2017 Advent Calendar – Day 18 – Tickety Brew Salted Caramel Latte Stout

For day 18 we have a Salted Caramel Latte Stout from Ticketybrew out of Manchester, or more specifically Stalybridge,  in the UK.

Ticketybrew was founded on February 14th, 2013 during the day. That evening they brewed their first beer throughout the night. Founded by husband and wife team of Keri and Duncan. Since a young age, Duncan had been interested in acting and over time found that this wasn’t for him. Keri had been working in career that she didn’t really enjoy and wanted more flexibility to spend more time with her kids. So, they brainstormed and as beer had been a great passion of both of theirs, they decided to open a brewery.

Ticketybrew was founded on a base of commitment and love. They love to try new things and to brew different beers. They have continued to grow since their founding but are still a relatively small brewery. They brew a wide range of beers from the Rose Ginger Wheat Beer we will be trying today to a Salted Caramel Coffee Stout. Their beers try to highlight different variations on styles and unique ingredients. They also label all their bottle by hand. The beer from them today is available in bottle or cask and is bottle conditioned still containing leftover yeast sediment in the bottle.

As 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 many craft breweries playing with stouts regularly. Higher alcohol stouts also often age well, making them a wonderful cellaring beer.

This stout is known as a “sweet stout,” which are much sweeter and less bitter than most other stouts. This is a traditionally English style of stout developed in the early 1900s as a tonic for invalids and nursing mothers. Originally called Milk or Cream stouts, this designation is no longer permitted in England (even if it is everywhere else) and the name derives from the use of lactose, or milk sugar, as a sweetener in the beer. Lactose is not a fermentable sugar and remains after fermentation is complete, which gives this beer its sweet and creamy nature. Onto the beer.

Appearance – Beer burst forward from the bottle upon opening and had a huge amount of carbonation. When finally poured the ½ bottle remaining it poured a hazy dark brown and had a big frothy head that slowly dissipated.
Smell –  Roasted caramel, coffee, slight salt on the nose, some cocoa powder notes and a slightly astringent to the nose aroma.
Taste –  The taste from the chocolate does come through on this beer with that coffee note and a bit of bitterness on the finish. It has a slightly astringent note that seem out of place and a higher than expected carbonation.
Mouth feel
– Highly carbonated with fizzy bubbles with a medium body and a bitter-sweet finish.
Overall – I’m really at a lose here. When I think of a sweet stout I often think of a creaminess to the mouthfeel and a nice enhancement on those coffee and caramel notes. Sadly the carbonation detracted from this beer and caused these flavours to be more subdued. When I got past this it was overall pretty decent in respect to what it brought. I thought it might be infected, but I think that was just my over-reacting to the high carbonation and slightly astringent note.
Do I like it?
– Sadly no. I think this could have been a fantastic beer. It was bottle conditioned, for some reason, and that didn’t help it overall. The carbonation was higher then it should be, and it really detracted from the beer for me.

 

2017 Advent Calendar – Big Sky Brewing – Power Wagon Wheat Wine

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We are getting close. Close to the end of this Craft Beer Advent Calendar. I’m excited to be in the final stretch. That means we are getting closer and closer to my holiday trip with my family. Can’t wait. I’m also excited to see what is left in the calendar. So far there have been some interesting beers. Some hits and misses. So, let’s see what we have today.

Today’s beer comes to us from a common contributor to the Calendar; Big Sky Brewing out of Montana. I’ve had a couple of misses from them in the past and I’m hoping that today’s “Power Wagon” Barrel Aged Wheat Wine will be a hit. This Wheat Wine is a Craft Beer Advent Calendar exclusive, which is cool. So, for those of you who did not get a calendar but are interested in trying a Wheat Wine, I’d really recommend you get the Torque Winter Survival Kit. There is one in there along with 5 other awesome beers.

Neal Leathers started big sky with Bjorn Nabozney, and Brad Robinson.  It all began with Brad and Neal, home brewers since the 80s, when they first came together they began producing a series on their local cable access station called “Beer talk”.  It was a show about Brad and Neal tasting various beers and commenting on what they liked and did not like.  This brought attention to the duo and showed their passion for beer.  Sadly, neither of them were business savvy.  That’s where Bjorn came in.

Neal started brewing test batches while Bjorn and Brad raised the capital.  After about a year and a half, Big Sky Brewing was officially ready to open its doors.  They brewed their first batch of beer, Whistle Pig Red Ale, in mid-June of 1995.   They started out as a draft only brewery but today they are one of the 50 largest breweries in the U.S. selling a total of over 46,500 barrels (2.5 million 6 packs) of beer a year.  They sell in over 24 states so it’s a beer you might be likely to run across.

The style of beer we have today is a Wheat Wine. While many might be familiar with the Barley Wine style (Thor’s Hammer, Burly Wine) a Wheat Wine is not just a wheat version of this boozy brew. Many versions of this beer have fruity and hoppy notes while others develop some interesting complexity through barrel aging (like the beer we have today).

This is a relatively new style of beer that was first brewed at Rubicon Brewing Company (sadly now closed) in 1988. Often this style is brewed as winter seasonal or a one-off and is open to experimentation. The style has less emphasis on hops then say an American Barleywine (in my mind pretty much a triple IPA) and has it’s roots in American Wheat beers rather than German wits. Overall, a rich sipping beer with a signfigant grainy and bready flavour. As it is made with a huge amount (this one about 53%) of wheat malt, the emphasis is on the bready, wheaty flavours with some other interesting characteristics from the hops, yeast, or any aging that has occurred.

I’m excited for this one, so let’s get to it.

Appearance – Pours a clear golden colour with 1” white head.
Smell – Caramel malt, booze, wheat and bready notes.
Taste – Malt forward taste with bready and wheat notes. Caramel malt, booze comes through, some subtle fruit notes and a touch of vanilla and oak.
Mouth feel
 – Medium full body with an oily mouthfeel, sweet and boozy finish.
Overall – Nice combination of wheat malt character with a warming boozy finish. Brings some interesting fruit notes with a good barrel age character as well. Overall I think this fits well into the wheat wine category and brings a lot of highlights.
Do I like it? 
– I did. I tend to enjoy barrel aged beers because they bring another layer of flavour to the beer. In the case of this one, they add a subtle enhancement to the already interesting character brought by a wheat wine. This is a style that I haven’t had often and I quite enjoy it.

 

 

2017 Advent Calendar – Day 16 – Wold Top Ditto

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To begin today’s post I just want to share a little message. If you haven’t already, go to Quality Craft Beer Store. Seriously. Go. They have the Winter Survival Pack from Torque (it’s amazing), the Old Ale from Nonsuch (that’s an exclusive to them), they’ve got a huge assortment of exclusive Beau’s beers (including New Lang Syne which I’ll write about soon) and their Russian Imperial Stout Bottle Imp. They’ve also got a variety of other awesome beers. I have to say that in the craft beer market today, Quality Craft Beer Store is killing it.

Now onto the point of today’s post. Today, Day 16, brings us a Doppelbock from the Wold Top Brewery in the UK.

Wold Top was founded in 2003 by farmers Tom and Gill Mellor. The brewery and farm are a family run business and is currently being run by the third and fourth generation of Mellors. Sitting on 600 acres of farmland, Wold Top focuses on brewing real ales and using tradition methods and quality ingredients. Being on a farm they have access to fresh ingredients that they can grow themselves. Those they can’t are only the highest quality.

They won best new brewery in 2003 and have continued to win awards for there beers over the years. Currently they have 21 beers that they brew and a solid team behind the brewing.

A Doppelbock is a German (Bavarian to be specific) style of beer first brewed in Munich by the Monks of St. Francis of Paola. Older versions of this beer had less of the sugars picked up by the yeast and converted to alcohol (attenuation) and as such were a lot sweeter then the modern-day examples of this style. They were considered more like a liquid bread for the monks rather than an alcohol beverage (though they did contain alcohol).

The term doppel (double) bock was coined by the consumers of the beer in Munich. Many commercial examples of this beer have a name ending in -ator which, according to the BJCP history, is to either pay tribute to the prototypical (considered the original) Salvator or to take advantage of the beers popularity.

The style itself is overall strong, rich, and very malty. It is a lager, meaning that it uses a different strain of yeast and undergoes a cold fermentation rather than the typical warm fermentation of an ale. Doppelbocks can be either dark or pale depending on the malt variation. The darker versions have a well-developed deep malt flavour, while the paler versions have slightly more hops and dryness on the finish.

This beer was brewed by Wold Top and named “Ditto” to celebrate the birth of twins between their marketing manager and brewery manager.

Appearance – Pours a dark amber with a thin, quickly fading, beige head.
Smell – Not a lot on the nose. Caramel malt and some sweet bread notes.
Taste – Bready malts, caramel sweetness, some raisin, and plum notes as well.
Mouth feel – Lighter bodied then I’d expect with low carbonation.
Overall – While this certainly does bring a very malt forward character, adding in some sweet bread, caramel and dark fruit notes, I find it to be a little on the weak side. The notes are there but they aren’t as deep as I’d expect from a Doppelbock.
Do I like it? – Yes, I did enjoy this beer, but I felt it was a little weak. It has a high ABV (7.0%) which doesn’t come through at all in the drinking. I think that this is a success in making this a drinkable beer. I had hoped this beer would be a bit heavier on the malt and body character, but it brought a little bit of lightness.

 

2017 Advent Calendar – Day 15 – Crazy Mountain Holiday Ale

Crazy Mountain - Holiday Ale

I hope that everyone is excited for the weekend. Given that last weekend I was either sick or caring for a sick baby, I’m excited to have a full weekend of feeling well and enjoying time with family and friends. It’s a busy time of year for everyone. Holiday parties abound, visits with family, holiday trips and all the like. I just want to take a moment to wish everyone a Happy Holidays and to encourage you to be safe over this holiday season.

Today is day 15 of the craft beer advent calendar. It comes to us from Crazy Mountain Brewing Company out of Colorado. It is a Winter Warmer they’ve aptly called their Bridge Street Holiday Ale. It is a Winter Warmer that has been spiced using holiday spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger) as well as Maple Syrup.

Founded in 2010 by Kevin and Marisa Selvy, Crazy Mountain is the first production brewery to be opened in the Vail Valley and is headquartered in Edwards with a second location in the Bakers Neighbourhood of Denver.  The mountain lifestyle is pervasive in this brewery. They’ve been known to close shop early to hit the runs and bring a laid-back mindset to what they do. They are interested in making interesting and tasty beers without getting bogged down in the grind.

They’ve made a little video that talks about the brewery and I encourage you to take a watch rather then read me write about it. You can find that here.

The style today is a Winter Warmer. While not really a “style” Winter Warmers tend to fall under the British Strong Ale style. Even so, Winter Warmers are malty sweet offerings and tend to be a favorite winter seasonal. Big malt presence, both in flavor and body. The color ranges from brownish reds to nearly pitch black. Hop bitterness is generally low, leveled and balanced, but hop character can be pronounced. Alcohol warmth is not uncommon.

Many English versions contain no spices, though some brewers of spiced winter seasonal ales will slap “Winter Warmer” on the label. Those that are spiced, tend to follow the “wassail” tradition of blending robust ales with mixed spices, before hops became the chief “spice” in beer. The “American” varieties have a larger presence of hops both in bitterness and flavor. This Winter Warmer uses a variety of spices combined with maple syrup. I can expect it to have a nice spice presence with a pronounced sweetness.

Appearance – Pours the colour of caramel with a thin 1” head that leaves just a bit of froth on the top.
Smell – Those spice notes come through strong. All I get is the nutmeg, a bit of ginger, and tinge of cinnamon.
Taste – On the taste I get a slight astringent/metallic taste right on the front followed by a powerful ginger note. All I taste after that is a bitter ginger finish.
Mouth feel – Slightly metallic front, spice middle, and bitter finish.
Overall – While certainly a spiced ale, this one brings a bit too much of the spice and bit too little of the ale. While I get the carbonation, the subtle bitterness and slight caramel malt notes, the front and centre star is the ginger. While this is appropriate for a spiced beer, overall that’s pretty much all I get.
Do I like it? 
– I found this to be a bit too much on the spice front. I like spice in beer but not when it is the only taste you are really getting. Granted, this is a spiced beer, spice should be expected, but for me it wasn’t something I enjoyed.

 

Friday Beer News – December 15th

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Hey folks. Here are some of the things happening in the local beer scene:

  • Torque has released their “Winter Survival Pack“. This 6-pack includes a Double IPA, Wee Heavy, Roasted Coffee Porter, a Stout, a Dunkelweizen and a Wheat Wine. It is available now.
  • Nonsuch has released their second beer, an Old Ale, that is available exclusively at the Quality Inn Craft Beer Store. This 10% beer is caged and corked and will cellar well. This is the second beer from Nonsuch, who released their Saison a couple of weeks ago.
  • Rae’s Bistro is celebrating 1 year of operation this week. If you haven’t been, it’s a great little bistro serving excellent food and local craft beers. To celebrate they are expanding their weekly cask night into a three day event. Thursday has come and gone, but tonight Barn Hammer will have a cask of Saturday Night Lumberjack, and tomorrow Torque will be there with a cask of their own.
  • Trans Canada Brewing is releasing their first bottles. A Small batch release of a Cranberry Chocolate Stout. This will be available today at the Taproom and at the Quality Inn Craft Beer Store.
  • Mark your calendars folks. Half Pints’ 12 Beers Of Christmas is back again and bringing a variety of interesting and unique beers from this powerhouse of a local craft brewery. This is happening on December 23rd at the brewery. Details here.
  • If you are looking for plans for New Years Eve there are a couple of options where beer is heavily involved. The 6th annual Resolution NYE Gala will be taking place at a new venue this year, the Delta downtown Winnipeg. It should be a fantastic event that includes both local breweries and Capital K spirits. For more info and to buy tickets check here.
  • As well, Peg Beer Co. will be having a Beer vs Wine New Years Eve dinner that should prove to be fantastic as well. Chef Aaron Epp will be cooking up some sweet foods to be paired along with both beer and wine. For details, menu, and tickets check here.
  • Finally, a ways into the future, January 29th, Barn Hammer and A Loaf and Honey will be hosting a 5 course beer dinner at Barn Hammer’s Taproom. The event sounds awesome and I hope everyone checks it out. More details and ticket info here.

That’s all I have for this week. I’d like to request your help. If you become aware of any cool beer news, events, or upcoming items that you think are worth sending out, please send them to me at beerwinnipeg@gmail.com

Thanks for following along

-Beer Winnipeg

2017 Advent Calendar – Day 14 – White Pony Dark Signs

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Day 14, amazing. It seems like every year the progress through this calendar goes fast. I always enjoy it and I am again this year. I hope that folks enjoy reading these write-ups. I find it interesting to learn about the various breweries and to remind myself about the styles. For the local beer scene, I’ve got some news I’ll be putting out tomorrow. Lots of things happening around town and great beers available from local breweries now!

Today’s beer comes to us from an Italian microbrewery called White Pony. It is a Belgian Strong Ale that has had a post fermentation addition of orange peel and coriander.

White Pony is in the Citta di Padova in Italy. This small town in the northern part of the country is only 92 square kilometres but boasts a population of 214,000. That gives a population density of 2300 people living on each square kilometer. That’s quite a packed town. White Pony is the project of the son of an Italian-Belgian family who has a passion for brewing beers in the Belgian style. Using Belgian yeasts, bottle fermentation, they make unpasteurized, unfiltered and bottle conditioned beers.

They brew a variety of different beers throughout the year to compliment their core beers. They focus on trying to be innovative while still sticking to some of the old brewing traditions. They even have a barrel aging program for some of their beers.

The style of beer we are trying today is a Belgian Dark Strong Ale. To compare, Belgian Darks are similar in strength to a Belgian Tripel but they don’t have quite the hop profile. They are more like a big dubbel and border on being called a Quadrupel. They are heavily malted, very sweet and bring dark fruit notes along with subtle spice elements. They are smooth, almost creamy, and bring a rich complexity of flavours that, when done right, can be dangerously easy to drink. Let’s get to it.

Appearance – Pours a dark amber with a thin, quickly fading, beige head.
Smell – Big caramel malt sweetness, candied sugar, plum, figs, and some real booze notes in there too.
Taste – That candied sweetness comes through right at the beginning before giving way to some of the more malt forward caramel sweetness and that dark fruit. The finish is smooth, sweet, and warming.
Mouth feel – Full bodied, smooth, sweet warm finish.
Overall – This is exactly what I’d expect from this style of beer. It brings big malt sweetness along with candied sugar, dark fruit notes and rich smooth and complex overall profile. There are subtle spice notes in there at the finish and this beer is rather easy to sip.
Do I like it? 
– I really did like this. I think that it represented exactly what it should and brought a beautifully complex and delicious beer. It’s dangerous, given that the nearly 12% of alcohol in it is hard to identify. I wouldn’t drink more than one of these.

 

2017 Advent Calendar – Day 13 – Duck Rabbit Wee Heavy Scotch Ale

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So, with the half-way mark behind us, I have officially caught up and am back on track with the Craft Beer Advent Calendar. As a special note on yesterday’s beer, Nickel Brook has indeed determined that their beer is infected and have been amazing at connecting with beer drinkers who got tainted beers across the country. This is excellent. A brewery acting when one of it’s beers isn’t where they want it to be. Glorious to see.

For Day 13 we go to a brewery that has a great name. This beer, a Scottish Wee Heavy, comes to us from Duck Rabbit Brewery.

Located in Farmville, North Carolina, is a brewery.  It has an interesting name and makes interesting beers.  The Duck-Rabbit Brewery was founded by Paul Philippon and sold its first beer in 2004.  It was a long journey to arrive at this point for Paul.  Pursuing a career teaching Philosophy, Paul first got he idea to open his brewery in 1987.  After working over the next number of years at three different breweries, he was finally able to open his own.  In 2004, Duck Rabbit Brewery sold its first beer and has continued to grow since.

Paul came up with the logo for the brewery using his experience as a philosophy teacher.  The image is one of those which when viewed from a different perspective looks like more than one thing.  Like the old lady and young lady picture, this logo is based off one which looks like both a rabbit and a duck, depending on how you look at it.  Hence the name, and the logo.

The Duck-Rabbit brewery team includes many folks helping out with the various tasks. The brewery uses a 20-barrel brew house and brews into 20, 40, 60 and 80-barrel tanks.  The focus of the brewery is not on brewing a wide variety of beer styles, but focusing on being the “dark beer experts”.  For them, the dark styles of beer are under represented in the marketplace.  Given the enormous flavour and style possibilities in brewing the darker styles of beer, they hope to be able to make something that will suit the tastes of every beer fan.

A Scottish Wee Heavy is a historical ale that originated in strong ales of the 1600 and 1700s and eventually moved into a “schilling” classification in the 1800s. The “schilling” classification had to do with the alcohol content. Typically, these beers would range from 60 schilling (light) to 90 schillings (wee heavy). These are rich, heavy, and sweet. Bringing big caramel malt and dextrinous (corn sugar) sweetness. Overall, they can bring what might be described as a “dessert” characteristic. In many ways, the Scottish Wee Heavy is like an English Barley Wine in it’s malt and flavour profile. I’m excited to give this one a try, especially since I really enjoyed the Baltic Porter they included in the 2015 calendar.

Appearance –  Pours a clear amber with a puffy beige head.
Smell – Caramel, bready malt, sweet breads, toffee, and dark fruit notes on nose.
Taste – Grainy caramel malt, toffee, and sweet bread come through on the taste. There are also some raisin notes and some dark fruit, plum or fig, that come through as well. There is a sweet husky floral finish.
Mouth feel – Soft carbonation, medium bodied, sweet floral finish.
Overall – Very nice. Malty, boozy, sweet, all of the characteristics I’d expect from a wee heavy. While the booze doesn’t come through in the flavour (it’s surprisingly smooth for 8%) it brings a lot of really nice malt and dark fruit character along with some pleasant sweetness.
Do I like it? 
– I do like it. It’s a sipping beer, that’s for sure, and while I compared it a bit to a barley wine above, it is lighter in character then something along those lines. It brings a nice malt, dark fruit, and sweetness that warms on a winter’s night, while at the same time not being overly heavy.

 

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