North Brewing – Belgian IPA

Tucked away in Halifax’s North End, North (formerly known as Bridge) Brewing Company artfully produces Belgian-style ales, riffing off that style to create big flavourful beers that make a lasting impression.

From the brewery: A dry hopped Belgian IPA. Centennial and Chinook hops are complimented by the spice and citrus character produced by our Belgian yeast strain. This ale has intense hop character without being overly bitter.

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Appearance: Golden and copper hues, cloudy amber in the glass. Slight but lingering head. Nice lacing.

Aroma: Complex nose. Green bananas, pine needles and orange zest. Tantalizing aromas that set that bar high.

Taste: The taste delivers what the nose promised. Starts with another hit of orange zest, but the hops quickly take over for a big hit of dandelion greens, cloves and peppercorns. A dry, bitter finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium body with average carbonation.

Overall: This is one fine IPA, one of my favourite beers from North. There is a lot going on flavour-wise, but it’s still a crisp and refreshing beer and a perfect example of what North is all about: Old World sensibilities with some daring New World experimentation.

84/100

You can find North Brewing Company on the web, Facebook, and Twitter.

Regular contributor and 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). You can see what Trevor is drinking on Untappd and follow him on Twitter.

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Banking on the Yeast

OK, we’re now well into 2015, the hectic holiday fun is over and things are returning to normal. I enjoyed many great beers over the holidays but brewed little. But I have been up to some home-brewed fun. I’ve decided to start my own yeast bank; this probably makes me certifiably nuts.

Living where I do I don’t have a local home brew shop that carries liquid yeasts, or even quality dry yeast. Though I do travel often enough to be able to get what supplies I need, I still find the selection of yeasts and other “bugs” for my beers lacking and I have to resort to making online orders. This isn’t just costly, but I also worry about the viability once it makes its way through the mail (although I haven’t had an issue…yet). I almost always make at least a small starter for my beers and make sure the yeast are happy and ready to go for brew day and I do my best to ensure that I’m pitching the right amount of yeast for the beer I’m brewing. I like to use and experiment with different strains and I figure with all this its just easier if I could always keep yeasts on hand, hence the Drink N Brew Yeast Bank.

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Full disclosure: I have no experience outside high-school biology and chemistry in working in a lab setting, and I have no education in microbiology whatsoever. I do own (and did read) Yeast by Jamil Zainasheff and Chris White and there are a lot of great websites and YouTube videos show how to work in a clean environment at home. So, I went to eBay and found some test tubes, petri dishes, sterilized inoculation loops, and agar power. I also added to my collection of flasks now ranging from 50mL up to 2000mL for culturing and got a pressure cooker (my autoclave stand-in). It looks like a mad scientist’s lair or maybe a meth lab in my basement. So, I made my self some plates and slants and then put some yeast on them from some pure yeast sources. I’ve now collected a couple of different strains of yeast, and have a few others along with some brett, pedio, and lacto cultures waiting for different upcoming brew days (I see a sour beer post in the future), all of which will make it to plates and slants for storage.

My yeast bank is in its infancy now, but I’m on my way to having a good collection and a interesting side home brew project. I have just cultured up my first pitchable size of yeast from a plate (three little colonies from the plate to what I figure is about 300 billion cells) and right now all seems well. I’ll post an update on this when I have the results.

-Cheers!

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Orkney Brewery – Skull Splitter

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/260/59048405/files/2014/12/img_2303.jpgWee Heavy isn’t a beer style I love, perhaps because I haven’t had many examples of it. But when the opportunity came up to try Orkney Brewery’s signature Scotch Ale, courtesy of the Craft Beer Cellar in Newton, Massachusettes, I got a welcome chance to educate myself.

From the brewery: Skull Splitter is our strongest ale: which is named after Thorfinn Einarsson who was the 7th Viking Earl of Orkney. Sophisticated, satiny smooth with a deceptively light character, it is a tribute to our colourful forbear.

Appearance: Rich mahogany in the glass, this is a beautiful pour, with a slight off-white head that quickly dissipates and minimal lacing.

Aroma: A big nose of spiced rum and figs. Bold, powerful aromas. Tasting note: “Whoa.”

Taste: There’s a lot going on here charred oak, thick molasses, black licorice. Flavours come in waves and linger on palate. Pairs well with red meat and big cheeses. Would probably pair well with steak and blue cheese.

Mouthfeel: Lighter bodied than I was expecting. Smooth and easy-drinking.

Overall: If you’re lukewarm on scotch ales, as I was, this is a great way to discover the style. Unless, you’re a viking, you probably shouldn’t drink it all night, but Skull Splitter is a must-try tasting experience.

82/100

Regular contributor and 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). You can see what Trevor is drinking on Untappd and follow him on Twitter.

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Like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and Instagram, and be our friend on Untappd.

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