This is the latest Big Bottle offering from Alley Kat brewery in Edmonton and my first Scotch ale. It has a lovely smell of malt and molasses. The taste is slightly smoky with a malt backing. I’m not crazy about smoky beers but this one is quite nice. I think it will grow on me. Continue reading Darn Tartan→
This is a past big bottle from Alley Kat. It’s dry and tart. Crisp! Sort of like a raspberry champagne. Its really nice but if you are hoping to get some you’re out of luck, like all Big Bottles from Alley Kat it’s limited edition. This one is gone. Except for the twelve bottles in my basement. If you want to try it I’m your only hope!
De Prael draws on a long history of brewing, and grows their own hops in the yard behind the brewery. Their beer is often done in smaller batches and named for friends of the brewer, in this case, Nick & Simon. The plain brown bottle is only identified with a branded cap, and a hand written tag identifying the beer within.
Nick & Simon pours a cloudy amber, and the bubbly head disperses after a few pulls. I smelled the hops right away, and I taste them fully up front. There is a brightness through the middle I want to call citrus, but it’s pretty faint. There is a bit of a pine coating in the finish.
This drinks like a really comfortable IPA.
I would definitely drink this again, assuming Scott finds a way to get me another bottle.
Brouwerij ’t IJ hails from Amsterdam, and brews many types of beer. All of them are top fermented, and a few of them, including the Columbus, is 100% organic. If you ever get a chance to visit Amsterdam, you would do well to stop in at this brewery, not only for fine beer, but to view the impressive windmill that houses Brouwerij ’t IJ.
Columbus, aside from being 100% organic, hits your glass at 9%, pours golden and cloudy. I smell a bit of sourness and hops, as well as some spice. The flavour is complex, but it drinks much brighter than I expected based on the smell. I don’t taste much alcohol for the high percentage. There is a creaminess that balances the sourness of the hops.
I don’t think I could session this beer, but I’ll definitely drink it again whenever I get the chance!
Thanks again to Scott for the recommendation, the bottle of beer, and delivery!
Weihenstephaner. The worlds oldest brewery. It started as a monastery brewery of the benedictine monks, and thankfully for all of us, it’s still brewing today as the Royal Bavarian State Brewery. I’ll cut the history lesson short.
If you like weiss bier, or wheat beer, you owe it to yourself to pick some of this up. Their class, not mass approach results in a very refreshing beer. As you might expect, it pours golden and cloudy. What sets it apart from other weiss bier for me is the incredible balance. You can probably smell or taste citrus, banana, cloves, wheat and some yeast. I also pick up a bit of coriander, as you’ll tasted in some other notable weiss bier. However, none of the others you’ll have tasted will balance it nearly as well as Weihenstephaner.
I will certainly be drinking this again, rather than my typical Hoegaarden.
Thanks for Scott for both the history lesson and the introduction to this great beer!
It’s summer. It’s hot. And so we put away our stouts and whisky cask aged beers, and raise a glass of beer that light will almost certainly pass through.
One of the standout types of summer beer for me has long been wheat beer, which is broken down into weissbier, witbier, and the sour varieties, such as lambic, Berliner Weisse and gose. The basic translation from German or Dutch (still the unrivaled masters of this top-fermented beer) is white beer. You might also have noticed hefeweizen, which is simply an unfiltered white beer which will appear cloudy when poured.
The selection tonight is Rieder Helle Weisse, out of Austria.
It pours nicely with minimal head and decent aroma. It’s a bit cloudy, and a brilliant golden wheat colour. The flavour is smooth, with a hint of citrus and banana, and a very clean finish. Not an astounding wheat beer, but certainly a very good one.
Delerium Nocturnum is an 8.5% Belgian Strong Ale from the Huyghe Brewery in Belgium. It pours out a beautiful rich brown head with a nice head. It was rich enough to stand up to and even pair nicely with a Cohiba. While it is a very tasty beer, I found I liked its sister, Delerium Tremens even better. I thought Tremens was richer, sweeter, and more complex, more of what I expect in a Belgian ale. I would definitely drink it again but would take Tremens every time if given the choice!
On another note, I really need to get the proper glassware for a Belgian ale. I don’t think I have the palate to detect the difference made by glassware, it’s more for the experience. But then again, who knows…..
This is Columbus from Brouwerij ‘t IJ in Amsterdam. It is a 9% beer that is rich and complex. I tried many of the beers at Brouwerij ‘t IJ but this was by far my favorite.
I would definitely drink this again, it is so good. As far as I know though, Brouwerij ‘t IJ doesn’t export to Canada. I managed to bring 4 bottles back with me in my suitcase, I’m down to three now. I’m guarding it carefully but I want to drink it! I’m hoping that my good friends in Amsterdam will do their best to hook me up with more! (Are you listening Scotty?)
If you are ever in Amsterdam I would highly recommend going down to the Brouwerij ‘t IJ, hang out on their beer garden and try all their beers, especially the Columbus!
I have long wanted to get my hands on a Trappist Westvleteren beer. Westvleteren, located in West Flanders Belgium, is the smallest and most secretive of the Trappist brewers. Not only is their beer itself scarce because of the small production, but anyone wishing to purchase beer can only buy it in limited amounts, and even then, only from the monks themselves. They sell only to individual customers who agree not to resell the beer. People have been caught and prosecuted for doing so.
I’ve long had my eye on this beer, and long worried that I’d never see it, let alone have a chance to drink it. But I have great friends, and through them my proverbial ship came in this past Christmas. Impossibly huge thanks goes out to Kevin & Cath!
I stress at this time that this beer was a gift. I didn’t buy it or sell it. I did, however, share it.
The first thing to note is the bottle. Simple. Brown. No label. The only identification is the cap.
The beer pours nicely, with beautiful colour. It’s fairly cloudy. The first big surprise was the smell. As is often the case with good beer and especially Trappist beer, the smell and the taste don’t always match up. I smelled fruit, predominantly cherry, and spice.
Tasting Westvleteren 8 was an absolute pleasure. It was so well balanced. The cherry and spice that I smelled came through, but I also picked up hints of caramel and toasted malt. There was certainly more, but I’ll admit that in the face of the Westvleteren 8 my palette is probably out of it’s depth. This beer drinks a bit sweet, but finishes dry.
I’m not sure when I’ll have my hands on another bottle of this rare and incredible beer, but you can bet that some time in the future I will drink Westvleteren 8 again. Even if it means hunting for seat sales.