Katy and Sasha are the contributors for Ottawa Beer Events! They have distinctly different palates and in this segment they go head-to-head tasting Double IPA by Pit Caribou.
A few weeks ago I told you I didn't spend all day in a beer filled room swirling my glass, writing funny little qwips for Twitter and posting awesome photos for my Untappd checkins. I think I actually convinced some of you ..and then I checked into Pit Caribou's Double IPA at lunchtime. So maybe most of my free time is spent doing beer things, that's not wrong is it? Anyway, let's get to this review.
Pit Caribou's Double IPA pours a deep orange, which contrasted against the bleak snowy background of Ottawa seems almost warming, like it has the power to melt away the March snow. There are aromas of grassy hops, citrus and also some bready malts that adds a slightly sweet note. This is a double IPA so there are a whole lotta hops crammed in this bottle which makes for a bitter bite of pine, citrus and resin, but there's a lingering malt presence that (unsuccessfully) tries to balance the hops in this 8.2% ABV brew.
But I'm okay with a beer that's a little off balance in favour of hops.
Pouring a hazy straw color with a very slight white head, the Double IPA from Pit Caribou, a brewery from Gaspé is definitely made for hop lovers.
The aroma is filled with nothing but flowery hops and the first sip gives a bitter kick straight to your tastebuds.
The flavours definitely linger – but the beer is very smooth and pure – with a warming bite of the alcohol on the end.
Overall – a bit too bitter for my taste – but hopheads out there will really love this one!
Katy and Sasha are the contributors for Ottawa Beer Events! They have distinctly different palates and in this segment they go head-to-head tasting Palm by Brouwerij Palm NV.
First things first, Palm is not made from Palm trees and it's not imported from some place warm where palm trees are native – come on, I couldn't have been the only one who thought that. Palm is a Belgium Pale Ale brewed in Steenhuffel, Belgium where brewing can be traced all the way back to 1747!
Palm pours a wonderful amber colour, very similar to the colour of the bottle it's packaged in, with a sudsy head that quickly disappears. There are sweet aromas of caramel and honey mixed in with roasted malt and a pleasing herbalness. The sweet malt flavours play with a slight crisp fruitiness and enough bitterness to lend balance making a very refreshing drink.
This beer isn't overly complicated, but it's tasty, it's great with food and it's kind of fun to think of people enjoying it in a Belgium castle.
Considered a Belgian amber beer, Palm mirrors the color of it's style, pouring a translucent amber with very little head.
Katy and Sasha are the contributors for Ottawa Beer Events! They have distinctly different palates and in this segment they go head-to-head tasting L'assoiffé 12 by Brasseurs du Monde.
As much as you may think my life revolves around beer; that I sit in a room surrounded by bottles writing witty beer tweets as my job. I don't. I actually work rotating shifts which is why sometimes you'll see me having a beer at 7:00am (after shift) or posting cat videos on Facebook at 1:00am (staying awake).
I've noticed depending on when I come off shift determines the type of beer I want. When I'm in the middle of a string of shifts I want something straight forward without much complication and a low ABV. When I'm off for a "weekend" I want indulgence, lots of flavour and I'm willing to go higher in alcohol.
L'assoiffé 12 is a weekend beer. At 11.5% ABV this beer is loaded with complications and flavours that'll have you parked on the couch trying to figure out what's going on in your glass. Flavour-wise I picked out sweet flavours of plum, fig; spices like nutmeg, clove and a little cinnamon and a pleasant warm finish.
The downside is that the beer seems a little out of balance with the sweetness level being fairly high and spice level right up there. If Brasseurs du Monde were able to strike a balance between the two this would be a solid Belgian Quad.
On a cold winter day sometimes you want to be warmed up with a nice 11% ABV ABT from Brasseurs du Monde's L'assoiffé 12.
Katy and Sasha are the contributors for Ottawa Beer Events! They have distinctly different palates and in this segment they go head-to-head tasting Mort Subite Kriek from Brouwerij Mort Subite.
Mort Subite Kriek Lambic. In reading the name there are so many things to explain. What's a Lambic? For a very basic description, a lambic is a beer produced with spontaneous fermentation; the unfermented wort is left in open tuns so wild yeast and bacteria can fall in and ferment the beer. There are many subcategories of lambics, but they all have a funky sour taste in common. A Kriek is a Lambic beer that has cherries tossed in after the fermentation has started. Finally, Mort Subite means 'Sudden Death' in French and is also the name of a dice game played by locals in a café in Brussels.
Phew, with that behind us let's talk more about how the beer tastes!
Pouring ruby-red with Champagne-like bubbles and a pink foamy head, Mort Subite has big aromas of sugary sweet cherries – almost medicinal, like cherry cough drops. The flavour is very similar to the aroma with cherry dominating the palate and a slight sour funk coming in subtly at the end. Instead of whole cherries being tossed into the tun Mort Subite uses cherry syrup which may explain why there's a concentration of cherry and less stinging tartness.
Serve Mort Subite Kriek in a flute as an aperitif or as a Thursday afternoon treat – it made my afternoon feel fancy.
Mort Subite Kriek pours the color of raspberries, however it's the sweet cherry filled aroma that hits you right away.
At only 4.5 ABV this Kriek Lambic, brewed with sour cherries has a dry tart flavour, just as you would imagine from these cherries, which brought me back to my childhood, when we used to pick them from the trees at home.
A slight berry-like sweetness balances out the sour. This I believe, comes from the Elderberries,referenced on the label. I've actually never had an elderberry but they balance the sour cherry very well in this beer.
Overall a very nice lambic – great to have on a summer's day! I just wish the oak-aged flavour had come through a bit more.
Mort Subite Kriek is available at the LCBO and select pubs and restaurants.
Katy and Sasha are the contributors for Ottawa Beer Events! They have distinctly different palates and in this segment they go head-to-head tasting Blanche Neige from Brasserie Dieu du Ciel!
I'm not a big fan of Wit beer. I often find it lacking in body and really sweet with coriander overpowering everything. Blah – not for me. I wasn't really looking forward to drinking Dieu du Ciel's Blanche Neige (french for Snow White) because, well, who wants to drink a Wit in February?
I should have known though, Dieu du Ciel doesn't brew a simple Wit for February, no they brew an amped up version with cinnamon, cloves with an ABV of 8.3%! The result is a shimmering gold liquid with thin (snow) white head that quickly melts away. Cinnamon and cloves are very dominant in the aroma, but also orange rind and tart yeast. The flavour is full on clove with cinnamon coming in at the end with orange rind, banana and earth/floral hops.
With the high alcohol content this beer is dangerously drinkable and may even lull you to sleep after a few bottles. Better make sure you have a Prince (or Princess) Charming to wake you up.
Mirror Mirror on the Wall…Dieu de Ciel's Blanche Neige beer,a Wit beer with Cinnamon and Cloves is quite delicious!
I had a sample of this beer at Bières du Monde last week and was really excited to dive into a whole bottle. It pours a hazy straw color and citrus aromas waft from the glass with a mixture of cinnamon and peppercorn.
I tasted the cinnamon right away along with flavours of banana bread, with the notes of clove only appearing after the beer warmed slightly. Just the right amount of sweetness balances the beer out nicely.
With an ABV of 8.3% it's a great beer to warm up with in the cold winter – instead of having to seek out shelter with 7 dwarfs.
Blanche Neige is available (whiles supplies last) at Bières Du Monde (181 Rue Principal Aylmer, QC and Bières du Monde department in the Outaouais Fruterie in Les Galeries de Hull) - lesbieresdumonde.com
Katy and Sasha are the contributors for Ottawa Beer Events! They have distinctly different palates and in this segment they go head-to-head tasting American Pale Ale by Brasseurs Sans Gluten.
The LCBO lists five gluten-free brews and they all have a pretty similar crisp pilsner-style profile. How boring! If I was a celiac I'd probably switch to wine so I wouldn't be pilsner-ed to death.
Don't worry though my gluten-free friends, although it hasn't hit Ottawa yet, Brasseurs Sans Gluten from Montreal is available just across the bridge in Quebec beer stores. And no, they aren't offering a pilsner, but a Red, a surprisingly hoppy American Pale Ale and even a Belgian Double!
When I popped the American Pale Ale the copper-coloured brew had wonderful tropical notes, citrus zest and hints of sweet brown sugar. The hops come through on the taste with a sweet citrus bitterness followed by caramel, grain and a dry finish.
While Glutenberg American Pale Ale is a celebration for celiacs wanting to indulge in a brew, it's also simply a good beer to drink.
It seems like Gluten Allergies are becoming more common, which is why I was happy to review Brasserie Sans Gluten's Glutenberg American Pale ale for my gluten-free friends.
Katy and Sasha are the contributors for Ottawa Beer Events! They have distinctly different palates and in this segment they go head-to-head tasting Vin d’Orge Noir from Brasserie Dunham.
Originally brewed for Montreal's Winter Warmer, Dunham's Vin d'Orge Noir has been generously hopped with Chinook and Calypso and partially aged in bourbon barrels.
It pours a pitch black with a small amount of tan foam that quickly disappears. There are wonderful citrus and pine resin aromas mixed with dark fruit (plum, dates, grape), roasted malt and caramel. Although it's packed full of hops the taste is a little sweet with the fruit flavour being backed up with caramel and vanilla from the bourbon barrel and finishing with a lasting bitter pine finish.
This is a great interpretation of a barley wine that caters to the hop heads. Think of it as a sweet black IPA almost.
Katy and Sasha are the contributors for Ottawa Beer Events! They have distinctly different palates and in this segment they go head-to-head tasting Rigor Mortis ABT from Brasserie Dieu du Ciel.
Happy New Year! Some of us beer geeks have chosen to take a small break from beer after doing so much holiday celebrating and others (me) have recommitted to their beer "hobby" (obsession?) by promising to start a cellar. If you fall into one of these categories than Rigor Mortis ABT might be for you.
This once a year brew inspired by Belgian Trappist monks pours a deep mahongany red with a quickly vanishing off white head. From the moment the cap is popped there are sweet smells of dates, raisins, prunes, candy sugar and caramelt malt.
The aroma only hints at how sweet this beer is. The dark fruit is very prominent with notes of both molasses and ginger spicing it up. There's a slight alcohol finish, but it isn't harsh or unpleasant, just a subtle reminder you're drinking a 10.5% brew. My only complaint is that this brew seems very light for a Quadrupel, I was expecting something with more body – a weight to it.
For those of us who are starting cellars, this is a great example of a beer that would age well. Try it now and then try it 6 months, taking note of how the flavours change and mature. For those Sober January folk, grab this beer as a special treat knowing that it's best to wait a while to truely enjoy.
Rigor Mortis from Dieu du Ciel is the kind of beer you want to relax with on a Saturday night.
Pouring an amber color with a thin tan-colored head, as soon as you pop this open, the sweet smells of caramel and fruits are present.
The caramel seems to overpower on the first sip, making it almost too sweet, but once it settles, you start to get those great flavours of dried fruits and spices along with just a hint of chocolate.
At 10.5% ABU it's a nice warming choice for this cold winter.
Katy and Sasha are the contributors for Ottawa Beer Events! They have distinctly different palates and in this segment they go head-to-head tasting Moralité, a collaboration between Quebec's Dieu du Ciel! and Vermont's The Alchemist.
If you're a hop head (like me) you're probably very familiar with John Kimmich, The Alchemist and one of the top ranked Imperial IPAs in the world, Heady Topper. So, when a well respected Quebec brewery like Dieu du Ciel! announces their bottling a collaboration brew with The Alchemist, a powerful 6.9% ABV India Pale Ale, it's kind of a big deal.
With our cold Ottawa weather blowing in this week I feel it's appropriate to warn you not to leave your case of Moralité, or any beer, in the car for an extended period of time. Doing so will create beer slushies and make for a disappointing evening waiting for your beer to defrost.
Pouring a glimmering golden orange (once it thawed) with a thin white soapy head, this beer is all hops. There are wonderful juicy citrus aromas of orange peel and lime,mild resin, pine and a subtle malt base. This hop punch continues as you drink it, lots of upfront bitterness with juicy flavours of mandarin orange attempting to calm it, but it's the pine and orange rind that lets it linger around a little longer.
This is simply a beautiful beer. From the flavours to the lively carbonation that makes the liquid sparkle in your glass. If you're a fan of hops, hoard this beer. If you're not, try at least one bottle, it's a world class IPA from Quebec.
Pouring a hazy gold with just a hint of head, Moralité by Dieu du Ciel and Alchemist is everything you'd expect from an American IPA. Aromas of citrusy hops match the only slightly bitter hop flavours with a sweetness to finish. A crisp and refreshing choice and very well balanced.
Katy and Sasha are the contributors for Ottawa Beer Events! They have distinctly different palates and in this segment they go head-to-head tasting Muskoka Winter Beard Double Chocolate Cranberry Stout by Muskoka Brewery.
Normally when I review a beer I do it alone without distraction – no music or television – just me and the beer. I'd like to say that I do this so I can sip my beer in quiet contemplation, maybe making a few slurping noises, perhaps a gargle, but really it's because I'm afraid I'll drink it too quickly while watching a Seinfeld rerun.
For Muskoka's Winter Beard I did the opposite. I had guests over at my apartment (helping me with home decor, bribed with pizza) and we were having loud conversations with the TV blaring in the background. Already a few beers in, I pulled out the champagne bottle of stout from the fridge, pried off the cork and poured small samples of the thick oil black liquid.
Deep in conversation, my guests didn't give much notice to the drink when I served it; I don't think they knew what I was giving them. But as they took their first sips the conversation quieted and the flavours in the glass became the new topic of discussion.
Pouring black with a thin crema head there are deep aromas of dark chocolate, coffee and mulled cranberries. The flavour is rich and seriously indulgent with dark chocolate, roasted malt notes and a sweet cranberry finish. Its dessert-like qualities reminded me of candy – dark chocolate Glosettes or maybe a Cherry Blossom.
This is a wonderful beer that deserves to be shared with friends during the holidays. Be aware though, it tends to be a conversation stopper.
Muskoka Winter Beard Double Chocolate Cranberry Stout is available for a limited time at LCBO locations throughout Ontario, and will retail for $13.95 per 750 ml corked-and-caged bottle.