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Monthly Archives: October 2013

Checkin out Uranus

Well I made it back to Toronto courtesy of Via Rail, and damn does it ever feel good to be home. Back in the land where all public transit announcements are inaudible, but you only have to listen to the speaker static in one language. It’s definitely the better of the two evils.

I biked to the LCBO tonight and picked up this Etobicoke-brewed beauty. It’s Sawdust City’s Long Dark Voyage to Uranus. Yes, I know Sawdust City is based in the breathtaking Gravenhurst Ontario, but they brewed this beer at Black Oak Brewing facilities here in Etobicoke. Two awesome places combining to make a stout means I have some pretty high expectations.

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Aroma is dark chocolate, roasted malt, and booze. The smell makes me want to fill a swimming pool with this stuff and dive in. I was able to feel the booze on my lips with the first sip. Starts out with light toasty notes, moving to bitter dark chocolate with some sweetness, and finishing bitter with a light burn from the alcohol and some chocolate.

Overall the 9.0% is very prominent throughout this beer. I love all the characteristics of this beer; it’s extremely bold, in-your-face, and not a beer that I will be forgetting about anytime soon.

Part of me wishes they could’ve dialed down the ABV so that the other flavour’s could’ve come through a little better, but part of me likes how bold and strong it is.

This stout is not for the novice beer drinker or someone who thinks Guiness is the best stout ever made. I like Guiness and all, but it doesn’t take much poking around the craft beer scene to realize that there are better products being brewed in places a lot closer than Dublin, Ireland… My Dad was only able to handle a few mouthfuls of Uranus before gracefully bowing out and pouring his glass into mine.

I truly enjoyed this and plan on grabbing another bottle to split with friends.

Let me know what you folks thought. I’m all ears.

Slippery when wet…

Well folks, reading week has begun for students at Carleton University. To our delight, the school decided to put it AFTER the bulk of midterms have been completed, making it essentially a drinking week… Fuck yeah.

Today I’m reviewing Autumn Hop Harvest Ale by Amsterdam Brewery out of Toronto. This beer is made using a process called “wet-hopping”. Here’s what I understand about this term:

Wet hopping simply means using freshly harvested hops in the brewing process. Hops naturally start to break down quite quickly after being harvested, which is why it is so popular to immediately dry them out and put them into pellet form for brewing. A wet-hop offers brewers a more vibrant, unique flavour which can only be attained at this beautiful time of year; hop harvest season. In order to successfully wet-hop a beer, the hops must be brought straight from the farm to the brewery and added before they decompose. This adds an element of difficulty for brewer’s, however I would imagine most of them are up for this type of challenge.

With that knowledge in your brain, let’s move on to the beer at hand.

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In honour of Carleton’s new fall drinking week.

 

Pours clear, light amber with a small white head. Aroma is earthiness, light citrus hops, and some sweetness. Light mouth-feel with fairly high carbonation. On the palate is loads of bitter, slightly citrusy hops that are distinctively refreshing. Finish is slightly earthy and bitter.

Really great brew from Amsterdam Brewery which should entice many to try more of these wet-hopped ales. I have begun to see a few more on shelves at the LCBO, so I’ll be sure to pick up another one to get a different perspective on the style.

Personally, I’ve purchased this beer on two separate occasions, and I will likely buy it again. For lover’s of bitterness, this will tickle your fancy; however it’s probably not the best beer to use to convert Labatt Blue drinkers. Still I find it quite approachable and sessionable, and if I didn’t have to be at work in an hour I would be down to crack a few more of these bad boys.

On a side note, I’m heading home to Toronto for a few days for reading week and I plan on doing some more exploring of the craft beer scene there. Mainly looking to hit up Bellwoods Brewery as they seem to have an amazing lineup of bold beers which I won’t be able to find in Ottawa… at least not for a while. I’d love to hear your suggestions for other breweries to check out while I’m in town.

My question: What’s the coolest/weirdest beer available in Toronto at the moment?

Let me know!

Seeing Red

Hey there everyone,

It’s been a while since I’ve made a post. Thanksgiving combined with a lot of other personal matters has been taking up most of my time. The beer I have been drinking, I’ve just been enjoying without thinking about silly things like “hop-malt balance” or how to describe the mouth-feel.

Anyways, last night I cracked a delightful beer while getting in a little bit of personal time with Grand Theft Auto before bed and jotted down my thoughts.

First and foremost: the new GTA is insane. If I didn’t have a full course-load and two jobs I would be balls deep in that game all day every day.

Now for the beer. I picked up a bottle of the highly sought-after Red on Red Collaboration Ale brewed as a collaboration between Flying Monkey’s (Ontario) and Central City Brewing (BC).

The label makes this beer stand out on the LCBO shelves. Not because it is bright and attention-seeking like we are used to seeing from Flying Monkey’s, but rather because it seems classy, exclusive, and better than you (yeah, YOU).

Drinking it:

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I thought using the red controller would be fitting given the beverage at hand.

Pours deep red with an off white head that remains in tact throughout. Aroma is of citrus hops and strong malts. Crisp mouth feel with the twang of bittering hops, fruit, and sweet malt. Fantastically balanced, so that even at 80 IBU’s it doesn’t make your cheeks wrinkle. Finish is complex and includes alcohol, caramel, and a distinct bitter/sourness. The key word here is balanced. The 9.5% is masked well, and therefore dangerous.

Very tasty and complex collaboration beer made by two excellent Canadian breweries. Even though they are a few provinces apart, they got this one just right.

It feels like I treated myself tonight. Even though this was the same price as most 750ml craft beers at the LCBO, something about it feels special. One of those beers that you want to drink slower in order to savour the moment, yet before you know it there’s one sad sip left in your glass.

Adding Red on Red to my grocery list.

All hail the King

Southern Tier Brewing Company has yet to let me down. Their IPA? Delicious. Their Milk Stout? Superb. (Southern Tier, if you’re reading this, consider this an official plea for you to send more of your products north of the border). Needless to say I had pretty high expectations when I was opening a bottle of their Imperial Pumpking. Something about the graphics on the bottle just demands respect and hints that this beer will impress. The fact that it’s 8.6% ABV and the short anecdote on the bottle only added to this.

I enjoyed this on the deck in my slippers, because university. Also it might be my last opportunity for a backyard beer of the season. It was glorious…

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Pours a light amber with a standard white head.

Aroma is yeast , spice, and sweetness from the pumpkin. Starts off with light yeast and some spice tones, which switches to deliciously sweet pumpkin, followed by a spicy pumpkin finish which is relatively smooth with a bit of tangy bitterness. The flavour really closely mimicked a pumpkin pie, which impressed me. Despite the sweetness, I could totally session this brew, which I believe is due to the tangy finish.

The “King” in the name says it all. So far, this is my favourite pumpkin seasonal. The search isn’t over however! I’m also curious to hear what your favourite pumpkin beers are. Shoot me a tweet or simply leave a comment here.

Happy Friday guys!

Taking a swing a home brewing (Part 1)

We finally took the leap.

For month’s I’ve been talking with my buddy Brad (you may remember him from this post) about setting up a home brewing kit in my basement and seeing what kind of beer we’re able to make. We kept saying we’d look into it, but nothing really ever came of the situation.

Until last week when I got a text from him telling (not asking) me that we were going to go to a local brewing store to pick up the supplies we would need. Thanks for kicking this into gear buddy…

The store we went to is called Defalco’s. They specialize in both beer and wine making equipment and supplies, and they seemed like a pretty good place for us to start.

Now we had decided ahead of time that the first beer we were going to make was going to be an IPA, but we didn’t really know how we would go about doing that. Well it looks like we chose the easiest method possible.After talking to a dude at the store, we bought:

1. Their beer/wine making equipment kit. This included:

  • 29 Litre plastic pail (primary fermenter)
  • 23 Litre glass carboy (secondary fermenter)
  • syphoning equipment & funnel
  • mixing spoon
  • air lock & stopper
  • sanitizer
  • thermometer & hydrometer

    Brewing kit from Defalco's

    Brewing kit from Defalco’s

2. An IPA kit made by a company called Brewhouse. This included:

  • 15 Litre bag of Wort
  • package of sodium bicarbonate
  • small package of brewers yeast
  • package of dextrose

For us, the pre-prepared wort was probably a blessing in disguise. Although we plan to make our own wort for our second brew, the first time around it is nice to be babied by the easy-to-follow instructions.

We’re looking into ways to “pimp” this kit before bottling by adding our own hops or other ingredients. Any expertise or advice from readers would be greatly appreciated!

At this point the beer is in the secondary fermenter and we’re keeping an eye on it for clarity and because our lives are so boring that we like to watch beer being beer in a big glass jug. I will be posting a Part 2 to this post when it comes time to bottle and sample.

Cheers for now.

Two happy brewers.

Two happy brewers.

Rolling in Pumpkin

As you may have noticed from many craft beer blogs and twitter accounts, pumpkin-flavoured-beer-season is upon us (some people just call it Autumn… fucking hipsters). I managed to pick up a bunch more promising brews of that nature during my trip to the LCBO this week.

Today I’m looking at a beer brewed in ‘Murica! Brooklyn, New York to be more specific. It’s Post Road Pumpkin Ale brewed by The Brooklyn Brewery. I’d like to say I bought this to get an American perspective on my recent pumpkin ale binge, but really I just bought every pumpkin beer that was on the shelf…

Now so far in my experiences, the aroma of a pumpkin beer is normally pretty attractive and tempting. The flavour is where they separate the men from the boys. I also find a light body doesn’t really fit this style. The richer the spice flavour, the more tasty the brew, at least as far as my palate goes.

With all that in mind, here we go.

Pours clear deep amber with a pretty persistent white head. Smells great; notes of cinnamon, nutmeg, and of course pumpkin. Flavour is light pumpkin and a bit of spice; really not what I was hoping for as the malt over-powers the main notes that we normally look for in this style. Finishes smooth with hints of nutmeg and cinnamon.

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Cat was confused by the Beyond the Pale glass. She’s getting to know her brews…

Personally, I wouldn’t go out of my way to find this again in my local LCBO. It didn’t blow me away with quality, and there are definitely better seasonal options that are produced on our side of the border. On the plus side, it was less than $3 for a 355ml bottle.

Should be a few more reviews coming this week. My fridge is packed and it isn’t going to clear itself out…

As usual, feel free to drop me a line and let me know what you thought, and thanks for the read.