Sunday, June 14, 2015

Celeia Hop Ale - Alexander Keith's (Canada)

Celeia Hop Ale - Alexander Keith's (Canada) 5.5%

Darkish gold in a glass. Not much of a head of foam, but maybe I coddled the pour too much.

The aroma is fairly subtle, I found it pilsner-like even before I read that these are a Slovenian hop which seems close enough to the Southern Germany and the Czech Republic for me. Hints of citrus (lemon) throughout the aroma and flavour. The hops flavour is quite peppery and has a touch of wood tones but it always remains in the background mingling with the borderline caramelized malt flavours. This ale is bitter but in a way that builds as you drink rather than hitting you all at once.

I like Alexander Keith's Hop Series Ales because each beer gives me an easy way to learn about one specific type of hop and usually the beers are fairly good too, in my opinion. The Celeia hops ale is a bit of a let down in the latter regard as the hops better suit a lager/pilsner style beer and the mouthfeel leaves a bit to be desired and coats the mouth a bit too heavily.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Moonlight Porter - Waller Street Brewing (Canada - Ontario - Ottawa)

Moonlight Porter - Waller Street Brewing (Canada - Ontario - Ottawa) 6.3%

Very dark in a glass, more or less opaque with only a very fine ring of bubbles around the edge of the glass. Toasty coffee and chocolate aroma with a pine and maybe slight citrus hops touch that blends well with the dark malt bitterness.

The flavour is strong and really good. Hoppy bitterness plays throughout but with coffee and chocolate tones and plenty of dark, earthy, dried fruit tones that intermingle with the evergreen, hops leaving you with delicious chewy, fruity, malty wood flavours. This is an excellent American Porter from Waller Street Brewing.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Black IPA - Big Rig Brewing (Canada - Ontario - Ottawa)

Black IPA - Big Rig Brewing (Canada - Ontario - Ottawa) 6.2%

The first things I check when I have been served or pour a Black IPA are the obvious ones: is it dark and is it hoppy. Big Rig's Black IPA meets both those criteria. It is a very dark (and damn near opaque) mahogany colour (or maybe even darker than that) with a thick and creamy mocha coloured head of foam. It also has a very nice resiny hop aroma with loads of tropical fruit tones. To the taste the first thing I noticed was a earthy, toasted, nutty, slightly coffee-like malt flavour followed closely by a strong hops flavour of cedar and resin with a strongly bitter finish. This is a really nice Black IPA and, to top it all off, the design on the can is super cool.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Chocolate Manifesto - Flying Monkeys (Canada - Ontario - Barrie)

Chocolate Manifesto - Flying Monkeys (Canada - Ontario - Barrie) 10.5%

I was amazed by the intensity of the aroma, dark chocolate and milk chocolate primarily but with hints of tobacco, espresso and the slightest hint of dark fruit.

The flavour is of the same forceful character. Strongly chocolatey as designed but also dark fruit, some hints of dark cherry and other dark fruit, as well as a certain nuttiness. There is a cool, creamy, freshness to the flavour and though there is a long chocolate aftertaste and the beer is very sweet I don't find Chocolate Manifesto to be cloying or particularly heavy.

This is an exceptional beer, the kind that makes me happy to be a beer geek and to try new and innovative beers. There are lots of chocolate infused beers out there, I really like this one.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Dragon's Milk - New Holland Brewing (United States - Missouri - Holland) 11.0%

 Dragon's Milk - New Holland Brewing (United States - Missouri - Holland) 11.0%

Dark brown in a glass with a silky head of mocha coloured foam. A really nice, almost chewy, aroma of dark fruit and chocolate; plenty of oak and vanilla as well.

Dark fruit flavours, and oak and vanilla abound. There is some distinct alcohol tingling in the mouth and warming of the chest. Strong bourbon spice in the finish, that same spice may explain some of the tingling I had ascribed to the alcohol. The mouthfeel is creamy as you drink it but thin once you swallow leaving a nice espresso, vanilla and hints of oak aftertaste but very little lingering texture for a stout (probably because of the cleansing properties of the high alcohol content).

I have found in the past that oak accentuates the taste of alcohol (and I don't think that's just because I, as a bourbon fan, associate oak with hard liquor BTW) but I think the strongish alcohol sensation and a bit of a taste are actually from the alcohol content. Now you may wonder why I'd comment on this when reviewing a beer that is listed at 11% but I've had other 11% beers that carried their alcohol less obviously. All that said, I think Dragon's Milk might be even stronger than the 11% indicated on the label, considering how squishy my head is feeling already. While Dragon's Milk carries its booze a bit more obviously than some other ales I think they did a bang-up job making a tasty chocolatey and oaky stout that is well suited to their High Gravity (aka high alcohol) series.