Quick Tastes of the Schneider Weisse Original Hefe-Weisenbier

July 28, 2010

It quenches your palate on the hottest and stickiest days with absolute ease. It tickles your taste buds and erupts with excitement when it hits your tongue. Its flavors are distinct and unforgettable, its appearance and stature is legendary, and it is still one of my best friends. The Schneider Weisse Original Hefe-Weisenbier is truly a breathtaking beer, and is worth some focus – it really will bring you amazing sensations like no other beer in the world can.

How is it possible that a German Wheat beer can accomplish all of this? How can this beer be so stunning and awe inspiring? Hundreds of years of tradition, a focus on quality and purity, and a deep passion for beer has produced this remarkable Weizenbier. And the world should be thankful; it is widely available anywhere good beer is sold, and is a regular at the LBCO. My ability to walk into almost any LCBO and always find a bottle of this beer is a blessing from the beer gods. Seriously, I love this beer! Read the rest of this entry »

Quick Tastes of the Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA

July 26, 2010

The Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA is a staple beer for me. Its a beer that I can look to when I need to be refreshed, satisfied, entertained, perplexed, relaxed, or when I just need a good beer. Cause it’s always good – thats why its a staple for me. I am always in awe of how Dogfish is able to achieve such a perfect harmony and balance of rich malty flavors and pungent fresh hops. Its just remarkable.

The 90 minute IPA is the 60 Minute IPA‘s bigger brother, both utilizing a continuous happing method made famous by Dogfish Head. Rather than the brewer adding 1, 2 or even 3 larger hop additions during the brewing process (in the boil), Dogfish Head adds small amounds of the hops once a minute, every minute, and in the case of the 90 Minute IPA, for 90 minutes! This creates an IPA that is perfectly bitter, amazingly fresh, and potently aromatic all at once in a sublime and seemingly effortless fashion.

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Quick Tastes of the Ithaca Excelsior Old Habit

July 16, 2010

Sometimes I crave a good rye beer – and nothing makes one better than actually being brewed with all rye malts, and also being aged in rye barrels! Ithaca Beer Company has done exactly that with their Old Habit, which is part of their Excelsior lineup of vintage beers. This is a big 9% rye beer than comes in a clean and classy 750ml wine shaped bottle. It is brewed with three varieties of rye malt, and is aged in Rittenhouse Rye Whiskey barrels from the Heaven Hill Distillery.

So if you like rye beers and you see one of the bottles on the shelf at your local beer or liquor store… Buy many! I mean, buy them all! This is truly a one of a kind beer, and I have yet to find a rye beer that possesses the same unique, and potent distinct rye malt and rye barrel flavors as does the Old Habit. I just popped a few in the cellar for ageing, and I am madly excited to see what happens in 3 or 4 years! Read the rest of this entry »

Quick Tastes of the Unibroue Maudite

July 15, 2010

The Unibroue Maudite gets me every time. I am always amazed by its flavors, and blown away by its masterful construction. The Maudite, which means The Damned, is a rich and spicy Belgian Abbey Style Dubbel Ale with warming caramel flavors and rich complexities of malt and hops. It is thankfully available at the LCBO in stunning 750ml corked bottles. And for just over $5, it could be the best value for beer in Ontario.

If you have the patience, I would recommended buying several extra Maudites to put away in your cellar and age. The rich, warming and spicy characters in the 8% Belgian-Style Ale will age and develop into a wondrous array of creme brulee and warm oak flavors in 4 to 5 years. This is really a magnificent beer. So much so, that since 1995 it has been awarded 11 gold, 6 silver, and 1 bronze medals in international beer competitions.

If you need a beer, wine, or any beverage to impress at a dinner party, I dare you to show up with a few corked bottles of the Maudite. Treat it like wine, and serve it in either a snifter or a red wine glass, and watch as peoples eyes and mouths open in amazement. Read the rest of this entry »

Quick Tastes of the Duvel

July 7, 2010

One of the world’s most mimicked beers is definitely also one of the best. Duvel, pronounced properly as doo-v’l, is a Belgian Strong Golden Ale at 8.5% that is thankfully available at most all LCBO locations, all over the U.S. and the globe. Duvel’s web site has been newly renovated with a slew of interactive videos that take you deep into the history and process of making this beer. I do recommend checking it out.

The Duvel can be found in both 330ml, and 750 ml corked bottles. All are bottle conditioned, and are sure to cellar beautifully adding rich layers of complexity to an already vastly layered beer. It is amazingly refreshing and quenching in the summer, but also satisfying and soothing in the winter. It is one of the most striking beers when poured, especially if properly served in the signature Duvel snifter. This is a world class beer that has been crafted and perfected for over 140 years. It is without  question worth absolutely everyones attention for at very least a try.

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Quick Tastes of the Brooklyn Lager

July 6, 2010

How often are you looking for a soothing and quenching beer? One that is smooth and delicious, but not aggressive or overpowering. It happens all the time really. This beer fits almost any dinner perfectly, it will match snack foods during the game, cool you off after a hard work day, quench your thirst in the sun, and relax you with your pals. Its the Vienna Lager, and its by the Brooklyn Brewery.

This is the standard, the go-to. It is 5.2% abv, comes in 6 packs at most all LCBOs and is available readily throughout the United States. Hell, it is even now being sold in India! But most importantly it hits the perfect balance of smooth malt flavor and quenching hop bitterness. What you have here is a traditional Vienna Lager that has been favored and adored in Brooklyn since the late 1800’s. It is brewed with the finest malts and hops, and matured at cold temperatures to clarify and purify the flavor of the beer. If you normally go home and grab an MGD, Coor’s, Canadian, or Moosehead – please, please, please try this beer and enlighten your taste buds to real flavor. Read the rest of this entry »

Quick Tastes of the Schneider Weisse Edel Weisse

July 3, 2010

When it comes to wheat beers, Schneider Weisse is most definitely the name that comes to mind for me. They make a wide range of Weisse beers, all with their own unique and distinct qualities.  This, their Edel Weisse, is an organic wheat beer which just happens to suit the summer oh so perfectly. It is 6.2% abv and comes in a 500 ml bottle that was made available at the LCBO for the spring release.

Don’t let 6.2% scare you away if you are used to standard 5% beers. This wheat beer will show you what real beer is all about. Unlike the commodity grade wheat, or white beers that began to flood the market at the beginning of the summer, this beer has hundreds of years of heritage that go into its beers. This is a light and sweet version of the original Schneider Weisse we are used to. I expect that it is brewed primarily with unmalted wheat and produces a beautifully hazy golden orange and yellow beer with a big fluffy mountain of white head. Read the rest of this entry »

Quick Tastes of the St. Ambroise Oatmeal Stout

July 1, 2010

I think everybody on occasion craves the smooth and utterly creamy texture and sensation that can only come from a well crafted stout. Others, like me, crave it quite often. In the world of stouts there is much confusion and also variety. One major brand dominates this land, and is regarded as the be-all and end-all of creamy stouta. A meal in a can they say. I don’t think so… Not even close.

I will direct your attention to the St. Ambroise Oatmeal Stout by McAuslan, and introduce you to a truly creamy stout. This beer is available at the LCBO in 6 packs, and its delicious, but from the bottle it does not render all of its creamy and silky abilities. It is however poured on draught at bars and pubs across the city, and that its where this remarkable stout shines. Shines with silky, creamy awesomeness.  Read the rest of this entry »

Quick Tastes of the 2010 Innis & Gunn Canadian Cask

June 30, 2010

This is the second year that Innis & Gunn has graced us with a special beer designed just for Canadians in order to celebrate Canada Day. The Canadian Cask is brewed with malted rye and is aged in Canadian Club Rye Whiskey Barrels, as opposed to the Original Innis & Gunn which is aged in Bourbon barrels.

Rye beers are an interesting creature. They are not terribly different from a regular beer brewed with malted barley, and most rye beers are brewed still with a portion of malted barley. But rye produces 2 new characteristics in beer – it creates a smoother and more creamy body and mouthfeel, and it adds a distinct sweetness that can only be found in rye beers. It is different from the wide variety of flavors you get from malted barley – it tends to be more of the toffee candy side of things, and can also show a deep mellow sweetness that it blatantly obvious, but somehow subtle and relaxing on your palate.   Read the rest of this entry »

Quick Tastes of the St. Ambroise Apricot Wheat Ale

June 25, 2010

Its hot and steamy outside, the thought of movement is tiring, and nothing would treat you better than a cold, delicious, lightly sweet and supremely refreshing beer. Hell, you’d even settle for a lemonade! Luckily though, such a beer does exist, so you can forget about the juice. From Quebec, McAuslan’s St. Ambroise Apricot Wheat Ale is just that, a wheat beer brewed with the essence of apricot. Mmmm.

Apricot really has a beautiful mellow sweet flavor that lends itself perfectly to beer. It is not sugary sweet, nor is it tart or aggressive. It is just calm enough to play along with the beer rather than dominate it. Honestly this beer treats me so well every time I reach for one. And it is those sunny, dry mouth, hot-as-hell out moments where I will reach for one with a huge smile on my face. Read the rest of this entry »

Quick Tastes of the McAuslan St. Ambroise Russian Imperial Stout

June 24, 2010

It is big, creamy, luscious, and filled with deep rich flavors. So why did I buy 10 bottles and put 6 of them in my storage locker!? There is a good reason actually. This beer is packed with thick and velvety flavors of bittersweet bakers chocolate, dark espresso beans, roasted coffee, charred wood, light bourbon and gentle vanilla. It is 9.1% abv and is loaded with flavors and texture – really it is remarkable right now.

But some of the best things in life build with age. I have been experimenting with ageing certain beers that are generally higher in alcohol content, and richer in flavor to see if they improve or not. The first observation I have made it that they do! Not all beers will, but if you can learn the styles and characteristics of a beer that appear young, and simply need to mature, then you can build a glorious beer cellar to behold for many years. I do anticipate that this big rich Russian Imperial Stout by McAuslan will age exceptionally well; but only time will tell… I plan on opening one every half year for the next 3.  Read the rest of this entry »