Tag Archives: Belgian Style

Beau’s – Patersbier

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.

The Patersbier from Beaus is starting to pop up on shelves in Liquor Marts around the city. So now is the perfect time for a writeup of this beer.

*Writer’s Note: I did receive this beer review free of charge. This did not influence my write-up. *

Patersbier (Father’s Beer)

While it might be surprising to some of you, those monks who brew all the delicious Belgian strongs, tripels and quads, do not spend their time drinking these high alcohol beers. If they did, I’m sure they wouldn’t get a whole lot done. Instead, they brew this style of beer, a lighter variety called Patersbier (literally “Father’s Beer” in Dutch). They drink this beer instead of their high ABV products to allow them to enjoy the fruits of their labour while still being able to carry on the tasks of the day.

This style of beer is also known as an Enkel (single in Dutch) a name that likely comes from when the monks do an additional sparge on the grains to extract any remain sugars and then then use this collected sparge water to brew a highly sessionable beer. Singles from Trappist breweries are rarely available outside of the monasteries. So if you want to try one from a true Trappist monastery, you might have to travel.

Lucky for us, Beau’s has used their brewing skills to produce for us a Patersbier we can enjoy. With the weather warming up, these low ABV beers are a godsend for those days toiling away out in the sun on gardens, mowing lawns, or playing your favorite sport. So, how does it taste?

ABV – 4.7%
Appearance – Pours a light yellow with a slight haze, likely from acidulated malt and wheat malt, with a small bit of white foam that dissipates quickly.
Smell – Sweet notes of honey and subtle floral notes as well as some bready notes from the malt.
Taste – Sweetness on the front with a bit of an odd metallic note, as well with notes of lemon, and a touch of clove as well a bit of pepperiness.
Mouth Feel – Light bodied, clean drinking, good finish and rather refreshing.
Overall Thoughts – Overall this beer comes as described. The beer is easy to drink and has some nice flavour notes to it. It is a touch metallic upfront which is a bit odd. Despite that, the beer is as described, a great lawnmower beer that is refreshing and tasty.
Do I like it? – I did enjoy this. Despite the somewhat odd metallic note which wasn’t overly noticeable and easy to ignore, the beer was well done. It is refreshing and has some of those same Belgian characteristics that you get from other abbey style beers.

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.

I’m really looking forward to next week. Not only do we have the Manitoba Brewers’ Event happening down at Brazen Hall on June 6th, we also have Surly arriving in town on June 7th and Flatlanders’ Beer Festival coming up the weekend. It’s a pretty sweet time to love beer in Winnipeg and I’m psyched to partake as much as I can.

Keep following along as I keeping doing what I can to write about beer, breweries and brewers.

-Beer Winnipeg

Day 5 – Aviator Brewing Company – Devils Tramping Ground Tripel

Day 5 - Aviator Brewing Company - Devils Tramping Ground Tripel

I love the craft beer advent calendar, I really do. It’s got a lot of interesting beers from breweries I may not otherwise get a chance to try.  What I don’t like about the calendar is the way the beers are put inside.  I’ve had major issues with them falling down this year, especially the cans, and today I even ended up taking out the wrong beer.  Somehow my day 17 beer fell down and pushed my day 5 beer out of the way.  My wife ended up taking them all out for me (so I couldn’t peak) and putting them in individual wrapping with numbers on them.  I still love the calendar, just some friendly feedback (if you’re reading).

The fifth beer of the calendar is Aviator Brewing Company’s Devil’s Tramping Ground Tripel.  As the name suggests, this beer is a Beligan Tripel.  Aviator Brewing Company is located Fuquay Varina, North Carolina and has been open since 2008.

Mark Dobel opened Aviator in an old airplane hangar (hence the name) in November of 2008.  At the time he was the only employee and he brewed into two used dairy tanks.  Initially only brewing 300 gallons of beer, he quickly outgrew the dairy tanks.  In January of 2009, after adding a 30 barrel system, they began distribution to the triangle area of North Carolina.  I should say he because at this point they still only had 1 employee.

In April 2010 they moved from the hangar and increase capacity as well as employees up to four.  In 2012 they added a canning line as well as new beers including the one we are trying today, and by 2014 they had canned over 1.2 million beers.  In June of 2015 they were up to canning 3.5 million beers and had moved to a new 5 acre site.  At present, they are looking to expand to another 5 acre site and build a restaurant as well.  The website provides a good look at all the milestones along the way.  The beers sold by Aviator range widely from an IPA to a Pils to an Imperail Belgian Tripel.  They all have fun names and labels, check them all out here.

The style of beer we are drinking today is a Beligan Tripel. The name Tripel comes from the brewing process of this beer.  Essentially it means you are adding three times the malt as you would in a Beligan “simple”.   This increases the sugar content in the beer and results in a highly alcoholic beer.  The best Belgian tripels hide this strong alcoholic flavor making them delicious but dangerous.  They have a surprisingly light color, typically bright yellow to golden, which is a result of the addition of Belgian candy sugar (up to 25% sucrose).  Tripels are the most brewed of the Belgian styles and are highly adored due to their deep color, soft maltiness and unique yeast flavors.  Even with their high ABV (usually 8-12%) they are highly approachable when done right.  Let’s get to the beer.

Appearance – Clear, golden in colour with a good 1” of head that fades quickly leaving only a remnant of what was.
Smell – Almost like soap.  Not bad soap, the good fruity soap, like tangerines or grapefruit.
Taste – Nice sweetness with hints of pepper, mild fruit flavours and good malty sweetness. Definitely can tell it is alcoholic, but not in a bad way.
Mouth feel medium bodied, low carbonation, refreshing and crisp.
Overall – Really good.  The smell through me off a little bit but once I delved into the beer itself I was really impressed.  I like the depth of flavours with the tangerine and sweet fruits combined with the spice and malty notes. Nice ester profile with sweet date in there as well.
Do I like it?
– Yep, I really like. I’ve been growing in my palate for beer and last year I might not have liked this as much. For me this a strong Belgian Tripel with a lot going for it. The smell, while a bit weird, did not translate into taste. It’s one I’d like to have again.

85/100

Beer 4 – Strathroy Brewing Company – 1815 XXXX Peacemaker

Beer 4 - Strathroy Brewing Company - 1815 XXXX Peacemaker

Things are really starting to heat up in Manitoba in respect to the craft beer scene.  Peg Beer just launched their merchandise site, announced some of there beers and launched the PEG 100 club.  The memberships went like hotcakes and are certainly going to be worth the entrance.  We also have Torque Brewing who have officially signed their lease and are getting things organized at the brewery. Barn Hammer is coming along as well and are finalizing preparations on the brew house.  Needless to say after I get back to the Peg in January, it’s going to be a different beer scene and I’m very excited for that.

This morning I had a much easier time getting the bottle of beer out of the advent calendar.  I think it’s just the cans that are going to be a pain.  Really hard to get a grip on those guys.  Today’s beer comes to us from the small municipality of Strathroy-Cardoc and is Strathroy Brewing Company’s 1815 XXXX Peacemaker.

In June of 2014, after months of work converting an old flour mill into a micro-brewery, Alex Martin produced his first batch of 1812 Independence Pale Ale.  He turned his homebrew hobby into a business with the help of friends and family.   Alex brought his older brother Matthew, an avid home brewer and chemical engineer, into the business.  Matthew combines his brewing knowledge and scientific expertise into the brewing of Strathroy Brewing Company’s beers.

They’ve both worked very hard to get their beer into local pubs and restaurants.  Alex is a history buff and thus the name of the beer as 1812 Independence Ale, referencing the war of 1812.  The beer we have today, the 1815 Peacemaker, represents the treaty of Ghent, Belgium, the end of the Napoleonic Wars in Europe and over 200 years of Peace between Canada and the USA.  Check out Alex talking about the beer.

This beer is a Belgian Brown Porter.  Now, this style of beer is a combination of a British Porter and Belgian strong ale.  Porters, like stouts, are dark and heavy beers that have been malted heavily.  They are rich and often flavored with chocolate, coffee, or caramel malts to give them some balance to that richness.  Belgian dark strong ales are also malty with fruity esters and bready malts.  The combination of these two styles should make for a rich malty beer with subtle spice and fruit esters. I’m excited to give it a try.  You may see this beer called a Traditional Ale.  This is a catch all for beers that do not fit within particular styles and are typically ancient or old styles not brewed often.

Appearance – Dark Amber.  Think tan head that fades quickly leaving slight lacing.
Smell – Black cherry, toffee, caramel notes.
Taste – Slightly sweet on start and bitter on finish. Interesting transition between the two.
Mouth feel – Almost a little too light for such a dark beer, very thin in consistency with lots of carbonation.  Slightly bitter finish.
Overall – It’s ok.  It’s a bit lacking in the flavour department. Decent for the style.
Do I like it?
– It’s okay.  I find that it lacks any depth of flavour.  I get a lot on the nose and I’d like to see that translate at least somewhat into the taste. Unfortunately it doesn’t.

73/100

Craft Beer Advent Calendar – Day 24

Beer 24

Well, what a journey.  24 beers from around the world in a variety of different styles.  This process has given me a great deal of insight into brewing and breweries around the world.  I feel I have learned a great deal and I respect and appreciate beer a lot more than I did before this.  I certainly hope I have been able instill in some of you the same sort of sense of appreciation.

Our final beer comes to us from Sound Brewery out of Washington State in the USA.  Founded by Mark Hood and Brad Ginn, two seasoned home brewers, Sound Brewery began brewing in Poulsbo in February of 2011.  They have been brewing some award-winning beers that are Belgian inspired as well as traditionally northwest style beers as well.

The beer that has been given to us for the very last beer of this calendar is the Entendez Noël Belgian Quadrupel.  Sitting at 11.5%abv this is certainly a strong beer, bordering on a barley wine that promises to bring a good bitterness along with the warmth of malt.  Sitting at 50 IBU it is certainly up there with a good hoppy IPA for bitterness and having been brewed in the Belgian style, it promises to be a strong upfront beer with lots of complexity.  They’ve used Trappist yeast, Belgian Pilsner malts, cane sugar, and Motueka hops.

Quardrupels are a beer that is traditionally brewed by the Trappist Monks of Belgium.  Trappist Monks are renowned worldwide for their brewing abilities and rarely sell beer outside of their monasteries.  My brother had the opportunity to purchase 6 beers from one of the Trappist monasteries in a very limited release (100 cases of 6 beer each) in Toronto.  They were going for $100 a case, not cheap.

The name represents the strength of the beer and originates from the use of X on the bottles which indicated this.  So, a single would be marked with an X and indicate a weaker beer.  This is the strongest beer brewed by Trappist monks and would have been marked XXXX.  I’m rather excited to give it a try as it is the last beer of the Calendar.

Rating: 82/100

Appearance:  Clear amber colouring with no head.  Was concerned it was flat upon opening, luckily it just wasn’t.
Smell: Lemon notes, hoppy notes, some sweet honey smell and a bit of the caramel malt.
Taste: At first taste it is a light bodied, well balanced, sweet and hoppy beer with good citrus notes and some honey sweetness in there for flavor.  As I continued to drink the alcohol (11.5% if you remember) started to show itself making it taste like alcohol and overshadowing the other initial flavours.
Mouth feel: Light body with creamy mouth feel with light carbonation.
Overall: Nice, well-balance quardrupel that is better cold than warm.  As it warms the alcohol comes through a lot stronger and overpowers the other flavours.  They are quite nice though initially and this beer is well balanced and when I first sipped it I was surprised that I didn’t taste the alcohol.  As far as quadrupels go that is a good thing and this was definitely a strong contender.
Do I like it: No, I did not enjoy this beer.  It was good to begin with but as I continued to drink it the alcohol came through too strong.  Perhaps it is because it is such a strong beer and not my cup of tea, but it overpowered everything else for me and made it more of a chore to drink.  If I drank this one again, it would be outside on a cold Winnipeg day so that the beer would stay at that initial temp.

I have one more post that I will do for the Advent Calendar.  I will be summing up the 24 beers we have tried indicating their styles, location, and choosing my overall favorite.

Craft Beer Advent Calendar – Day 23

Beer 23

Today’s beer comes to us from Israel making it another Asian beer.  The beer is called Mosco and is brewed in the Judean Mountain in the village of Zanuch in Israel.  Annoyingly the website is down for them to update it and so I can’t find any information the brewer or brewery other than its location.  Seems that a variety of the beers in the calendar are trying to sabotage my ability to review them.  Oh well, we shall just move into the beer style and its review.

The beer is a Strong Blonde ale brewed in the Belgian method, so a Beligan Pale Ale essentially.  Blonde ales are very pale in color and are usually clear, crisp and dry.  Being brewed in the Belgian style means that it will use wheat malts which will make it cloudier than you’d expect but it should still hold the same coloring.  Blondes are from the Pale Ale variety of beer and usually have a lighter body with a subdued malt character and large hop profile.  They aren’t hoppy by any means, but they typically are not malty either.  Think of Coors or Coors light. Onto it then!

Rating: 67/100

Appearance:  Cloudy with a straw coloring and quite a bit of yeast sediment.
Smell: Yeasty on the nose with caramel malts and grassy/lemony notes from the hops.
Taste: Cool and crisp with a dry finish.  Slight fruitiness with a sickly sweetness making it taste far more alcoholic than the 6.5% abv should account for. Not as crisp as I would expect as the wheat malts make for a creamier mouth feel so the taste is subdued a bit on the end.
Mouth feel: Light body with creamy mouth feel with good carbonation.
Overall: Not the best Belgian style beer I’ve had in this variety nor even in this calendar.  The yeast sediment is a big turnoff for this style of beer as was the overly sweet character to it.  Overall this beer was below average for its style and not really a good showing for this calendar.
Do I like it: No, I did not enjoy this beer.  The sweetness was too much, it didn’t have the body and flavor that I would expect in a Belgian beer. I would not be interested in drinking this one again.