Category Archives: General Post

Beau’s Cherry Revue

Sorry I missed Friday Beer News this past week. It has been hectic and I’m finding my time to be short. I am still doing what I can to keep posting here but as the breweries grow, and the number of things to write about grows with it, I am finding it hard to keep up!

But, I’ve had this beer review to write for a while, so let’s get to it.

Beau’s keeps sending new beers out our way and I’m happy about that. While I am mostly focused on what’s happening here locally, and what beers we can get from our local folks, I do enjoy reviewing these beers from Beau’s.

I did a pretty in-depth write up about Beau’s when I met with co-founder Steve Beauchesne, but I do want to reiterate a bit about the brewery. Founded in 2006 in Vanleek Hill, Ontario by father and son Tim and Steve Beauchesne, Beau’s is an employee-owned and completely independent Canadian craft brewery. They are also the official beer of Canada’s 150th anniversary.

Today I have the chance the write about Beau’s latest gose, Cherry Revue.

*Writer’s Note: I did receive this beer review free of charge.*

I’ve learned quite a lot about beer while running this blog and my favorite style to drink and brew is the Gose. While I’m certainly no expert, I feel that I have a pretty good grasp on what this style is and how to brew it. I was lucky enough to win a silver a medal for my Strawberry Margarita Gose from the Pro/Am competition here in Winnipeg. So, I love the style and am excited to see more of them being made.

A Gose (GOH-zeh) is a highly carbonated, tart and fruity wheat ale that also has subtle coriander and just a pinch of salt that should come across just at the finish. This style originated in the town of Goslar in the middle-ages. In fact, the name of the beer comes from the Gose river which runs through the town of Goslar. The water from this river had a huge impact on the flavour of the beer and so it’s no surprising it has held this name for so long. This area was known for mining and one of the most abundant minerals present was salt. Some of this salt dissolved into the local groundwater which was used during the brewing of their local beer. Since they didn’t have water softeners or bottled water, they just used what they had and made it work.

After centuries of dominating the beer market in Goslar, the popularity of the style fell. Luckily it was picked up by the German town of Leipzig where it is documented to have been brewed since the 1740s. By chance, the town of Leipzig fell outside of Bavaria where the Reinheitsgebot (German beer purity laws) initially came into effect. Once Germany unified, there were some hoops to jump through, but special considerations were made for this style of beer given its history.

Up until recently, it’s been very hard to find this style of beer. While it started to see a resurgence in the 1980s, it hasn’t been widely available and many people didn’t even know what it was. This is the reason I started brewing it myself, so I could consistently get a good Gose.

Lucky for me and other Gose fans, many breweries seem to be reviving this style. Barn Hammer, Torque and Peg Beer have all brewed Goses  and we’ve seen breweries from outside Manitoba pick up on the style.

I love this style of beer and the variations that you can play around with. Like a Berliner Weisse, you could even mix a syrup into a straight up Gose, or play on the characteristics like I did with my Margarita Gose. So, let’s get to this beer.

ABV – 4.5%
Appearance – Pours a hazy pink colour with a nice white foam of a head.
Smell – You definitely get the cherry notes on the nose along with some citrus notes. There is a twinge of acidulated funk in the nose as well as some salt.
Taste – A nice gose that brings a bit of puckering to the mouth along with definite cherry notes and a slight finish of salt right on the end.
Mouth Feel – Good carbonation with nice bubbles and a dry, tart salt finish.
Overall Thoughts – I think this is a strong gose. While I do feel it could have done with a bit more sourness, it was a strong beer for the style.
Do I like it? – Yes, I did enjoy this beer. I really enjoy Goses and find myself wanting to try as many as I can. While I do think this one could have been a bit sourer, I still enjoyed it.

I hope that this write-up was informative. I encourage you to get out and try as many new beers as you can. Broaden your horizons and your palate.

-Beer Winnipeg

 

2017 Advent Calendar – Day 5 – Naparbier Alien Klaw

 

Here comes the first of my “catch-up” posts. Now that I’m feeling 100% it’s time to get down to business and get these write-ups done. I’ll be doing two today. The first is Day 5’s beer followed by Day 10’s. I’ll continue this pattern until I’ve completely caught up. So, let’s get to it.

Today’s beer comes to us from Napabier, a microbrewery located in Noain, Spain. The beer, Alien Klaw IPA, is an IPA brewed with a Belgian yeast. One thing I will say right off the top about this brewery is that they have fantastic artwork. Check the awesomeness of the art here.

Naparbier was founded in 2009 and was originally located in Pamplona, Navarra, Spain. Not necessarily as well known for beer as it is for Bull Fighting or Hemingway, Naparbier was looking to change that. The name is a combination of the Basque word for Navarra (Napar) and the German name for beer (bier, of course).

Originally, they started with just two beers — a pilsner and a dunkel — and now have a range of 14, five of which are year-round.

These guys are focused on freshness and creativity. Except for something like an imperial stout, their beers shouldn’t be aged. Head Brewer Juan Rodriguez is passionate and innovative, exploring both classic styles and more out-there endeavors. One such endeavor is the Pumpkin Tzar Russian Imperial Stout, brewed with pumpkin and habañero chile. They also recently launched a new range of “avant-garde” beers that the brewer calls “a little bit different” from what they usually brew, including a Belgian dubbel and a barley wine aged in whisky barrels. You can see all their beers here.

Naparbier has been growing in reputation over the years and some of their brews have included collaborations with the likes of Evil Twin Brewing. They’ve also made an impression on the folks at Brew Dogs who specially brought in these beers for a £30 a person dinner and beer tasting. Today’s beer is a twist on an IPA by using a non-typical yeast strain. Belgian yeasts tend to bring different esters and add quite a bit more yeast character to the style. IPAs are often brewed with a standard ale yeast that brews clean leaving the hops to be the star.  I’m excited to give this beer a try.

IPAs or India Pale Ale, have a storied history. The first known use of the term comes from the Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser in 1829.  At this time, they were also referred to as a “pale ale as prepared for India”, “East India pale ale”, and “Export India Pale Ale”.  These types of IPAs were widely popular amongst the East India company and, while considered very hoppy, they were not much stronger than other beers brewed now. Hops are used as a preservative of sorts, to help keep the beer fresh. If you were preparing a beer for a long trip from England to India, you’d need to add a lot of hops. So, while the IPA if consumed in England before shipping would be quite hoppy, at the other end it likely would not. Today, the tradition of hopping beers continues, but we don’t have as far to send them, and the goal is to make a hoppy beer. If you’re curious about IPAs check out Wikipedia, the BJCP Guidelines (Page 37) or IPA Beer.

While these beers are part of the pale ale family, they are strongly hopped and often highlight the variety of flavours and complexities that can come from the simple ingredients used to brew beer.  Many will say the IPAs are an acquired taste, and they are rather unique, the bitterness brought using a large quantity of hops is not for everyone. On most IPAs you’ll see an IBU (international bitterness units) number that gives you an idea of how bitter it might be. For comparison, Torque’s American Pale Ale (Foundation) comes in at 30 IBUs, Half-Pints little Scrapper comes in at 50, and Barn Hammer’s Saturday Night Lumberjack at 75 IBUs.

As this one uses a Belgian yeast, we can expect it to much more yeast character. Hopefully they balance well against the hop notes.

Appearance:  Pours a hazy pale golden yellow with a frothy white head.
Smell: A bit of a yeasty nose along with some nice tropical fruit notes like passion fruit and pineapple. Some resinous, piney notes as well on the tail end.
Taste:  You can tell that this beer has been brewed with a Belgian yeast. I have a bit of a hard time describing it, but there is a yeast character that, some pepperiness and fruitiness, that come from the yeast. This is followed by some of those tropical fruit notes and a dry resinous bitter finish.
Mouthfeel: Light body, dry bitter finish.
Overall:
The hops in this style of beer tend to overpower the notes from the Belgian yeast. I don’t find that quite the case in this beer. I get the notes of the Belgian yeast up front and they balance well with the tropical fruity notes and resinous bitterness from the finish.
Do I like it: I did like it. While I don’t drink a lot of IPAs anymore, I still enjoy them. I like the play on different hop notes along with different yeasts. I enjoyed the use of Belgian yeast in this beer and I’d be happy to drink it again.

 

 

2017 Advent Calendar – Day 3 – Saugatuck – Cocanuck Stout

I hope that people are enjoying reading these write-ups of the craft beer advent calendar. I know that there are certainly some beers in this calendar that are going to be beyond their prime. They put styles in here that really shouldn’t sit for the ~5 months they sit, and it really doesn’t do the beers or the breweries justice. Even so, I find that the beers I get to try are unique and make it worthwhile for me. I know, very well, that many of the beers I’m trying are beyond their prime, but, there will be some gems, and for me, I enjoy that.

Today’s beer comes to coming to us from Saugatuck Brewing Company in Douglas, Michigan.  Douglas is a city that is after our own hearts.  It’s been the “City of friendliness” since 1870. Well, Friendly Manitoba says hello Douglas. The beer we have from them today is a Cocanuck (punny) stout. This same brewery did send a 12 pack of different stouts here to Manitoba and one of them was a coconut stout called “Beam me up stouty”. I’m not sure if this one will differ from that, but I do enjoy the addition of coconut (something I typically hate) to a stout.

Developed as a three-phase brewery plan by founder and original brew master Barry Johnson, Saugatuck Brewing Company first opened its doors in 2005.  In its infancy it consisted of a 3.5 barrel “brew on premise” system in a leased industrial space.  3.5 barrels is about 300 litres of beer, not very much when you are providing interesting and tasty craft beers.  So, in 2008 they moved to a 25,000 sq/ft facility that was fully remodeled to include an Irish style pub providing not only tasty beers but also tasty snacks.  They continued to use the “Brew on premise” system allowing for patrons to come in and brew their own beers to be taken away in bomber bottles after fermentation and carbonation were complete.

Around this same time a 10-barrel system was installed in the brew house and production began en masse of and start planning for regional distribution of their beers. Starting with a meager 70 barrels of fermentation space and only a single 650ml bottle filler, their first year consisted on only 250 barrels.  In 2010 they purchased Meheen 6 head bottle filler and in-line labeler enabling them to produce 4 mainstay styles of beer to be sold in six-packs. This allowed them to distribute not only to the lower part of Michigan but also into Chicago and they managed to reach 2000 barrels of production in 2012.

Today, Saugatuck Brewing boasts a large 45-barrel system paired with 960 barrels of fermentation space.  With newly installed bottling system and a fleet of over 6,000 kegs they are able to produce on average 13,000 barrels per year with a large scale distribution.  They produce a number of mainstay beers as well as seasonal and specialty beers. Led by President Ric Gillette and head brewer Steve Scheerhorn the team at Saugatuck focus on producing a variety of different beers for their taproom and restaurant and for distribution.

s I’ve said many times on this blog, stouts are one of my favorite styles of beer. Stouts are a dark beer made using roasted malts (or roasted barley), hops, water and yeast. Traditionally the term stout was used to describe the strongest (most alcoholic) porters, typically around 7-8%, produced by a brewery. The name ‘stout’ referred to the often stouter bottles these brews were sold in, which eventually became the term used to describe the style of beer.

There are numerous sub-styles of stouts ranging from Dry Stouts, to Porters, and Oyster stouts and my favorite, Imperial Stouts. While they had lost popularity after the First World War, they’ve started to have a bit of an upswing due to the growing popularity in craft beer and breweries. Stouts are very versatile, allowing for a lot of creativity in adjuncts and flavouring. You can see a number of craft breweries playing with stouts regularly. Higher alcohol stouts also often age well, making them a wonderful cellaring beer.

This particular stout is an American Stout that has been flavoured with coconut. American stouts tend to be more hop forward then your traditional stout (think Diesel Fitter). They have a dry slightly bitter finish but are very subtle on the hop aroma and flavour. While this beer is an American stout, the fact that it is flavoured with coconut means that there will likely be some sweetness. Let’s get to the beer.

Appearance – Pours black with a finger width of a tan head.
Smell – Bursting with toasted coconut notes and sweet chocolate.
Taste – Sweet malt-forward front with a strong coconut flavor that finishes surpassingly dry given the sweetness on the front. Alcohol warming is present, but it goes down smooth.
Mouth feel – Full bodied, sweet front and middle with a dry finish.
Overall – This beer plays a lot more like a Sweet Stout then it does anything else. It has a character to it that gives the impression of unfermented residual sugars from lactose, but they aren’t listed as an ingredient. I must guess that the coconut flavor comes from a syrup of some kind that adds that sweetness and body.
Do I like it?
– I did enjoy it. While I found it to be quite sweet, I also liked the interplay of coconut with malt sweetness and that slightly bitter dry finish. I think this is a pretty strong third day entry, but it’s not going to be winning my top pick.

 

2017 Advent Calendar – Day 1 – Shipyard Export

Image result for shipyard export

Welcome to the first of 24 posts about the beers from the Craft Beer Advent Calendar. This year I am excited because it’s an “all-star” edition. This means I’ll be trying some of the best beers from the previous advent calendars. While it means I might get some repeats, I hope they are the ones I really enjoyed. I’m always happy to have a beer I’ve liked more than once.

The first beer today comes to us from Portland, Maine. It’s is described by the brewery as an American Blonde Ale brewed by Shipyard Brewing.

The brewery is in Portland, Maine which is just north of Massachusetts. I’ve visited here numerous times and there are a number of excellent craft breweries in the vicinity and in the city itself. While Shipyard produces many interesting beers, Export is the beer that got them started. It is their flagship beer and the one to which they attribute their success. While I likely would have preferred to try something from their barrel aged series, I am looking forward to trying the beer that got them started.

Shipyard first began in 1992 at Federal Jack’s Restaurant and Brew Pub in Kennebunk. After being open for only two years they couldn’t keep up with the demand for their beer. In April 1994, businessman Fred Forsley and brewer Alan Pugsley opened the Shipyard Brewing Company in the heart of the waterfront in Portland, Maine on the site of the former Crosby Laughlin Foundry.

To say that Shipyard is a small microbrewery would be a lie. Shipyard is the largest brewer in Maine (owning the Shipyard, Sea Dog Brewing Company, and Casco Bay Brewing Company banners, and bottling under contract with Gritty McDuff’s Brewing Company). Shipyard is the fourth largest microbrewery in New England after Boston Beer CompanyHarpoon Brewery, and Magic Hat Brewing Company. In fact, in 2008, Shipyard Brewing Company brewed 81,641 barrels of ale and shipped 2,900 barrels of soda. Its products are available in 40 states. What I do like is that they make every effort to source their ingredients from local farmers. When local industry can support local industry to be successful, that’s good to see.

Brewed in a more British fashion for a blonde ale, this beer brings a bit of a darker colour than one might find in a typical American blonde ale. The style, in and of itself, is typically viewed as being an entry-level craft beer. It brings a soft malty sweetness combined with some possible biscuit notes. This along with the low-medium hop presence means that it is an overall tame and easy drinking beer.

Onto the beer.

Appearance – Pours golden blonde with a thin ½” white head that retains well.
Smell –  Sweet aroma, hints of floral and noble hops, and an odd metallic note.
Taste –  Sweet malt, subtle caramel, grassy and metallic notes. Not sure where metallic is coming from, but the malt and grassy hop notes are good.
Mouth feel
– Good carbonation, not too overbearing, medium body with a semi-sweet finish.
Overall – A bit more malt forward then most blonde ales I’ve had. This likely due to the fact that this calendar has beers Bea consumed fresh that have been sitting for upwards of 6 months. Overall easy drinking with a semi-sweet finish and a bit more malt character then I would like.
Do I like it? – I think this was a decent beer. It was a safe start to the calendar and I would have preferred a bit more of a bang to begin with.

Time for an Advent Calendar

Image result for craft beer advent calendar

While I am sure that most of you are excited about the upcoming Friday Beer News, tomorrow is also the beginning of the Craft Beer Advent Calendar.

As I did last year, I plan to blog about these beers again.  Every day.  That means 24 posts, hopefully.  The goal of these posts is education. Mine and, hopefully, yours. It’s about learning more about the beer and the breweries who make them. Here is how the post will be organized:

  • Beer name, location, and style of beer.
  • Description of the style, origins and information about the brewery.
  • Rating of the beer based on the following:
    • The appearance of the beer
      • What’s the colour, the head and the retention of the foam?
    • The smell of the beer
      • What notes are present and are there any off notes that shouldn’t be there?
    • The big one
      • How do the smells come through in the taste, is it pleasant, are there any off-flavours or things that just aren’t quite right?
    • Mouth Feel
      • What’s the body of the beer, is it light, or heavy? Is there a good carbonation level for the style?
    • Overall thoughts on the beer in relation to the style
    • Whether I actually like the beer or not and why

I want to make a note on the reviewing system I use.  I’m not a beer judge. Those who have been trained to be able to smell and taste what is off in a beer are very good and I respect their opinions.  With that exception, I don’t always take stock in how people rate beers.  Perhaps someone doesn’t like a particular style, or they don’t think the beer is good.  It doesn’t mean I, or someone else, won’t like it.

So, while I will be reviewing these beers, it is more for my own personal education and to keep track of which ones I liked the best throughout the process.  You can take my reviews as you like, either listen or don’t.  Ultimately, I want people to try new beers and take chances.

These posts will be done in the evening so as not to spoil anything for those who have this calendar as well. I look forward to trying these “All-Star” beers and hope that you’ll enjoy following along. Check out the wrap-up post from my last two Advent Calendars here and here.

-Beer Winnipeg

Friday Beer News – October 13

I got a suggestion from a friend to do a quick weekly update on Friday’s about stuff happening in the beer world. I liked the idea and figured I’d give it a go. This will just be brief news tidbits about stuff happening around the brew scene.

  • Trans Canada Brewing officially opens this weekend. October 14th and 15th. Check out tcb.beer for more details. They’ve also started listing the beers they will have available here if you are curious.
  • Stone Angel has released a new beer. Their Kaiser Bill IPA is available now at their taproom. They also have a Samhain autumn ale coming soon.
  • Peg Beer Company is celebrating one year of brewing beer this weekend. October 14th will see a number of specialty beers available including a Ginger Gose, Gooseberry Gose, and a Coconut Belgian Stout to name a few.
  • Barn Hammer’s monthly Barn Raising event will be happening on Wednesday, October 18th. Get out for some beer at their taproom and support a local charity.
  • Torque Brewing has launched a new website. It provides all kinds of information including beers available in the taproom.
  • Surly has sent some more beer to Manitoba. This time they’ve sent the first of their “embrace the darkness” series. The 2016 bottles of their Russian imperial stout Darkness are available at Liquor Marts and Quality Beer Store now. Watch for my write-up of this beer next week.

That should get you all caught up for this week.

– Beer Winnipeg

Trans Canada Brewing Opening

TCB

Being sick sucks. Being sick with a child sucks even more. You end up in this cycle of everyone getting sick and then no one actually gets better. Luckily, we’ve overcome and I am now well enough to be back writing, working, and enjoying beer.

Just in time too. Peg is celebrating one year of brewing beer, Stone Angel has opened it’s doors and is pumping out some really tasty beers, and Trans Canada Brewing will be opening this week.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with Trans Canada brewing I’d invite you to read my write-up of the brewery and the team here. It’s an ambitious project that has invested money in all the right places from equipment to personnel to taproom food. The pizzas are awesome, the team is skilled and experienced and the equipment is the top of the line. They’ve even got French Oak Foeders.

 

So, here are the details:

TCB-Launch-Party-Flyer

While I don’t know what all 12 beers will be, I do know they have a variety of styles available. They have brewed an American Pale Ale, an IPA, a Double IPA, a dark lager, a session lager, a couple of saisons, a wit, a pilsner, and a blonde as well as some others.

I’d encourage everyone to take the opportunity to pop in and check out this new brewery for yourselves. It’s a beautiful space and I’m excited to see what they can do with the team they’ve put together. I’m excited to sit down with their Head Brewer, Morgan Wielgosz, again for my Get to know a brewer series.

Now that I’m feeling better, I’ve got a bunch of stuff to catch-up on. I’ve bought a bottle of Surly Darkness 2016 for review, I’ve got the Beaus/Half-Pints King Kvass for review, I’m sitting down with Colin from Peg tonight for an anniversary post, and I’ll be sitting down with Daivin from North City Growlers this week too. Lots to come, so follow me on WordPress and Twitter for all the latest.

– Beer Winnipeg