Thursday, July 26, 2012

Spearhead Hawaiian Style Pale Ale

This one pours a pale orange colour, nearly the equivalent of that on the label - maybe a little more golden. There us a good deal of active carbonation in the glass, and the head is just off-white, creamy, and sticks around longer than some door-to-door religious types. Solid, streaky, ringy lacing.

The smell's great - what's in there... Galaxy hops? It's tropical. No, it's a mix of Cascade, Centennial, and Northern Brewer (I looked it up). I think it's the N.B.'s bitterness that mixed with the citrus etc. of the others that was making me think Galaxy. Pineapple, mango, maybe a bit of lychee, and maybe a bit of alcohol.

With the first few sips, the taste doesn't quite match the promise of the aroma. It's much more muted, coupled with a feel that sits on the border between bitter and alcohol burn (odd, at only 6%, but that's how this is coming off). After a few sips, it starts to come out of its shell a bit more - the feel stays the same, but its flavours strengthen a bit. Yep. This one ends up being just fine - quite nice indeed. Pretty well-rounded with bright fruit notes and enough a malt backbone to carry them.

This one feels much stronger than its 6% label would suggest. It's bitter and a bit slick / resinous (while drinking, and in the finish both), and the bitterness at play gives it that aforementioned feeling or suggestion of alcoholic heat. The carbonation's fairly gentle behind all that hoppiness.

Overall, I'd like to see this one leveled out a bit more. I don't mind the bitterness at all, but it seems to out-compete some of the other traits. Still, this is a really good beer. I'd pick it up as part of a regular rotation if I had the chance. I am savouring the burps at this very moment. Beer (hoppy, especially) must honestly be the most enjoyable food (and it is food) post-eating / drinking.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

American Vintage Hard Iced Tea

Every now and then, I get sent something that isn't beer but interests me enough to give it a whirl. When I received some info in this product, I thought... "Enhh... I'll read the promo stuff, though, anyway." When I did, I read that the tea was made from "tea leaves that have been cold steeped in a neutral malt base for three days... and dry hops at the end." My interest was won, and I decided to try it out. I couldn't find out what kind of hops were used - I was just told they were "standard bittering hops".

It pours a cloudy brown with hint of red, as you can see. There is no carbonation in the product.

In the smell is lemon, and a bit of wild roses (if you ask me).

I had three cans of this beverage. The first can tastes the best to me, and I found the last two to let the low alcohol content actually poke through. It's pretty balanced in its flavour, but I found it a bit on the sweet side and that it could use a touch more lemon. I'd like it to be a bit fresher and lighter - putting it on a bit of ice with a lemon wedge may have been just the thing.

The finish of it was dry and pretty clean. It had a smooth feel and was fairly light in body.

Overall, it's a pretty likeable beverage if this type of drink is your thing. If I ever saw it and had it again, I'd want to tweak it to my taste as mentioned above, though.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Creemore Springs Pilsner

A paler, honey-amber colour than the lager. It's crystal clear, with a small amount of carbonation in the glass. There is a minimal head which is gone in no time.

In the smell is some light wheat / bread, and the bright, noble hops.

This tastes like a light version of the lager. It's less fruity, sweet, and bready. It's cleaner and brighter, in a sense, similar to Sam Adams' Noble Pils. There is some light grass / spice at the end.

The feel is clean, crisp... and the finish is dry. The body's light, and the bitterness seems less than the lager.

Overall, a solid and enjoyable pilsner. Very respectable.

Creemore Springs Premium Lager

This lager is a deep gold / honey / amber colour, with a finger or two of head - which vanishes to nothing within moments. There are some active bubbles in this glass of crystal-clear brew.

One of my first impressions, after having a couple of cans of this (well, one in can, and one in a glass) was that it may smell & taste better from the bottle. That being said, it has a light honey and toffee aroma.

In the flavour is some grassiness, honey, and a bit of acidity / fruitiness. When it warms up a bit, it takes on some cereal / grain / wheat flavours moreso... as well as a bit of corn (only in one of the brews I sampled, I should say, but thought I should mention it)? If I get a bit of that, it's slight. Either way, it tastes best when it's a bit colder.

It has a dry, lightly bitter, clean finish. When it warms up, it also takes on a bit of an aftertaste that I could do without.

Overall, it's a solid lager - especially in a hot, dry summer. Just don't let it warm up.

As a side note (look at me goin' all foodie, here), my Mrs. got the idea of a beer granita from the latest Food Network magazine. I and some other Aleanders tested it out, and, I must say, I was pleased with the results. Basically, all you have to do is pour a bottle / can or two of this (or any other lager... I'm going to try a blanche or white ale next) into a fairly large cake pan, so that it sits at a shallow level. Put it into the freezer, and scrape the top of it with a fork (or just mix / mash it up, if it isn't scrape-able yet) every half hour for two or three hours (bet on at least three, at least with my freezer). When it's all frozen into grainy or flaky slush, scoop it into a glass or several sundae dishes, pour a little melted lemonade concentrate (magazine also suggests lime or grenadine) over it, and voilà - perfect summer treat

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Rodenbach Grand Cru

This, my first Flanders red ale, looks more like a clear brown, but with deep red / fiery highlights in the glass - similar to a barley wine. The head is small, cream in colour, and leaves some spotty lacing.

It smells of red wine, maybe some vinegar, as well as some oaky woodiness.

The flavour is tart, with some cherry / kriek lambic flavours, and some other fruits, like... apricot. It tastes best when held in mouth for a few seconds, I think - the intensity / complexity builds.

As for feel, it has a very dry finish - a very quickly-vanishing and clean finish with little aftertaste. The body is light.

Overall, this is very nice and solid. It was a little too vinegary, perhaps, but quite refreshing on a muggy day.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Unibroue Noire de Chambly

I think I had this one last summer, and when I did, it had been a while since I had it last. I left myself a note to comment on the faces of the people on the label and who they must have been modelled after. Looking at them now, I'd say Ravishing Rick Rude and some combination of Greg Kinnear and Chris Jericho. No wonder General Wolfe won. But I digress.

This one is a dark, dark brown - with some reddishness to it when pouring, and at the edges. The head is a finger or so, but doesn't retain/stay very well. There are very active bubbles in the glass which maintain a little bit of head.

The smell is reminiscent of a triple or even a saison/farmhouse, with a bit of a dark, roasted/porter quality. There is a dark blueberry / berry character, as well as a bit of smoke as it warms.

The taste and feel are not entirely how I remember them. It's
very much just like a Belgian triple - some banana from the yeast,
a bit of spice, some tang or tartness as, perhaps, a combination between the yeast and grain. Fruits like apples and pears also surface, with just the slightest hint of darker things like chocolate.

I has fairly high carbonation - it's a bit sharp if you hold it in the mouth. At first, it feels a bit sticky, but, overall, the finish is a bit tingly and dry. The body is on the light side of medium - which suits the taste, but not the look.

Overall, it's a pretty nice beer - a triple in stout's clothing. The next time I try it, I'd like to try it with some food - thinking smoked salmon or a BBQ'd steak. Some gouda or smoked cheese would be killer, too.

Friday, July 13, 2012

2012 PEI Beer Festival

There are two beer festivals on PEI this fall, but let's talk about the one that has more information on it and is most likely to have a wide variety of beer. This is the second year for PEI's first beer festival, the one put on by Campbell Webster Entertainment at the Murphy Center last year. This year, he has partnered with RAW Events and the Delta Hotel, and plans to put on an event - over two days - that is even better-run than last year, with fewer hiccups (pun intended). I can personally say that I have (as the other Aleanders have) met with Campbell a few times in the last year or so, and have corresponded with him, as he's keen to cater to lovers of quality craft beers - not just "value drinkers" - and put on a great event. Attendees are still being finalized, but here's what is for sure:

Two nights of Tastings and Late Night Patio Parties

Special Offer starting July 13 @ 10:00 AM - Today! Now!$89.75 plus tax & fee - promo code will be released on July 12 - Thursday and Friday VIP tickets - Thursday and Friday Late Night Patio Party tickets- First 50 get a Souvenir Glass Mug (16oz)

Tickets on-sale July 20 @ 10:00 AMSample Ticket: General Admission $42.75 Thursday / $47.75 Friday

Sample Ticket: VIP - 30 minute early access to tasting$57.75 Thursday / $62.75 Friday

Late Night Patio Party - Lineup TBA soon *Space is limited!$14.75 Both Thursday & Friday 

*All prices are subject to tax 

All tickets can be purchased with Debit or Credit online via 

Direct Ticket link -

Thursday, July 12, 2012

New Offerings At The PEILCC

While I've been busy drinking a couple of new local offerings as well as some fine off-Island (mostly Quebec and Belgian) lagers and ales, the PEILCC has sneakily snuck in some new listings that you might want to check out. Some are totally new to here, some were once here and are now back:

  • Unibroue's Blanche de Chambly - probably the best summer beer on the Island right now
  • Creemore Springs' Premium Lager - the other current offering in my fridge
  • Granville Island English Bay Pale Ale
  • Pump House Premium Lager
  • St. Ambroise IPA - with another one or two in this list, the first true, off-Island IPA's on PEI ever
  • Waterloo IPA
  • Affligem Blond
  • Fruli Strawberry Beer
  • Hollandia
  • Innis & Gunn Rum Finish
  • Innis & Gunn Oak Aged - how this differs from the oak-aged original, I have no idea... yet
  • Mongozo Premium Pilsener
  • Mort Subite Kriek - holly crap... a lambic for sale on PEI!
  • Paulaner - not sure which one yet
  • Tennents - not sure which one yet - can't tell from the listing
Now... I can't say there are any earth-moving stars in the last 13 here, but there are definitely a few worth trying. I've tried about half of them before (some published, some not), but you can decide which ones you'd like to try out. Me? My next ones to find are the Kriek, the St. Ambroise IPA, and maybe one of the Innis & Gunns. 

Cheers to increased choice on PEI!

PS - maybe once Mel's starts selling alcohol, they will turn into my own little import shop. Dreaming, I know, but... ah, what a dream.