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.