Thursday, December 29, 2011

Unibroue Terrible

Even after yesterday's less than enthusiastic sampling, I thought it would be wise to finish off the last of my Unibroue collection.  It comes in the "standard" (for Unibroue and Chimay, anyway) 750mL brown bottle with a corked top.  It has no labelling, instead with just the essential information printed on the bottle: 10.5% alcohol/vol, dark ale on lees.  In a way, it's a coup for minimalistic labelling, in that less is more.  Together with the name, it gives the beer a "this is gonna kick your ass" vibe.

When opened, I was surprised that there was no spicy aroma.  Instead, there was an immediate hit of fruitiness followed by caramel and chocolate.  It poured an opaque dark brown (almost black), with a large tan-coloured head.  I could not see any bubbles in the beer, but they must have been there because the head lasted a long time.  The only aroma I could detect after the pour was a strong fruitiness.

The first sip was sharp.  There was an immediate burning from the alcohol and carbonation.  After the burning subsided, there was a fruity aftertaste.  The beer was only mildly sweet, and not very bitter.  The important thing to note is that there was none of the spiciness that I dislike in the other Unibroue beers I've tried.  This makes me very happy.  I believe Unibroue has redeemed itself with this beer.  I liked it a lot.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

UFC 141 Predictions

I used to give my fight predictions on another site before it went down.  I figured I'd move them here instead.

  • Hettes over Pham
  • Matyushenko over Gustafsson
  • Fitch over Hendricks
  • Cerrone over Diaz
  • Overeem over Lesnar

Unibroue Trois Pistoles

My friend Ange will be happy to know I've finally gotten around to trying this beer.  It comes in the standard (for Unibroue, anyway) 750mL brown bottle with a cork top.  It has 9% alcohol/vol, and has a synopsis of the legend depicted on the front label (some of the best artwork I've seen on a beer label), on the back label.

When opened, I was presented with nearly the same aroma that La Fin Du Monde has: spicy, but slightly fruitier.  The beer poured an opaque dark brown, with lots of small bubbles to support an enormous head.  The spiciness was nearly gone, and the fruitiness shone through.

The first sip was disappointing.  The only things that differentiates this from La Fin Du Monde are the colour and aroma.  The taste was identical.  The beer had a medium feel in the mouth, and there was a slight warmth from the alcohol.  As much as I'd love to love Unibroue's beers, I have been repeatedly disappointed by them.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Chimay Grande Reserve

The last of the available Chimay beers available to me. It comes in a 750mL corked brown bottle, just like the Cinq Cents. But unlike the Cinq Cents, this beer has a blue label. It has 9% alcohol/vol. From what I've heard, this beer should be more along the lines of the kind of beer I like. It's widely known as a "Christmas beer".

It took a bit of effort, but I eventually managed to get the cork off. When opened, I smelled chocolate. I suppose they used chocolate malt? The beer poured an opaque brown, with lots of small bubbles. The chocolate aroma had completely disappeared, and all I could smell was malt. No hoppy aroma at all.

The first sip stung a bit. There is definitely some warmth from the alcohol, and the feel in the mouth was a bit sharp from the carbonation. There was almost no aftertaste. The beer had a very malty flavour to it, almost like caramel. This beer reminded me a lot of Gulden Draak, except slightly less sweet. I was right that this beer would be more along my tastes, and I will definitely buy this beer again given the opportunity.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Chimay Cinq Cents

Christmas is over for another year. My sister and brother-in-law gave me one of the best presents a beer fanatic (aficionado?) (addict?) could ever want: Two wine boxes stuffed full of beers from around the world. So I'll be trying to drink it as fast as I can and blogging my thoughts. Some of the bottles/cans are ones which I've tried before, some I've never heard of before, and some are beers from breweries that I was desperate to try but could never find.

 I've been drinking too many tripels lately.  And it's a style that I'm starting to not enjoy terribly much.  So, I thought I should try another. :)  This time it's a tripel from the brewery of one of my favourite beers (Chimay Premiere).  I managed to pick up this bottle in Phoenix (thanks BevMo!), so little chance of finding it in Manitoba.  It comes in a 750mL brown bottle with a cork top.  At 8% alcohol/vol, it's no slouch.

When opened, it began to foam up.  I barely had a chance to give the bottle a whiff (it had a spicy aroma) before I had to start pouring.  It formed a ridiculously huge head.  I'm talking 80% head, 20% beer.  I'm not sure if that meant the bottle was bad, or just because the bottle had been shaken in transit from Phoenix to Winnipeg (although it had rested in my basement for over a month since).  The head took a while to go down, leaving behind the typical Belgian lacing on the glass.  There was a lot of sediment in the beer, so much that you couldn't see through it.  Despite the sediment, the beer had a golden colour (darker in the middle due to clouding).  The bubbles were unevenly dispersed in the beer, with some parts bubbling up with ridiculous amounts of tiny bubbles and other parts of the beer flat.  It was a very interesting phenomenon.

The first sip was spicy.  The beer started off very smooth, but then the warmth kicked in.  There was a bit of a sharp feel in the mouth from the carbonation.  There was very little bitter aftertaste.  Overall, I would say this beer was neither sweet nor bitter.  It was certainly one of the easiest to drink tripels I've tried.  As far as tripels go, I think this one is my favourite, but I still haven't changed my mind on the beer style.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Inveralmond Brewery Santa's Swallie

It's starting to look at lot like Christmas!  Okay, it's not really...  Still barely any snow on the ground, and the temperature is hovering around freezing.  But that doesn't mean I can't joyously partake in a Christmas beer.  It comes in a 500mL brown bottle, with 4.3% alcohol/vol.  The type of brew (lager or ale) is unknown, so this beer is a complete mystery.  The only thing I know about it is that it has cinnamon and nutmeg added (Christmas spices!).

When opened, I could smell the spices.  And a lot of malt.  Almost no hops.  Knowing that, I'd guess the beer was some kind of light ale.  When poured, the beer came out a light amber, with a small off-white head.  There were very few bubbles.  I could also see a lot of sediment or floaties in the beer.  The malty aroma had subsided after the pour, and was much less pronounced.

The first sip was decent.  The spices were fairly mellow and barely detectable.  If I hadn't known there were any spices added, I never would have guessed.  The beer was very smooth, and had a very soft feel in the mouth.  There was no sweetness to the beer, and only a mild bitterness.  Overall, I found the flavour relatively weak (but not unpleasant), however there are a lot of people who would enjoy that, so I'd call this beer good.  I don't think I'd buy it again but there's no reason why somebody else shouldn't try it.

In case I don't get another blog posting in before the 25th... Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Half Pints Demeter's Harvest

I picked up today's beer almost by accident.  Well, the picking up part wasn't by accident.  I just had no idea that it was from Half Pints, as the label is very unusual for them.  It comes in Half Pints' standard (for their specialty brews) 650mL brown bottle.  It has a black label which looks very cheap, so cheap that I almost didn't buy this beer.  It has 11% alcohol/vol, and 75 IBUs.  Yowza!  It says it's a wheatwine, which I suppose is like a barleywine.  Having had neither before in my life, I figure I'm in for a new experience.  The label says it's made from a base of malted wheat, barley, and wildflower honey.

When opened, there was a strong hoppy aroma (not surprising, given the high IBU rating).  It smelled a lot like their Little Scrapper IPA or Sweet Nikki Brown.  I'm starting to think Half Pints only has one variety of hops available to them.  It poured a foggy copper-brown colour.  There was a small head that disappeared quickly.  There were an average number of large bubbles.  The strong hoppy aroma was still present after the pour.

The first sip was very different from anything I'd had before.  I was expecting it to taste a lot like their Humulus Ludicrous, but was was radically different.  The flavour came on very slowly, and had a very sweet aftertaste.  The beer had a very soft feel in the mouth.  It was a good thing the beer was as hoppy as it was, or the flavour would have been exceptionally cloying.  The honey flavour was definitely present.  There was absolutely no warmth from the alcohol.  This beer was exceptional.  I'm going to have to buy a few more bottles of this, even at $9 each!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Half Pints Sweet Nikki Brown

Disclaimer: I have a mild cold

It's about time I got my hands on this seasonal local brew.  I've enjoyed most of what Half Pints has had to offer (St. James Pale and Smoktoberfest being the only two exceptions), so I'm excited to try this one.  It appears to be an American brown ale, with 4.9% alcohol/vol and 35 IBUs. It comes in the industry standard 341mL brown bottle.  It's apparently named after somebody's wife (who has brown hair and is a bit nutty).

When opened, you can easily smell the aromatic hops.  But there was also a strong malty scent.  The beer poured a dark brown colour (very little light passed through), with a light brown head.  The hoppy aroma was very much the same as that of their Little Scrapper IPA (Cascade, I think?).    

The first sip was underwhelming.  There was very little flavour in the beer.  It tasted a lot like water, only with a bitter aftertaste.  There was a tiny bit of sweetness to the beer, but none of the much-advertised nuttiness that is supposedly in it.  The beer had a fairly soft feel in the mouth.  I would drink this beer, but I could not see the point in buying it again.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Westmalle Trappist Ale Tripel

Westmalle's dubbel is one of my favourite beers of all time. Today I'm going to see how their tripel sizes up.  It's not available here in Manitoba, as far as I know.  I bought this particular bottle in Arizona the day before I flew home earlier this month.  All hail BevMo!  It comes in an identical 11.2 fl. Oz. brown bottle, the difference being an off-white label (and bottle cap) as opposed to the dubbel's purple.  It has 9.5% alcohol/vol and this particular bottle had a best-before date of 10 March, 2012.

When opened, the smell was immediately stronger in alcohol than the dubbel, with almost no fruity esters.  It poured a dark yellow colour, with a huge white head.  There were lots of tiny bubles, and very low clarity.  After the pour, the fruity esters made a strong appearance.

The first sip was delicious.  There was slightly less fruitiness than the dubbel, and a lot more alcoholic warmth.  The feel in the mouth was very soft.  There was no aftertaste to speak of.  I wish I had a fire going in the fireplace and a good book.  This beer is quite excellent.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Urthel Saisonniere

Time for me to re-visit a beer style I gave up on a while ago: The Belgian blond ale. Today's beer isn't Belgian though, it comes from the Netherlands. It comes in a 11.2 fluid ounce skinny brown bottle. It has a yellow label with a moustachioed cartoon character holding a stein of beer. It's an awesome moustache too.

When opened, the aroma was mostly fruity, with some spiciness thrown in. When poured, it formed a very respectable white head which lasted a long time. There were an enormous amount of small bubbles. The aroma after the pour was rather subdued, with just a hint of spices.

The first sip was positive.  The beer didn't taste spicy at all.  If anything, the taste was rather smooth.  The feel in the mouth was sharp from all the carbonation.  Only a slight warmth from the alcohol, barely even noticeable.  There was also a slight citrusy aftertaste.  As I drank, the beer left a lace in the glass; I usually take that as a good sign.  It tasted a lot like La Fin du Monde, but not as overpowering.  Overall, I'd say this beer was pretty good, striking a good balance.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Mill St. Brewery Coffee Porter

The last time I tried a coffee-flavoured beer, it was Half Pints' Stir Stick Stout.  Trying to stick with Canadian beers (as per a request), the beer I'm trying comes from Toronto.  It comes in a 341mL thin brown bottle, with 5.5% alcohol/vol.  The bottle claims to have coffee added, which makes me a bit uneasy.

When opened, I could immediately smell hops and (unsurprisingly enough) coffee.  It poured an exceptionally opaque shade of brown, with a deep tan head.  Its aroma had changed after the pour to something more malty.

The first sip was fairly good.  The beer was only slightly bitter, and had a strong sweetness to it.  The coffee flavour was more of an aftertaste; subdued and quite pleasant (kind of like in a coffee crisp).  The feel in the mouth was exceptionally soft.  I liked this beer much more than Half Pints' coffee stout, if only because it wasn't as strong.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Not much to report

I know it's been a while since my last posting.  To be honest, I haven't tried many new beers since my last post.  I've mostly been drinking Humulus Ludricous (just finished my last bottle recently), Fort Garry Eisbock, and for the last week working on a case of Sam Adams Octoberfest (I think I found the last case in Maricopa).

As for running, well that's another story.  I've slowly been getting back in the groove.  This vacation to Arizona has also helped a lot.  Having some trails with not-insignificant elevation change is doing wonderful things to my leg muscles.

I'm going to have to hit up a BevMo before I head out and hope I don't go over my baggage weight limit on my way out.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Unibroue La Fin Du Monde

A Canadian classic! Today's beer is a Quebecois Belgian-style tripel. It comes in a 750mL brown bottle, and has 9% alcohol/vol. Woohoo! Like all Unibroue beers (or at least the ones I've seen), it has a cork instead of a bottle cap.

It took a bit of work, but I eventually got the cork off.  The aroma from the bottle was mostly spicy.  Once poured, the aroma turned more fruity.  There was a medium sized off-white head (about one finger width) which diminished but never fully disappeared.  The beer was yellow in colour (I was expecting something darker).  There was some cloudiness from the yeast.

The first sip surprised me.  I hadn't had a beer like that before.  The spiciness really came through at the start of the sip, but by the end it had changed to a light sweetness.  The beer had a very soft feel in the mouth.  I could definitely see some people liking this beer, but I found the spice to be too distracting.  For such a highly-rated beer, I was fairly disappointed.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Half Pints Smoktoberfest

Again, another Canadian (and local!) brew.  This beer is a bit unusual because it is a smoked beer.  It still fits in with the Oktoberfest mini-theme I had going, because a rauchbier is supposed to be like an Oktoberfest/marzen except with smoked malts.  Today's beer comes in a 650mL brown bottle (that I've come to expect from Half Pints' seasonal beers).  It has 6.2% alcohol/vol, and 22 IBU's.

When opened, I was greeted with two distinct aromas: malt and smoke.  It's tough to tell what kind of smoke it smells like, but I would have to go with wood (or perhaps bacon).  It poured a beautiful amber colour, with a small yet frothy head that disappeared quickly.  There were a few small bubbles.  The aroma after the pour was much more smokey than malty.

The first sip went down fairly well.  A very malty beer; very smooth and the smoke is only slightly distracting.  The mouthfeel was moderate, not thick or thin, and no harshness from the low carbonation.  The aftertaste was smokey rather than bitter.  This beer reminded me of a camping trip, and would do very well on one.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Half Pints Humulus Ludicrous

As promised, I'm moving onto some Canadian beers. Today's beer comes from a local craft brewery. It is very aptly named, as it comes in with a whopping 100 IBUs! It is sold in a 650mL brown bottle, with 8% alcohol/vol. This is going to be my first imperial IPA [edit: Actually, it's not my first]. I think they put the wrong bottle caps on. The one on this bottle says "twist" on it (along with an arrow for the direction), yet the bottle is clearly not a twist-off.

When opened, I was immediately smacked in the face with hops. It almost made my eyes water. It poured dark amber/light brown in colour, and formed a small frothy head that lasted a long time. It was hard to see the bubbles due to the colour of the beer, but they were definitely there. The aroma was still mainly hops after the pour (as expected).

This beer was definitely one for hop-heads! In fact, it was hard to tell anything about the beer other than the ridiculous amount of hopping that went into it. The beer felt thick in the mouth, yet very smooth. The carbonation didn't leave a burning sensation in the mouth. There was a noticeable amount of warmth from either the alcohol or the hops. As expected, the beer left a strong bitter aftertaste. I could see drinking this beer on occasion, but probably would not make it a regular beer. It's the kind of beer to drink if you're out with friends (who only drink mass-produced domestic) and you don't want them stealing your drink. All that being said, I rather enjoyed this beer as it felt like a bit of an adventure.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Paulaner Oktoberfest

It's the official beer of Oktoberfest!  Arriving at my beer fridge in a whopping 1L can, it has 6.0% alcohol/vol.  It also came with an accompanying dimpled stein (with enough extra room at the top to contain the inevitable head).  The art on the can is neat, with 11 rotundous women carrying ridiculous quantities of beer steins.

When I opened the can, I was a bit surprised by how little malt there was in the aroma.  Significantly more hops than I expected.  It poured a golden colour, much lighter than the Sam Adams Oktoberfest I recently had.  A huge brothy head formed which filled the extra 1.5 inches in the stein.  The head didn't last for very long though.  There were a good amount of large bubbles.  After the pour, I could much easier detect the malts that Oktoberfest beers are renown for.

The first sip was pretty straight forward.  Nothing overpowering.  The beer had a relatively benign malty flavour, with no noticeable bitterness.  There was a slight caramel aftertaste.  The beer was very smooth in the mouth, with only a slight "bite" when swallowed.  I find it strange that I preferred the Sam Adams over the Paulaner, but there you go.  I think most of the novelty of this beer is the fact that it comes in a 1L can.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Samuel Adams Octoberfest

I've been told that I need to try out more Canadian beers. I agree with that sentiment, and I promise I'll get around to them soon. But before that, there's a few beers I need to try out first because... It's October, so that means it's time for Oktoberfest beers!

Today's beer comes in a 355mL brown bottle with 5.5% alcohol/vol. Not very much information on the bottle, other than the fact that it comes from Boston. The bottle has a stylized "Sam Adams" embossing on the glass; it's a real nice touch.

When opened, lots of rich malty aromas escaped the bottle. No detectable hops. It poured a clear deep copper colour with a generous head that disappeared quickly. There were lots of large bubbles. The malty aroma was almost overpowering.

The first sip was amazing. The beer was very rich in flavour. Very strong tones of caramel. This style of beer fits beautifully with the season (even the colour of the beer is right). This being my first Oktoberfest beer, I was very impressed. And wasn't very expensive either, so I would definitely recommend this beer to everybody. It's unfortunate that it's seasonal.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Ölvisholt Skjálfti

I'm going a bit off the beer map today with an Icelandic beer. It comes in a 500mL brown bottle with 5% alcohol/vol. It had a best-before date of 22 December 2013, so I think I'm in the clear. It even had an ingredients list: Icelandic water (yes, they actually mentioned that it was "Icelandic"), malted barley, wheat malt, hops, yeast. I was a bit surprised about the wheat malt. That can either be a good thing or a bad thing. Most likely, it will just give it a ludicrous head and make the flavour a bit more mellow (like a wheat beer).

When opened, there wasn't much aroma. I had to snort the bottle hard to smell anything. It smelled like your run-of-the-mill domestic. When poured, it formed the expected huge head but then died off fast. The aroma was corny (which was odd, since corn wasn't on the ingredients list). The beer had a dark yellow/light gold colour. There were a reasonable amount of tiny bubbles.

The first sip was mediocre. The flavour was fairly mellow, ever so slightly sweet. It tasted somewhere between a domestic and a wheat beer. The feel in the mouth was a bit sharp with the carbonation, but was not noticeable until swallowing. There was no significant amount of hops detectable. I very quickly got bored of the beer. If I was in Iceland, I'd drink it to blend in with the locals. But I would not go out of my way to buy this beer again.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

St. Sylvestre Du Moulin Pilsner

Another French beer today.  This one comes in a 500mL white can.  It has 5.3% alcohol/vol.  It even has an ingredients list: water, malt, hops.  Happy to see no adjuncts there.  There was also a best-before date on the bottom of April 7, 2012.  Not much information on the can other than the above, except for a typical mistranslation on its warning: "drink savely" (sic).

The can opened without any fizz; just a loud crack.  There was a strong malty odour coming from the beer.  The beer poured an anemic pale straw colour with lots of floaties.  At least the beer had a decent frothy head.  The strong malty aroma was still there, but smelled "off".

The first sip was horrible.  I'm not sure if the problem was with the can, or the best-before date on the bottom was wrong.  Maybe the beer just sucked?  The beer was weak in "beery" flavour.  Unfortunately, it was strong in "unbeery" flavours.  There was definitely a metallic aftertaste to the beer.  I had to pour it down the drain.

They should serve this beer in prisons for the criminally insane.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Big Rock Brewery McNally's Extra

Another newcomer to the MLC's Liquor Mart.  This beer comes in an industry standard 341mL brown bottle. It has a foil wrapper around the cap, supposedly as an temper-detection device.  It also has 7% alcohol/vol.  Whee!

When opened, there was no hops detectable, but WOW what a malt aroma.  It poured a beautiful amber colour, with just a small head.  As for bubbles, there were not many.  The beer retained its malty aroma long after the pour.

The first sip was bittersweet.  As in bitter, and sweet.  The beer definitely had some bittering hops in it.  There was also a slight caramel flavour.  The beer had a slightly harsh feel on the tongue.  And there was also an ever-so-slight warming in the belly from the alcohol.  I would rate this beer as a small win.  Definitely one of the better mass-produced domestics I've tasted.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011


Today's beer comes from Israel, an area known more for their hummus than their beer.  It comes in a 500mL blue can with 5% alcohol/vol. It has a lot of Hebrew on the label, so I could be missing a lot of info. There is what appears to be a best-before date on the bottom of the can, and if I read it correctly I'm well inside the window: April 13, 2012.

When I opened the bottle, there wasn't much aroma.  It smelled like a premium lager.  It poured a pale yellow colour, and formed a large head that bubbles away in a few minutes.  There were lots of large bubbles.  The aroma was still missing a lot of character.  No detectable hops or malt.

The first sip was fairly plain.  The beer was exceptionally soft in the mouth despite its high carbonation.  The flavour was subdued, but not horrible.  There was absolutely no aftertaste.  Honestly, there was nothing to write home about.  I would classify this beer as one of those "when you're in country X and there's nothing else to drink..." type beers.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Big Rock Brewery IPA

I don't think I've never had a beer from Big Rock. I know, huge shocker. How can I possibly call myself a Canadian? So today's my first test of this western Canadian juggernaut. It's not their Traditional Ale, so I don't think I can judge the brewery too much based on this one beer. It comes in a 341mL industry-standard brown bottle with 5.5% alcohol/vol. The label is pretty plain; just a yellow background with "IPA" written on it.

When the bottle was opened, I caught the distinctive dry-hopped aroma of an IPA. When poured, no head formed at all, and there were not many bubbles in the beer. The beer had an amber colour. The hop aroma was still dominant after the pour.

The first sip was uneventful. For an IPA, I was expecting a lot more bitterness. To be fair, it's possible I've been drinking so many high-IBU beers that I've become accustomed to bitter beers. The beer had a very light flavour. It tasted like a highly-hopped Labatt Blue, which is not to say that it was bad, but that it was a bit of a disappointment. The beer's feel in the mouth was very soft to start, but the carbonation gave it a bit of bite after it lingered for a while.

I would not recommend this beer, as I believe there are much better alternatives.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Howe Sound Brewing Baldwin & Cooper Best Bitter

Where do I start about today's beer? It comes in an enormous 1L brown bottle with a beubel top, and 5.5% alcohol/vol.. It comes originally capped, but you can use the beubel to cork it at will if you decide to not drink the whole thing. Nice touch. It's a Canadian beer from Squamish, and is named after the first two individuals to climb the Grand Wall of The Chief. I decided that it would be a shame to not drink the whole thing at one go, so I hauled out my 1L Oktoberfest stein.

When opened, I noticed a strong hoppy aroma, and some malt. It poured an opaque brown colour, with an enormous amount of small bubbles. It formed a foamy head about 1 finger deep that lasted a while. The hops were still quite noticeable and reminded me a lot of the hops in Half Pints Little Scrapper IPA, only not as strong.

The first sip went fairly well. It has a strong hoppy flavour that balances out its strong malty qualities. Not much of an aftertaste. The beer had a soft feel in the mouth. I would definitely drink this beer again if it came in a smaller bottle. I personally feel that 1L at a time may be a bit too much even for me.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Stella Artois

I decided to go a bit more mainstream today, and try out a Stella Artois. I've had this beer before in the past, but never critically analyzed it. It comes in a 330mL green bottle with 5.0% alcohol/vol. The label on the back talks up Belgian beers, and this one in particular. No need here, as I have already tried my fair share of Belgian beers and am quite convinced. From what I recall, Stella is quite a bit different from the Trappist ales I've grown to love. For starters, it is a lager.

When opened, the bottle gave away no hops, but had a slightly corny sweet smell to it. When poured, the smell was unchanged. The beer had a deep yellow but not quite golden colour to it. There was a bit of head that disappeared rather quickly, and lots of large bubbles.

The first sip wasn't too bad. There was a light sweetness to the beer, and almost no aftertaste. The beer had a high amount of carbonation, but didn't have a bubbly "bite" to it. I would consider this beer to be a well-made mass-produced regular beer. Nothing much to write home about.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Westmalle Trappist Dubbel

The last of my current batch of Belgian Trappiste beers. It comes in a 330mL brown bottle with 7% alcohol/vol. The label is not flashy, and has no english on it at all. Good thing I can read french. :) It says that it is made of all natural ingredients (which makes sense, since water, malted barley, hops, and yeast are all natural). It was also bottle conditioned, so there is still some yeast and sediment at the bottom of the bottle.

Upon opening, a fine mist arose from the bottle. It has a slight malt and fruity aroma. It poured a deep copper colour, with a thin foamy head. There was a strong fruity aroma, slightly malty, and no detectable hops.

The first sip was radically different from any of the other Belgian Trappiste ales. It had the same fruity taste, but the amount of bitterness and aftertaste departed substantially. This beer had a strong aftertaste but it didn't detract from the flavour. There was a noticeable warmth from the alcohol. The beer was highly carbonated, but didn't leave a sharp feel in the mouth. In a small way, the amount of carbonation was a bit distracting from the flavour. I enjoyed this beer a lot, but am not sure if I would actively pursue it again. I think Chimay Rouge and Orval were much better.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Pauwel Kwak

Since I seem to love Belgian ales so much, I thought I'd have another. Today's beer comes in a 330mL brown bottle with 8.4% alcohol/vol. It has an ingredients list that gives little surprise. There really isn't much to the bottle or label. Nothing flashy other than "KWAK" in big letters.

When opened, I could immediately smell the malt and a bit of hops. There was also a light aroma of fruity esters. When poured, no head formed. There was not an overabundance of bubbles, but they were noticeable. The beer had a deep copper/light brown colour. The aroma had dissipated rather quickly after the pour.

The beer had a very nice taste. Slightly nutty in flavour, and sweet. The feel in the mouth wasn't very soft, but wasn't hard either. There was also a bit of warmth from the alcohol. Of the Belgian strong ales I've tried, this beer had one of the most subdued flavours, while still retaining all the characteristics I love about this class of beers. This by no means the beer was flavourless.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Tripel Karmeliet

I can't seem to get enough of the Belgian strong ales. Today's beer is a tripel. It comes in a brown 330mL bottle, with 8.4% alcohol/vol. And it looks like it has won multiple awards too. The label lists the ingredients as: water, malt, wheat, oat, hops, and yeast. Interesting blend!

When opened, the fruity aroma was quite pronounced. I could also smell a lot of yeast. When poured, it formed a generous head that lasted a while supported by lots of small bubbles. The beer itself had a light gold colour. The yeast smell had all but disappeared, leaving just the fruitiness.

The first sip didn't live up to my expectations. The beer tasted unfinished. I can't really describe it better than that. It had a medium feel in the mouth, and almost no warmth from the alcohol. There was only a slight bitter aftertaste, and didn't taste hoppy at all. As far as Belgian ales go, there are far better choices.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Delirium Tremens

Since I seem to have taken a liking to Belgian strong ales, I figured I'd treat myself to one today. I'm no longer doing the Monday/Wednesday/Friday beer samples, as I think I need a bit of a break at this point. Instead, I'm just going to randomly sample beers as I find them and want to drink them.

Delirium Tremens comes in a unique 330mL bottle; it is an opaque off-white with black specks. There is a blue foil covering the bottle cap to give it an added air of distinction. It has 8.7% alcohol/vol.

When opened, I was greeted with the strong malty aroma that other Belgian strong ales have, coupled with a slight fruitiness. It poured with a gargantuan head and lots of large bubbles. The malty aroma was somewhat subdued after being poured, with the fruitiness taking over. The beer had a pale yellow colour to it.

The first sip was rather complex. A little bit of spiciness, and a bit fruity. The beer had a medium feel in the mouth. There was almost no bitterness at all. There was a noticeable warmth from the alcohol. After a few sips, the subtleties died down. This is a fairly good beer.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

O'Hara's Irish Stout

Finally an Irish brew. Judging by the label, today's beer appears to have won some kind of awards. It comes in a 500mL brown bottle with 4.3% alcohol/vol.

When I opened the bottle, a few aromas were immediately noticeable. Coffee, chocolate, malt, and a hint of hops. When poured, a thick brown head formed. The head lasted a long time and left a nice lace on the glass. I could not see any bubbles in the beer, if only because the beer was so dark. The chocolate and coffee aromas were still present, but the hops were nowhere to be found.

The first sip was very refreshing. The beer started off smooth, but ended up with a sharp feel in the mouth. It also had a prolonged bitter aftertaste. The coffee and chocolate flavours were not overpowering. This beer very closely resembles Guinness, only slightly less bitter, and with more chocolate flavour.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Kirin Ichiban

I'm a bit scared of today's beer. The label claims "One of the world's most unique premium beers". Most unique? That can either be good or bad. It comes from Japan, which usually has rice as an adjunct, but the label also mentions 100% malt (I hope there's also some hops in there). It comes in a 355mL brown bottle with 5% alcohol/vol.

When opened, there was a slight malt and hop aroma. Not terribly strong. The beer poured a clear pale yellow, with a slight head (which didn't last very long). There were lots of large bubbles. There was very little aroma after the beer was poured, and I could not identify it.

The first sip was clean and smooth but weak. There was no bitterness, and a slightly prickly mouth feel. I consider this beer close to water. I could see somebody sitting on a patio drinking it. But there are probably better (and cheaper) alternatives for a patio beer. If I was in Japan on a hot day, I would drink it. But there's no reason to drink it anywhere else.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Inveralmond Blackfriar

Today's beer is a Scottish ale. It comes in a 500mL brown bottle with 7% alcohol/vol. It gives an entertaining story on the back label which has absolutely nothing to do with the beer. But at least they tried. It also has an ingredient list: water, malted barley, malted wheat, hops, yeast. So far so good.

When opened, the bottle let out an aroma of sweet malt with just a hint of hops. When poured, a finger-thick head formed that lasted a while, supported by lots of small bubbles. There was also a lot of sediment in the copper-coloured beer. The sweet malt aroma was still apparent after the pour, along with a slight fruitiness.

The first sip was fairly bitter given the amount of malt it smelled like. The beer had a medium feel in the mouth. There was also a slight warming in the stomach from the alcohol. With subsequent sips, a complex flavour took form. A beautiful lace also formed as the glass emptied. This beer would be a great introduction to non-domestic beers, as it sits in the middle of the road in terms of everything (not too extreme on any front).

Monday, August 1, 2011

Sagres Preta

My first Portuguese beer today. The label say it's a "dark beer". There is also a list of ingredients: water, malt, corn, and hops. They are very brave to admit putting corn in their beer. I now have very low expectations. It comes in a 330mL brown slightly odd-shaped bottle, and has 4.1% alcohol/vol. Weak.

When I opened the bottle, I could smell malt, but also a strong coffe smell. The beer poured with a thick head that disappeared almost instantly. It had a very dark colour, almost black. I could not see any bubbles at all. The coffee aroma was still there, and not much else.

The first sip tasted like weak coffee. The beer had a soft feel in the mouth, and there was no aftertaste. I very fairly unimpressed by this beer. The more I drank it, the less I could smell the coffee, and more I could smell something else. Metallic perhaps? I wouldn't recommend this beer to anyone.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Garrison Imperial IPA

I'm excited about today's beer. It comes fairly highly rated, and promises to be hopppppppppy. It comes in a 500mL brown bottle, and has 7.0% alcohol/vol. Nice and strong to kick off my long weekend. ;) The label promises "caramel malt & intense hop bitterness with a lingering citrusy finish". We shall see.

When I opened the bottle: BOOM! Fruity hops surrounded me. The beer poured a deep copper colour, with a slight haze. There was a modest amount of small bubbles, and a small head that lasted a while. I could already see a lace forming on the glass. The aroma was overpowering with hops, and I could smell a little bit of malt.

The first sip hit me in the mouth like an 8-ball in a tube sock. The beer was very bitter! The hops was almost too much to handle at first (even for a hophead like me), but I gradually got used to it. The malt was barely detectable, and hardly worth mentioning. This beer was all about the hops. The feel of the beer was fairly soft in the mouth, and there wasn't any warmth from the alcohol. If you're a hophead, then this beer is for you!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Samuel Smith's Imperial Stout

Today's beer comes to us in a whopping 550mL bottle (yep, a whole pint). It has a gold foil wrap on the bottle cap for that extra sense of class. I couldn't tell what colour the bottle was, because the beer inside it was black. It also had 7% alcohol/vol.

When opened, I could smell a lot of hops with slight fruity overtones. It poured black, with about one finger's width of head that lasted a long time. I could not see any bubbles because of the colour of the beer. The fruity malt aroma was even more pronounced after being poured.

The first sip was very sweet. The beer had a very soft feel in the mouth, almost as if it was uncarbonated. There were definite caramel and coffee flavours in the beer. There was a long-lasting smooth bitter aftertaste that was not unpleasant. After a while, I noticed a slight warmth coming from my stomach. I really liked this beer. It would make a great after-work drink.

Monday, July 25, 2011


Another Trappist beer today. This time it's Orval. It comes in an elegant 330mL brown bottle. It has 6.9% alcohol/vol. It also has a best-before date which is sometime after the apocalypse. It even shows you the correct glass to use on the label. Unfortunately, I only have a pilsner glass.

When opened, the beer smelled like a fortified wine. There is a distinctive sweetness to it. No hoppiness. When poured, an enormous head formed. I've never had a beer with more problems with controlling the amount of head when poured. The beer had a fruity smell to it, and retained its fortified wine aroma. As the bottle was bottle conditioned, there was a slight yeasty haze in the beer. The beer itself had a strong copper colour to it. An insane amount of small bubbles.

The first sip was amazing. The beer was soft in the mouth, with a very complex taste. There was a lot going on with my tastebuds. The high alcohol content gave a warmth to it in the aftertaste. The beer was not very malty or hoppy. More fruity in flavour. A hint of caramel.

This beer is definitely something everybody should try. I'm placing it at the top of my list.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Chimay Rouge

It's time for a Belgian dubbel. This beer comes in a 330mL short brown bottle. It has 7% alcohol/vol. It has a "authentic Trappist product" logo on it, which apparently means that it is brewed in an existing trappist monastery. Neat. So far in my experience, monks make good beer.

When opened, the bottle had a smooth malty aroma. When poured, the aroma didn't change. There was a ridiculous amount of dark sediment in the beer. A large head formed when poured, and was supported by a deluge of small bubbles. The beer had a light brown colour.

The first sip warmed me up. The beer was soft in the mouth, and quite flavourful. There was almost no bitterness to it at all. A lot of sweetness in the beer. It didn't taste very malty. Had a slight caramel flavour to it. A fantastic beer, I would definitely drink this beer again.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Half Pints Bulldog Amber Ale

The label on today's beer claims "Nutty caramel malts and a hoppy aroma". I'm already intrigued. It comes in a 341mL industry standard brown bottle, and has 5.4% alcohol/vol. The label also shows it has 20 IBUs.

When I opened the bottle, I could smell the malt. Where were the hops? The beer poured an amber colour, as advertised. A small head formed, and was supported by a few large bubbles. Unfortunately, it didn't last very long. When I smelled the beer after pouring, the malt was almost completely gone and I could detect a bit of hops.

The first sip was very malty. There was a slight bitter aftertaste. The beer had a relatively soft feel in the mouth. There was definitely a caramel-like quality to the beer. However, I failed to notice any nuttiness. A decent beer.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Half Pints St. James Pale Ale

My third beer from Half Pints looks like a good one. It comes in a 341mL industry standard brown bottle, and has 4.8% alcohol/vol. The label also gives it 11 IBUs. There is a picture of a sun on the bright yellow label, so I'm hoping it's a "summer" beer. Right now, we're having a ridiculous heat wave in Winnipeg, so I can use all the refreshment I can get.

When opened, I detected a very faint aroma of malt and hops. Not very much, mind you. The beer poured a pale straw colour. There was a small head that didn't linger for very long. There also must have been some sediment in the bottle that began to float around in the glass after being poured. This leads me to suspect the beer is unpreserved, unfiltered, and naturally carbonated in the bottle. The (few) small bubbles that formed also led to that assumption. There was still a faint smell of hops and malt, but nothing significant.

The first sip was so-so. The beer is definitely very refreshing. There was a slight citrusy flavour to is, and no aftertaste at all. Overall, a very mild flavour. The beer had a prickly feeling in the mouth. As I drank, the beer left a lace on the glass. The beer began to resemble water by the time I finished the glass. I'm not sure if I can recommend this beer. It's definitely a step above most mass-produced domestics, but doesn't have a lot of character like most other craft beers.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Half Pints Little Scrapper IPA

Tons of information on the bottle of tonight's beer. Half Pints is a local microbrewery (nanobrewery perhaps?), and I've heard some good things about their beers. I previously sampled their Stir Stick Stout with an interesting result. Today, I'm trying one of their two pale ales. The label shows it has 6.0% alcohol/vol, and 50 IBUs. It advertises "Citrus hop aromas with a toasted malt finish". I'm excited.

When the bottle was opened, I could definitely smell the dry hopping. There was a noticeable hoppy smell to it. The beer poured a beautiful golden colour, with a small head, and lots of small bubbles. The hoppy aroma certainly did have a slight citrusy scent to it, and was quite strong.

The first sip was pretty good. The beer certainly is bitter (as warned on the label with its 50 IBUs). It has a soft feel in the mouth, and a lingering aftertaste. I rather enjoyed this beer. I didn't notice any "toasted malt finish" in it though, which is alright since the IPA style does not focus on its maltiness. This beer went down very easily.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Gulden Draak

Today's Belgian beer has a whopping 10.5% alcohol/vol. It comes in an oddly-shaped 330mL bottle with a white plastic coating. The bottle I drank also had a best-before date of March 2, 2013. Either the beer is loaded in preservatives, or the extra alcohol keeps the beer fresh for a long time. I suspect the latter.

When opened, the beer had a strong malt aroma. The name of the beer is a bit of a misnomer, as it poured a light brown colour. There was a thick creamy head, and tons of small bubbles. Needless to say, the head stayed a long time, only thinning and never disappearing completely. This beer has a very nice visual presentation. It retained its malty aroma as well.

The first sip was delightful. This beer might be a bit too heavy for the summer. Bit it would be a great warm-up beer after a day of skiing (cross-country or downhill, doesn't matter). As I drank, the head left a nice lace on the glass. The beer's aroma is exactly how it tastes. It has a sweet aftertaste, with a bit of warmth coming from the high alcohol content. It feels soft in the mouth despite the large amount of carbonation. The beer was only mildly bitter. I would recommend that everybody try this beer at least once.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Salzburger Stiegl

I'm back from the mountains, and extremely thirsty. What else than an Austrian beer?

Stiegl comes in a 500mL can, and has no English labelling at all. It has 4.9% alcohol/vol. It also has a best-before date stamped to the bottom: Nov 22, 2011.

When opened, there was a strong aroma of malt. The beer poured a dark yellow colour, with a generous head and large bubbles. As the head disappeared, a beautiful lace was left on the glass. The malt aroma was still detectable, but was somewhat displaced by a more noticeable metallic smell. Uh oh.

The first taste was a bit bland. No hop flavour at all, and to be quite honest it tasted much more like a cheap domestic. No redeeming qualities. It even lacked a malty flavour. It was just yellow fizzy water.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Weihenstephaner Original

Today's beer is a German classic. It comes in a 500mL brown bottle, and has 5.1% alcohol/vol. It is labelled as a "malt liquor", but I believe that is just some legal mumbo-jumbo. Weihenstephaner has a claim for the world's oldest brewery in continual existence (since the 700s).

Upon opening, I immediately smelled fruity hops. This aroma eventually gave way to some strong malt. The beer poured a pale yellow, with lots of tiny bubbles. There was a thin creamy head. The malt aroma had dissipated, leaving a whiff of hops.

The first sip was pretty good. The beer has a very soft feel in the mouth. The beer went down very easily with almost no aftertaste. A very light sweetness to it. I would put this beer down on my list as a "summer beer", and would definitely drink it again.

In other news, I am going to be away on vacation all of next week, so there will be no beer reviews. My beer fridge is also now empty so there may be a day's delay in my resumption of my ratings.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Unibroue Blanche de Chambly

Today I opted for a Canadian beer. It comes from Chambly (hence its name), Quebec. It comes in a 750mL bottle with a cork. It also has a modest 5% alcohol/vol. It appears to be a (Belgian?) white ale. Good thing the label warns you of some yeast sediment during its secondary fermentation, or I would have been tempted to drink it straight from the bottle.

The cork came off rather easily, and a fine mist erupted. I could smell some lemon coming from the bottle, and not much else. The beer poured a generous white head that lasted a long time. Lots of huge bubbles rose up to keep the head going. The beer itself was a pale yellow in colour. The lemony aroma was still present, coupled with some malt.

The first sip wasn't terribly good. The beer had a harsh feel in the mouth (probably from all the bubbles). And I couldn't say I was a huge fan of the lemon. The beer has a slightly sour aftertaste. There is no way I would buy this beer again, but I couldn't see any reason why somebody else wouldn't like it.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Ayinger Celebrator

I'm excited today, because I'm going to sample a doppelbock. I also decided that I've waited on my first homebrew beer for long enough, and am going to crack one open. I won't do a review on it since it's not fully done carbonating, and it's not commercially available. :)

For anybody who knows a bit of German, they would be amused to see two goats on the label. The beer comes in a 330mL brown bottle, and has 6.7% alcohol/vol. It is also adorned with a small white goat pendant. Weird.

The first thing I noticed when opening the bottle was the rich malty aroma. Absolutely no hoppiness. When poured, it formed a thick head that disappeared rather quickly. It reminded me of a guiness, except the foam was made of large bubbles and dissipated. The beer was a dark brown in colour, and light could barely pass through it. As for the aroma, it retained its maltiness, and gained a slight fruity character.

The first sip reminded me of a guiness. The beer was soft in the mouth, and the rich malty flavour came on slowly. There was some bitter aftertaste, but not a lot. It also gave me a warm feeling in my throat. I could definitely see this as a good winter beer.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Goose Island 312 Urban Wheat Ale

Time for another Goose Island beer. This time it's an American wheat beer. It comes in a 355mL brown bottle with a yellow label. Of course there's no alcohol content displayed.

When opened, the bottle had a yeasty aroma. A bit of hops were also detected. When poured, it had a healthy creamy head that disappeared quickly. Lots of small bubbles formed up. The beer was yellow in colour. There was a bit of haze near the top due to the unfiltered nature of the beer. The aroma of yeast had completely dissipated, and I could only smell a bit of hops.

The first sip was pretty good. The beer had a slight lemony flavour, but without the sourness. Not very bitter at all, and only mildly malty. The beer had a soft mouth feel. The beer went down very easily.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Spaten Premium

Back to Germany again. Today's beer comes from Munich. It comes in a 355mL green bottle. Since I bought it in the US, it doesn't have any alcohol content information. However, it does say "malt liquor" on it, which I believe is a legal term for anything over a certain percentage. So I'm going to guess it's a stronger-than-average beer.

When I opened the bottle, it was as if somebody was cutting their lawn. The aroma was very grassy (hoppy, but grassy). When poured, no head formed, and there were lots of large bubbles. Unfortunately, the bubbles didn't last very long, and pared themselves down to two streams rather quickly. The beer itself was an anemic-looking yellow. It still had its grassy hops aroma.

The first sip was smooth. It had a soft mouth feel, and tasted a bit corn-like. A very mellow flavour, with no bitterness. I couldn't find any aftertaste. I would call this beer a light lager. I couldn't think of anybody who wouldn't be able to drink it since it was so light.

I'm not sure if I would drink it again since I tend to prefer beers at either extreme (sweet or bitter). I could see a lot of people liking this though, as it tasted like a domestic mass-produced beer.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Goose Island IPA

Today's is from Chicago, and one of my last American beers for the next while. It comes in a 12 ounce (355mL) brown bottle, with a green label. No alcohol content is given. The bottle looks slightly taller than the industry standard bottle.

When first opened, the hop aroma was a bit overpowering. It seems to be using a type of hops that I'm not familiar with, and am slightly intrigued by. If I had to take a guess, I'd say it was fruity. When poured, a large healthy head formed, and only a few large bubbles rose through the golden beer. The beer was a bit cloudy; perhaps there was sediment? (update: The cloudiness is due to unfiltered dry hopping) The hop aroma was still noticeable, and was urging me on.

The first sip was pretty good. The beer had a smooth feel in the mouth. The flavour was very hoppy and bitter. Probably one of the hoppiest beers I've ever had. I liked. As I drank, the head left behind a beautiful lace on my glass. I could not detect any malt flavour in the beer at all. I'll definitely look for this beer again when I'm in the mood for a hopped-up beer.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Canuck Pale Ale

I need to rush through today's beer sampling, because it's game 7 between the Vancouver Canucks and Boston Bruins. I specifically chose a patriotic beer today, one that has "Canuck" in its name. It comes in a 650mL brown bottle (wowie!) with a foil wrapping around the bottle cap. It has 5.2% alcohol/vol.

When opened, I was overwhelmed with joy by the fruity hops aroma. It poured a thick foam that lasted a while, and had a lot of small bubbles. The colour was a beautiful gold. It didn't have much for aroma any more, certainly not the same hoppy smell I was greeted with when I opened the bottle.

The first sip was shocking. This was an incredibly bitter beer. There is almost no sweetness to it at all. The hops definitely dominated this beer. It was a bit too bitter for me, but I would definitely put it near the top of any hop-head's list. I used to think I was a hop head until I tried this beer.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Anchor Steam Beer

Before I go into today's beer, I have an important announcement. I'm done brewing my wheat beer, and in two weeks I will have a homebrew ready to sample! Homemade beer is much cheaper than storebought.

This is a beer from San Francisco. It has 4.8% alcohol/vol, and comes in an oddly-shaped 355mL brown bottle. It has a best-before date of March 2013! A date this far in the future isn't a good sign, as it means the beer is loaded in preservatives.

The opened bottle gave a lightly hopped aroma, along with some yeast. When poured, it formed a medium-sized creamy head that was sustained by a non-stop flow of small bubbles. The beer had an amber colour, and retained the lightly hopped/yeasty aroma that it had when I opened the bottle.

The first taste was all bitter. The hops were barely detectable. The beer had a smooth feel in the mouth. At first I didn't like the beer very much, but it slowly grew on me. I'm not sure if I'd ever try it again as I believe there are better beers out there. But in no way did I find this to be a bad beer.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Half Pints Stir Stick Stout

In honour of the Vancouver Canucks, who are playing Boston at this very minute, I have decided to forego an American beer in lieu of a local brew. Today's beer isn't your ordinary run-of-the-mill microbrewery beer. It's actually a hand-crafted beer. So I expect good things. It comes in a 341mL brown bottle. There appears to be some sort of wax seal on the bottle cap, I suppose it's for tampering detection. The beer is 5.6% alcohol/vol, and has 35 IBUs.

Though the bottle didn't look it, it was in fact a twist-off. Oops. I guess that's why the wax seal is there, so make sure nobody twisted it. When opened, I could smell a lot of sweet malt, and a strong odor of coffee. Possibly even a hint of chocolate? The beer poured black, with a thin head that lasted a while. I could not see any bubbles because the beer was so thick. There was a strong coffee aroma to the beer.

The first taste was radically different from any beer I've tasted before. It was bitter, and the flavour came on slowly. It is both sweet and bitter at the same time. There was a strong coffee flavour, and the aftertaste was overwhelmingly bitter. The beer has a very soft feel in the mouth, no doubt due to its natural carbonation. I'm not sure if I would drink this again, since it's such a radical departure from any beer I'd normally go for, but I would definitely recommend everybody at least try it.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Sierra Nevada Pale Ale

Today's beer comes from Chico, CA. No false advertising on its location! It comes in a 12 oz brown bottle that is slightly shorter than your industry standard bottle. It has 5.6% alcohol/vol. The label says it's naturally carbonated and there's a fine layer of yeast in each bottle. So I expect a bit of sediment at the bottom.

When the bottle opened, I was greeted with a fresh aroma of hops. When poured, it formed a small creamy head that lasted a while. The beer had lots of small bubbles, and a golden colour. The strong hoppy aroma dissipated quickly when poured.

The first sip was exceptionally bitter. Very hoppy indeed! Definitely not a single variety of hops, as its character is very complex. The aftertaste lasted a while, and was not unpleasant. I would avoid this beer if you aren't a hop head. I would put this beer near the top of my list.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Flying Dog Doggie Style Classic Pale Ale

Today's beer comes from Frederick, Maryland. It has a quote from Hunter S. Thompson on the label, so it is already starting off on the right foot. It comes in a 12 oz bottle, and has 5.5% alcohol/vol. It even has the IBU listed: 35.

When the bottle was opened, I was hit in the face with a strong hoppy aroma. When poured, the beer came out amber in colour. Not a lot of head (which disappeared quickly), and an average amount of large bubbles. The beer was fairly cloudy with sediment. The strong hoppy smell was still there, coupled with some malty goodness.

The first sip was pretty good. Hop-heads should love this beer. It had a rich flavour, with just a slightly bitter aftertaste. It reminded me a lot of the Czech pilsners I sampled. This is a beer I did not get bored of. Every sip was an adventure. By far, the best American beer I've tried. If there was anything I could complain about, it was that the aftertaste lasted too long (several minutes).

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Fischer Tradition Amber

Since today isn't one of my "regular" days, I feel free to sample any beer I want. Today's beer is French. It appears to be an amber ale judging by the label. It has 6% alcohol/vol, and comes in a whopping 1 pint, 6 oz brown bottle. The reason I bought this beer when I was in Grand Forks is because of the beugel top. I figured at the very least I could re-use the bottle with my homebrew.

Opening the bottle, it didn't "pop" as Grolsch does. It instead let out a huge "pfffft". The aroma is mostly malty. When poured, the name on the label did not lie. The beer was in fact amber. There was no head at all, and only a few large bubbles came up. The aroma was still mostly malty, with a hint of flowery hops.

The first sip was so-so. The flavour comes and goes very quickly, with a very carbonated mouthfeel. There is a very strong aftertaste reminiscent of soda water. This beer grew on me. I eventually got used to its subtle tones, and I enjoyed it. It's nowhere near the top of my list of beers though.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Redhook ESB

Today's beer comes from Washington. It comes in a 355mL brown bottle and has 5.8% alcohol/vol. The label says it's an ale. It also claims "liquid goodness since 1982". I think I'll be the judge of that today. ;)

When opened, there wasn't much aroma escaping the bottle. When poured, the beer came out gold with a few streams of large bubbles. Not a lot of head, but it looked a bit creamy. There is a slightly metallic scent from the beer, which is strange since it came from a bottle.

The first sip: The flavour came on slowly, but was distinctive. Not very strong, but not unpleasant. No hint of metallic flavour. There was only a very slight bitter aftertaste. There wasn't much malty flavour at all. An overall balanced beer, but a bit on the weak side.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Tommyknocker Pick Axe

Today's beer comes from Idaho Springs, Colorado. It comes in a 355mL brown bottle. No twist-cap! As usual, there is no alcohol content information found on the bottle. There is some kind of date on the bottle, July 20 2009. I hope that's not the best-before date. In fact, I hope it's not the brewed on date either. I sincerely hope it's a mistake, or my beer would have been sitting on the shelves for 2 years.

When opened, the bottle immediately began to fizz up. There is a distinctive malty aroma to the beer. I had to pour it quickly lest I get head all over my desk. The beer had a copper colour, with a lot of sediment in it. I was afraid the beer was skunked. Just a hint of hoppy aroma to it. Very small head that dissipated quickly, and very few bubbles in the beer. Admittedly, there could have been a lot more bubbles but it was hard to see into the beer because it was so cloudy.

The first sip wasn't bad. The beer was light flavoured, but wow what a strong aftertaste. The beer tasted light and fruity, until the bitter aftertaste kicked in with a vengeance. This beer wasn't too bad. Unfortunately, it's in a style I don't particularly care for.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Leinenkugel Sunset Wheat

Continuing in the American line of beers, today I'm sampling what appears to be a wheat beer from Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin. It comes in a 12 ounce bottle, and has 4.9% alcohol/vol. The only thing that makes me nervous about this beer is that it advertises "beer with natural flavors". I actually had to laugh out loud at that line. I sure hope this beer has natural flavours (as opposed to artificial?).

The bottle was a twist-off. I was wise enough to attempt that before grabbing the bottle opener. I was hit in the face with the smell of oranges. Perhaps this is the "natural flavor" mentioned on the label. No head formed at all when poured, and the bubbles were hard to see through the yellow haze. There was still an orangey aroma to the beer.

The first sip was revolting. I did not have the words to describe how vile this "beer" was. In no way did it taste anything like beer. This was the first beer I had to flush down the sink. I also brushed my teeth.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Spoetzl Shiner Bock

Today's beer is brewed in Texas. The label claims it is hand crafted. As usual per the American beers I have sampled so far, there is no alcohol content on the label. It comes in a brown 12 ounce bottle.

The first thing I noticed after popping the cap off, is that it's a twist off. Oops. Guess I didn't have to grab my bottle opener. I can't believe it's taken me so long to come across my first twist off. The aroma from the bottle was sweet with only a hint of hops. When poured, there was almost no head. And lots of huge bubbles. The beer was of a light brown colour. The aroma was unchanged from that of being in the bottle.

The first sip, I could hardly tell I was drinking beer. It honestly tasted like fizzy water. There was no significant aftertaste. I'm not sure whether no taste is better than bad taste. At least with bad taste, it's obvious the brewer tried. With no taste, it's just carbonated dirty water.

It's beer like this that gives American beer a bad reputation.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Rogue Dead Guy Ale

Yet another American ale. Today's brew comes in a 12 ounce brown bottle. There is absolutely no useful information on the label. So it's a bit of a mystery today. The skeleton sitting on the keg on the label might be a warning.

I could smell lots of malty goodness when I opened the bottle. When poured, almost no head formed. However, there were lots of large bubbles. The beer itself was deep copper in colour. And the aroma was malty, with only a slight hint of hops.

The first sip had very little flavour. There was a bitter aftertaste, though. I would call this beer exceptionally light on flavour, which is unfortunate since it had a lot going for it up until I tasted it. Overall, it's not bad tasting. I just wish there was more of it.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Troubadour Blond

Today is an "off" day. Not my normal Monday/Wednesday/Friday day for sampling beer. So why am I drinking? Because today I learned that a friend of mine has cancer. I'm not going to go into any details, because the friend in question told me to keep it quiet, and I don't think I'm going to give anything away by mentioning as much as I just did. Hopefully, a fine Belgian blond ale will lift my spirits.

Today's beer, as mentioned above, is a Belgian blond ale. It comes in an 11.2 fluid ounce bottle, and weighs in at 6.5% alcohol/vol. There isn't much other information on the bottle, other than the large "ACCORDING TO THE SURGEON GENERAL, WOMEN SHOULD NOT DRINK ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES DURING PREGNANCY..." For some reason, I think I'm safe.

Upon opening, I noticed a wonderful hoppy aroma. I have a feeling I'm going to like this beer already. When poured, it formed a gigantic head, and lots of large bubbles formed in the beer. The beer itself is a cloudy yellow. As for aroma, the same hoppy smell I detected when I opened the bottle was there, only it was stronger. The head lasted a long time, and dissipated unevenly. After pouring, I noticed a lot of sediment at the bottom of the bottle. I guess this beer isn't filtered and keeps fermenting in the bottle, which would explain the cloudiness.

The first sip was a good one. It tastes like a sweet pilsner. Very hoppy, but not bitter. Generally sweeter, more than anything else, but not overwhelmingly so. There is a hint of spiciness to it. I would say this beer is very balanced. I could not detect any aftertaste. This is a very good strong beer.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Abita Ale Turbodog

As promised, today's beer is American. It comes in an oddly-shaped 355mL bottle, somewhere between a long neck and a stubby. It has a label on the back that gives a lot of information: pale, crystal and chocolate malts, willamette hops, and a "unique German alt yeast". It bills itself as a brown ale. Completely unknown alcohol content. There is also a section of the label reserved for a best-before date, but it is empty.

When the bottle was opened, I noticed the malty smell. No hops were detected. When poured, it formed a small creamy head that never fully disappeared but did get thinner. The beer was dark brown in colour, and needed to be held up to the light to see through it. It still had the malty aroma, but also had a very light hoppy smell to it.

The first sip was interesting. Up to this point, I had only had hoppy lagers (with a few notable exceptions). So this beer completely took me by surprise. It had a rich earthy taste. Slightly sweet and caramel-like. A hint of bitterness to it. I found this beer went down fairly easily, with only a slightly bitter aftertaste.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

American Beer

Just got back from Fargo. I now have a fridge full of American beer, so I'll be sampling some US microbreweries for the next few weeks. At least, I think they're microbreweries. I didn't check too hard.

I also bought some other brands that look interesting and are hard to come by.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Slavutich Premium

Before I start into today's beer sampling, I have two important announcements.

1. I will not be sampling a beer on Friday.
2. I have started brewing my own beer.

Since I will be in Fargo this weekend, I will not have a chance to sample a beer. However, this weekend trip gives me an opportunity to buy beers that are not available here in Manitoba. In all likelihood, the next few weeks will be spent sampling premium American beers.

As for brewing my own beers, I just figured on a whim that I probably have enough experience in sampling beers at this point to have an idea of what a good beer tastes like. Or at the very least, what kind of beer I like. So I bought a domestic wheat beer kit. I have not started the fermentation process since time does not allow it yet. But I will start it up sometime next week and report on its progress on this blog. When I'm done, if anybody wants some free beer just drop me a line.

Without further ado, let's move onto today's beer sampling.

This Ukranian beer comes in a blue 500mL can with 5.3% alcohol/vol. There is not much English on the label. I had to hunt around to find the English translation of the beer's name in the fine print. I'm basically going into this beer completely blind. There is what appears to be a best-before date on the bottom of the can of May 25. I'm cutting this one close, so I probably shouldn't expect much.

Upon opening of the can, I was greeted with a strong floral aroma. Once poured, the aroma disappeared. The dark yellow beer formed a large head that disappeared rather quickly. There were lots of large bubbles.

The first sip was bland. It had a slight apple taste. But there wasn't much hoppy bitterness to it at all. There was also a slight metallic aftertaste, but that could be completely discounted by the proximity to the best-before date. Apart from the apple tones, there was not much memorable about this beer.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Erdinger Weißbrau

We go back to Germany today to revisit one of the breweries I previously sampled. The first beer I tried was Erdinger Weissbrau Dunkel, and I loved it so much that I had to try another one of the beers from the same brewery. So today's beer is their "classic" Weissbier, or "wheat beer" in English. It comes in a 500mL brown bottle, and has an alcohol content of 5.3%/vol.

Upon opening, I was greeted with a flowery aroma. When poured, it formed a huge long-lasting head, with lots of small bubbles. The colour was a hazy yellow. The smell after being poured was subtle, and consistent with what I smelled when I opened the bottle.

The first taste was heaven. This beer had very little hops in it, which makes it easy to drink for beer novices. The flavour was full, but subtle. There was absolutely no aftertaste at all. The more I drank, the more I noticed the wheat component, and it eventually started to taste like I was drinking a loaf of bread (but not overwhelmingly so).

Once again, Erdinger hit it out of the park. I highly suggest this beer to anybody, even non-beer drinkers.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Faxe Royal Strong

Today's beer hails from Denmark. It comes in a 500mL can, with 8.0% alcohol/vol. Wowie! It has a list of ingredients: Water, barley malt, glucose syrup, maize, hops. GLUCOSE SYRUP?!?! MAIZE?!?! I'm already questioning this beer, and I haven't even opened the can yet. It has a best-before date of June 12, only 1 month away, so I'm closer to the end of this beer's shelf life than the start.

Upon opening the can, I didn't smell any distinctive smells. The beer smelled sweet (no doubt from the glucose and maize). When poured, it formed a thick head, and had lots of large bubbles. The colour of the beer itself was a bit anemic, it was straw-coloured. There were no added smells upon pouring, only the same sweetness as when I opened the can.

The first sip was horrible. The beer certainly didn't taste very sweet. If I was to name its taste, I would say aluminum. No doubt, the beer had been sitting in the can too long. Its aftertaste was even worse. I could find absolutely no redeeming quality to this beer whatsoever. If I was a weaker man, I would have poured it down the drain. But since I have a reputation to hold up, I had to finish it off.

Trust me, I would rather have thrown it out.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Dragon Stout

Today's beer hails from Jamaica. It comes in a 330mL brown bottle. The bottle itself is remarkable, because it looks, and feels, rather small in your hand compared to a typical North American long-necked beer bottle. As for alcohol content, it comes in at a whopping 7.5% alcohol/vol. There was a best-before date on the bottle of April 12, no year given. I hope the year is is 2011 and not 2010. I'd rather have fresh beer than expired beer.

When opened, the beer smacked me in the face with a fruity sweet malty smell. Upon pouring, it formed a thin head that disappeared very quickly. I could not see any bubbles coming up because the beer is so dark. I'd have to say it is black in colour.

I could already tell that this beer was going to be a large departure from all the other beers I've sampled so far. Not only that I knew this beer was an ale while all of my previous beers were lagers. The first sip was impressive. The beer went down easy. Once in my belly, I started to feel warm. A strong beer indeed! It tasted like sugar water, and had no aftertaste at all. Indeed, it reminded me a lot of dark rum. This is definitely a beer for getting drunk in style.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Samuel Adams Boston Lager

I decided it was about time I sampled a brew from our neighbour to the south. Today's beer is Samuel Adams Boston Lager. It comes in a 355mL brown bottle, with 4.8% alcohol/vol. Not much else can be said at this point, because the rest of the bottle is covered in marketing lines (complete with (tm) symbols).

Upon opening the bottle, I couldn't smell anything. Not a good sign. The copper-coloured beer formed a thick head that disappeared quickly. There were lots of large bubbles. Once poured, I could smell something, but could not place it.

The first sip: Very strong. Very bitter. I actually enjoyed it. It has a very strong aftertaste. It is a much stronger and darker lager than the other lagers I have sampled. I can definitely see this being served in pubs, rather than on a hot and sunny day.

This American beer surprised me. I can see how it appeals to a broad spectrum of beer drinkers.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Egils Gull

The beer today is probably the closest to Iceland I'll ever come. The label says it is best consumed within 100 days of being produced. Fortunately, it was made on January 13, 2011. So I'm just outside the window, but not by much. There is also a best-before date of July 13, 2011 which I am well inside of. The beer comes in a white and gold coloured 500mL can with 5% alcohol/vol.

The beer gave a strong hoppy aroma when I opened the can. When poured, it formed a large head that took a while to disappear. There were a few large bubbles coming up in the beer itself. The beer was a nice golden colour.

The first sip left me unimpressed. There was definitely a strong distinctive metallic taste to the beer. It was very hoppy, but other than that there wasn't much flavour. I seem to be having problems with (some) beers that come in cans, they generate metallic tastes. I was left unsatisfied.

I think this beer deserves a second chance. I will revisit it again some day.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011


Today's beer comes from Croatia. It comes in a yellow 500mL can, with 5% alcohol/vol. There is almost no English on the can, save for "Product of Croatia". There is also a best-before date on the bottom of the can (August 28, 2011). I'm basically going into this beer completely blind. But knowing the region it comes from, I can probably assume it's a lager of some type.

Upon opening the can, I was struck by its immediate sweet malty smell. When poured, it formed a thick head that disappeared relatively slowly. Lots of large bubbles flowed up through its dark golden colour.

The first sip was pretty good. It is a sweet beer. Very little hoppy aftertaste. I was very impressed by the amount of carbonation in the beer; the bubbles just kept on coming. Absolutely no metallic taste at all. This beer is very easy to drink. It made me wish I had a second can to crack open.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Krombacher Pils

This beer is a German pilsner. It comes in a 500mL aluminum can and has 4.8% alcohol/vol. It has an ingredients list that contains, unsurprisingly, water, barley malt, and hops. But there is also a "hops extract" listed, which makes me a bit suspicious. The can advertises this beer to be "No. 1 premium beer in Germany", and it is brewed according to the German Purity Law of 1516. I was under the suspicion that all German beers were brewed under the Purity Law of 1516. So either I was incorrect, or the advertising on the label is redundant. There was also a best-before date on the bottom of the can: August 26, 2011. I was well in the clear.

When I cracked the can open, nothing happened. Almost no smell came from the beer. Once poured, it formed a huge head that lasted a long time. The beer itself was dark yellow to light golden in colour. As for bubbles, at first there were a few large bubbles floating up, but these disappeared rather quickly and nothing much else came up.

The first sip came, and went, without incident. It tasted like a domestic lager. And very flat. A slight hoppy aroma eventually gathered in the beer flute. The taste itself it not bad, but the lack of bubbles detracted from the experience. As far as the German beers I've sampled so far go, I would place this one near the bottom. If you wanted to try a good German beer, look somewhere else.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Baltika Classic

Today I try a Russian beer. It comes in a 500mL brown bottle, with 4.8% alcohol/vol. The label on the back is a bit funny. The last sentence says "This beer is brewed specially for you." It's good to know that the brewers are telepaths.

The label on the back says it has a hoppy aroma, and it's right. When I hopened the bottle, I was presented by a wonderful hoppy smell. I was a bit disappointed by the light colour when poured, but it formed a thick head that lasted a bit. Lots of large bubbles.

The first taste was sweet. Very sweet. Again, the label says it is a malty taste, and it is correct. I didn't notice it on the first sip, but it definitely has a strong hoppy aftertaste. While it was fairly good, it didn't overly *wow* me. If I was in Russia, I would buy this.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011


The beer comes from the Netherlands. I've seen it before, and I think its bottle is semi-famous. It comes in a 450mL green beugel-style bottle with 5% alcohol/vol. Very retro.

It opened with a loud "pop", and released an aroma of hops into the room. A really neat effect. Upon pouring, it formed a long-lasting thick head. Lots of small buggles floated up from the glass. It also has a beautiful dark golden colour.

The first sip was phenomenal. I truly can't say enough about this beer. It has a full flavour that is hard to describe. Malty and hoppy at the same time. Almost no aftertaste. I thoroughly enjoyed this beer. The only thing bad about it is that it goes down so easy, you're done before you know it. I'm placing it near the top of my list.

Monday, April 25, 2011


Today's beer brings me even further away from home. This time it's China. Tsingtao comes in a 330mL green bottle, with 4.5% alcohol/vol. There is absolutely no other information on the label.

It made a thick head when poured, and had a strong hoppy smell. Its straw colour makes me think it is a light beer.

The first sip: Flavourless. The next sip: Flavourless. I feel like I'm drinking dirty carbonated water. The only good thing I can say about this beer is that it goes down easy. About as easy as water.

I can sum the experience up in three words: Made In China.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Kingfisher Premium

Before anybody accuses me of being euro-centric, I decided to leave the continent and head to India. Today's beer is Kingfisher Premium. It advertises as a premium lager. It comes in a green 330mL bottle with 4.0% alcohol/vol. Despite being an Indian beer, the small print on the back says it was brewed in the U.K. (under license). So I'm not 100% certain I'm getting the true Kingfisher experience.

Upon opening, I noticed a strong fruity aroma. Almost floral. When poured, it comes out pale yellow with a thick head that took a while to disappear. Lots of bubbles.

My first sip was "feh". The beer is very light and dry. Not terribly malty, not terribly hoppy. The carbonation left an impression in my mouth, and left a strong (but not entirely unpleasant) aftertaste. The only characteristic worth mentioning in this beer is the interesting aroma.

If I was in India, I'd gladly drink this as it is readily available there. But seeing as I have many other beers at my disposal, I'll place it further down the list but not off it entirely.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011


Gösser beer comes from Austria in a 500mL can with 5.2% alcohol/vol. It has an ingredients list that shows (unsurprisingly) water, barley-malt, and hops. It also has a best before date, which I believe is a handy feature. On my particular can it was October 2011, which is well in the future. There should be no danger of skunkiness.

When I opened the can, I instantly noticed a sweet smell. But after pouring the beer into a glass, it almost instantly disappeared. A thick head formed upon pouring, and lasted a while. The beer has a yellow-ish colour and almost no bubbles. The few bubbles that did come up were rather small.

The first taste was pretty good. Apart from a metallic aftertaste (I need to stop buying beers from cans) it went down very smooth. In a way, almost too smooth. Very close to water. Practically no hops in the taste at all. It has a slight apple taste to it.

I do not think I will buy this beer again. While the entire experience wasn't unpleasant, it failed to wow me.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Czechvar Original

This is a Czech lager that comes in a 500mL green bottle. The foil wrapped cap is a nice visual touch and gives it an air of elegance. With 5% alcohol/vol, it's a bit on the light side but definitely wouldn't fall into the "light" beer category.

When poured, the first thing I noticed was the massive quantities of bubbles. A thick head formed that dispersed rapidly. The lager was a deep gold colour. I also noticed a strong smell coming from it (hops?).

The first sip was very good. The flavour came on slowly. Not malty, with a strong hoppy taste. It reminded me of Pilsner Urquell, but I enjoyed Czechvar much more. So far, this has been my favourite lager. Each sip made me appreciate it more than the last.

I'm adding this beer to my list of winners.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Löwenbräu Original

This is another german beer. It comes in a 500mL can, with 5.2%alcohol/vol. It has very little english on the can, but it does have an ingredient list: Water, malted barley, hops, hop extract. No earth-shattering revelations there. But at least I know that it's not a wheat beer.

When poured, it foamed up with a healthy head, that disappeared fairly quickly. The colour is fairly pale, with large bubbles.

The first taste was smooth. Very smooth. A malty flavour, with absolutely no aftertaste whatsoever. On second thought, there was almost no *taste* whatsoever either. If I was to take a guess, I'd say this was a light lager. This made the beer go down very fast. I'd drink this one again, but I'm not in a huge rush for it. I have a feeling it's the Labatt Lite of Germany.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Neuzeller Klofter-Brau Original Badebier

Can't say much about this beer. The label is 100% in german, and I didn't do too well in german class. It comes in a dark 500mL bottle, with an advertised alcohol content of 5.2%. From the little german I know, Badebier means bath beer. So I guess you're supposed to drink this beer in the bathtub. I decided to drink it in front of the computer.

When poured, it produced a generous amount of head. The beer itself is quite dark. It has a sweet and *something* smell to it. I can't quite place it. The first sip was a success. It has almost no aftertaste. The entire flavour happens the moment it hits your mouth, and it's very hard to describe. It's not hoppy at all, and has a slightly sweet flavour to it. It's very rich and full. Overall, it is quite quaffable.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Pilsner Urquell

This Czech beer comes in a 330mL green bottle. The alcohol content is a light 4.4%. The label on the bottle says it is the original pilsner, which may or may not be a good thing. On one hand it set the bar for all other pilsners to try and imitate, but on the other hand it might have led to a lot of room for improvement. Once poured, the beer is a deep golden colour. It is very forgiving to a bad pour, as the head disappeared quickly.

My first sip was full of flavour. Very hoppy. It has a slightly bitter aftertaste that does not detract from the overall experience. I thought tasted more like an ale than a pilsner. I can imagine this being a very popular pub drink. After the first few sips, I was a bit unsure about drinking it. But the distinctive taste grew on me and I really enjoyed it by the end.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Castle Lager

I decided to venture away from Europe for today's brew. Castle Lager is made in South Africa. It claims to be "The Premium South African Lager", and "Brewed in Perfect Balance". This are mighty big claims, and we'll see how it fares in the taste test.

It comes in a 440mL gold-coloured can, with an alcohol content of 5% by volume. It also has a best-before date, which I am glad had not expired yet. Today is April 9, and it is best before July 21.

When I poured it into my glass, it generated a nice head. Not too thick. The smell coming from the can was also promising. Lots of bubbles coming up from the bottom of the glass. Then it was time for my first taste. I'd call it so-so. It was definitely a large improvement from my fiasco with Leffe. It almost tasted like a domestic beer. I could definitely see myself on a hot summer's day on the patio drinking one of these while soaking up the rays. And knowing that it comes from South Africa, that very well may be their intention. :)

It definitely does not have a hoppy taste. In fact, I'd say it's on par with most lagers for its weak taste. And after the first few sips, you can barely taste anything at all. Unfortunately it does have a slightly metallic aftertaste, most probably from the can. I'm not sure if I would buy this beer again due to the aftertaste. If it wasn't for that, I would definitely put it on my "hot sunny day" list.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Leffe Blonde

This beer comes in a 330mL, slightly amber tinted, bottle. It says "strong beer" on the label, and is 6.6%/vol. I'd agree that qualifies it as strong.

It was fairly easy to pour. The head formed with big bubbles. From what I understand, this is usually a sign of artificial carbonization. The head didn't last very long either, disappearing in about 2 minutes.

My reaction from my first sip was not a positive one. It has a very distinctive taste, and one that lingers for a long time. Very hoppy, which is odd because I usually like hoppy beers. I felt dread each time I put the glass up to my lips, and the feeling didn't pass until the glass was empty. If you want to get drunk fast on expensive beer, this is the way to do it.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Erdinger Weißbrau Dunkel

Before I begin, I must apologize to any beer aficionados that my opinions are based upon my own uneducated observations. I am also aware that I do not have the correct beer glassware, having only (high quality) beer flutes available instead of glassware appropriate to the type of beer being drunk.

That said, on with the review:

This German wheat beer comes in a 500mL amber-coloured bottle. The alcohol content on it is a healthy 5.6%/vol. Not enough to call it a strong beer, but definitely not on the light side.

My first reaction after pouring my first glass of this beer was that it looked like a German knock-off of Guinness. But the similarities end there. It is a dark beer and has a lot of head (when poured improperly as I did). But it doesn't have same bitterness that Guinness has, and a little bit of light manages to make its way through the dark brew.

Its taste is clean and slightly sweet, and actually a bit on the weak side. For a wheat beer, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that it didn't have any citrusy flavours added (after a bit of research, I discovered that adding citrus to german wheat beers is typically not done.) It has a very subtle malty aftertaste, that is not overpowering and quite pleasant.

The taste certainly grows on you. After each sip, I appreciated its initially weak flavour a little bit more. I'm actually disappointed that this is the first beer I reviewed, since that means I probably won't have another bottle of it for quite some time.

A new beginning...

It has been a while since my last blog post. And while I'd like to say nothing much happened since, in reality quite the opposite has been true.

Bean has been growing steadily, and slowly taking over my life. I've heard that babies do this, so it hasn't come as a big shock to me.

My marathon training has been kicked into high gear. I'm now poised to crush my PB time come Fargo Marathon.

And lastly, our basement has been renovated and we now have a kickass man-cave, complete with a well-stocked bar. And I decided to take this opportunity to re-invent my blog as a beer blog. I will be periodically (attempt for 3x per week) testing a different beer from around the world and writing up what I think about it. My first post will be about Erdinger Weissbrau Dunkel.