Category Archives: review

BEER MONDAY REVIEW: Affligem – Blonde

20140310-114950.jpgAffligem Brouwerij is an Abbey brewery in Opwijk, Belgium (think monks chanting as they brew the beer and you’d be pretty close). Founded in 1074 by Benedictine monks it is the oldest abbey in Flanders. The brewery is now 95% owned by Heineken (since 2001) which has greatly helped with export and production.

Appearance
Golden orange in colour. Cloudy, but no sediment to speak of. Pours with a big, fluffy, white head that lasts until the end. Pretty decent lacing as you’d expect.

Aroma
First thing is the sweetness in the aroma with notes of pear and apple that fades to a slightly bitter and dried fruit aroma. There’s also some malt and grass with a slight hint of alcohol. Some floral notes from the hops.

Taste
The taste is smooth with some spice and clove. The classic Belgian yeast flavours come through with fruity and banana notes. There are some herbal qualities with a lingering lemon peel flavour on the tongue. Slightly sweet, but a dry finish.

Mouthfeel
Medium mouthfeel with a good level of carbonation. Well balanced with a very slight oily finish, or possibly an impression of an oily finish coming from the lemon peel flavour.

Overall
Impressive. Easy drinking and balanced all around. Nothing about this beer turns me off. Would be great on a cold day as a warmer, but would be nice and refreshing on a hot summers day as well.

88/100

Drinknbrew.com
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REVIEW: Mongozo – Premium Pilsner: Gluten-free, Fairtrade, Organinc

20140301-154245.jpgMany people avoid gluten whether it’s by choice or due to health reasons, but is this any reason to avoid good beer? Belgian brewery, Mongozo, has a line of gluten-free beers for people who are looking to stay away from gluten, but still would like to have a cold one. Their Premium Pilsner is gluten-free, but also certified fair trade and organic.

Here’s what Mongozo’s website says:

“Mongozo has developed a gluten-free lager, making it possible for people on a gluten-free diet to enjoy drinking beer. The brewing process for obtaining a gluten-free beer can vary, and in the case of Mongozo Premium Pilsner it involves the gluten being removed from the beer. This innovative technique ensures that the beer retains its lager flavour. A renowned laboratory checks each batch of beer brewed for the presence of gluten. The beer is then only sold if less than 10 ppm of gluten is detected and it can therefore be labelled as gluten-free. Mongozo Premium Pilsner is Certisys-certified for the use of certified-organic barley malt, rice and hops. The system of checks in place for the organic sector guarantees that products are genuinely organic. The approved label used by Mongozo is a European label issued by the Belgian Certisys inspection and certification body.”

I’ll admit, avoiding gluten isn’t high on my list of things to do and this would be my first gluten-free beer, so I can’t compare it to thers, but I can compare it to other pilsner beers.

Appearance
Perfectly clear, golden yellow, with a slight white head. Some lacing.

Aroma
Pretty typical lager aroma with a touch of sulphur and malt. No real hop aroma.

Taste
Nice balance with malt and hops. The hop flavour is mild, but in good contrast with the malt sweetness. The bitterness is a bit rough, but not over powering. Pretty easy drinking.

Mouthfeel
Light with good carbonation levels.

Overall
Overall this is not a bad beer, a fairly run-of-the-mill pilsner, nothing to turn me off from it. Having never had any other gluten-free beers, I can only imagine that this one would stack up nicely to most of the market.

75/100

Garrison – Spruce Beer

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Yes, spruce beer, beer made with branches off of trees.

I must admit, this was a unique experience. This is not an everyday, run of the mill beer. Spruce beer was a beer from nacessity, made by the first settlers in the New World with what they had on hand. Since they didn’t have hop yards planted yet they used spruce and fir tips to bitter their beer.

Since I was able to purchase this beer directly from the brewery I was able to chat with the shopkeeper about the beer. He told me that in past years this beer was sometimes a bit too sweet or too sprucy, but this year (2013) they hit the balance. After drinking this beer I can see how the balance could drift either way, with the sweetness or spruciness becoming dominate.

From the brewery:
“North America’s oldest beer style brewed with local Spruce and fir tips, blackstrap molasses and dates. Dark amber and brown colouring. Aroma is a comforting mix of spruce boughs, caramel malts, molasses and dates.”

Appearance
Dark brown with deep ruby highlights. Only a slight head.

Aroma
Like a sweet forest, if that makes sense. Sweet molasses mixed with spruce/fir and hints of dark fruit.

Taste
Not as much of the spruce as I expected, though it is there for sure. The sweetness comes on strong in the back. Almost a bit mediciny. Some dark fruit/date notes.

Mouthfeel
Full body with a moderate amount of carbonation. A bit sticky.

Overall
A unique experience. Not so dominated by the spruce as I expected and sweeter than my normal taste. Something that is worth trying but I couldn’t imagine having more than one in a sitting.

75/100
For uniqueness, if nothing else.

Brouwerij Bavik – Petrus Aged Pale

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The Bavik website describes Petrus Aged Pale as “an undiluted old ale”. This is a variation on a Flanders Oud Bruin (Old Brown) – a traditional Belgian sour ale.

Appearance
Cloudy and pale with no head and lots of carbonation.

Aroma
Lemons, melons, leather, and apples. Bight and clean with some oak.

Taste
Lemon aid, tart, leather, summer fruit, bright and clean with a small amount of oak.

Mouthfeel
Light mouthfeel due to dry fermentation and high carbonated. A bit thin.

Overall
Very easy drinking, refreshing, and just tart enough.

80/100

Review: Propeller Double IPA

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From the brewer:
“Propeller Double IPA is a full bodied, American style Double India Pale Ale that is brewed with premium Pacific Northwest hops and a rich blend of 2-row Pale and Crystal malts. Following fermentation it has been heavily dry hopped (a process that enhances the aroma without imparting bitterness in beer) giving this bold brew its big west coast nose. Double IPA delivers a huge amount of piney, floral, and citrusy hop aroma and flavour from start to finish that is balanced by sweet malt flavours. At 8.2% alcohol by volume and 85 IBUs, Propeller Double IPA is not for everyone… It is a TRUE hop bomb, for TRUE hopheads.”

Appearance
Brilliantly clear. Dark copper, amber. Little head, settling to slight film that lasts. No lacing to speak of, but with 8.2% ABV that’s to be expected.

Aroma
Not a hop bomb. Citrus, grapefruit, earthy, with sweet-malt/caramel notes.

Flavour
Up front carmel sweetness with a firm enough bittering to balance. Citrus, grapefruit. Bittering doesn’t last on the tongue but is there long enough to cut the sweetness.

Mouthfeel
Medium body with a fairly light carbonation.

Overall
A good beer with a good balance. Fairly easy drinking, especially for 8.2%. Not a hop bomb, but a good introductory beer for hop-head-wannabes.

75/100

VIDEO: Review of Rodenbach Grand Cru

Rodenbach Grand Cru is one of those classics that everyone should try once in their lives. This is the example of what Flanders Red/Brown ale should be – malty, tart, and refreshing.

I recently sat down with Trevor Adams, editor of Halifax Magazine (@HalifaxEditor on Twitter) and enjoyed a bottle. Check out our tasting experience and take the flavour journey to West Flanders with us.

Review: Garrison 3 Field Harvest Ale

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From brewer:
“Almost 200kg of wet (green) hops were harvested and hand-picked at four separate Nova Scotian farms then added directly to the boil. Wet hops impart a more subtle hop fragrance and bitterness, making them a pleasure to brew with. Lemon, orange, grapefruit, pine and ginger notes are all present to some degree in this truly special harvest brew.

100% of the hops were grown in Nova Scotia at the following fields: Meander River Farm and Wentworth Creek (Ashdale), Fiddlehead Hop Farm (Glenholme) & Ross Farm Museum (New Ross). The complex flavours showcased in 3 Fields can be attributed to the wide variety of hops in the beer including Nugget, Newport, Galena, Cascade, Zeus, Centennial and Brewers Gold.”

Appearance:
Light copper/orange in colour. Small amount of head that settles to a thin film. Hazy but clears a bit as it warms. There appears to be some hop matter in suspension.

Aroma:
Some malt sweetness with overtones of citrus. Hits of flowers and some alcohol as it’s swirled.

Flavour:
Carmel and toasted malt. Hops aren’t as forward as expected. Citrus and pine with a bit of resin. Some floral and bready notes.

Mouthfeel:
Moderate carbonation leaving a nice medium mouthfeel.

Overall:
Well balanced. I’ll admit, I’m not the biggest hop-head, but this wasn’t as hoppy as might be expected, but very drinkable (true hop-heads might be a bit disappointed). At 6.3%, there could be several of the 500mL bottles in ones future. Well done.

4/5