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Ryan's Liquor in Port Huron, MI!

For Ontarian's wanting American craft beer at great prices, Ryan's is the place to go. Located just across the border at 1837 Pine Grove, Port Huron, MI.

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Highlights of 2011

With the year coming to an end, I would be remiss not to mention some of the highlights in beer for me. With BeerGeeks.ca in it's first year, we have managed to grow to have four reviewers, attend many events, review almost 100 beers and try to keep up with the North American beer news.

With the overall beer market shrinking to wine and spirits, it is remarkable to see amazing growth in Craft Brewing. In Ontario, there was a huge expansion in both breweries and brewery with some brewing on contract to maximize use of existing facilities. Toronto saw a rapid expansion with award winners such as Spearhead getting a lot of acclaim.

This summer saw lots of wonderful local IPA's including one of my favourites, Flying Monkey's Smashbomb Atomic IPA finally being let into the LCBO. Muskoka Brewery also had huge success with it's delicious Mad Tom IPA.

Bigger brews such as Grand River's Russian Gun and Amsterdam's Tempest were major highlights in the local Imperial Stout category.

The biggest highlight's for myself both came from Grand Rapid's Michigan. With the much anticipated release of Founder's CBS (Canadian Breakfast Stout). Thick, rich, delicious and just amazingly complex and balanced. This lived up to the hype, and it probably the best beer I have ever enjoyed. Then there was the brew pub to measure all brew pubs against. Brewery Vivant, where artisans in both food and brew have paired together the most deicious foods and beers to bring out the Bon Vivant in all of us! And amazingly this place just celebrated it's first birthday! Co-owners Jason Spalding and his wife have hit this one out of the park.

With hugely successful events such as CaskDays needing to expand facilities in order to meet demand. An wide array of events for Ontario Craft Beer Week as well as many other local festivals, the Ontario consumer has been the big winner for sure.

Just amazing things happening for beer everywhere! 2012 can only be better! Tonight, raise a glass, share a pint with friends and family and enjoy (responsibly) the end to a fantastic year in beer and look forward to an even more rewarding 2012!

Cheers!

The Beer Geeks

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Holiday-Spiced Bock from Beau’s To Be Released Dec. 29

Ottawa, ON

Orange peel, juniper berries and peppermint make “Hogan’s Goat” a perfect complement to holiday fare


Beau’s All Natural Brewing is launching its 15th beer in the limited-release “Wild Oats” series, a spiced bock called Hogan’s Goat. Only 1,000 bottles of this beer will be sold, beginning Thursday, December 29. The beer can be purchased directly from the Beau’s brewery retail store in Vankleek Hill, and for the first time, also online at www.beaus.ca to Ottawa residents through BYBO, the home delivery service run by not-for-profit Operation Come Home.

The orange-hued Hogan’s Goat is a bock beer brewed to 6.9 % abv, with a light rye malt addition along with the barley. It first offers up mingling aromas of mint and herbs. Adventurously spiced, the malty, sweet taste gets a pleasant cleansing lift from the addition of cooling peppermint and herbal juniper. Light orange peel adds citrus complements in the flavour undertones. Head brewer Matthew O’Hara recommends pairing Hogan’s Goat with gingerbread, spring rolls, or traditional winter holiday fare.

And the name Hogan’s Goat? “It’s an old-timey expression we liked,” explains brewery co-founder Steve Beauchesne. “The expression ‘like Hogan’s Goat’ refers to something truly bizarre in both appearance and aroma. Traditional German brewers adhering to the Purity Law would consider adding holiday spices to a bock beer almost unfathomable — like Hogan’s Goat. But the Wild Oats series is all about non- traditional brewing and experimenting with unique ingredients, so it’s really kind of tongue-in-cheek.”

The goat image and the bock beer style also have a historical tie-in, and in fact bock beers often have goats on the label. In German, the word for a goat is ‘ein bock,’ and the beer style originated in a town called Einbeck. The two names were close enough, then add in some Bavarian accents to the mix… eventually people started calling the beer “bock,” and the goat association stuck with the beer.

The 600 ml bottles of Hogan’s Goat are individually numbered, and retail for $7.85. They can be purchased at the brewery retail store beginning December 29. Pre-orders have already begun online through BYBO (www.beaus.ca), for delivery beginning on the 29th. The next wild oats release, Mates with Dates (#16 in the series), will be available in early February.

Dogfish Head answers call for gluten-free beer

Milton, DE

You'll never catch us consulting a focus group here at Dogfish, but if you drop by you'll probably catch us chatting with our regulars and listening to their requests.

The No. 1 thing Dogfish lovers ask for at our pub, in our brewery and on our website? Gluten-free beer, by far. But not just any gluten-free beer -- they want gluten-free with gusto.

“It seems as if lots of folks who have gluten- tolerance issues are pining for an interesting beer,” says Dogfish founder and president Sam Calagione. “While there are a few well-made examples that mirror traditional beer styles, there aren’t any off-centered offerings.”

Enter Dogfish’s fruit-forward Tweason’ale.

For our first new 12-ounce 4-packs in nearly half a decade, we replaced the classic barley foundation of beer with a mild sorghum base. The hints of molasses and pit-fruit are balanced by vibrant strawberry notes and a unique complexity that comes with the addition of a malty buckwheat honey.

We believe health-conscious beer drinkers and the millions of Americans who suffer from Celiac disease can cut back on gluten while relishing the distinction and drinkability of this very special brew.

Tweason’ale is a seasonal for between the seasons. It will first hit shelves in late January 2012 and will be released four times a year through our national network of distributors.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Cannery Brewing Hits Milestone Brew!

Penticton, BC

December 21st is a special date for many reasons. It is known as Winter Solstice – the longest night of the year. It also happens to mark the birthday of Cannery Brewing’s Assistant BrewMaster Chuck Hart. So, it seems perfectly fitting that to celebrate both of these occasions, Chuck also started brewing the 1000th batch of Cannery Brewing beer!

The staff and fans of Cannery Brewing have been eagerly tracking the much-anticipated date of this milestone 1000th batch for many weeks! Co-owner Patt Dyck talked about this important milestone, “Celebrating our 1000th batch of beer is definitely an important milestone for the Cannery Brewing Company. We feel absolutely honoured to have so many loyal fans who enjoy our hand-crafted ales and lagers. Without our loyal supporters, we would not be where we are today!”

In a baby-pool type contest, Cannery Brewing fans were invited to post their guesses for the date and time of the 1000th brew on Cannery Brewing’s Facebook Fan page. Fan Mike Em who guessed the correct date of Dec. 21st, was the winner and won himself a Cannery Brewing beer lovers gift pack! Dyck explains, “We did not plan for the 1000th batch to happen on Chuck’s birthday or on the date of Winter Solstice but each day, production plans change many times. As late as yesterday afternoon, we were still discussing whether we would be able to fit the 1000th brew in before we closed for Christmas!”

When asked what he would be doing tonight, Hart said he’d be enjoying his birthday on the longest night of the year with the tallest, coldest glass of Cannery Brewing beer he can get his hands on. “It will definitely be a glass of Anarchist Amber Ale, which happened to be the flavour of beer that marked the 1000th brew”, said Hart.

This is the second major milestone for Penticton-based microbrewery Cannery Brewing, as just last month, they celebrated their 10th anniversary! Dyck commented, “2011 has been a very special year for us.”

Saturday, December 24, 2011

A Trip to Ryan's Liquor in Port Huron, MI

I had the pleasure of stopping by Ryan's Liquor in Port Huron, MI a week ago and was amazed with the selection that this store has. For anyone from Ontario looking to buy American craft beer, look no further. This place is so close to the border that not only could I see the Blue Water Bridge, but I still received reception from Telus on my cell.

The owner/manager Brian is very helpful and knowledgeable and through Facebook, he will reserve limited releases on a first come first served basis.

I was able to pick up plenty of Dogfish Head, Founders, Bell's, Goose Island, Southern Tier and many other gems just not available to us here in Ontario.

This is a must stop destination for anyone looking to stock up on amazing beer.

Ryan's is located at 1837 Pine Grove Avenue, Port Huron, Michigan 48060.

Tell them the Beer Geeks sent you!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

LCBO Extends Hours for Holiday Shoppers

Toronto, ON

For the convenience of holiday shoppers, select LCBO stores have begun extending their shopping hours. During this period, many liquor stores that normally close at 6:00 p.m. will stay open as late as 10:00 p.m., while stores that normally stay open late will maintain their regular hours. Some LCBO stores are also extending their hours on Sundays from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

LCBO stores will open at regular hours and close at 6:00 p.m. on Christmas Eve, Saturday, December 24, and onNew Year's Eve, Saturday, December 31.

All LCBO stores and head office will be closed on Christmas Day, Sunday, December 25, Boxing Day, Monday, December 26 and New Year's Day, Sunday, January 1, 2012. LCBO stores and the helloLCBO Contact Centre will re-open on Tuesday, December 27.

LCBO agency stores must close on Christmas Day and New Year's Day; however, some may choose to open on Boxing Day.

Customers should check for individual store hours with their local LCBO store or online at www.lcbo.com using the 'Store Search' feature. They can also contact toll-free, bilingual helloLCBO/alloLCBO at 1-800-668-5226 or online atwww.helloLCBO.com. In Toronto, call 416 365-5900. helloLCBO will be open December 24 and 31 from 9:00 a.m. to6:00 p.m. The TTY number for the deaf or hard of hearing is 416 864-6898 or 1-800-361-3291.

The LCBO reminds customers to please drink responsibly and to never consume alcohol when driving. Learn how to be a responsible host with tips, tools and alcohol-free "Mocktail" recipes at www.deflatetheelephant.com. Don't forget to bring a reusable bag when you shop at the LCBO and, after your holiday entertaining, please take your empty beverage alcohol containers (large and small glass bottles, PET plastic, Tetra Pak cartons, bag-in-box and cans) to The Beer Store for a full deposit refund.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Traquair House Brewery - Jacobite Ale

ABV 8% (Bottled)

"Brewed to celebrate the anniversary of the 1745 Jacobite rebellion the ale proved to be so popular it has become a permanent addition to the range. Based on an eighteenth century recipe the ale is spiced with coriander which gives a remarkably fresh aftertaste."





The History

"Traquair House brewery, in Peeblesshire Scotland, was founded in 1965 by Peter Maxwell Stuart, 20th Laird of Traquair.  The brewery was originally an 18th century domestic brewery producing beer for the house and estate workers. It was disused some time after 1800 but the vessels and equipment remained untouched until it was rediscovered in 1965."  Check them out at: http://www.traquair.co.uk/traquair-house-brewery.

Awards

World Champion - Winter Ale World Beer Championships 1997

Gold Medal at Stockholm Beer Festival 1998

The Pour

Pours smooth and fast with very little head.  What head there is has a beige almost blue character and dissipates quickly.  Kind of disappointing, but fair dues, this isn't an imperial stout.  The beer itself is clear and very dark, but held up to the light reveals a deep red worthy of rich red wine.

Aroma

Malty and sweet.  Smells like baked desert, warm and rich.  A winter warmer from the start.  Pour into a snifter or wide rimmed glass for the best effect.  I used a Chimay glass.

Taste

Very light creamy mouth feel with very little carbonation to distract from the deeper layers of taste.  Notes of red wine, vanilla and light spice gradually appear with some mouth swooshing.  The experience is sweet with just a little hop bitterness on the finish. Definitely my kind of ale.  You can definitely detect the 8% alcohol, but only in the good balanced way you can detect it in really great Belgian beers or imperial stouts (we're not talking Labatt Ice here). 

Overall Impressions

Overall very smooth and well rounded.  None of the separate notes are jockeying too hard for position.  There is also a nice alcoholic warmth that makes this a good fire side sipper, and the warm lingering aftertaste makes it a one bottle experience to enjoy.
I would give this ale a solid B.  Nice, but not the best or most interesting winter warmer I've had.

Dead Frog Brewery Spreads Holiday Cheer With Christmas Beeracle

Vancouver, BC

Dead Frog Brewery is spreading holiday cheer this season by donating a portion of the proceeds from its limited edition Christmas Beeracle to BC Children’s Hospital. The Christmas Beeracle is a limited edition holiday brew that is available in BC and Alberta in single 650ml bottles.


“Social Responsibility and family are a big part of who we are here at Dead Frog and the holidays are the perfect time to give back. ,” says Dead Frog President Derrick Smith. “The Christmas Beeracle is one of our most successful products and it’s in the spirit of the product and our company to use it as a platform to do some good for people.”


The Dead Frog Christmas Beeracle is a full flavoured amber ale with hints of cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger that was first released in 2010. Now in its second year of release Dead Frog Brewery wanted to make sure the success of the Christmas Beeracle benefited those in need.


“The BC Children’s Hospital is an amazing organization that creates miracles every day and we’re ecstatic to be able to support them. The Christmas Beeracle has been a huge success already this year and a portion of every bottle we sell goes to the Children’s Hospital,” says Smith.

Dead Frog Brewery is an Award Winning Craft Brewery located in Aldergrove BC. Dead Frog is available in BC, Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Ontario. The Christmas Beeracle is available now in liquor stores across BC and Alberta.


BC Children's Hospital provides expert care for the most seriously ill or injured children from across BC. In addition to providing specialized pediatric services Children's Hospital is the province's leading teaching and research facility for child health.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Dogfish Head Makes Some Announcements For 2012

Some great news for Dogfish Head lovers!

"It's going to be a fun year for Dogfish Head fans. We're adding Burton Baton to our core of year-round beers, rolling out at least three new off-centered ales and aiming to brew more beer than ever.

First up, Burton Baton. The popularity of this oak-aged gentle giant has been steadily ramping up since it was introduced in 2004, and now it's ready for the big time. Burton joins 60 Minute IPA, 90 Minute IPA, Raison D'Etre, Midas Touch, Indian Brown Ale and Palo Santo Marron in our lineup of year-round core beers.

The No. 1 thing Dogfish lovers ask for at our pub, in our brewery and on our website is a full-flavored gluten-free beer. Enter Tweason'ale. For our first new 12-ounce 4-packs in nearly half a decade, we replaced the classic barley foundation of beer with a mild sorghum base. The hints of molasses and pit fruit are balanced by vibrant strawberry notes and a unique complexity that comes with the addition of a malty buckwheat honey. You'll find Tweason'ale four times a year -- between the seasons.

Lovers of cask ale and other naturally fermented beers will be happy to know that we're bottling brewpub favorite 75 Minute IPA. This animated blend of 60 and 90 Minute is dry-hopped with whole-leaf Cascades and bottle conditioned with maple syrup. Look for the first batch of 750-ml bottles in March.

We're also brewing up a little saison science project called Noble Rot. Fermentable sugars for this funky ale come from grapes that have been infected by a benevolent fungus called botrytis. The white-wine vines magnify the sweet-and-sour complexity of this off-centered ale. Watch for a wave of 750-ml bottles early in the year.

Although it's not on the schedule, we're going to try to squeeze in a batch of Urkontinent, the Belgian-style dubbel we brewed as a valentine to bootstrapping entrepreneurs around the world. Made with wattleseed, myrica gale, rooibos tea and amaranth, Urkontinent was such a hit at our brewpub that we want to share it with the rest of you.

Also, dont miss our new Ancient Ale Ta Henket, inspired by a trip to the Egyptian pyramids. And there's no telling when the music world will inspire us once again. Which legendary artists are next in line? Stay tuned.

With all the new beers, we'll have to bid a fond farewell to a few others. Lawnmower, Squall, World Wide Stout, Fort and Pangaea are all going on hiatus, and Shelter Pale Ale will only be available locally on draft.

Although we're not planning to enter any new markets in 2012, we are aiming to brew more beer than ever. We can't thank you enough for pouring some in your glasses.

Get more details about our 2012 brew schedule here. Cheers!"

Beer Mail from Beau's All Natural Brewing Company


Another holly jolly holiday Beer Mail arrived. This time from the fine beer making folks at Beau's All Natural Brewing Company in Vankleek Hill, Ontario

Included was their Mr. Hyde, from their "Wild Oats Series". A vintage 33 (vinyl record) with some local bands and well as some pins and promotional material. Look for some contests in the coming weeks for some beer swag!

Mr. Hyde • Roggenbier meets RyePA • 7.0% alc./vol.

"A tribute to the Roggenbiers of Germany, but done with with a North American twist. Deep copper in colour, Mr. Hyde is a rye beer that has been hopped aggressively in the American vein. However, it utilizes German hops to provide bitterness, flavour and aroma, while the rye malt provides an additional spiciness."



Monday, December 19, 2011

Harviestoun - Ola Dubh 12 2009

8% ABV

"Ola Dubh (or ‘Black Oil’) is a collaboration between Harviestoun Brewery and Highland Park, Distiller of the Year*. It is based on Harviestoun’s award-winning Old Engine Oil. With more than a stylistic nod to the classic Imperial Porters (and Stouts) of the nineteenth century, this deliciously rich, dark, 8% a.b.v. beer is the first ale to be aged in malt whisky casks from a named distillery and, with traceable casks and numbered bottles, the rest with genuine provenance. Ola Dubh will initially be available in three different expressions; the initial release will be of small batches aged in casks formerly used to mature Highland Park 12 Year Old, Highland Park 16 Year Old and Highland Park 30 Year Old. Further variants are planned for the future. Ola Dubh is, in the words of beer afficionado Owen D.L. Barstow: “The most interesting new British beer I have tried in years.”

THE POUR

This stout pours a midnight black with a one finger mocha head. The head disepates quickly to leave a perfectly still glass.

THE AROMA

The aroma is big on the coffee, malt and dark fruit. There is also hints of licorice and yes, whisky.

THE TASTE

The taste is very close to the aroma leading with coffee and dark fruit. There is a noticeable whisky and dark chocolate finish. This has a full body and a very nice mouthfeel.

OVERALL IMPRESSIONS

My overall impression is excellent. This is an imperial stout with hints of Highland park, how could you go wrong? This is a full flavour stout with all the qualities that an imperial stout should have. I happen to be a scotch lover too so this was very easy to drink for me. I would rate this a 9 out of 10.


Saturday, December 17, 2011

Invitation for McAuslan Brewing Christmas Sale!


Looking for some last minute Christmas ideas? Going to be in Montreal any time soon?

Get the beer lover in your family something special!



McAuslan Brewing Christmas Sale!

Wednesday December 21st from 5:00 PM to 9:00 PM
Centre St-Ambroise (next door to the brewery at 5080-A St-Ambroise, Montreal)

You can find all your last minute Christmas gift ideas!

Special Reserve t-shirts, specialty glasses, sauerkraut St-Ambroise, the Discovery Pack and more ...

The St-Ambroise Vintage Ale 2011 and the St-Ambroise Russian Imperial Stout will be available!

Also during the evening: Tours of the brewery!

Taylor McAuslan will be happy to explain how our beers are brewed.

Start of tours : 6 :00 PM, 6 :30 PM, 7 :00 PM, 7 :30 PM, 8 :00 PM, 8 :30 PM
(10$/person, 15 person/tour, on-site registration)

Come and visit us to celebrate the holidays!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Happy to Announce a New Geek to the Team

The Beer Geeks are happy to announce a new member of the team; Dorian Mills. We are hoping that Dorian will be a regular contributor and are sure that you will enjoy his reviews.

Look for his first review next week!

Dorian's bio is below.

"I'm a 31 year old with a taste for interesting beers. My interest started back in my early twenties when my OCD for organization led me to start putting together a list of beers I'd tried with reviews and star ratings that I have since misplaced on an old 3.5" floppy disc somewhere. I remember it contained over 100 beers and mostly consisted of the regular beer store stocks, as this was long before I knew of the craft brewery phenomenon. However even back then I realized the benefits of distinction in taste as I separately reviewed Molson Canadian on draft, in the bottle and in the can. But after a while, all the big names taste the same.

Now the craft brewing movement has drawn me back to my roots with hundreds of interesting and delicious brews made just miles away that give the Big Guys a run for their money on taste, value and style. These beers deserve a voice and I'm happy to be one geek more in the choir.

My own tastes run the gamut from crisp, bitter European pilsners and lagers, to earthy simple english style ales, all the way to the darkest of dark, cask fermented, flavour packed imperial stouts. I'd also like to tackle as many seasonals as I can. I find them fascinating because of their limited runs, fearless experimentation and efforts to capture the essence of a season in a bottle. My blind spot is IPAs. Sadly, heavy hopping is not my style and I'll leave those tastings to more objective geeks.

Primary I'm an artsy guy who appreciates anything that is created with care and imagination to bring people an experience they will remember. What better outlet then, than craft beer?"

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Better Half, Available for Valentine's Day 2012, Is Next Beer in Founders Brewing Co.'s Backstage Series

Grand Rapids, MI

Founders Brewing Co.’s Co-Founder and Vice President of Marketing, Dave Engbers, announced today that Curmudgeon’s Better Half would be the next release in the brewery’s 750mL Backstage Series, with availability beginning on February 13, 2012, just in time for Valentine’s Day.

There has been a great deal of anticipation and speculation on the upcoming Backstage release because of the success of the first two large bottle format releases: Blushing Monk and Canadian Breakfast Stout earlier in 2011. The purpose of the series is to bring some of Founders’ most sought after beers, which had previously been available primarily at the brewery taproom or at a few select events, to a much larger audience.

“It’s been a lot of fun to watch the beer enthusiasts speculate,” explains Founders’ President, Mike Stevens. “We really try to keep people guessing, but at the end of the day our focus has always been on making beers that over-deliver.”

Curmudgeon’s Better Half is a re-branding of the beer formerly known as Kaiser’s Curmudgeon, which has only been served at Founders’ taproom and in extremely limited draft distribution. Curmudgeon is an old ale brewed with molasses and aged on oak; it becomes Better Half after aging—for 254 days—in bourbon barrels that have more recently been aging Michigan maple syrup. As a result, Curmudgeon’s Better Half is a bit sweeter than her miserly counterpart. Appropriately, the beer label depicts her holding a pitcher of syrup for the Curmudgeon’s breakfast, and is released at the perfect time of year for you to buy one for the Better Half in your life.

“The goal of the Backstage Series is to allow those beer enthusiasts who don’t have the ability to make it to our taproom an opportunity to experience some of the beers that, historically, have been limited to our taproom and a handful of high exposure events,” Engbers said. “Although these beers are not brewed in large volume, it is our intention to distribute them to all of our markets.”

The company is not revealing any additional releases in the series, but Engbers said it would consist of many of the “popular one-offs and possible big experiments” that have been offered in the taproom over the years and have become favorites among patrons and brewery staff.

The company expects to release two additional products in the Backstage Series later in 2012.



Microbrasserie Charlevoix - La Vache Folle Imperial Milk Stout

9% ABV

"Our Vache Folle Imperial Milk Stout offers intense aromas of roasted malts, mildly bitter chocolate and burnt caramel, while its lactose brings just enough body to it to balance all flavours. The dark brew is meant to be discovered slowly, lying down on your favourite couch with squares of dark chocolate or by its glorious lonesome."

The Pour

Poured from a 500mL bottle and cellar temperature, this Imperial Milk Stout is black as night. Opaque like spent motor oil. Two full fingers of mocha head. Slowly dissipating to soft peaks.

Aroma

Hints of chocolate, cocoa, coffee, dark fruits and raisin. Very complex aroma. Slight hints of a booziness and malty sweetness. Wonderful smelling Imperial Stout.

Taste

A wonderful smack of coffee right away. This quickly mellows to a bitter chocolate. Roasty goodness present and very well balanced. An incredible silky smoothness. Just an incredible velvety mouthfeel.

Overall Impression

The "Mad Cow" Imperial Milk Stout is a formidable beer for sure! Incredibly smooth and so silky rich and delicious. What a fantastic example of an Imperial Stout. As one would expect from La Belle Province, coffee and chocolaty to the finish. Big, bold, wonderfully balanced and delightful. They sure know what they are doing in Quebec. If you haven't had this, be sure to try to find it. I would give it an A+.


Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Happy Holiday Beer Mail From Innis & Gunn



I love the Holiday Season and I love beer! Wonderful winter ales, imperial stouts, all things rich and delicious. Well this Holiday Season keeps getting better!

The kind folks at Innis & Gunn have reached out to the Beer Geeks yet again with a little holiday sampler. Look for this pack containing their Original, Spiced Rum, Winter Warmer 2011 and a tasting glass, all in a smart 4-pack box.

Available at fine beer stores and the LCBO.


Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Wychwood Brewery - Bah Humbug

5% ABV

"Bah Humbug is a 5% abv brew using not just the traditional malted barley and hops, but also a big sprinkling of cinnamon. The effect of the cinnamon is to give a spicy, almost banana-like flavour as often found on German wheat beers; and this blends with the sweet-honeyed flavours of the Maris Otter barley to create a beer with all the fruit flavours of mince pies, Christmas Pudding and Christmas cake all rolled into one."

THE POUR

This ale pours a deep dark copper colour. It has a two finger white head with decent lacing left behind.

THE AROMA

The aroma is very heavy on the spices. Clove ,cinnamon and malt are very prominent. There is also a hint of yeast and dark fruit.

THE TASTE

The taste is heavy on clove and cinnamon. There is a nice sweet malty body, some dark fruit with more clove to finish. It has a thin to medium mouth feel.

OVERALL IMPRESSIONS

My overall impression of this beer is good. It is a solid beer with all the spices for the season however the clove started to get to me after half pint. If the clove was subdued a bit it would have been more enjoyable. I would rate this beer a 7.5 out of 10.
,

Monday, December 12, 2011

Halifax Brewers Collaborate

Halifax, NS

The supportive atmosphere among Canadian craft brewers is often commented on and Nova Scotia craft brewers are not an exception to this. Propeller Brewing Company and Hart & Thistle Gastro Pub and Brewery have come together to celebrate the cooperation and camaraderie that is inherent in the craft brewing industry.

Imperial ESB Collaboration Ale stretches the normal boundaries for both Propeller and Hart & Thistle while maintaining the fundamentals each brewer’s unique style. This beer has been designed to display the personalities of each brewery and the people behind it through the use of old world ingredients combined with extreme new world styling. The resulting beer is a showcase of malt and hop, with each vying for attention as the flavour evolves. This makes for a truly unique offering.

This special brew will be released December 13, 2011, in limited edition screened bottles signed by the brewers as well as the owners of both Propeller and Hart & Thistle.

Imperial ESB Collaboration Ale will be available at the Propeller Cold Beer Store and select private retailers in 500ml bottles and on tap at the Hart & Thistle Gastro Pub and Brewery.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Beer Mail from McClelland Premium Imports



In an effort to spread Holiday cheer, the team at McClelland Premium Imports have dropped off some goodies that would make Santa jealous. With a wide assortment of products that they distribute Canada wide, there is sure to be something to fit everyone's tastes.

From the renowned Duvel, an icon of Belgian specialty beer, to Delirium Tremens, Erdinger, Fruili, Stiegl, Affigem and De Koninck, a range of styles will wet your whistle.

I'm looking forward to sharing these with some fellow beer enthusiasts and Beer Geeks team and reporting back our thoughts on these fine beers.



Thursday, December 8, 2011

Garrison Brewing Announces Beer Style for 2012 Ultimate Brew-off Challenge

Halifax, NS

Once again this winter, Garrison will host the Ultimate Brew-off Homebrew Challenge, a contest designed to showcase the talents of Maritime homebrewers. This is Garrison’s 4th annual Ultimate Brew-Off in conjunction with Noble Grape, and it's the only annual Beer Judge Certification Program (BJCP) event in the Maritimes.

This year’s style to brew is really an American hybrid of two styles. Rye IPA is a bold and hoppy take on a medium-bodied ale brewed with rye malt. Beyond rye, the use of other malts, cereals and the choice in hops is entirely up to the brewer. The top four entries will receive prizes, while the winner will work with Garrison's brewmaster, Daniel Girard, to produce a full batch of their recipe for a special release in bottles!

The winning Brew-Off entry in 2011 was submitted by Adam Comeau and Eric Oliver. Their Schwarzbier (Black Beer) will be released at the gala in March 2012 and be available for purchase at the brewery and select private stores. For updates, visit www.garrisonbrewing.com

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Leffe - Brune 2009

6.5 % ABV

"A traditional Belgian abbey beer with a deep brown colour and a full, sweet and fruity aroma.Ingredients: dark and torrefied malt, corn, water, hop and yeast."

THE POUR

This ale pours a deep coffee colour with a course one finger head. Head dissipates quickly to a fine white ring.

THE AROMA

The aroma is sweet with dark fruit, malt and maybe a little yeast.

THE TASTE

The taste has sweet malt and dark fruit up front. There is a nice dark chocolate, yeast and clove finish. It has a medium mouth feel with a fine carbonation.

OVERALL IMPRESSIONS

My overall impression of this ale is excellent. I have enjoyed the Leffe ale's for many years. This is on the sweet side so I wouldn't be drinking more than one at a sitting however is worth seeking out if you like the abbey ales. I would rate this a 8 out of 10.

Wanna Win a Trip to Belgium? Act Now! Pass it on! This is Good for Your Karma.

If you like beer, apps and Belgium, this could be right up your alley!

Go to untappd.com/Belgianholiday for more information.


Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Garrison Launches Six Specialty Brews for the Holiday Season

Halifax, NS

This week, Garrison releases the latest version of Grand Baltic Porter - two time gold medal winner at both the Canadian Brewing Awards and World Beer Championships. This nine per cent sipper is just one of six limited edition beers the brewery will launch by mid December.

"The Maritime market has been very receptive to experimental and seasonal brews," said brewery President, Brian Titus, "Particularly those highlighting local ingredients and traditional recipes." Each brand is unique. Many have received considerable acclaim in the past. One of the more unusual, Spruce Beer, sold out last year in an unprecedented 35 hours, leaving many unable to try this historic brew.
The seasonal releases are as follows:
  • Winter Warmer - A strong dark amber beer brewed with spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, clove) evocative of the holiday season.
  • Martello Stout - Heavily roasted malts make this dark brew uncompromisingly bold.
  • Grand Baltic Porter - Originally brewed in countries bordering the Baltic Sea and derived from English porters, this complex lager is brewed with dates and blackstrap molasses.
  • Black IPA - This legendary hop-forward style with a big roasted malt base.
  • Spruce Beer – Complex and full-bodied, this centuries-old brew balances the fresh aroma's of Spruce with the warming flavours of molasses and bittersweet chocolate.
  • PiLs - A premium European lager drawing inspiration from several classic styles, blending Czech Saaz hops, German lager yeast and Bluenose spirit!
All six beers can be purchased directly from the brewery and at select private stores while supplies last.

For details, visit www.garrisonbrewing.com.

Amsterdam Brewing Company Releases Toronto Beer Week Homebrew Competition Winning Beer

Toronto,ON

The Amsterdam Brewing Company, Toronto’s independently owned and operated craft brewer, has just released a limited batch of the Toronto Beer Week Homebrew Competition winning beer – ‘The Nightman Cometh Black IPA’.

Jeremy Skorochid from Waterloo, Ontario is the brewer behind The Nightman Cometh Black IPA and was invited to the Amsterdam Brewing Company to make a production size batch of his award winning beer after it placed 1st in the Toronto Beer Week Homebrew Competition in September.

Having been brewing for a year and a half, The Nightman Cometh Black IPA is Jeremy’s 2nd version of this particular beer and named after a scene from the hit comedy series It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. Brewed with chinoook and citra hops, The Nightman Cometh Black IPA has a roasty malt character up front balanced by a citrus aroma and hop bitterness. The beer is dry hopped with vast quantities of citra hops and comes in at 8.6% ABV.

The Nightman Cometh Black IPA was not Jeremy’s only win at the Toronto Beer Week Homebrew Competition. His Imperial Coffee Stout and Barley wine also took gold medals in their categories along with a silver medal for his wheat beer.

The Nightman Cometh Black IPA is available exclusively at the Amsterdam Brewery Retail Store and on tap at select bars and restaurants.

Congratulations to Jeremy and all the winners!

For more information on the Toronto Beer Week Homebrew Competition visit www.torontobeerweek.com .

For more information on homebrewing visit the Canadian Amateur Brewing Association website at - http://www.homebrewers.ca/

Monday, December 5, 2011

The Whims of Winter

With Old Man Winter on his way, Avery wants to help warm everyone up!

"The winter solstice is on it's way, and we honor this darkest month of the year with the annual release of our even darker Mephistopheles Stout, a roasted demon who bleeds at over 16.4% ABV. Not only will the fallen angel make his appearance, but Maharaja's swords will swing again, spreading his holiday cheer in the form of Imperial IPA, 102 IBUs of hop varieties, and a
maltitude of flavor. Is that not enough? Well how about 3 days of draft Rumpkin at the Avery Tap Room the week before Christmas? Still not enough?! Well, you're our kind of beer drinker - cheers!

Mephistopheles

Annual Release and

Vertical Tasting at the

Avery Tap Room

Saturday, December 3rd, 6pm!


This coal-black demon is amazingly complex. Velvety with a bouquet of vine ripened grapes, anise,chocolate covered cherries, and a double espresso finish. Mephistopheles is sure to make your holiday season a little more sinister.

We will be hosting a vertical tasting with Mephistopheles from 2009, 2010, and 2011. The vertical includes wonderful meats, cheeses, and chocolates from our good friends at Cured on Pearl Street. We will have a lesson on beer pairing from our Tap Room Manager, Phil as well as Cured's own Will Frischkorn! Tickets to the vertical will be released the day of the party at 11 am, limited to 50 people, and they are $20 first come first served! Not to worry if you cannot make it to the vertical tasting, Mephistopheles' Stout will be pouring in the tap room, along with many other very special brews!"

Give The Gift of Beer This Holiday Season

Local Gift Ideas for the Ontario Beer Lover

Looking for a unique and local gift for the beer-o-phile in your life? With the exploding popularity of Ontario Craft Beer, there are more fresh, local and delicious beer gift choices than ever before.

An ideal gift or host/hostess offering is the Ontario Craft Brewers (OCB) Discovery Pack, now available in select LCBO stores throughout the province (6x341 mL bottles; price: $11.95; LCBO product code:254672). This edition features a new lineup of beers, including:

Black Oak Brewery’s Nut Brown Ale

F&M Brewery’s Stonehammer Dark Ale

Muskoka Brewery’s Mad Tom IPA

Nickel Brook Brewing Co.’s Nickel Brook Ale

Old Credit Brewery’s Amber Ale

Trafalgar Brewery’s Smoked Oatmeal Stout

For beer & food matching recipes or pairings, check out: http://www.ontariocraftbrewers.com/recipes.php


SUPER SEASONALS:


Great Lakes Winter Ale:
Inspired by the long, cold and seemingly endless Canadian winter, this 6.2% alcohol Winter Ale is a true winter warmer. Handcrafted with specialty hops and malts, combined with generous amounts of cinnamon, honey, ginger and orange peel, this unique beer is brimming with flavour. Available only for a limited time. (LCBO product code: 90845 | 750 mL bottle, Price: $ 6.95)

Lake of Bays Mocha Porter:
A brewer, a coffee roaster and a craft beer snob walk into a bar in Muskoka. The result: a rich winter beer, full of coffee, chocolate and roasted barley.” Perfect with a hearty meal on a cold winter's night. (LCBO product code: 222125 | 750 mL bottle Price: $ 7.95)

Black Oak Nutcracker Porter – Buy this holiday treat directly from Etobicoke’s Black Oak Brewery. Check out http://ontariocraftbrewers.com/brewery.php?brewery=blackoak for more details on this award-winning, local brewing stalwart.

GOOD OL’ GIFT PACKS:


Amsterdam Brewery has released a new mixed pack, the Entertainer Holiday 4-Pack. Available exclusively at LCBO stores across the province, the package retails for $8.95, and includes cans of Natural Blonde Lager, Big Wheel Deluxe Amber, Nut Brown Ale and KLB Raspberry Wheat. LCBO Product code: 191098 | 4x473 mL) Also available at the brewery only is Amsterdam’s seasonal beer, Wee Heavy Scotch Ale. http://ontariocraftbrewers.com/brewery.php?brewery=amsterda

King Brewery: Three Kings Gift Pack
Includes their award-winning brews, one of each delicious King Dark, Pilsner & Vienna along with a beautiful beer glass – from the brewery or your neighbourhood LCBO.
http://www.ontariocraftbrewers.com/brewery.php?brewery=kingbrewery

Mill St. Brewery Seasonal Sampler
Another offering from the popular Mill Street Seasonal Sampler series. Just in time for the holidays! This item is available for a limited time, in limited quantities. Contents include:
Mill Street favourites: Stock Ale, Coffee Porter, Tankhouse Ale and Organic Lager. And two seasonal items: Extra Special Bitter, a traditional British pub ale and Franconian-Style Bock, a strong lager made exclusively from malt imported from Franconia in north Bavaria.

(LCBO product code: #271650, 6 Pack, Retail: $12.95; 4 x 341 ml bottles and 2 x 355 ml cans) http://ontariocraftbrewers.com/brewery.php?brewery=millstreet

Mill Street Gift Packs with glassware and one of either Coffee Porter, Organic or Tankhouse:
1. MILL STREET COFFEE PORTER GIFT PACK; LCBO 254151 | 341 mL | $ 6.95
2. MILL STREET ORGANIC LAGER GIFT PACK; LCBO 252114 | 341 mL | $ 6.95
3. MILL STREET TANKHOUSE ALE GIFT PACK; LCBO 252122 | 341 mL | $ 6.95

Wellington Brewery: Welly Pub Pack (Hi RES IMAGES AVAILABLE):
The Wellington Brewery Pub Pack sampler is the perfect holiday gift for any beer lover. This new mixed pack includes four 473ml tall cans of Wellington's most popular brands: Special Pale Ale, County Dark Ale, Arkell Best Bitter, and Silver Wheat Ale. The Pub Pack is the perfect chance to try a great mix of our finest ales and it's also a fantastic host gift. It is available for only $9.95 (including tax and deposit) at the LCBO and at the Wellington Brewery retail store (950 Woodlawn Road West in Guelph, ON).
http://ontariocraftbrewers.com/brewery.php?brewery=wellington

Welly Gift Basket:
Each Gift Basket includes 12 bottles of our award-winning beers, 2 pint glass, a bottle opener, and coasters all packaged in a Wellington Brewery cooler bag. Our gift baskets are only $35 (including tax and deposit) and available exclusively at the Wellington Brewery retail store located at 950 Woodlawn Rd. W in Guelph. http://www.wellingtonbrewery.ca

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Dogfish Releases New Ancient Ale: Ta Henket

An earthy translation of Egyptian hieroglyphics

Ta Henket, the latest addition to Dogfish Head's line of Ancient Ales, rolls out this month.

Inspired by a trip to the Great Pyramids, Dogfish Head Founder & President Sam Calagione created Ta Henket with ingredients and traditions outlined in Egyptian hieroglyphics.

"It was like a Rosetta Stone visit," he says. "That's the first depiction of the brewing process, the birthplace of our vocation."

This earthy liquid time capsule is brewed with an ancient form of wheat and loaves of hearth-baked bread, and it's flavored with chamomile and dom-palm fruit. The spiciness comes from zatar, a mixture of herbs found at a Cairo street market.

To ferment Ta Henket, Sam and friends traveled to a date grove near the pyramids, set out baited petri dishes and captured a native Egyptian yeast strain.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Propeller’s Winter Seasonal Returns

Halifax, NS

As winter takes hold across Nova Scotia, fans of Propeller Brewing Company are bristling with the excitement that surrounds the annual release of the brewery’s Revolution RIS. The Russian Imperial Stout was released at the brewery this week and will make its way to NSLC shelves early next week.

Propeller brews this unique ale true to its traditional roots; in the 18th century the English sent their brews via the Baltic Sea to the court of the Czars. To reduce the risk of spoilage Russian Imperial Stout was brewed to very high gravities and allowed to ferment on the long voyage. The result? A dark, strong and bracing brew. Propeller's version weighs in at eight percent alcohol by volume and boasts a deep, opaque black color. It has tremendous body and mouth feel, with intense hop bitterness, roasted malt and dark fruit notes.

Propeller Brewing Company has brewed and bottled this robust ale each year since 2006. In addition to Province-wide availability in Nova Scotia, this year’s Revolution will find its way to British Columbia private retailers.

Turn Your Beer Cap into Fruit

A very interesting way to raise money for a good cause while enjoying a good beer. All you need is one of 100,000 Beau's beers that will have the special "Barry" cap and a camera and Facebook account.

Hypenotic and Beau's Beer will together donate $2 to Not Far From the Tree every time you take a picture of yourself with a Barry Beau's Cap and tag it to Hypenotic's facebook page.

The goal is to get creative photos of 1000 people with their caps so they can put that $2000 to good use by enabling Not Far From the Tree volunteers to pick Toronto's fruit trees and share the bounty.

For more information, click here.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

The Celt Experience - Celt Bronze

4.5% ABV

"This organically crafted ale has a delightful rich bronze colour and is distinguished by a full bodied character with crystal maltiness. A lovely delicate sweetness soon develops into a long hop finish through the traditional blend of hops. Drinkers will enjoy the real traditional values of this great smooth ale. This beer is named after the Bronze Age Celts. Recent discoveries in Bavaria have shown Celtic tribes were brewing as far back as 800 BC. The name Bracis-Curmi (malted beer) traces back to the ancient Celtic language or proto-celtic, an age where Celts were some of the first beer producers in Europe."

The Pour

This beer pours a fiery orange in colour. Bronze-like with about one finger of fluffy white head. Medium sized bubbles with a decent amount of carbonation streaming from the glass.

Aroma

Definitely malty. Some bitter notes coming through. Not overly powerful.

Taste

Slightly metalic. Some malt sweetness. light caramel.Slight bitterness to the finish. No big flavours here and a very light mouthfeel.

Overall Impressions

Well it is a beer right? How bad could it be? Perhaps better on a hot day. There are no outstanding flavour points here. This is decent, but with so many great beers, I would probably not have this again. C+ at best.


Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Chance to Win 50L of Hawaiian Style IPA for the Holidays



Want a chance to win 50L of a delicious beer? Spearhead has announced a contest to do just that.

dec2

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