Monday, 1 September 2014

Review: Last Cast Summer IPA by Fernie Brewing

In the next 48 hours, BeerCrank.ca will have its 200,000th visitor. It's crazy! I started 'blogging' about beer in 2005, and 9 years later now I write for a local newspaper and get to talk about beer more than ever!

 Today's review is Last Cast Summer IPA by Fernie Brewing. I've had a few of Fernie's offerings in the past and for the most I've found their beers to be decent but lacking a bit of a punch. That being said, even if I don't find a beer to be a 5/5, I'll still try almost all their other offerings. I'm a big fan of Summer IPAs as they combine two of my favourite flavours - lemon & citrusy zestiness and piney hops. Heck, Muskoka's Detour is one of my absolute favourite India Pale Ale sessions out there. It's a beautiful sunny afternoon here in Manitoba, no sign of autumn yet but the weather is only going to get chillier from now on, so why not drink a Summer IPA while it's still summer, for now?!

Appearance: Last Cast pours a lightly hazy golden straw. Thick amount of off-white foam, a decent amount of foam is sticking to the side of the glass. Nice amount of micro carbonation, this, to me looks like what I think a summer IPA should look like.

Aroma: Mmm.. lemon zest, medium amount of pine & alfalfaesque hops to give it a nice bitterness to it. A decent amount of yeastiness to it, reminiscent of Belgian IPAs to a point.  Some tropical fruitiness to it like grapefruit.

Taste: Tropical fruits, lemon zest, piney hops to give it a nice hoppy balance. Quite a sweet IPA yet features a great deal of West Coast hops to give it a nice hoppy backing. Very smooth and creamy to the palate, yet a bit of a light bitter aftertaste that lingers for a bit.

Overall Thoughts: Solid Summer IPA. Reminiscent to Muskoka's Detour, but less tropical sweetness than Detour. I keep walking past this beer because I was broke for the past month, but now that I'm back to work after a few weeks off (and starting a new job), I just had to go out and splurge $6.50 for the 650mL bottle - $6.50 isn't bad at all for a solid citrusy summer friendly IPA. What really surprises me is that this is 6.7% ABV! I would have expected this to be 5.5% ABV tops as it's incredibly easy to drink and probably one of the better IPAs I've had this summer, especially when I'm not wanting a "boat load of bitter hops" in an IPA.

Sunday, 3 August 2014

Cranky Cody is back

You know what grinds my gears? Twitter, but that's a story for another day.

I've been gone for a while, mainly because frankly - I don't have interest blogging on here anymore. 80% of my traffic is either people looking for reviews of Bud Light Mojito or bloggers wanting photos to rip for their blogs, so I'm not in the mood to really blog.

I'm also busy with work, starting a new position that's essentially my old position, so I haven't been able to find the time to actually review much.

That and I'm dealing with worst spout of depression since 2009 or so - some days I forget to take my medication and when I do forget - I get insanely painful spasms throughout my body that feels like a twitch through my nerves every 5-10 seconds, which make its way from my back to all the way to my head, and once it reaches my head, I get a bit of a quick ringing sound... like the tinnitus kind of ringing if you were at a loud concert or if it's absolutely dead quiet.. but only for a brief second every 5-10 seconds.

There's other reasons I'm not happy as well. Well, looking at photos of myself from two years ago, I looked good, I was losing weight, sure I was depressed as hell but I was vying to join the military, but now, I have no drive to lose weight anymore so I gained back every single pound of fat ever since, because I have 0 drive to lose weight again. Get a girl? No, I didn't date eff all when I was single anyways. Feel healthy? Meh, my diet hasn't really changed in years, in fact - I go days without eating which is NOT healthy.

Then there's the beer part that pisses me the fuck off. Ever since MLCC merged with Manitoba Lotteries, I've noticed at Liquormarts throughout Manitoba going downhill in quality. All in all it has to do with streamlining, what's happening is that the government wants to streamline operations of two departments that have nothing to do with each other either than being a sin tax. I've talked with Liquormart employees and managers around the province and what's happening for the beer scene is that it seems that head office is wanting to cut back on the amount of craft beer selection and you're really starting to see it. You're noticing LCs that had outstanding beer selections now only stocking the basics in the name of the all mighty dollar. With that, it's hurting craft beer growth in Manitoba. One such example is that Dieu du Ciel is FINALLY available in Manitoba, but you have to pay up the ass to get taste of it - at $28ish before tax, Aphrodisiaque is rated one of the best beers on the planet, but they want to make you pay for convenience. Not only that, a lot of LCs that were known for carrying a great selection of micros aren't carrying beers like Aphrodisiaque. But what's frustrating is not the lack of locations that carry it (ie 0 Brandon locations), but $28 is just a freaking rip-off. I can paypal a friend from Montreal the amount it costs AFTER taxes and deposit and they would be making a nice profit off it. I've regularly seen Aphrodisiaque on sale at places like IGA and Metro for $9.99-$11.99. To ship to Manitoba, it's generally around $15-17 including supplies. So in the end of the day, it's cheaper to paypal them plus give them a few dollar tip than it is to buy it from your local Liquormart.

Secondly, I generally end up putting my beer bottles in recycling. Yes, vendors are SUPPOSED to accept my Unibroue, Granville Island (650s) and Muskoka bottles as I've paid a deposit on at the local Liquormarts or beer vendors, but I find that the staff at a lot of vendors are generally cranky as fuck (just like me) and absolutely refuse to accept anything that isn't the standard Molson/Labatt/Sleeman because "it looks different". I've gotten told by beer vendor clerks "we don't take that here" and when I respond with "I'm not lugging this back with me", they tell me to take it because they aren't going to look after it. The only thing I can really do is contact MLCC about it, and sometimes one email to MLCC will fix it, but quite often some of the more sketchy vendors still refuse. With new "Social Responsibility" changes, prices in the "weird looking beers" have gone up as much as 10¢ per 650mL bottle, but these vendors are allowed to serve Lucky Extra til as late as 2:30AM on some nights?!

Thirdly and finally - Why can't we have private beer stores that AREN'T ATTACHED TO SKETCHY AS FUCK MOTELS?! I would like to see a beer boutique that caters to beer geeks. Look at Montreal, they're everywhere and the staff at locations like Dépanneur Peluso are insanely educated in everything to do with beer, while at the local LC I've been told "If you want an amazing beer, try Bud Light Lime", which made me cringe beyond belief. I think it's time for MLLC to allow for private beer stores to allow for growth of the craft beer scene as it seems Manitoba's craft beer scene is stagnated due to the lack of brewpubs and with the reduction of craft beer happening at some Liquormarts. I know lots of people are calling for a full on privatization of liquor sales in Manitoba, but what makes me laugh is that go to rural Manitoba and you can get beer and rye at the local Co-Op, but in urban places you have to buy your beer completely separately from your milk and cookies. Also, MLCC should be promoting our own local brands more. Farmery is getting a lot of PR at the small town Co-Ops and Liquormarts, but you never really see MLLC showing off Manitoban products, telling customers we have products made right here in Manitoba that are rated among some of the best in all of Canada. It's 2014 and I still know too few people who are familiar with the Half Pints brand.

Now that I'm done, the stress tick has calmed down just a tad. I know I shouldn't be in Manitoba, I belong in Quebec, I'm just a cranky born-in-Manitoba outsider here.

Sunday, 6 July 2014

Review: Farnham 64 IPA Américaine

I'm in a bit of a bah humbug mood. Here in Brandon, we're experiencing the second one-in-300-year flood in 3 years, mosquitos are everywhere, tornados galore, monsoon rain, some of the weirdest weather I've ever seen. Plus the fact that my parents live in the tornado capital of Manitoba makes me uneasy. However, a good beer will help calm the nerves for a few minutes.

Let's try out Farnham Ale And Lager's IPA Américaine, which, as you probably guessed, is a take on American style IPAs, meant to be full on hops, sweet maltiness, light amount of citrus, and great for a patio quencher.

Appearance: I love Farnham's packaging as it reminds me of beer labels from the 1950s, very simple and straightforward yet incredibly catchy. The beer pours a light honey brown. Quite frothy, a creamy beige foam that slowly goes down.

Aroma: Notes of various hops including cascade, a bit of a brown sugar sweetness, light amount of citrus, a bit of pine sap and a hint of mint.

Taste: A bit of a watery mouth feel, not as bitter as most American-style IPAs. A bit of pine notes, sweet caramel malt, slightly nutty, light straw notes, not the best IPA I've had from Quebec unfortunately.

Overall Thoughts: It's alright, but not great, but at $2.99/can, you can't go wrong with that price. Much lighter than I expected, but very easy to drink, and still more bitter than a Keith's by far! 6.0% ABV.

Thursday, 26 June 2014

Review: Lake of the Woods Brewing's Sultana Ale



I've heard of Lake of the Woods Brewery for a long time now, but since I don't generally get out of the province, I was never able to try their beer. Heck, the only other time I ever picked up a growler of beer was in Minot at Souris River Brewing - but that growler wasn't for me, unfortunately. My sister was in Northern Ontario seeing her boyfriend, so I got her to drive by Kenora and pick up some beer at Lake of the Woods. She doesn't know what I like so when she buys beer for me (ie xmas), she picks whatever the people at the liquor store recommend. The clerk at LowBrewCo suggested Sultana Gold Ale.

Sultana Gold Ale is a light blonde ale made with malted Canadian wheat, pale ale and pilsner malts that tops out at 4.5% ABV, the kind of beer you would see on the patios during summer time.

Appearance: Sultana Gold pours a light straw golden body. Lots of micro carbonation, light creamy white head that's thick and frothy at first, but gently goes down.

Aroma: A mixture of Canadian pilsner aromas and light pale ale, malted barley, a light toasted bread note, a bit of angel food cake sweetness and a light touch of sweetness.

Taste: Your standard pilsner style beer, it has notes of sweet malted barley to give it a bit of sweetness, a bit of light bitterness from the hops, lightly toasty and grainy, comparable to other prairie pilsners like Farmery or Fort Garry. Not bad but I'm not a pilsner fan at all.

Overall Thoughts: Will easily appeal to the average beer drinker on the prairies (or Northern Ontario) but not something beer snobs would run and buy. There's a light sweet aftertaste that lingers long after the beer (*hick*) is gone. If you're a fan of pilsners, you will surely enjoy Sultana Gold. For me, I want something with a bit more hops to it. I do appreciate the graininess of the beer, to give it an authentic flavour though.

lowbrewco.com/our-beer/sultana-gold/

Monday, 23 June 2014

Review: Boréale Bière naturelle India Pale Ale

One from the old hoard - Boréale IPA is one of Boréale's most popular beers part of the Natural Ale line.

Appearance: Boréale IPA pours a cloudy copper-orange beer with no ability to see through it. Very thick and creamy whipped beige foam.

Aroma: A bit like paint, minimal amount of bitter hoppiness in there. Hint of floral maltiness in there, quite creamy, decent amount of hops though lighter than most IPAs out there.

Taste: Creamy mouthfeel is the first thing I notice, a bit of a caramel maltiness, light bitterness of hops, a bit sweet, light bitter aftertaste but past its best before date.

Overall Thoughts: Should've drank this sooner.

www.boreale.com/en/boreales/ipa

Review: Granville Island Shipload of Hops Imperial IPA

Of course this beer is a play on words of "Shitload of hops" and I appreciate the commedy out of it on Granville Island's part!

Appearance: Shipload of Hops Imperial IPA pours a rich yet clear reddish honey brown ale with a very thick amount of beige head that will NOT go down, it's here for the long run.

Aroma:. Shipload has the aroma of sweet caramel malt, light amount of alfalfa, a bit of a breadiness, quite sweet for an Imperial IPA. Light hoppiness, but not exactly where it shows up to the game.

Taste: A syrupy Imperial IPA with caramel malt as the forerunner of the beer. Bit of a creamy mouth feel, a bit of a bitterness coming from a mixture of the hops and the high 8.7% ABV alcohol content. Incredibly light bitterness, this is much more of a tropical IPA than anything else.

Overall Thoughts: For it being a West Coast Imperial India Pale Ale, I was shocked how lack-of-bitterness this beer was. It was more of a British style IPA in the sense that the caramel malt was much more predominant than the bitter & floral hops were, it was as if the hops were busy playing in a beer league hockey game. There were minor notes of cascade here and there, but that's about it. It's incredibly sweet and caramelly, reminds me more of a Wee Heavy Scotch style ale, but with more hops. Then again, at 8.7% ABV, you WILL likely get a bit of a buzz from the beer. Not what I expected for a beer with the name of "Shipload of Hops", but I still enjoyed it for the sweet caramel creaminess.

gib.ca/beer/shipload-of-hops-imperial-ipa/

Sunday, 22 June 2014

Review: Fernie Lone Wolf IPA

Ah.. another IPA! Today's IPA is Fernie Brewing's Lone Wolf IPA.

Keeping it short today..

Appearance: Lone Wolf pours an incredibly light golden amber, very carbonated, and a thick amount of head. Almost looks like a lager to me.

Aroma: Light yet still decent, light pine notes, a bit of a grassiness, a bit of lemon zest and just of a parfumic aroma to it.

Flavour: Medium amount of bitterness coming from the piney hops, notes of alfalfa, lemon, a bit of a bitter snappiness in the back and a creamy mouthfeel.

Overall Thoughts: Lighter than your standard West Coast IPA, but I wouldn't turn this beer down, ever. A nice golden IPA with a decent hoppy bitterness yet very easy to drink. Could easily be used as a "gateway IPA" to move people away from Alexander Keith's. 6.5% ABV.

Friday, 13 June 2014

Comparison review: Dieu du Ciel! Rosée d'Hibiscus VERSUS New Belgium Lips of Faith' Heavenly Feijoa



I love Dieu du Ciel! Now it's time to try one of Dieu du Ciel's Rosée d'Hibiscus for the first time! I tried just about every other Dieu du Ciel beer already and hell, I even TRIED a collaboration ale between Dieu du Ciel and New Belgium to create the Heavenly Fiejoa Tripel Belgian-style ale. I reviewed Heavenly Feijoa last year and it was pretty damned good. Check out the review here! Also, we will do a comparison afterwards.

Appearance: Dieu du Ciel's Rosée d'Hibiscus pours a cloudy reddish cherrywood. A light amount of foam, less than half a finger thick of a light pink foam.. goes down quickly with a film clinging by the side.

Aroma: First notes: coriander, very floral, some roses in there, incredibly sweet like a Unibroue Éphémère cerise, light tartness, but overall reminds me of cherries and the tartness is supposedly from the floral hibiscus flower.

Taste: Belgian yeast comes out first, secondly a sweet cherry like flavour, tartness coming from the floral hibiscus, leaves a very tart aftertaste that is reminiscent of a Belgian sour, but light. Actually it also reminds me notes of my mom's favourite faux fruity wines like Arbor Mist.

Overall Thoughts: Seriously one of those great summer time beers, lots of sweet notes of fruits like cherry and strawberry, tartness coming from the hibiscus flowers to keep your mouth thinking long after the beer's done, some aroma & taste notes that remind me of Arbor mist, coriander, Belgian yeast and hints of a sour ale.


NOW on to review of New Belgium's Lips of Faith Heavenly Feijoa Tripel


Appearance: Pours a somewhat-hazy copper orange, not that unfiltered in appearance compared to most Belgian ales I've had, decent amount of off-white head that just STICKS to the side.

Aroma: A bit sour ale. Quite a sour ale, a bit sweet, , note of grapes, floral hibiscus flowers, very sweet grapeness, reminiscent of a fine wine, a bit sour.

Taste:A bit like a fine wine on the palate, sweet yet sour and tart notes, a bit warmth, memories of grapes, a bit sour and dry... damn... this ain't your standard beer! Sour and very tart like a Belgian sour. Bit of a note of apple, but sour ale for the most part.

Overall Thoughts:Your standard Belgian sour, yeasty, sour, kind of sweet from apples, very strong, and nearly made me barf as it was incredibly strong on my palate.

Out of the two.. which was the better of the two? You could obviously tell Dieu du Ciel's involved in New Belgium's beer as it has obvious floral and sweet fruity notes all over the place in Heavenly Feijoa Tripel. I preferred the original, Rosée d'Hibiscus the most in the end, it was a great sweet, floral and not too strong in flavour, especially as it was only 5.5% ABV. Rosée d'Hibiscus is coming to Manitoba soon.. but for something like $26 per 6 pack. Ouch.

Dieu du Ciel!

New Belgium

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Review: Pit Caribou IPA Américaine

As you can tell, I've been pretty quiet on this site lately.. part of it is because I'm crankier than ever, and another part has to do with that I'm always busy with work or writing up my First Draught for the Sun, but I'm still here, and still reviewing beers!

The first tasting for the first time in a while is Pit Caribou IPA Américaine - a take on the American hop-forward IPAs that we happen to know and love here in Canada. Pit Caribou was one of my favourite breweries from Quebec ever since a great beer geek friend of mine sent me a bottle of HOLY SHIT, THIS VERY SAME BEER! Holy, I actually reviewed this beer back in 2012, but since it now has a brand new bottle - with a really perty painted label, I didn't realize I had tried this already, but the IPA Américaine was one of THE best Quebec IPAs I've ever had, tied with Le Castor's Yakima IPA.

Appearance: IPA Américaine pours a very cloudy honey-copper orange, there's a huge amount of floating sediment, a nice light glazing of off-white foam that goes down ever so slowly, but when it's done, leaves a nice amount of film on the side of the glassware, as well as a minimal amount of foam on the top of the beer.

Aroma: La bière has a very bitter, yet a fresh cut grass aroma to it, lightly nutty, scents of pine, a light sprinkling of yeastiness in there, very hoppy and very floral.

Taste: I'm currently burping up hops, it's a very bitter floral hop forward IPA, minimal malt notes, a slight caramel sweetness but that's all. Grainy as heck, not surprising as the beer is very thick for an IPA, lots of graininess in the beer seeing as of course.. it's unfiltered. Quite a bitter IPA, but eassssy to drink. A bit of a creamy and bitter hop aftertaste after the beer's done.

Overall Thoughts: Still one of the best Quebec IPAs I've had, very floral, very hop forward. It's only 7% ABV and 77 IBU but it feels like it's more on both ends.

La Gaspésie proves that beer from rural Canada can be amazingly awesome. Now we need a beer like this by a rural Manitoban brewery.

http://www.pitcaribou.com/

Sunday, 25 May 2014

Review: Microbrasserie Charlevoix's La Vache Folle Imperial Milk Stout



Microbrasserie Charlevoix is simply amazing - I've never had a bad beer by them, and when their beers were briefly available in Manitoba, I'd buy it and hoard it. Their La Vache Folle Imperial Milk Stout is known as one of the best milk stouts in all of North America so it's time for me to try it myself!

Appearance: Pours a thick murky black stout, just like what you would expect from a.. stout. A decent amount of caramel-like head, a bit foamy and creamy on top, looks a bit like a whipped topping.

Aroma: There's notes of milk chocolate, a bit of coffee, and overall - reminds me of milk and growing up on the farm, a very fresh from the farm aroma in there.

Taste: A very creamy mouthfeel which is reminiscent of a creamy mocha latte. A big zing of alcohol with it being 9% ABV - reminiscent of my dad's favourite drink - Sheridans. Lots of chocolate, even more of a hint of milk, light notes of roasted coffee from the malt.

Overall Thoughts: Very reminiscent of chocolate milk straight from la vache on the farm, but if the vache only ate malted barley and spewed out alcohol! Very creamy, very noticeable milk notes in here. Very creamy, sweet milk chocolate, light coffee notes, 9% ABV, overall it's one of the best Imperial Stouts I've had in a long time, very creamy!