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The American India Pale Ale, or American-Style India Pale Ale has become one of the most popular, widespread, and brewed beers in North America. The rich pale malt backbone found in the depths of an aromatically bitter and hop-crisp beer has enchanted people all across the continent. There is only one problem with this – there are probably close to 1,800 breweries in NA, and there are probably about 2,000 different Pale Ales! The Pale Ale craze is becoming a bit overwhelming; whether it is an IPA, Pale Ale, American version or a hybrid, there are just too many pale ales out there.
So what’s a beer lover to do!? Well, obviously taste them all and find your favorites. Because that may take to long, I’m going to start you off in the right direction with one of the most well rounded and best constructed American IPA’s on the planet. The Bell’s Two Hearted Ale. Too many pales are either one sided, to aggressively hopped, not hopped enough, or are poorly built. The Two Hearted Ale is at the top of my list because it hits all the right notes in perfect harmony. It doesn’t get carried away with this or that, it is just plain good. Read the rest of this entry »
It always starts as a healthy passion. Something that you found to be intriguing, exciting, and perhaps delicious. The more you learn about it the more unique it becomes, and the more that it reveals itself, the more it sucks you in. Most likely its happened to you with something in your life; a sport, school subject, TV show, or a girl. Whatever it is, I’m sure you know what I mean. But then one day, you realize, that this passion is beginning to get out of control, and you are now totally obsessed.
It started for me with beer in about 2005. I thought nothing of it, but quickly my computer desk was being filled with beer bottles. There were bottles on top of it, on the shelves, in the book compartments, behind my monitors, and pretty much everywhere I could fit them. Much to the dismay of my girlfriend at the time, I would not get rid of these bottles. The 200 some odd bottles then has exploded into over 1,200 different bottles today. I am obsessed.
I’ve has countless bottles of beer from Brewery Ommegang in my life, and they always at very least excite me. There have been many memorable beers, but none quite as astounding as the Adoration, their special winter ale. Ommegang is brewing Belgian inspired ales in Cooperstown NY, and the Adoration is no exception – it is a 10% Belgian Dark Strong Ale that is packed with deep fruit and malt flavors and a rich crackling of spices. The beer just cries out for the winter.
It will be floating throughout the United States again from Late October to December, and may last on shelves even a bit longer than that. What I am most excited for is of course to drink it again, but also to put a few bottles in my cellar. Big, rich and spicy beers like this can benefit to amazingly with some time to mature. Bottle conditioning (a process by which existing yeast in the bottle naturally carbonates the beer) allows for a very real transformation to slowly take place as the beer ages – exactly like with fine wine. If you do see the Adoration on a shelf, I would by 2 to age for every 1 you enjoy.
Aroma: Hop aroma moderately-high to moderately-low, and can use any variety of hops although UK hops are most traditional. Medium to medium-high malt aroma, often with a low to moderately strong caramel component (although this character will be more subtle in paler versions). Medium-low to medium-high fruity esters. Generally no diacetyl, although very low levels are allowed. May have light, secondary notes of sulfur and/or alcohol in some examples (optional).
Appearance: Golden to deep copper. Good to brilliant clarity. Low to moderate white to off-white head. A low head is acceptable when carbonation is also low.
Flavor: Medium-high to medium bitterness with supporting malt flavors evident. Normally has a moderately low to somewhat strong caramelly malt sweetness. Hop flavor moderate to moderately high (any variety, although earthy, resiny, and/or floral UK hops are most traditional). Hop bitterness and flavor should be noticeable, but should not totally dominate malt flavors. May have low levels of secondary malt flavors (e.g., nutty, biscuity) adding complexity. Moderately-low to high fruity esters. Optionally may have low amounts of alcohol, and up to a moderate minerally/sulfury flavor. Medium-dry to dry finish (particularly if sulfate water is used). Generally no diacetyl, although very low levels are allowed. Read the rest of this entry »
Its coming, and its just around the corner… This winter as the Christmas beers begin to flood the LCBO again; we will be getting back the Innis & Gunn Connoisseur’s pack, and in this years pack is the strongest Innis & Gunn ever made – the Winter Beer. My good friends at Innis have been chatting about this beer for a long time now. In the summer I had heard that Dougal (the founder and BrewMaster) was working on a spiced beer, one that he was more excited about than any other beer he has made. This definitely got me excited – I already love the sweet, creamy and caramel oaky flavors of the Innis Original – the idea of a spicier and stronger version for the winter sounded perfect!
We should expect the Connoisseur’s Pack to be made available late October to November for the Christmas Release; probably the best overall beer release at the LCBO. I was fortunate enough to get the Connoisseur’s pack ahead of time thanks to my good friends at Innis & Gunn, and I have been saving the Winter Beer since – until now. The time finally came. I had enjoyed the Original and the Rum Cask that came in the pack, but have been waiting for the right moment to test the Winter Beer on my palate. It was a calm Sunday afternoon, football filled my living room, but my Innis & Gunn glass was empty. Time to fill it! Read the rest of this entry »
One of my all time favorite meals is brunch. It is such a delicious combination of foods from all courses coming together in perfect harmony. Everything from eggs and pancakes to bacon, roast beef, shrimp, pastas, desserts and more make it onto the table. Beyond that, there is usually a wide selection of juices, coffees, cocktails, beers, spirits, and usually mimosas; the classic brunch drink of orange juice and champagne.
I do love champagne, but honestly the classic mimosa leaves something to be desired. It always ends up a bit to sharp, and unless you are using very expensive sparkling wine, a bit to tart. Ah ha, beer to the rescue. Here is one of my most favorite beer cocktails that people are always shocked, and then astounded by; the Blanch de Chambly Mimosa! It is smoother, creamier, has a soft vanilla and warm spice character to it, and just compliments orange juice better than champagne can. Read on for the directions, and I dare you to try it! Read the rest of this entry »