Thursday, December 29, 2011

The 2011 Holiday Haul

'Twas a great, beerful Christmas this year - many things to drink, read, wear, or use:

  • Two Garrison Spruce Beer and three Imperial ESB Collaboration Ales from Propeller / Greg Nash (present to myself, really, thanks to the helpful services of KMcK & benwedge)
  • An Alley Kat pint glass, coaster, bottle opener (as well as closer),  and Cringer Cranberry Ginger Ale, and, from Rogue, a Voodoo Doughnut Bacon Maple Ale
  • Two wooden-boxed gift packs from Rogue - one a bottle and glass of Santa's Private Reserve Ale, and another with a bottle & t-shirt of Portland State IPA
  • Two Fuller's ESB (one can and one bottle), and a canned London Porter, a six-pack of Alley Kat Full Moon Pale Ale, and two nice Bodum glasses
  • A Paddock Wood / Sherbrooke Liquor Store release, Heartstopper (a spicy stout), and four more Alley Kat / Sherbrooke LS brews: Aaiieeeeeeeeee Caramba! (with a chili pepper in it), Van Helsings' All-Natural Mouthwash (with a whole clove of garlic in it), and Glenda & Glenn Sherbrooke (two strong brews aged in barrels from the Glenora Distillery)
  • A new Gahan House glass as well as five of their IPA's
  • A Rogue Dead Guy Ale and Rogue Nation sticker, and the new Oxford Companion to Beer
  • A ginormous Paulaner mug, complete with 1L can of Paulaner Oktoberfest, 12 Kölsch glasses, and a Montreal Canadiens beer sleeve
Not too shabby! Now... when will I get the time to drink all of it...

Friday, December 23, 2011

Rolling Rock Extra Pale

Every now and then, I see a beer that I haven't seen in local stores before, and I have to try it - even though I'm pretty sure it'll be sub-par. This is such a beer. Not worth the time of a regular review, this, one of the palest and blandest beers I have ever had, shall be reviewed in haiku form.

Oh, Rolling Rock can
So handsome, yet your innards
Disappoint me much

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Smuttynose's Winter Ale

Here we have a winter ale from the Smuttynose Brewing Co. Ahh... 'tis the season to have such things. This beer's actually a dubbel/double, despite the moniker.

This wintery dubbel is a deep-stream / chestnut colour, with pale, amber head - and lots of it. It billows a bit out of the place where the beer's poured in, with larger bubbles than the surrounding ones. There is fairly solid lacing.

The aromas are light - pear, fig, toffee, and perhaps some apple.

The flavour is more of the same (add a bit of chocolate and slight nuttiness to the mix), albeit a bit heavier (but still rather light), yet bright. I wonder if I'm picking up a hint of cinnamon? A twinge of candy apple? It is reminding me more of an Oktoberfest beer or a Munich dunkel lager than a dubbel or winter ale.

The body's medium, I suppose, but the feel comes off as light overall. The carb's gentle, and the finish is smooth.

Overall? It's a pretty tasty, easy-to-drink, enjoyable brew that doesn't require all of your attention. Great for staying in on the longest night of the year.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Merry Beermas

Tonight was the first of (hopefully many annual) Beermas gatherings. Us Aleanders (a branch of the Brewnosers) gathered tonight at the workplace of one of our members, the tripling-in-size Gahan Brewery. Akin to Festivus, there were a couple of Beermas miracles: the fact that there was snow (in this time of global warming), and that we got to hold our meeting at a brewery. (Unfortunately?) There were no feats of strength or airing of grievances. A few of the best brews (in my opinion) were Bear Republic's Red Rocket Ale, the Houblon Chouffe Dobbelen IPA Tripel, Stone's Cali-Belgique Belgian IPA, St. Ambroise's RIS, and some really different winter ales. There were also some tasty home brews from Hogie and Wortly, as well as newcomer Devin (from the far away land of Stratford).

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Shipyard Imperial Porter (Pugsley's Signature Series)

I've been waiting for months to drink this attractive beaut from my cellar...

There is gobs of head post-pour on this one, and it lumps up as it lowers, making it almost look like tan-coloured sea foam. It smooths out as it lowers further.The beer is quite dark, and lets next to no light through it at all. There is not much lacing that sticks around.

The smell is initially very sweet, and more roasted notes come through it as it warms. It's like a mix of dark fruitcake, figs, maybe some coffee, and something somewhat dark rum-like.

The flavour is pretty nice on this one - big roasted notes (coffee and dark chocolate), sweet, dark fruits... that sweetness also plays around a bit like a milk stout. It starts making me think it's an oatmeal stout partway through. Smooth, sweet, roasted / burnt, a bit earthy from the hops... several nice things going on here, all in a nice balance.

The feel is lighter / thinner than I thought it would be. It's got a smooth feel, but it's nearly on the watery side. The carb is a bit tingly for my liking in this kind of beer, but it's OK. The finish is slightly bitter and a little sticky.

Overall - very solid. I quite enjoyed this one. One of these days, I'm going to have to do the Maine Beer Trail...

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Gahan 1772 IPA

I have had this brew a few times since (and including) launch day (and even an unfinished sample before). I've been meaning to post about it before now, but... things have been busy - masters, work, and home life. So, now that I have had time to think on it... without further adieu...

First off, why 1772? My guess (just from the date and ship's image on the packaging) is that it's connected to the landing date of the Alexander, a boat that brought some 210 passengers (mostly or all Scottish Catholics) to PEI. I'm thinking the Acadian folks on PEI don't care for the name...

This bottled incarnation of Gahan's IPA has lots of sticky, pale-amber head that lingers for a while before leaving some lumpy, sticky lacing on the glass. It is still clearer than the pub's version (which should change soon, as they're working on product consistency). The cloudy (and best-ever, from August) version of it seen below is a little cloudier than what you get at the pub now. The beer is a deep, clear rose-amber.

There are nice aromas of grapefruit and some other citrus, a bit of evergreen, and some slight malt / caramel notes.

In the flavour is some nice pith and grapefruit. It's fairly well-rounded, albeit a bit green / grassy. There is some cracker / bread / grain to it. It has a "summer ale" slant to it in that there are also ever-so-slight hints of lemon & pepper.

The finish is fairly bitter and a bit grassy, as well as slightly sticky. The body is medium, and the carbonation is pretty light (just right). There are some hops in the burps, which is nice - sounds gross, but those that understand know what I'm talking about. The 6.5% is apparently the strongest beer that can be brewed legally on PEI (let's hope that changes). I actually think it has a bit more of a kick than 6.5%... I wonder if it's just labelled 6.5% and it's actually a bit higher (there is a 1.5% "fudge factor" allowed). Either way, I'd like it to have a bit more "heft" than 6.5%.

Overall, I am really glad this beer has made it to the shelves of our stores here. It's the first IPA available in our stores, believe it or not - therefore, a bit of a triumph for IPA-lovin' people like me. It is a respectable IPA - not the best I have had, but it can at least stand shoulder-to-shoulder somewhere in the middle of the pack with other Canadian IPA's available on the market - really, for their first go at this, that's saying something for the Gahan folks. Keep up the progression, gents!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Anchor Porter

Coming out of this beautifully-labeled and well-shaped bottle, is a strikingly dark porter. Even in the pour, it is a deep mahogany or chestnut. In the glass, it is even darker and is topped off with a rich, creamy, brown head. It dissipates fairly quickly, leaving solid lacing on the glass and just a skim of head on top.

The smell is quite enticing - like date squares - a mix of dark fruit aromas with lightly-roasted oats or bready base. There is also some coffee and chocolate in there, with the former out-smelling the latter.

The flavour has a lot of coffee in it, and has a dark, roasted flavour. To balance the bitterness & roasted notes, there is also some brightness to it, from fruit flavours... which are just slightly tart - like overripe raspberries or... almost a chocolate-orange combo. Something about its sweetness and smoothness reminds me of some milk stouts.

The beer is smooth, with a body that's just on the watery side of medium. There is some nice bitterness in the finish as well. The carbonation is quite tingly, but not aggressive at all.

Overall, this is probably one of the best commercial porters I have had. I think I'd pick up a bottle again the next time I see it, without a second thought. Well... maybe, "Should I get two?"