Tag Archives: Advent Calendar 2016

Day 12 – Browar Wososz and Humalove Brewing – Pukki

Well folks, we are half-way through this year’s advent calendar. It’s been a pretty good one this year to be honest. The beers have been good, the styles interesting and the locations pretty spread out. I’ve really been enjoying the first half and looking forward for the second.

Today’s beer is a collaboration between a polish brewery, Browar Wasoz, and a Finnish brewery, Humalove Brewing. It’s a smoked “grodziskie” beer with spruce coming in at a whopping 3% ABV. Talk about a light beer.

The first brewery in this collaboration is Browar Wasoz, located in Konopiska, Poland. Founded in 1994 as one of the first modern small brewhouses, this brewery has grown in brewing capacity since it’s founding. While they did run into some difficulty along their journey causing an interruption in their brewing, in June of 2014 they ramped things back up with an even bigger capacity. Currently they have a 35hl brewhouse and 6 fermentation tanks capable of taking 70hl each. They also have 15 lagering tanks, each with a 70hl capacity and 2 other tanks with 40hl capacity each. Needless to say, they’ve got room for a lot of beer. They currently brew 12 different beers ranging from a classic Pils to a gooseberry sour.

This space has allowed for them to collaborate and offer space to other breweries who may be in need. This is something they’ve done with this beer, working with Finnish brewery Humalove, to create our special advent calendar beer.

Humalove is a very small brewery located in Helsinki, Finland.  Currently they only produce two beers, an 80 IBU IPA called “First Love” and a Lingonberry Rye Ale coming in at 60IBU. Besides the fact that they don’t have a set brewery and tend to brew at other breweries (hence the collaboration) there isn’t much more detail than that about them. So, let’s get to the beer.

Grodziskie is a historical polish style of beer that is made from oak-smoked wheat malts. This style is unique to Poland and is typically a very clear golden colour with a very low alcohol content. Grodziskie was brewed from wheat malt that was dried by circulating oak smoke through the grains. The smokiness of the grain and the mineral profile of the water used to brew the beverage gave the style its characteristic flavor. Breweries will tend to use whatever local hop they are able to source. The beer was originally produced by brewers in the town of Grodzisk Wielkopolski in the 14th or 15th century. A brewers’ guild was established to maintain high quality standards and the product developed a good reputation in the surrounding cities and neighboring countries. At the peak of its fame, it was exported to 37 countries and was regarded as an exceptionally good beer.

This one has also had the addition of spruce, one of my favorite things to play around with in beer, and so I’m excited to see how this turned out. Let’s get to it.

Appearance – Pours a slightly hazy golden with a white head that fades quickly.
Smell – Smells of smoked wood with some notes of citrus zest.
Taste – Tastes lightly smoked with a subtle hint of citrus fruit and some very subtle piney notes from the spruce.
Mouth feel – Light body, light carbonation, smoky all the way through with a subtle bitter/smoky finish.
Overall – First time trying this style. First the description of it to a T. Light, smoky, crisp.
Do I like it?
– I’m don’t always like smoky beers if the smoke is overpowering. I’ve had some rauchbiers that taste like inhaling a campfire. The subtleness of this beer is quite refreshing and I enjoyed it.

 

 

Day 11 – Brouwerij de Molen – Winter Saison

Today’s beer comes to us from the Brouwerij de Molen in the Netherlands.  It is a Winter Saison aptly named “Winter Saison”.  In the 2014 advent calendar, we had the chance to try their Winter Porter, take a read about that one here. The breweries name means “The Mill” and is located inside a historic windmill building called De Arkdulf, which was built in 1697.  As well as a brewery, they also have a retail business on site and a restaurant which creates food to pair with their beers.

Founded in 2004 by head brewer Menno Olivier, this brewery can produce 500 litres per batch with an annual production of 500 hectolitres.  The equipment at the brewery includes converted dairy tanks which are used as fermenters and the bottles are still capped and corked by hand.  Today the brewery can produce 2500 litres at a time and has an annual production of 6000 hectolitres due to the purchase of a new building 200 meters away from the mill.  One interesting thing about this brewery is that they do not dispose of unsatisfactory beer.  Instead, this beer is distilled into a “beer liqueur” at 20% abv and is then sold as well, reducing the spoilage of the beer, and allowing them to still make profit off bad batches.

Saison’s are a sturdy farmhouse style of beer.  Originally brewed in Wallonia, the French speaking part of Belgium, it was a beer brewed at the end of the cool season to last through the warmer months before refrigeration was common.  It had to be sturdy enough to be able to last but also not too strong so it would quench your thirst in the summer months.   This style of beer is very complex with a lot fruit notes, spices, and earth yeast notes to the beer.    They tend to combine nice fruity notes with spice and a subtle sourness or tartness.  Usually lots of spice with mild bitterness and a dry crisp finish and only a hint of sweetness.

At one point in time Saison’s were an almost extinct beer style but they have seen a great resurgence and are commonly brewed by several craft breweries across Canada.  This saison is described as being “saisonish” and has a few interesting additions to make it more suitable for winter. Giving it a bit of heat to warm you up are some Szechuan peppers. The brewers also added some mustard seed and juniper berries which will give it an interesting flavour as well. I’m interested to see how these flavours go with the typical saison style. Let’s see.

Appearance – Pours amber with a 1” head and some bits of sediment, likely from being bottle conditioned.
Smell – Smells of cracked pepper, subtle pear, some yeast funk and a little bit of spice on the nose.
Taste Tastes a little sweet on front with some of that subtle pear coming through. As you swallow it begins to shift to a bit of a that cracked pepper and then finishing with some heat from the Szechuan peppers.
Mouth feel – Light-medium bodied, medium carbonation and some spice on finish.
Overall I can see why this is saisonish. It’s a bit a of a fuller body and not quite as crisp or refreshing as some other saisons I’ve had. It certainly has some of those nice fruity notes, though a bit toned down, and a good helping of spice. There are certainly some saison components, but there are some things that don’t fit as well.
Do I like it?
– I found this beer to be interesting. The sweetness and fruit notes combined with the pepper and spice on finish made for a flavour experience. I’ve had beers with hot peppers before, this one hit the mark of having it be just a subtle note on the finish. Overall, I did enjoy it.

 

Day 10 – Biir – Equinox Triple IPA

Well, today was a busy day. Even though it is a Saturday, I still had to get up and go to work. It was busy. On the weekends, I really enjoy getting to spend time with my daughter and wife and relax a bit. Luckily, I get to do that now.

Today’s beer comes to us from a Spanish brewery, Biir, and is a Triple IPA. What’s interesting about the beer is that even though the brewery is in Barcelona, Spain, this beer was brewed in Zichem, Belgium.

I’ve written about Evil Twin last year in the advent calendar and mentioned that he brews beers all over the world in collaboration with other breweries. Today’s brewery, Biir, is similar in many respects. One of their main goals as a brewery is to collaborate with others. Run by three friends, Albert Galan, Gunther Bensch, and Pere Mora, Biir doesn’t produce all of it’s beers in the same brewery. This Triple IPA, as I mentioned, was brewed in Belgium, while others have been brewed in Spain, and another brewed in collaboration with a brewery in Singapore.

While this may be one aspect of the brewery, they are often interested in creating unique and interesting beers. They’ve brewed this Triple IPA, a Belgian Style Dark Ale that’s been hopped up, A sweet and sour beer and an Oude Geuze. Not really sticking to any style in particular, they try different things and expand their horizons. They’ve got some delicious sounding beers and I’d be interested in trying many of them.

The beer we have today is a Triple IPA and is described by the brewery as such:

Inspired by Californian Triple IPA, we have brewed this extreme beer for the most exigent beer lovers, with lots of malts and Equinox hops. Despite it’s alcohol volume and bitterness, it’s a very well balanced beer.

Now, to be fair, a Triple IPA is really a bit of a misnomer. I’d describe it as likely being a top end Imperial IPA and many of the characteristics will be the same. The style of Imperial IPA, is a beer that is an American craft beer invention that began in the 1990s. Craft breweries were trying to “push the envelope” on their beers and appease the hop aficionados who were growing ever more interested in the flavor and variety that this plant can provide. By the 2000s this style had become much more mainstream and provides a way for brewers to experiment and be creative with hops. The adjective “Triple” really doesn’t mean anything other than this beer is stronger than a regular IPA and likely on the upper range of an Imperial IPA. You will see “Imperial” used quite regularly as well. It’s the same style.

The style should be intensely hoppy and strong with an IBU (international bitterness unit) range of 60-120, an ABV of between 7.5% and 10% with a lighter colour. Drinkability of the style is important and it should be well balanced with strong malt backbone and residual sweetness. Triple IPAs would be pushing to the upper end of this range and this bee, coming in at 9.4% for a 330ml bottle is certainly close.

Appearance – Hazy, pale amber, with a ridiculous head that just won’t go away.
Smell – Resin, pine notes, pineapple, and grapefruit from the hops, caramel notes come in from the malt at the end.
Taste – Up front, in the face, resinous citrusy hop bitterness that quickly transitions into a nice sweet malty caramel with that lingering resinous/grapefruit bitterness.
Mouth feel – Medium bodied, slightly oily mouthfeel, lingering bitterness, subtle alcohol warmth.
Overall – Very hoppy, good malt balance, alcohol content hardly noticeable for this 9.4% ABV beer. Big hop flavour balanced with good malt backbone is a pretty darn good Imperial IPA.
Do I like it?
– Yes. While I don’t always seek out IPAs these days anymore, I do still enjoy good ones. I’m still interested in trying beers where they’re doing something out of the ordinary. A triple IPA certainly is. Well balanced, great hop bitterness, very much enjoyed day 10s beer.

 

 

Day 9 – Fabryka Piwa – Deep Space

So, sleep deprivation is a real thing. I’m sure those of you who have had children know that. I’m starting to experience it first hand and I certainly do not enjoy it. That said, I do enjoy beer, and glad that’s an exciting thing making this sleep deprived time a little more fun.

Yesterday’s beer was not that enjoyable, but with today’s I hope we turn that around. Today we have a beer from Fabryka Piwa in Poland called Deep Space.

Fabryka Piwa was founded by Wojciech Warzyszyński and Marcin Krzystanek. It is located in Czestochowa, Poland.  Originally they brewed out of a very small restaurant called “Browar Marysia” having a capacity of 5hl, because they wanted to slowly enter the market and make their presence known to see what the response would be to the beers they were brewing.

As the response was well received, they decided to look at refitting and opening a bigger space in an old Cisctercian brewery. They’ve been working on this since September 2014. The traditions of brewing in Szczyrzyc date back several centuries. The old brewery was nationalized at the time of the communist regime and then returned into the hands of the monks when the regime fell. Unfavorable market trends led to his downfall. The condition of the brewery was so bad that it was decided to replace the old brewery and replace it with new equipment and more tanks.

While they had initially wanted to brew 8 beers when they opened the new brewery in 2015, they’ve now reached the point where they are brewing 16 different brews. The brewery, despite its name meaning Factory Beer, focuses on high quality crafted beers.

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 reason for the name ‘stout’ was because these strong porters were often sold in stouter bottles than the standard porters.  This gave them the nickname ‘stout’ which eventually became the term used to describe the style of beer.

There are numerous styles of stouts ranging from Dry Stouts, to Porters, and Oyster stouts and my favorite Imperial Stouts.  The specific stout style, Foreign Extra Stout, were stronger stouts than those typically brewed for today’s market. Not quite getting to the Imperial Stout ABV but ranging in the 6.3-8% range. They have a history stretching back to the 18th century when they were more heavily hopped versions of stronger export stouts. Hops, of course, act as an excellent preservative and allow the beer to keep as it travels. Guinness Foreign Extra Stout (originally, West India Porter, later Foreign Extra Double Stout) was first brewed in 1801 per Guinness. It was brewed with extra hops to give it a distinctive taste and a longer shelf life.

The main difference between a Foreign Extra Stout and a domestic stout is the hop content and maturation of the beer. Let’s get to it.

 

Appearance – Black as space itself with a whisp of tan head.
Smell – Smells of deep rich chocolate, cherries, subtle coffee, and a distinct aroma of alcohol warmth.
Taste – Has a good rich malty backbone with a nice subtle hop bitterness that works with the roasted characteristic and subtle coffee/chocolate of the malt. Subtle cherry and dark fruit after notes.
Mouth feel – Medium-Full bodied with a light carbonation.
Overall – A very good stout. Fits the category with the extra hop bitterness and full rich flavour. Reminds me a bit of some other stouts I’ve had recently.
Do I like it?
– Yes, this was quite nice. I found the aroma to be reminiscent of an Imperial Stout. The taste and beer is more of a toned-down version and falls in between a standard stout and an imperial one. Very nice and good flavours.

 

 

Day 8 – Brauerei Schloss Eggenberg – Silver Bottle Beer

I’m glad to see that the weather decided to calm down a bit. It’s been a blustery couple of days and the snow has been wreaking havoc on the roadways. The beers the past couple of days have been great, and combine that with all the great stuff happening in the beer community here in Winnipeg, it’s hard to let that weather keep you down.

I’m looking forward to getting back in and following up with many of the breweries open and opening to see how things are progressing. The new year is looking up for new beer. The 8th beer of the Craft Beer Advent Calendar comes to us from Austria once again. It’s Brauerei Schloss Eggenberg’s Silver bottle Märzen Beer.

Brauerei Schloss Eggenberg is located in Vorchdorf, Austria. While beer has been brewed on the same site since the 14th century, the current brewery was founded in 1803 by Johann Georg Forstsinger and has been family run ever since. They take great pride in having been run by the same family for over 200 years and you can see a timeline of those who ran the brewery on their website here.

Currently the brewery is being run by Hubert Stohr who took over in 2011. Hubert has a M.Sc in Food and Beverage Management and has used these skills to continue to modernize the practices of the brewery and continue to produce high quality beer. Following three core values: Respect our past, innovate for the future, use only the highest quality ingredients, Brauerei Schloss Eggenberg has built a reputation for itself as being well trained, well brewed, and provide exemplary service to its customers.

The beers themselves are brewed by Brewmaster Thomas Lugmayr and two assistant brewers. All three were trained at the Doemens Academy in Munich and use these skills to brew what they describe as “liquid gold”. Always considering what other beer styles they can create, the Thomas and his team have access to barrels, a long storage cellar, and the latest technologies for quality control and brewing.

Once again we run into a bit of an issue with determining the style of beer. So, I’ll explain the two most likely possibilities. From my research it is either a Pale Lager (like a Helles or an Euro version of an American Lager), or it is a Marzen beer.

There are quite a few differences between these two styles. If the bottle was not made of aluminum and impossible to see through, colour would be a good help at making the determination. While Pale Lagers are typically light, clear and golden in colour, Märzens are typically a more amber colour due to the greater malt content.

Pale Lagers may often have adjuncts in them like corn or rice. Think Molson or Budweiser. Märzens are a beer that was traditionally brewed in March due to the lack of refrigeration, and aged until the Oktoberfest celebration. Both will follow a lagering process of cold conditioning. The term “lager” means “storeroom” or “warehouse” in German.

The bottle is pretty cool. I’m curious to see what this beer looks and tastes like.

Appearance – Pale straw colour with a 1” white head that leaves some lacing on the edge of the glass.
Smell – Grainy pale malt, grassy notes, smells a bit like corn.
Taste – Moderately sweet with a grassy hop bitterness.
Mouth feel – Light body, medium carbonation, off-dry finish that leaves a slight grassy bitterness lingering.
Overall – Basically tasted like Budweiser or Molson. Typical macro style lager.
Do I like it?
– Nope. To me it was basically like drinking a Molson or a bud. I do not enjoy those beers at all and I certainly did not enjoy this one.

 

 

Day 7 -Naparbier – The Crimson Bird

Man it’s snowy out there again today. Yesterday and today have been difficult driving. I’ve got to say it’s been rough. Before I get into today’s beer I want to mention that Torque’s taproom officially opened today. So, that means you can pop in, enjoy their beers and snacks right on site. I’ll also mention that Half Pints has a really neat sounding event coming up on December 21st. They are doing a 12 beers of Christmas at their taproom. So, add this to your calendar. I’d also suggest you take a look at their new untapped profile as it provides an up to date list of the beers available and upcoming events. Check it out here.

Onto today’s beer. Day 7 comes to us from Napabier, a microbrewery located in Noain, Spain. The beer, The Crimson Bird, is a saison made with raspberries. 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. With the exception of 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 of 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. The beer we have today is one they’ve done with both Strawberries and Raspberries and I’m pretty excited to give it a try.

Saison’s are a sturdy farmhouse style of beer.  Originally brewed in Wallonia, the French speaking part of Belgium, it was a beer brewed at the end of the cool season to last through the warmer months before refrigeration was common.  It had to be sturdy enough to be able to last but also not too strong so it would quench your thirst in the summer months.   This style of beer is very complex with a lot fruit notes, spices, and earth yeast notes to the beer.    They tend to combine nice fruity notes with spice and a subtle sourness or tartness.  Usually lots of spice with mild bitterness and a dry crisp finish and only a hint of sweetness.

At one point in time Saison’s were an almost extinct beer style but they have seen a great resurgence and are commonly brewed by a number of craft breweries across Canada.  We are seeing them pop-up more and more here in Manitoba and it’s a style of beer that I really enjoy drinking. Let’s see how this one tastes.

Appearance – Pour slight rose amber colour with a good 4” head that fades slowly to a retained 1” head.
Smell – Smells of raspberries with a tartness on the nose. Some funk comes through from the yeast as well as some subtle citrus notes.
Taste – Raspberries with some moderate tartness and a good sweetness to balance it out. Some subtle almost peppery spice and yeast funkiness is noticeable on the end.
Mouth feel – Medium-light body with a good carbonation and slightly tart/funky finish.
Overall – The raspberry and tartness from that fruit are at the forefront. The funkiness from the yeast is there but not as prominent. Overall a good beer.
Do I like it?
– I did very much like it. I think the balance of tartness with sweetness and a subtle funkiness was great. It was a refreshing beer and very drinkable. I’d be happy drinking more of it.

 

 

Day 6 – Privatbraurei Loncium – Sweet Krampus

It is a snowy day out there today. It’s the first storm of the year and it’s bringing with it the beautiful winter landscape that we’ve come to know and love/hate here in Winnipeg. I’m pretty darn glad I got my winter tires put on yesterday, otherwise it would have been a rough one today.

At least there is beer to look forward to and today’s is one that sounds rather interesting. Day 6’s beer is a Belgian Strong Ale from Privatbraurei Loncium from Kötschach-Mauthen, Austria. I’ve relied a lot on Google Translate today as their website is exclusively in Austrian. It’s also another repeat brewery as they had a beer in the 2014 edition of the Craft Beer Advent Calendar. Read about that one here.

Loncium is located in Kötschach-Mauthen, a picturesque village located near the Italian border. They are able to source their raw materials for their beer from within their village. They use these materials to brew the best beers they can and they’ve been recognized on a number occasions with gold, silver and bronze medals for many of their beers.

Having opened in 2007 the brewery has steadily expanded adding more fermenters and tanks to allow for an expanded range of beers. Describing themselves as being as far away from the corporate breweries as you can get, they focus on hand crafting each of their beers. As the regions first brewery, they have connected with the craftsmanship that has existed in the region since the 1700s. The brewery is equipped with the most modern equipment and the beers are fermented in open vats.

Currently Loncium produces 11 beers ranging from a classic Bavarian style pilsner, Schwarze Gams (take on a Bock), to a Rauchbier (smoked beer). You can check out their full range of beers here. The brewery also has a guest house attached to it and it’s possible to stay right on site. If you’re ever thinking of travelling around Austria, what better place to stay than a hotel connected to brewery.

It was actually quite hard to determine exactly what style of beer Sweet Krampus is. Ratebeer had it listed as a Belgian Strong Ale, Beeradvocate had it as a winter warmer, and Untappd had it listed as a sweet/milk stout. The breweries website did not have this beer listed, but, I did finally find my answer in a video posted to Youtube by the brewery. It’s actually a pretty awesome video and I encourage you to watch it. From that I can confirm that Untappd was right and Sweet Krampus is a sweet stout brewed with orange and cinnamon.

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 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 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.

The sweetness in most “Sweet Stouts” comes from a lower bitterness level than most other stouts and a high percentage of unfermentable dextrin. Lactose, an unfermentable sugar, is frequently added to provide additional residual sweetness. Let’s get to the beer.

Appearance – Black with hues of red and an off-white head that fades quickly leaving a thin whisp.
Smell – Smells of orange, chocolate, subtle coffee, cinnamon, and roasted malt.
Taste – Semi-sweet with caramel notes, orange and earthy spices. Hints of black coffee bitterness and a slightly sugary/metallic cinnamon after taste.
Mouth feel – Medium-bodied mouthfeel with low carbonation. Smooth with a little bit of a spice near finish and a brown sugar sweetness that lingers.
Overall – A decent beer. Good sweetness that isn’t overpowering that works together with the spice notes. While it did have a slightly odd metallic cinnamon note to it, the beer does a good job hiding its 7% ABV and presents some good flavours.
Do I like it?
– I did like it. The metallic note on the finish was a bit off putting. As you drink the beer, the taste seems to fade a bit into a subtler spice note. This wasn’t as full-bodied as I typically like my stouts, but overall I did enjoy it.

 

 

Day 4 – Ticketybrew – Rose Wheat Beer

Four days in and I’m impressed. One of the things that is always concerning is the freshness of the beers in this calendar. Since it takes so long to get all the beers, organize them, and then ship them you are often left wondering how fresh they might be. This year all the beers have had best before dates on them, and, all the best before dates are a still at least a few months out.

Yesterday’s dark lager from Finland wasn’t that bad and it was nice to move to something a little more malt rich. Today we move off in another direction and get a Rose Ginger Wheat Beer 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.

Wheat beers are different from the German weissbier style. These beers can typically display more hop character and less yeast character than their German counterparts. Clean fermentation allows for there to be more graininess from the wheat that is complimented by the hop bitterness rather than the flavours that may be imparted by the yeast. This beer contains hops, rose water and some ginger spice as well that will certainly provide a different and interesting twist on the standard wheat beer flavours.

Historically this beer is an American craft beer variation of the German weissbier using cleaner yeast. Certain yeast strains can provide esters which impart some flavours of their own to the beer. This style would use yeast where the esters can be moderate to none. These yeasts, unlike those typically used in the German weissbier, present with no banana notes and no clove phenols but may have a slightly crisp finish.

These styles of beer can be in the same range of flavor and balance as the blonde ales but, as wheat is the primary malt ingredient, with a greater wheat malt characteristic that may present as bready, doughy, or grainy. With the variation on this style including both the use of rose water and ginger, I’m really excited to see how this one comes across.

Appearance – Hazy golden in color as I poured in the yeast sediment that was at the bottom of the bottle. It was a clear golden yellow color before pouring that in, but hey, that’s part of the fun of these beers.
Smell –  Smells of rose water, ginger, and cardamom with some hints of a sweet fruit, possibly plum.
Taste –  Tastes sweet right off the front and that rose water flavor comes through beautifully with hints of cardamom. The ginger is subtle but provides a bit of a peppery spice. The wheat malt isn’t overly noticeable but comes through on the finish.
Mouth feel
– Medium body, medium carbonation. Sweet with a subtle crispness on finish.
Overall – A very delicious beer. The wheat characteristics aren’t overly noticeable but they are present and provide an overall good base for this beer. Really a showcase of the flavours of rosewater and ginger.
Do I like it?
– I very much liked this beer. I felt that the use of rosewater really provided an interesting and flavorful beer. The ginger gave a nice peppery spice to it. Overall the beer really came through for me and I rather enjoyed it.

 

Day 2 – Camba Bavaria – Bavarian Winter IPA

day-2-camba-bavaria-bavarian-winter

The craft beer advent calendar is a tradition for me now. It is my third year writing about each of the beers contained within and it’s also a reminder of how far I’ve managed to come with my beer education and this blog. I am a long stretch from where I was when I first began.

It was really fun trying yesterday’s beer from Italy. I found myself reminiscing of searching for craft breweries while I was there. Today I opened the second tab to see what might be in store. From one of my favorite places to visit, Bavaria (Germany) was their Bavarian Winter IPA from Camba Bavaria Brewery.

Camba Bavaria has only been brewing since 2008 and already they have produced over 50 beers ranging from Pale ales, to Helles, to Russian Imperial Stouts aged in cognac barrels. Making use of a large variety of raw materials, they are always working to be innovative. This young brewery has been working to introduce new beers practically every week.

Located in an old mill in Truchtlaching on the river Alz, Camba was originally built as a brewery pilot plant by the brewing plant manufacturer BrauKon GmbH, regarded worldwide as one of the top suppliers of brewery equipment for small- and medium-sized breweries. This means that when Camba started they were already beginning with the ideal conditions for brewing beer giving them a head start in their journey. Currently Camba employs 3 master brewers, 5 brewers, and 5 beer sommeliers and work hard to communicate and exchange with other brewers around the world.

The name Camba Bavaria is actually pretty interesting as well. Truchtlaching was originally a celtic settlement in Bavaria. The word “Camba” means “brew kettle” in old Celtic language and thus pays tribute to that heritage. The second part, obviously, comes from the region in which they are located. The village of Truchtlaching is located in Chiemgau, one of the most beautiful holiday destinations in Bavaria.

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 at this time. 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 showcase 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 by the use of a large quantity of hops is not for everyone. Whether there is anything special about this in being a “Bavarian Winter” IPA is unknown, but I’m certainly excited to see. Now, onto this specific beer.

Appearance – Pale golden, almost amber with a good 3” of head that retains well and leaves lacing as it fades.
Smell –  Resinous hop notes that come through strong. Grapefruit citrus and a sweet tropical fruit note that is likely the lychee (I’ve never had one but my wife says that’s what it smells like.)
Taste –  Good bitterness on the front, not overpowering, with a sweet candy like taste and some grapefruit tartness. Finishes with a subtle lingering bitterness and citrus notes.
Mouth feel
– Medium body with an upfront resinous bitterness, candy sweetness in the middle and a subtle lingering bitterness on finish.
Overall – A well hopped, but not overpowering, IPA that offers a good combinations of resinous hop notes combined with subtle citrus and candy sweetness.
Do I like it?
– I found it to be fine. With the plethora of IPAs out there and the number that I’ve had, I find myself craving different beers than IPAs these days. I wasn’t a huge fan of the candied sweetness, but other than that I found it to be enjoyable.

 

Craft Beer Advent Calendar 2016

My wife gifted me the Beer Advent calendar again this year.  24 different “New World” beers from “Old World Countries”.  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 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.

The first post will be coming later today.  In the meantime, here is my round up of last year’s Craft Beer Advent Calendar.