Thursday, 31 January 2013

December 31, 2012

246/646)  Caffe Volo:  Tactical Nuclear Pengiun by Brewdog of Scotland:  **1/2; this was going for $10 per 1oz serving;  I nursed mine for a full half hour;  it checks in at an astounding 32% ;  it was served at room temperature as recommended by the brewer;  strong, intense nose;  it is a tart, sharp tasting blend of alcohol, red wine, roots, fig, raisin, resin, dried fruit, Christmas cake flavours;  incredibly complex;  in my notes I decided it tastes & smells like best cough syrup ever; 

This is created using a process akin to freeze distilling and for this reason, Stephen Beaumont feels this is more like a spirit than a beer and as a result he awards Utopias the honour of highest alcohol content for a beer.   Read more at

247/647)  Caffe Volo:   Old Crustacean Barley Wine (2008) by Rogue Brewery of Oregon, U.S.A.:  **1/2;  suprisingly hoppy nose (grapefruit) for a barley wine;  citrusy flavours, grain notes;

248/648)  Caffe Volo:  XS Imperial Stout (2008) by Rogue Brewery of Oregon, U.S.A.:  **;  on opening this one Tomas said he was sniffing 4 years of aging;  nose is raisins, fruitcake sparkling wine;  frothy but astringent mouthfeel;  I thought I detected grape flavours;

This was a terrific evening hosted by the Volo.  The idea was they would be opening bottles from their cellar every half hour according to a pre-set schedule, five ounce portions until they ran out.  On the half hour they rang a bell and more treasures emerged.  I hurried to get there by 6:30 for the Brewdog offering.  Had I stayed until midnight, I would have been there for the Westvleteren XII.

It worked out very well.  I was concerned that things might get out of hand but thanks to their decision to be careful with the Brewdog I was fit to visit Tracks after the bus reached me to the station and as I was sitting near the window wondering if I should order something to eat my wife and daughter spotted me.  They joined me for a drink and I accompanied them to the music outside the Rose Theatre.

December 29, 2012

246/645)  Home:  Propeller Revolution Russian Imperial Stout by the John Allen Brewing Company of Nova Scotia:  **;  8% "Za Vas!"  as you might expect, it is as dark as night;  nose is coffee, alcohol;  notes of aged wine and mocha;  I have become a huge fan of Russian Imperial stouts and porters.

One of the bartenders at the Rex was wearing a sweatshirt with the logo on it.  I complimented him but he had to concede that they didn't pour it there.  The band was the Jive Bombers - highly recommended.

December 28, 2012

244/644)  Home:  Westvleteren XII by Abdig Sant-Sixtus of Belgium:  **1/2;  a trappist abbey ale;  nose is sweet, brown sugary; tastes fruity, with brown sugar, licorice, alcohol notes;

This is a tough one to rate.  The best line I heard was from someone who declared that his palate could not sense scarcity.  Neither can mine and it doesn't detect expense either.  I did seek it out, however.  When my wife asked me after a glass if I would line up now in the cold to pay $76.85 I decided I would go upstairs to bed.  It is pretty fine, though and I wouldn't give up the entire experience and what's more I'm not giving up the other bottles.  They are for special occasions.

December 27, 2012

243/643)  Home:  Christmas Ale by Shepherd Neame of England:  **;  a 7% Strong Kent Ale from "Britain's Oldest Brewer";  fruity, spicy nose;  a nicely spiced, warming ale; 

I meant to drink this two days ago but it slipped my mind.

Wednesday, 30 January 2013

December 26, 2012

A few more reasons to like the season:

Thank you, sweetie!

December 25, 2012

242/642)  Home:  Celebration by Sierra Nevada of California, U.S.A.:  **1/2;  a "fresh hop ale"  brewed with "first hops of the growing season";  hoppy nose;  an earthy, floral IPA;

This and the others here were a Christmas present from my son, who had just returned from four months in California.

I hesitate to say "coolest Christmas present ever" because as far as I know someone was the recipient of a donated kidney but this has to be near the top, courtesy of my brother.  This is the one who has an uncanny knack of coming up with beers that are not available.  I am thinking in particular of Black Coal Stout.  I was reminded of this while enjoying a glass at the Volo recently.

Wow!  Who is luckier than me?

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

December 21, 2012

240/640)  C'est What:  Morning Brew Coffee Cream Stout by Wellington County Brewery of Ontario:  **;   this was from a tin;  a 6.7%  stout with bitter dark roasted coffee notes;  also a hint of wine;  the bitterness is offset by a touch of sweet mocha

241/641)  Caffe Volo:  Holy Cow by Church Key Brewing of Ontario:  **;  a chocolate milk stout;    milk chocolate mocha nose;  mild chocolate notes with a milk chocolate finish set against an English style stout backdrop;

The Volo has undergone some changes.  For me the biggest is that they have removed the tables from the bar area.  It sounds a small thing but it is a huge improvement.  There is a whole lot more room now.  Time was it could get pretty informal with so many people in such a tight space.

December 17, 2012

239/639)  Pumpkin Eater Imperial Pumpkin Ale by Howe Sound Brewing of British Columbia:  **;  an  8% spiced pumpkin ale brewed with pumpkin, cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, and star anise;  comes in a re-sealable one litre bottle;  tastes like a pumpkin pie with alcohol;