Monday, March 31, 2014

Catch the Red Eye

Folks, it's been a mess of  "perfect storm" weather on PEI lately, but - rejoice. A new perfect storm of things is going to get mixed up, starting tomorrow, in bombogenic fashion: ECMA week officially starts tomorrow, so does Burger Love, and, as part of the ECMA festivities, Barnone has made a special beer exclusively for the 150-hr jam at Baba's Lounge: Red Eye P.A., or a red India pale ale. The brew had a 150-min boil time, was brewed with 150 kg of malt, 150 ounces of hops, and clocks in at 150 IBUs. It was also created for the 150th anniversary of the Ch'town Conference (finally, someone around here has a good beer idea for this!). I know what my supper plans are for tomorrow: Burger Love at Cedar's / Baba's with some Red Eye P.A.

PS - while I may expect a lot from the beer, if it was ever bottled and this was the label, it would instantly be the best label a beer on PEI's ever had.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Coming to a tap near you...

I'm not exactly sure what is at play, but it seems Sapporo / Sleeman (same company if you didn't know) are putting a push on in these parts to grab a share of the taps at local bars. One pub I like to go to is installing a new draft setup soon, adding three taps: two Sleeman, and Sapporo. I was at another restaurant / pub just over a week ago, and a beer rep was in, dropping off tap handles and Sapporo glasses. A co-owner was talking to servers, enthusiastically, about how they'd like Sapporo, a new-to-them light beer.

I'm always happy to see growth in beer around here at all, but, of course, I always want it my way and figure I may know a little better (come on, what Islander doesn't). Is Sapporo just footing the bill for these expansions? How are they enticing more places to take them on? I can't, off the top of my head, name a bad Sleeman beer, and Sapporo is OK, but, really... they're largely bland. If you want to attract new patrons with something different & good, why go with selections that are much like every other brew from a large commercial operation?

To support those places listed above, they both have two taps from our newest local brewery, Barnone, one has been bringing in good things from Pump House for over a year, and the other tried out some Garrison beers (why didn't they let anyone know they had the Imperial IPA on tap once?). To keep pushing them, though, why not try Unibroue if you're going to go with the Sleeman group of breweries? We have three of their offerings in bottles here now, and, overall, their beers are more interesting, appeal to more different drinkers, and, to be blunt, are just better.

One definition of insanity is doing the same things repeatedly & expecting different results. If you run a bar or restaurant, and want new customers, or more repeat customers, why offer them more of the same unremarkable brews that surround us all?

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Alexander Keith's Galaxy Hop Ale

I like the idea of this hop series by Keith's - it's the right thing to do for them to be a bit more relevant & keep up with current beer trends / culture / knowledgeable drinkers. I have had the Cascade and Hallertauer in the series already, with the Hallertauer being my favourite thus far, I think. I expect more from this one, as I like what Galaxy has to offer.

Unfortunately, this is my least favourite of the three, I think. First off, like many hoppy beers, this is better drunk from the can - don't follow the poor glass suggestion on the can (suggests some plain Keith's glass). The best glass for this is a goblet or the IPA glass - something with a narrow opening.

The aroma is fairly nice, albeit a little restrained. They definitely didn't go all in with this hop to really let it shine. Mostly pineapple and orange come out, but they don't whack you over the head like they could have. The flavour isn't that great. It's a bit too sweet. It comes across as a little peachy, and will probably give some tasters notions of corn or the use of adjuncts.

Kudos to Keith's for doing this series, and for selecting Galaxy, but to really succeed with this, they need to ramp things up just a bit more before many people will care. On the plus side, this series should help to entice, expose, and educate some folks on the broad topic of what's in their beer.