Sasha Dunfield 4
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.
Week 2 of the Prud'homme Beer Certification in-class sessions started off with a quiz, testing what we'd retained from the week before. As it turns out, even in beer school there are no exceptions for your birthday when it comes to quizzes! I should have done my homework!
We then dove into the history of beer, which, of course, was discovered by a women! This certainly doesn't surprise me. I know that in Ottawa alone there is a large population of women who love craft beer. This is evident from the fact that 6 of the 14 participants in the class are women and some are members of Barley's Angels Ottawa, a chapter of a world-wide organization dedicated to encouraging education and interest in beer among women. Girl Power!
Before moving on to the beer tasting, we touched on the importance of beer glasses and how they can affect the taste of a beer – who knew!? I did know that beer glasses are made in different shapes to reflect the type of beer, however it was enlightening to hear how each glass is designed to bring out the flavours/aromas of specific beer. In June I attended the American Craft Beer Festival in Boston and while there got to visit the Sam Adam's Brewery where they've perfected their very own lager glass. So much is taken into consideration to enhance a beer lover's experience, from the shape of the glass to where your hand is positioned on the glass to prevent heat transfer.
This week's beer tasting featured lagers, and I found a new favorite in Kostritzer's Schwartzbier, a black lager that reminded me of a milder version of one of my favorite beers; Spearhead Moroccan Brown. Between rounds of chomping on dry saltines and swishing our mouths with water, we tasted 4 very different lagers.
It goes without mentioning that the beer tasting is my favorite part of the sessions, but it's not only because after talking about beer for over an hour, I'm craving one like nobodys business, but it's actually fun to compare amongst us what each of us are smelling/tasting. It's a type of learning process that I definitely can get used to!
Next week is proper pouring/storing techniques and wheat beers so stay tuned!
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).
The Prud’homme Beer Certification is a sommelier-style program for beer and the first of its kind in Canada. Last month we interviewed Roger Mittag to find more about the program and learned that for the first time Prud’homme Level 1 would be offered in Ottawa this fall.
Level 1 is considered to be for the Beer Enthusiast and includes 12 hours of classroom instruction or 6-8 hours of online learning. I opted for the classroom in order to learn amongst other beer enthusiasts in the community. It is an introductory course in beer education designed for participants interested in furthering their knowledge and interest in beer.
The focus for Level 1 is on brewing ingredients and processes, tasting concepts, pouring and serving concepts (including an introduction to draught systems) and food and beer pairings.
I jumped at the chance to sign up for various reasons, the main being to increase my knowledge of beer. As a beer reviewer and active member of the beer community, I felt it was important to educate myself on the finer points of brewing.
I showed up for my first class last Monday with my notepad and highlighter in hand, ready to learn all about the brewing process, which was the focus of the first session. Having gone through many brewery tours, I expected this to be a summary of what I already knew but was pleasantly surprised. Our instructor, Jeff O’Reilly’s experience and knowledge of beer added a great value to the session.
After the introductions and pleasantries were taken care of, we moved on to the meat of the first session, which involved breaking down the 5 components of beer and how each of them can change the profile of a beer depending on various factors in the brewing process. It was interesting to have some of the misconceptions that some of us that had explained. For me it was mainly how the roast on malt changes the flavour of beer. I’m ashamed to say I thought coffee was physically added to give that roasted flavour!
Then came the moment we’d all been waiting for – the beer! We put our newfound understanding of beer tasting to the test by testing our palates on 4 very different beers. From Labatt 50 to Mill Street’s Cobblestone Stout we practiced identifying the components that we’d learned about earlier. I have to say, after just one session, I felt much more comfortable reviewing my weekly beer for “Katy vs. Sasha” and I’m sure in the coming weeks under the tutelage of Jeff I’ll my comfort level will improve even more.
Stay tuned next week to find out what I learned in Week 2 of Beer School!
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