Defined: Northern English Brown Ale

September 30, 2010

Aroma: Light, sweet malt aroma with toffee, nutty and/or caramel notes.  A light but appealing fresh hop aroma (UK varieties) may also be noticed.  A light fruity ester aroma may be evident in these beers, but should not dominate.  Very low to no diacetyl.

Appearance: Dark amber to reddish-brown color.  Clear.  Low to moderate off-white to light tan head.

Flavor: Gentle to moderate malt sweetness, with a nutty, lightly caramelly character and a medium-dry to dry finish.  Malt may also have a toasted, biscuity, or toffee-like character.  Medium to medium-low bitterness.  Malt-hop balance is nearly even, with hop flavor low to none (UK varieties).  Some fruity esters can be present; low diacetyl (especially butterscotch) is optional but acceptable. Read the rest of this entry »

Tasting the Cannery Brewery Blackberry Porter

September 20, 2010

Its now Fall, one of the best beer seasons that there is. I know it may seem counter intuitive; most people consider the summer to be beer season. But when the fall comes breweries begin to produce more richly flavored, robust beers with a wide range of ingredients. Spices, pumpkin, berries and more get added into the brew and the beers become unique and warming. I love it.

It is also when the LCBO brings in the best selection of new beers. In this year’s Autumn release came the Cannery Brewing Blackberry Porter, a 6.5% traditional style porter with blackberry flavor added for a hint of sweet complexity. The Cannery has been brewing since 2000 in Penticton BC, and is one of many west coast breweries which I have been excited to try for a long time. The 650ml bottle plainly depicts blackberries front and center on the purple label, so I was expecting at very least a reasonable rush of blackberry in this beer. Read the rest of this entry »

Great American Beer Festival Awards Are Handed Out

September 20, 2010

This past weekend in Denver Colorado the largest gathering of American beer and beer lovers enjoyed a flavor packed weekend of craft beer, great food, and good times. This year 3,523 beers were entered into the Great American Beer Festival brew competition, more than any other commercial beer competition in the world. Winners from the 79 beer categories were just announced over the weekend and Gold, Silver and Bronze awards were handed out. Pizza Port Brewing took an impressive 13 medals, and Firestone Walker to 6. For the full list of winners here is the PDF. Read more for some stats. Read the rest of this entry »

A Lost Abbey and Port Brewing Tasting at the Beer Bistro

September 16, 2010

On Wednesday September 22nd during Toronto Beer Week the Beer Bistro will be hosting a tasting of 4 Lost Abbey Beers and 2 Port Brewing Beers for $25. Both of these Californian Breweries have made a prominent name for themselves amongst brewers and beer lovers. Their products perfume with heritage an passion, and are filled with life and excellence.

The Lost Abbey Beers Features will be the Carnevale (dry hopped saison at 6.5%), Avant Garde (Biere de Garde style malty beer at 7%), Red Bard Ale (a spicy farmhouse ale with roots in rustic Southern Belgium at 6.7%), and the Lost and Found (a trappist inspired Abbey Ale at 7.5%). The 2 Port Brewing beers are the Old Viscosity (nick named the big nasty, this is a 10.5% stout/barleywine/old ale that needs to be tried to be understood) and the Older Viscosity (A bourbon barrel aged version of the Old Viscosity that is up to 12.5%).

Toronto Beer Week is Less Than One Week Away!

September 14, 2010

Ok, I hope by now that beer lovers in and around Toronto already know about Toronto Beer Week (TBW). If not, please take a moment to familiarize yourself with the website, contain your excitement, and book off the week to drink beer! This is a week long beer celebration starting on Monday September the 20th, running till Sunday the 26th. Thats only 6 days away!

I was going to post a full list of all the events happening during this week around Toronto, but there must be 100 of them! Check out the TBW Events Page for a full listing of what events are taking place where throughout the week. This is a great chance to enjoy some of the best beer available in Ontario, meet some of your favorite brewers, and mingle with beer lovers, media, and professionals alike. This is going to be a grand week ‘o beer!

Stone’s Vertical Epic 10’10’10 is Announced

September 14, 2010

The Stone Brewing Co. does many things that makes me wish I lived in Escondido California, where the brewery is located. If its not just for their beers, its the festivals, the brew pub, the events, specialty and collaboration beers, and the sheer passion and enthusiasm for beer that the whole teem exudes. One of my favorite projects that they have which has been running since 2002 is the Vertical Epic Ale Series. Each year starting on 02’02’02 (ie. February 2nd, 2002) Stone releases a new beer intended to be aged until 12’12’12 (December 12, 2010), at which time they should be enjoyed ranging from a fresh beer to a 10 year old bottle. Read the rest of this entry »

The Anatomy of a Beer

September 8, 2010

Beer is more than just a pale colored beverage in a glass. It can display a wide and vast range of colors, flavors, aromas and textures. Especially among craft beers, you would be hard pressed to find two beers whose construction came out to yield the exact same beer. All the different variables and procedures that go into crafting a beer make each one unique and special.

Understanding a beer’s anatomy can help you better define its structure, and how its flavors will affect you. See below for a full breakdown of a beer’s final construction and how it affects the flavor and experience you enjoy. Read the rest of this entry »

The Modern Gentleman Poured Me a Beer

August 23, 2010

This week on The Modern Gentleman I take a look at when it is appropriate to enjoy your beer straight from the bottle, and when it is best to let it rest in a glass. I know it may sound trivial, but the decision to pour or not to pour is bigger than you might think. Certain beers are designed to be drank right from the bottle where their flavors will be constrained and not let loose – other are crafted to that they will unleash a bouquet of aromas and sensations when they hit the glass. Check out The Modern Gentleman for a full explanation.

Real Beer, with Stephen Rich: THE SHOW!

August 20, 2010

My love and passion for real beer… In video form.! Read the rest of this entry »

The Great Warm English Ale Myth

August 17, 2010

This is among the most misunderstood and most common myths about beer; the idea that English Ales are served warm at room temperature. Please just understand that that is wrong. First of all, there is a great range of English Ale, and each will have their own specific temperature at which they will best be served at. This warm beer myth though originates from English Cask Ale – beer which is served directly for the vessel which is has been fermented and conditioned in.

It is true that Cask beer should be served warmer than your average ale or lager – but this still does not justify the warm beer myth. Room temperature is around 21C (70F), fridge temperature is around 4C (39F) – keep this in mind. Classic English Cask Ales should be served at Cellar Temperature, which is between 12 and 14C (54 to 57F) – some may insist that it should be served even warmer between 14 and 16C. In either case though this is far below room temperature. I think the reason that this misconception exists is because the majority of people spreading this rumor are drinking commodity grade beer, which is typically consumed right from the fridge, so you can’t taste all the preservatives and artificial ingredients that they contain.

When it comes down to it, every different beer style deserves its own serving temperature – so don’t get caught up in the lowest common denominator beers, they are lying to you.

Mark Denny Knows Whats Up

August 12, 2010

“Todays Macro brewed beers are brewed to a high gravity [high alcohol], filtered, and then diluted to the desired strength with deoxygenated, carbonated water, before being pasteurized (in some countries) in the bottle or can, or in the metal kegs, but heating to 70C for 15 to 30 seconds. All of these processes improve hygiene and reduce costs, but they also reduce the flavor of the beer. This sanitized Macroswill can be stored for long periods and sitributed across the world. As long as it is fizzy and is served cold, and is promoted by TV advertizing, it sells.”

Read the rest of this entry »

Stephen Rich is Featured on Great Canadian Beer Blog’s “Meet the Beer Bloggers” Feature

August 11, 2010

Several weeks ago Troy Burch, the publisher of the Great Canadian Beer Blog decided that it would be a good idea to introduce everyone to the people in Ontario who are writing, and blogging about the Ontario Craft Beer Market. Great Idea Troy! Today yours truly is the featured Beer Blogger. In the interview I discuss when I first saw the craft beer light, why I decided to blog, a bit about my thoughts on the Ontario beer industry, and more. Thats for the interview Troy, and keep up the good work!

Beer Basics: Hops

July 19, 2010

As far as many American Craft Brewers would be concerned, hops are the best thing that has ever happen to beer – they have very notably become brewers of beers with big rich hopy aromas and flavors. Many U.S. Craft Breweries brew with so many varieties of hops in such large quantities that new styles have been created to fit these new hop heavy beers. Double IPAs, Imperial Bitters, and a huge slew of dry hopped styles are among some of the beers you can find all across the United States these days.

But what is a hop in the first place? What types of flavor characteristics does it impart on beer? Why is it necessary? And what is an IBU anyways? Read the rest of this entry »

How to describe Real Beer; what does effervescent mean anyways?

July 13, 2010

Effervescent is an intransitive verb meaning to show liveliness or exhilaration. It is often used to describe beers with champagne-like qualities such as the Unibroue Chambly Noire, or the Brooklyn Local 1. But why should we describe beer anyways?

The answer is undoubtedly the same reason why we drink real beer in the first place; because we appreciate it and we appreciate real flavor. We want it, crave it, need it, search for it, travel for it, think about it, talk about it, and love it. We love real beer and real flavor. Being able to describe the beer which we love so much only further enables up to appreciate and explore all the subtle and extreme traits a beer can possess.

Over the next several weeks we will discuss why we describe beer, how to describe beer, and how to break down individual aromas, flavors, and distinct qualities of real beer. Today we are going to look at the purpose behind describing beer, and why it is worth our time and effort.

Real Beer Marketing, Defined

July 12, 2010

What is Real Beer Marketing?

It begins with passion – a whole ton of it. Then maybe a bit of obsession and a real thirst for knowledge and experience. But really, Real Beer Marketing is all about the beer; not a specific brand or style of beer, but real beer as a whole. There is such a massive amount of real and amazing beer in the world that I find it difficult to limit myself to one style, country of origin, or brewery. Besides, Real Beer Marketing is really not about promoting beer to people, but rather introducing people to real flavor. That’s what real beer is all about; the flavor, enjoyment, excitement, and the experience. Read the rest of this entry »