Thursday, September 29, 2011

Koningshoeven (La Trappe) Bock

It's a Trappist and a bock; I can think of nothing better.

Koningshoeven (La Trappe) Bock = 8/10

Ratebeer 3.5/5 93rd percentile
Beer Advocate A-

"Hello" my name is nose, and I mean business! It's all vinous, alcohol and cherries aromas. Just as expected, the sip is straight off warming. Next comes the sweet, candy sugar, black pepper, chocolate, figs and caramel. Hops, what hops, this is all about the sweetness.

Taste +4
Aftertaste +1
Alcohol Content +1 7%
Value +1
Appearance +1

Other Bock tastings
Boss Kozlak Bock
Doppel-Hirsch
Paulaner Salvator

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Sink the Bismark

Another beer from the EPIC Beer dinner #2. Actually it was the main attraction. Thanks to Dave for picking this up; I don't want to know how much he paid for it.

Sink the Bismark = 10/10

Ratebeer 3.38 87th percentile
Beer Advocate B

This thing smells corrosive, yet inviting. To say massive is an understatement; so much pine/pitch, alcohol, fruits and corn syrup. Even before the liquid touches your lips, the alcohol vapours burn your mouth. The flavours of licorice, roasted hops, caramel wrap your tongue in a warm blanket. It reminds me of a good Scotch. More like a mix of Scotch, IPA and Drambuie. It is quite sweet and surprisingly drinkable. My glass still smelled of pine-sol two weeks later.

Taste +5
Aftertaste +2
Alcohol Content +1 41% not a typo
Value +1
Appearance +1 (brown bag FTW)

Monday, September 26, 2011

La Trappe Isid'or

This limited release was sampled at the EPIC beer dinner #2. Yes it was a long time ago, but I'm catching up on my reviews. It is almost time to have another EPIC beer dinner.

La Trappe Isid'or = 8/10


Ratebeer 3.54/5 94th percentile
Beer Advocate B+

The nose is all big trippel: all-spice, other spices, caramel and tart yeast. A malt forward taste unleashed all things fruity and spicy. Pick your fruit and its in there. The caramel mixed nicely with the plums, raisins, apricots, yeast and spices. Dry and spicy ending is the name of the game today. Alcohol warmth rounds out the entire experience

Taste +4
Aftertaste +1
Alcohol Content +1 7.5%
Value +1
Appearance +1

Sunday, September 25, 2011

My take on Great Canadian Beer Festival

So the Great Canadian Beer Festival happened over two weeks ago and no Victoria beer blogger has written it up. Why? Dan did acknowledge the event with three lines. There was a preview article in Monday Magazine, which Dan and myself wrote. There was a nice write-up in the Seattlest blog; naturally Eat magazine mentioned it. But no Victorian beer geeks. The question is why?
Perhaps the reason why nobody bothered to blog it was that it would take too long to write. An event this big was so daunting to document that I just thought @#$# it. I lost track of all the new beers sampled; certainly my Untappd account kept tract. Usually I shared my 4oz samples with my wife or buddy John. Sometimes it is nice to put the pen away and just enjoy. No documentation, no ticking, just enjoy!

OK maybe just a few brief thoughts.

LIKED
- Lots of new breweries we there. Tofino brewing had great beers! Ditto for the Noble Pig in Kamloops. Biggest let-down Coal Harbour. Sorry Daniel, the breakfast stout tasted like coffee grounds and ash trays.
- Ample big name American breweries attended. It was great! Everyone stood in line to sample Arrogant Bastard while those in the know drank Crannog dry.
- Enjoyed the wandering entertainers. Ray Parker does great card tricks and has lots of witty one-liners.
- Lots of friends and fellow beer lovers turned out for a great event.
- Ample tents for shade and plenty of water coolers.
- Many one off cask ales. I liked Chris's CDA.
- Vegetarian food selection was pretty good.

DISLIKES
- Many of the new brews you could not get in Victoria. Big Time in Seattle made a mean rye ale.
Monk's Indiscretion by Sound Brewery was a beer to sample again and again and again.
- The beer program was incorrect for many breweries
- The beer line ups were stupidly long. I almost lost it after hearing "what do you have?" 85 times. Listen people: read the program (never mind), look at the selection of beers while you are in line. Stop starring at your @#$# phone and decide! Seriously, I was recently at the Oregon Brewers Festival with more people and fewer beers. There were rarely line ups for any beer.
- Any group of young men making noise with drinking games should be thrown over the fence.

Enough ranting. It was a good time, always has been and always will be.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Whipass Ale (Terry's Brewing)


Here at left4beer.com, our favour cannot be purchased nor influenced by the promise of free beer. It is a great motto. However, as I look around me, I see no one else. Which means there is no 'we' and I can totally be bought for free beer!
Terry, my cascade hop dealer, gave me a bottle of home brew for review. My first thought was to be kind, then I remembered - no double standards. Here you go Terry..

Terry's WhIPAss Ale =7/10

Ratebeer does not yet rank homebrews
Beer Advocate Ditto!

Reviewing homebrew is so hard. There is a slight chance your friend messed up and you will have to tell him his beer tastes like ass. Not so for Terry! Once the bottle opens, a glorious fog and PNW hop aromas floods the room. I know Terry adds hops by the fist full. These big hands packed a whallup of citrus, pine and herbal hop goodness into the beer. Caramel and bready malts made a brief appearance at the end, almost as a cameo. The aftertaste was a tad thin and astringent. Perhaps more late edition hops are required. Terry can drop off homebrew any day.

Taste +3
Aftertaste +1
Alcohol Content +1 tasted +6% ABV range
Value +1 homebrew is awesome
Appearance +1 thanks for the stubby Terry...wait...

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Pacific Schwarzbock and a double standard


As you all know, I'm a sucker for packaging. This one is the king; pine beetle denim wood box, 500ml swing-top bottle and elegant artwork. How could I say no? It would be easy, "Why the @$#@ is the beer prick buying something from Pacific Western?" I got suckered in by the packaging.

So anyways, I drank this beer and thought it was pretty good - for a Pacific. Many a Pacific product have passed by my lips; none have made me smile. A few have even made me grimace. This brew is by far their best tasting release. Then I was forced to rethink my opinion. If this was released by Driftwood, Lighthouse or Moon Under Water the words of disdain would be voluminous. No double standards, so lets get started..

The first thing I noticed was the Pacific Western website mentioned that, "No sooner did our new limited edition Schwarzbock hit the shelves than it’s receiving accolades from respected beer blogs." Their link to beergeeks.ca shows a copy of their press release. No accolades nor review. Non surprising considering beergeeks is in Ontario and Pacific Western is not carried by the LCBO. Lucky for them. Not to put down the 'respected beer blog' title but they have less than 100 beer reviews on their site. They also gave favourable reviews for two Okanagan Spring beers.

If you go by the styles, as I love to do, this beer would fall in the 'bock' BJCP category. This thing is not a bock, there is no malt depth. I'm no expert, but it tastes like a 8% TNT with some added chocolate malts. The nose is absent with barely a whiff of molasses, roasted peanuts and vegetal. Each sip is flat and slick with roast, molasses, cherries (juice), chocolate and a slight herbal and spicy hop snap. Luckily the aftertaste is short lived. Granted it is an easy drinking beer for 8% ABV, but it just seems a little lifeless. The best part about this beer was the wood box and the swing-top bottle for homebrewing.

Taste +1
Aftertaste +1
Alcohol Content +1 8%
Value 0
Appearance +1

Monday, September 12, 2011

Paulaner Oktoberfest Bier


Most of my readers know I'm a sucker for packaging. They also know I have a fetish for beer glassware. This gift pack from Paulaner is a double WIN! That's right, for $12 you get a mas and a litre of beer. I picked this up at the BCLS at Fort and Foul.

Paulaner Oktoberfest 7/10

Ratebeer 3.18 69th percentile
Beer Advocate B+

The hardest thing about the Oktoberfest/Marzens style is that aroma. I'm sure some connoisseur will state that it's the effects of lagering rich German malts. I still think it smells like lettuce and vomit. Luckily, Paulaner is light in the aroma department; just the standard lettuce and toast. This brew is very drinkable. Every gulp is medium and creamy with a smooth finish. As the style dictates it is very malt forward with only a hint of spicy and herbal hops to back it up. The malts are light and reminds one of honey, heavily chewed bread and straw. I liked it; sadly there were no pretzels around my house.

Taste +3
Aftertaste +1
Alcohol Content +1 6.0%
Value +1
Appearance +1 WITH A 1 LITRE MUG WOOT

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Getting high for science


Science can be awesome and envious. I now refer you to the November 2010 edition of Accident Analysis and Prevention. Researchers in Israel gave a dozen 24-29 years olds booze and drugs, then tested their performance on driving and non-driving tests. These lucky kids either received a combination of alcohol (or not) and/or 13mg of THC (or not). THC, a.k.a. tetrahydrocannabinol, is the one of the psychoactive substances in cannabis. After ingestion of wonderful botanicals, the results were not surprising. The combination of alcohol and THC had a tremendous negative impact on driving skills. Fortunately these driving tests were only in simulators. Oddly enough these subjects also sucked at other non-driving tasks that assigned to them. The researchers noted no conflicts of interest; other than the fact that the study was sponsored by Doritos.

Kolsch Style (Hales Ales)

I have come to the realization that I am a failure. Last years resolution was to get caught up documenting all my 33beer journals. The current journal is numbered 14; journal #2 has not been finished. Sighhh. such is the life of a beer ticker.

Kolsch Style (Hale's Ales) = 3/10

Ratebeer 2.97 44th percentile
Beer Advocate B+

I like a good Kolsch style but so many are done poorly; have people never tried a true Kolsch before. This one is pretty good; very light nose with straw, honey and spicy hops. The nose is also very lager-like despite being an ale. A very clean sip produces dancing flavours of apricot, honey, straw/grass with a lightly spicy hop snap at the end. There is a bit of light fruits and apricots in there also. This is not a flavour powerhouse, but something calm and refreshing. Very much suited for a hot patio.

Taste +3
Aftertaste 0
Alcohol Content -1 4.5%
Value +1
Appearance 0

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Uncharted Belgian IPA (Lighthouse)

So what gives a beer blogger the right to fire off his opinions about other peoples' creations? Beer bloggers are either fanboys who will say anything to hopefully become part of the 'in' crowd, or opinionated pricks who shoot their mouths off because they feel like it. Sadly I will never be part of the 'in' crowd and people have already designated me as the beer prick.
So here we go. It is always awkward to review beers that Dean has made. I say this because one day I might have to look my friend in the eye and say, "Buddy this beer tastes like ass, but the artwork is very nice." Today will not be one of those days. Despite the fact the Belgian IPA is not actually a real beer style, I still like it - no love it. Even Stephen Beaumont says that it is not a real beer style. Categorizations aside, it does adequately describe the beer. This is an unique IPA sensation because it uses hop varieties that are from the southern hemisphere. If you want to read more about this blended beer, check out beerontherock.


The nose is massive and hard to pin down because the aromas are so foreign. There is a solventy and earthy mixture of obscure tropic fruits. Guavas and passion fruits come to mind. At the start of the sip, the fruity/estery vapours mix with the alcohol to burn everything away. Once the tingling fades, there is a spicy wash of lightly astringent tropical fruits. Try to imagine a mix of guavas, cardamon, and unripe apricots. The bitterness is hoppy but not in a manner PNW hop addicts are used to. Malts? I'm sure they are there somewhere. Does it linger? It leaves a puzzling aftertaste that makes you head for the spice cabinet to try and determine what you are tasting. Well done! This beer was similar to Sierra Nevada's Southern Hemisphere Harvest.

Taste+5
Aftertaste +2
Alcohol Content +1 7.5%
Value +1
Appearance +1 great art by Michelle Landry