Thursday, February 18, 2010

Brew Dog Hardcore IPA


Brew Dog Hardcore IPA

Ratebeer
3.36 79th percentile
Beer Advocate B-

Taste +4

Wow, the nose was more than expected. It was big on everything: caramel malts, sweet, spicy, piny and citrus hops. With a big hoppy nose, the taste was oddly sweet with the caramel malts. But still, the hops overrode everything. I believe this is what they call hop soup. You could taste sweet grapefruit, pine, spices and tangerines. The mouthfeel was full with faint carbonation and a pleasant astringency.

Aftertaste +2

The mouth coating of sweet grapefruit lasted forever.

Alcohol Content +1 9%

It was an very drinkable beer despite the high ABV.

Value +1

File this beer under "must try" for any hophead.

Ingame Enhancement +1

It was a different sort of game today. I had this brew when I got home from the Canada vs. Sweden Olympic Women's hockey game. In case you were wondering, no they did not serve this beer at Thunderbird Stadium. I was also not going to pay $7 for a can of Molson Canadian.

Overall 9/10

This was a big, beautiful, hoppy IPA. I thought it was a little sweet, but the big hop-soup flavours were palate shattering.

Thunderhead IPA and raising funds
Pliny the Elder
Philips Crazy 8's

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Anchor Steam Beer


Anchor Steam Beer

Ratebeer 3.3 75th percentile
Beer Advocate B+

Taste +4

This beer has so much history under the cap, I hoped the taste was as good. The nose is a glorious floral hops and grassy malts. At the front there was a refreshing hop bite (earthy and citrus), with only the caramel and grassy malts coming as an afterthought. Overall the mouthfeel was medium with good carbonation.

Aftertaste +1

The hops coat the mouth to leave a mild citrus bitterness, but it is not overpowering.

Alcohol Content -1 4.8%

This is a great season beer.

Value +1

This was a great and flavourful beer. It was a bit different from the rest.

Ingame Enhancement +1

Today I found out that I will be getting a real beer blog for a real website! Granted it is for a health care professional website and it will be in the back corner lifestyle section. It also does not pay, but it is a start. I'm sure Micheal Jackson started writing for a small community newspaper..

Overall 6/10

This is a great beer that most people will enjoy. There is a good balance between the grassy/caramel malts and the citrus/earthy hops. Think of it as a pale ale but much richer.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Pinkus Munster Alt


Pinkus Munster Alt

Ratebeer 3.11 57th percentile
Beer Advocate B

Taste +2

I picked this one up at Firefly because it boldly displayed an USDA organic sticker. I'm a sucker for organic beers. Apparently it is legit, they have the documentation to prove it. As for the beer, the nose is faint with caramel and light fruits. The nicely carbonated brew did give a residual fizzy mouthfeel, but not too much. It was a medium mouthfeel with grassy malts, faint fruits, ripe apricots, honey and lemons.

Aftertaste +1

The dry grassy malts faded slowly.

Alcohol Content 0 5.1%

Value 0

It was nice, but I wouldn't get it again.

Ingame Enhancement +1

Tonight was the first night of the BJCP study group. It was nice to be in a room full of people passionate about beer.

Overall 4/10

This was an another average golden/blonde ale. There was the vague fruits, grasses, and sweetness.

Saltspring Golden Ale

Saint-Martin Blond
Trappist Achel Blond

Fog Fighter (Spinnakers)

Fog Fighter (Spinnakers)
Belgian Blonde Ale

Ratebeer 3.29 58th percentile
Beer Advocate A- (2 reviews)

I went into Spinnakers to pick up my cask festival tickets and it didn't feel right to not try something. So I sat the downstairs bar and had a quick glass.

Taste +3

This brew had all the markers of a great Belgian blonde ale. The nose was very light of apricots, yeast and rock candy. After a strong snap of alcohol burn the flavours settled in. They were right on the money with canned peaches, apricots, rock candy and a faint spiciness.

Aftertaste +2

It was a sweet lingering that was barely on the good side, not sickly but almost there. This was nicely enhanced by the tart yeast spiciness.

Alcohol Content +1 8%

The ABV was not listed, but the friendly barkeep said it was over 8%.

Value 0

It was very nice, but I wouldn't get it again. This rating might be a little biased, I had tasted the Delirium earlier. The Delirium was a truly delicious Belgian blonde ale.

Ingame Enhancement 0

This category should be changed, I don't play that much anymore. Maybe I should just start gaming more.

Overall 6/10

This was a good, solid Belgian blonde ale. All the flavours were represented: rock candy, apricots, spicy yeasts and tart alcohol burn. I had not been fond of the beers from Spinnakers lately; all the styles just seemed lackluster and watery. This had recently changed. The Kolsch they had on tap was simply delicious, this Belgian was also good. I will have to visit this place more often.

Trappist Achel Blond

Saint-Martin Blond
Salt Spring Golden Ale

Friday, February 12, 2010

Delirium Tremens


Delirium Tremens

Ratebeer 3.57 91st percentile
Beer Advocate A-

Taste +5

I have had this bottle in the back of my fridge for some time. Today the pink elephant called to me quite loudly. The nose was big, the beer not the elephant, with yeast, sweet fruits (peaches and apricots) and alcohol. The sip was a glorious lightly tart with sweet fruits. The alcohol burns up from but warms at the end. You could pick out flavours of wheat, ripe apricots, canned peaches and sweet key limes.

Aftertaste +1

The pleasant alcohol warmth mixes well with the fruit sweetness, but vanished too quick.

Alcohol Content +1 8.5%

Value +1

This was a great Belgian strong Ale. It was more on the sweet side with not so much yeast.

Ingame Enhancement +1

No gaming but went down to Canoe Club to try the new Habit Espresso Stout. It was packed.

Overall 9/10

It was delicious with tart fruit sweetness backed with alcohol. It went well with the sweet curry I had for dinner

Augustijn
Brasserie Des Rocs Brune
Local 1

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Craft beer is Healthier for you

I am sure most of you have read the recent headlines about beer containing silicon and may help prevent osteoporosis. But there were a few things the popular press left out. While it is true that silicon is associated with improved bone mineral density, the evidence for taking silicon to treat osteoporosis is a little weak. The were two studies that covered silicon and osteoporosis. The first study only had 8 subjects and was a retrospective study. Retrospective studies are sometimes plagued with flaws and biases because they rely on people's memory of past events. Another promising preliminary study did study orthosilicic acid supplementation in women. Orthosilicic acid is the form of silicon found in beer. It was good randomized-placebo controlled study, which makes the increases in bone density appear promising. However, further studies need to be done that show similar results (are these findings reproducible).
There was another study which reported that women who regularly drank beer had a greater bone density than those that did not. Sadly this only shows an association; other factors may have had an influence.

This was the other interesting part. The researchers found higher beer silicon levels in this study than in previous studies. Their reasoning was,
"This may be due to the more extensive sample set drawn from smaller independent breweries that tend to use higher proportions of malt..."
This was a bold move by the lead researcher Dr. Charles Bamforth to mention smaller breweries. After all he is an Anheuser-Busch Endowed Professor.
Apparently, the researchers went to a local grocery store and bought 100 bottles of beer in the name of science. After they took them down and passed them around, it was found that IPA's contained the most silicon. This is because hops are quite rich in silicon. Wheat beer and light beers contained less silicon. The researchers also mentioned, "light lagers usually derive from high adjunct grists, such as corn, and it was found that light beers contained less silicon. "

So there you go. Only drink craft brewed IPA's. While there is some evidence that is may prevent osteoporosis, there is lots of proof that they taste better. This proof comes from my own clinical research done in my basement. This is also subject to much bias.

Other health articles

Tree Hefe and I get by..
Westmalle Tripel and the beer bottle headshot
Boozy Energy Drinks Make You Stupid

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Habit Espresso Stout 2010


There was a packed house at the Canoe Club Brewpub when the 2010 version of Habit Espresso Stout was unleashed.

Ratebeer 3.76/5 (7 votes)
Beer Advocate A- (2 votes)

Taste +4

There is no photo because the lighting was too dark. No matter, everyone knows what a stout looks like. The blackest of black with a big tan head, that's what a habit looks like. The first thing to hit you was the aroma. It is all coffee, with roast, wood and campfire. The creamy, medium mouthfeel is dominated by thin espresso and smooth, faint toffee malts. The coffee taste was a little thin, like a Nescafe or that new Starbucks powdered coffee stuff. After the coffee left, a light dash of sweet chocolate glanced around briefly.

Aftertaste +1

The mild, thin bitter coffee finished quite dry. There was a slight coffee astringency that faded too quickly.

Alcohol Content 0 5.5%

Value +1

This glass was free, but I would have bought another.

Ingame Enhancement +1

It was a good, but brief, night. I ran into Jeff from Vancouver Island Brewery before dashing off to buy Spinnaker's Spring Cask Festival tickets. A perfect night immersed in Victoria's vibrant craft beer culture.

Overall 7/10

If you like coffee and mild stouts, this is the beer for you. Even though I thought it was a little bit thin, it is a great brew that will appeal to everyone. Well done.

Mikkell Beer Geek - Weasel

Stone Bitter Oatmeal Stout and Failure
Bete Noire Paddock Wood

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Red Racer IPA


Red Racer IPA

Ratebeer 3.73 93rd percentile
Beer Advocate A

This is a great beer. It was voted best beer in BC by Camra in 2010 . On ratebeer.com it was voted the 21st best beer in Canada.

Taste +4

It is true to the West Coast IPA style with a big citrus and pine hop nose. There was a little more pine than citrus. The smooth mouthfeel delivered a good smack of pine/resiny hop assault that was mixed with a little citrus. It was not so overpowering that you missed the butter and caramel malts. Whenever the glass got near your nose, the hops hit you again.

Aftertaste +2

It was a long and drawn out astringent hop bitterness. The resin and pine had a slight tart and grassy sweetness to it.

Alcohol Content +1 6.5%

Value +1

This was nicely done IPA. It was hoppy and very drinkable.

Ingame Enhancement +1

No gaming tonight, but I did get all my tasting notes caught up.

Overall 9/10

This is a great IPA and nicely balanced. The balance was shifted a bit to the hop side, but that is what you want in a great IPA.

Brew Free or Die IPA
Brockton IPA (GIB)
Pliny the Elder

Brussels Fruit Beer Apple


Brussels Fruit Beer Apple
Lambic Fruit

Ratebeer 2.68 22nd percentile
Beer Advocate C+

Taste +5

I was not expecting this; it was lightly lemony, citrus with a bit of wheat. There was an abundance of effervescence and a sweet apple cider taste. Even thought it was quite sweet, there was a faint spiciness and a light wheat/yeast tang.

Aftertaste +1

The was a sweet apple juice like flavour that was not too tart.

Alcohol Content -1 3.2%

Value +1
This brew was delicious, refreshing and surprising to the palate. I have never tasted anything like this before.

Ingame Enhancement +1

This is being used to boost the score up.

Overall 7/10

Usually fruit lambics have a good tartness or sourness to them. Not this beer; it was pleasantly sweet. You could tell that it was made with 30% apple juice.

Chapeau Kriek Lambic
Storm Black Current Lambic

Driftwood Naughty Hildegard


Driftwood Naughty Hildegard

Ratebeer not up
Beer Advocate not up
Taste +4

Yup this is an English style bitter for sure. The nose is right with toffee malts, pine, spicey resin hops and a lot of them. The mouthfeel is medium to full and surprisingly creamy. Your taste is just like the nose. It is very hop assertive is the pine and resiny department. The bitterness is barely balanced by the big toffee and bare biscuit malts.

Aftertaste +2

This is oddly clean, but about 30% of the bitterness lasts a long time. The palate is cleansed and coated with a goo of resin and pine malts. It is only slightly astringent.

Alcohol Content +1 - 6.5%

WOOOT

Value +1

If you like your English style bitters and you know who you are. You can come out of the closet; it is OK to love a bitter. This is a bitter you will like. Take Fullers ESB and then intensify the flavour.

Ingame Enhancement +1

This was the perfect refresher after a morning at the gun range. I was mislead; Meterman promised handguns and rifles. They were there but they were AIR RIFLES. It was still a good time.

Overall 9/10

This will please all English bitter lovers. All the flavours were there: pine, spicy, resin and toffee. It was a palate slap of hop happiness.

Howe Sound Baldwin and Best Bitter

Belk's ESB
GI Bitter

Friday, February 5, 2010

MacPelican's Scottish Style Ale


MacPelican's Scottish Style Ale

Ratebeer 3.19 62nd percentile
Beer Advocate B

I picked this one up at the Cook Street CBAW

Taste +3

The nose is faint with caramel malt. At least the taste makes up for it. There is big toffee malts with spices. It was a light to medium mouthfeel with a good alcohol tingle. There is also a slight roast and phenolic fruitiness. It was barely carbonated.

Aftertaste 0

It had an oddly clean ending that just vanished

Alcohol Content -1 4.7%

This was a surprise, usually Scotch ales are a bit stronger.

Value +1

It was not as good as Swan's, but was very drinkable.

Ingame Enhancement 0

Nope.

Overall 3/10

It was a good Scotch ale but a little week in the alcohol department. Luckily it was not at the expense of flavour.

Swan's Scotch Ale

Brooklyn Winter Ale

Trois Pistoles


Trois Pistoles

Ratebeer 3.96 99th percentile
Beer Advocate A-

Taste +4

You know you are in for a treat with a big nose like this one. It is big and rich with prunes, raisins and yeast; it very much like sweet vermouth. The taste is also like a vermouth with cassis, raisins and so much more. The ever-present alcohol gives the mouthfeel a nice tingle and effervescence. It is very slippery and easy to drink.

Aftertaste +2

The long alcohol warmth carries prunes, wood and a raisiny syrup.

Alcohol Content +1 9%

It is everywhere but not overpowering.

Value +1

This truly is a glorious and strong beer.

Ingame Enhancement +1

All night long just L4D2 finales. It feels like I am eating the cherries off each desert at a buffet.

Overall 9/10

I never understand why there are so many of these on the liquor shelves; it should always be sold out. A big, beautiful Belgian style ale. It has it all ripe fruits, wood, spice and alcohol.

Damnation and Conspiracies
Monk's Mistress
Brother Bart Belgian Brown

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Premium Faro


Premium Faro (St. Louis)

Ratebeer 2.84 30th percentile
Beer Advocate B-

I have wanted to try this style but could not find any locally. Luckily I picked this one up at Firefly CBAW in Vancouver. The Faro style is essentially a lambic that has been sweetened or diluted to make it less tart and more palatable.

Taste +4

There is a lot of sweetness on the nose; mostly like tart, green apple. It was very apple cider like. The sip was effervescent, crisp and truly refreshing. There was juiciness to it, similar to dry English apple cider. Not tart at all.

Aftertaste 0

It was off dry, very crisp with a fast ending lingering of apple tartness.

Alcohol Content -1 3.2%

This is perhaps the lightest beer I have tried, but it did not lack in flavour.

Value +1

I wish that I had bought another one. This was delicious.

Ingame Enhancement +1

No gaming tonight, but I did learn that I might begin my journey to become a certified beer judge.
Overall 5/10

This was a delicious, sweet, slightly tart and fruity beer. Perfect for the patio on a hot day, or just about any other excuse you could think of.

Mort Subite Gueuze
Chapeau Kriek Lambic
Storm Black Current Lambic

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Pranqster (North Coast)


Pranqster (North Coast)

Ratebeer 3.47 86th percentile
Beer Advocate B+

Taste +3

Sigh.. Yet another Belgian golden ale. Lets go through the list. Sweet wheat nose, check, apricots/peaches, check, yeast aroma, check, can we get a little spice, check. The taste fits the cookie cutter profile also. There is low carbonation, sweet fruity malt (apricots and peaches) and bready yeast. It all just seems a little flat. Maybe this is the zombie Belgian golden ale.

Aftertaste +1

It is quite dry, sweety fruity and yeasty.

Alcohol Content +1 7.9%

Now here is the plus side; you can hardly taste it.

Value 0

It just lacked that zing, but it was tasty. I must relax a little.

Ingame Enhancement +1

Yup there were zombies and yes we sent them packing.

Overall 6/10

It was a well done Belgian style golden ale. I think it just lacked that magical ingredient to make it epic.

Saint-Martin Blonde
Brother Thelonius
Local 1

Alcohol Consumption and Diabetes Risk

I'm not sure why the topic of alcohol consumption and human health has grabbed my attention. Perhaps it is such a large part of our societies' social fabric. This can be good and bad. I'm a delusional optimist so I shall focus on the good. It is either that or I am looking for any reason to rationalize the enjoyment of a good craft beer.

This article caught my attention the other day. It appeared in the September 2009 edition of my favourite journal The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Don't laugh, I'm serious. The articles can be very interesting.

In this study researchers looked at the effects of alcohol consumption and the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Subject were either told to do nothing (placebo), take metformin (drug), or adjust their lifestyle. One drink was defined as 12g of alcohol, which is slightly less than an average beer. After three years those who drank between 1-6 drinks per week had a lower risk of developing diabetes than those who drank less than 1 drink per week. However these results were only seen in the groups that took metformin (drug) or modified their lifestyle. If you do nothing and drink beer it will not help prevent type 2 diabetes.

There were a few other interesting findings. Moderate drinkers also had higher concentrations of HDL or good cholesterol than did non-drinkers. Also, patients who reported higher levels of alcohol consumption tended to be older, less obese, male and white. They also drank more coffee and tea, exercised more and had a greater caloric intake. This was odd because despite their greater caloric intake, these patients tended to be less obese than non-drinkers. This finding could not be explained by differences in physical activity.

So what does this mean? It is simple. Enjoy your beer in moderation, get off the couch and exercise more. If you want a more medical or scientific explanation... Moderate alcohol consumption pair with lifestyle modification, significantly reduces the risk of developing type 2 diabetes in high risk individuals.