Sunday, June 29, 2008

Summer Update

Hi again. It's a hot summer afternoon, 30C... a good afternoon to relax and drink beer, it's what I do best afterall. In that spirit, this blog post will be about what I feel are good summer beers. Yes, pale lagers will get the job done in the heat, but their lack of flavour (or just plain bad flavour) just doesn't cut it. Here's what I recommend:

Brooklyn Summer Ale - Pleasing bready aroma with a light citrus hop note. Clean drinking, a trace of fruit, light citrus hops. Clean, dry finish. Reminds me of a good all malt lager. Very drinkable.

Pyramid Hefeweizen/Apricot Weizen - New to these parts, these two hefes are excellent summer drinkers. Both posess a light body which has a certain creaminess, expected wheat flavours, excellent drinkability, they both look nice in the glass too displaying their tall white heads. The Apricot Weizen has a pretty fresh fruit taste, not fake or cloying.

Lindemans Framboise - A sweetened lambic, though it still posesses some nice acidity and tartness too it, and real fruit flavouring. Raspberry fans should grab a bottle immediately.

BrewDog Punk IPA - Well hopped, grapefruity, resiny, creamy UK take on American IPA. Bitter hops and summer work well with me.

more to come

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Return to blogland?


Expect more updates soon. Have been away far too long.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Dominus Vobiscum Tripel

Maybe it was the snow today, or maybe it was the two lousy light lagers I had this afternoon, I'm not sure... but something told me it was the right time to drink this beer. I've been holding on to it for about 6 months, and I think the little bit of age did it some good. A lot of reviews I've read of this beer describe it as a bit hot, the alcohol was definately there, but seemed to blend well with some herbal hops in the finish. Dominus Vobiscum Triple is produced in Quebec by Microbrasserie Charlevoix. The beer pours a goldenrod colour, fairly bright and with a large creamy head. Aromas are orangey, spicy and yeasty. Flavour is some sweet honey malts, wheat, yeast and zesty citrus. As noted alcohol comes out a bit in the finish as well as some hops. Carbonation was tight fine bubbles, the mouthfeel was medium. I felt it came together well. (Rating 4) The beer is bottle conditioned and comes in brown 500ml, capped bottles. Hopefully I'll get a chance to revisit this beer, and the rest of the Dominus Vobiscum line in the future.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Post Xmas Update

Happy Holidays to everyone, I trust it was filled with good company and good beer. Xmas beer season started early for me with a few pints of my local brewpubs winter seasonal Brewsters Cranberry Wheat Ale. Honestly I was hoping for something dark and strong to fend off the cold but the beer was decent enough. Wheaty and citrusy with a little tart cranberry flavour. (Rating: 3) I'm also very pleases with my new toy - a new beer (wine) fridge which came stocked with a variety of Unibroue beers! It was quickly filled up with good beer, check out the pictures below.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

More recent rates: Gluten Free Green's Beers and other odds n sods

I was somewhat excited to find three new gluten free ales available on a recent visit to the bottleshop. The beers are sold under the Green's brand, and are brewed by DeProefbrouwerij of Lochristi Belgium. They are fairly prolific brewers, 157 beers are listed under their namesake at With that many beers, not all can be knockouts. The Green's beers are interesting in that they are gluten free ales that attempt to emulate some classic beer styles. Quest approximates an Abbey Tripel, Endeavour the Dubbel, and Discovery is apparently a strong ale of English origins. The beers are packaged in 500ml brown capped bottles with a best before date and a neck-tag that in block letters states "NO WHEAT NO BARLEY ALL NATURAL". Further reading of the label reveals that Green's beers do NOT contain any of the following: Crustaceans, Eggs, Fish, Peanuts, Soya Beans, Milk, Lactose, Nuts, Celery, Mustard, Sesame Seeds, Sulphur Dioxide and Sulfites. I appriciate their thouroghness, as I suffer from food allergies myself, however most of those ingredients are never found in beer at all so it seems strange to list them. (Any brewer want to take on a celery and egg beer?)

How do beers brewed without malt taste? Well, in short I wasn't a huge fan. All of the Green's beers shared traits with the last gluten free beer I had (La Messagere) - they seems to all posess a grapey/winey component, both in aroma and flavour and also a cider/apple component that seems to overpower, regardless of style. I liked the Endeavour the best (rating 3.2), Discovery (shown left) came in second (rating 2.3) and Quest came in last of the three (rating 2.2). In the end I'm glad I got to try these, they were all drinkable, if a bit odd and didn't really capture the styles they were aiming for, but they were also interesting in an experimental kind of way. I'm glad a brewer decided to try some classic styles malt-free, who knows what they'll brew in the future - malt free imperial stouts and barleywines maybe? You know I'd try em.

Other odds and sods that have crossed my tastebuds recently: Bowen Island Irish Cream Ale. My first taste of the mild style. I was "mildly: disappointed. It showed promise in the aroma - toffee and honey, but fell apart in the mouth, thin and watery with a little nut and caramel. I was hoping for more. Kamloops Brewery does make some tasty beers for some chain restaurants in the area. The Bowen beers are budget priced at around 7 bucks for 6 cans, so I guess for that price point...

Next came the (in)famous Pacifica Clara from the great beer nation of Mexico. Grupo Modelo makes this, and they also make the loathesome Corona, so I was not expecting much. It was your average pale lager - a bit corny and grainy, a lot of carbonation, light body. Nothing special really, but on a hot day it could work. (rating 1.4)

Pump House Scotch Ale was another single I picked up, but would gladly buy a sixer of this. It was surpringly smokey, but this was a good thing. Flavour was of smoke, caramel malts and peat with similar aroma. Very sessionable and a good effort coming out of Eastern Canada, will look for others from theis Moncton brewer. (rating 3.6)

Next comes a Bohemian Pilsner which in my books seems a little underrated on the beer rating sites. I'm a sucker for classic pilsners, and Krusovice Imperial 12 was drinking like a classic the day I had it. Pleasant hay/grass aromas, bready malts and Saaz-ish flavour and bitterness. A nice fresh (rating 3.4) I rated this one above the benchmark for Czech pils - Pilsner Urquell (rating 3.1). Will end this post there as I could blather on forever... cheers!

Thursday, December 6, 2007

The return of the Blog... and recent rates.

Again, it has been a while since I've posted here, apologies to my legions of readers. You may have noticed that I tweaked the layout a bit, the brown colour theme remains. I am a bit dissapointed by the formatting problems I seem to be having with Blogger. Stuff doesn't seem to line up correctly on the page. I've edited a million times and it just reverts back. We'll have to live with it for now, readers. I'll also try to get back into the habit of hyperlinking the text here, as some readers told me they enjoyed that.

For those wondering, I've still been rating and drinking beers in general over the month and a half or so absence. I'm slowly approaching the 800 rate mark. Not sure what I'll pick for that next Milestone. I have some good things on deck. Some possibilities are Brooklyn Local 1, Gouden Carolus Noel (bottle has been cellaring since this time last year), Rogue Old Crustacean 2006 (at least 9 months in my cellar), St Bernardus Abt 12 Special Edition (now retired). Maybe the readers can help me decide? Will keep you updated. I have 2 weeks off for the holidays, so chances are I'll be drinking/rating a lot.

Since I last posted, I completed a beer trade with an Ontario ratebeerian which brought me up to speed on a few of the Ontario craft beers I'd been missing since moving to the City Of Champions. I got to try Creemore Springs Traditional Pilsner (rating 3.2), Taps Red Cream Ale (rating 3.2), Taps Premium Lager (rating 3), J.R. Brickman Pilsner (rating 2.8), Amsterdam Framboise (rating 3.4), Great Lakes Devil's Pale Ale (rating 3.4). All were decent, and if the Devil's Pale Ale and Framboise were available here I'd pick them up now and then.

There's more, but I'll get to them next post. Until then I'll leave you with a few beer pics.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

The Grizzly Paw Brewing Co.

I had the opportunity to visit another brewpub on my vacation to the Rocky Mountains last week. Canmore Alberta is a little town off the Transcanada highway nestled into the Mountains, east of Banff. It was once a mining town, but is now is more known for being home to the Canmore Nordic Centre where our country's Olympic ski teams train. It is also home to The Grizzly Paw Brewing Co. - a brewpub/brewery located on Main St.

The building has a bit of a ski chalet look at first glance, a many windowed turret is the focal point of the front of the building. Timbers fence off a fair sized patio in front with a stone fireplace. It was a little chilly to sit outside, but the view from here is stunning - a full view of the mountians and thier snowy peaks.

The view from just outside the brewpub.

Upon entering I instantly felt comfortable. The brewpub was clean and spacious with stone and wood details. Up front was a large dining room which slowly filled up with locals at lunchtime. The rear contained the bar which sprouted a dozen shiny chrome taps. To the left of the bar the brewing operations were visable through a window. A sign pointed to a staircase and proclaimed "pool tables upstairs!". A few TVs were tuned into a tennis match and the radio featured classic rock. From the ceiling near the bar hung many stoneware tankards. Staff were decorating for Halloween (bonus cool points) at the time, adding fake spider webs in the windows. It was quite sunny up front so we sat near the bar at a tall table surrounded by highbacked wooden chairs and browsed the menu. The offerings were familiar - burgers, ribs, various sandwiches, fries, chicken, nothing groundbreaking though some used beer as an ingredient. I ordered a meaty pizza made with a local flatbread and found it to be quite tasty and well put together, bonus points for using local ingredients as well. Our bartender doubled as our server (I forget your name man, sorry) and I ordered up a sampler tray featuring a small (3-4oz at most) sample of each of the beers on tap. I blazed my way through the sampler, there were a few I had tried before. For the most part, the beers were decent session styles, a pilsner, red ale, IPA, a berry wheat, brown ale, plus 2 seasonals. As is often the case with a brewpub, the seasonals were better than the regular taps. The first was the "light seasonal" which revealed itself as JackOLantern Pumpkin Ale. I like pumpkin beers, they're just so hard to find. When I lived in Ontario I'd look forward to fall and the LCBO getting a few bottles of McAuslan's Pumpkin beer in. Most years the shelves were empty - such is the life of an Ontario beerhunter. Grizzly's version was pretty light in colour, which surprised me as most other pumpkin beers have a bit of colour to them. The beer had the requisite pie spice aroma - some nutmeg and some pumpkin fruit as well. Flavour was similar to the aroma with a caramel malt base and pumpkin flesh sweetness. It was light bodied and had a grainy finish. Not bad. The second seasonal was the "dark seasonal" - Moose Knuckle Oatmeal Stout. I procured a full pint's worth of this stuff, knowing I was on to something good. The beer poured deep brown colour with a large tan head. It held a nice sweet nose of cocoa and molasses with roast malt. The flavour surpised me a bit with a touch of smokiness. It was suitably roasty, with some moderate sweet notes. I caught a little licorice in among the roasted malts in the finish. Well worth trying if you visit in the fall or winter seasons.

Overall it was a nice visit and I will return next time I'm visiting Banff or Lake Louise. Decent grub, some good session beers, even better seasonal beers, a homey and comfortable feel, and a great mountain setting. This place doesn't do big beers but that's cool. What they do is decent. Oh and they also make a few "craft sodas". I had the grape and it was pretty good.