The Things We Do For Great Beer

Rogue Beer Hazelnut Brown Nectar

So, I just drove half an hour out of my way, past several LCBO’s, to nab the last 12 of these bad boys before they’re all gone.  Seems it was only a limited supply here, we usually don’t get these in Canada.  Just a teaser, I’ll do a little write up later, but let’s just say it’s gonna be a great review.

Autumn Hop Harvest Ale

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Autumn Hop Harvest Ale

Every time I think to myself, “I should write a blog post about the amazing beers I have”, I realize that life does get in the way.  And this is just another one of those times.  I started writing this months ago, and then…life happened and it got let behind.  Well, today, life can take a back seat while I try to spread the word of this delicious beer!  Made by Amsterdam Brewery in Toronto, this is their Autumn Hop, and this is one I really enjoyed.  Seasonal, I believe, but oh my is it crisp.

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It is an American Pale Ale, made using fresh hops instead of dried pellets.  The hops are farmed from up in Collingwood, not too far north of the city.  Details?  It’s 5.6%, and 60 IBU.  This is deceiving, the crispness and rich flavour don’t come out bitter at all.  The aroma is smooth, much subtler than a hoppy IPA.  A few friends thought the malt overwhelmed the hops, but I`m not convinced of this.

Now, I had this pretty soon after bottling, so maybe the flavours would have increased over time.  I will have to nab another bottle to find out.  Crisp, but not too clean.  Hops has a way of making something seem earthy and a little dirty.  Often, I find that a pilsner or a strong, hoppy IPA gets to be a bit much for an evening of steady drinking.  With the Autumn Hop, this might not be the case.  There are definite fruity notes that emerge after pouring and sitting for a few, and I really think this could be something that gets better after a few steady pints as the night goes on.

9 out of 10 here.  It is a seasonal brew though, so get it when you can.

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Canuck Pale Ale

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So, it has been a long damn time since I’ve written on the blog.  Wow, yeah…I long time.  Well, I’m pleased to say that I still exist.  And that beer still exists.  Well, tonight I wanted to give a shout out to one of my old standbys.  The Canuck Pale Ale, made by Great Lakes Brewery.  Seriously, this is easily one of my favourites.  Great scent, right off the bat it’s gonna hit your nose.

You can check out the GLB site here, or for a bit more on the Canuck Pale Ale relaunch here.  Generally, I find the beers from Great Lakes Brewery to be hit and miss.  They’ve done a lot of IPA’s, and after a while, well…the differences slip away.  The beers do seem to be getting better with every year though, so I’ll keep trying.  (Specifically an IPA they make called Octopus Wants to Fight.  If you see this one on tap somewhere, give it a try.)

The description for the Canuck Pale Ale says you’ll get scents of grapefruit, mango, and pine.  The grapefruit I get, and maybe a bit of mango, but not much.  The pine does come through, but for me only in the aftertaste.  It’s only slightly carbonated, and has a bit of head but it doesn’t stick around.  I taste the grapefruit and the citrus, I really like the flavours used in this, but again the pine confuses me.  I get it after, but not during.  It’s not overly hoppy, but it doesn’t need to be.  The flavours of the citrus flavours come through great without the need for a strong bitter aftertaste.

The beer is solid, it’s got a bit of history (used to be Crazy Canuck Pale Ale), and when the name changed during the relaunch, the design on the can changed as well.  The strapping lumberjack you now see on the can is none other than a character called Gordie Levesque.  That’s right, this beer has a mascot.  Gordie has his own twitter account, though I don’t think it really took off the way the brewery would’ve liked.  Still, I like the design and artwork of the can, and I like the beer inside.

Here are the specs:

  • ABV: 5.2%
  • IBUs: 35
  • Style: American Pale Ale
  • Serving Temp: 3-5C
  • Glassware: Pub Pint

For me, this is a 8 of out 10.

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MiIl Street Cassis

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So, here in Toronto we are blessed by an awesome little brew pub called Mill Street.  Like Steam Whistle and Amsterdam, it’s one of my favourites here in the city.  They have some great standard beers that you can always buy in the beer store here, and a much largest (seasonal) menu in the restaurants.  I picked up a 6 pack the other day that included 6 different Mill Street beers.  Most of them I’ve had (Tankhouse Ale is one of my all time favourites) but there was a new little guy sitting in there that I’d never heard of before.

mill-street-cassis-2So, allow me to introduce you to Mill Street Cassis.

Alright, right off the bat I know some of you are gonna say no.  It’s a fruit beer.  Brewed with fruit?  Nope.  But come on, you really need to give this one a chance.  It’s available only in the summer, Cassis is a wheat beer with a slight ‘black currant” flavour.  It pours a deep copper colour, with a good head of a slightly pink colour.  Serve it well chilled on a hot day for best results.

Not stellar, but not bad by any means.  Bottle says “refreshingly dry”, but it’s not really.  Huh, the more I write the more I realize that this was more mediocre than I thought…strange.  Maybe this is case of reading too many other reviews and letting them sabotage my taste buds.  I did really enjoy this, and I’ll pick it up again.  Maybe this calls for a trip to the brew pub itself to see if they’ve still got the Cassis on tap…

7 out of 10

Good beer for a lazy summer day

Good beer for a lazy summer day

Goose Island IPA

goose-island-IPAAccidentally found myself in the liquor store today.  Wasn’t planning on picking anything up, but there I was, just browsing while my wife went looking for her cider.  Usually, I turn down the free samples offered, but I wasn’t driving, and the free sample was beer.  Done and done.

The glorious nectar offered was an IPA from Goose Island Beer Co.  I’ve seen it before, but never picked any up.

Here, check out their site.

Its got a strong, hoppy scent, but a much different hoppy flavour than other IPA’s I’ve had.  The citrus is different, more malt in the flavour I suppose.  Much stronger smell than taste.  I’m glad I took that sample.  Picked up a few cans.  Gah, I can’t stop smelling it, it smells so good.  A lingering finish, the taste remains.  Says its a good pairing with a curry, which is odd because I’ve a a chicken curry planned for tonight.  Like it was meant to be.

It’s a 5.9%.  Label says its a Strong Ale, but I’m not getting that.  This one is good, if you like the Muskoka Detour, or the Amsterdam Cruiser, I’d give this one a try.  9 out of 10.

Ignore the Cinnamon Bun, we've been baking...

Ignore the Cinnamon Bun, we’ve been baking…

Innocente Charcoal Porter

Innocente Charcoal Porter

Innocente Charcoal Porter

Lots has happened since the summer.  Well, it’s been busy, I’ve been busy, even though when I think back on it there really isn’t that much to say.  Friends’ weddings, other friends havin’ babies, and work goes on.  I did do Cask Days this fall, as usual, but never got around to writing about it.  I made it out to a bunch of good patios, had some good brews, tried again to do some home-brew to a disastrous monstrosity in a bottle.

This is a good beer I had, just tonight, and I wanted to tell you about it.

innocente-5This is from a place called Innocente Brewing Company. They’re in Waterloo, Ontario.  I’ve never heard of them before, but now I’m gonna keep a lookout for more from Innocente.  It’s the beginning of winter here for us, the snows have held off until yesterday.  Today was grey and cold, the snows turning to a sick brown slush before freezing again on the roads.  I’ve taken a week off work to relax, but it’s not a good day to do much of anything except stay inside, play some games, and have a few drinks.

innocente-3Innocente’s Charcoal Porter really hit the spot.

Now, I crave certain beers during certain seasons.  When it’s cold and grey and dismal, a heavy, dark beer is what I want.  This porter was like roasted nuts with a taste of mocha and molasses.  Nice aroma, smelled thicker than it tasted.  The nuts were more burnt than roasted, but the thing is called “Charcoal”.  It fit.  It poured very dark, almost black, with a small head that faded quickly.

Reminded me of Whistler Brewing Company’s Chestnut Ale, though not nearly as sweet.  (Yes, I understand that is an ale, and this is a porter.  I said it reminded me of it.)  Some of the other descriptions I’ve read say this porter has a chocolatey sweetness, but I didn’t really get that.

All in all, I liked this one and I’ll be grabbing a few more of these to enjoy as the winter gets colder.  Easily an 8 out of 10.

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Lot 9, Creemore

Smooth, easy, pilsner.

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Lot 9 is a very drinkable pilsner from Creemore.  Yes, I’m drinking it from a Steam Whistle glass, just ignore that small detail.  I cracked into this one after working under the sun in the garden for a bit, and by working I mean picking raspberries with my cat on a leash while my wife pulled the weeds.  It was great.

It was warm outside, and the beer was cold, which is my preferred way to drink a pilsner.  Anything else just doesn’t work right for me.  I found this one very similar to Steam Whistle, though if it were cold winter night I’d reach for something a little more hearty.  It’s clean, and clear, and really does seem to embody everything a beer should have.

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Specs?  It’s 4.7%, with the IBU’s at 25.  Really, I’ve got nothing bad to say about this one.  I did drink it from a can, so I’d love to try from a bottle, or on tap.  Got more to it than the regular Creemore Lager, and I like it much more than Creemore’s Kellerbier or Urbock.  Easily an 8 out of 10.