Monday, 27 February 2017

Impossible Geometries

Impossible Geometries is an imperial IPA from the creative brewers at Toronto's Halo Brewery. Unlike some of their more esoteric numbers, this one is pretty well a straight up IIPA--it comes in spiffy 500mL bottles and contains 8% alcohol. A dull gold colour, IG is slightly hazy and pours with a thick eggshell foam.

The bouquet of Impossible Geometries is assertively citrus, with an emphasis on grapefruit, and a slight floral undercurrent. To the tongue, there is a fair amount of sweetness and booziness, but these are trounced by a bitterness that teems with grapefruit, but is also fresh and floral.

Like any good IIPA, this one has an unapologetic emphasis on hops, and a forthright flavour. Perhaps a touch too sweet, but otherwise well crafted and a bit distinct, this is a relatively memorable imperial and a satisfying strong ale. I dig it.

Rating: 8.5 out of 10.

Saturday, 25 February 2017

2017 Helles Golden Lager

In celebration of their 30th anniversary and of the the end of 2016, Amsterdam Brewery released 2017 Helles Golden Lager. According to the 473mL can, this brew is an Edel Helles, which is a subclass that I've never encountered before. It contains 5.2% alcohol and is lightly hopped at just 17 IBUs.

The golden lager proved to be a clear and amply carbonated number; straw gold in colour and topped with a durable white froth. 2017 has grassy and grainy aromatics. Its flavour is bright, crisp, and otherwise unremarkable. It lacks the grit of a good pilsner, but manages to be easily refreshing. A simple beer, but a nice enough one.

Rating: 7.0 out of 10.

Thursday, 23 February 2017

Woodhouse Stout Beer

Woodhouse Brewing Co.'s Stout Beer comes in 473mL cans and contains a low octane 4.7% alcohol. This Torontonian brew is a dark ale that pours with a sudsy tan head. It has a rich bouquet that has roasted malt and coffee notes, as well as a whiff of oatmeal. For flavour, Stout Beer takes a mellow approach, with mocha, molasses, and oats leading the charge, and a gentle coffee bitterness follows it up. It has a smooth mouthfeel, too.

Stout Beer is, in spite of its emptily descriptive name, a pretty solid dark beer. I'd have liked a bit more booze, certainly, and a more assertive finish, but otherwise, this stuff was quite pleasant.

Rating: 7.5 out of 10.

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Tsarina Bomb

My good pal SL purchased me a 500mL bottle of Tsarina Bomb, an imperial IPA from Toronto's Bandit Brewery. The label, which features a bomb riding raccoon, indicated that this hefty beer contained 8.2% alcohol. Tsarina Bomb poured a handsome dull brown, hazy, and with a sudsy off-white head.

TB had an unexpectedly mellow nose, with sweet and citrus aromatics. The flavour was, above all else, quite boozy. Beneath that, there was a considerable amount of sweetness, notes of satsuma, and some resinous bitterness.

Tsarina Bomb is a pretty fair IIPA. It's a hop bomb, but one that I found a bit too sweet.

Rating: 7.0 out of 10.

Sunday, 19 February 2017

Magic Missile

During my first visit to Toronto's Halo Brewery, a small and comfortable space near the Junction, they were in the process of rolling out bottles of Magic Missile, a dry hopped pale ale. The stuff was bottled and on sale, though hadn't yet gone on sale on tap. Exciting times!

At 5.5% and sold in 500mL bottles Magic Missile had enough oomph to solidify my buzz (or to wreck a less frequent drinker). The stuff was ruddy gold, hazy, and poured with a thick layer of off-white foam. It had a genuinely luscious aroma rich in passion fruit and grapefruit notes. The flavour was quite effortlessly balanced between sweet juiciness and tart/bitter citrus and hops.

My complaints were pretty minor: the beer was a bit too sweet, and the IBU count could have reached a bit higher. However, my praises were many and fairly enthusiastic. I thought that Magic Missile was a really solid offering from a brewery that, it appears to me, tends toward the unorthodox. This one was a bit more between the lines, but brewed with skill and quite delicious.

Rating: 8.5 out of 10.

Friday, 17 February 2017

The Waubuno

Instead of a lengthy description about the beer within, the 650mL bottle of The Waubuno opted for six paragraphs on the history of the eponymous side-wheeled steam ship that wrecked somewhere on Georgian Bay in 1879--appropriate for the sixth beer in the Midland Beer Works' "Legends of the Bay" series, but vaguely frustrating if you're a beer geek hoping to learn about the sauce you just brought home. There were some facts to be gleaned from the bottle though. The beer contains 5% alcohol, is brewed for Tiny, Ontario's Midland Beer Works by the folks at Hockley Valley Brewing Co., and that it contains "[a]romatic malts and choice hops, blended with great care to create 'The Perfect Balance'". However, no indication even of the style, which I'm going to call an amber ale.

The Waubuno (beer not boat) was a brassy amber brew, and poured with a thick off-white head. It had a nose that merged metallic and caramel malt notes. As to flavour, malt, bread, and caramel all had their places at the table. As well, there was a seat for hops at the kiddie table.

While both the historical copy on my bottle of The Waubuno and the beer itself held my interest, in the end, it was the story of the ship lost and the prospect of a ghostly captain guarding the wreck that proved more captivating. The beer was easy to drink and tasted nice, but it was a tad too sweet and not particularly memorable. A fine ale, sure, but just that.

Rating: 7.0 out of 10.

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Collective Arts Imperial IPA

I spotted a can of Collective Arts' limited edition Imperial IPA out of the corner of my eye and knew immediately that it had to be mine. Brought the 473mL can of 8.5% IIPA home, cracked it, and was broadsided by a gust of boozy citrus. The aroma of this hazy, dull gold ale is strong and assertive, wafting up through a loose and thick off-white head with some force. The flavour wasn't quite as powerful, though still packed a punch, with its bold grapefruit notes. However, there were also some understated floral elements that added a bit of depth.

This Hamiltonian beer comes from one of Ontario's most interesting breweries. Their Imperial IPA lived up to my expectations and left me quite pleased. A bit more in the IBU department might have suited the potency of this beer's aromatics, but that didn't stop CA's effort from being a quality IIPA.

Rating: 8.5 out of 10.

Monday, 13 February 2017

Ridgeback IPA

Ridgeback IPA comes from the folks at Gray Stone Brewery in Fredericton, New Brunswick. I purchased a 32oz "crowler" of the 6.8% stuff at the brewery. It turned out to be a clear, honey-coloured ale with a sudsy cream head.

Ridgeback packed a sweet and woodsy nose. It's flavour was well-balanced between a sweet and mellow front end and a sticky hop finish that showed off all of the 72 IBUs listed on the can.

This proved to be an agreeable and accessible IPA--really pleasant and nicely made. I'll definitely be buying it again.

Rating: 8.5 out of 10.

Saturday, 11 February 2017

Grimross Black IPA

Grimross Black IPA is a 6.6% alcohol number from Fredericton, New Brunswick. It's a Cascadian ale from Grimross Craft Beer. I bought a 750mL bomber of the brew, which proved to be a handsome black and amber ale.

It poured with a fluffy tan head, through which emerged a woodsy nose of pine and coffee. For flavour, GBIPA had roasted malts, licorice, coffee, a bit o'spice, and substantial hops.

Not as robust or potent as other Black IPAs/Cascadian Ales that I've tried, Grimross' version was still quite flavourful and hearty. Another good offering from one of the rising stars of the active and evolving NB brewing scene.

Rating: 8.0 out of 10.

Thursday, 9 February 2017

Elevensies Espresso Stout

Like me, Elevensies Espresso Stout comes from Fredericton, New Brunswick. It's a 5.5% alcohol number that comes from Maybee Brew Co. This stout is, I assume, brewed with espresso, though unfortunately there is no information about the source of the beans on the 473mL can.

The beer is dark brown with amber highlights, under a creamy head. There is a rich and malty nose that was really quite powerful. The stout proved to be flavourful and hearty, with huge coffee bitterness. Beneath that, there were some molasses notes lurking and a decent malt profile.

This was a pretty decent stout, though the coffee elements really dwarfed the beery ones. It was pretty feisty and tasty, though. I'd definitely like to revisit it.

Rating: 7.5 out of 10.

Tuesday, 7 February 2017

Gray Stone Red Ale

On Boxing Day, 2016, I made my first stop at Gray Stone Brewing, a cozy new beersmith in downtown Fredericton, NB. Gray Stone sells their beer in "crowlers", 946mL oil drum cans that are equivalent to almost three bottles of beer. If you're lucky, you can even see them fill the crowlers right before your eyes. In many respects, this format is vastly more efficient than growlers, since the cans are properly sealed and will last much longer than the cap on an average commercial growler.

Anyhow, I picked up a handful of beers in this format. One of which, Gray Stone Red Ale, was recommended to me by the pleasant lad working behind the bar. At 4.5% and 25 IBUs, a little of this little red won't get you pickled (or at least it won't get me pickled), but its got some flavour to it. The beer was clear and copper, with a fairly thin foam of eggshell head. Its aroma was malt-driven, bready, and caramel encrusted. The flavour headed in a similar direction, with a malt focus and some gentle caramel notes. There was a tinge of floral hops waiting in the wings to close the curtain on this beer, though not enough to hold my attention for long.

For its weight in alcohol, Gray Stone Red had some heft to it. However, it should be said that it'd have been a stronger competitor with a bit more oomph and a corresponding increase in mouthfeel and finish. Still, it was a good introduction to a new brewery, and more than good enough to ensure I'll be back.

Rating: 7.0 out of 10.

Sunday, 5 February 2017

Pugnacious Porter

During a trip to New Brunswick, I spent a few hours shunting from brewery to brewery, loading up my dad's truck with stuff to bring home and try. One of my stops brought me to Grimross Craft Beer, where I picked up a couple of bottles, including a 750mL swing-top bomber of their Pugnacious Porter. P squared is a black-amber brew with a nice cream head. It's APV is hardly pugnacious, weighing in at a barely feisty 4.5%. Despite the low figure, the beer had some other attributes that hit above its weight class.

Pug Port had a lovely and warm aroma of mocha and roasted malt. It's flavour proved to have more coffee to it than chocolate, though both were still represented. Behind those elements, there was also enough hops to give the beer a bitter finish.

Grimross has become, over the last couple of years, a place that I try to stop into at least once during every visit home to Fredericton. Despite its less than ideal location, it constantly delivers nice suds that are more than worth my time. Pugnacious Porter kept lived up to that reputation--it could have been considerably stronger, but it had a rich and rewarding flavour that picked up that slack.

Rating: 8.0 out of 10.

Friday, 3 February 2017

Snapping Turtle Stout

From "The Gornish" (Rusagonis, New Brunswick), Snapping Turtle Stout is brewed by the Bogtrotter Craft Brewery. It's a low-alcohol stout (4.8%), but one with a good quantity of bitterness at 50 IBUs.

Snapping Turtle is a deep brown ale with caramel highlights. It's got a powerful molasses aroma, with a bit of espresso thrown in. The flavour was big, especially for a low-test stout. Lots of coffee and roasted malts, with a bit of molasses to add sweetness.

Really, quite a nice little stout. Snapping Turtle was a good winter ale that left me very pleased.

Rating: 8.0 out of 10.

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Sunny Day IPA

Sunny Day IPA is, according to its label, "made from sunshine and lake breezes", which sounds cute, but I was relieved to discover that hops and barley were also an integral (if uncredited) part of the process. From Harvey Lake, New Brunswick, Sunny Day is from Off Grid Ales. It's sold in 500mL bottles and contains 5.5% alcohol--a bit on the low octane side for an IPA. My beer was very clear and brassy, with a nice off-white head.

Sunny Day had very little by way of aroma, but the nose that was there proved to be metallic, with a nice hoppy undercurrent. For an IPA with lower than average booze, I was hoping for dry and crisp. That desire was ably satisfied by a beer that proved bright and cheery, with a decently dry back end. However, I found the flavour to be a bit wanting. It was slightly floral and perfumed, which I enjoyed, but there wasn't quite enough of it to keep my attention.

Off Grid's Sunny Day was my first go with the new brewery's offerings, and though it wasn't my fave, it definitely whetted my appetite to try some of their other brews. It was, though not entirely to my taste, quite well made.

Rating: 6.5 out of 10.