Monday, November 18, 2013

A Collaborative Effort

One of the consequences of reviewing beer at home is that I don't have anyone with which I can share the experiences. My wife doesn't mind beer but she's not a lover like I am, and while she will sometimes partake of the beer I'm reviewing, she will take hours to finish a glass of beer, if she finishes it at all.

She prefers wine (we took the sommelier course together at Algonquin College).

This weekend, however, I found a sampler pack that the two of us could share and enjoy, and Lori actually helped perform reviews. You see, as much as she would rather review wine, she enjoys cider. And, for the holidays, one brewery produced a pack of both beer and cider.

Waterloo Brewing Company (aka Brick Brewing), which is a partner of Seagram, has released a holiday pack that includes three cans of beer and three ciders: something for everyone.

Because Lori doesn't drink beer, she was unfamiliar with my format for reviewing. I told her to review the cider the same way she used to review wine, and all would be well. I explained how the rating system worked (you can see it in the right-hand column) and to give it a point rating based on how she felt about the beer overall.

Over the course of the weekend, we each drank our beverages and made our notes. I then compiled them and here they are for you.
Waterloo Authentic Amber (6.8% ABV)
Waterloo Brewing Company
Kitchener ON
Beer O'Clock rating: 3
Appearance: pours a clear, rich, reddish amber with a foamy beige head that lingers.

Nose: grassy malt and light, citrus hops.

Palate: caramel and malt, with light coffee. The alcohol comes out in the finish but is nicely balanced.

Overall impression: this is a good lager, overall. Good body and flavourful, and not filling. A general, easy-drinking beer.
Seagram Amber Cider (5.3% ABV)
Waterloo Distillery
Kitchener ON
Beer O'Clock rating: 2.5
Appearance: amber—the colour of maple syrup. Slightly sparkling.

Nose: caramel notes and sweet cider.

Palate: the nose presented itself in the taste, with sweet caramel notes. The alcohol comes through.

Overall impression: tasty if you like sweet cider (Lori does not).

Waterloo Original Dark (5% ABV)
Beer O'Clock rating: 2.5
Appearance: dark brown with red highlights. A sudsy taupe head that settles to a thin but foamy cap.

Nose: cocoa and licorice.

Palate: a sourness hits the mouth, with mild coffee and a watery but clean finish.

Overall impression: I used to drink this brown ale whenever I was in a pub that didn't offer Guinness. It's a light, good alternative.

Now that I'm reviewing it critically, I would drink it in a pub when no other darks are on hand. It's good but leaves me craving something more fulfilling.

Seagram Apple Cider (5.3% ABV)
Beer O'Clock rating: 3
Appearance: pale straw.

Nose: light apple, slightly sweet.

Palate: light, slightly off-dry.

Overall impression: an enjoyable cider.

Waterloo Union Mills Porter (7% ABV)
Beer O'Clock rating: 4
Appearance: deep walnut with slightly red highlights. A creamy taupe head that stays.

Nose: dark chocolate and rich, dark-roasted coffee.

Palate: creamy chocolate and malt, with an easy finish. The alcohol does not overpower at all.

Overall impression: I could drink this porter all day. It has good body throughout. I hope it's available on its own, because I would easily keep this at home.

Seagram Pear Cider (5.3% ABV)
Beer O'Clock rating: 2
Appearance: golden yellow.

Nose: sweet pear.

Palate: sweet pear.

Overall impression: it has a lovely pear flavour but is too sweet.

So, there is my first review collaboration with Lori, on a sampler pack that is a cider-beer collaboration. While Lori is short on words, she does know what she likes in cider. If it's not dry, she's not particularly interested. But she says anyone with a hankering for sweet cooler-like beverages, these ciders would be worth a try.


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