serving fresh beer on tap. They're canning this week and selling kegs to beer vendors/pubs/restaurants this week. I hope we see Torque in Brandon available at pubs on tap.. a beer culture is developing and I don't want to see the Wheat City 15 years behind like always. If you're in Brandon, demand your local restaurants, pubs and beer vendors to stock Torque, Barn Hammer and other made in Manitoba beers. Let's keep beer dollars in Manitoba!


Review: Tree & Beau's Collaboration - Leap Beer Smoked Bock


Leap year only comes around once every four years so the idea of a beer brewed specially for February 29th is simply just too good to pass up! Tree Brewing and Beau's All Natural collaborated to create a Leap Beer Smoked Bock that tops out at 6.7% ABV. Beau's LOVES collaboration beers, in fact.. while I was in Quebec over the years I had a few collaboration beers. Only a few days after Leap Beer arrived in Manitoba, Lug Tread made its very first appearance in Manitoba. So.. this is the first Beau's beer to ever be available for the Manitoban market.. even though it was brewed at Tree in BC.

Appearance: Dark caramel with a ruby red hue. Thick yellow/beige head that slowly diminishes yet leaves a good deal of foamy residue on the glassware.

Aroma: Smoky! I love smoky beers so it's always a treat when I find one. Rich notes of smoked barley malt, a hint of bonfire, caramel and a hint of dark fruit.

Taste: First and foremost, it's smoky but not overwhelmingly like many out there. The smoke hits the palate at first, but diminishes quite quickly. Other flavours I'm noticing include caramel, a bit of a graininess from the barley and hint of dark fruits (plum)? So for the most part, similar to what the aroma had.

Overall Thoughts: Solid bock with a nice smoky profile that's not overpowering. Very easy to drink and I wish my asshole roommate didn't steal my other bottle because I'd so go for another bottle right now.

Review: Hill Farmstead Edith Dark Farmhouse Saison


I'm only finally starting to review my Hill Farmstead beers I got back in January. Not only that.. I still have to post photos of my trip to Hill Farmstead! Seeing that the brewery is only a short drive from Montreal, I think I'll be back again in a year or two.

Today we're taking a look at Edith, Hill Farmstead's Dark Farmhouse Ale. Edith tops out at 5.8% ABV and contains American malted barley, German roasted malts, European hops, farmhouse yeast and Hill Farmstead's well water. Seeing that dark saisons are slowly starting to become more common in the beer scene, I get to taste how one of the top rated breweries in the world does theirs.

Appearance: Near pitch black with a hint of a faint cherry wood hue against the light. A good amount of foam to start off - 1.5 fingers worth, diminishes to a nice beige cream head (very thin) and doesn't diminish any further.

Aroma: The first thing that pops out to me is the aroma of Brett yeast: it gives off a sour, barnyard funk with a bit of a roasted coffee like aroma in there, light amount of oak, a hint of caramel and a smidgen of chocolate.

Taste: Wow.. the tartness of a sour and Brett yeasts punches me right in the palate immediately! A good deal sour, dark fruits, a liberal amount of lemon, barnyard funk and not as roasty as I expected with it being a dark saison.. rather I'm getting more notes of a sour than saison anyways. Bit of an acidic mouthfeel with a bit of a carbonated tingling sensation. The aftertaste gives off the dark notes I was expecting, a light hint of dark chocolate and a light woodiness lingers long after the beer has been savoured.

Overall Thoughts: Sour! The barnyard funk isn't as overwhelming as many of the Vermont beers I had in my brief stay back in the winter. There's a bit of sediment at the bottom of the beer, but that's alright for me. I was expecting more dark and roasted notes but I enjoyed this as it is.

PHOTOS!!! Festival mondiale de la bière 2016!


It only took me TWO months after Le Festival mondiale de la bière for me to post pictures of my awesome experience of drinking beer and checking out booths. To check out my previous column on Mondial, click here!

If you are using a cellular data connection, this post will use up too much of your data! (Click the orangish Read More button below to read more.. if you dare)


Landshark Island Style Lager

Margaritaville Landshark Lager

If you like Piña Coladas, getting caught in the rain..  if cheeseburger is paradise medium rare with mustard'd be nice! If you’ve ever checked out a Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville, you’ve likely seen Landshark, Margaritaville’s go-to lager. Now the Margaritaville beer is available in Canada at your local LC. Landshark Lager is a tropical island-style lager brewed generally by Labatt owners Anheuser-Busch InBev, but for the Canadian market, Landshark Lager is actually brewed by Brick Brewing out of Waterloo, Ontario. How in the world Brick Brewing was able to get the Canadian rights for a beer brewed by the world’s largest beer conglomerate, I have no idea.

It’s been incredibly humid lately, almost as bad as being in Quebec City, so a strong, crisp lager is very much appreciated. Brick’s Landshark Lager pours your typical crisp straw golden lager, clear as the sky, good amount of carbonation, minimal amount of light white foam that pops up on top just to settle on the side of the glassware. The aroma of Landshark is a very much malt based lager. It’s a sweet, caramel influenced grainy aroma, Notes of buttery store bought toast, typical scents of Canadian camping beers (Moosehead, Kokanee Gold, Labatt 50) pops out once in a while. The taste is very much described by yours truly as a grainy barley malt, sugar, grainy, at the farm lager with a moderate amount of hops to give it a bit of a grassy hop vibrance to it, not bitter as hell, yet present for those who still have their taste buds after drinking 80 two-fours of Bud Light. I wish I could have compared this to a can of Landshark right out of Minot, but I won’t be going to Minot until next week at the earliest, so there’s no comparison this week.

For a lager, this is a much more malt-forwarded lager with notes of honey, gritty barley, memories of cleaning the grainery and a good hint of malt sweetness making this sweeter than Manitoba’s favourite beer, Bud Light.
You can find Brick Brewing’s Landshark Lager at Liquor Marts in  Brandon (10th & Victoria, South End), Dauphin, Minnedosa and Portage La Prairie! $2.75/473mL. 4.6% ABV. 3/5 Pints

If you’re not so much a fan of lagers, Brick Brewing’s really well known in Westman for their Waterloo Grapefruit Radler, in fact.. it’s easily Westman’s most popular radler! If you love the taste of grapefruit juice and a hint of lager, you can find this summer time delight at Liquor Marts and vendors all over the province for $3.25 per 473mL can. 


Actually, one thing I did forget, Beau’s Brewing is coming to Manitoba! Over the years I’ve seen people wearing Beau’s Brewing t-shirts over Westman, and of course - people were disappointed that Beau’s only ships their beer within a 300 mile radius. Within the next few weeks, Beaus’ All Organic Beer will be available here in Manitoba, making it the first time that Beau’s has shipped their beer outside of the 300 mile radius of the brewery, and not only that - they will be bringing many of their popular organic beers to the Wheat City! I’ll be reviewing their beer as soon as it’s available here! 

Is that an import? Nope, made in Canada!


Originally posted in the Brandon Sun, August 7, 2015

Last week, MolsonCoors Canada announced that they were bringing in their popular American beer Blue Moon Belgian Wheat Ale to Canada, as a way to compete against Labatt’s American Shock Top and Goose Island brands. The thing I don’t like about this is that Blue Moon Belgian Wheat Ale is the exact same beer as Rickard’s White - which has been available in Canada since 2006. The beer was near identical to the point that Americans purchasing Blue Moon would regularly get beers labeled with “Blue Moon Brewing Co. Toronto, Ontario/Montreal Quebec” at the Molson breweries. One of the reasons why Blue Moon is coming to Canada (as Belgian Moon because the name copyright for Canada is owned by a brewery out of Toronto) is that the Rickard’s White sales have plummeted a great deal in the past year since Shock Top came to the Canadian market. Like it or not, Canadians love American beers. Molson’s PR team says they will continue to brew Rickard’s White alongside Belgian Moon for the meantime. Time will tell if Coors' Belgian Moon will be brewed out of Golden, Colorado like it is in the States, or rather be brewed at the Molson facilities right next to the Rickard’s brewing tanks. 

With this announcement, I did some quick investigating where our beer is coming from. Many beers we love to drink that we believe are from elsewhere: are actually brewed right here in Canada! In this week’s First Draught, I will be showing you what beers are in fact, made in Canada when you may believe that they are imports.

Made in Canada:
The first one that surprised me was Löwenbrau and its Löwenbrau Radler. The Löwenbrau beers were brewed in Canada between 1999 and 2002 but went back to Germany until October 2014, when Labatt received the Löwenbrau beer rights again. I found the standard Löwenbrau has less malty sweetness to it, a bit lighter and even reminds me of Labatt’s other Canadian products to a point. 

Farmery Lager - Of course Farmery is made in Canada, but the thing you don’t realize is where it’s brewed. Farmery Premium Lager may have great history in Western Manitoba, but the beer is brewed under contract at the Muskoka Brewery in Muskoka, Ontario. With all their publicity showing signs like “farm fresh”  and “brewed from the ground up”, I wish they would start brewing the beer in Manitoba as there’s nearly a dozen breweries within an 8 hour drive of Arden Ridge, Manitoba. I don’t know if full production will ever come to Manitoba, but I’ve heard they are looking into building an interpretive centre with possibility of a small brewery on site to show tourists how beer is made. I’ll believe it when I see it. (EDIT: Farmery will start brewing at their up-and-coming in Neepawa soon - by fall 2016)

Not a surprise, really but Anheuser-Busch's Budweiser, Bud Light and some of their sister beers (ex. Rolling Rock and Shock Top) are brewed at the Labatt Breweries throughout Canada - it’s not considered a premium beer anymore. For Molson, Coors Light  and Coors Altitude are brewed at their Molson facilities throughout Canada. Interestingly enough, Coors Banquet Lager is produced straight at Coors’ main brewery over in Golden Colorado. Kokanee is also brewed at various Labatt facilities throughout Canada now as well. What's actually funny is that Labatt Blue for the US market is brewed by.. get this.. Molson at the Molson Brewery in Toronto!

Alexander Keith’s - Since we’re still on the topic of Labatt - Alexander Keith’s and their wide variety of flavours have been brewed at the Creston, BC Kokanee facility since 2009. When I see Keith’s on a “Premium” beer menu while Kokanee is on a “Domestic” beer menu, it makes me shake my head. Apparently the Keith’s available on the east coast is still good… but I don’t buy the beer anymore anyways.

Goose Island Goose IPA - This original Chicago beer is something you may have just noticed starting to pop up on tap and at local beer vendors and Liquor Marts over the past few weeks. Goose Island IPA is produced at the Labatt facilities. Unfortunately for me, I found Goose IPA to taste too bland for an American-style India Pale Ale.. though it is a tad bit better than your regular Alexander Keith’s. 

Lastly, Sapporo Lager - the most famous Japanese beer in the world is actually brewed at Sleeman’s Brewery in Guelph, Ontario. For Americans, when they purchase a can or case of Sapporo in their neck of the woods, it’s the Canadian version of the beer.. and to top it all off, it’s still listed as an Imported Beer, tricking customers into thinking it came from Japan, not Guelph.

In the United States, lots of foreign breweries are now moving their production to the United States as a reason to keep up with demand and to cut down on shipping costs. Beck’s Lager out of Germany is made in St Louis for the American market. The popular Stubbied beer from Jamaica’s Red Stripe is also now being produced in the United States, and there is a class action suit currently taking place because customers believed that the beer they were drinking Red Stripe straight from Jamaica - thankfully us Canadians get the real Red Stripe, for now. Corona plans on building a new brewery in Southern California in the next few years to cater the US market as the production just can’t meet the demand of consumers all over the world.


Next time you’re buying a beer at the store or at a bar, look and find where your beer is being brewed, it could possibly be brewed close to home, or as far away as Fort Worth, Texas.. or somewhere more international. 

Yukon Brewing's You'd Be Surprised Raspberry Citrus Ale

Yukon You'd Be Surprised Raspberry Citrus Ale

It's been a while since I last tried a beer from Yukon Brewing, but today I'm checking out You'd Be Surprised Raspberry Citrus Ale

Appearance: The beer is a somewhat clear golden/amber ale. The pour gives off a very carbonated fizziness, like a soda. Light white head that diminishes near immediately.

Aroma: Bit of raspberry to start off, hint of lemongrass, grassy alfalfa-esque hops, fairly sweet malt.

Taste: The beer starts off with a grassy vibe but then gives off notes of raspberry, lemongrass and a light hoppiness to top it off.

Overall Thoughts: Quite carbonated, notes of raspberry here and there but it tries to be a raspberry beer but also a citrusy, carbonated beer at the same time. Out of all the beers I've ever had by Yukon, I'm surprised how mediocre it was.

Ten great beers available in Manitoba (Part Five!)


It's been a few years since I've done the Ten great beers available in Manitoba column, but ever since I started writing for the Brandon Sun, I put Ten great beers on hiatus. Buuuut for one night only, I'm bringing it back. Here's my fifth edition of Ten great beers in Manitoba! My sixth edition will likely be popping out in the autumn or early winter once the new Manitoban breweries are canning and distributing to Liquor Marts, vendors and pubs across the province.


Battle of the band… beers!


Unibroue's coming out with a collaboration saison with the band Megadeth called À tout le monde. Here's a review I did for the Brandon Sun back in 2014 of two band beers - AC/DC's Australian Hardrock Lager and Iron Maiden's Trooper Premium British Bitter

Battle of the band… beers!

Beer and alcohol has become such a hot commodity in this era that musicians and celebrities have launched products to boost their brand. There’s the Dan Aykroyd wine and vodka products that are available at local Liquormarts - which he personally came to the 10th & Victoria Liquormart back in 2010 to promote! In Ontario, Tom Green has his own Imperial Stout brewed by Beau’s All Natural Brewing out of Vankleek Hill (near Ottawa) - which we will never see here, unfortunately. Closer to home, the folks over at Flying Monkeys Brewing out of Barrie, Ontario have released a few musician inspired beers, where the musicians themselves are involved in what they want to see in a beer.. Barenaked Ladies was their first (successful) experiment with BNL Imperial Chocolate Stout back in 2012 - which, to me, tasted like a chocolate fudge brownie squeezed in a 750mL bottle, it was incredibly decadent. Then more recently, they collaborated with City & Colour to release an Imperial Maple Wheat Ale, which I’ve heard was pure heaven in a bottle. 

AC/DC and Iron Maiden are two insanely successful bands that have also used the powers of the beer industry to market themselves in a new way, by having their names plastered on bottles (or cans) of beer! While they sure aren’t the first to do it, they may be the most well known to do it.

Let’s start off with AC/DC’s Australian Hardrock Lager, a lager brewed with 5.0 percent ABV, brewed in France at Brasserie Licorne SAS. This kind of scares me right off the bat - France is NOT known for good beer.. Belgium and Quebec on the other hand.. are known for some of the best beers on the planet, but France? They’re a wine producing country. The AC/DC beer pours a very pale straw yellow hay, A thin amount of spongey white head on top. The aroma is your standard North American pilsner aroma - scents of LOTS OF BARLEY!!! A bit of corn, light amount of skunk aroma and a bready aroma of what reminds me of fast food hamburger buns. For the flavour, it’s even lighter as it has a bit of a lightly barley grassy flavour to it, a bit of corn, a bit of some sort of corn syrup extract that gives it a bit too much of a sweet flavour to it. It’s lacking in the flavour department, it’s a bit too sweet and there’s no presence of hops. I was expecting at least a bit of a light floral bitterness tingling my tongue… eventually, but um.. it looks like that’s not going to happen… boo urns to that. 

AC/DC Lager is your typical lower quality Eurolager, a bit of a corny, lightly skunky golden lager that leaves a bit of a syrupy sludge on your tongue long after you’ve finished the beer is very unappetizing for this beer geek. I like a clean finish to my pilsners/lagers.. but that’s just me.  1.5/5 Pints


Now off to Iron Maiden's Trooper Premium British Bitter by Robinson’s Brewery out of the UK. Unfortunately this isn’t a Trooper.. the band themed beer.. for those who are here to raise a little hell, like this typical Canadian hoser. This is Iron Maiden’s own custom-made beer. I’m easily expecting this to beat the AC/DC lager as it’s insanely impossible to find this bottle in stores in the first place, every time one of the local Liquormarts stocks it on the shelves, the shelves are bare within a day or two! That must mean something good. Trooper Premium British Beer pours a nice caramel-honey amber ale, close to no foam on the head, which is actually quite normal for a British Bitter, though I prefer a beer with a decent amount of head! The aroma is actually quite welcoming - if you like a British bitter. There’s scents of sweet malted barley, giving it a bit of a caramel sweetness at first, a bit of a light nutty aroma to give it a light balance on the aroma, a very light touch of hops to give it a hint of a floral touch, all in all - this is reminding me of a British Bitter. For the flavour, it is a tad bitter.. get it… bitter?! Trooper is a bit of a standard amber ale with a hint of bitterness coming from the floral hops to give it a hint of alfalfa. A nice sweet ale with a touch of honey and breakfast cereal taste that reminds me a bit of Alphabets’ cereal, sweet and grainy! For this being a beer brewed in honour of one of the best heavy metal bands of all time, I’m impressed with how drinkable this beer is - it’s not too light, it doesn’t taste like a brewery avoided the hops and instead poured a bunch of corn syrup in the batch - the brewer (Robinson’s Brewery) took the time to brew a typical British Bitter that not only metal heads would love, but so would beer drinkers. The beer is 4.7 percent ABV. 3.5/5 Pints

Review: Collective Project: Gose


Collective Arts has been working on some interesting brews for a one-off beer series called Collective Project. In the project they are working on one-offs including a hefeweizen, black IPA, a papaya saison.. and what I'm about to review, a Gose. Collective Arts' Collective Project: Gose came to Manitoba yesterday as part of the Coast to Coaster beer event at the LC. Actually.. this is the very first time that a Gose has ever been available at the MLCC, ever. Every other time it was a one off at a pub or Half Pints.

I still remember going to Barley Bros back in November during the Grey Cup. My buddy Chris ordered an Anderson Valley Gose, when he ordered it he pronounced it the right way - gose-uh but the bartender was confused and went "you mean gose?" That shows you how well goses sell in Manitoba. Things will change.. now.

Appearance: The Gose (er Gose-uh) pours a straw yellow with just a hint of cloudiness, enough to make you go "is this clear or isn't it?" Good amount of carbonation to start it off but it just leaves off a hint of white foam round the rim of the glass.. less than minimal.

Aroma: Somewhat tart, a hint of salt, notes of vinegar.. er more like fresh cut potato chips with salt and malt vinegar. Somewhat grainy profile in the back.. I just can't describe that scent.

Taste: The taste starts off a bit sour, like salt and vinegar chips right in the middle of the tongue, followed by a very heavy sack of steeped barley water. Tastes like the farm. Some grassiness, hint of lemon but for the most part - what I described already.

Overall Thoughts: Not much really there. Salt & Vinegar chips hitting a specific part of my tongue and for the rest of the time.. steeped barley. Higher ABV than most Goses I've had at 5.2% ABV. Not great but not bad at all.

http://collectiveartsbrewing.com/beer/collective-project-gose/

Evil Twin Femme Fatale Brett


I've had a few Evil Twin beers over the years.. a few of them being collaborations.. like hoser Ryan and the Gosling with Crooked Stave and a few others that I don't remember right now.. all I remember is BRETT! Right now I'm checking out Femme Fatale Brett, another of Evil Twin's brews made with Brett. I've been drinking a good amount of Brett beers lately so I'm slowly getting used to them, but I need to see a brewery in Manitoba brewing it regularly/seasonally or MLCC to bring a Brett beer or three... so I can finally get used to the barnyardness for once and all.

Appearance: Femme Fatale Brett pours a heavy, cloudy golden straw, there's not much carbonation taking place but there's a light amount of white head on top collecting at the side of the glass and a few bubbles here and there near the middle of the beer.

Aroma: Damn that Brett! It's your typical funky barnyard woody aroma, notes of lemon, other citrus notes including a sweet pineapple zest, and god damned.. this reminds me of clearing straw out of the barn when I was 4-5 years old.

Taste: Tastes like it smells, a good deal of barn yard here. Lots of straw, lemon, the taste of a wood cattle barn if it was made into a beer. Then there's notes of lemongrass, pineapple, a bit of breadiness to it, a hint of booziness that's getting me a bit buzzed and an aftertaste thats slightly metallic, slightly bitter from the hops being used.

Overall Thoughts: Actually, I know what a barn yard smells like as I've been shovelling cow shit since I was a toddler. This is a woody, citrusy beer with a bit of a tartiness to it, a hint salty like a gose.

http://eviltwin.dk/Femme-Fatale-Brett

New Belgium Le Terroir Dry Hopped Sour Ale (2015)


You know what pisses me the fuck off? A lot of things.. but a roommate stealing your hard earned beer is one of the very top of the things on the list. I had a bottle of Half Pints' Old Red Barn Sour Ale waiting for me, just to find out that the $14.95 CDN bottle of beer was stolen from me. No idea who stole it, but I have my hunches. It's hard to save up to buy such specialty beers when I only work 10hrs a week (yeah, I'm job searching) and my life seems to be going nowhere sometimes..

I picked up a bottle of New Belgium's La Terroir (2015) at Sobey's Liquor in Regina a few months back and surprisingly.. it wasn't stolen somehow, so instead of the jackass piece of shit drinking it and not actually enjoying it.. I'm reviewing it!

I love New Belgium, while they seem to be one of the larger micros out there, they still make solid beers time and time again, and anything in their Lips of Faith series is guaranteed to be beyond solid.

Appearance: La Terroir pours a lightly cloudy orange/golden in colour. Light to moderate amount of carbonation. A light but nice amount of off-white foam sprinkled on top and clinging to the side of the glass.

Aroma: Damn aromatic sour. I'm getting the notes of soury goodness. Notes of sour cherries, a hint of earthiness (peat?), a light amount of soap (ivory), a hint of wood, vinegar and a hint of bug spray (not that that's a bad thing).

Taste: Getting goosebumps from the first sip I take. A sour lemon vibe with notes of oak, vinegar, a light amount of bitterness from the hops, a good deal of fruitiness that gives off a medley of apricot, grapefruit and well.. as said before.. lemon. There's also a hint of caramel that pops up in the beer once in a while.

Overall Thoughts: Damn, that's a solid sour. While it's sour/tart and even gives me some goosebumps, it also has nice sweet fruit and caramel notes popping up once in a while. One of my old piece of shit roommates stole my 2014 bottle of Le Terroir, I'm glad I was able to save this before another piece of shit would've drank this. 7.5% ABV

http://www.newbelgium.com/beer/le-terroir

Bière de Balcon by the Drunk French Canadian


Today we have a guest post by mon ami Oni Dèls, AKA THE Drunk French Canadian! It's been a long time since I had a guest post here, but Oni has been around the Quebec scene for a long time, and even even worked at the Molson Brewery at one time, so he's been around! Today he's giving a review of his favourite beer for summer 2016 - Bière de Balcon by L'espace public - brasseurs de quartier!

Bière de Balcon

I have to tell you a secret: I'm not a “real” Montrealer. That is.. I wasn’t born on this island, but rather on that other island. Anyways.. It’s of no real concern whether or not I come from a place that the local refers as “douchebag land”.

What I meant to say is that I moved roughly five years ago to a small neighbourhood called Hochelaga, and just a couple weeks after that, a new pub.. pretty much the first of its kind in this area, was opening: L’espace Public - brasseurs de quartier.


L'espace Public is a bar dedicated to fun beers for fun people made by people dedicated to making great beers. It didn't me take long until I became a regular there, and now I'm following their evolution in this local beer revolution that's happening throughout the neighbourhood. Lately, we're seeing more and more microbrew-focused restaurants and pubs opened up surrounding L'espace Public but none of them have the same following nor the same beer geeks who know what they wanted.


Now, they have reimagined their image and have launched their 3 first beers to take home: 3 sours in cans. Like many of their other popular beers, these 3 have odd and funny names, but I’m going to focus solely on their berliner weiß, the Bière de Balcon (aka the Balcony Beer). This sour is a mere 3% ABV and has a very lemony taste, but is brewed with raspberry and has a sweet aftertaste, not too syrupy and not too sugary.. like sour candy that you can drink! This perfect summer beer is great to be shared with friends on long evening in a packed apartment, celebrating life and such. But beware: it is a sour beer. It’ll take more than just a sip to get use to it, and some won't dare drink more than one. Shame though.. because the tongue gets used to it rapidly and beside the occasional cheeks going inward, you’ll see that the can is quickly empty.


But it is ok that you don't like it, a lot of crazy dudes and dudettes love sour beer, counting me amongst their rank.


Oh. But that's not all, while I won’t go in deeper details (for now) about the two other cans, let me whisper you sweet poetry about them: La Bière de coin de rue (aka corner street beer), a sour blonde with strong cereal taste, and the very peculiar Bière de ruelle (aka back alley beer), a hoppy sour that reminds us of west coast IPAs.

But that’s the canned ones. For their launch, the pub had a lot of sour on taps, many of their own recipe, like their “mon ami(e)...” series (my friend...)
Mon amie Maxime, another hoppy sour..
Mon ami Whiskey, a smoked rye sour..
Mon ami Frank, a sour stout that taste like heaven, but mostly chocolate­y citrus..
And others, that sadly as I am writing this, 4 days after launch, have already been erased from the beer menu board and replaced by more conventional (read: less sour) beers.


I’m obviously 300% biased, because I love this place and the people who work here, but they do brew really good beers, and if you happen to find yourself on Promenade Ontario, remember my not­so­-wise words and go for a pint, you will thank me later!


While so far the cans are only available in the greater Montreal area, we can only wish for it to be distributed on a greater scale, and perhaps this is the start of a great line of beers from our favourite pigeon brewers...


“Another pint, another story...” Cheers guys!
­ “Oni” Dèls, your favourite Drunk French Canadian. 

The Beer With No Name by Lake of the Woods Brewing


Originally posted in the Brandon Sun, June 10, 2016

Last week, the second edition of “Coast to Coaster” launched at select Liquor Marts and beer vendors to show off some of the best beers Canada has to offer, especially beers never before seen in Manitoba. 
Last year, they did a large advertising blitz, making sure that everyone knew about the event. This year, the MLCC kept it fairly quiet for the most part, not really promoting it before it even began and also - expanding it from one month to two full months, and not only that - spreading the event out over the course of two months. So instead of a huge influx of beers arriving all at once, 8 beers will be featured for two weeks straight. This year’s retail participants for Coast to Coaster are the Liquor Marts at 10th & Victoria and South End, the beer vendors at Keystone Motor Inn and Victoria Inn, B & D Hardware in Onanole, Spud City Family Foods in Carberry and Kim’s Family Mart in Austin. I’m glad to see a good variety of locations promoting the Coast to Coaster event this year!

Kenora’s Lake of the Woods is one of the participants for this year’s edition of Coast to Coaster. To me, they are Manitoba’s first brewpub post-2003 because it’s so close to Manitoba that it might as well be part of Manitoba! Last year they expanded big time by bringing in a canning line allowing them to sell their beer in convenient 473mL cans, rather than just selling 50L kegs or 1.89L growlers. The biggest upside of the addition of a canning line is the product doesn’t spoil as quickly as a growler does - the shelf life of a growler is up to a month tops, and that’s if it’s refrigerated the entire time, while for cans, depending on the style, it can stay fresh for as long as six to twelve months depending on the style. I previously reviewed and raved about Lake of the Woods’ Forgotten Lake Blueberry Ale and now they have a raspberry ginger beer called The Beer With No Name Raspberry Ginger Wheat Ale. To me, raspberry and ginger are two flavours that seem to scream “SUMMER!” so I’m excited to see how Lake of the Woods did.

The Beer With No Name pours a heavy, cloudy, grapefruit pink with half a finger of creamy white head, to me - this is exactly what I expect in a fruit beer - the more unfiltered, the better! The aroma actually reminds me a great deal of Unibroue’s Éphémère Framboise as it’s a bready, yeasty beer with a good deal of raspberry sweetness to it. Light grassy aroma but for the most part - fruity! The flavour starts out with a large amount of sweetness from the puréed raspberries, followed by a hint of lemon, a hint of ginger but lacklustre on the ginger side. The more I drink the beer, I start to get a bit of a tingling sensation on the tongue, I am divided on rather it’s the ginger or the hops used because it could be either way but it’s certainly not a bitter aftertaste, just a tingling aftertaste.. if that makes any sense to you. 

As an unfiltered raspberry wheat ale, it’s pretty decent and surprisingly reminiscent of Unibroue’s Framboise, but the ginger aspect was lacking completely, I was hoping for a bit of heat from the ginger or even more than just a passing through hint of ginger. It’s a fair bit tart, but easily a patio worthy beer that’s considerably more natural than any Shock Top will ever be. $3.85 per 473mL can. 6.0% ABV. You should be able to find it at the retailers I mentioned earlier but act quick - stock is very limited!


3.5/5 Pints