Thursday, August 29, 2013

Temptation Red Ale

Ah! There's carbonation in this one, unlike the DIPA I just had from Boxing Rock. This brew's a deep, clear red (go figure).

The aromas on this one are actually pretty nice. A lot of malty caramely sweetness in there... reminds one of a barleywine's aroma much more than most red ales. There is a fruity, hoppy side to the aroma, playing second fiddle to the malt scents. I'm getting really ripe pineapple and perhaps some peach.

So far, this brewery has released three beers, and I've gotten to try all three thanks to a fellow beer pal (thanks, Hogie). Their trademark in their flavour seems to be some level of a dry grain / cereal flavour. I don't think there's anything wrong with that, but it may make one think that a beer's gone stale or isn't as fresh / refreshing. Thankfully, I think it's least noticeable in this beer. There are also some juicy fruit flavours

The body is medium, actually - I expected it to feel thinner. It has a rather smooth, full feel to it, but it goes down easy with a clean, fairly bitter finish. Great fruity / hoppy burps.

Overall, pretty nice. It's my favourite of the three. If the flavour were tweaked a bit, and the aromatic hops upped a bit, this would be really a very solid American-style red ale. As it stands, I like it way more than most "regular" red ales. I'd drink this again, for sure. At the end of my first one, I want another to keep the good flavours and aromas going.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Boxing Rock's Hunky Dory Pale Ale

This brew is one from one of Nova Scotia's new breweries, Boxing Rock. This pale ale is supposed to have floral and fruity hops, and is brewed with green tea and citrus zest. Sounds intriguing... let's dive in.

It's a very clear beer, with a fairly deep honey colour. There isn't much head, but what is there leaves some solid lacing on the way down.

I was expecting floral and fruity hops in a significant amount, but I don't get that in the aroma. There's some light floral / perfume-
y hop action, but not much in terms of fruit. The aroma has a strong dry grains / cereal component.

It is a bit pithy - perhaps from the hops, perhaps from the zest, but not very citrusy (esp. at first). If I drank this without knowing there was tea in it, I probably wouldn't have pegged it, but it's in there, playing around with those cereal / grain flavours hinted at in the aroma. As it warms up a bit / the more you drink of it, the citrus notes start to build a bit, making it a bit more bright and refreshing.

The finish is pretty clean, & ever so slightly bitter. The body on this one is fairly light.

I couldn't say I'm disappointed. It's not a bad beer at all. I'm not wowed in any way, though, either. I'd definitely try this again some time, to see if there are any differences / changes. Love the packaging.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Gouden Carolus Classic

This brew, as the style would suggest, is a dark brown (a deep garnet or chestnut, really), with a solid amount of creamy tan head that leaves solid lacing.

It has great aromas of toffee, vanilla, fruit (actually lighter ones, like orange), some slightly woody notes.

Fantastic flavour... I'm digging this. It tastes like a Christmas ale or another of Belgium's great dark beers (to which I prefer this to most it seems). You get the toffee and light candi sugar sweetness first, but once that fades a bit, the flavour morphs into caramelized sugar... think the top of a crème brûlée or the outside of a marshmallow roasted over a campfire. It's light and thin enough to be very drinkable, especially for being 8.5% ABV, but its heft really kicks in once you've swallowed.

The finish is really clean, the body medium and smooth, and the carb gentle.

What an excellent brew with a lot of character. One of those beers whose flavours actually outpace its other aspects. I just went online and ordered two more.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Corps Mort

For my seventh & final beer from À l'abri de la Tempête, we have, perhaps, their crowning jewel. A salty barley wine called Corps Mort. Translation: dead body... good name for a barley wine, which is actually named after a local rock /island that looks like a dead body.

This is a bit paler than I thought it may be. It's a brilliant slightly-pale garnet colour with a couple of fingers of head that leave solid lacing. It's clear, with no carbonation in the glass.

It is not as sweet as most barley wines... the sweetness from the barley is there, with some salt. Something like... sundried tomato or dried peppers... different! There's something herbal in there... cumin? Strong, earthy, dried fruit, semi-floral. The finish on this beer is incredible - very salty with a slight smokiness as well (perhaps it's the smoked herring the bottle says it may contain traces of?). It smells and tastes like some sort of casserole or edible dish...

The body's medium, the carbonation is low, and the finish feels clean. Smoke and a mellow sweetness linger.

Totally amazing beer. So multifaceted, layered, and complex. It's like a powerful, easy, steady hand. Much like a dead body in some ways. Hmm.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Palabre de la Rameuse

For me, the translation is tricky... and correct me if I'm wrong... but "palabre" is "words" in the sense of having a conversation, and "rameuse" means "rower", so the translation is something like "words of the rower" or "conversation with the rower".

My original thoughts on this beer were from over a year ago, when I had it first, but I also got to try again this week, so my thoughts are pretty fresh.

This brew is a clear, richly-coloured amber with a reddish tint. It has lots of quickly-gone head, and there is a lot of active carbonation in the glass.

In the smell is toffee, honey, and a nagging suspicion that the salt could actually be identified.

It has a nice taste... almost like an amber gose. It tastes of smooth toffee a small added amount of salt. Sweet, mellow, and smooth. Perhaps some wood / vanilla hints.

It has gentle carbonation, a clean finish, and a smooth, medium body.

This one has character... the first time I had it, it reminded me of Innis & Gunn's ales, but this, especially due to its salty slant, is distinct from that. A nice, somewhat memorable brew.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Terre Ferme

Translation: firm or solid ground / earth.

Tons of deep head on this one, leaving sticky, lumpy lacing. It's slightly cloudy, and medium-amber in colour.

The aroma has ginger in it, with some floral notes (thinking Cascade?) that grow as it warms.

There is ginger in the flavour, too. Honey. Bitter citrus pith. It's similar to Palabre de l'Intendant in that way, but stronger.

The body is a light medium, and has a clean, bitter finish.

This is a very different interpretation of an American-style IPA. It's quite enjoyable, summery, and fresh.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Écume

Translated: sea foam, or sea scum.

This brew is extremely clear and pale. It has a minimal, pure-white head that is gone in no time. (Shouldn't it have more "scum"? But I digress...)

It has a rather plain, American lager smell (might even be hints of corn or something in the aroma).

According to the description, this should be at least somewhat earthy, robust, herbal, and salty. It isn't very herbal or robust, but it does have (in its mostly-normal lager flavour) a noticeable salty finish and is a bit more bitter than expected.

The carbonation is tingly. The body is light. The finish is dry and bitter with a bit of a sticky saltiness... almost a bit like a mouthful of water at the beach, but turned down several notches.

Light and fairly refreshing. I liked the salt aspect, but wish the rest of the beer had some of that herbal, earthy robustness I was looking for.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Palabre de l'Intendant

Ah... this beer is an interesting one. There is a movement in Quebec to create a beer style that is unique to the province. The style was initially called Annedd'ale, but is now more commonly called Anneda, I believe. You can find info on it here, but, it's essentially a style that uses annedda / balsam fir and a yeast strain obtained from within the first commercial brewery in Quebec.

For me, the translation is tricky... and correct me if I'm wrong... but "palabre" is "words" in the sense of having a conversation, and "intendant" is basically a royal civil servant, comme Jean Talon, a senior official of New France when it was first formed. So... roughly translated, words with a royal civil servant (like Jean talon), which makes a lot of sense, given the thoughts behind the style.

This brew is darker than I thought it would be - for whatever reason - and has tons of head that lingers for ages, leaving sticky lacing on the glass.

It has a very enticing and interesting smell... herbal / mint & evergreen with ginger bread, and some bright hop notes.

The aftertaste is a little soapy from its ginger side... maybe would be better if it was more on the gingerbread side than ginger. It has a very fresh herbal / evergreen aftertaste / feel, too... leaves your mouth feeling refreshed. Very interesting, unique flavour.

There's a bit of bitterness mixed in with that soapiness in the finish. It's pretty clean & slightly dry / airy, after some light stickiness. The body's light, but on the full side of light.

A memorable brew, a nice little beer experience, and one of my favourites from this brewery.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

La Belle Saison

Translation: the beautiful season / summer.

This brew uses - as the bottle says - wild herbs from the island and gentle flower notes.

It is super-clear and pale, and has next to no head. There are a fair amount of bubbles / carbonation coming out in the glass, though.

It smells a bit of pumpkin spice... some light gingerbread with... cardamom? Chamomile, for sure. It reminds me of Dominus Vobiscum's Blanche, which also uses chamomile well. It has tons of complex, bright, spicy aroma, especially for something that looks so "clean".

The taste is more of the same. It reminds me a lot of a pumpkin ale, to be honest - a light, refreshing one. Perhaps it is more of a fall beer than a summer beer. The aftertaste and feel, unfortunately, lean towards mass-market lagers.

The feel is gentle but has obvious carbonation, has a finish that's slightly sticky, and a body that's on the heavy side of light.

This brew has lots of character, especially when compared to its appearance - really enjoyable.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Corne de Brume

The English translation: foghorn.

This beer is a dark red-brown, with a finger or so of reddish-tinted head, which lowers to a skim.

I read someone say that they smelled ketchup chips in this beer, and I can see that... it's got a bit of vinegar, & some woodiness - it reminds me of Rodenbach's Grand Cru a little bit.

The flavour is roasty... coffee notes, a bit of chocolate, salt... the 9% is very hidden. It almost comes of like an espresso stout or dry Irish stout in some ways... some dark fruit sweetness... starting to make me think it's an abbey double... tastes a bit like there candi sugar is in the mix, with some dark fruits like date... like a date square.

It has a med-to-full body, the carb's a little prickly (but not too sharp), and the finish is quite clean and a bit bitter.

Overall, a nice beer - it didn't really wow me in any way, but it had no low points, was solid & tasty; mid-pack for their beers.