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.

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.

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.

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.

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!

Thursday, 8 May 2014

Skunkworth's Barleyslime: Bud Lime STRAW-ber-RITA

Today's one of those "oh god Cody, what did you get yourself into?" days. I don't know why I bought a can of Bud Light Lime Straw-ber-rita but.. I did. Mainly so I could review it and see how bad it is for myself? Bud Lime Strawberita is Anheuser-Busch InBev's (Labatt) newest take on "beer", and by "beer" I mean fruity coolers. Remember Zima? That's where I find Labatt is heading now days, they haven't created a new product aimed towards the beer drinking crowd of all time, but instead - they're trying to get cooler/cocktail drinking young adults to drink their products.

Straw-ber-rita is Bud Light's take on Bud Light Lime meets a strawberry margarita.

Appearance: Bud Lime Strawberita looks like a strawberry cooler with some radioactive material added to it. The incredibly bright red hue to it is just NOT natural. It's reminiscent to some of the fruity coolers you can find on shelves today, but somehow brighter. It's incredibly fizzy and carbonated, like as if it's using sprite instead of beer as a base. Are they actually using any beer in this? Doubtful.

Aroma: The strong pungent smell of strawberry syrup is the first and foremost smell in here. It's so sweet and strong that it's giving me a headache (no lies!) Very sugary and 430 calories per 473mL serving, not a drink for the diet conscious people at all, but with the big heaping of sucralose in every serving, this is for those who want a beer that doesn't taste like a beer.

Taste: Tastes like it smells, fake strawberry syrup, sucralose - and lots of it, the feeling of my teeth rotting as I sip on this and a very sweet malt liquor sort of flavour at the back of my mouth. There's a vague taste of soap in there, but overall.. this reminds me of those cheap VOX coolers that come in a big plastic 1L jug. An incredibly sticky feeling mouth after drinking this and some syrupy sludge on my tongue.

Overall Thoughts: This reminds me of all those malt liquor based coolers that were the rage a decade ago like Zima.. who knew that Anheuser-Busch InBev would try to force feed this stuff again. Bud Light Lime Straw-ber-rita is incredibly sweet, overly syrupy strawberry-like flavour. I just noticed that this malt liquor product isn't branded as "Bud Light Lime" but rather "Bud Lime", but considering it's 8% ABV and well over 400 calories per 473mL can, I think Health Canada would be shutting this product down fast if it had "lite" or "light" in the name. This is a product for those who don't like the taste of beer, but seriously.. why would you be buying beer when coolers offer a better flavour than a malt liquor product? Because branding, that's why. Bros are gonna drink this shit up. But hey.. at 8% per can, it's easy to get buzzed on this stuff at $3.30/can, but then you WILL have the worst sugar hangovers of your life (or vibrant red piss).

Monday, 5 May 2014

Review: Bellwoods Wizard Wolf Session Ale

Bellwoods Brewery is another Canadian brewery that's booming in popularity so much that beer geeks are having an incredibly hard time finding their product. Well, this isn't a surprise as it's rated as the best brewery in Ontario according to Their Wizard Wolf Session Ale (Pale Ale) is the first I've tried by them.

Appearance: Wizard Wolf pours a cloudy copper-orange ale with some sediment, unfiltered for usre! A nice lacing of beige foam on top that's not going anywhere at all. Looks like a solid Pale Ale already!

Aroma: More hops than an entire tank of Alexander Keith's! Quite a west coast aromatic American Pale Ale, notes of grapefruit, pine, a bit of a sugariness to it, lightly soapy and overall a bitter pale ale.. mmm!

Taste: A bit soapy again, but that's all okay! Flavours of bitter hops that give off a bitter pine flavour to it, a sweet caramel sweetness backing, slightly bready and hops keep coming back for more! Not as bitter as I expected compared to many American Pale Ales, but the caramel malt mixed with the hops give it a nice balanced flavour in it - not as bitter as the aroma would let you to believe.

Overall Thoughts: A very solid pale ale, more of an IPA than Alexander Keith's will ever be, quite a nicely hopped pale ale with a great caramel malt backing. I'll certainly be drinking this again.. if I get my hands on it, quite solid, so it's not a surprise that Bellwoods Brewery is quickly turning into one of Canada's best breweries!

A session pale ale at 4.8% ABV.. has beautiful artwork on the label and very flavourful for being a session!