Tag Archives: Review

Brazen Hall

Brazen Hall Logo

It’s spring! I just got back a little while ago from a trip to the Maritimes. It’s always fun to see family and spend some time trying the new beers that have come out in that region. While away, there were several happenings and it seems to be getting busier around Manitoba in respect to beers and breweries.

Torque has new beer coming out and have be consistently putting interesting stuff on at the taproom. The MBBA released a social pack containing a collaboration India Pale Lager along with beers from other local breweries. Half Pints has been making great use of their taproom and have consistently been releasing new beers and test batches. Barn Hammer and PEG have been doing much the same with taproom only releases and experimental beers. Frankly, it’s hard to keep up but a lot fun to see everything happening.

I made a short little post about the opening of Brazen Hall a couple of weeks ago. I wanted to make certain to do a more thorough post, so here we are.

Brazen Hall is a new brewery and kitchen located on the site of the old Round Table and Brogue pub on Pembina highway. I had the opportunity to stop in during the construction period and have written about the plans for the Brewpub at that time. I must say that while slightly delayed from their original target, the space is well redesigned. It has some flare connected with the “Brazen” concept and the Viking theme. The door handles at the entrance doors are mock swords which I think is a neat little touch.

When I visited, there were three beers available on tap, an amber ale, experimental bitter and a dark IPA. What was a bit surprising was that the ABV on these beers. While the amber ale came in at a pretty standard 4.9%, the experimental bitter and dark IPA were at 2.8% and 3.2%. These low ABVs seemed a bit off and at first I thought was a mistake. Overall the beers were good. While they weren’t exactly what I was hoping for and I found the IPA to fall a bit flat for me, I enjoyed them all the same.

The food is a pretty eclectic mix of options with some remnants of the old Brogue (candied bacon and a burger with crispy cheese) as well as the star of the round tables menu, prime rib. There were a few menu options not yet available as they are waiting on a smoker. Look at the full beer and food menus.

I spoke with Kristian during my visit and he told me that they are going through about 3000L of beer a week. They are having a tough time keeping up with demand and have ordered another fermenter to try to keep up. This means that until they have their own house taken care of, they won’t be doing any commercial sales of their beers. It’s still early days and they are still nailing down some of what will be their “staples” so this makes sense.

Overall my experience there was enjoyable. The food was great, the beers were good, and the space itself was fantastic. I’ll be visiting again to see how the beer options progress and to try the food again once they get that smoker installed.

I’ll be trying to check in with a few other breweries soon. TransCanada, Oxus, and Nonsuch are on the list. I’m also working to setup my next “Get to know a brewer” interview with Adrienne Johnson from Barn Hammer. So, keep following along. We are entering the Coast to Coaster and Flatlanders seasons before long and I expect we will be seeing some interesting things happening/arriving here in Winnipeg over the coming months.

Beau’s – Strong Patrick Irish Red Ale

 

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

I was pretty excited to get a package from Beaus with a few more beers to review. They have a number of things coming up for us folks in Manitoba and I’m excited for the future.

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. While not the only completely organic brewery in Canada, they certainly have made a name for themselves with their business practices: they’ve won over 85 awards for their brewing, packaging design and business practices. This includes two gold medals at Mondial de la Biere (Strasbourg, France, and Montreal Quebec); six gold medals at the Canadian brewing awards, seven times “Best Craft Brewery in Ontario” and seven times “Best Regularly Produced Beer in Ontario” at the Golden Tap Awards.

Beau’s is also the official beer for the 150th anniversary of confederation. This is a pretty amazing achievement and they’ve been in full swing with it. They are planning to do collaborations across Canada. I had the chance to try the collaboration they did with the Fogo Island Inn located on Fogo Island, one of Canada’ oldest settlements. It was a Myrrh smoked Gose and it was pretty tasty.

Beau’s did confirm with me that they are going to be doing a collaboration brew with a Manitoba brewery. What is still to be confirmed is the brewery and the style of beer. What I do know is that we are getting some beers from Beaus coming our way. Today I’m reviewing their Strong Patrick Irish Red Ale.

The Beer

This beer is presently available at Liquor Marts around the city.

Irish red ales are typically an easy drinking pint of beer. They have subtle flavours and are more malt forward with a balance between toffee/caramel sweetness and slightly grainy biscuit notes. Some versions, like this one, will emphasize the caramelly sweetness a bit more.

While it’s true that Ireland has a long tradition of ale brewing, this style of beer is an interpretation of the English Bitter with less hopping and a bit of roast to add colour and dryness. Having been rediscovered as a craft beer style in Ireland, it has now become quite a regular style in many brewery line-ups along side pale ales and stouts.

This beer is part of the Wild Oats series of beers from Beau’s. It has also been “barrel-accented” (short term barrel aging) in wheat whiskey barrels which give it a bit of wood and vanilla notes.

ABV – 6.7%
Appearance – Pours a clear dark-red almost brick colour with a good 2” head that wisps away leaving slight lacing on the glass.
Smell – Smells of caramel, toffee, slight vanilla, with some biscuit notes.
Taste – Caramel and toffee sweetness on the front with a slightly grainy biscuit and vanilla. Slight hop notes balance out the sweetness leaving a dry finish.
Mouth Feel – Soft carbonation with a dry finish.
Overall Thoughts – Very good representation of the style of beer as it is described.
Do I like it? – As I’ve been noticing, Beau’s beers are quite on point. This is one I’d be happy to buy regularly. I enjoyed it. I liked the extra weight to it from the barrel aging and the slightly higher ABV. It was nice and drinkable while having a good combination of flavour notes.

Coming soon

Beau’s is still planning on sending some beers this way. We will see their Buenos Dias Gruit coming in May. Beau’s has also submitted to bring another seasonal beer, yet unknown, for the Liquor Marts coast to coaster promotion in June. Beau’s will also be at the Flatlander’s beer festival and there will be a seasonal beer coming to Manitoba in July, likely their Wag the Wolf Hopfenweisse. The Tom Green Beer Golden Vox Rye Pale Lagered Ale and Lug Tread are also listed for restaurants to purchase to put on tap.

We are starting to see more and more of Beau’s beers come into Manitoba and complimenting the great selection we are getting locally. I, for one, am very excited to see what the collaboration beer will be. Keep following along as once I know you will too.

-Beer Winnipeg

 

Beau’s – 80 Schilling Scottish-Style Ale

I was pretty excited to get a package from Beaus with a few more beers to review. They have a number of things coming up for us folks in Manitoba and I’m excited for the future.

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. While not the only completely organic brewery in Canada, they certainly have made a name for themselves with their business practices: they’ve won over 85 awards for their brewing, packaging design and business practices. This includes two gold medals at Mondial de la Biere (Strasbourg, France, and Montreal Quebec); six gold medals at the Canadian brewing awards, seven times “Best Craft Brewery in Ontario” and seven times “Best Regularly Produced Beer in Ontario” at the Golden Tap Awards.

Beau’s Brewing Company is the Official Beer Partner of Ottawa 2017 and Beau’s Lug Tread will be the Official Beer for Canada’s 150th anniversary celebrations in the nation’s capital As part of this achievement, they are planning to do collaborations across Canada. I had the chance to try the collaboration they did with the Fogo Island Inn located on Fogo Island, one of Canada’ oldest settlements. It was a Myrrh smoked Gose and it was pretty tasty.

Beau’s did confirm with me that they are going to be doing a collaboration brew with a Manitoba brewery. What is still to be confirmed is the brewery and the style of beer. What I do know is that we are getting some beers from Beaus coming our way. In fact, the first one is on the growler bars now and is the focus of this article. Their Farm to Table 80 Schilling Scotch Ale.

The Beer

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

80 Schilling is a Scottish style ale. These beers originated in the 1800s and the “schilling” classification had to do with the alcohol content. Typically, these beers would range from 60 schilling (light) to 90 schilling (wee heavy). The 80 schilling variety was a popular style and was considered to be the “export” of this style of beer.

Scottish exports are typically malt-focused and are generally caramelly with a few esters and occasionally a subtle butterscotch aftertaste. Hop notes are only present to balance the beer and support the malt which is to be the star. Beau’s farm to table series is focused on brewing traditional styles of beers and is a compliment to their more experimental “wild oats” series of beers.

ABV – 4.7%
Appearance – Pours a copper colour with a nice 1” quickly fading white head.
Smell – Smells of caramel with a toasty malt note and some biscuit notes.
Taste – Up front malt sweetness with a crispness to it. The bitterness in this beer is very mild but is present as a compliment to the sweetness and generally caramel notes of the malt.
Mouth Feel – Soft carbonation with a dry finish.
Overall Thoughts – Very good representation of the style of beer as it is described. Malt is the star with a nice caramel and toasted biscuit notes. The hop presence is subtle and compliments the malt sweetness.
Do I like it? – As I’ve been noticing, Beau’s beers are quite on point. While this particular beer is not really one I’d seek out to buy I enjoyed it. If you are looking for a malt-forward yet easy to drink beer, this is worth a growler/howler fill.

Coming soon

While this is the first beer we have coming from Beau’s this year, we can expect more. In March we will see the arrival of “Strong Patrick”, an Irish-style red ale, as well as their Buenos Dias Gruit coming in May. Beau’s has also submitted to bring another seasonal beer, yet unknown, for the Liquor Marts coast to coaster promotion in June. Beau’s will also be at the Flatlander’s beer festival and there will be a seasonal beer coming to Manitoba in July, likely their Wag the Wolf Hopfenweisse. The Tom Green Beer Golden Vox Rye Pale Lagered Ale and Lug Tread are also listed for restaurants to purchase to put on tap.

We are starting to see more and more of Beau’s beers come into Manitoba and complimenting the great selection we are getting locally. I, for one, am very excited to see what the collaboration beer will be. Keep following along as once I know you will too. I’ve also got a follow-up with One Great City on the books coming hopefully later this week.

 

-Beer Winnipeg

 

Best of Beaus Mix Pack

Sometimes I feel pretty lucky doing what I do. I had the opportunity to try out the Best of Beau’s pack a little bit early so that I could spend some time tasting and writing about the pack. This pack is already listed on the MB Liquormarts website and I’m hoping that this write-up of the four beers contained within will prove helpful to you. Overall the pack presents some diversity of styles with some interesting twists.

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. While not the only completely organic brewery in Canada, they certainly have made a name for themselves with their business practices: they’ve won over 85 awards for their brewing, packaging design and business practices. This includes two gold medals at Mondial de la Biere (Strasbourg, France, and Montreal Quebec); six gold medals at the Canadian brewing awards, seven times “Best Craft Brewery in Ontario” and seven times “Best Regularly Produced Beer in Ontario” at the Golden Tap Awards.

This “Best of Beau’s” pack contains four beers. Dark Helmut – Imperious Schwarzbier, Bush-Fire – Rooibos Honeybush Beer, Collabrrrewnaut – Espresso Pilsner, and Quads & Rockers – Belgian Quad.

Dark Helmut – Imperious Schwarzbier

Dark Helmut is a beer brewed in the style of a Schwarzbier, a German dark lager that literally translates to “Dark Beer”. The “imperious” nature of it both plays on the Dark Helmut (reminiscent of both Darth Vader and Lord Helmet) as well as the fact that the ABV on this beer comes in at 7.3%.

Schwarzbiers are typically a balanced beer. Presenting both a smooth roasted malt characteristic along with a moderate hoppy bitterness. Lighter in body and lacking the deeper roasted malt and heavy aftertaste make Schwarzbiers easy to drink.

While the history on this style is fairly sketchy, it is a regional specialty of Thuringia, Saxony and Franconia in Germany. Popularity for this beer came back after German unification and it served as an inspiration for Japanese brewed black lagers.

ABV – 7.3%
Appearance – Pours charcoal with a thin quick fading off-white head.
Smell – Smells of caramel and toffee, dark fruit and roasted malt
Taste – Bitter roasted malt notes along with sweet malt and caramel. Lingering bitter slightly astringent after taste.
Mouth Feel – Soft carbonation with a dry bitter finish.
Overall Thoughts – A very nice well-balanced beer that has a bit more flavour from the extra malt used to make this imperious(imperial).
Do I like it? – I found this beer to be quite tasty. It wasn’t too rich or filling but still carried a nice malt and hop balance. Easy to drink and flavourful.

Bush-Fire – Rooibos Honeybush Beer

Bush-fire is brewed using a blonde ale as a base with the addition of rooibos and honeybush teas. Blonde ales are traditional malt oriented with interesting hop or floral flavours and aromas. Light bodied, easy to drink and refreshing, these beers typically don’t overwhelm the senses with flavour. They are typically well-balanced and clean on the finish.

Typically, this style of beer is brewed as an alternative to a lager, which requires a period of lagering making it a more time consuming beer to produce. This particular blonde ale from Beau’s certainly contains a punch of both aroma and flavour that is clean on the finish and very satisfying to drink.

ABV – 5.8%
Appearance –  Pours amber with a short lived thin white head.
Smell – Smells of Honey right upfront with hints of southern sweet tea, and rooibos
Taste – Nice sweetness reminiscent of honey with a dry tannic bitterness on finish from the tea. Not overpowering by any stretch but flavourful and enjoyable. Rooibos and honey bush bring really nice flavours to this blonde ale
Mouth Feel –  Medium carbonation, light mouthfeel with a lingering dry finish.
Overall Thoughts – Overall quite a good beer. Teas bring a very good balance and depth to the blonde ale base. Honey sweetness and dry finish make for an enjoyable drink.
Do I like it? – While I tend to find blonde ales not to be up my alley, this one had nice flavours to it that added quite a bit to the easy drinking blonde ale base. So, yes, I did like it.

Collabrrrewnaut – Espresso Pilsner

Collabrrrewnaut is a really interesting blend of a Bohemian-style pilsner base and cold brewed organic fair trade coffee.  Done as a collaboration between Beau’s and Ottawa’s Bridgehead Roastery, this beer brings some really interesting flavours to an already delicious style of beer.

Pilsners are one of the most popular beer styles in the word and originate in the City of Pilzen in 1295.  While Pilsners are considered to be bottom-fermented beers now, they were actually top-fermented until about the mid-1840s.  The taste and standards of this older styles varied widely and in many cases entire barrels of beer were dumped out.  In 1839 the city of Pilsen founded a city owned brewery (now Pilsner Urquell) which was to brew beers and pioneer the Bavarian style.  Brewers had already begun to brew using bottom-fermenting yeasts that were fermented and stored in colder temperatures to be drunk later. This is where the term lager comes from. Lagern is the German word for storing and comes from this process.

Using Pilzen’s soft water, local saaz hops and this Bavarian style of lagering produced a clear, crisp and refreshing beer that became the standard for the style.  With the introduction of modern refrigeration there was no need to use caves for beer storage and this enabled the brewing of bottom-fermenting beers in many new places.

ABV – 5%
Appearance –  Pours a straw colour with an effervescent white head.
Smell – Smells of slight herb and spice and a subtle espresso note.
Taste – Deceptive. While it has a very subtle bitterness and a clean dry finish it contains interesting depth of notes from coffee to subtle fig and hints of chocolate.
Mouth Feel –  Medium body, medium carbonation with a lingering dry finish.
Overall Thoughts – While I tend to characterize pilsners as having a bit of a “bite” to them on the finish, this beer finishes clean. The really interesting flavours brought in by the use of coffee provide a variety of flavours that don’t typically crop up in pilsners.
Do I like it? – This beer was deceptively good. The initial pour is light in colour and gets the mind ready for a lighter crisp clean beer. While this beer certainly had a clean dry finish, the flavour profile was really interesting. I rather enjoyed drinking this beer and trying to pick out the different components. The coffee used definitely added.

Quads and Rockers – Belgian Quad

Quads and Rockers is a Belgian strong ale that has been brewed with a focus on tradition and style. Full-bodied and full-flavour, these beers are often quite heavy, bring rich malty sweetness.

The name Quadruple comes from the brewing process of this beer.  Essentially it means you are adding four times the malt as you would in a Belgian “simple”.   This increases the sugar content in the beer and results in a highly alcoholic beer.  The best Belgian quads hide this strong alcoholic flavor making them delicious but dangerous. Quads 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.

ABV – 10.5%
Appearance –  Pours Dark brown with a thin beige head.
Smell – Smells of banana, mocha and raisins.
Taste – Rich malty sweetness that has notes of cocoa, banana, and some peppery notes.
Mouth Feel –  Nice medium carbonation with a full mouthfeel and a lingering warmth on finish.
Overall Thoughts – Overall a nice Belgian quad carrying good esters from the yeast and a full sweetness that lingers warm. Alcohol is well masked.
Do I like it? – I’m a big fan of big bold beers. This was a full and enjoyable Belgian Quad that brought some really tasty flavours and a nice warmth from the alcohol. ABV is Well masked, but certainly still a sipping beer, I definitely enjoyed this one as well.

Overall I was quite impressed with the beers in the “Best of Beau’s” mix pack. I can see why they chose each of these beers. They provide a wide range of styles with some great flavours.

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.

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

-Beer Winnipeg

 

Deschutes – Pinot Suave

pinot-suave-22oz

It’s been a little bit since I’ve written a post and it’s nice to be back at it. I have had some exciting changes in my life recently which have prevented me from posting as often as I would like. My wife and I welcomed our daughter to the world on November 4th and it’s been a whirlwind. It is probably the best and most significant change I’ve ever had in my life and I’m really happy, if not a little sleep deprived.

While I am scheduling follow-ups with many of the local breweries in the city, I wanted to take today’s post to give a write-up on a unique beer that has arrived on Liquormart shelves. Pinot Suave from Deschutes is a pricey bottle of beer ($29.99) and many might be wondering whether it’s worth it or not. I’m not here to tell you one way or the other, but I wanted to give it a try and figured I’d give you some background on the beer, style, and my notes.

Deschutes is a family and employee-owned brewery located in Bend, Oregon. Starting as a public house in 1988, Deschutes believes that every pint of beer should be worth sharing. Deschutes is all about finding the balance between community, experimentation, and ingenuity and drinkability, quality and consistency. With a variety of all-year, seasonal and specialty brews, Deschutes makes some typical and atypical beers for folks to enjoy. We’ve been fortunate to have some of these come to Manitoba and I know I’ve enjoyed many of them.

Along with this passion for beer, they live by a motto of sustainability as well. Since 1988 they’ve followed the practice of “do your best and next time do it better” in all things. They employ a sustainability team to work at ensuring they use less resources while maintaining productivity and quality in product. You can read more about their commitment to sustainability here.

On-top of their commitment to sustainability they have a strong tie with the community of Bend. Since 1988 they’ve endeavored to be a part of the community and are always looking for ways to help other community organizations be successful. They contribute one dollar of every barrel they sell to charitable organizations throughout the territories they sell their beer. In total, they contributed $850,000 in cash and in-kind donations.

The specific beer that I tried was their Belgian Dark Strong Ale called Pinot Suave. It gets its name from being aged for 18 months in French and American oak barrels that had previously contained Pinot Noir. They’ve also made an addition of pinot grape must and sour wort to the beer giving it a really unique flavor profile that contains both an acidity and wine like characteristic.

Belgian Dark Strong Ales are, oddly enough, very strong Belgian ales with an ABV of between 8 and 12%. Overall these beers typically have a blend of malt, dark fruit and spice characteristics and are often described as smooth, complex and dangerous because of their ability to hide the ABV amongst the flavours. Historically these beers are unique in character depending on the brewer and often produced in limited batches which end up being highly sought after. As always you can read more about the style in the BJCP guidelines (Page 53-54).

The beer comes in a 750ml bottle that has been waxed on top and given the alcohol content, this is one that you would be able to age should you so choose.

ABV – 11.9%

Appearance – Dark amber/brown with a medium light tan head.

Smell – Very interesting aroma. Wine grapes, caramel, oak notes, some toffee and a boozy aroma as well.

Taste – Taste begins clean and crisp with notes of oak, rich sweetness, grape must and some light tartness. The grape notes are quite noticeable and the finish is very tannic giving this beer a wine-like characteristic. It’s almost like a combination of wine and beer.

Mouth Feel – Soft carbonation with a dry tannic finish reminiscent of a red-wine. Boozy warmth is ever-present.

Overall Thoughts – Very unique combination of flavours. Comes across as more of a wine-beer hybrid. The Belgian strong-ale base is definitely there and brings a really deep malty-sweetness that works well with the tannic and tart notes from the wine aspect of this beer. Overall a very interesting Belgian style of beer.

Do I like it? – I enjoyed drinking this beer. I found that the combination of flavours was something I hadn’t really had before and it was enjoyable. I wasn’t overwhelmed by the beer and , while I would certainly be interested in having another one, the price-point on this makes it a little less approachable. I did buy another one to age and will be trying that down the road.

As always, I encourage people to try new beers whenever they have the chance and make up their own minds. Hopefully my notes help.

Thanks so much for continuing to read this blog. I’ve got a follow-up with Little Brown Jug and Nonsuch in the works and hope to be following up with others in the near future. I also got my hands on the craft beer advent calendar again this year and I’ll be posting about each of the beers every day in December. If you haven’t already, follow me on twitter @beerwinnipeg

-Beer Winnipeg

 

 

 

Local Fall Offerings

Local Fall Offerings

We’re into October and thus comes the arrival of many fall beers – mostly pumpkin spiced yam and pumpkin beers from around the country and the United States. For some, these represent something wrong with beer, while for others they are as comforting as the first pumpkin spice latte of the season, a warm embrace of comfort and joy. As our craft beer community continues to grow (we now have four active Winnipeg-based breweries) I thought I’d write about what they are offering this fall.

Half Pints

Image result for Half Pints Oktoberfest

Every year around this time we see the release of Half Pints Oktoberfest Lager. It’s a traditional German style of beer, also called a Marzen. Before refrigeration it was nearly impossible to brew beer in the summer time due to bacterial infections caused by the increased heat. This meant most brewing had to be completed by the end of spring (March/Marzen). These beers were kept in cold storage over the spring and summer months resulting in a darker, amber colored lager with a higher alcohol content than average. They would typically be rolled out for Oktoberfest celebrations.

This is also the beer that often is transformed into “Punknfest” with pumpkin and spices added to become the “typical” pumpkin fall beer, but this has not been announced yet, nor is it a guarantee. For now, the Oktoberfest is Half Pints’ fall offering.

Appearance:  Dark amber-brown pour with a slightly off-beige head
Smell: Caramel notes, dark fruit, slight earthy hop aroma
Taste:
Nice malty sweetness brings great flavours that are kept from becoming overly sweet by some nice earthy/grassy hop notes

Torque

Even though they are the new kid on the block, this brewery is hammering their beers out of the park. I’ll be doing a write-up on their all-year offerings in the near future, but for now let’s tackle their fall offering, a Dark Pumpkin Ale called “Witching Hour”.

While called a Dark Pumpkin Ale, this beer is brewed in the catch-all style of a spiced/herb/vegetable beer. This means that while it can be brewed in a similar fashion to another style of beer – in this case an ale – the main tastes highlights are found in the additions. This style of beer can take on numerous different variations depending on the choice of malts, hops, and additions made. What I can say about this particular beer is that it is heavily malted providing a very nice caramel rich backbone to compliment the addition of pumpkin (or yams) and spices.

Appearance:  Dark brown, bordering on black, with a slight red hue with a tan head.
Smell: Dark malt, caramel sweetness, pumpkin pie spices (nutmeg, clove, allspice, cinnamon) and some roasty notes.
Taste:
The sweetness from the dark malt comes through strong and is complimented by the spices. While sweet, it does have some roasted notes to the malt that cut the sweetness just slightly making this beer not overpoweringly sweet. The cinnamon and nutmeg come through with a bit of clove.
Barn Hammer

barn-hammer-moonlight-desires

Barn Hammer has taken a different route altogether and has brewed a Smoke Pumpkin Saison. This was one of their first test batch beers and they’ve now produced a full run of it for sale at their brewery. Through and through this a saison.

Saisons are a sturdy farmhouse style of beer. Originally created in Wallonia, the French speaking part of Belgium, it was traditionally 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 last but 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 there’s lots of spice with mild bitterness and a dry crisp finish and only a hint of sweetness.

This particular saison uses both beechwood smoked malt and locally sourced roasted sugar pumpkin combined with nutmeg, cinnamon, allspice and ginger to bring a little bit of smoke, spice and funk to the beer.

Appearance:  Pours a cloudy copper with an off-white head
Smell: Some spice notes from the additions, smoke notes and a bit of pepperiness.
Taste:
The beer is lightly spiced and the smoked malt comes through as the star. The spice is subtle backing up the pepperiness from the saison. There is a bit of funk to this beer.
Fort Garry

Fort Garry has once again released their Happy Jack Pumpkin Ale. This is another beer brewed in the catch-all style of a spiced/herb/vegetable beer. The main tastes highlights are found in the additions. This style of beer can take on numerous different variations depending on the choice of malts, hops, and additions made. This has additions of real pumpkin, traditional spices and then it is aged with oak. Another take on the traditional fall “pumpkin” beers being offered both locally and from afar.

Appearance:  Amber coloured with an off-white head
Smell: Roasted malty scent with an interesting almost rum aroma from the oak and vanilla that is complimented with pumpkin spices.
Taste: The vanilla, spices and oak come through well. The beer has a lighter body than expected. There are some savoury/bitter notes and the spices leave you with a bit of an aftertaste.

I always encourage people to get out and try new beer. I hope that you do and expand your beer horizons. I’m working on some other write-ups at the moment and have many folks to follow up with. So lots more to come.

As always, I appreciate everyone following.

-Beer Winnipeg

 

 

 

 

The Tom Green Beer

beaus-logo-colour

It sure seems like it has been a long time since I’ve written about any of the beers I’ve been drinking.  It might be that – or the number has grown so large it’s a bit overwhelming when I look at the ones I wanted to write about. Whatever it may be, I’m back with a write up.  This time, I’m talking about one of the beers we’ll see on Liquor Marts’ shelves soon: Beau’s The Tom Green Beer.

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. While not the only completely organic brewery in Canada, they certainly have made a name for themselves with their business practices: they’ve won over 85 awards for their brewing, packaging design and business practices. This includes two gold medals at Mondial de la Biere (Strasbourg, France, and Montreal Quebec); six gold medals at the Canadian brewing awards, seven times “Best Craft Brewery in Ontario” and seven times “Best Regularly Produced Beer in Ontario” at the Golden Tap Awards.

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The Tom Green Beer was produced in collaboration with comedian and actor Tom Green.  For those of you who saw his sketch comedy show, you’ll remember he was known for drinking milk straight from the cow’s udder. His love for milk surely played a role in him wanting his beer to be a Milk Stout.

What I really admire about Beau’s is they give away a lot of details about their beers. So here are the technical specifications for the Tom Green Beer for those of you who are interested:

TECH SPECS
ALC/VOL: 5.0%

INGREDIENTS: Local Spring Water, Organic Barley Malts, Organic Oats, Organic Lactose, Organic Hops, Ale Yeast.

MALTS: 2 Row, Munich, Oats, Caramel 120, Roasted, Chocolate, Black (All Organic)

 

HOPS: Perle, Hersbrucker (All Organic)

YEAST: Ale Yeast

IBU’S: 27

OG: 14.1°P

FG: 6.3°P

SERVING TEMP.: 7-10° C

GLASSWARE: Nonic

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. Lactose is not a fermentable sugar and remains after fermentation is complete, which gives this beer its sweet and creamy nature.

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ABV – 5.0%         IBU – 27

Appearance – Opaque black with a nice tan head that leaves little lacing.
Smell – Slight roasted malt notes, coffee notes, sweet dough, and chocolate
Taste – Nice silky sweetness from the lactose, notes of toasted nuts and some caramel or brown sugar
Mouth Feel – Silky mouth feel with a nice carbonation. Dry start with a sweet finish
Overall Thoughts
– A bit of a lighter bodied stout than others I’ve had of this style. The sweetness isn’t overwhelming and provides a really nice contrast to the roasted notes and dry start of this beer. Very approachable beer that is easy to drink and provides some nice flavours.
Do I like it? – I do like this beer. I’m a big fan of stouts and I really like trying a good milk stout. For me, the lighter body of this stout makes it less heavy in the stomach and makes for an easier drinking beer. I think this is a solid milk stout and I’d love to have it again.

As with all of my write ups on beers, this is my opinion. I encourage everyone to get out and try new beers. If this sounds good to you, give it a try, if not, give it a try anyways.

-Beer Winnipeg