Sunday, 31 December 2017

December 31, 2017

Now that Prodromus is available at the LCBO it is admirable how the packaging so accurately depicts how one feels after consuming a tin of this 10.5% abv "Deep Fried Graham Cracker Chocolate Chunk Caramel Bar" stout.

Happy New Year!

December 26, 2017

403/2221) Home:  Not A Word by Wellington Brewery of Ontario:  **;  a 7% apricot IPA;  fruity, citrusy nose;  bubbly and soda-like, tastes like a sweet IPA with a dry hoppy, fruity finish;

I had no idea this existed until my wife brought a six pack home from the brewery.

Tuesday, 26 December 2017

December 25, 2017

402/2220) Home:  Frank & Sense by Innis & Gunn of Scotland:  **;  a 5.8% golden ale matured over gold, frankincense and myrrh;  yes;  the nose is like many an Innis & Gunn effort, sweet and oaky;  opens sweet and oaky but quickly a dry bitterness takes over and whether this is attributable to the hops or the myrrh I do not know but I am glad I tried it;

Perhaps the ultimate Christmas beer.  Merry Christmas.

December 24, 2017

400/2218) Home:  Holiday Cheers Winter Spice Ale by Big Rock Brewing of Alberta:  **;  6%;  brewed with cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger;  formerly known as McNally's Winter Spice Ale but I didn't have the opportunity to try it under this name;  soft fluffy head disappears fairly quickly;  sweet, malty spiced nose;  similar flavours;  mildly spiced after taste;

401/2219) Home: Jõuluöö by Põhjala Brewing SA of Estonia:  **;  8%;  chocolate-vanilla oak aged Imperial porter;  brewed using cocoa nibs, fresh vanilla, French oak;  very oaky nose with notes of alcohol and bitter cocoa nibs;  the vanilla is subtle but it makes its presence known towards the finish, until then it’s all oak and cocoa nibs; 

There is much more than simply the abv figures behind the warm feelings attributable to this year's Craft Beer Advent calendar.  Oh, yes, if it happens next year I want to be on board.

December 23, 2017

398/2216) Home:  Sweet Baby Java by Du Claw Brewing of Maryland, U.S.A.: **1/2;  a 6.2% Espresso Bean infused chocolate peanut butter porter (!);  sweet, nutty nose, it reminds me of Frangelico;  flavours of dry cocoa and bitter coffee with a sweet nuttiness and a dry finish;

This Craft Beer Advent Calendar continues to be all sorts of fun.

399/2217) Home:  Festive Pudding Ale by Greene King of England:  **1/2;  6%, 32 ibu;  oak aged;  fruitcake nose;  mildly sweet, malty, gently spiced;  unfashionable, perhaps, but great for this time of year;

Flanked by a pair of other seasonal favourites.

December 22, 2017

397/2215) Home:  Santa's Sac Golden Strong Ale by Bridge Brewing of British Columbia:  **;  10%, 30 ibu;  brewed with Belgian hops and German yeast;  sweet, fruity nose;  flavours of sweet Belgian yeast, cloves, raisins;

December 21, 2017

394/2212) beerbistro:  Naughty Hildegard ESB by Driftwood Brewery of British Columbia:  **;  6.5%;  surprisingly hoppy for a beer label an ESB with citrus and mango notes; 

Hildegard of Bingen was a nun (as the tenth child she was a tithe), scholar, writer, composer, botanist, chemist, apothecary, mystic and visionary, among other items on her resume, and she also may have been one of the first to add hops to beer.  I continue to be an easy mark for a beer with a fun name but so long as I keep being rewarded in this manner I am unlikely to reform.

395/2213) beerbistro:  Spéciale Nöel by Abbaye des Rocs of Belgium:  **1/2;  triple fermented, unfiltered;  the nose reminds me of fruitcake;  starts sweet and finishes dry with notes of caramel and fruitcake; 

This was one of the beerbistro's 12 Beers of Christmas.  I was in town to skate at Harbourfront, wonderful as always, and to participate in the Winter Solstice labyrinth walk.  For those following along, Sine Nomine is back after hiatus and so is Poculi Ludique Societas but I missed both Advent events largely because I wasn't "feeling it" which teaches that I ought to learn to compartmentalize my life.

396/2214) Home:  Saison by Le Debauche of France:  *1/2;   7%;  musty nose;  yeasty, astringent, musty flavours;  lingering dry peppery finish; 

December 20, 2017

393/2211) Home:  Gingerbread Man Special Spiced Seasonal Dark Ale by Privatbrauerie Lonɔium of Austria:  **;  6.3%;  spiced with ginger, nutmeg and cinnamon according to one part of the label, though the ingredient listing indicates malted barley, wheat malt, cinnamon, "piment", ginger and aniseed;  "piment' is French for pepper which makes sense to me as the secret to my mother's family gingersnap recipe is the black pepper;  strongly spiced and not at all sweet as similar beers tend to be;  another very nice seasonal beer;

December 19, 2017

392/2210) Home:  Black Porter Black Lager by Sound Brewery of Washington, U.S.A.:  **;  7.8%;  nose of licorice, dark coffee;  tastes of bitter dark coffee and anise;  just a touch thin, lacking the punch of most Baltic Porters;

December 18, 2017

390/2208) Home:  Salted Caramel Coffee Stout by The Ticketybrew Company of England:  *;  5.4%;  limited edition;  brewed with lactose, barley and wheat, Peruvian coffee, cocoa nibs, salt;  not lacking for carbonation;  burnt coffee nose;  tastes a lot like salty coffee grinds but there is just enough roastiness that it is not a complete disaster;

Yet another brewery that I first encountered whilst enjoying last year's Advent Calendar.  It's hard to forget those distinctive labels.

391/2209) Home:  Trailer Park Boys Rickey's Catch 23 Malt Liquor by N.A.C. Imports Inc. of Ontario:  *;  6%;  brewed with the usual four ingredients plus flaked corn, corn sugar;  malty nose;  sweet malt notes;  nothing special;

Still no television beers inspired by anything I have actually watched and I did leave my wish list a while back.  I would accept a CP24 News beer.

December 17, 2017

388/2206) Home:  IPA Beer by Woodhouse Brewing Co. of Ontario:  **;  a 6%, 55 ibu American style IPA brewed with 5 different hops;  citrus and zest, pineapple nose;  citrusy, piney flavours;  another solid IPA;

389/2207) Home:  Power Wagon Wheat Wine by Big Sky Brewing Co. of Montana, U.S.A.:   **;  9.7%;  Limited Release, Barrel aged;  9.7%;  pours clear;  sweet, boozy nose;  I am tasting honey, oak, alcohol;

Quite a lot of these were brewed specifically for the Advent Calendar.

Monday, 25 December 2017

December 16, 2017

386/2204) Home:  Bear Hug IPA by Market Brewing Co. of Ontario:  **1/2;  7%, 55 ibu;  murky;  bold nose of pineapple, tangerine, pine;  citrus forward flavours with a dry after taste;  a superlative IPA;

Both of these IPAs were difficult to find.  The cashier at the LCBO in Toronto's First Canadian Place said Bear Hug was his favourite IPA.

387/2205) Home:  Ditto Doppel Bock by Wold Top Brewery of England:  **;  7%;  boozy nose with dark fruit;  dark fruit, raisins, hint of alcohol;

This is another brewery I was first introduced to by last year's Advent Calendar.

December 15, 2017

384/2202) Home:  2017 Bridge Street Holiday Ale by Crazy Mountain Brewing Company of Colorado, U.S.A.:  **;  6.5%, 22 ibu;  brewed with maple syrup and spices;  powerful ginger nose;  spiced gingerbread flavours;  lingering herbal after taste; 

385/2203) Home:  N'Ice Chouffe by Brasserie d'Achouffe of Belgium:  **1/2;  10%;  a Donker Winter beer brewed with invert sugar syrup, thyme and curaçao;  sweet, dark honey nose;  rich, sweet, sugary flavours, dried fruit, warming alcohol;

To my delight, McChouffe is (temporarily) available in Ontario.  Neither is part of the Advent Calendar.  They are both the wrong size to begin with but beyond that either would be a good addition.

December 14, 2017

382/2200) The 3 Brewers, Heartland:  Feats of Strength by The 3 Brewers of Ontario:  *1/2;  6.9%, 45 ibu;  on cask;  Festive Ale with Brandy, coffee beans, orange peel, cocoa nibs, crème de cacao;  fresh coffee most prominent in both nose and flavours;  chocolate notes emerge towards finish;

383/2201) Home:  Dark Signs Winter Dark Ale 2017, brewed and bottled by Het Nest Brouwerij of Belgium for White Pony Microbrewery of Italy:  **1/2;  13.1%;  sugar is added during the brewing process as well as champagne yeast;  sugary, boozy nose;  sweet, boozy and warming; 

December 13, 2017

381/2199) Home:  The Duck Rabbit Wee Heavy Scotch Style Ale by The Duck Rabbit Craft Brewing Inc. of North Carolina, U.S.A.:  **;  8%;  pours a clear red;  caramel nose;  sugary sweetness which the brewers reveal is on account of unusually large amounts of grain caramelized in the brewing kettle;  there are also strong notes of alcohol;

December 12, 2017

Today's Craft Beer Advent Calendar selection is familiar to me:  Half Bastard by Nickel Brook.  Regrettably it was infected (or soured…).  It frothed violently on opening and I ended up pouring it down the drain.  Others on Ratebeer reported a similar experience.  This is a shame as it would have been such a good introduction for many to this fine brewery.

December 11, 2017

379/2197) Home:  What Willis Was Talking About by Great Lakes Brewery of Ontario:  **;  4.4%, 40 ibu;  described as an "XPA" on the tin;   it might be described as a light Octopus Wants To Fight;  tropical fruit nose;  tropical fruit flavours but slightly washed out;

The package also reads, "Did you ever wonder what Willis was talking about?  This beer…apparently. "

380/2198) Home:  Dasher & Dancer by Brouwerij de Molen of the Netherlands:  *1/2;  5.2%, 25 ibu;  unfiltered;  "Red Ale - ish";  frothy persistent head;  nose is pine and orange;  I'm not getting quite so much flavour , thin, grainy, mildly citrusy; 

This is also brewed under the name "Stad & Land".

December 10, 2017

378/2196) Home:  Shamans by Le Grimoire Microbrasserie of Quebec:  **;  5%;  a wit beer brewed with apple and cinnamon;  pours hazy, smells just like the hot apple cider I like so much at this time of year with apple, cinnamon and spices;  delicious spiced apple flavours;  a great dessert beer;

I learned that a Grimoire is a text of magic spells and the like.

December 9, 2017

377/2195) Home:  Palate Trip by 8 Wired Brewing of New Zealand:  *1/2;  a 6.5% sour IPA;  brewed with both wheat and barley;  nose is earthy and dry;  tart and cidery with astringent hop notes;  not the disaster I was expecting but I maintain it would have been better un-soured;

December 8, 2017

376/2194) Home:  Advent Party Crasher American Imperial Stout by Clown Shoes Beer of Massachusetts, U.S.A.:  **;  10%;  brewed with lactose and orange zest;  smells a lot like a Christmas chocolate orange but with the sharp bitter taste of essential oils from the orange zest;  chocolate, roasty malt bitterness throughout, especially at the finish;  a tad unusual but nice;


December 7, 2017

375/2193) Home:  Grisette by Camba Bavaria of Germany:  *;  a 5.9%, 17 ibu Belgian Ale;  brewed with barley malt and wheat malt;  yeasty nose;  mostly I taste yeast and malt;  this one might have worked better for me on a hot day;

Sunday, 24 December 2017

December 6, 2017

374/2192) Home:  Beaver's Milk Stout Nitro by Belching Beaver Brewery of California, U.S.A.:  **;  5.3%;  this is their first beer ever brewed in a "Nitro version to go";  lactose and chocolate nose;  not as creamy or carbonated as the term Nitro might suggest;  sweet and chocolatey;

Right off the bat, one distinction between this edition and last year's calendar is the inclusion of non-European beers.

December 5, 2017

373/2191) Home:  Alien Klaw by Naparbier of Spain:  **;  a 6.8%, 50 ibu Belgian IPA, which in this instance means an IPA fermented with Belgian yeast;  pours hazy;  the nose is citrusy and herbal;  bitter, nearly medicinal hops overshadow the Belgian yeast;

This is also available spelled "Claw".  Naparbier is a brewery I first came across in last year's Advent calendar.

December 4, 2017

372/2190) Home:  Hel & Verdoemenis by Brouwerij De Molen of the Netherlands:  **1/2;  10% "Imperial Stout-ish";  translates as Hell & Damnation;  nose is boozy with raisins;  flavours of bitter coffee, raisins; 

Quite marvellous beer - this Advent calendar keeps getting better.

December 3, 2017

371/2189) Home:  Cocanuck Stout by Saugatuck Brewing Co. of Michigan, U.S.A.:  **1/2;  7.5%;   nose is coconut and vanilla;  coconut tastes very natural and there is also a hint of vanilla;  delicious - better many a similarly themed chocolate bar;

Day 3's choice also features a great label.

December 2, 2017

370/2188) Home:  Dubbel Advent by Nøgne Ø of Norway:  **1/2;  8%;  brewed with malted barley and wheat, Demerara sugar;  nose features alcohol, raisins, dark fruit;  the alcohol is prominent in the tastes as well as burnt sugar and dark fruit with a  sweet dark sugar finish;  a brilliant Belgian style dubbel from a Norwegian brewery;

Day Two of the Craft Beer Advent Calendar.

December 1, 2017

368/2186) Home:  Roundhouse Kick by Crew Republic GmbH of Germany:  **1/2;  9.2%;  nose of chocolate, dark coffee, roasted malt; sweet vanilla notes but mainly dark roasty malt and coffee with chocolate at the finish;  it all makes for a very good and very warming stout;

369/2187) Home:  Export by Shipyard Brewing Co. of Maine, U.S.A.: *1/2;  5.1%;   brewed with the usual four ingredients plus wheat;  pours clear, golden;  sweet biscuity nose;  malty with a sweet finish; 

This year's Advent Calendar gets off to an OK but not entirely inspiring start.

November 30, 2017

Today's cask at the 3 Brewers in Mississauga was last year's Festive ale. aged for an entire year in a cask.  There was no oak or anything so I am not counting it as a new beer but it made for an interesting side by side comparison with this year's version.  Good though it is, I do prefer this year's edition.  I was wishing they would have aged the Winter Warmer.

In spite of the minor disaster that was last year's Craft Beer Advent Calendar experience I am going to try it again and because it arrived in time I can experience it according to the rules.

November 29, 2017

367/2185) The 3 Brewers, Heartland:  Festive Ale 2017 by The 3 Brewers of Ontario:  **1/2;  6.9%, 45 ibu;  last year's Festive Ale was in the style of a British Strong Ale, this year they are trying for a Belgian Dubbel;  I liked the dark sugar notes and dark fruit flavours;  this is a wonderful beer; 

November 28, 2017

366/2184) Home:  Retronym English IPA by Great Lakes Brewery of Ontario:  **1/2;  6%, 40 ibu;  a 30th anniversary brew;  nose is malty with notes of tea and caramel;  malt forward with a dry hop bitterness which takes us back to North America; 

A retronym is a new term from an existing one made necessary by progress or innovation.  The example I was given was acoustic guitar though English IPA also works very well.

November 24, 2017

365/2183) Home:  Runes by Bellwoods Brewery of Ontario:  **1/2;  a 6.7% double dry-hopped IPA;  brewed with citra, mosaic and lupulin powder;  citrusy tropical nose, pineapple is very prominent;  delicious citrus flavours;

I have achieved the milestone of 365 new beers four days earlier than I managed in 2011.  I had thought it would be more difficult as time went on owing to the fact that anything I have tried since January 1st 2011 is ruled out but the LCBO and local brewers have more than made up for that.

Things got off to a good start with the late arrival of the Craft Beer Advent Calendar and events like Péché Day and C'est What's Spring Festival of Craft Beer kept it going.  A summer of beer flights pretty much sealed things.  I was able to miss C'est What's Fall event without losing pace.  I am tempted to ponder trying this again.

One of the reasons I was in town and able to visit Thirsty and Miserable was for the release of the 2017 edition of Bring Out Your Dead at Bellwoods.  It's a new recipe for this year. 

As I sat down at the bar that day, Katie asked me how many bottles I had purchased.  Plainly, I am far too predictable.  Obviously she could not be there as she was working but she had a "mule" picking it up for her which she thought was a good arrangement, though when I was there the line wasn't the worst I had ever experienced.

Yes, Witchshark is now in cans. 

November 21, 2017

364/2182) Home:  The Spice Principle by Beau's All Natural Brewing of Ontario:  **;  5.6%;  another entry from their most recent mixed pack and also part of their Wild Oats Series;  brewed with wheat and barley malt, as well as coriander, turmeric, cumin, fenugreek, cayenne, black pepper, yellow mustard, ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, nutmeg (all organic);  pours a cloudy pale yellow;  it's basically a ready made spiced broth - this would be great fun to cook with;  the nose is a yeasty blend of spices;  melon notes, such a variety of flavours;  mild heat towards finish;  an odd one;

November 20, 2017

363/2181) Home:  Nightwatcher Oatmeal Stout by Lake of Bays Brewing Co. of Ontario:  **;  4.4%, 25 ibu;  brewed with the usual four ingredients plus oatmeal;  "partially filtered";  roasty nose;  roasty flavours with hints of chocolate;

Saturday, 23 December 2017

November 18, 2017

361/2179) Thirsty and Miserable:  Imperial Biscotti Break by Eviltwin Brewing of New York, U.S.A.:  ***;  11.5%;  brewed with coffee, almonds and vanilla;  boozy nose with dark fruit, coffee, roast;  nutty, vanilla, dark coffee, dark chocolate notes;  quite something, very warming, perfect for this time of year;  I cannot wait to return for another;

362/2180) Home:  Grimace's Tears by Great Lakes Brewing of Ontario:  **1/2; a 6.2%, 15 ibu milkshake IPA brewed with vanilla beans and lactose;  pours mildly hazy, orange colour;  lemony nose;  tropical fruit notes with a sweet finish;

Monday, 18 December 2017

November 16, 2017

360/2178) The 3 Brewers, Heartland:  Boys In My Yard by The 3 Brewers of Ontario:  **1/2;  6%, 35 ibu;  cask;  their Harvest ale with Mosaic lupulin powder, Galaxy hops, lime zest, orange zest, lemon zest, mangoes, lactose;  citrus zest accentuates the hops nicely;  I think I am getting some vanilla, presumably from the lactose; 

November 15, 2017

359/2177) Home:  Meanwhile, Down In Moxee... by Great Lakes Brewery of Ontario:  **1/2; a 6.5%, 65 ibu American/New England style IPA;  Moxee is near Yakima, Washington, hometown of the El Dorado hop;  clear, orangey;  fresh, fruity nose;  flavours of exotic fruit and strawberries;  juicy, fruity with a mild bitterness;    

November 12, 2017

358/2176) Home:  My Beer, Version 3 brewed by Me in Ontario: **1/2;

For this version I set aside the dried hop pellets that come with the Brooklyn Brewshop kit, with the idea in mind to make a double IPA next time out, and instead I used hops picked the same morning in my backyard added directly to the boil.   I used muslin (cheesecloth) bags to reduce the need to filter.  I also decreased the amount of  honey, perhaps a bit too much as it was lacking for carbonation.  Even so, honey is still there in the nose.  Maybe I should use that cheap stuff and not the artisanal varieties.  I tasted notes of honey and fresh hoppy bitterness.  It was well worth the effort.

November 8, 2017

357/2175) Home:  Bristol Stout by Kichesippi Beer Company of Ontario:  **;  4.8%, 36 ibu;  a milk stout inspired by their family dairy farm in Bristol, Quebec;  soft fluffy head;  sweet, milk chocolatey nose;  thin mouth feel;  roasty and dry with a hint of milk chocolate at finish;

November 7, 2017

356/2174) Home:  30th Anniversary Imperial Stout with coffee and cocoa by Great Lakes Brewing of Ontario:  **1/2;  9.5%, 60 ibu;  brewed with Station Cold Brew coffee;  coffee grinds nose with a cocoa edge;  bitter dark coffee flavours with warming alcohol

November 2, 2017

355/2173) The 3 Brewers, Heartland:  Daenerys California by The 3 Brewers of Ontario:  **; 6%, 35 ibu;  a Thursday cask;  their feature Harvest Ale with pineapple and habanero peppers;  at first it's all about the pineapple, especially in the nose but the heat comes on at the finish;

I was informed that this is another Game of Thrones referencing beer.  I need to stay in more, I might learn something.

November 1, 2017

354/2172) Home:  Imperial Pumpkin Ale by Central City Brewers and Distillers of British Columbia:  **;  8%;  barrel aged;  brewed with pumpkins and "fall spices";  nose is spice, oak;  more barrel than pumpkin, tastes of bourbon and spice;  warming alcohol and oak at the finish;

Sunday, 17 December 2017

October 31, 2017

353/2171) The 3 Brewers, Heartland:  Spooky Ale by The 3 Brewers of Ontario:  **1/2;  6.2%, 26 ibu;  a special Hallowe'en cask;  their Amber ale with Granny Smith apples, cinnamon, nutmeg and caramel syrup added before pouring;  they were going for a candy apple flavour and they achieved this admirably; 

October 28, 2017

350/2168) The 3 Brewers, Heartland:  Angled Sweatpants by The 3 Brewers of Ontario:  **1/2;  5.6%, 42 ibu;  a blend of their IPA and Blonde ale with Grand Marnier, American Oak, Simcoe Lupulin powder, Amarillo hops;  orange comes across nicely in the nose, along with the oak;  nuanced with a bitter finish;  a Thursday night cask;

351/2169) Home:  Tom Green Cherry Milk Stout by Beau's All Natural Brewing of Ontario:  **;  5.6%, 30 ibu;  brewed with organic cherry juice, lactose, cherries;  roasty nose with fresh cherries;  tastes of roasted malt, cherries, chocolate;

352/2170) Home:  Death & Taxes Raspberry Radler by Sawdust City of Ontario:  *1/2;  4.3%;  brewed with wheat and raspberry puree;  nose of raspberries;  not appreciably different from a number of raspberry golden ales;  the raspberry is strongest towards the finish;

The tin reminded me of something then I thought of this:

I think it has something to do with a particular beer festival.

October 25, 2017

349/2167) Home:  Shevchenko 9 Ukrainian Dunkel by Four Fathers Brewing Co. of Ontario:  **;  5%;  described on the tin as a Euro Dark Lager;  nose is roast, faint chocolate, grain;  nutty with chocolate notes; 

It seems this is named for a Ukrainian soccer player.  The tin advises, "Yes, we know he was number 7 and yes, it is a long story" and elsewhere, " as stunning, bittersweet and complex as Kyiv itself,"

October 24, 2017

348/2166) Home:  Wild North Pumpkin Ale by Lake of Bays Brewing Co. of Ontario:  *1/2;  6%, 25 ibu;  a new recipe from last year, a little less sweet and with a higher ibu;  brewed with vanilla, spice and pumpkin;  the nose is pumpkin and spice, ditto for flavours;  vanilla only faintly present; 

Accompanied by some other examples of what makes this such a great time of year.

October 23, 2017

347/2165) Home:  Bear Runner Blonde Ale by New Ontario Brewing of, well, Ontario:  *1/2;  4.5%, 15 ibu;  brewed with both barley and wheat;  grainy, slightly minerally nose;  a typical blonde ale save for a tinge of tangy mineral;

"Named for the little known (and completely fictional) annual North Bay running of the bears", which sounds like the sort of thing Canadians tell Americans about themselves.

October 22, 2017

346/2164) Home:  Potato Stout by Black Creek Historic Brewery of Ontario:  **;  5.5%;  brewed and purchased on site and quite a bit different than the larger scale version at the LCBO;  nose is chocolate;  earthy, minerally flavours, chocolate notes emerge at the finish; 

October 21, 2017

344/2162)  Home:  Late Summer Stout with Raspberries by Great Lakes Brewery of Ontario:  *1/2;  4%, 15 ibu;  in my defense, while the calendar might indicate Fall, it feels like late summer weather-wise;  soft, fluffy head;  nose is mild chocolate, muted raspberry;  grainy, mild roastiness with notes of chocolate and faint raspberry flavours;

Souvenirs of a trip to Great Lakes Brewing

345/2163) Home:  Collective Project IPA No. 4 by Collective Arts of Ontario:  **;  6.4%;  brewed with Hallertau, Citra and Mosaic hops;  pale, translucent;  fine lingering head;  tropical nose, especially pineapple;  fresh tropical flavours, bold citrus;  another fine addition to the series;