Friday, 18 April 2014

Review: Beyond the Pale Imperial Super Guy

Review: Beyond the Pale Imperial Super Guy Imperial IPA Mon ami Ryan was raving about this one brewery called Beyond the Pale Brewery in Ottawa, stating that it was easily becoming one of Ontario's best breweries, so good that the brewery is closed to public Sunday to Wednesday so that the brewers can keep brewing small batches of amazing beer for the local beer geeks. Since the brewery is only open from Thursday to Saturday for beer geeks to buy their product, it can be hard for some people to make the trek down the brewery and pick up some fresh microbrew but that if you do - you are lucky. I believe him, he knows good beer!

Ryan picked up a few bottles of Beyond the Pale's beer, I don't recall one of the beers at the moment but the other one was Imperial Super Guy. With a name like Imperial Super Guy, it reminds me of a mashup of Teeny Little Super Guy and 5 Neat Guys. Imperial Super Guy is an Imperial Rye IPA with 9.1% ABV, higher than your standard IIPA/DIPA, 90 IBU and comes in an awesome 1L jug that I like to call "the mega stubby"

Appearance: Pours a thick murky amber honey orange. Reminiscent to me of a barley wine or.. of course.. a solid DIPA/IIPA, minimal beige head on top, but decent amount of carbonation.

Aroma: Mmmm Imperial IPA for the win.. it's a bitter pine, grapefruit, a bit of a syrupy note and incredibly sugary.

Flavour: Malted rye, incredibly bitter, some pine notes, even more rye notes. A minimal amount of citrus, some caramel popping up in there, even more hops, and yep.. rye! It's interesting.. I like bitterness so if you like bitter bitter IPAs, you'll love it, but if you like more of a citrus/malty IPA, you will be disappointed.

Overall Thoughts: No wonder they're closed most of the week.. very interesting take on a Rye Imperial IPA, Imperial Super Guy - at 90 IBU is quite a bitter IIPA. Minimal notes of citrus, more rye and hops than anything. Incredibly thick.. but at 9.1% ABV, it's a savouring beer. Also, the "mega stubby" HAS to be shared, though you could theoretically save the beer for later as it has a screw-cap for easy re-usability.. which means home brewers can use this for home brewing easily!

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Review: Unibroue Éphémère Canneberge (Cranberry)

Review: Unibroue Éphémère Canneberge (Cranberry) Unibroue has another new beer as part of their Éphémère line of beers, which tend to be a yeasty and fruity series of ales, this time it's a Cranberry Ale, the first new beer they've launched since Éphémère Cérise last year.

Appearance: Pours a cloudy, light beige/yellow beer with a minimal amount of foam.

Aroma: The smells of belgian yeast, bubble gum, cranberries and sugar is all I seem to notice.

Taste: Standard taste of the Ephemere line of beers, a yeasty, zesty, citrusy beer. Notes of cranberries pop up, more sweet than tart than I expected, was expecting a bit of a tart beer. A hint of apples, a bit heavy in carbonation

Overall Thoughts: Not as tart as I expected, this is more of a cranberry extract when it comes to flavour. I still miss the Cassis variety of the beer because that was the only one in the Ephemere series that pulled off the tartiness. 5.5% ABV.

This beer is now available in Manitoba as well now for $5.70 before taxes at your local Liquormart.

Sunday, 13 April 2014

Review: Glutenberg India Pale Ale

Glutenberg India Pale Ale Okay, this is my first review since leaving Quebec, I'm still feeling a smidge jet lagged, but I still think it was just a dream.. how was it possible I could be so happy for more than a few minutes at a time?! Can't be possible!

Recently, I did a piece on Gluten-Free Beer available in Manitoba in the Brandon Sun as the options for celiacs and people trying to avoid gluten are becoming more and more popular over time. I decided I should try another Gluten Free beer, this time Glutenberg India Pale Ale by Brasseurs sans Gluten.

Appearance: Glutenberg India Pale Ale pours a light golden straw yellow with a hint of honey to give it a bit of an orange hue to it. Minimal carbonation, a bit of snow white head at top. Lighter in appearance than most craft IPAs

Aroma: There ARE some hops like cascade making an appearance in here, so it's a bit hoppy.. but I'm noticing more of a rice krispy scent in there and a bit of millet.

Taste: Something's a bit off in this, it's quite bitter, but not really from the hops, but from the grain malts used to brew this beer.. it's a weird sweetness that immediately turns bitter (probably from the millet), the buckwheat is very noticeable in here, which also gives it a bit of a bitterness to it. Some citrus notes of lemon backing this up. Slightly syrupy feel when it enters my mouth, but turns quite watery instantly. The final bitterness of this beer is finally from the hops.

Overall Thoughts: Gluten Free beers are incredibly hard to perfect. The combination of millet and buckwheat give it an incredibly weird bitter/sweetness to it. It leaves a real metallic aftertaste on the tongue as well. The more I drink this, the more I don't mind it though, but it just tastes.. different.

The Glutenberg India Pale Ale contains water, millet, buckwheat, corn, black rice, candi syrup, corn maltodextrin, hops, yeast

Monday, 7 April 2014

Review: Dieu du Ciel Moralité American IPA

Dieu du Ciel Moralité American IPA I've had more Dieu du Ciel beers in the past 48 hours than I have had in the rest of my life combined. It helps that they have a brewpub a short walk from my hotel! Mon ami Alain brought by a few bottles of DDC for me to try and damn, I'm grateful! Some great treats!

One of the bottles he brought over was Moralité American India Pale Ale. Like most Quebec breweries, DDC is quite a Belgian influenced brewery, yet that didn't stop them from creating an Americanesque IPA.

Appearance: Moralité pours a cloudy orange ale with a bit of snow white head that glistens at the top of the beer. Some sediment is present.

Aroma: Yep, this is an American IPA, a West Coast style but a bit toned down, not overly hoppy but it has notes of grapefruit, piney hops, orange peel and lemon. It has a bit of a Belgian yeastiness to it as well.

Taste: Aside from Yakima by Castor, this is probably one of the best Quebec brewery takes on American IPAs I've had, tastes just like what it smells. A liberal sprinkling of various hops like Cascade to give it a very aromatic taste. Quite a bit of a bitterness yet not over the top. Some yeastiness and notes of grapefruit and pine top it all off.

Overall Thoughts: 6.9% ABV, this is a very solid IPA, even by West Coast standards! Not over the top but incredibly flavourful in every aspect.

Review: L'Alchimiste Pilsner Blonde

L'Alchimiste Pilsner blonde Can't believe that this is my first beer review since landing in Montreal on Thursday. I've drank an insane amount of beers and hung out with some amazing peeps (Unfortunately no dates with cute French girls.. ah well!) I've tried so many beers that I don't remember what my favourite was.

I'm not a fan of pilsners but Alchimiste's Pilsner Blonde is very solid.

Appearance: Pours a cloudy light straw golden yellow, quite light in appearance, minimal amount of snow white head. Reminds me of a Fort Garry unfiltered Frontier pilsner.

Aroma: Not your standard Canadian pils, it's lightly hopped, a grainy maltiness and an incredible amount of citrus zest of lemon. Very solid springtime pilsner.

Taste: At only 4.1%,this beer is a good session-style pilsner, it's sweet, a nice amount of floral hops, a bit of a bitterness that lingers on the palate, and lots of barley notes. Hard to say no to this beer!

Overall Thoughts: Incredibly solid pils, a bit yeasty, sweet, and perfect for spring time patio weather. No corniness at all.

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Review: Boundary Ale by Moosehead Breweries

Review: Boundary Ale (Moosehead Breweries)

Moosehead was my go-to macro lager for the longest period of time, I would immediately pick up a case of Moosehead if it included a free glass, hat or belt. Then something changed with the formula of the beer, it doesn't taste the same as it used to be and lost my interest completely. Moosehead has been trying to break into the craft beer market for the past two years or so with little success, but that still hasn't stopped them from at least trying. First off, they purchased Toronto microbrewery Hop City to try to introduce some new beers in the market, but with a name like Hop City, I expected their beers to be full of hops, their Barking Squirrel Lager was just another mediocre Canadian lager, lacking in hops. Now as part of the standard Moosehead line of products, Moosehead Breweries has released a new Pale Ale simply called Boundary Ale. Boundary Ale is described as being brewed with a unique blend of Old and New world hops which gives this beer all the fine qualities of an English and American Pale Ale. The different malt varieties make it a remarkably well balanced beer that is slightly sweet with roasted and caramel malt complexity.  To me - this beer really reminds me of CBC Radio 3's Grant Lawrence.

Appearance: Boundary Ale pours a light caramel amber ale, thick amount of soapy snow white head. The residue is sticking to the side of the glassware. Minimal carbonation.

Aroma: Knowing that this is a Moosehead product, I didn't expect much and I was right. It has a light caramel maltiness in there followed by a grassy aroma from the hops. Similar in some aspects to the original Moosehead Lager, but this one has an incredibly subtle Canadianesque grassy hoppiness to it.

Taste: There are hops present in this beer, but mostly gives off a grassy hoppiness with a lightly bitter aftertaste that lingers for a bit. Notes of sweet caramel malt and a light tinny taste from the aluminum can.

Overall Thoughts: Average. In no way's a craft-style (amberish) pale ale, but from an independent Canadian macrobrewery, it's a start. I'd like to see them experiment more like what most breweries in Canada are doing - don't be shy with being around hops! Will I buy this again? Probably not but if it's one of the only beers available on tap at a local bar, I'll certainly drink that over Kokanee. Boundary Ale costs $2.79 for a 473mL can and 5% ABV.

PS: the label has "Premium" on its packaging, which is a no-no, but for this beer, I'll let it pass. It's certainly very drinkable and a step up from Keith's, but I hate the word "Premium" when it comes to beers.

Monday, 31 March 2014

Review: Amsterdam Spring Bock (Doppelbock)

Review: Amsterdam Spring Bock
Apparently it's spring, but judging by the weather (-14C right now, -31C windchill - March 31), it's still very much winter, with no true sign of spring in sight - Amsterdam has brought out a new beer for us Manitobans to finally try, Amsterdam Spring Bock Doppelbock. Amsterdam states that the Spring Bock is aged for 6 weeks - which is 3x longer than regular lagers and uses seven types of malt to give it a great mahogany colour. It's a bit pricey at $5.00 for a 500mL bottle, compared to $3ish for their canned beers Big Wheel and Natural Blonde Lager, but obviously Spring Bock is brewed in smaller batches, for longer periods of time, that and shipping costs of glass is costlier than cans (especially when it's special made painted 500mL bottles).

Appearance: A rich reddish cherrywood with hues of caramel, decent amount of carbonation yet minimal head, just some yellowish-beige foam that's gracing the side of the glass.

Aroma: Reminiscent of a combination of Amsterdam's Big Wheel Amber meets Big Rock's Traditional Ale, it has a bit of a certain amber ale maltiness to it, some caramel notes, a bit of a fresh grassy aroma and some light hop notes.

Taste: First impression is a bit of a bitter and dryness to it, a bit of a grassy bitterness from the hops that reminds me of common German lagers and bocks. A bit of an alcohol bite to it, notes of raisins and other dark fruits, brown sugar and a flavour that's reminiscent, again of Big Rock's Traditional Ale.

Overall Thoughts: I prefer a sweeter, thicker, syrupy dopelbock that's a bit too sweet for it's own good... like a savoury dessert. A tad bit pricey in my opinion, but if you're a fan of bocks and doppelbocks, this will remind you of Bocks and lagers straight from Germany. The incredibly grassy notes from the malts and hops do give the name "Spring Bock" a worthy name, but yeah.. as I said.. I like a more syrupy doppelbock. 7.2% ABV

Review: La Saison Chaude by Société-Orignal & Brasseurs Illimités

Tonight's saisonal review is La Saison Chaude collaboration saison by Société-Orignal and Les
Brasseurs Illimités. I love a good saison, the only style I like even more than saisons is barley wines, but saisons are substantially easier to drink, especially when you don't have friends around to enjoy the beer. With a name like La Saison Chaude, which translates to Hot Saison, I honestly expected either a dark take on saisons (like a Black IPA take on IPAs) or a smoked saison, but unfortunately - it's just the name.

Appearance: La Saison Chaude pours a very cloudy, copper-dark orange, minimal amount of light beige/eggshell head that's glistening on the top of the beer. Lots of carbonation, expected for a saison.

Aroma: A citrusly zested saison, notes of Belgian yeast, orange peel, lemon and a hint of that arôme that reminds me of Unibroue's ales, parfumic!

Flavour: Not a hot/spicy saison at all, it's your standard Belgianesque saison with rich yeasty goodness, a liberal amount of citrus flavours like lemon and orange peel, a bit of a hint of iron. A bit lighter than I expected but a solid saison none-the-less.. as the yeastiness is not as dominant as most saisons I've had in the past few months. Then again, lots of people dislike Belgian-style ales for the yeastiness in the first place.

Overall Thoughts: The concept of Société-Orignal is awesome - getting back to basics with agriculture, get away from the over-industrialization of the agricultural industry and doing everything the old fashioned way - not catering to the masses on what's in demand but instead growing and raising what you love most. It's a solid saison, stronger ABV at 6.5% yet not heavy on the palate, it's a bit lighter than most in flavour but very easy to drink. It's great to see Quebec-grown ingredients used in this beer, but coming from the prairies.. we tend to forget how a substantial amount of wheat and barley for the beer industry comes from OUR OWN back yard. Oh, and 375mL bottles? I want to see those catch on out west, same with 500mL bottles. 341 is too minimal!

Thursday, 27 March 2014

Review: Phillips Amnesiac Double IPA

Review: Phillips' Amnesiac Double IPAOut of all the IPAs I've had in the last 6 months - I've probably had more from Phillips Brewing more than any other brewery. They keep pumping out liberally hopped ales, at a higher pace than their prairie counterparts, but who would blame them? They have access to some of the best and freshest hops on the planet. The other day I saw yet another liberally-hopped beer by them - Amnesiac Double IPA, a DIPA with 8.5% ABV.

Appearance: Amnesiac pours a clear caramel-golden straw yellow beer, lighter than some IPAs out there, yet still darker in hue than a Keith's will ever be.. amirite?! Thick beige creamy and foamy head that's actually going down quite quickly before my eyes.

Aroma: Amnesiac has notes of bitter bitter hops, subtle-to-nil citrus to it. Incredibly nutty - very very nutty like someone dumped a pallet of peanuts into the beer early on.

Taste: A bit of a grassy DIPA, no where near as hopful as most DIPAs out there. It's bitter to a point, but the only thing I'm really noticing out of all three times I've had this beer is peanuts, this beer is peanuts. I'm not a fan of peanuts so it's hard for me to enjoy it. However, the more I drink it, I'm starting to notice lightly floral notes from the hops but too little too late.

Overall Thoughts: For being 8.5%, quite lighter in flavour than I expected but I'm mainly ONLY noticing the nuttiness. With there being a picture of an elephant right on the bottle, it's assumed that this was meant to be a very nutty beer. If you like peanuts and peanut butter, you'll enjoy this. But for me, I'll drink it but I've never been a fan of peanuts. The bitter hops that pop out late in the game make it a bit better, but for a DIPA, I was expecting a bit more eumph.

Review: Muskoka Detour Session IPA

Review: Muskoka Detour Session IPASession ales are becoming the next "big thing". Of course my favourite cottage brewery Muskoka didn't wait long to release their take on session ales. Session beers are beers with no more than 5% alcohol content that happen to have full-on-flavour, just like their non-lite counterparts do. Muskoka's Detour Session Ale comes out at 4.3% ABV, slightly more alcohol than Coors Light and the other Lite beers out there, but Muskoka guarantees that this is a beer for those who take a detour to the road less travelled.

Appearance: First off, beautiful looking ale - it has a rich hazy golden wheat appearance, a bit of copper notes. Decent amount of soapy head at the top, some carbonation. Looks like if a hefeweizen met an IPA.

Aroma: Lighter than a Mad Tom IPA, but at 4.3% ABV, so so so aromatic - it has notes of cascade hops and among other hops, a really rich citrus zest - lots of lemon and a slivver of orange peel. Taste: This is going to become my new spring beer - it's a pretty full-on-flavour beer - Notes reminiscent of Mad Tom - rich cascade hoppiness, yet nowhere near as bitter, lots of citrus zest that reminds me of a witbier/hefeweizen - lemon, orange peel and overall nice sweetness. There's a hint of dill in there giving it a bit of a bitterness. Very satisfying on a warm spring day chilly spring day.

Overall Thoughts: Very satisfying, citrusy yet hoppy. This is going to be a new springtime beer for me as it's not overly hoppy, not that yeasty and has great citrus notes. It's hard to put the beer down. It's 4.3% ABV and has 129 calories so guys - if you want to go on a "guyet", this comparable in calories to Coors Light, but you get something that doesn't taste like corny water. Eat your double bacon cheeseburgers and enjoy your beers. This reminds me of Sam Adams' Spring Lager from a few years back, I couldn't get away from that stuff. It costs around $2.89 per 355mL bottle.