Beer Review 11
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 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 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.
With the recent snow fall and blustery frigid wind, this beer review was perfectly timed!
Pouring a thick, thick ink black with a cascading chocolate milk coloured head, there are warm roasted aromas of malt that are sharply contrasted by hoppy grapefruit. There's a wonderful creamy, full body that makes this big 8% ABV bottle a fun indulgence.
As for the flavour, it starts off with a layer of roast – dark cocoa, sweet molasses and notes of ashy smoke and then turns bitter with herbal and grapefruit hops kicking up the IBUs to 117. There's a dry finish with a slight boozy astringency.
If you put the best of Katy's favorite beer style (IPA) and mine (stout) together you basically get Dunham Black IPA.
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 Tripe à 3 Chêne by À La Fût.
This Belgian Tripel is brewed using organic Quebec malts, European hops, aged in oak with brettanomyces and it’s a little crazy.
Pouring a beautiful sunset gold with a quick dissolving white head that laces down the glass, Tripe à 3 Chêne has a faint aroma reminiscent of spicy pinot noir with notes of honey, sour cherry and sweet malt.
To start there are sweet, rich flavours of malt with the brettanomyces yeast adding some wine-like characteristics – tropical fruit, earthiness, pepper and some citrus. It finishes a little boozy (9.7% ABV) with oak appearing at the very end, lingering on the palate.
This beer is tasty and a great example of how brett can influence a beer’s aroma and flavour. If I had thought ahead I would have saved a bottle for my beer cellar to see how this wild beer developes over time.
The Tripe à 3 Chêne – À La Fût pours an amber color with an orange tinge. The head disappears almost as soon as you finish the pour.
The aroma is a mix of fruits and honey, mainly plum, with the taste mirroring this. It’s very fruity and sweet, almost like a fruit wine, though I didn’t really pick up on the taste from aging in a barrel. The Brett yeast gives the beer just a hint of sour on the palate.
This beer definitely packs a punch.With a 9.7% ABV the alcohol is very present in this beer both in the prickly sensation it leaves on your tongue and the taste itself.
Overall a bit too sweet for me – would be a great beer for wine lovers!
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 MacTavish In Memoriam by Le Trou duDiable.
Pouring a bubbly clear gold with a puffy cotton ball white head, MacTavish in Memoriam has big aromas of grapefruit hops, caramel malts and pine.
Taste-wise, this brew starts with a sharp grapefruit bitterness that mellows with flavours of an arrowroot cracker and ends dry with hints of pine.
At 5% ABV an well balanced, MacTavish in Memoriam is the perfect beer for when you just wan ta really good beer. After you try one you’ll be paying your respects to the old MacTavish too.
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 Squashed Pumpkin Porter by Turtle Island Brewing Company.
Pouring a dark brown with a light mocha head that quickly disappears (I had to do a lot of glass swirling to get this picture), Turtle Island's Squashed Pumpkin Porter uses both roast pumpkins and butternut squash to create a full bodied pumpkin brew.
There's a very interesting mix of aromas – cocoa, clove and pumpkin pie spice. This isn't your typical pumpkin ale! Instead of being overwhelmed by pumpkin pie spice from the start you're greeted with sweet dried fruit, roasted malt which then leads into some subtle pumpkin spice before finishing with a dry bitter chocolate.
The roasted pumpkin/squash flavour is very subtle, but using the squash in the beer has created a wonderful rich texture that makes it a delight to drink on those chilly fall evenings.
Turtle Island's Squashed Pumpkin Porter pours a deep dark brown with a reddish tint and barely there head. The aroma is faint, but I picked up a sweet smell right off the bat with just a hint of cinnamon.
At first you barely get any pumpkin flavor, but as it warms the pumpkin and squash become more apparent. It's definitely a lot sweeter than I expected with some nice caramel notes tied in with the smoothness of the beer.
Being a big fan of pumpkin beer, I would have preferred just a hint more of the pumpkin flavour but overall a very nice porter. This is a great choice for those who seek dark roasted flavours with just a hint of pumpkin spice.
Squashed Pumpkin Porter is available for a limited time at select pubs and restaurants.
Isseko Nicho is a special collaboration between Dieu du Ciel and Shiga Kogen, a Japanese brewery located in Nagano, Japan. It's an Imperial Dark Saison, a unique combination of Imperial Stout and Belgian Saison that rings in at a hefty 9.5% ABV.
It pours a deep black with a lingering frothy mocha head that leaves some nice lace patterns on the glass as you sip. There are aromas of roasted malt, coffee, dried dark fruit, anise and some hoppy citrus – I guess when you merge two beer styles you get some complicated aromas.
The imperial stout side of this beer is more prominent in the taste with roasted malt coming in front and centre with hints of anise and clove coming in subtly in the middle and ending really bitter with some spiciness.
Dieu de Ciel's Isseki Nicho, is an Imperial Dark Saison that they brewed in collaboration with Shiga Kogen in Japan.
It pours the color of black ink, with a thick caramel coloured head, and a strong aroma of alcohol with a hint of floral from the hops.
This beer definitely delivers on its 9.5% ABV. At first the alcohol overpowered the rest of the flavours, but once it warms you get the toasted malt flavours which deliver a hint of coffee and anise.
It's definitely a "big beer", not something I could drink more than one of at a time, but will appeal to those who like the strong bitter styles.
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 La Vache Folle Imperial Milk Stout by Microbrasserie Charlevoix.
A milk stout is a stout that has lactose, milk sugar, added to the brew kettle for sweetness and body. If you're vegan this beer is not for you otherwise this is a must try brew for any beer fan.
La Vache Folle pours a deep black with a light mocha head and sweet aromas of dark chocolate milk, roasted malt and raisin. The first taste is all sweet with hints of dark chocolate and coffee that progress to a slightly fruitier raisin flavour and finishes with a roasted vanilla. As it warms it seems to get sweeter with notes of chocolate milk becoming more prominent.
This is a solid stout and although it's very sweet it's also very balanced – the sweetness won't overwhelm you. Be careful though, at 9% ABV this brew does go down a bit too easy. It also induces a craving for the chocolatiest of chocolate cakes.
The Charlevoix Vache Folle Imperial Milk Stout pours a rich dark chocolate brown with a thin caramel head.
The aroma is rich with mixture of coffee and caramel with slight nuttiness.
The taste mirrors the aroma with bold coffee and subtle nut flavours and with a 9% ABV you definitely get a slight burn from the alcohol on the palate.
Overall a well balanced stout, full bodied and creamy (and delicious).