Monday, December 24, 2012

A Little Something Under the Tree?

So, what is Santa leaving for you under the tree?

Winter is the time for dark, strong beer, but what about something a little sexy? A little brewery in St-Jérôme, Québec, has done a little of both, and you can feel a little naughty and nice with this strong and flavourful stout.
Aphrodisiaque Cocoa and Vanilla Strong Stout
Brasserie Dieu du Ciel, St-Jérôme, QC
Broue Ha Ha: $12.99, 6 x 341 ml (approx); 6.5% ABV
My Rating: 4 out of 5
Deep walnut colour with a rich foam of dark beige that dissipates into a lasting, fine lace, this stout hit my nose with intense vanilla and sweet chocolate. On the palate, I was met with a light coffee and more vanilla, which was followed up with a rich, dark chocolate and alcohol finish that married nicely.

This is a deliciously decadent beer.

Over the holiday, whether you've been naughty or nice, or both, indulge a little. 'Tis the season, after all! There are lots of places in the Outaouais region that stock this beer, so get out and try some.

Or ask Santa.

This is my last beer review until after Christmas, so I want to wish everyone the best of the season. If you enjoy your pints, please do so responsibly.


Sunday, December 16, 2012

Oh! Tannenbaumer!

Adam Rader has done it again.

On the heels of his highly regarded Double-Chocolate Imperial Stout, Ottawa's Mill Street Brew Pub head brewer has concocted another gem of a limited seasonal.
Tannenbaumer English Ale
Mill Street Brew Pub (Ottawa only)
$6.75, 14-oz glass; $16.50, 64-oz growler (incl. deposit)
7.2% ABV
My rating: 4.5
Toffee-amber in colour with a fine, white head that dissipates early, I found the nose similar to their Hallowe'en seasonal, Nightmare on Mill Street. But this ale offers more cinnamon and vanilla on the nose, and there is no nutmeg used. In the mouth, I found the ale creamy but dry, with a touch of honey and a slow-burning finish. The alcohol comes through in the aftertaste, but it's well-balanced.

Only nine kegs of this seasonal were made, so I'd recommend that you get to Mill Street and try it sooner rather than later. You might be sorry if you delay.

Monday, December 3, 2012

BC, Berries, and Beer

Months ago, I was told that I should get my hands on beer from British Columbia because, I was told, it is awesome.

So, in July, I got my hands on a raspberry porter that supported that claim. It was pretty awesome.

So when I saw another fruit porter in the LCBO, I jumped on it. And it was another porter, so I expected more awesomeness.
Blackberry Porter
Cannery Brewing Company
Penticton, BC
LCBO: $5.80, 650 ml; 6% ABV; 45 IBU
Colour: deep brown with a foamy, light-brown head.

Nose: intense cassis with a light malt aroma

Palate: sweet coffee and sour, bitter fruit; hints of tannin and a metallic finish

Other notes: when I first tasted this porter, I thought there was a flaw in the bottle. At first, I sensed a slight acetone flavour, but I later identified it as metal, like iron. My second bottle also had this flavour. Although this is a strong porter, the alcohol is well-balanced.

Overall impression: although I liked this porter, there was something in the finish that gave me pause, and so I'm not going to call it awesome. It was good. The nose is incredible and enticing and I enjoyed the malty flavours. I'm glad I tried this beer and am looking forward to trying their scotch ale, also available at the LCBO.

My rating: 3/5

Saturday, December 1, 2012


As if I don't blog enough, I've decided to create another blog that is dedicated exclusively to beer. Because life is too short to focus on only one beer a week.

If you've read my beer reviews before, this post will be a little different. The reviews will be brief, sticking merely to the facts about the beer. In other words, I won't ramble.

While most of the beer that I review will be from what I pick up at the LCBO or at Ottawa-area breweries, I'll also take a look at beer from wherever I can find it: be it across the border, in Québec, or across the other border, in the United States, I will focus on beer that is available to as big an audience as I can make it.

I will write a couple of reviews each week, as time allows. And, for now, I'll continue to write my regular weekly review for The Brown Knowser. We'll see how this experiment works.

To start, I want to look at one of my favourite styles of beer: stout. Imperial stout.
Mokah Imperial Blended Stout
Southern Tier Brewery, Lakewood NY
LCBO: $9.15; 11.2% ABV
Appearance: deep brown, with a creamy beige head that slowly dissipates.

Nose: intense chocolate malt with espresso undertones.

Palate: rich, sweet chocolate (I'm reminded of a chocolate malt shake) with subtle coffee in the finish; not so much a beer as it is a dessert--best shared.

Overall impression: someone at Southern Tier has a sweet tooth. This is only the third offering of this brewer that I've tried, and every one of them has been sweet. But because I don't drink them often, they are a treat. And with the considerable alcohol content, they aren't beers that you would drink many of in a single sitting. At a staggering 11.2% ABV, I was surprised at how the alcohol didn't come through like a sledgehammer. It was detectable, but not overpowering. This stout is complex but well-balanced. Delicious.

Rating: 4/5