Brewed by Wells and Young in the UK, this is definitely a unique beer. The brewery describes it as a “unique brew combines all the traditional qualities and style of a Charles Wells beer with the subtle flavour of banana … Tempting banoffee aromas tempered by a grassy, lemony nose all leading to a finely balanced, fresh, delicate flavour of peppery hops with a lingering dry finish.”
Ok. To be honest I was given this beer and was a bit afraid. It sat in the fridge longer than most beer and I kept looking and wondering. Well, I manage up the courage (which wasn’t actually much and I was looking for something different) and poured it – very surprised, and in a good way.
Appearance: Copper/amber, with a nice bit of off-white head. Clear.
Aroma: Dominated by banana with spicy notes. Some sweetness and maltiness.
Flavour: Malty, with the banana becoming subdued. It has a firm bitterness and is fairly balanced with some hops and spice. The finish is crisp and dry.
Mouthfeel: A fairly thin body but with the dryness it is still refreshing.
Overall: I was impressed. Maybe it was the fact it wasn’t terrible, but more likely it was because it actually was well made. Granted, this is not the type of beer for everyone, but those who are looking for something different, give it a try.
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We’re back at the Gahan House Brewery in Charlottetown, P.E.I. to sample Sir John A’s Honey Wheat Ale. The brewer describes this as “a light golden brew with honey-ish notes on the nose and a rounded, off dry and slightly citrusy body,” which is true, so far as it goes. I just don’t know about calling this a honey wheat ale. In character and style, it’s far closer to a blonde.
Appearance: Light, golden and clear, with a thin head that dissapates quickly.
Aroma: Hoppy and citrusy—almost limey. You know what I’d expect to smell here? Honey. Alas, no honey.
Taste: Very crisp, with a nice punch of citrus that quickly fades into a slow heat. The flavour profile is more simplistic than I’d like (or hope), but it’s clean and drinkable.
Mouthfeel: Light and unremarkable; closer to a macro-brewery beer.
Overall: This one isn`t going to change your life, and it`s not a great example of a wheat ale. But taken on its own, it`s pleasant and drinkable‑a good beer for a hot summer day. Its most outstanding quality is its crispness, so it pairs nicely with fatty-porky dishes; the hops cut right through that rich fat. At the Gahan House, they recommend pairing with their dry ribs. I’ve tried with both smoked pork belly and bacon-wrapped scallops and was happy with the results.
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).
Picaroons Traditional Ales is located in Fredericton, NB. Operating since 1995, its growing range of beers are brewed with traditional English roots, hand crafted in small batches.
From the brewery:
“An East Coast-style India Pale Ale that weaves hop bitterness and aroma throughout a blanket of malt backgroung. This beer may change from batch to batch as we explore the various interpretations of the style.”
And what did I think?
Golden orange in colour, and somewhat cloudy. With off white head and some lacing.
Hops, front and centre. Mainly citrus, with some flowery, earthy, and dank note. Slight malt. Caramel.
Lots northwest hops – citrus and dank. Leather. Not much malt. The hop bitterness is lasting on the palate.
Light to medium body. Good amount of carbonation.
With the brewery describing this as an “East Coast” IPA, its understandable that it may not be a hop bomb like is found on the West Coast, but still a very good IPA. Lots of hops with a solid backbone to support the hop lead. Quite drinkable even with the large amount of hops that lasts on the palate. Leaves you wanting more.
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The Gahan is a brewpub located in Charlottetown, PE. Produced and exporting by the PEI Brewing Company across Canada, they’ve earned a reputation for production quality beers.
Their website describe their Island Red as:
“Island Red Premium Ale is an amber, medium bodied handcrafted ale with a smooth caramel overtone and bitter finish”.
And what did I think?
Amber red colour with a slight haze. Thin white head that left a nice little lacing.
Malt with some hops. Bready with hints of caramel. Light toast notes.
Some malt coming through, but more balanced towards the bitterness. Some hop flavour, flowery and fruity. A bit of caramel. A touch of lemon peal/rind in the after taste.
Medium to light bodied. Average or a bit better carbonation.
Nice, easy drinking North American styled amber ale (not as potent as something from the West Coast). No flaws stand out in this beer, but at the same time it is fairly pedestrian, not to say its bad in anyway, but may not stand out in a crowd either.
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Sierra Nevada is one of the original American craft brewers. Located in Chico, California, they have been at the forefront of the craft beer revolution in the US. Founded in 1979 by Ken Grossman, they continue to blaze a trail for craft brewers around the world.
About Bigfoot from the brewers website:
“Bigfoot is a beast of a beer, brimming with bold flavors of bittersweet malt and heaps of aggressive whole-cone Pacific Northwest hops. First introduced in the winter of 1983, Bigfoot is a cult-classic beer brewed in the barleywine style, meaning a strong, robust, bruiser of a beer with the refined intensity of a wine. Bigfoot is prized by beer collectors for its supreme cellarability. Under the proper conditions, it can age like a fine wine, developing new flavors and character as it matures in the bottle.”
Deep amber with a thin, but creamy tan head. A bit cloudy/hazy.
Sweet with citrus note. No alcohol to speak of even know its more than 9%. Toffee and caramel.
Sweet malt and caramel with the balance towards the hop bitterness. Hops, but no more then I was expecting. Citrus, resin, grapefruit. Some alcohol notes.
Medium-full body with a moderate carbonation.
You probably wont drink many of these in a row (or you may fall over – be warned), but very good. Aged a bit since the first bottle I had and the hops have faded a bit (this bottle is 6 month a drinking time). Better as it warms slightly. Though the hops are fading, its not becoming overly sweet and it still very drinkable. It should continue to age well for a long time.
Consistently one of the best selling beers in Europe, Palm (Palm Speciale, as it’s know in Europe) is produced in Steenhuffle, Belgium by Palm Breweries. This is an amber ale made from English hops, French barley, and Belgian yeast.
Amber in colour and crystal clear. Just a slight head that fades out pretty quickly.
Aroma of malt and fruit. There is some notes of corn and a bit of earthy hops (English hop quality).
The taste is a bit more lager-like then I was expecting. A bit tart, sort of like apple cider. There’s a good presence of minerals coming through. Also, metallic notes and notes of leather and apple juice. Slight malt flavour.
Light bodied. The tartness comes though as a bit prickly on the tongue. Theres also a bit of oiliness to the mouthfeel.
Not exactly what I was expecting, but easy enough to drink and has many of the quality of lagers from Europe. Its a bit one-dimensional, but as an alternative to a pale lager, this would do nicely.
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Happy St. Patrick’s Day! In honour of the day it’s a Dry Irish Stout review, but this ones not from Ireland, but comes from across the pond out of New Brunswick. Picaroons Traditional Ales, located in Fredericton, NB, crafts their beers in small 15 hectolitre batches, giving each batch it’s own unique character.
Timber Hog is described on the website as: “The classic Irish-style dry stout is the basic background of this aromatic ebony elixir but deviations may occur from batch to batch as we improvisationally wander through variations on the theme.”
Here’s what I thought:
Dark black with faint hints of ruby on the edges when put up to a light. Very slight beige head that’s not long lasting.
Not a strong aroma. Has some malt, but is mainly dark roasted coffee.
Deep roasted flavour. Black coffee with a slight bit of hops. Molasses, and burnt sugar with dark fruity notes and just a hint of leather. Nice dry finish.
Medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Slick in a good way. Drinks very nice.
Very drinkable. Roasty and dry, for sure, but it all adds up to a nice drink. As it warms up slightly a bit more of the fruitiness comes out and it becomes even more drinkable. Excellent example of the style.