Ottawa Beer Review 7
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 Ottawa beer. This week they sample Dominion City Brewing Company's Land is Strong.
You know you drink a lot of bitter IPAs when you sip on something that's labelled 92 IBU and you marvel at the Belgian yeast characteristics over the bitterness.
Land is Strong pours a cloudy copper with a rich, creamy off-white head that vanishes leaving little trace. The aroma is full of phenols – spicy clove, pepper, even a little banana, with some hop earthiness coming in as an afterthought. There's more of that banana, pepper, clove craziness in the flavour, but with added caramel malt notes and a bitter hop-filled finish with a nice alcohol warmth (expected at 8% ABV).
A good beer, but I feel the yeast characteristics are taking centre stage when it was supposed to be the fresh Cascade hops turn to shine.
Land is Strong wet-hopped Belgian IPA is the first of Dominion City's Terroir series, which will feature a different regionally-sourced ingredient in each brew.
For this beer they chose fresh-picked Cascade hops from Lot 17 Hop Yard in Campbellford, ON which is apparent both in the aroma and taste.
The pour was light orange-brown in color with a thick off-white head that dissipated pretty quickly.
I felt as though the earthy bitterness from the hops overpowered all of the other characteristics when the beer was first poured, but once you gave it time to breathe, the sweet caramel malt started to shine through along with herbal & pepper notes.
At 8% the beer packs a 1-2 punch and you can detect a hint of booziness on the finish so you may want to stick with grumblers if you aren't wiling to share, which is possible as overall its a very nice balanced choice.
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 Ottawa beer. This week they sample Belle Hop Porter from Beyond the Pale Brewing Company.
I know we're clinging to those last four days of summer, hoping the leaves will stay green for a few more days (at least a weekend) more, but it's time to give in. The days are getting shorter, the sun is getting hard to find and aren't you getting a little tired of drinking session IPA after session IPA? When the weather changes beer seasons change and now is a great time to start bumping it up a notch and cozy in to those higher alcohol beers. Beyond the Pale's Belle Hop Porter is a great brew to snap you out of that seasonal mood swing and have you looking forward to the dark and complex world of cold season beers.
Belle Hop Porter pours a deep brown with mahogany highlights and a frothy mocha head that lingered in the glass. Aromas of roasted malt and dark chocolate were prominent with a slight green pepper note as it warms. The flavour is predominantly malt with an emphasis on coffee, roast and dark chocolate but there is a noticeable bitter hop at the end.
With a light body and hidden alcohol flavours this 7.8% ABV brew could be very easy to drink, especially if you're inside on a rainy day with Netflix.
I’m super excited to get back to our Head to Head series and what better way to kick it off than with Beyond the Pale’s Belle Hop Porter.
Mine poured a dark brown with a slight reddish tinge and a tan head that left behind a nice thick lacing on my glass. The espresso notes definitely take over the aroma along with just a hint of nut.
The taste consisted of deep coffee notes mixed with a hint of dark chocolate – almost like eating a chocolate covered espresso bean.
As it warms you just get a hint of booziness and the beer finishes off with a nice bitterness, a little nuttiness and toffee sweetness with the coffee taste lingering on the palate long after the last sip.
Overall a great choice for a cool fall evening or pretty much anytime at all – although at just shy of 8% ABV you might want to share it – or you might not!
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 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.
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