Monday, 21 April 2014

December 17, 2013

312/961)  Beer Academy:  Belgian Maple by Six Pints Specialty Brewing Company of Ontario:  **;  7.5%, 15 ibu;  it's the colour of maple syrup;  Belgian Maple features a combination of Belgian style yeast and maple syrup which makes this a sweet one;  maple syrup candy nose;  tastes of yeast, maple syrup and candi sugar with a bite of alcohol kicking in at the finish;

313/962)  beerbistro:  Porter by Sierra Nevada of California, U.S.A.: **;  6%;  grainy nose with grainy roasty coffee flavours;  it isn't bad but there are other porters I like more;  this was in a bottle;

December 16, 2013

311/960)  Home:  Organic Chocolate Stout by Samuel Smith Old Brewery (Tadcaster) of England:  **1/2;  "malt beverage with natural flavor (sic) added";    brewed with cane sugar and cocoa extract;  it's like a boozy Nestle Quik:  "good for big folks - not you!";  sweet chocolate nose;  rich and sweet but not cloyingly so - just delicious chocolate flavour;

December 15, 2013

308/957)  Home:  Hen's Tooth by Morland Brewing of England:  *;  6.5%;  bottle conditioned;  nose has a touch of fruit and one dimensional English hops;  grainy, malty with a hint of fruit;  a bit bland;  I am wondering if these were imported under the best possible conditions;

309/958)  Home:  Nut Brown Ale by Samuel Smith Old Brewery (Tadcaster) of England:  *1/2;  I have to admit, I am surprised this one hasn't made the list until now;  sweet malty nose;  mildly roasty, pretty tame;  time has over-taken this one and I am used to bolder flavours;

310/959)  Home:  Barley Wine 2012 by Mill Street Brewery of Ontario:  **;  11.5%;  Batch No. 12-219-22;  aged in whiskey barrels;  nose is sweet and boozy with notes of fruitcake and dried fruits,   alcohol and oak feature in the flavours;

December 14, 2013

306/955)  Home:  Winterbeard Double Chocolate Cranberry Stout Vintage Brew by Muskoka Cottage Brewery of Ontario:  **;  8%;  this is last year's brew cellar aged for a year;  brewed with 70% dark chocolate, "real cocoa" powder and nibs, freshly harvested cranberries;  the nose is sweet alcohol.;  sweet cranberry flavours give way to chocolate and warming alcohol;  in contrast to our experience with Westvleteren XII, I prefer this to the original while my wife prefers the fresher version;

307/956)  Home:  Old Crafty Hen by Morland Brewing of England:  *1/2;  6.5%;  brewed with a blend of Famous Old 5X matured in oak;  English hop nose;  given the build up it's pretty ordinary;  English hop flavours with mild oak notes;  Old 5X is a strong (12%) ale matured for one to five years in wooden tuns;  I wonder if I really "got" this one, or how fresh the bottle I tried was;  it is worth trying again, given the story;

December 13, 2013

303/951)  Caffe Volo:  Broken Hipster by Indie Ale House of Ontario:  *1/2;  a 5% Belgian style wit;  yeasty, sugary nose;  candi sugar sets off the yeast very nicely; there is a hint of botanicals and spice;  mildly sweet, grainy after taste;

304/952)  Caffe Volo:  Couch Surfer by Indie Ale House of Ontario:  **;   a 5% American IPA; cloudy appearance;  piney, grapefruity nose;  very bold citrusy taste with a citrusy grapefruit finish;

305/953)  Caffe Volo:  Santa's 'Stash by Kensington Brewing Company of Ontario:  *;  a 5.4% spiced winter ale;  muted nose;  mild spice; a bit disappointing;  I much preferred the Grand River Jubilation spiced Winter Ale that followed;

306/954)  Caffe Volo:  Day Walker Gingerbread Winter Warmer by Flying Monkeys of Ontario:  **;   8.3%;   on cask;  brewed with maple syrup;  wonderfully strong nose of spiced gingerbread;  it was very sweet, however - I had the tiniest glass possible and I'm not sure I could have tolerated much more;  like Mom's gingerbread cake in liquid form;  there is a hint of alcohol at the finish but otherwise it is well disguised;

I must have made an impression back in May - Andrew recognised me.  He is, of course, memorable:  few homebrewers have draught lines in their basements.

December 12, 2013

302/950)  Home:  Old Golden Hen by Morland Brewery of England:  **;  brewed with Galaxy hops - a surprise there;  citrusy hop nose;  fruity hop flavours;  my favourite of the pack so far;

Today is the anniversary of 12/12/12.  To mark it I hauled out one of the last bottles of Westvleteren XII that I had been aging.  I think I prefer it fresher but my wife is of the opinion that aging improved it.

December 11, 2013

301/949)  Home:  Old Speckled Hen by Morland Brewing of England:  *1/2;  originally brewed to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the MG car factory and named for an old MG used as a factory run around;  subtle grainy, fruity flavours;  sweet finish yielding to bitter after-taste;

This is from Hen House gift pack.

December 10, 2013

300/948)  Home:  India Ale by Samuel Smith Old Brewery (Tadcaster) of England:  **;   5%;  top fermented in stone Yorkshire squares;  brewed with well water;  original well which was sunk in 1758 is still in use;  grainy, fruity nose;  fruity notes with a sharp bite at the finish;  surprising;

From Samuel Smith's Selection gift pack.

December 9, 2013

299/947)  Home:  Noire de Chambly by Unibroue of Quebec:  **;  6.2%;  re-fermented on yeast base;  brewed in honour of the Carignan-Salières Regiment who defended New France in 1665;  spiced, yeasty nose; Belgian yeast features prominently in the taste;

December 8, 2013

298/946) Black Force One by X-Beeriment of Denmark:  **;  more accurately, this is brewed for X-Beeriement - this was brewed under contract;  this is an imperial stout brewed with 5 malts including peat smoked and roasted barley;  4 varieties of hops are used; while the label reads 10.4%, the LCBO sticker slapped on the bottle indicates 8.4%, which is quite a discrepancy;  there is a whiff of scotch to the nose; flavours of sweet chocolate;  I wasn't expecting to like this one but the smoke is not over-done;

December 7, 2013

297/945)  The 3 Brewers:  Blonde by The 3 Brewers of Ontario:  *1/2;  similar malt backbone as other 3 Brewers' creations (I was really  here for the Holiday Beer but I had time for a half pint)

After the concert I visited Thirsty and Miserable again, where the chalkboard boasts of "minimal wine choices and over priced ungarnished bar rail drinks".  It also advises "we no longer serve vodka cheers!".  This time the beer list was written on the side of a 6-pack;

I overheard a  female client saying to her date, "You have to be ****ing complicated by all the weird beers.  You can't just buy a Canadian?"

December 6, 2013

I am going to go on a bit, again.  I am tiring of seeing podunks far smaller than Brampton opening up craft breweries.  How can people be so certain that Brampton cannot support one?

Back in the day I can recall a short-lived enterprise - York Brewing, I think it was called.  I am pretty sure I still have an empty somewhere in the basement.   For a while we had Cool Brewing but it moved to Etobicoke and currently Hop City, Moosehead's stealth craft brewery, is nearby.

There has been talk of re-locating our farmers' market and making it a permanent in door facility which gives one hope.

My concept for Brampton Brewing (I've already thought up a name) is for a flagship beer and a series of seasonals.  I like the idea of Fennel Lager brewed with fennel root, to keep the mayor's lawyers at bay. Mind, this did not stop Chuck Norris' lawyers from writing the brewers of Chuck Noris Roundhouse IPA.  Clearly, I have not thought this one through entirely but it's almost time for me to be looking for another line of work, after all.

Oh yes, it is the feast of St. Nicholas today:  time for a Samichlaus.

December 5, 2013

296/944)  Home:  Mackeson XXX Milk Stout by Carib Brewers of Trinidad:  **;  a "triple stout";  4.9%;  brewed with the usual 4 ingredients  plus lactose, sugar and caramel;  dry, milk chocolaty nose;  rich sweet milk chocolate flavours with dry coffee notes at the finish; this is not as cloyingly sweet as many Caribbean stouts can be - even then, these are very good for cooking:  adding them to spicy dishes off-sets the heat and adds to the overall party;

December 4, 2013

294/942)  Home:  St. Ambroise 2013 Special Reserve Bourbon Wood Aged Russian Imperial Stout by McAuslan of Quebec:  **1/2;  9.2%;  nose is bourbon, oak, espresso; sweet bourbon, warming alcohol, chocolate, dark roasty coffee, a touch of vanilla:  Wow; warming, bitter alcohol kicks in at the close;  a sipper for a cold night;

295/943) Home:  Kissmeyer Nordic Pale Ale by Beau's All Natural Brewing of Ontario:  **; 5.6%;  brewed with barley and rye malts, oats, maple syrup, heather flowers, rose hips, cranberries, wild sweet gale, yarrow;  from Beau's B-side brewing label, which they describe as "a record label for beer" with "a portfolio of international brands";   pale, cloudy;  the nose is like a greenhouse or a flower shop; very herbal, floral;  yes, I want to try this one again;

December 3, 2013

292/940)  beerbistro:  Saison du Pump by Great Lakes Brewing of Ontario:  **;  5.2%;  the first thing I noticed was how very clear this beer is;  pumpkin nose;  pumpkin, peppery spice, traces of what might be nutmeg;

293/941)  beerbistro:  Chocolate Stout by Rogue Brewery of Oregon, U.S.A.:  **;  6.3%;  rich, sweet, milk chocolate nose;  bold milk chocolate flavours;

December 2, 2013

290/938)  Home:  Dominus Vobiscum Hibernus by Microbrasserie Charlevoix of Quebec:  **;  9.5%;  brewed "with spices" - also sugar;  the nose is like dark sugar;  there is a sweetness to this, with the spices making their presence known at the finish;

291/939) Home:  Monkey Fist IPA by Shipyard Brewing Comapny of Maine, U.S.A.:  **;  A wide variety of opinions on this one on-line;  I found it to have a floral, almost perfumed nose;  fragrant floral flavours with bitter caffeine-like notes;

A monkey fist is a knot used by sailors.

December 1, 2013

289/937)  Home:  Brewer's Reserve Limited Edition No. 4 Oak Aged Ale by Fuller's of England:  **1/2;  8.5%;  this beer was matured for 365 days in Old Comte de Lauvia Armagnac casks then bottle conditioned;  I experienced bottle # 26799 as approved by John Keeling, head brewer;  oaky, vanilla nose;  dark reddish brown;  notes of dried fruit, spice, vanilla, oak, burnt dark sugar;  very fine indeed;

November 30, 2013

This was the night of Brian's going away party.  We had a series of gifts for him and he gave a wonderful talk.  He related a story he had told in my presence before but it was fun to hear again about his very first day at Tracks (March 25, 1986) .  At the time there was a fine dining spot called Houston's next door (the sign remains to this day).  One entered and walked to the left for Tracks or to the right for Houston's.  I never did visit Houston's.

Brian's first customer asked for a Becks.  Brian heard Ex.  The same has happened to me as a customer but my reaction was not to ask the party on the other side of the bar if he was deaf or just ****ing stupid.

Over the past couple of weeks I have received a number of Brian-hugs but I can state without fear of contradiction that it will be difficult to find credible witnesses willing to testify under oath that there were tears that night.

I feel badly for any drinker anywhere else at any other time.  The best they can hope for is to be served by the second finest in the history of the business.

November 29, 2013

288/936)  Home:  The Tom Green Beer by Beau's All Natural Brewing of Ontario:  *1/2;  a milk stout (i.e. brewed with lactose);  this is no doubt a reference to Tom Green's habit of drinking milk directly from the cow's udder as witnessed several times on his TV show; the nose is rather malty;  flavours of sweet milk chocolate, cocoa;  thinnish mouth feel;

November 28, 2013

287/935)  Home:  Black Scottish Stout by Belhaven Brewery of Scotland:  **; 4.2%;  nose is roasty with a touch of sweet mocha;  rich roasted maltiness with a touch of mocha; easily the best of this mixed pack;

Sunday, 20 April 2014

November 27, 2013

286/934)  Home:  Scottish Ale by Belhaven Brewery of Scotland:  *1/2;  5.2%;  a mild English style hop bite;  a little bit sweet;

November 26, 2013

Well how do you like that?  Owing to enhancements and improvements to the blogger template I have been quite effectively strong-armed into using Google Chrome.  I find I am unable to add photos using Internet Explorer 11 as it is no longer supported.

November 25, 2013

285/933) Home:  Twisted Thistle IPA by Belhaven Brewery of Scotland:  *1/2;  a U.K. style IPA checking in at  6.1%;  "Grown, mashed, fermented, twisted and conditioned in Scotland";  tart, citrusy, almost lemony, earthy nose;  dry, bitter hop notes with an herbal edge and a bitter after taste;  a multi-faceted beer -  I look forward to trying it again to figure it out some more;  from the Belhaven Brewery Collection;

Saturday, 19 April 2014

November 24, 2013

284/932) Monk's Kettle, Etobicoke:  Tide and Vine Oyster Stout by Silversmith Brewing of Ontario:  **1/2;  the barmaid tells me they really do use oysters in the brewing process;  there is a hint of the sea to the nose along side coffee and cocoa;  roasty, dry coffee  flavours;  it's ever so slightly unusual;

November 22, 2013

This is the day I have been dreading.  I figured that Brian's last shift would be like any other Friday and if I was intending to stay until the end I had better not arrive too early for the sake of my health.

At quitting time I went to the YMCA and I went for a run and since there is always filing to be done I returned to the office.  At about eleven I decided it would be safe to show up at Tracks and when I arrived Brian was there but he was on the other side of the bar.  It turned out that things were slow so at nine it was agreed that he could pack it in early.

When I asked who got the last pint he poured people thought about it for a minute and a name came up and Brian said that wouldn't do so he set down his glass and with his coat still on he poured one final pint for me.

I have imagined receiving more honours than is the case but I can't imagine treasuring one more than Brian's last pint at Tracks.

November 21, 2013

283/931)  Home:  Eight Ball Stout by Lost Coast Brewery of California, U.S.A.:  **;  5.8%; brewed in Eureka, CA to be precise;  brewed with oatmeal;  roasty nose;  hint of coffee, dark maltiness;  a solid stout;

November 19, 2013

282/930)  Town Crier Pub and Halfway Beer House:  Black Cab Stout by Fuller's of England:  **;  coffee/mocha nose;  roasty coffee notes; 

The occasion today was "David Bowie Is" at AGO by way of the Victoria and Albert Museum.  I recommend it if it comes to you town.  Wear comfortable shoes because you will spend a lot more time than the exhibit suggests.