Wednesday, 31 August 2016

New Limburg Wit

My sixth and final installment from my visit to the New Limburg Brewing Co. was their wit. A Belgian-style white beer, this beer was brewed using coriander, orange peel, and camomile. The 500mL bottle features a fast-moving bride, though whether she's bolting to or from the alter is left unsaid.

The milky, yellow-gold concoction poured with a nice white head. It contained a low octane 4.8% alcohol, which made for mellow sipping. The nose had some yeasty qualities, as well as a warm blast of citrus. Fruit notes crowded the flavour as well, with notes of orange peel and banana doing the most work. The beer finished yeastily, but also quite refreshingly.

Like most witbiers, New Limburg's Wit was a classic summer beer--easy to drink, light, refreshing, and possessed of nice, cheery taste. This brew from Nixon, Ontario was a good wit, though one with little to distinguish itself from the pack. I definitely liked it though.

Rating: 7.5 out of 10.

Monday, 29 August 2016

Petit Blond

Petit Blond is a 5% Belgian-style ale from the wilds of Norfolk County, Ontario. Another installment from my visit to the New Limburg Brewing Co. of Nixon, Ontario, this little number came in a 500mL bottle with an otherwise adorable little bird marred by a head of stringy Edgar Winter hair and a red bandana--a curious aesthetic.

The beer itself was a rusty orange, crowned with a thick fog of ivory head. It had a funky and fruity yeast-driven nose. The flavour took a similar tack, but did so in an undersized way. The mouthfeel was pleasingly dry, but unfortunately thin.

Petit Blond was a decent little guy with some positive elements, but overall, it fell a bit flat. It just wasn't lively enough for me.

Rating: 6.0 out of 10.

Sunday, 28 August 2016

New Limburg Belgian-Style Tripel

Another installment from Nixon, Ontario's New Limburg Brewing Company, their Belgian-Style Tripel is a dull orange-gold ale. Sold in 500mL bottles, this brew packs 8.7% alcohol which, though very strong, is on the low end for tripels. The beer poured with a warm blanket of fluffy off-white head--so volcanic that it took an age to get the stuff in my glass. Lots of sediment, too. Another reason to pour cautiously.

To the nose, this stuff is powerfully yeasty, in a tart, funky sort of way. The flavour follows that trend, and does so in a convincingly Belgian fashion. Boozy, but relatively dry, this stuff has some green apple notes to compliment the hefty yeast profile.

New Limburg specializes in Belgian-style ales, and their Tripel is as close as you can get to the real deal without buying an abbey brew. It could have been stronger and perhaps a bit bolder, but the flavour was on point.

Rating: 8.5 out of 10.

Thursday, 25 August 2016

New Limburg Dubbel

My third brush with a brew from the New Limburg Brewing Company out of Nixon, Ontario was their Dubbel. At 7.4%, this Belgian-style ale doesn't mince words. A 500mL bottle of the stuff is a pretty formidable undertaking.

The beer proved to be a muddy brown and rusty red combo. It was cloudy and poured with a very thick cream head. To my nose, I got notes of copper, rich malt, yeast, and booze. The flavour was a bit less punchy than many other dubbels on the market, be they Belgian or Belgian-style. It was still largely dynamic, though; a fine combination of flavours, ranging from strong yeast and malt notes to subtler tastes of spice, dried fruit, and a dram of bitterness.

New Limburg's take on the Belgian Dubbel was fairly enjoyable, though I confess I found it a bit less complex than some of its fellows that I've thrown back. Unlike some of the classic abbey beers, each sip didn't birth new revelations, nor was it as pungently yeasty as others in the same style. Great strength, beautiful rich colour, and durable head all lent this ale some credibility, though, and to its great credit, it wasn't too sweet. The folks doing their brewing in Nixon clearly have a real appreciation for Belgian ales and an aptitude for brewing.

Rating: 8.0 out of 10.

Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Black Sheep

Dark, sweet, and sudsy, Black Sheep is a milk stout from Nixon, Ontario. Sold in 500mL bottles at the source, the New Limburg Brewing Company, Black Sheep contains a pretty sound 5.9% alcohol. It's an opaque onyx brew that dwells beneath a serious and determined fog of tan head.

Through its thick head, Black Sheep didn't give away much in the way of aroma, but there some roasted malt notes, as well as expressions of sweet mocha. Much more potent is the flavour, which takes a milk chocolate initial note and swings sharply toward a bitter, almost harsh, cacao finish. Along the way, there are a few French roast elements thrown into the mix as well. Considerable sediment is left behind.

Like many milk stouts I've sipped, I was expecting Black Sheep to be over-sweet and maybe a bit syrupy, but the beer I downed was complicated, flavourful, and only semi-sweet. A bottle conditioned ale, this stuff was fully ready to seduce my palate. It's a beer for slow savouring, not hurried guzzling, as its profile matures as it warms. It also tastes considerably stronger than it actually is. This beer is nearly worth the trip to Norfolk County on its own, and definitely required tasting if you find yourself in the area. When I bought a range of six N.L. beers, I expected this to be a weak link and found it to be a real beauty.

Rating: 9.0 out of 10.

Sunday, 21 August 2016

New Limburg Belgian Blonde

I was recently in Norfolk County, Ontario for a buddy's wedding. First thing I did on arrival was to look up craft breweries, and I found a few. The first I hit up was New Limburg Brewing Company, located in Nixon, Ontario. I picked up 500mL bottles of their six regular brews, including their Belgian Blonde, a Belgian-style blonde ale.

At 7.3%, BB packs a hearty punch. It's a very cloudy golden brew and it pours with a cloudy white head. It has  a potent yeasty nose backed with something a bit spicy. The flavour, too, is quite yeast-driven. As well, there are a few banana notes, and some boozy heft. The finish is quite dry.

Pretty solid offering from a neat little brewery, Belgian Blonde was well worth picking up. Flavourful and strong, but the back end could have used a bit more oomph.

Rating: 7.5 out of 10.

Friday, 19 August 2016

Benediktiner Original Helles Lagerbier

Benediktiner Original Helles Lagerbier is a wildly crushable pale lager. It's a clear straw coloured number from Lich, Germany and is brewed by Benediktiner Weißbräu. A Bavarian-style lager, these suds come in a pale blue 500mL cans and pour with a fluffy layer of white head.

With 5% alcohol but very little flavour, this beer goes down extremely easily, but doesn't offer a lot in terms of flavour profile--it's modestly grainy, with a touch of hops grit on the way out.

Fans of light beer or macro lagers will dig this stuff, since it has a similar taste, but has some European elegance. It's refreshing and crisp, but very plain.

Rating: 6.0 out of 10.

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Dakota Pearl Ale

During a brief stay in Simcoe, Ontario, I wandered into a place called The Shire ("Where you can dine like a hobbit"--no joke), which was billed as a brewpub. While they didn't have anything of their own on tap, they did have pints of a potato ale from Ramblin' Road Brewery Farm, which comes from nearby La Salette, Ontario. Known as Dakota Pearl Ale.

My pint poured clear and golden, with a nice off-white head. It had a fresh, sweet grain nose and a crisp, unexpectedly bitter flavour. In between, I caught some sweet cereal notes.

This beer had an unusual vibe. It was curiously bitter for a very pale ale, but otherwise, not a lot of flavour. The finish was bitter, but with a strange cast--bitterness from potato rather than hops?

Rating: 7.0 out of 10.

Monday, 15 August 2016

Freigeist Abraxxxas

Freigeist Abraxxxas is billed as a "pear lichtenhainer". According to the 500mL bottle's label, lichtenhainer is a tart eastern German wheat beer style. This one is brewed with pears by Freigeist Bierkultur, out of Stolberg, Germany.

At 6%, Freigeist Abraxxxas has some spine. It's a rusty orange-gold brew that pours clouding and with a handsome off-white cap of foam. The aroma has unexpected (because I didn't read the whole label before I bought it) smokiness, and less fruit and sour than anticipated. The flavour is genuinely unusual. It's multifaceted, with serious smoke, malt, and a hint of sweet pear all clambering for attention, while there were very few sour elements.

This beer left me baffled, but satisfied. I found it to be a lot like a weird culinary combo: something that sounds gross on paper, but ends up being an engaging gastronomical experience. This beer moved the same way. I never would have paired (pun intended) pears, tart wheat, and hearty smoke notes in a single brew, but this stuff made me shake my head and smile. It could have been more tart, however. That element was a bit lacking.

Rating: 8.5 out of 10.

Saturday, 13 August 2016

Pink Fuzz

Pink Fuzz is a grapefruit wheat ale. It's born and raised in Ottawa, ON, where it is crafted by Beyond the Pale Brewing. It's got some heft at 6% and comes in really cool looking 473mL cans.

As you'd expect from a wheat beer, this stuff was quite cloudy. The golden-hued ale poured with a fluffy white head, but also with quite a bit of sediment. It has a tangy citrus bite to the scent. The mouthfeel is somewhere along the spectrum between thin and delicate, but pleasantly crisp. Owing to the judicious use of grapefruit, Pink Fuzz has a lot of similarities with an American pale ale. The flavour starts of with a somewhat anemic and nondescript front end, but builds to a pretty nice conclusion that has citrus and hops elements.

This beer was an interesting specimen. It has many positives (pleasant citrus taste, good strength, nice finish), but also a few negatives (thin body, paltry front end, sediment). All told, it was an enjoyable brew, but an imperfect one.

Rating: 7.0 out of 10.

Thursday, 11 August 2016

Red Racer India-Style Red Ale

Red Racer India-Style Red Ale is another member of the Red Racer family of beers from Surrey, BC's Central City Brewers + Distillers. Sold in 473mL cans, these suds contain 5.6% and 60 IBUs. It's a clear, coppery ale with a cloud of off-white head.

The India-Style Red has a metallic, malty scent. It kicks off with a hearty malt taste, rich and roasty. It closes out with a pretty respectable hops vibe.

This offering from the Red Racer line is a pretty strong addition. It's hearty and flavourful, with lots of nice elements. Not quite as boozy as I'd have liked, though, and the finish feels like it lacks direction.

Rating: 7.5 out of 10.

Tuesday, 9 August 2016

Why So Sirius?

Born in the Big Smoke, Toronto, Ontario, Why So Sirius? is an American-style pale ale. It's brewed by the Sextant Craft Brewery and is named for the Dog Star. At 4.8%, this one is a little light in punch. It comes in 473mL cans that have an astronomy theme.

Sirius? is a golden ale with a slight haze and a bright white head. It has a fresh citrus aroma and a whiff of hops. The flavour shows a lot more grassiness than I was expecting from an APA and a corresponding shortage of hops grit. The beer proved to be a bit sweeter and lighter of mouthfeel than I was expecting.

Light and refreshing, but not crisp or bitter, Why So Serius? was a bit of a mixed bag. I'm okay with having my expectations challenged, but this beer shorted some of the best elements of the APA in exchange for grass and sweetness, which strikes me as a (why so) curious choice. Still, a refreshing, summery ale that drinks easily is worth some love.

Rating: 6.0 out of 10.

Sunday, 7 August 2016

The Calling IPA

I spied a four-pack of 355mL bottles of The Calling IPA at my local beer vendor. The minimalist packaging, nice lettering, and 8.5% alcohol all spoke to me, so I bought some, even though they were approaching $15 for the quartet, which struck me as a tad steep. The Calling comes from Kansas City, Missouri, where it is brought into existence by the Boulevard Brewing Co. Apparently, this boozy number is a member of Boulevard's "Smokestack Series". It's a hazy straw gold ale, crowned with a feisty white head. Billed as an India Pale Ale, I'd actually call this stuff a double IPA, given its oomph.

To my nose, notes were lemony, evergreen-tinged, and bitter. The taste packed still more citrus punch, adding orange peel into the mix. It's quite juicy, but also extremely boozy, which adds a layer of candied sweetness.

Strong and punchy, The Calling had a lot to commend it. However, the potent sweetness took away from what was otherwise a nice, citrus flavour.

Rating: 7.0 out of 10.

Friday, 5 August 2016

Mythology Canadian Golden Pilsner

There's something in the air in Barrie, Ontario. Or in the water. Or whatever. Certainly, there's something in the beer. Barrie's Flying Monkeys Craft Brewery produces some excellent ales and lagers, and it does so with a weird aesthetic that is certainly unique, all the while proclaiming that "Normal is Weird". The 473mL cans that house their Mythology Canadian Golden Pilsner, festooned with a graffiti style, is actually pretty restrained by the Monkeys' standards. It scores a 5.3% on the booze scale and hits a respectable 24 IBUs. The brew is clear and gold, with a modest bill of carbonation, and pours with a thinnish white head.

Mythology has a classically grainy, pale lager scent, backed with a nice whiff of Czech-style hops. The flavour, while mild, is quite pleasing, with sweet cereal notes in the starring role. The back end has a dusting of hops that closes the door, not with a clattering slam, but firmly enough. While this beer tastes great--like a brew constructed with quality ingredients ought--it has a watery mouthfeel that, unfortunately, drags my rating down.

For me, a pilsner should be, first and for most crisp and dry. This beer has a beautiful flavour, but it is hamstrung by a thin, wet mouthfeel. Actually, hamstrung is too strong an adjective, since it really is still quite a flavourful brew, with some excellent craft sensibilities. Would I buy another can of Mythology? Don't be daft--of course I would (and will). But does this beer belong on the Monkeys' pantheon alongside mainstays Hoptical Illusion or Smashbomb? Perhaps not.

Rating: 7.0 out of 10.

Wednesday, 3 August 2016

Collective Project: Gose

The third installment of the Collective Project sixer from Collective Arts Brewing was their gose. I saved it for last because the checkout dude at my liquor store raved about the stuff when I was purchasing the pack. The 355mL bottle of 5.2% alcohol brew, once upended, revealed a glass full of hazy golden liquid, well carbonated but possessed of very limited head. According to the ingredients list, this little number is brewed up with coriander and Himalayan sea salt.

This Hamiltonian expression of a gose had a briny, faintly yeasty nose. It's flavour vacillated between seawater salty and lemony sour. The mouthfeel is thin and quite crisp. Finish is short and sharp.

The Collective Arts Gose is a pretty nice take on a potentially inaccessible style. It's salty, but not witheringly; sour, but not puckeringly; and fairly pleasant. Gose devotees might count these qualities as strikes, but as an occasional sipper, I found the beer quite agreeable, though the coriander could certainly have been better represented.

Rating: 8.0 out of 10.

Monday, 1 August 2016

Collective Project: Hefeweizen

My second brush with the Collective Arts Brewing Collective Project was their 5.5% alcohol Hefeweizen. Born in Hamilton, Ontario, this heffy was orange-gold, cloudy, and effervescent, but decanted from its 355mL bottle with very little head.

To the nose, I picked up the classic notes of banana and spice, as well as a slight orange peel flourish. The flavour contained those same fruit notes, as well as some yeasty fluff. As well, there were some clove or all spice notes particularly evident as the beer warmed.

In some ways, this was a classic Hefeweizen. The banana notes screamed wheat beer, as did the faint spiciness. The downsides were the limited head and a too sweet finish. This beer could have been more refreshing, but it still delivered a nice summer feel.

Rating: 7.0 out of 10.