Unibroue – Blanche de Chambly

20140622-075337-28417761.jpgUnibroue started producing Belgian-inspired craft beers in the early 1990’s in Chambly, Quebec. They grew across Canada and internationally to eventually be bought by Sleeman Brewery and then Sapporo.

Blanche de Chmbly is their original flagship beer. A white ale (witbier) reminiscent of Abby Ales produced in Belgium, it is refermented in the bottle to give that classic cloudy, yeasty, effervescent appearance and flavour that you would expect from a fine Belgian white ale.

What did I think?

Appearance: Golden in colour and a bit cloudy. Nice head but not long lasting. Carbonation is apparent in the glass.

Aroma: Funky, earthy aroma. Some fruity and yeast notes.

Taste: The funk that was in the aroma comes through in the flavour. A bit tart and the carbonation also comes through a bit in the flavour. Somewhat mineraly and earthy. Notes of citrus and it almost wants to have some spice, but its not quite there. Palate clears quickly. As it warms there are some more yeasty ester notes of banana and fruit coming through.

Mouthfeel: Medium to light bodied. Well carbonated which lightens it up a bit. Drying on the tongue.

Overall: A fine Belgian styled ale. Light and refreshing, and without a long lasting flavour on the palate it begs for the next sip. Not heavy, this is a great beer after a big meal, or before.

82/100

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Magners – Pear Cider (Perry)

20140619-182817-66497912.jpgMagners Irish Cider is a producer of ciders, not just from apples, but a variety of fruits, including pears. Magners is owned by C&C Group, owner of several brands of cider and beer.

From the brewery: “The only fruit we use in Magners Pear Cider is pear. The best quality pears are ripened, carefully selected and then slowly fermented and cold filtered to provide a distinctive character and a delicately refreshing taste.”

And what did I think?

Appearance: Pale yellow in colour, white wine like and very clear. Well carbonated with a bit of head that disappears very quickly.

Aroma: The aroma is fairly light with notes of apple, pear, and grape. There is a little funk.

Taste: The flavour is somewhat wine-like with a fair bit of the pear flavour coming through. A bit on the sweet side of balanced, carbonation keeps the balance from being too sweet. Fairly light and refreshing.

Mouthfeel: Light bodied with a decent amount of carbonation.

Overall: Okay, this is not beer, but sometimes its nice to step outside the six-pack box. Perry is a growing trend and because it is refreshing and balanced I can see why. The would be a nice summertime drink for a hot day. On ice, it becomes super smooth and not hard to drink at all. A bit warmer, theres a bit more body and flavour.

75/100

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REVIEW: Hacker-Pschorr Münchner Kellerbier Anno 1417

20140612-055738-21458335.jpgGuest review by Trevor Adams

The brewer’s notes on this beer focus a lot on its drinkability, and not much on its taste. And that’s probably a good call. Its flavour is unremarkable (in a blandly pleasant way) but it is a smooth, refreshing and easy-to-drink beer—the kind of beer that suits best after you mow the lawn on a hot day.

From the brewer: Münchner Kellerbier Anno 1417 exudes seductive hues of golden honey as it shimmers in the light. This is a beer of inimitable character—authentic and gutsy, yet eminently quaffable and refreshingly mild and light. In other words, a true Bavarian.

Appearance: Golden and opaque, with head that disapates fast.

Aroma: An earthy, grassy smell—hints of honeysuckle, with a slight grapefruit tang.

Taste: Clean and crisp, with some apple in the finish. Less nuanced than its aroma would lead you to expect—an immature tasting, straightforward beer. To no one’s surprise, it pairs nicely with sauerkraut and bratwurst.

Mouthfeel: Medium carbonation, with an unremarkable body; a bit of a soapy finish.

Overall: The brewer describes this as a textbook Bavarian, but I’ve been to Bavaria, and we must be reading different textbooks. There’s nothing wrong with it, but Munich can, and usually does, do much better. A perfectly servicable everyday beer, but unlikely to rock your world.

76/100

Guest reviewer Trevor J. Adams is senior editor with Metro Guide Publishing and the editor of Halifax Magazine. In 2012, he published his first solo book, Long Shots: The Curious Story of the Four Maritime Teams That Played for the Stanley Cup (Nimbus Publishing).

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Rare Bird – Pale Ale

20140607-123944-45584492.jpgRare Bird is brewed in Guysborough, Nova Scotia buy Authentic Seacoast Brewing Company. Using “pure artesian water”, hops, and Canadian malt they make small, handcrafted batches in Maritime brewing tradition.

From the brewery:
“Rare Bird Pale Ale is an immensely drinkable East Coast interpretation of this classic beer style. Using pure artesian water from Nova Scotia’s pristine Eastern Shore, Rare Bird Pale Ale starts with a nice hit of hops on the nose, a delicious balance of specially selected malted barley and both English and North American hops in the middle and a dry finish that delivers a refreshing beer of rare character.”

And what did I think?

Appearance: Deep amber. Clear with a nice lasting head and good lacing.

Aroma: A bit of hops, but not as predominate as many North American styled pale ales. Some light fruit notes, probably from the yeast used.

Taste: Bitter on the back of the tongue, but sweeter up front. Some citrus and earthiness, with notes of caramel. Balanced overall.

Mouthfeel: Medium to light body. Slight oiliness from hops.

Overall: Nice and easy drinking, even at 7% not over powering in any aspect. This East Coast pale ale is well crafted with a beautiful balance that makes it a joy to drink.

78/100

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