There are a lot of really good beers for me to write about these days. That along with the fun beer related events, breweries in the city, and being back at work, it’s gonna be an interesting year all around. Today I’ve had the good fortune of being able to sample Beau’s Fall Pack which should be coming to Liquor Marts before too long. It’s a pack of four beer, Lug Tread and three others, and I’m looking forward to giving them a try.
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. Led by head brewer Matt O’Hara, the focus at Beau’s is to brew interesting and tasty beers using only quality, certified-organic ingredients and local spring water.
This “Best of Beau’s” pack contains four beers. Lug Tread – Beau’s core beer which is a their take on a Kölsch, Sargeant Stripes -A Jamaican Export Stout, Cranberry Derby – a pale ale infused with cranberry and using oat as part of the malt profile, and the Spice Principal – a take on the German weissbier using 12 organic spices from coriander to ginger to cayenne.
*Writer’s Note: I did receive this pack to review for free. *
Lug Tread – Kölsch
Lug Tread is a hybrid style beer. It is top fermented like an ale but cold-aged like a lager to create this crisp and refreshing take on a German Kölsch. This is Beau’s flagship beer and it has won over 20 awards for brewing excellence since 2006.
A typical Köslch is crisp and refreshing with subdued hop and a subdued maltiness throughout. This brings a nice refreshing beer with a crisp finish that is enjoyable during the summer months. Beau’s take on this style is a bit more malt forward and brings a bit of warmth so that it can even be enjoyed during the winter months when it’s cold outside and one is seeking that warming.
This style of beer originated in Cologne, Germany. There had been a tradition of top-fermenting beers in Cologne since the Middle-Ages. The “Köslch” that we drink today wasn’t produced until the 1800s and was developed in large part to combat the bottom-fermenting pale lagers which were being produced in other regions of Germany and Europe.
The name Kölsch is an appellation protected by the Kölsch Konvention (1986) and is restricted in use to the 20 or so breweries around in and around Köln. The Konvention simply defines the beer as a “light, highly attenuated, hop-accentuated, clear, top-fermenting Vollbier.” So, while you may have had a beer that is brewed in this style, you’ll only have had a true Kölsch if it’s from one of the breweries permitted to use the name.
ABV – 5.2%
Appearance – Pours a clear pale straw in colour with a nice white head that quickly dissipates.
Smell – Smell is clean with a biscuity note to it, dried apple and hay
Taste – Nice light malt notes bring that bready feel to the beer. Light fruit notes follow along with some light hop herbal spiciness finishing with both refreshing and crisp.
Mouth Feel – Good level of carbonation with a malty herbal hop dry finish.
Overall Thoughts –While not a Kolsch, this beer does well in representing the style by bringing great flavour without overwhelming the beer. It remains highly drinkable and refreshing.
Do I like it? – This is a nice easy drinking beer that is great on a warm day or sitting inside in the cold. I do like this beer and think it is a good representation of what Beau’s can do.
Sargeant Stripes – Export Stout
Sergeant Stripes is Beau’s take on an export stout. 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. Those brewed before WW1 had the same Original Gravity (starting sugar content) as Extra Stouts but because it had a long secondary fermentation with Brettanomyces it ended up with a higher alcohol content. 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.
Export Stouts were brewed to be able to keep and be enjoyable after taking a long journey to hotter climates. Most of the export stouts today are found in these hotter climates including Africa, Asia and the Caribbean and the Guinness version makes up ~40% of the Guinness brewed today.
ABV – 7.9%
Appearance – Pours dark as the night sky with a nice tan head.
Smell – Roasted malt, some chocolate and a strong aroma of sweet molasses come through on this beer.
Taste – The first word that comes to mind is sweet. This beer brings some nice roasted malt with a huge burst of molasses sweetness, subtle mocha and coffee notes and a nice alcohol warming.
Mouth Feel – Solid silky body with a warming sweet finish.
Overall Thoughts – Nice roasted malt, good sweetness, nice alcohol warming and overall solid export stout.
Do I like it? – I did like this beer though I found it more of a sipping beer. The sweetness went better when I was eating food then on its own where I found it to be a bit on the sweet side for me. Still, overall, I enjoyed it.
Cranberry Derby – Cranberry Oat Ale
With the wild oat series, Beau’s reimagines recipes and brews something interesting and creative. This beer falls in that category. Using a combination of German hops, Canadian cranberries, cranberry juice and oats along side Vienna, caramunich, carared and acidulated malts to bring a light ale base complimented with tart cranberry.
While this doesn’t really fit into any specific style, it would fall under the generic category of Fruit/Vegetable beer. These are beers that are brewed using a base style with the addition of fruit.
ABV – 6.3%
Appearance – Pours with a pale reddish tinge and a nice white foamy head.
Smell – Biscuity malt notes come through with nose of cranberry tartness.
Taste – Interesting taste here. It starts of with a light refreshing crispness and then flows into that sublte cranberry tartness and leaves an almost cookie like taste. Nice tartness that doesn’t dominate this beer but works in tandem with the malt and oat cereal backbone of this beer.
Mouth Feel – Light carbonation with a subtle tart semi-sweet finish.
Overall Thoughts – This beer brings a nice pale body with a well-balanced malt/oat profile complimented with the use of cranberries and cranberry juice. The mild tartness and semi-sweet beer is a nice beer for a crisp autumn day.
Do I like it? – I did enjoy this one as well. This is not a sour beer, but it does have a nice tartness to it that works well with the sweet malt profile. It isn’t overwhelming or overt in either of these areas but subtle like the crispness of a fall day. It’s refreshing.
The Spice Principle – 12 Spice Weissbier
The Spice Principle is a German-style Weissbier that has been brewed using twelve organic spices. The spices include: coriander, tumeric, cumin, fenugreek, cayenne, black pepper, yellow mustard, ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves and nutmeg.
German Weissbiers are typically a pale refreshing wheat beer with high carbonation, dry finish and a light airy mouthfeel. Typically, due to the yeast esters, they also have a banana-clove yeast character to them. This style of beer has an interesting history. While it does date back hundreds of years to Bavaria, it was originally exclusively brewed by the Bavarian royalty. Modern versions of this beer date back to 1872 when Schneider began production.
While the typical Weissbier has that almost expected banana-clove yeast character, The Spice Principle takes this up a notch and will certainly have a far more unique and interesting flavour profile. The spices listed above bring a huge range of notes that are quite exciting. This certainly is a unique beer and I’d expect nothing less from Beau’s.
ABV – 5.6%
Appearance – Pours a hazy golden straw colour with a good white head.
Smell – There is a lot going on in this beer. There are aromas of pepper, banana, and cumin. There is a bit of a twinge in the nose from subtle cayenne and some pumpkin spice notes coming from the use of nutmeg and cinnamon.
Taste – Quite a lot going on here as well. The spices themselves aren’t easily identified at the start. What you do get is some nice banana and cumin notes that are followed by a very subtle spice from the cayenne and a blend of the other spices working together in tandem to give a really rich experience. If you focus you can pick out individual spices but they seem to work really well together.
Mouth Feel – High carbonation with a really light mouth feel and a nice spiced finish.
Overall Thoughts –Really interesting take on the style. You do actually get some of those esters you’d expect in a weissbier, though they are quickly overtaken by the multitude of other spice profiles working together to bring you a really rich overall beer.
Do I like it? – This is one of those “you have to try it” beers. I don’t think I’m doing justice to the taste profile. If you’ve hate Dieu de ciel’s Route d’epices then you have a decent idea what this is like. It is not as hot as that beer, but it’s got the same amount of interesting and unique flavour profile going on. I did like this beer.
Overall, I was quite impressed with the beers in the Fall mix pack. I can see why they chose each of these beers. They provide a wide range of styles with some great flavours. Definitely get out and try these beers. Beau’s does some fun stuff and these beers give you a bit of a look at some of that.
I want to finish by thanking my friend Cody over at beercrank.ca for letting me use his sweet pictures in this review. Be sure to check his blog out as well. You’ll get another take on some of the same stuff.
As always, I encourage you to get out and try as many new beers as you can. Broaden your horizons and your palate.