Wednesday, 7 December 2016

The 2-4 Beers of Chritmas Day 6: St. Feuillien Brune

Beer # 30


Brewery: Brasserie St. Feuillien S.A.

Type: Independent Brewery     Est.: 1873
Location: Le Roeulx, Belgium
Beer Style: Dubbel
ABV: 8.5%      IBU: ?
Format: Crown Capped Brown Glass Bottle  Size: 330 ml
Cost: $3.70 CAD     Purchased At: LCBO

Twitter: @st_feuillien (French)


Off to Belgium tonight for this high alcohol Abbey Dubbel from St. Feuillien in Roeulx. Belgiam beers seems to be synonymous with Christmas especially here in the LCBO in Ontario. It's usually then when you see all the gift packs of abbey beers, and short squat little stubby-esque bottles appear. I guess it's a combination of the dark malty flavours and the higher alcohol contents. Maybe it's the rarity/gift appeal. Not quite sure, but they are here again and worthy of being included in the # 2-4 Beers of Christmas.

St. Feuillien is a fairly modern and progressive brewery that was opened in 1873, and has remained in one family for five generations. Tonight's beer, their dubbel, was awarded a silver medal at the Brussels Beer Challenge in 2012.

Onto our beer...

Pours a cloudy dark chestnut with an off-tan head made up of small and mediums sized bubbles.Aroma is spicy and rich in malts predominately wheat. First sip is licorice, molasses , some clove, mace, and nutmeg. Some sweetness, with a turbinado sugar taste. Mouthfeel is slightly thick with a light syrup consistency. Rich malts  make this beer drink like a old world style bread, crusty and dark. The finish is spicy and earthy hops, and a gentle warmth from the 8.5 % ABV. Aeration makes the alcohol pop  with warm notes of brandy and dried fruit. Lips are left very sticky. Heavy raisin on the long lingering finish.

Impressions: Fail, So-so, Pass, Exceptional 


Cost: 5/6 
PASS

Colour: 5/6 PASS
Beer Style: 5/6 PASS
Re-Order:  5/6  PASS
Experience: 5/6 PASS
Christmas Cheer: 5/6 PASS

Final Thoughts:


A nice, rich, heavy dubbel. And when I say heavy, I mean... heavy. I felt like a nap after drinking this beer. However, when one speaks of beer being liquid bread; this is probably the beer they were thinking about. I actually at one point wondered how I could slather some butter on it. It's a tasty beer, full of rich flavours and worthy of some rumination. Check one out when you can.



Cheers


CJT


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Monday, 5 December 2016

The 2-4 Beers of Christmas Day 5 Hazelnut Brown Nectar Rogue Ales and Spirits

Beer # 304 Hazelnut Brown Nectar


Brewery: Rogue Ales and Spirits

Type: Independent Brewery Est.: 1988
Location: Newport, Oregon, United States of America
Beer Style: Flavoured Nut Brown Ale
ABV: 5.6%      IBU: 33
Format: Crown Capped Brown Glass Bottle  Size: 750 ml
Cost: $6.95 CAD     Purchased At: LCBO

Twitter: @SawdustCityBeer




Another brewery that I haven't had for a while, and yet are always good for a nice brew. Tonight's offering is a take on a nut brown ale, that has been infused with extract of hazelnut. I'm not a huge nut fan, I think it stems from the time I spent in the U.K. as a kid. At the time I was living with my Aunt in Glynneath, Wales. Behind the town on the mountain-side grew wild hazelnut trees, we called them filberts. My cousin and I would play on the mountain-side and snack on the nuts which were still on the terribly green side. Although edible (just barely), the very green filberts had a lovely tendency to make a belly very ill. I doubt I fully recovered from that.

Onto our beer...

Pours a rich chestnut colour with a gorgeous off-tan head made up of tiny bubbles. Aroma is roasted hazelnuts, sweet malt, hints of bread, frangelico and a little molasses. The first sip is dominated by roast hazelnuts, coffee and french vanilla hot chocolate. Pure dessert in a glass. mouthfeel is medium bodied and slightly creamy. Finish is bitter, with hints of that brown nut paper that rubs off of freshly roasted hazelnut.good balance between bitter and sweet. Slightly intense flavour associated with the hazelnut extract. Overall flavour reminds me of European pastries,  rich, nutty, cakey, slightly bitter, and not overly sweet. Aeration gives us the intensity of the nut extract with some deeply caramel malt, green hops and some light espresso notes. Finish is coffee and hints of dark chocolate.


Impressions: Fail, So-so, Pass, Exceptional 


Cost: 5/6 
PASS

Colour: 5/6 PASS
Beer Style: 5/6 PASS
Re-Order:  5/6  PASS
Experience: 5/6 PASS
Christmas Cheer: 5/6 PASS

Final Thoughts:


Another really good beer from Rogue. The balance is quite good between sweet and bitter. The only fault I find is that the nut flavour is slightly artificial feeling. I have trouble when breweries use extracts, they usually end up being too intense, and this is one of those cases. However, it doesn't ruin this beer.  Definitely worth a shot, especially if you like hazelnuts. What I would really like to do with this beer, is cook desserts with it.

Cheers


CJT


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The 2-4 Beers of Christmas Day 4: Shinnicked Stout Muskoka Brewery

Beer # 303 Shinnicked Stout


Brewery: Muskoka Brewery

Type: Independent Microbrewery     Est.: 1996
Location: Bracebridge, Ontario, Canada
Beer Style: Coffee Stout
ABV: 5.2%      IBU: 19
Format: Aluminium Can   Size: 473 ml
Cost: $3.15 CAD     Purchased At: LCBO

Twitter: @MuskokaBrewery @MuskokaRoastery

Back Up the road again tonight to the Muskoka Brewery, Still celebrating their 20'th anniversary they released a new stout for this holiday season. "Shinnicked Stout" gets its name from, and I quote, "...that numbing gasp-for-breath feeling when you plunge into a Muskoka lake for a chilly late night dip." I hope they plan on handing these out to the poor souls who try the polar bear dip every year up here on January 1st. Shinnicked is brewed with coffee from one of our local roasteries. Muskoka Roastery in fact. They roast and package their coffee up in Huntsville a little ways north of Bracebridge on Highway 11. I will admit they do make some fine coffee there. Coffee and stout are a natural and lovely pairing. The coffee plays nicely with the nutty, chocolate, and molasses aromas of the deeper malts.

Onto our beer...


Pours an inky dark brown/black with a deep tan head made up of small bubbles. The aroma is dark and complex malt with molasses and coffee. The first sip is malty molasses and herbal greens, coffee follows closely behind as does a warming brandy/whisky burn in the back of the throat. Complex dark caramel mixed with some light licorice and very light vanilla compliment the roasted coffee notes. Hints of nutty chocolate pop up briefly now and then to add another layer of depth to the taste profile. Mouthfeel as light and refreshing. Aeration bring out toasted bread to play with the coffee and a nice long nutty finish.


Impressions: Fail, So-so, Pass, Exceptional 


Cost: 5/6 
PASS

Colour: 5/6 PASS
Beer Style: 5/6 PASS
Re-Order:  5/6  PASS
Experience: 6/6 EXCEPTIONAL
Christmas Cheer: 6/6 EXCEPTIONAL

Final Thoughts:


A great beer for the holidays. I really like the name, it suits it. It really is something I would like to drink in front of a late fall fire pit, or wrapped in a blanket in front of a roaring fire, getting warm after the aforementioned late night dip. The deliciousness of the coffee shines through this beer, just making all the other components hum. A great beer to put under the tree this year... Don't forget to ask Santa for one, or 12.



Cheers


CJT


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The 2-4 Beers of Christmas Day 3: Midnight Kissed My Cow Big Rig Brewery and Kitchen

Beer # 302 Midnight Kissed my cow


Brewery: Big Rig Brewery and Kitchen

Type: Independent Microbrewery and Brewpub     Est.: 2012
Location: Ottawa/Kanata, Ontario, Canada
Beer Style: Flavoured Milk Stout
ABV: 5.6%      IBU: 14
Format: Aluminium Can  Size: 473 ml
Cost: $2.95 CAD     Purchased At: LCBO

Twitter: @BigRigBrewery


Haven't had a Big Rig beer for quite some time and this one looked like a lot of fun in the store. I really do enjoy good labelling and beer is supposed to be about fun, so why have boring packaging? I love stouts especially complex ones. I really do enjoy sitting and letting a deep flavourful beer wash over my tongue and tell me a story through its flavours. Milk stouts a wonderful in the fact that they add another dimension to the brew. By the addition of lactose or milk sugar the brewer can achieve a roundness, a creaminess, a subtle sweetness, that complements the darker malts, roasted coffee, and chocolate notes. Needless to say I drink all of these I can while they are around.

Let's try one now...

Pours an inky dark brown with a fluffy tan head made up of small bubbles. Aroma is fresh roasted coffee and chocolate and some minute hints of wood. First sip is very creamy, tastes like a milk chocolate bar. Body is quite light even with the creamy mouthfeel. Hints of fruity hops and some dried berries underlie the main coffee/chocolate extravaganza. The texture is soft and inviting like a good milk stout should be. Finish is coffee and chocolate with lingering notes of milk sugars and cream. Aeration brings out some raisin, some whiskey, tangy hops and touches of sour cream. The lips are left a little sticky. The final notes remind me of Vietnamese coffee with sweetened condensed milk.

Impressions: Fail, So-so, Pass, Exceptional 


Cost: 6/6 
EXCEPTIONAL

Colour: 6/6 EXCEPTIONAL
Beer Style: 5/6 PASS
Re-Order:  5/6  PASS
Experience: 6/6 EXCEPTIONAL
Christmas Cheer: 6/6 EXCEPTIONAL

Final Thoughts:


This beer was almost a perfect score. I loved this beer. there was only one thing I felt detracted from the final tally. As the beer warmed I got a touch of sour cream, it snapped me out of my reverie and took away from the flavours. Other than that this beer is amazing, lovely mix of flavours, judicious use of cocoa and lactose. A good all around product that is perfect for a winter's night. Definitely a must have for this Christmas season, put one in your stocking while you still can.
Cheers


CJT


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Friday, 2 December 2016

the 2-4 Beers of Christmas Day 2: Hurry Hard Amber Lager

Beer # 301 Hurry Hard  


Brewery: Hurry Hard Beer  By Triple Bogey Brewing Company

Type: Contract Brewery     Est.: 2013
Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Beer Style: Amber Lager
ABV: 5.0%      IBU: ?
Format: Aluminium Can  Size:  473 ml
Cost: $2.50 CAD     Purchased At: LCBO


Twitter:  @hurryhardbeer @TripleBogey 

"Ladies and Gentlemen take my advice... Pull down your pants and slide on the ice." 
Sydney Freedman (From M.A.S.H)

Tonight's beer is the second sport themed beer from Triple Bogey Brewing company The first was their eponymous Triple Bogey Premium Lager, a golf themed beer. Since golf is very seasonal I guess they assumed they needed to find a sport where people could and usually do drink beer before after and during, but in the winter. Hence curling. Now curling has long been associated with beer especially here in Canada where a number of the Briers or Curling Tournaments have been sponsored by large beer companies over the years. But I will admit this is probably the first beer I have seen marketed specifically for curlers. The name, if you have never watched curling derives from a call from the curlers. Usually when a rock is thrown with "take-out weight'" to knock the other teams rock off of the sheet (ice)  the thrower will yell "Hurry Hard!" to tell his players to sweep the ice in front of the rock to keep the rock moving in a straight line or not "Curling."

Yeah.

Sorry, curling is hard to explain... you just have to watch it. It is truly is fun to watch, especially if you have had a few beers. Or you can watch one of my guilty pleasure, favourite movies "Men With Brooms" (2002) and you might need a few beers for that one too (Bonus: The band The Tragically Hip appear in the movie as the curling team from Kingston Ontario).

Onto our beer.

Pours a dark chestnut with and off-tan head made up of small bubbles. aroma is fresh mothering yeast with hints of sweet and spicy malt. First sip is quite sweet with syrupy malt hints of bread and light spice. drinks more like a sweet red ale than an amber lager. Hops are very light, touches of greenery in the background. Aeration gives us some stale bread, and more malt syrup.

Impressions: Fail, So-so, Pass, Exceptional 


Cost: 5/6 PASS

Colour: 5/6 PASS
Beer Style: 3/6 SO-SO
Re-Order:  4/6  PASS
Experience: 4/6 PASS
Christmas Cheer: 2/6 SO-SO

Final Thoughts:


Let me preface this with... this beer is not bad. It is not something I would be comfortable ordering as a regular beer. It's too sweet. The flavour profile for a lager is way off. Is it drinkable? Yes. Would I drink it all night if it was free? Probably. However, it's never going to be my first choice. For what it is designed for... A refreshing beer aimed at curlers... yeah I think it did pretty good. But it is not for me. Try it yourself. You don't have to curl or yell or slide on the ice. I promise.

Cheers


CJT


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Thursday, 1 December 2016

The 2-4 Beers of Christmas: Day 1... Hygge, Sour Belgian Ale with Plums

Beer # 300 Hygge, Fever Dream Series


Brewery: Sawdust City Brewing Company

Type: Independent Microbrewery     Est.: 2012
Location: Gravenhurst, Ontario, Canada
Beer Style: Flavoured Sour Belgian Ale
ABV: 7.0%      IBU: 16
Format: Cork Stoppered Brown Glass Bottle  Size: 750 ml
Cost: $12.95 CAD     Purchased At: The Brewery Bottle Shop

Twitter: @SawdustCityBeer
Tonight we start off our annual beer vigil with, usually the first place I start, the new beer from Sawdust. Tonight is the second brew in Sawdust's Fever Dream Series, a Sour Belgian Ale flavoured with black plums. The name, "Hygge," pronounce "HU-gah," is Norwegian for "Comfiness," essentially. Although there is no direct translation, because Hygge is more of a sensation or a state of being rather than a word. It's the feeling when you are snugged in for the night in front of a fire with your comfy sweater on sipping a tasty beverage... Like our beer tonight.

Great segue... Onto our Beer.




Pours a translucent gold colour with an off-white head made up of very small bubbles. Nose is sweet and sour with a hint of fruity black plums. The first sip is quite tart with strong flavours of plum. Wheat notes are predominate throughout the beer. mouthfeel is very soft and effervescent. It drinks like a light sparkling wine. As it warms the plum and prune intensifies and gives notes of port. Aeration gives us notes of white wine, tinges of woodiness, citrus, green apples, and prunes.


Impressions: Fail, So-so, Pass, Exceptional 


Cost: 5/6 PASS

Colour: 5/6 PASS
Beer Style: 6/6 EXCEPTIONAL
Re-Order:  6/6  EXCEPTIONAL
Experience: 5/6 PASS
Christmas Cheer: 5/6 PASS

Final Thoughts:


A great start to our December beer extravaganza. Fine layered flavours and just enough alcohol to get us merry. Try one while you can. It was just released today... So there are tons of bottles to be had.

Cheers


CJT


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Bonus! Accidentally Aged Terrestrial India Brown Ale.


Aged Terrestrial 


Brewery: Wellington Brewing Company

Type: Independent Microbrewery     Est.: 1985
Location: Guelph, Ontario, Canada
Beer Style: India Brown Ale
ABV: 5.9%      IBU: ?
Format: Crown Capped Brown Glass Bottle  Size: 750 ml
Cost: $7.95 CAD     Purchased At: LCBO

Twitter: @WellingtonBrew

Ok, don't judge. Sometimes I forget I have beers. I have A LOT of beers in the house, and juggling them sometimes... ah... I... get confused, or I misplace them. (Much to the chagrin to the Queen of Pint Jockey Headquarters). Outside of the Fridge of Fame... (Which I keep getting told is supposed to contain food...) I have a little storage area in the basement behind my workbench. This beer has been there since July. Of 2015. However when I went to look up the price I discovered that it had been on shelves at the LCBO since the previous may. So this beer is 18 months old. A year and a half for a hopped brown ale is a bit of a stretch. I was actually concerned that when I cracked it, it was going to, well lets just say, not smell appropriate. However it surprised me. I popped the top and cautiously waved the neck of the bottle under my nose and I smelled, delicious fruity beer.

Relieved, I could not wait to try it.

Onto our beer.

Pours a pitch dark brown with a massive, and fluffy off-tan head, made of small and medium bubbles that shrink randomly, leaving a strange cappucino-esque head. Nose is clean and woody with hints of sweet malt, and surprisingly very bright for its age. Hints of smoky caramel, baking spices, and touches of vanilla fill up the back. First sip is the first sign of age. Hints of smoky malt some charcoal, mouthfeel is still light and refreshing. A slightly more mineral feel to it. Hints of good German rye bread, the ones with some char on the crust. Chocolate builds on the finish with hints of espresso, touches of used leather and a resounding earthy feel. Aeration is all coffee, a nice medium roast with some hints of condensed milk and a whipped cream mouthfeel. Finish is very stout-like, dry and rich.

Final Thoughts:

This is a horse of a different colour. This beer is very far from where it started. That is the amazing thing about ageing beer. It really is a living organism that can grow and mature and improve if you keep it healthy. If you do not it can sour and go bitter. Good metaphor for life, ain't it? Always take care of your beer (and yourself) so it can reach it's maximum potential. Quite frankly... I was shocked this beer survived as long as it did. Usually beers with higher alcohols do better in the long run, but at a little less than 6 percent this hopped brown ale did just fine. I will admit there was a tinge of metal, most likely from contact with the crown cap, when the bottle was not stored perfectly. However it did not distract from the beer's enjoyment, I'll just be more careful storing my beers. This was certainly one of my best back corner finds. Maybe I will have to keep feeding the corner, with a few surprises for future blog posts.


Cheers

CJT


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