Monday, July 29, 2013

Beer Ice Cream

So... the other day, my lovely Mrs. came home from the Paderno sale with a Cuisinart ice cream maker. Of course, as with all my wife's purchases, I was supportive and accepting of it... especially in this case, as I like ice cream (it's genetic) and I knew I had some beer-related recipes / ideas kicking around. The first batch, then, of course, was one with beer. I used a recipe from Paul Mercurio's Cooking with Beer, one for a chocolate jalapeno stout. I used St. Ambroise's Oatmeal Stout, a milk chocolate Lindt bar, & one jalapeno pepper (that gets taken out along the way. Other than that, it's just an egg, whipping cream, milk, & icing sugar. Pretty simple, I must say, & it came out pretty tasty - not too much heat, smooth, & tasty... the beer in it's pretty light, but it's there. Next time, I think I'd add darker chocolate... and maybe a bit more stout or a stronger dark beer.

Barnone now in Charlottetown

By the way, as of the tail-end of last week, both of Barnone's beers are now on tap in Charlottetown, at Cedar's Eatery & Baba's. I thought the Pale Ale was a little better than when I had it last, while the Summer Sessions maybe wasn't quite as bright & citrusy. Take a trip downtown & try 'em for yourself. I was glad to see the others at the bar were.
The dimly-lit Pale Ale
Summer Sessions
Edit: Summer Sessions is also at The Old Triangle now!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Big Mouth Tap Room Pale Ale - AKA - Happy Hour Pale Ale

I'm assuming the Happy Hour name got them into issues somewhere along the way?

Saw this at the LCC... had to try it, as it was new to PEI.

Really clear, copper colour. Lots of head, and a tornado of bubbles in the glass due to the nucleation sites at the bottom.

The aroma's all Cascade hops - very floral with some bright citrus (lemon/lime/grapefruit, without the pithy slant).

The flavour's fairly malty... not very bitter or citrusy at all (though there is some citrus there). A definite toffee / almost caramel slant. It reminds me a lot of Corte-Real from the brewery La Naufrageur, but it's not quite as strong.

The feel's light, and the finish is slightly sticky, but pretty clean.

Overall, it's OK. Nothing stellar, but nothing off-putting. A little light for me.

Beach Chair & Basement Chair

On the right, we have the regular Beach Chair Lager, and, on the left, we have the same beer, less filtered. They're calling it a ''brewer's beer", or what the tap handle says, "Keller Bier". I'd be more prone - like one of the brewers suggested - to call it a zwickelbier, as a kellerbier (or cellar beer) is usually a little darker & more strongly hopped. So, with its "cellar" connection, and the fact it's the same beer, just less filtered, I will call it "Basement Chair".

The Beach Chair's pretty good today, actually. Bright, crisp, & the hops are coming through in their own wee way. Even a little acidic zip or brightness.

As for the Basement Chair - you know, I was expecting it to be pretty much identical, but it's not. It's got a smoother & slightly fuller mouthfeel, is less crisp & bright, and trades some of its brightness / zip for some really light fruit / banana character. I think Beach Chair's a slightly better beer, but at least this turned out to be less of an ill-conceived gimmick than I thought it would be.

Cheers to changing things up every now & then, even just a lil' bit!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Picaroons Best Bitter

This brew's a nice reddish-brown, and has solid, webby, sea-foam lacing.

In this glass, no aroma, really, at first... just really light toffee. As it warms, though, it starts to perk up.

The flavour has a bit of an acidic brightness to it, really. Overall, it's a nice & smooth toffee & lightly burnt caramel flavour... a nice light roasted quality.

The bitterness is nice, and not very strong. Good & mild for the style. The body's fairly light & smooth, and the finish a little sticky.

You can actually get this on tap on PEI now, at the newly refurbed restaurant at the Delta, called Water's Edge. Hooray for local variety!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

The Two-year Thirst - Barnone Has Been Released!

The rolling hills and growing hops of Rose Valley
After letting people taste their goods almost two years ago, the local brewery Barnone had gone really quiet. Notoriously quiet. Now, after a long wait and a public thirst for their brews (as well as information as to how things have been progressing), Barnone is finally, actually for sale on PEI. Beer fans rejoice. 

Inside the tidy little brewhouse
Barnone is a new, small, family-run brewery in Rose Valley, PEI, with an interesting backstory. It is mainly owned and operated by Don and father Hugh Campbell, with some help from John Mullins. The site is not quite ready yet for drop-in visitors, but they do plan on hosting some private events in the near future. 

Their brewing capacity is 5 hectoliters - about 500L a week, or 25,000L per year is the plan for now. In the future, if the family is allowed to work less on other things, the system could be pushed to as much as 125,000L in a year, with some other add-ons like some in-ground storage tanks. 

Grow, hops, grow!
One of the most interesting things about the family and brewery is their agricultural background and that they grow their own grains and hops. At the moment, they grow Cascade, Willamette, Nugget, and Mount Hood hops, and they are able to dry them on-site. A high percentage of their own hops are already incorporated into the beers that went on tap as of this week. 

At their beer fest launch two years ago, they had three brews: a light, sessionable ale, a pale ale, and an India pale ale. The two they are going with at the moment are the Summer Sessions and their pale ale. Both beers should be both approachable by the "everyday" beer drinker as well as more "seasoned" beer drinkers like myself. They won't surprise with anything overly strong or unexpected, but they won't disappoint in their quality, either.

At the moment, the Summer Sessions (classify it as a wheat ale or a blonde) should have an ABV between 4.5 and 5%. It has light aromas of  lemon, spice, and wheat. Its flavour has a slight tartness (which builds as you go) or acidity along with its wheaty backbone to make it quite refreshing on these hot summer days. It's not quite as bready or hoppy as it was two years ago, but it's quite bright and refreshing as it is now. 

As for the pale ale, it's also not quite as hop-forward as it was two years ago, but that will probably make it more approachable to more people (I'm secretly hoping it will increase in hoppiness over time once people get hooked on it, thereby helping to adjust locals' palettes to the hoppy side of things). It should be around 5% ABV. It's definitely hoppier than the Sessions - it's more bitter. Its hops give it a citrus character, as well as (to me, at least), a spicy slant (don't think heat, think dried grasses or your spice drawer). I liked the finish on this one. It got better as I had more, and it had just a hint of that bright tartness that the Sessions had as well. Plus, since some people care about this - great lacing. 

At the moment (although the "official" release is Friday), both beers should be available at The Landing in Tyne Valley - a place that wants to be the beer tap capital (I call it the Beer Tapital... they should use that, it's gold) of western PEI. Their motto is "Eat, Drink, Live the Island", and they want to support local producers, so good for them for supporting Barnone. I hope more businesses follow (and I have it on good authority that a couple of locations in Charlottetown should have their brews on tap in the very near future). If you are wondering about growler fills, they have received their shipment of growlers, and should get some other needed equipment this week as well - I will keep you posted! 

If you'd like to follow them as they grow, look them up on Facebook at or on Twitter: @BARNONEBEER 

Friday, July 12, 2013

"The" IPA Glass

Earlier this year, Dogfish Head & Sierra Nevada co-created a new beer glass, made by Spiegelau. What makes this glass interesting is that it is designed specifically for India Pale Ales. Some scoffed, but many styles (heck, individual beers for that matter) have their own glass, so why not this uber-popular style?

Well, thankfully, my wife knows what I like, and she supports my hobby... and when she saw the 2-pack of these at a local jewelry store for $20 (a pretty normal Spiegelau price), she picked them up.

The verdict? I think it works. Like any Spiegelau glass, it feeIs fairly delicate, but sturdy enough. It has a balance almost like a wine glass or snifter. Its narrow, curved base feels nice in your hand, & also helps to minimize how much your hand warms it up. The curves also probably have a hand in creating head & releasing aromas. The top of the glass is nice as it helps to contain the head and aromas, but it's still wide enough to let your nose in and enjoy as you sip.

I'll be making continued good use of this, especially on IPA day!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Founders Centennial IPA

This one pours a dark / medium-dark amber. Two to three fingers of head lower to mostly a creamy skim. It's slightly hazy & has a few bubbles in the glass. There's pretty solid grainy, spotty & rings of lacing.

It starts smelling better with a bit of warmth, actually. Pineapple is the main aroma, with some orange & maybe some other tropical notes like blood orange & mango. Fairly luscious, but not the most aromatic or exotic IPA out there by along shot.

Flavour has a good malt backbone. It's a little spicy, but mostly grassy, with lots of fruit up front (some as the aroma). Burps & aftertaste are nice.

It's nicely bitter - not numbing or overpowering, just strong, nice, &... "polite". There's a bit of heat near the end of the glass.

Very solid - liked it quite a bit. Better than mid-range, but not up at the top for me.

Dominus Vobiscum Lupulus

Froth monster! This one starts out as almost all head, with tons of lumpy lacing. underneath that sparkling beaten-egg-white covering is a pale golden brew with ample, lazy bubbles.

Smell is bright - honey, green apple, a bit of yeasty spice, some hops in there, too... slight grass & hay (some noble hops in this?).

Bitterness & heat both come through in a rather tongue-numbing and enjoyable way. There's a little citrus in the aroma & taste as it warms. Honey. Hay. Light spice. Reminds me a bit of a higher-alcohol Hommelbier.

The carb is quite sharp & prickly if it lingers in the mouth at all. The body is actually fairly light.

Great burps, clean, hoppy, honey-sweet, bitter, smooth, strong. Nice

Friday, July 5, 2013

Bière Darbyste

There's an interesting story to this one:
Darbyste is named after John Nelson Darby, preacher of temperance and father of Dispensationalism. His parishioners were said to be oddly moved by a ‘soft drink’ they insisted was just fig juice. A variant of the Belgian “Wit” or “Blanche” style, but a little drier and considerably more flavorful, Darbyste is a saison made with wheat and fermented with fig juice.

This brew is a crystal-clear tangerine colour, but there's lots of yeast in it, so it clouds up as you go. There is lots of fluffy white head to top it off. There's lots of fizz in the bottle once you pop the cork.

In the nose is some light fruit... grape and maybe fig, which could be just my mind forcing me to think it's there. 

The taste... almost next to nothing! It's got more of a lemon slant and a bit of cracker / wheat than anything fig-like. There may be some light fig in there, but, if so, it's pretty subtle.

Feel-wise, it's a carbonation attack on the tongue! The body's light to medium.

Overall, this brew is OK... bright & refreshing, but overcarbed and a bit bland... it didn't live up to what I was hoping or expecting.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Stash IPA

One of my favourites from Texas - reminds me of wortly's "Dirty-ass Hippie Beer". Also reminds me of Spearhead's Pineapple Pale Ale.

There's a great aroma on this one, a clean & golden brew -it brings to mind tropical fruits & flowers, grapefruit & orange, pineapple... pith. The flavour is more of the same. It's clean, nicely bitter (pith, not spice or grass, really... maybe just a hint of grass), and refreshing. The finish is that nice, lingering bitterness, & the body is fairly light. I think I'd buy this regularly if I could, especially at Texan prices.