24 Days of Christmas – Day 21

IMG_1244Peak Organic Hop Noir! I was hoping for another offering from Peak Organic and while I still really want to try their Imperial Red I will have to settle for Hop Noir, poor me. This beer is quite bitter, even for my tastes, but it highlights the bitterness in the black malts with the flavour of the hops. I’m sipping it right now and it’s leaving great lacing on my glass even though it poured without too much head. I am really excited to taste more beer from this Maine, thanks Bob, based brewer. This stuff it really excellent and I’m sure Nelson Brewing can sympathize to how much balls it takes to go organic with your malts and hops. It is so obvious to me how much care has been taken with the creation of this brew, it’s really exceptional. Black malts lend a really great depth to a beer and the hops give that depth longevity as this beer has quite a long finish. I could geek right out on describing this beer but I would implore any newcomer to craft brews to check out a black IPA and see how it tastes. My recommendation today is Dieu Du Ciel Penombre, a brilliant black IPA from Quebec. Cheers! WCBL over and out.

24 Days of Christmas – Day 20

Lighthouse!! Nice! And a limited release, now that’s how you get things done Craft Beer Imports Canada Inc! This Winter Ale is balanced to malt and some sugar/vanilla though it has a nice dry finish. I really liked this brew it’s in the top three of the advent for me. If you’re a spicy winter ale lover you won’t be satisfied but if you like a nice dark malty beer on a cold, or rainy, winter day you’ll love this one.

IMG_1241I’m certainly looking forward to more things from Lighthouse their switchback IPA is what I recommend today for those playing along at home without a calendar, it’s a brighter citrus peel flavoured IPA and it’s great. If you’re heading to Sherbrooke Liquor today at all make sure you check out the FiftyFifty Imperial Stouts they have in there, a real treasure for the beer lover in your family. Cheers! WCBL.

24 Days of Christmas – Day 19

Ok enough with the Newport Storm already! This time it’s some blueberry disaster that would probably only taste good after mowing the lawn on a hot day, problem is I’m up to my eye balls in snow and ice. The one thing I will hand to this beer is the amazing aroma, I have never smelled a beer with such a unique and interesting nose. Unfortunately I did not enjoy anything else about this beer and I’m sorry to say I sunk it. Life it too short to drink bad beer. If you’re playing along at home just grab an Alley Kat Maroon Dragon, that’s what I did. Cheers! WCBL.

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24 Days of Christmas – Day 18

Another day, another OK beer. This time it’s a Cream Ale from Cameron’s. I really like their IMG_1236auburn ale but I’m kind of indifferent towards this cream ale. It has a decent head and good lacing but needs a little more character. It’s good beer and it’s been well treated but it just needs a little something more. I think this is definitely a case of my preferences and sometimes a simple, clean beer is awesome but most of the time I’m looking for something more interesting. So there you go. If you’re playing along at home I’d go for a Lagunitas Hop Stoopid. It’s nothing like this beer but you’ll enjoy it, I promise. Cheers! WCBL.

24 Days of Christmas – Day 17

Hello beer drinkers! Today’s offering comes from a brewer that I am familiar with, Ruckus. Their Hoptimus Prime DIPA is the American brewer’s flagship bomber and is something to look for. It is slightly less balanced toward hops so it’s a really nice beginner DIPA or just all around solid beer. The beer in the advent calendar today is a red ale called Hedonism. It has a pretty sexy label if you’re reading from the old folks home, but I kinda like it.IMG_1235

The beer is balanced to malt, unfiltered, well carbonated and has a nice smooth finish. I really liked this offering from Ruckus and I’d really like to try their other beer Euphoria, which is a Belgian style tripel, hopefully it will end up in Alberta soon. For those of you playing along at home without an advent I would suggest looking into local offerings from Calgary’s big rock brewing. While not exactly the same style I think big rock’s McNally’s Extra is similar and weather appropriate. Peace, WCBL!

24 Days of Christmas – Days 13 14 15 16

Oh My GOD. Sorry for the lack of updates but a serious load of IRL stuff held me up from updating. I’m four days behind but there’s not much too exciting to report, unfortunately. The star of the lot was Peak Organic from┬áMaine with their offering, Espresso Amber Ale. A relatively clear pouring beer, considering espresso beer tends to use darker malts. It was decently hopped as well so it had great character on the finish. I really hope they end up coming to Alberta because it’s awesome stuff. From their website I would be really interested in their King Crimson Imperial Red Ale.

Saturday’s offering was an Imperial Stout from Nickle Brook Brewing, again, called Bolshevik Bastard. It was a reasonable bog standard imperial stout that I would drink again but did not bring anything too exciting to the table. I was hoping for something more exciting hop wise or maybe barrel aged but Bolshevik Bastard was far from terrible.IMG_1230

Sunday’s beer was from Hollow Point a gun obsessed brewer out of Connecticut with a decently reasonable facsimile of a Belgian quad called The Perfect Crime. While it ticked all the boxes required of a Belgian quad it didn’t really bring anything unique to the table. I enjoyed it but still nothing amazing. IMG_1232

Today’s beer is Lake of Bays Brewing Crosswind Pale Ale. I can taste the potential of this unfiltered, drinkable pale brew but I suspect it was much more hop forward than it currently tastes. That said I am more excited about these breweries offerings becoming available in Alberta in the future than I am about how they currently taste. Fresh beer is the best beer 99% of the time. It is not really that often that a beer will taste better with age though there are some exceptions as my beer fridge can attest. Cheers! WCBL.

24 Days of Christmas – Day 12

Wow day 12. I can’t believe how quickly December is going by, I guess all this beer is probably helping. Certainly Cameron’s Auburn Ale is. What is an Auburn Ale I’m not sure but Cameron’s is a reddish brown filtered beer with decent carbonation, quite a bit of malt and a nice slightly hoppy dry finish. Exceptionally interesting for a less aggressive easier drinking beer. This is a really solid offering from the Ontario brewer. I’m interested in more of their stuff. This particular Auburn is quite celebrated, check out their list of wins!

http://www.cameronsbrewing.com/camerons-auburn-ale/

Give it a taste and you’ll see what all the fuss is about. I really enjoyed it just look at the picture I drank half of it before remembering to even snap a pic. Also as a note it pared really well with the cheese I was eating; some French Morbier and Quebecois Laurier. Cheers!

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24 Days of Christmas – Day 11

Whew. Another IPA. This time from Coastal Extreme, again. Hmmm. I think there is something off about this beer. I believe it has sat too long. One of the disadvantages of packaging a box like this so early before consumption is the loss of flavours. Hop forward beers like IPA need to be consumed as close to their brew dates as possible in order to maximize their hop potency and taste the brewers intended profile; as hop flavours fade surprisingly rapidly even in a bottle. IMG_0272I noticed that something might be off upon opening the bottle as I popped the cap a waft of plastic smelling air came up at me. I poured hoping it would fade as this nicely carbonated beer settled a little. It did not. Maybe it was the hops used maybe it was the age but this beer smelled and tasted of plastic. The bottle itself looked fine the cap was nice and tight I didn’t notice any signs of infection but something was amiss. I hope others enjoyed this beer I just could not get over that initial smell. To the internet, to find out what others thought. Let’s hope for no more stinkers! WCBL.

24 Days of Christmas – Day 10

Dang. This one is going to be a quick one tonight guys. It’s a repeat of a brewery we’ve already tried called Back Forty Brewing. I’m kinda disappointed that the advent contains a brewery we’ve already tried but on the upside this Truck Stop Honey Brown Ale is pretty darn good. Nice honey flavour and nicely balanced, quality stuff, not crazy exciting but certainly easy drinking. Cheers to no more repeat breweries in the rest of the calendar! WCBL.

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24 Days of Christmas – Day 9

Yeeee Haaaaa! A Californian IPA my favourite! And one I haven’t heard of or tried, even better! This absolute delight is brought to us by the hard-working men and women at Tap It Brewing located in, I’m sure lovely, San Luis Obispo kinda west central California. As you all know this style is my weakness and when I popped the top on this bad-ass brew I knew I was in for a tasty treat.IMG_1225

Chinese mandarin oranges abound in the nose and a nice chewy body carries a decent amount of hop bitterness, balanced toward the citrus side of things, with a wonderful slight vanilla flavour to round everything out on the malt side. This beer is certainly a gem and I really enjoyed it. Taking my personal bias toward IPAs aside this is a quality brew through and through. It takes some balls to bring an entry to the over crowded IPA segment but Tap It has brought a unique enough twist to this hot style with their subtlety and balance. I think there’s a decent amount of residual sugar that is lending the slightly sweet finish but because of the hoppy character it didn’t displease me at all. Happy Monday indeed! For those of you playing along without a calendar; try looking for Lagunitas Sucks(the orange crush of IPAs), which should be here in February, Deschutes Red Chair(sweeter and balanced to malt) and Phillips ISA(punchy and easy drinking). WCBL over and out.