Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Moderate Drinking Protects Against Dementia and Alzheimer's Dementia

I always knew that beer drinking was smart idea; now science backs it up. German researchers studied over 3,000 pensioners (greater than 75years of age) for three years. They were questioned about their alcohol consumption and their cognitive abilities were assessed. What the researchers found was that mild to moderate alcohol consumption significantly reduced the risk of developing Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia. A 29% decrease in overall dementia and a 42% decrease in Alzheimer's dementia was noted. The type of alcohol consumed (beer, wine or mixed) did not matter. The reason for these finding could be due to alcohol's favourable effects on the body: increased good cholesterol, slight thinning of the blood and improved insulin sensitivity. Mild to moderate alcohol consumption was defined as 20-29g of ethanol a day. That works out to be about 2 standard beers a day.
Cheers, may you never forget what you were toasting.

Houblon Chouffe


This one is new for me; a Belgian IPA. Houblon Chouffe comes from Brasserie d'Achouffe. They are a small, but well known, brewery in Belgium. Most beer geeks know La Chouffe well, but finding these beers on draught in Canada is difficult. This brew is essentially a heavily hopped Belgian Triple. Tomahawk is used for bittering  with the spicy Saaz hop for aroma. Top make things even better, Amarillo is used for dry-hopping. "Houblon" is the French word for hop. Clocking in at 45IBU, this in not your usual triple. So, how does it taste?

Houblon Chouffe = 8/10

Ratebeer 3.9 99th percentile
Beer Advocate A-

The aroma is oddly subtle but complex. There was a lot for the nostrils to sort through: citrus, floral, coriander, light fruits and various spices. At the start of the sip, an effervescence carries this creamy brew to a warming finish. While Pacific North West hopheads will not be impressed with the magnitude of the bitterness, they will appreciate the complexity. A never ending wash of citric acid, spices, floral and light medicinal hops is suitably balanced by apricot/peach and light bready malts. These tastes morph to leave a long, and very dry, spicy sweet finish.

Taste +4
Aftertaste +1
Alcohol Content +1 9% (you can't tell)
Value +1
Appearance +1

Monday, October 24, 2011

Point Reyes Porter

No preamble today. I am focused on getting through these notes. Only 350+ reviews to go.

Ratebeer 3.54 94th percentile
Beer Advocate B+

Point Reyes Porter = 7/10

Dry and roasted cocoa is the greeting from this pour. Things only get better with an upfront rich, yet tart, bittersweet chocolate taste. At mid-sip the roastiness calms to end in an effervescent bittersweet tingle. The ending is dry with pleasurable roasted astringency mixed with alcohol warmth. A good, dry and rich (but not robust) porter.
Wow, it actually sounds like I know what I'm talking about.

Taste +4
Aftertaste +2
Alcohol Content 0 6%
Value +1
Appearance 0

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Amsterdam Nut Brown Ale


Why do I even bother? There is a Herculean task ahead of me here: document all the beers in my various notebooks, cellphone notes and scrap pieces of paper. What would this accomplish. Actually nothing. At the end there will be no Brownie badge, no power up, no medal and no parade. Such is the life of a beer ticker. However I have noticed one trend in the lifecycle of the beer geek. The rate of new beers sampled is decreasing. I used to fill up one 33beers book every two weeks; now, one will last be over a month. Does this mean there is some sort of metamorphosis coming?

Amsterdam Nut Brown Ale = 5/10

Ratebeer 3.04/5 49th percentile
Beer Advocate B-

Honestly I look forward to tasting a nut brown ale as I do to brushing my teeth. The whole point of a nut brown ale is that they are easy drinking and unobtrusive. The Amsterdam is no exception. Your aroma is pecans, with slight DMS - but OK. There is a mild creaminess in the sip with a tolerable astringency from roasted grains. The more I drank this beer, the more I liked it. Its cocoa, dry toast and pecan butter meshed well with the mineral hops. Overall an enjoyable, but not challenging, beer.

Taste +3
Aftertaste +1
Alcohol Content 0 5%
Value +1
Appearance 0 (it's a can!)

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Fischer Tradition

Let it be known, my choice to buy this beer was so that I could use the bottle for homebrewing

Fischer Tradition = 0/10

Ratebeer 2.19/5 9th percentile
Beer Advocate C

The aroma from this lifeless beer reminded me of grass, vegetables, wet paper and urine. It's flavour was no better: lettuce, grass and metallic corn. Luckily the acidic/astringent metallic and herbal hop snap at the end was short lived. It wasn't so much a snap, but a tongue smack with a wet lasagna noodle. Sometimes I think beers are exported because no one will drink this crap back home.

Taste +1
Aftertaste 0
Alcohol Content 0 6%
Value -1
Appearance 0

Stanley Park Noble Pilsner

Stanley Park Nobel Pilsner = 0/10

Ratebeer 2.4/5 only 3 reviews percentile
Beer Advocate N/A

Nose is about as lively as Gaddafi; maybe a bit of apple juice. Mouthfeel is light to medium and fizzy. It tastes like a stale Stella. Apple juice, slight vegetal, straw, perhaps a bit of spicy and herbal hops. Maybe Canada's most advanced brewery can use this technology to make a tasty beer. Much better in cans than on draft, but far from an endorsement. It's a little too sweet for me.

Taste 0
Aftertaste 0
Alcohol Content 0 5%
Value 0
Appearance 0

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Beer goggles is true


Candy is dandy, but liquor is quicker. Ogden Nash said it, but science proved it. An article in the Journal of Social Psychology, tells the story of researchers showing photographs of strangers to either drunk or sober college kids. No surprises here: intoxicated people thought the people in the photographs were more attractive compared to their sober counterparts.

More evidence beer can reduce your risk of heart disease


Ok, now this is a big one. The prestigious British Medical Journal validates our obsessions. Researchers from the University of Calgary sifted through dozens of articles about alcohol consumption and heart disease. They found that one drink a day for women, and two drinks a day for men significantly reduced biomarkers associated with heart disease. A biomarker of heart disease is something in the blood that is known to cause, or has been associated with, heart disease. In this case, regular consumption of alcohol raised HDL (good) cholesterol, adiponectin and reduced fibrinogen. There was no change for triglycerides nor C-reactive protein. Low levels of adiponectin have been associated with chronic inflammation, obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Fibrinogen can make your blood thicker, more likely to clot and is generally bad for you.
The best part about this article was that all types of alcohol (wine, beer and spirits) were equally effective in reducing the risk of heart disease.
Truly the cheers today is "Prost!"

Monday, October 17, 2011

Mikkeller Stateside

So it is true, I am a beer consultant! While this sounds great, it's excitement is lacking. No - I am not being fair - it is awesome. Beer bloggers are despised and paid nothing. In fact, it sucks lots of my hard earned cash to maintain this beer blogging lifestyle. Contrary to popular belief, I don't drink a lot of beer. However, the limited beer I drink is very good. Some of my vacations are focused on beer. Whenever I ask,"Honey would you mind..." I get yelled at. They know the request will usually involve beer. I doubt I will ever be a Stephen Beaumont or Roger Protz, but there will be small victories.

Mikkeller Stateside = 9/10

Ratebeer 3.72 98th percentile
Beer Advocate B+

Pick every hop flavour you can dream of and stick it in a bottle; this is that bottle. The aromas are all things hoppy: floral, citrus, grapefruit and cotton candy. Just to be certain, add a little caramel malts for perfection. An acidic astringency smacks you up front, but in a nice hoppy way. This long, dry citrus, herbal mixture lasts until the end of time. It takes a Danish brewery to create a great PNW IPA.

Taste +4
Aftertaste +2
Alcohol Content +1 7%
Value +1
Appearance +1 (just to bump up number)

Sergeant's IPA

Ranger IPA
Burton Empire IPA

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Mikkeller Black Hole

Ratebeer 3.94 100th percentile
Beer Advocate B

It's a stout and it's big. Please insert the word 'big' in front of every word used to describe this beer. Aromas of vanilla, sweet chocolate, alcohol and wood are everywhere. To taste this beer is similar to licking a spoonful of honey. It's thickness coated the mouth with roast, earthy hops and burnt coffee. None of these big flavours would go away. Truly excellent.

Taste +5
Aftertaste +2
Alcohol Content +1 13.1%
Value +1
Appearance +1

Mikkeller Beer Geek Weasel
Ten Fidy
Russian Gun Imperial Stout

Friday, October 14, 2011

Beer School: Sh$t you have never tried before

Sometimes you don't need a theme for beer school. Just a room full of beer geeks, some good cheese and lots of unique beers. This was the order of the night at Clive's Classic Lounge.


You know it will be a challenging night when the first beer is an abbey style dubbel. This is how it started, with Sierra Nevada's Ovila Dubbel. I thought it was a tad thin for a 7.5%ABV dark abbey style ale. There was just enough plums, raisin and spiciness to make things interesting.




Next up was the Pepe Nero by Goose Island. A black saison is an under-explored beer style. Break the mold and bring it on. Both the nose and taste was elegant with old coffee, yeasty bread and roasted bananas. The Nero was an unexpected crowd favourite.




This is my favourite brewery from Portland. Not because of their beers, but the name is great. Captured by Porches does a great job of being an ecological brewery. They brew with organic ingredients, their bottles are reused and not shipped very far. Their offering was a dark rye beer called Roggenbier. The taste was very rye like; rye is hard to describe without making reference to itself. It's flavour was very dry, ashy with toasted rye bread.



Thanks to Michael Lewis for bringing two bottles of 2008 Abyss by Deschutes. Once you have tasted one wood aged Imperial stout, you have tasted them all. They are all good, the Abyss is no exception. Massive are the favours of licorice, molasses, treacle and bitter sweet chocolate. A glycerin/thick mouthfeel made they brew almost chewy.


HUB Galactic imperial red ale boasted an IBU count of over 100. Oddly the hop profile was not overpowering. Don't get me wrong, the hop flavours of sweet tangerine, cotton candy, pine and flowers were very apparent. There was enough malt to counter this hop assault - barely.


The Rodenbach Grand Cru is the benchmark for all Flanders sour ales. You might think sour beer, yuck! Once you try a sour, you are forever hooked. Everyone loves sweet and sour sauces at Chinese restaurants, there is a good reason for that. The Grand Cru smells of sweet sherry, toast and good balsamic vinegar. Each sip is astringently tart with sour cherries which yields a balsamic sweetness. Every mouthpuckering drink was a delight. Truly a great end to a challenging beer night.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

The Folly of Optimism

Today I had a choice. We always have a choice, that is if you believe in free will. I do not. A random series of events placed me in front of a row of beer coolers after work. The illusion of choice was the 2011 Driftwood Satori or the Phillips Eternal Optimist. If my choice was truly free, I would have asked the guy behind the desk to grab me a bottle of Grand River Russian Gun Imperial Stout! Sadly this did not happen, so I set the thinking cogs in motion.
My palate was in an abused frame of mind. So it chose the Phillips. Odd, I have never been to Stockholm. The next question you might ask is why not purchase both? I only had room on my bicycle for one bottle; again lack of free choice.

Phillips Eternal Optimist = 1/10

There was great optimism as I viewed this beer in the glass. The colour was clear, golden and the aroma was very inviting. It was a mixture of pine, floral and faint cotton candy sweetness. The first sip revealed a medium body beer, ample carbonation and a slight astringency. Shit, I chose wrong. Yes, I know DMS is permissible in lagers. Not this much. The cabbage and lettuce coated the tongue with a mild thickness. Next the pine astringency took hold with no malt backbone to restrain it. Just when things couldn't get better, soapiness. A lingering of astringent pine, soap and would not go away. This was not really a bad beer, like say Fischer, but it wasn't great either.

Taste 0
Aftertaste -1
Alcohol Content +1 6%
Value 0
Appearance +1 Cool label and fun name.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Ski to Sea ESB (Boundary Bay)

Boundary Bay is located in Bellingham, Washington. I always grab something by this brewery when traveling to Seattle. It is nice to see these beers available in Victoria; Rain City Brands brings these guys in.

Ski to Sea ESB (Boundary Bay) = 7/10

Ratebeer 3.55/5 no percentile
Beer Advocate B+

An unexpectedly strong aroma rises from the glass of this extra special bitter. It is floral, citrus and quite bready. At the start of the sip, a prominent hop tingle meshes well with the ample carbonation. This could be called a mellow IPA. The hop tingle never leaves; floral, citrus and pine are the flavours of the day. In the background, toasted caramel malts are begging to be loved. Love them I do. Sadly the toasted pine tingle fades too quickly leaving a slight astringency. A great ESB.

Taste +4
Aftertaste +1
Alcohol Content 0 5.5%
Value +1
Appearance +1 (nice and descriptive label)

Driftwood Naughty Hildegard and beer snobbery at its best
Belk's ESB Anderson Valley