Canadian Brewing Awards Announced

September 29, 2010

At the end of Toronto Beer Week last week the Canadian Brewing Awards were handed out to the top three beer styles in 30 Categories as well as the Brewery and Beer of the Year Awards. From BC, Central City Brewing took home the Best Brewery Award, and their Thor’s Hammer Barley Wine won Best Beer. BC and Quebec brought home the most Gold awards, with Ontario getting some recognition as well. The biggest shock for me came in the Cream Ale category where Sleeman’s Cream Ale beat out both the Muskoka Cream and Cameron’s Cream. I would actually like an explanation on this. For the full award listings see the post at Great Canadian Pubs and Beer by Troy Burtch.


Defined: Southern English Brown

September 29, 2010

Aroma: Malty-sweet, often with a rich, caramel or toffee-like character. Moderately fruity, often with notes of dark fruits such as plums and/or raisins.  Very low to no hop aroma.  No diacetyl.

Appearance: Light to dark brown, and can be almost black.  Nearly opaque, although should be relatively clear if visible.  Low to moderate off-white to tan head.

Flavor: Deep, caramel- or toffee-like malty sweetness on the palate and lasting into the finish.  Hints of biscuit and coffee are common.  May have a moderate dark fruit complexity.  Low hop bitterness.  Hop flavor is low to non-existent.  Little or no perceivable roasty or bitter black malt flavor.  Moderately sweet finish with a smooth, malty aftertaste.  Low to no diacetyl. Read the rest of this entry »


The New Randall by Dogfish Head Really Puts the “Hop” in Hop-Head

September 28, 2010

Here is another amazing example of why I love Dogfish Head and its founder, Sam Calagione. Back in the early 2000’s at some beer festivals you may have seen Dogfish head pumping some of their IPAs through a vertical tube of fresh hops then poured directly into your glass. Most notably the 120 IBU (International Bitter Unit) 120 Minute IPA was being fed through what Sam named Randall, producing a wildly fresh, enamel eating, hoppy beer. This was a fun and unique experiment for Dogfish, and also a way for Sam to prove to the West Coast Brewers that the East Coast knows how to hop it up too.

Now though, Sam has introduced Randall the second, a much more refined and engineered version of the original makeshift Randall. This version installs onto a tap line, and has two chambers allowing Dogfish to filter beer though the ingredient of their choice in one, and the second to reduce foaming. Guess what they have been doing with it… Read the rest of this entry »


Defined: Brown Porter

September 28, 2010

Aroma: Malt aroma with mild roastiness should be evident, and may have a chocolaty quality.  May also show some non-roasted malt character in support (caramelly, grainy, bready, nutty, toffee-like and/or sweet).  English hop aroma moderate to none.  Fruity esters moderate to none.  Diacetyl low to none.

Appearance: Light brown to dark brown in color, often with ruby highlights when held up to light.  Good clarity, although may approach being opaque.  Moderate off-white to light tan head with good to fair retention.

Flavor: Malt flavor includes a mild to moderate roastiness (frequently with a chocolate character) and often a significant caramel, nutty, and/or toffee character.  May have other secondary flavors such as coffee, licorice, biscuits or toast in support. Read the rest of this entry »


My Maudite Lamb Meatball Recipe Takes Center Stage on Unibroue’s Site

September 28, 2010

A month or so ago I posted a recipe for a Spaghetti Squash pasta made with veal meatballs, San Marzano tomatoes, and Unirboue’s La Maudite.  Unibroue loved the recipe and posted it in the recipe section of their site – then, just a few days ago I got an email from then asking if they could post it up on the front page as their recipe of the month! So now on the main Unibroue Page my own recipe is featured front and center! Thanks Unirboue! You keep making the beer, I’ll keep enjoying it! Cheers.


Tasting the Founders Dirty Bastard

September 24, 2010

The Dirty Bastard is a big Scotch Ale, also known as a Wee Heavy. It is one of Founders Brewing’s year round, and flagship beers. Founders has been brewing since 1997 in Grand Rapids, Michigan – very close to several other great American Craft Breweries. And I’ve always been impressed with their beers, especially the bigger ones. But so what it a big Scotch Ale? Well its 8.5% abv, 50 IBUs (which is higher than the normal style, but typical in the US), and malt focused. Scottish Ales show a big, sweet, malty center with classic toffee, caramel and roasted malt sensations. They are thick and rich in both mouthfeel and flavor, and are best served at cellar temperature.

So given the style, and my experience with Founders, I was expecting a good beer. Scotch Ales are some of my favorite, so I was definitely excited to try this Dirty Bastard. But really you never know what you are going to get from a classic style brewed by the Americans. Will be it over hopped, too rich, unbalanced, or hugely alcoholic? It could be sublime, soft, balanced and elegant on the other hand too. It really doesn’t matter where on the spectrum it lies, because the key is that wherever it is, I can almost guarantee that it is well done. Read the rest of this entry »


Bud’s Sales Slide, New Strategy? Free Beer…

September 24, 2010

As more and more consumers all across the globe choose local, artisan, and craft products the beer industry has benefits greatly. Or, at least the craft beer industry does. Budweiser, who once had an unfathomable stronghold over most segments in the beer market has been loosing ground to smaller, more unique breweries year on year for quite some time now. You just can’t trick people into buying a bad product anymore, at least not as easily as you could before. Budweiser was never about selling you a beer, it was all about selling you an image, an image of who you could be if you drank Bud. Like it or not, that image has been tarnished over the years, and people aren’t so willingly hypnotized by cleavage and free trips. They want quality, flavor, and something unique.

So Budweiser has come up with a new plan to energize, to reinvigorate their appeal to the under 30 sector who is now seemingly ignoring them. Bud will unleash the largest ever national free sample campagn in trendy bards and eateries. This, honestly, is proof that Bud just doesn’t get it. Read the rest of this entry »


Guinness Foreign Extra Stout Will Hit U.S. Shelves

September 24, 2010

After being available to people outside of North America for almost 10 years now, Guinness will finally introduce the Foreign Extra Stout to the American market. I have never had the FES, but the reviews I’ve read, and rumors that I have heard build it up both as the best and worst Guinness there is. A FES is a bigger, more full bodied and richer stout than a typical dry stout, so this Guinness is 7.5% abv, appropriately. This leads me to believe that it is good. This version though is also carbonated in the bottle rather than nitrogenated as we are used to. It does appear to be full and creamy, but we will see I suppose.

Initial tasting notes reveal large roast on the nose, with a strong, bittersweet flavor. I thought Guinness could have been more descriptive, but I guess that is asking to much. Soon though, on October the 1st we can cross the boarder and find out for ourselves.


Defined: Mild

September 24, 2010

Aroma: Low to moderate malt aroma, and may have some fruitiness.  The malt expression can take on a wide range of character, which can include caramelly, grainy, toasted, nutty, chocolate, or lightly roasted.  Little to no hop aroma.  Very low to no diacetyl.

Appearance: Copper to dark brown or mahogany color.  A few paler examples (medium amber to light brown) exist. Generally clear, although is traditionally unfiltered.  Low to moderate off-white to tan head.  Retention may be poor due to low carbonation, adjunct use and low gravity.

Flavor: Generally a malty beer, although may have a very wide range of malt- and yeast-based flavors (e.g., malty, sweet, caramel, toffee, toast, nutty, chocolate, coffee, roast, vinous, fruit, licorice, molasses, plum, raisin).  Can finish sweet or dry.  Versions with darker malts may have a dry, roasted finish.  Low to moderate bitterness, enough to provide some balance but not enough to overpower the malt.  Fruity esters moderate to none.  Diacetyl and hop flavor low to none. Read the rest of this entry »


The Lost Abbey and Port Brewing Tasting at the Beer Bistro

September 23, 2010

On Wednesday September 22nd, in the middle of Toronto Beer Week the Beer Bistro hosted a beer tasting of four Lost Abbey Beers, and two from Port Brewing. Cass Enright from the Bar Towel introduced Matt Tweedy, a Beer Bistro employee, and assistant brewer at Duggan’s Brewery who also spent 8 weeks at the Lost Abbey for a brewing apprenticeship. You couldn’t ask for a better journey through the six beers which Matt had very intimate experiences with. Each unique beer was introduced and described by Matt, who was able to regale us with stories straight from the brewery. The Lost Abbey focuses on Belgian inspired beer brewed in California, and Port Brewing creates classically west coast beers also in California. Read the rest of this entry »


Tasting the BrewDog & Stone Bashah

September 23, 2010

The Bashah is a collaboration brew between two of the worlds most influential breweries, the Stone Brewing Co. in California, and BrewDog from Scotland. It barely even matters what the beer in the bottle is, if you put these two names on it I’ll buy it out of sheer faith in its quality and predictably fantastic flavor. Each of these breweries have embarked on an incredible beer journey on their own, each creating unique and no-holds-barred beers in their own style. Put them together then, and what do you get? A Black Belgian Style Double India Pale Ale.

Firstly, this is a Double IPA, so it should be robustly hoppy with fresh, earthy and citrus bitter flavors that pack a decent punch. It should be both higher in alcohol and in bitterness (IBUs). Next, it is a Belgian Style Double IPA. This could mean a few things, but most typically it means that it was fermented with a Belgian yeast strain rather then an Californian one, thus giving it bigger body, a fruiter, more malty character, and a more lively carbonation. And Finally, it is black. This indicates the color, and therefore usage of dark, chocolate, or roasted malts in the brew; those flavors should come through subtly in the beer finally creating a unique and exciting beer. Read the rest of this entry »


Beer Donuts. I Want Them!

September 23, 2010

CraftBeer.com is a pretty remarkable resource for everything beer. They publish news, stories, lessons, guides to beer and enjoying beer, local events, beer and food pairings, and more. One of my favorite sections though is the recipe list. Not homebrew recipes, but cooking with beer recipes. The most recent post caught my attention; Amber Ale Donuts… MMMmmmm. I will be making these very soon and will post my results. I can’t wait!


New York Craft Beer Week Introduces a Truly Unique Viedo

September 23, 2010

Recently there has been a slew of Craft beer videos all resonating the same message about how much we love craft beer. Most of them are great, but absurdly repetitive uttering “I am a craft beer drinker” over and over again from different people at different angles. It was refreshing then to see the newest Craft Beer promotional video for the New York Craft Beer Week. This video is totally original, unique, and pretty awesome. I don’t think anyone has done a beer promotional video like this before. Hats off to ya guys. Oh, and NY Craft Beer week is going to be crazy! September 24th through October 3rd. If you are in New York, go get some great beer!


Defined: American Brown Ale

September 23, 2010

Aroma: Malty, sweet and rich, which often has a chocolate, caramel, nutty and/or toasty quality.  Hop aroma is typically low to moderate.  Some interpretations of the style may feature a stronger hop aroma, a citrusy American hop character, and/or a fresh dry-hopped aroma (all are optional).  Fruity esters are moderate to very low.  The dark malt character is more robust than other brown ales, yet stops short of being overly porter-like.  The malt and hops are generally balanced.  Moderately low to no diacetyl.

Appearance: Light to very dark brown color.  Clear.  Low to moderate off-white to light tan head.

Flavor: Medium to high malty flavor (often with caramel, toasty and/or chocolate flavors), with medium to medium-high bitterness.  The medium to medium-dry finish provides an aftertaste having both malt and hops.  Hop flavor can be light to moderate, and may optionally have a citrusy character.  Very low to moderate fruity esters.  Moderately low to no diacetyl. Read the rest of this entry »


Tasting the Mongozo Coconut

September 22, 2010

A lot of old men at the bar give me flack anytime I order this beer – but why should I care? And more importantly, why are they living in a world of stereotypes and preconceptions of beer. They may as well be drinking Bud Light as far as I am concerned. Why can’t beer be sweet? Or Fruity? Or low in alcohol? Or anything for that matter? Beer can be whatever you want it to be. And every once in a while I want it to be a cool coconut on a hot beach. And that it what the Mongozo Coconut delivers!

I first tried the Mongozo about 4 years ago at the Beer Bistro with some friends, and it instantly won me over. I love real flavors, and I love coconut. Why shouldn’t I love this beer – it is undeniably unique, and extremely delicious. But since then it had vanished off the menu. I had heard rumors that it would never come back, and others that it has been on order for years. The beer menu for so long has exclaimed that it is “coming soon”, but by now, I had no idea when soon would be. Finally, I was in the Bistro yesterday and decided to ask about the Mongozo, just in case. “Oh yeah, we’ve got it” said Greg, in a non nonchalant manner. I slammed the menu closed in excitement, and waited for one to appear in front of me! Read the rest of this entry »