Saturday, 25 February 2017

January 31, 2017

50/1868) Home:  The Crimson Bird by Naparbier of Spain:  **;  a 6.1% saison brewed with raspberries;  nose is grain, mild spice and raspberry;  very strong fresh raspberry flavours, with a hint of yeast and spice;  another example of a saison made tolerable by adulteration;

51/1869) Home:  Sauerkirsche Stout, a collaboration between Cervesa de Montgeny of Spain and Evil Twin Brewing:  **1/2;  brewed at Montgeny by Evil Twin;  a 10% imperial stout with sour cherries;  dry roasty nose ; flavours of alcohol, chocolate, cherries;  warm alcohol finish;  a wonderful blend of chocolate, dark coffee and above all else, cherries;

January 30, 2017

48/1866) Home:  Pukki by Browar Wąsosz of Poland in collaboration with Humalov Brewing of Finland:  *;  3%;  brewed in Poland;  the label notes that this is a "Beer Advent Calendar Special" a "smoked beer in 'grodziskie style'" and an "historical Polish beer style with a Finnish twist";  brewed with smoked wheat malt in place of barley as well as spruce shoots;  pours clear, nearly colourless;  the nose is mild spruce overwhelmed by dark smoke - it smells like a fire at the Christmas tree lot;  spruce notes early on with a smokey finish;

49/1867) Home:  Deep Space Foreign Extra Stout by Fabyrka Piwa of Poland:  **;  6.5%, 50 ibu;  brewed with 8 malts;  scarcely any head to speak of, even after pouring directly onto the bottom of the glass;  dry roasty nose with coffee notes;  dry with coffee flavours and a coffee finish;

January 29, 2017

46/1864) Home:  Gno More Gnomes a collaboration between Brewski of Sweden and Evil Twin Brewing:  **1/2;  brewed in Sweden;  while the Evil Twin head office is in Brooklyn, e-mails go to Denmark addresses;  10%;  dark, chestnut brown;  an American style barley wine brewed with figs;  nose is dark fruit with warming alcohol;  dark fruit, caramel, mild spice flavours with warming alcohol at the finish;  a perfect slow sipper for a cold day;  at one point I thought the Estonian beer was the "star" of the Advent calendar but now I'm wavering;

I picked Sweden out of turn to mark NHL All-Star weekend and meeting the great Borje Salming at the Hockey Hall of Fame a week ago;

47/1865) Home:  Préaris Quadrocinno by Vliegende Paard Brouwers of Belgium:  **;  "coffee infused";  the original label reads 8.5% but a label slapped on by the LCBO reads 9.5%;  coffee is only subtly present in nose and coffee notes are subdued until the finish;

January 28, 2017

42/1860) Home:  2017 Helles Golden Lager by Amsterdam Brewery:  *1/2;  5.2%, 17 ibu; released to mark their 30th anniversary;  brewed in the style of one of the first beers produced at the original brewpub on John St. which I used to go to when it was mostly warehouses in the area - long before it became the "Entertainment District";  I missed drinking this on New Year's Day so I'm marking Chinese New Year;  malty, grassy nose;  the almost pilsner like flavours take us to central Europe;

43/1861) Home:  Rascal London Porter by The Inveralmond Brewery of Scotland:  **1/2;  5.6%;  Inspiration Series #3;  "inspired by the mighty brewing styles of 18th century London";  certainly a hearty brew;  spiced nose with a touch of alcohol;  rich, very dry mocha flavours with notes of roasted grain;

44/1862) Home:  Farm Style Vienna Lager by Beau's All Natural Brewing of Ontario:  *1/2;  4.7%;  dry Eurohop nose with soft edges;  very much a blend of the styles;  dry finish;

45/1863) Home:  Kentucky Cow by Wellington Brewery of Ontario:  **;  Bourbon Barrel Aged Chocolate milk stout;  7.5%, 18 ibu;  brewed with flaked oats, lactose and cocoa;  oaky nose; flavours of vanilla, bourbon; alcohol is quite prominent at first;  the wax seal suggests it is a candidate for aging;

This looks bad but my son was home for the weekend and there was sharing going on.

Thursday, 9 February 2017

January 27, 2017

Yet another revolting development:  the Victory Café, in Mirvish Village is closing at the end of the month.  This one received four pint glasses of a possible five from my favourite pub review site:

Quite plainly, Toronto does not have nearly enough condominiums.

January 26, 2017

41/1859) The 3 Brewers, Heartland:  The King Under The Mash Tun by The 3 Brewers of Ontario:  **1/2;  this cask is their feature beer, The Blizzard, with added Amarillo, Citra and Centennial hops;  the Citra hops are very prominent in the nose;  the blend of hops gives pineapple notes and it looks like a glass of pineapple juice as well;  sweet butterscotch notes;  the hops turn out to be a good counter to the aggressive sugariness of The Blizzard;

January 25, 2017

39/1857) Home:  De Mons Belgian Abbey by The Inveralmond Brewery of Scotland:  *;  brewed with barley and wheat;  from their Inspiration Series, #2;  this is their take on a Trappist beer;  it's vaguely like a Trappist with a faintly yeasty, fruity nose;  bland taste, hints of fruit and malt;

I am taking Scotland out of turn in my journey through the 2016 Beer Advent Calendar today in honour of Robbie Burns Day.  Sure, I am a mongrel, and my children moreso, but my father's mother was a McCordick and my mother was an Armstrong.

40/1858) Home:  Clootie Dumpling by The Orkney Brewery of Scotland:  **1/2;  named for the traditional Scottish spiced pudding and the cloth (cloot) it is wrapped in;  brewed with wheat and barley as well as cinnamon, sugar, allspice;  dark brown;  the nose features all three spices;  delicious gingerbread like flavors but not sweet;

No fooling, I am going to seek out a Scottish bakery and bring home a few Clootie Dumplings.

Lang may yer lum reek.

January 24, 2017

37/1855) Home:  Winter Saison by Brouwerij De Molen of the Netherlands:  *1/2;  6.1%;  brewed with the usual four ingredients plus timut and Szechuan peppers, mustard seed and juniper;  unpasteurized;  yeasty nose;  mild pepperiness but not excessive;  mildly warmly spiced after taste;

38/1856) Home:  Adventurous Brown by Nøgne Ø of Norway:  **;  10%;  "a celebration of Advent"; aged on oak and cypress;  brewed with wheat and barley malt and muscovado sugar;  pours very dark brown;  sweet nose;  notes of dark sugar, mild roast;

January 23, 2017

34/1852) Home:  APA by Birrificio del Doge of Italy:  **;  4.8%;  the label speaks of "hope notes" and "grate harmony";  pours hazy straw;  mild citrus nose with a malty back drop;  warm citrus flavours, faintly bitter with a dry hoppy finish;

35/1853) Home:  Molotov by Birrificio del Ducato of Italy:  **;  7.0%;  unpasteurized;  brewed with sugar and spices;  "proudly brewed with wasabi and appetite for destruction";  smoked, in a good way,  spiced nose;  gentle heat from the wasabi, mild fruitiness, and a warm finish;

36/1854) Home:  December Flower Winter Seasonal Ale 2016 by White Pony of Italy:  **1/2;  11.8%;  bottled and brewed for them by Het Nest Brouwerij of Belgium;  dry hopped;   brewed with sugar, orange peel, coriander and champagne yeast;  orangey red according to my daughter - I can't see either colour;  the nose is dominated by alcohol with a sweet fruity sugariness emerging slowly;  this may be one to age;  the alcohol is a bit hot but it yields to burnt sugary notes;

Stephen Beaumont has been saying for some time now how Italy is an emerging force in the craft beer world and here is our proof.

January 22, 2017

32/1850) Home:  Black Alligator by Monyo Brewing Company of Hungary:  *1/2;  9%, 19.5 ibu;  a black Saison;  nose is roasty;  mild black pepper with grainy notes and lingering black pepper and spice after taste;  brewed in Budapest - this is the first Hungarian beer to make the list;

33/1851) Home:  Reserve Brune by Brasserie St-Feuillien S.A. of Belgium:  **1/2;  8.5%;  fruitiness to the nose with dark burnt sugar and an alcohol edge;  a surprising candi, almost bubblegum, like sweetness along with dark sugar and fruitiness;  an unusual and surprising Abbey ale;

This selection is not from the Advent calendar.

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

January 21, 2017

31/1849)  C'est What:  Wine Barrel Imperial Stout by Inocente Brewing Company of Ontario:  **;  11.5%, 60 ibu;  strong oaky red wine nose;  wine overshadows all else, mild vanilla notes;

January 19, 2017

29/1847) The 3 Brewers, Heartland:  Level 20 Ogre Mage by The 3 Brewers of Ontario:  **; billed as a sour IPA;  it is their IPA with lactic acid, Nelson Sauvin hops, Chardonnay soaked oak chips, and honey;  nose is strongly California Sauvignon;  tastes at first of oaky wine flavours followed by a dry, bitter after taste;  I was not expecting to like this but save for that aftertaste it is a winner;

30/1848) Home:  Bavarian Winter by Camba Bavaris of Germany:  **1/2;   5.8%;  styles itself an IPA;  floral green tea nose;  musty green tea flavours;

January 18, 2017

28/1846) Home:  Cognac Barrel by La Debauche of France:  **1/2;  a 9.5% amber ale "worked with oak wood and cognac";  warm oaky nose with alcohol yielding to cognac;  very strong cognac flavours, oaky and very warming;

January 17, 2017

26/1844) Home:  LaiskaJaakko (Lazy Jack) by Teerenpeli Brewery and Distillery of Finland:  **;  a 4.5% dark lager;  nose features malt and sweet mocha;  sort of like a sparkling stout with sweet mocha notes

27/1845) Home:  Põhjala ÖÖ by Ŏllekunsti Oü of Estonia:  **1/2;  a 10.5% Imperial Baltic Porter brewed in Tallinn, where I recall my units holding out bravely last time I played The Russian Campaign;  "as dark as the Estonian Winter nights";  perfect for the end of a day of freezing rain - I am lucky - it is very easy for me to take the bus to work but my wife is not so lucky;  a true Baltic Porter (if one is to overlook that the style originated in England);  alcohol is very prominent in nose with a sharp mocha edge;  flavours of alcohol and dark coffee;  outstanding;

January 16, 2017

24/1842) Home:  Rose Wheat Beer by The Ticketybrew Company of England:  **1/2;  4.5%;  in addition to the usual four ingredients, this is brewed with wheat and rose water;  nose of sparkling cider and roses;  refreshing taste with a strong presence of rose petals - very nice;

25/1843) Home:  Shepherd's Watch Canadian Edition 2016 by Wold Top Brewery of England:  **;  6%;  brewed in Yorkshire to be exact so consider this a tip of the hat to my high school friend who was born in Whitby and a thank you to Wold Top for commemorating the Canadian war effort;  "ideal for keeping the chill of winter at bay";  brewed with wheat; dark sugar nose; very rich and malty with a touch of fruit and dark sugar;

Tuesday, 7 February 2017

January 15, 2017

22/1840) Monk's Kettle, Etobicoke:  Pistols At Dawn by Redline Brewhouse of Ontario:  **; 5.1%, 30 ibu ("theoretical");  a Latte Stout brewed with oat flakes and lactose;  Kenayn Marimira coffee is added after fermentation;  dry mocha like nose;  mildly sweet coffee notes but not sweet in the manner of many milk stouts;  does taste a bit like a mildly carbonated latte;

23/1841) Monk's Kettle, Etobicoke:  Hail Mary IPA by Brimstone Brewing Co. of Ontario:  **;  5.5%;  perfectly clear;  faint citrus (lemon) nose;  nearly washed out dry citrus flavours; pleasant and refreshing;

Brimstone lists this as 4.5% and 45 ibu and seeing as how they dub it a session ale I am inclined to bet on their statistics in this case.

January 14, 2017

19/1837) Home:  Oud Bruin Hip Hops by Brouwerij 'T Verzet of Belgium:  **;  6%;  in the southwest Flanders style;  a blend of young and over 1 year old beers matured in barrels of varying sorts of wood;  matured a further six months in the bottle;  the nose is tart and cidery with apple notes;  shart apple cider bite;  very tart, dry and cidery

20/1838) Home:  Bersalis Sour Blend by Oud Beersel Brewery of Belgium:  *1/2;  a 6% Blond Sour Ale;  the label reads, "Blond beer of mixed fermentation;  contains lambic aged in wooden barrels;  referments in bottle"; the usual four ingredients plus wheat;  milder than the beer above;  there is a faint tartness to the nose;  faint cidery notes overall;  a bit washed out in comparison to the previous beer;  

21/1839) Home:  Equinox Triple IPA by Biir Brewery of Belgium:  **;  9.4%, 100 ibu;  "Inspired by the Californian Triple IPAs";  brewed with Equinox hops;  the nose is rich and malty with pine notes;  sharp piney flavours overshadow citrus notes;  bitter after taste;

January 12, 2017

17/1835)  The 3 Brewers, Heartland:  The Plea of Esposito 2.0 by The 3 Brewers of Ontario:  **;  the brewmaster was going for an Oud Bruin but couldn't source the yeast;  this is their brown ale with balsamic vinegar, French and American oak;  since last time, which I missed out on, the American oak is new, they dropped the Cherry extract and reduced the balsamic hence the 2.0;  the strong balsamic nose throws one;  mild fruity grape (replaces sugar notes of the brown which I tried for comparison);  soft balsamic finish; I was not expecting to like this one;

The name of today's cask refers to this moment in Canadian history:  The Plea of Esposito

18/1836) Home:  Saison Du Japon by Kiuchi Brewery of Japan  *1/2;  6%;  brewed with koji (malted rice) which is also used to make sake, for Heaven's sake;  also brewed with wheat and yuzo;  fresh mango-like nose;  fresh fruitiness with a saison-like finish;

January 11, 2017

16/1834) Home:  Lagunitas Sucks by Lagunitas Brewing Co. of California and Illinois, U.S.A.:  **; 8%, 63.2 ibu;  described as a Brown Shugga' Substitute;  the story is they couldn't make said beer and this is what they came up with instead;  green tea nose and flavours with a dry finish;

January 10, 2017

14/1832) Home:  Silver Bottle Beer by Schloss Eggenberg of Austria:  *;  4.9%;  this is the first of the Advent Calendar beers which, being as late as I am to receive them (or at least most of them), I have decided to consume alphabetically by nation;  the words on the front of the bottle read,"urban poems/reality spirit/fashion love/earth glamour/liquid music/freedom art;  very well carbonated;  clear straw colour;  hopped with hops and hop extract;  malty nose;  tastes mostly of malt with a restrained Euro-hop snap;

15/1833) Home:  Lord of the Lupulin by Pint Pursuits Brewing Co. of Ontario:  **; 5.4%, 52 ibu;  brewed with Vermont ale yeast;  mildly resiny nose with notes of citrus, soft warm citrus flavours;

Monday, 6 February 2017

January 9, 2017

13/1831) Home:  Golden Beach Ale by Sawdust City of Ontario:  **1/2;  4.5%, 25 ibu;  "our hoppy session ale";  pours hazy;  nose of tropical fruit, especially mangoes;  tropical flavours;  dry finish; surprising;

January 8, 2017

10/1828) Home:  Secret Saison by Innis & Gunn of Scotland:  *1/2;  brewed with spices and botanicals;   nose is a bit fruity, a bit peppery;  tastes very herbal, slightly medicinal with a citrus zest finish;  not bad, just not exactly their strength;  Innis & Gunn works better for me when they are setting the trends, not following them;  I now live in fear that they will hear that sours are fashionable;

11/1829) Home:  Vertical Epic by Stone Brewing of California:  *;  7.5%;  marking 20 years of brewing, from Stone's 20th Anniversary Encore series;  the full name is Stone 02.02.02 Vertical Epic Ale;  brewed with orange peel, spices, wheat, coriander and black pepper;  bottle conditioned;  pepper overshadows all else in the nose;  reminds me of a saison more than anything; lingering black pepper flavours obscure all else;

12/1830) Home:  Finest Kind IPA by Smuttynose Brewing of New Hampshire:  **1/2;  6.9% 75 ibu;  green tea nose;  touch citrus and some resin to nose;  resiny green tea notes;

January 7, 2017

8/1826) Home:  Go To IPA by Stone Brewing of  California:  **1/2;   4.8%;  "a vibrant hop-bursted session IPA";  "The hop-heavy IPA for the everyday";  juicy, citrusy, tropical nose;  citrusy tropical flavours;  a great IPA if not precisely my definition of "session";

9/1827) Home: Ten Fidy by Oskar Blues Brewery of Colorado, U.S.A.:  **1/2;  10.5%, 65 ibu;  pours dark as night;  "this dog'll hurt";  I don't think this was barrel aged but it is complex enough to be;  roasty nose with alcohol notes;  roasty flavours with notes of wine, dark coffee and alcohol;


January 6, 2017

5/1823) Home:  Lager Beer by Innis & Gunn of Scotland:  *1/2;  4.2%;  "brewed with naked golden oats:;  inspired by German Helles style beers;  brewed with the usual four ingredients plus wheat and oats;  I don't know that this is barrel aged;  clear and golden;  a Euro style lager;  tart, bready nose;  sweet citrus flavours;  it's OK for a lager, but a bit of a disappointment considering the source;

6/1824) Home:  Imperial IPA by Collective Arts of Ontario:  **1/2;  8.5%;  pours orangey;  citrus and peach nose;  fresh citrusy flavours, resiny hop notes alongside peaches and mangos;

7/1825) Home:  Bons Vœux by Brasserie Dupont of Belgium:  *1/2;  9.5%;  bottle fermented;  sugar is added to the mix;  opaque;  persistent fine white head;  tart, musty, nearly bitter nose;  my wife called it "tangy";  very dry after taste but a sweet fruitiness prior;

January 5, 2017

3/1821) The 3 Brewers, Heartland:  Smurfette's Dirty Laundry by The 3 Brewers of Ontario:  **;  a Thursday cask;  version 2.0;  their white ale with blueberry extract (instead of blueberry juice which was used in their first version), Belma hops and hibiscus;  strong blueberry nose;  it is the colour of pink lemonade from the hibiscus, which also adds a sharp snap to the blueberry and other fruit flavours;

4/1822) The 3 Brewers, Heartland:  The Blizzard by the 3 Brewers of Ontario:  **;  8%, 28 ibu;  an English style barley wine;  sweet, sugary nose;  tastes of stone fruit and alcohol but mostly sugar;  this one is good but it is also a tiny bit of a mess - it would almost certainly benefit from aging;