I Look Forward to the Winter for the Ommegang Adoration

October 5, 2010

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.


Tasting the Innis & Gunn Winter Beer, 2010

October 4, 2010

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 »


The Ola Dubh Will Return to The LCBO. All Of Them!

October 4, 2010

Every once in a while the LCBO brings in a beer that totally shocks me. And its not necessarily the beer itself that gets my attention, but the fact that the LCBO had the you-know-what to actually bring it in! Last year the LCBO proved their worth to me by bringing in the Ola Dubh 12 and 40 – while the 40 was grossly over priced at $18.95 for a 330ml bottle, I was still excited to have it here. As well, it is a rare and pricey beer, so you can’t completely blame them.

This year the LCBO has again shocked me, and more so beyond last year. Not only are we getting the 12 and the 40 back, but the reaming Vintages in the Ola Dubh line are coming! That means soon we will have access to the Ola Dubh 12, 16, 18, 30 and 40! This is not yet reflected on the LCBO’s system, but was confirmed to me by beer services employee at the Sumerhill location. Read the rest of this entry »


Tasting the Muskoka Cottage Brewery Harvest Ale 2010

October 1, 2010

The Muskoka Cottage Brewery, located in Bracebridge Ontario (pure cottage country) has a slogan that states “The taste of cottage country”. Not only is that their motto, but it is also the idea behind their newest seasonal beer, the Harvest Ale. This could actually be the first of its kind from Ontario; all the malts and hops used in this brew were grown here in Ontario. I love the idea. This is the second year that Muskoka has released the Harvest, and this version comes in a very handsome 750ml swing cap bottle.

It is now floating through LCBO locations and will be available while supplies last at select pubs and restaurants. Muskoka has designed a richly hoppy and bitter pale ale at 6.4%. Right now it is probably the biggest, and most bitter pale ale offering available from Ontario in LCBO locations. It offers up different flavors than that of the typical American Style Pale ale, which I expect Muskoka would like to say is uniquely Canadian. I’m not sure what Ontario’s hop farms are like, but I do hope that this inspired more brewers to create seasonal beers sourced locally – everyone benefits. Read the rest of this entry »


The Pumpkin Beers Are Coming

October 1, 2010

There’s no avoiding it anymore, the summer is definitely gone; as hard as I have been trying to hold onto it, its gone. But fall is a pretty beautiful season – the leaves change, the air is crisp, the enchantment of the holiday season nears, and, oh yes, the Pumpkin Ales come in! This year we are getting four pumpkin ales in for the Autumn Release at the LCBO.

Great Lakes’ Pimpkin Ale will be back in 650ml bottles; it is a pale ale based pumpkin ale with mellow spice and pumpkin flavors at 5%. The St. Ambroise Pumpkin Ale is also back, this 5% 341ml bottle is packed with crisp spices and refreshingly sweet pumpkin notes. The Post Road Pumpkin by Brooklyn will join the ranks for the first time, offering a more malty 5% pumpkin ale. And finally, Southern Tier, who is getting more and more shelf space recently will bring the Pumpkin, an 8.8% imperial pumpkin ale. Go get it!


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.


BrewDog Unveils AB: 03

September 17, 2010

BrewDog’s third installation in the Abstrakt series, AB: 03, just went live this morning. AB:01 was a Vanilla bean infused Belgian Quadrupel at 10.2%, AB:02 was a Tripple Dry Hopped Imperial Red Ale at 18%, now AB:03 is an Imperial Ale Aged for more than 2 years in Whisky casks with raspberries and strawberries at 10.5%. Just 3192, 375ml bottles of AB: 03 were made and are selling for 9.99 British pounds.

I did expect that AB:02 and 03 would sell out immediately, as AB:01 did, however they re still selling AB:02 on their website. Interesting. It may be a case of over flooding the market with similar products; what with Tactical Nuclear Penguin, Sink the Bismark, and The End of History, BrewDog has in the past year brought an onslaught of high alcohol, high cost, exclusive beers to the market. Maybe it is time that they focus on their core business. But I will never discourage their enthusiasm and sense of experimentation. Cheers!