Tag Archives: ale

BEER MONDAY REVIEW: Palm – Amber Ale

20140311-125507.jpgConsistently 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.

Appearance
Amber in colour and crystal clear. Just a slight head that fades out pretty quickly.

Aroma
Aroma of malt and fruit. There is some notes of corn and a bit of earthy hops (English hop quality).

Taste
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.

Mouthfeel
Light bodied. The tartness comes though as a bit prickly on the tongue. Theres also a bit of oiliness to the mouthfeel.

Overall
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.

70/100

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A Little Bit of Irish For You

With St. Patrick’s Day just around the corner, we start to think of some rather dark ale to celebrate with – most commonly the one with a harp on the bottle. When Arthur Guinness set up his brewery in 1759 he was brewing standard ale of the day, but it was when he switched to Porter production that things took off. But what about other Irish beers to celebrate ol’ St. Patrick?

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imageBeamish Stout

Dark and bitter, this stout is one of the big three in Ireland, being brewed since 1792. Long lasting head, lots of roast, and coffee. An excellent beer.

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Murphy’s Irish Stout

Nuttier and more chocolatey than other stouts, this dark drink with hints of espresso would be great as desert or any other time.

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Kilkenny Irish Cream All

Bright redish-brown with a beige head, this ale is smooth and well balanced. Easy drinking and a treat to have.

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Murphy’s Irish Red

Bronze in colour with fruity and carmel notes, this red ale finishes crips and dry. Best followed by another.

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Smithwick’s Irish Ale

Brewed on the site of an Abbey, this beautifully amber ale is balanced smooth and refreshing.

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O’Hara’s Celtic Stout

Brewed in an ancient Celtic tradition with only barley, water, yeast, and hops it pours dark burgundy and is roasty and creamy.

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

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What will be in store (and your glass) for 2014?

Every year we see more and more people converting to craft beer. People are waking up to flavour and to the not so mundane – this is not a new trend. Since the early ’80s there has been a a steady growth in craft beer – at first it was small, but every year the market share is of craft breweries is growing. Today, more and more beer drinkers are looking for something that isn’t a pale, light flavoured lager, but something that is different. And what was “different” last year may be mainstream this year as many craft brewers are trying to keep up with what their customers want to drink. The craft beer movement has come on strong in Canada and with a fast growing number of brewers in the Maritimes we are on the edge of a beer revolution.

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So, what will 2014 bring?

It looks like big, hoppy IPAs will continue to be popular. The trend in ever higher alcohol and “the more hops the better” philosophy will keep rolling as drinkers can’t seem to get enough and the hop train keeps rolling from the west to the east. “The West Coast has been on the IPA bandwagon for a long time, but that being said, it’s a trend that keeps growing stronger.” says Tracy Phillippi of Garrison Brewery (www.garrisonbrewing.com), “Brewers out west are finding new & creative ways of using hops (hops in mash, hop filters, dry hopping, hops in bottles, etc.)… At the same time, new breweries in Toronto, seem to be starting with flagships styles that have mass appeal, but people still want aggressive IPAs. I think that’s one reason that our IIPA has done so well in the LCBO.”

In a twist counter to the big IIPA trend, low strength, session beers are increasing in popularity. As Sean Dunbar from Picaroons Brewery (www.picaroons.ca) in Fredericton, NB said, “There’s a much longer conversation to be had over beers sometime.” This is trend that not only Picarons sees, but across the nation because, well, sometimes there is a longer conversation to be had.

Local, and experimental beers. Drinkers are looking for the next think. People are willing to try new things that are coming out of their local brewpub and are also looking for the small, true craft beer – they want to know the people who brew the beer. “Niche, terroir-esque, and original beers are garnering a lot of attention in the market” says Jeremy White of Big Spruce Brewing (www.bigspruce.ca), adding “[It’s] going to be an interesting decade in craft beer.”

Sour beers of Belgium. These tart and refreshing beers are one of the oldest styles of beer. They’re produced using very traditional methods, allowing the beer to be “infected” with a variety of microbes that is truly a biological experiment gone right. Though these styles have been around for pretty much forever, they have had a falling off in popularity in their native European home, but are experiencing a serge of popularity this side of the Atlantic. Peter Burbridge of Bridge Brewing Company (bridgebeer.ca) says “Since we opened we have seen an increased awareness and demand for Belgian beer styles” adding that he sees the trend of sours coming to the Nova Scotia market.

2014 is shaping up to be an exciting year of beer. “I really think we’re (East Coast) finally seeing the growth in craft beer that other parts of North America have seen for the past several years” says Tracy Phillippi. “It’s exciting to see people come to craft beer for the first time, because in most other parts of North America it’s a longstanding trend.”

Cheers to a great year of beer!

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

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