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 »

Tasting the Innis & Gunn 2010 Highland Cask

August 26, 2010

They are coming very soon to an LCBO near you – finally Canada is going to experience the Innis & Gunn Highland Cask. This 2010 Highland Cask is the 2nd that Innis & Gunn has brewed. In 2009 they made one for Sweden that I was lucky enough to try; that was aged in 18 year old Highland Whisky barrels. This, the 2010 edition brewed for the Canadian Market has been aged in 21 year old barrels from the Speyside region of Scotland. Innis would not say which distillery it was, and there are many. But to give you an idea, they include Aberlour, Belvenie, Cardhu, Glenfarclas, Glenrothes, Linkwood, Macallan, Strathisla, and more.

This Innis, like all special editions, comes in a signature box, this one an earthy green branded with “Highland Cask” on the front. It was aged in “extremely rare oak barrels” for 49 days. Innis & Gunn went to brewing a special beer for these special barrels, and watched it carefully as it matured in the oak until they felt it had reached its prime. This Highland Cask is brewed with pale and amber malts to create a smooth, creamy and biscuit like beer to best complement the light honey and floral notes of the oak. It finished at 7.1% abv. Read the rest of this entry »

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 »

Looking Forward to What Innis & Gunn has in Store for Us

August 20, 2010

Since 2006 Innis & Gunn has brought us special edition beers every holiday season. And now it seems like Canada’s enthusiasm for this Scottish Oak Aged Beer is paying off! Now we get both a special edition beer that comes in individually sealed boxes, as well a a connoisseurs pack with three beers and an Innis & Gunn stemmed beer glass.

This year in the connoisseurs pack you will get the Original, the Rum Cask is back, and the new Winter Beer – which is 8.5%, and tremendously exciting! Innis & Gunn insiders have said to me that they have never seen Dougal (the founder) more excited about a beer. I am madly excited to try this special winter beer. I will post new reviews of each of these beers in the coming weeks, as well as full descriptions of them. Read the rest of this entry »

Comparing the 2009 to the 2010 Innis & Gunn Canadian Cask

July 1, 2010

How much of a difference can 1 year really make? Well, I just tested that, and it can make a big difference. But with the Innis & Gunn Canadian Casks the differences are more than just age; they are also organic. You see, Innis & Gunn changed the recipe for the 2010 version slightly; they brewed it with malted crystal rye rather than fresh rye, and more of it, to give it a deeper and richer flavor, it was aged in older, more refined Oak Rye Barrels, and it was matured for 54 days rather than 71 leaving it with a better oak characteristic as far as Innis & Gunn was concerned.

So now we have two rye beers created specifically for Canadians to Celebrate Canada Day; one is fresh, and the other is now 1 year old. This is my kind of beer tasting! Read the rest of this entry »

Tasting the 2009 Innis & Gunn Canadian Cask

July 1, 2010

Why am I writing about last year’s Canadian Cask? Well, I was able to get a bottle of the 2010 ahead of time, and just couldn’t wait the 6 weeks to enjoy it. So I’ve already talked about the 2010 version. Besides, it was availbale at the LCBO 3 or 4 weeks ago anyways – so we’ve had had the chance. Plus, I specifically held on to one bottle of the 2009 last year so that I could embrace Canada Day with two version of its own beer and reflect on the year past, and dream for the year to come!

2009 was the very first year for Innis & Gunn’s Special Edition Canadian Cask. It came in a 300ml bottle housed in a red box bearing Canada Day 2009 on the front. Only 150 barrels of this beer were produced, and they were of course only sent to Canada. Innis & Gunn brewed the beer with rye grains, and aged it in Canadian Whiskey Barrels, then matured it for a total of 71 days; brining it to 7.1% abv. What was produced was music to my palate then, but is now a magical symphony. 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 »