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.

24 Days of Christmas – Day 8

IMG_1224Alright, Lake of Bays Brewing Company Spark House Red Ale. A red ale is an ale that contains malts that render flavour as well as colour to a brew in this case, red. For example dark crystal malts can lend a red colour to beer and while I’m not sure what malts Lake of Bays used I find it is sometimes difficult to balance exactly what you want with your recipe with head retention, mouth feel, flavour, colour, strength, bitterness etc all being considered in the end product. While I found this offering to be a solid beer it had a funny flavour that I just couldn’t place. I’m not sure if it was the malts used that I’m not particularly fond of but this beer was a pass for me. It wasn’t sink worthy but it wasn’t up to the par set by yesterdays delight. Keeping in mind there are only a few reds that I enjoy. The Parallel 49 collaboration Red Eye comes to mind. Good beer is good, but good beer that brings something unique to the table is better. Let’s hope tomorrow brings something more exciting, happy Sunday night everyone, cheers, WCBL.

24 Days of Christmas – Day 7

Wow! Stillwater Artisanal Existent American Farmhouse Ale. While this particular brett beer is exceptionally well balanced it is quite exciting for the less advanced beer drinkers to try something so different. When I refer to brett beer I am, of course, referring to IMG_1222brettanomyces a type of wild yeast that once exposed to beer creates a very interesting flavour and consumes the sugars, especially complex sugars, in beer slightly differently than regular beer yeast. What does this mean for the drinker? Well it can produce several things, radically different flavours for one including; esters, bananas, berries, grass, horseyness and a wild woodsy type flavour. I suspect this particular beer used different sugar, I tasted molasses, in its processing as well as darker malts to help meld the unusually strong taste brett can render into something more approachable, and it is really quite nice. I personally think this beer is the best of the lot so far so it’s going to get a gold star. For those of you playing along at home I believe Stillwater’s offerings are already here in Edmonton and are available at Sherbrooke Liquor aka my second home. If you want to try some even more exciting brett beers look for Mikkeller’s AK ALIVE or Invasion Farmhouse IPA. Those two beers will show the drinker the extremes of wild yeast. Holiday cheers everyone! WCBL.