Sunday, December 30, 2012

Dupont's Avec Les Bons Voeux

For some reason, I thought this one was going to be a bit darker than it is. It's a mid-to-deep gold with some slight haze, and a pristine-white head.

In the aroma is a bit of spice, some apple, bread, hay, and a bit of yeastiness.

The flavour is a bit lager-ish, actually, especially in the burps / aftertaste. There is some grass / bitterness from the hops. There's also some honey, and pale fruit juice - like a blend of fruit salad juices... pear, apple, grape, maybe pineapple.

There's a bit of heat / warmth after the fact - great for Christmas. There's a sharp carbonation feel, but how it feels when it fades away gradually is actually quite nice. There's also an airiness about it that would put you in mind of a Belgian IPA.

Very nice. This one went great with some fancy shmancy salami and local aged white cheddar.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

De Dolle Stille Nacht

Other than the sediment at the end of the pour, this one is a clear, deep amber / orange, with about one finger of head. Constant bubbling maintains a 2-3mm white head throughout.

In the nose is sweet caramel up front. There's something interestingly flowery and fruity about it. Do I smell lychee? It smells strong without coming off as alcoholic. There's some slight banana as it warms.

There are flavours of... fruit, both light and dark... like "dark citrus". It's slightly pithy and bitter with dark fruit. I like its depth and intrigue. Caramel's in there, too.

Feel-wise, it's a bit hot (it is 12% ABV). It's nicely warming, though. Good for Christmas - excellently warming and buzzy without being astringent or too "burny". Thhe body is light-medium, with a slick finish, as if it was thicker than it is, if that makes sense.

This one's a winner. Over one year old, it's very nice. I'd get it again anytime.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Struise Tjeeses

This one pours with a clear, deep orange-brown colour. Doesn't look too much like a blond ale as the label says. There's a low creamy head. The label on this is also changed for North America. Originally, the label has the face with some smoke coming out of the nostrils and some pretty bugged-out intoxicated eyes.

In the aroma - noble hops. Almost a fruitiness like raspberries or strawberries as it warms. The malty sweetness is there foremost, though - almost toffee-like.

Looks aside, it tastes like a blond, but maltier, if that makes sense. There is some caramel in there that almost borders on molasses... there's something sneakily dark about it. There's some spice (allspice?), a bit of berry, and those noble hops.

Feel-wise, it's on the light side of medium, with a slick finish. There's a bit of airiness to it from the alcohol and the bitterness. It has tingly carbonation, but not overly so.

Nice stuff!

As an aside, I like the story of how the beer got its name...
Strong blond winterbeer with fluffy white head which has been lagered for 8 months on different stonefruits. Tsjeeses was born out of a 5 year brew experience regarding x-mas beer without being capable of finding a suitable name up to now. With the name came a face, a caricature actually, that was drawn on the day Urbain, our brew master and master brewer, drank too many Tsjeeses’s. Every time he drinks one, he says "Tsjeeses, what a beer". Therefore the name is more an expression of stupefaction than a curse.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Anchor - Our Special Ale 2012 (Anchor Christmas Ale)

At last - I've been waiting to have one of these for ages.

This brew pours a clear, dark brown, with a couple fingers' worth of head that leave a few spot of suds on the way down.

The aroma is... almost lavender oil or some sort of soap scent. Fir sap? Some slight roasted notes, and cranberries. A bit mysterious, complex, and perplexing.

The flavour is like a woody porter - a bit minty and fir or spruce-like as well. Sap, a bit of chocolate, a bit herbal. I also wonder if they perhaps used basil or if it's the hops at play.

It's got a medium body, a slick finish, and might be a bit high in the carbonation department.

It's memorable, for sure. Different, but very nice.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

La Rulles Cuvée Meilleurs Voeux

This brew has a couple of fingers of creamy white head with solid lacing that has a few irregular lumps. The beer's a mostly clear reddish-brown copper.

The aroma is subtle - a bit like a watered-down barley wine... sweet, with toffee notes and a subtle nuttiness.

The first time I had this a couple of weeks ago at our Christmas Aleanders extravaganza, it came off as watery / bland. Mind you, we had it near the end of our eve, and our palates were getting tired. On its own, it is more flavourful, but is perhaps a more subtle brew than you may expect. It has a light flavour of dark fruits, some toffee/caramel sweetness, a subtle roasted / coffee aspect, and some nuttiness.

It has a bit of a dry finish, a fairly light body, and a bit of a slick/thick feel.

Overall, actually pretty good - much better than the other bottle, which wasn't a fair comparison anyway.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The Seventh Beer of Christmas

Again... a cop out tonight! I'm just too bushed and busy tonight to type out notes or drink something new. Although, you could get some previews of a few others on my Untappd account. But I digress. My seventh beer of Christmas is Smuttynose's Winter Ale.

Monday, December 17, 2012

The Sixth Beer of Christmas

I'm going to cheat a little bit tonight. For the halfway mark of this endeavour, I submit to you a brew I had (and reviewed) last Christmas - the über-Christmasy Santa's Private Reserve from Rogue.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Granville Island Lions Winter Ale

The first few times I had this beer, I had it right from the bottle. I imagined being darker than it was. It's actually a very clear chestnut/rosy brown, with a wee little white head on top that leaves some pretty solid lacing.

In the aroma are vanilla, chocolate, and hazelnuts.

Flavour-wise, at first, cream soda comes to mind. This one's rather big in the vanilla department. There's some light spicing in there, too, light roasted notes, and chocolate. It's also a bit nutty - it reminds me of Rogue's Hazelnut Brown Nectar in some ways.

For a warmer (a rather weak one, at that - 5.5%), this brew comes off a bit thin, with carbonation that might be a bit strong. That being said, though, I think, without that level of carbonation, this beer wouldn't be nearly as drinkable. It'd come off... well... flat. The finish is clean.

The first couple of times I tried this, I thought it was interesting, in that it was memorable - it didn't win me over, though. However, not too long into a sixer (which is available on PEI now), I started coming around. This isn't a bad little beer.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Abbaye des Rocs Spéciale Noël

A "pfft!" with instant fizz in the bottle occurred as this one had its crown pried off. Oddly, all of the sediment that had settled nicely out started rising, falling, and churning about inside, in chunks large and small... like some kind of yeasty snow globe for a beeraholic. It has a clear, deep red-orange hue, with a modest head, and lots of carbonation in the glass.

In the nose is a bit of toffee, some sweet/dark fruits, and almost a bit of a sea salt / sea air vibe.

The flavour was roastier than I thought it'd be, especially in the finish. Kind of like coffee and nuts. The main part of each sip, though, says this is a bit lacklustre or past its prime, even though its best before date is next summer. With some warmth, it got a bit better, showing off some sugary sweetness and a bit of orange peel.

Perhaps overcarbonated, it also feels a bit thin - and airy from the bitterness / alcohol.

Overall, this is fair to OK, but underwhelming (if that's a word... actually, I know it's not 'cause I looked it up - it's one of those skills that I learned in my school). Also, by the end of the last glass, that glut of unavoidable fatty-looking yeast blobs detracts from the experience a bit.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Garrison Spruce Beer

Today, for the Third Beer of Christmas, I will cheat a bit. This morning was the release of Garrison's third edition of their spruce beer. There was a lineup this morning, as usual (but probably not as much as the last two years - just my guess... and hopefully they weren't limiting buyers like last year, too).

Since I doubt I will have this year's version, I give you reviews and pics for the two versions from the last two years:

Garrison Spruce Beer 2010

Garrison Spruce Beer 2011

Thursday, December 13, 2012

N'Ice Chouffe

For my second beer of Christmas, I give you N'Ice Chouffe. I had this one on Christmas Eve with my pops (and I saved one that I still haven't opened yet).

This brew pours a dark orange-brown... it's a bit "chestnutty". It's got a nice creamy head that's tan/orange in colour. It sticks around and provides some solid lacing, while leaving a yeasty little island on top of the brew.

In the nose is grass, barley, hops... the funk's light, and so is some light coffee. Hops come out more as it warms, as well as some curacao.

Flavour - almost a bit like a barleywine. It's sweet, earthy, and the bitterness from the hops is kind of tingly / numbing. The 10% ABV probably provides some of that, too. It's sticky in its finish, and smooth, with a medium body.

This was not a revelatory brew, but it was very nice nonetheless. What a great beverage to share with family on Christmas Eve!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Delirium Christmas / Noël

I've been wanting to do a series on Christmas beers for a while now. Unfortunately, last year, I didn't get my order of them quite in time. I got a few suitable ones, but not enough to do a "12 Beers of Christmas" series. For the record, the 12 days of Christmas don't actually start until Christmas. I didn't feel like posting Christmas beers in January, though, so I thought I'd do the 12 days leading up to it - a series of time-to-release posts to get you into the Christmas / winter brew spirit.

This shall be beer #1 - nothing says Christmas like a pink elephant on a sled.

This brew is a medium-dark orangey/ruby brown. It has a modest head that leaves a ring and a skim of suds. It's mostly clear, save for the clouding any sediment does.

It's got a nice aroma - fruitiness like raisin / date, fruitcake aromas, with some orange / citrus in there, too... maybe even a bit of coffee... also a hint of candi sugar / syrupy sweetness. My first first impression was that it was really nice, but not mind-blowing. The more it went on, though, it got really tasty. There's a nice finish to it... the start of each sip's strong, fades, then kicks in again. I don't know what it's like fresh, but this bottle with more than a year of age on it is great.

The carbonation is fairly high, but it's within acceptable limits. The body is rather thin, really... not bad, but, when you think about it, it feels lighter than its other traits would lead you to believe.

So... overall, quite good. Better than I thought it may be, and a great way to kick off some Christmas brews.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Gahan Sydney Street Stout

I like it. Gahan / PEI Brewing Company finally does a limited release / one-off of sorts. It's not too crazy of a  release, as this brew's been around at the pub for ages, but this is the first time they have bottled it. It had been a long time since I'd had this without being mixed or changed in some way, so my mind was fresh and unplagued by any prior opinions. I first had it a couple of weeks ago, and, when my wife called me from the liquor store yesterday (yes, she's that good), I asked her to pick me up another one. That should tell you something. On to my thoughts!

This thing has tons of brown head (you may need to wait for it to settle to get the whole bottle in, depending on how you pour), and the brew itself is a very dark brown. Inviting.

In the aroma is a lot of coffee, and only a bit of chocolate.

Flavour-wise, the coffee bean flavour is strongest here as well, with some more chocolate, and something that just borders on licorice / anise. There is also a note of molassess or dark, rye bread in there.

Slightly chalky in its feel, it is smooth overall. It's light enough to make it very drinkable, while maintaining the full body that a stout such as this should have. Its finish is somewhat dry and bitter.

I've got to hand it to Gahan/PEIBrewCo on this one. It's very nice and just about bang on in every area. It may even be their best bottled offering to date. Kudos, gents.