Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Salty beer helps with post-exercise fluid loss

Science never ceases to amaze. Researchers at Griffith University, Queensland, Australia, tested the effects of beer as a post exercise fluid replacement drink. You might know another popular fluid them exercise until they lost about 2% of their body weight through sweat. On four separate occasions these students drank either low alcohol beer (2.3%ABV), regular beer (4.8%ABV) or these same beers with added salt. Each student drank about two liters of beer post exercise. The beers used were XXXX light (2.3%) and XXXX Bitter (4.8%); both beers have stellar reviews on ratebeer. What they found was that the light beer with salt was the best at helping to replace lost fluids. Conversely the regular, unsalted, beer lead to further fluid loss. But sadly, all beverages failed to adequately restore lost fluid after exercise.
replacement drink: Gatoraid. These university funded scientists found seven lucky students and made
The big question is why study this salty beer/exercise thing anyways? According to the researcher's introduction, "athletes have consumed beer as part of their post-match celebration or decades." Furthermore, "despite beer commonly being consumed in large volumes after exercise, there is little known of its capacity to replace fluid lost during exercise." So there you have it. After a long bike ride reach for a Gose and not a stout.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

3 Weeds (Lighthouse)

Summer is approaching so bring on the witbiers. Phillips was their usual trio around, Vancouver Island has a pair, hopefully Swan's Tessier's wit will be out soon and now one is available from Lighthouse. Honestly, how the hell can VIB Beachcomber not win a gold medal at the 2012 CBA is beyond my comprehension. Maybe for the same reason a hoppy pale ale won a medal in the amber lager category. My ranting will end now so we can begin our - brief - lesson.  Witbier means 'white beer'. The name is derived from its appearance. It usually looks white from the use of pale malts and wheat with suspended yeast. The addition of spices is also appropriate with this style. Expect to find tastes of coriander, orange peel, ginger and pepper in your glass.

3 Weeds (Lighthouse) = 8/10

Weedy aroma is equal parts yeasty spice, coriander and wheat. The creaminess hides the alcohol well until the warming end appears. The brew can be as simple or complex as you desire. Without too much thought the flavours of creamy of wheat, vague spices and ginger readily appear. If you wish to delve deeper, tastes of coriander, pepper, candied ginger, wheaties and bread can be noticed. A brew destined for patios everywhere.

Glassware: A tulip would work well. If you have a hexagonal Hoegaarden glass, use it now.

Food Pairings: Stick to the lighter but spiced stuff: chick pea curry, spiced tuna salad, poutine (yes Dave, poutine), arugula salads 

Taste +4
Aftertaste +1
Alcohol Content +1 7.5%
Value +1
Appearance +1 (good description of beer flavour)

Friday, May 17, 2013

Off the Grid (Hoyne)

Whenever I open a beer of Hoyne I never expect extreme stuff. This is very comforting. Whatever pours from a Hoyne bottle will be solid, highly drinkable and above average in taste. Off the Grid is true to form. It was just - well - nice.

Off the Grid (Hoyne) =5/10

Faint pecans and toast aromas rose from the glass filled with Off the Grid. This followed into every sip with a medium mouthfeel that carried nutty, bready and toasted tastes to the end. The ending was clean with the faintest pecan loaf residue. Lots of people will sip this, stare into their glass, smile and carry on. Perhaps this is what makes a great session beer.

Glassware: Whatever you have will work

Food Pairing: Choose things with bready and nutty flavours. Salami sandwiches, nut burgers, pecan pie.  

Taste +3
Aftertaste +1
Alcohol Content 0 5.3%
Value +1
Appearance 0  (label didn't really describe beer flavour well)

Shatterbier (Moon Under Water)

I feel like such a failure; there were no notes taken about this beer. Sometimes you must do these sorts of things. Not think too much about a beer. Sit back, crack it open and savour the flavours without trying to pick it apart. SNORT, that was funny. Beer pricks never do that. It is true that no notes were taken about this beer. Luckily the little grey cells are still working.

Shatterbier (Moon Under Water) =8/10

Normally when brewers try to blend beer with coffee, they go the easy route. Stick those beans in with a stout or porter and you can't do wrong. Blending that roasted or brunt flavour with a delicate golden ale had me a little leery. But we must not forget that coffee can be roasted and brewed to be light and fruity; a perfect match for the golden ale. The nose was light and fruity with calm, toasted aromas from the coffee meshing well. An expected heavy handed roasted espresso smack never arrived. Perhaps the flavour was similar to a light roasted pour-over. This combined with the mild peaches, floral and effervescence of the golden ale perfectly. I forget what I paid for this beer, but it was under priced. It does look intimidating and the side writing is hard to read, so it will probably linger in the shelves. This is good news for local beer geeks that appreciated an experiment gone well.

Glassware: Chalice. The massive aroma and carbonation needs somewhere to spread. Other options would be a tulip or snifter.

Food Pairings. This is a tough one. Perhaps something light and mildly roasted. Lightly grilled sea bass with a lemon sauce. Welsh rarebit would be nice.

Taste +4
Aftertaste +1
Alcohol Content +1 9%
Value +1
Appearance +1 (perhaps the second most elegantly packaged beer in Victoria to date. Hoynes Gratitude is still #1)

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Alcohol consumption reduces risk Grave's disease

For some reasons this study caught my eye (pun intended) . Apparently regular and moderate consumption of alcoholic beverages reduces the risk of developing Grave's Disease. This is an autoimmune disorder that leads to an overactive thyroid. It is rarely life threatening but can cause symptoms of anxiety, irritability, sleeping problems and exophthalmos (bulging eyes). The type of beverage did not matter (beer vs. wine) nor was age or gender a factor. Maximum risk reduction was found in people who drank more that 3 units of alcohol per day. Depending upon who's math you use, that works out to drinking just over one 5%ABV pint a day. So Prost! For your health and make your thyroid happy.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Double Dragon Red Ale 2013 (Phillips)

This was one of the craft beers that really got me excited, but that was many years ago. Many people, including myself, have felt this beer has been lacking in recent years. Fortunately, this is a good year.

Double Dragon Red Ale 2013 (Phillips)  =7/10

The hop nose is very Phillips like, is that Centennial? This combines with a toasted bread and slight plum aroma. Malts follow close behind with a equal mix of plum, toasted bread and grape nuts. While this is quite a malty brew; the hop blast is not forgotten. It slowly builds with all its floral, citrus and herbal goodness. At the end, an alcohol warmth burn the esophagus but does not remove the hop linger. Finally the Double Dragon is almost as good as it used to be.

Glassware: Stemmed Pilsner. There is no really correct glassware for this. Other good options are the nonic or a snifter.

Food Pairings: Roasted and bitter items: grilled steak salad, BBQ pork, mushrooms or brussel  sprouts. 

Taste +3
Aftertaste +1
Alcohol Content +1 8.2%
Value +1
Appearance +1 (Still one of the best labels in Victoria)

Friday, May 3, 2013

Festival Ale (Vancouver Island)

This beer was created for two up island music festivals: Vancouver Island Music Fest and VicFest. The different labels contain the same lightly dry hopped Pilsner-like beer with ale yeast. Before you all start rolling your eyes, just wait a minute. Not every beer needs to be a palate challenging, imperial, wood aged and exotic yeast gastronomic masterpiece. These beers have their place; like at a beer gathering where you debate whether you are tasting are Thompson, Flame or sultana raisins. Beers like the Festival ale are perfect for hot days listening to outdoor music. That being said, I enjoyed this beer. It was simple yet tasty. There was no flavour wheel thought involved.

Festival Ale (Vancouver Island) = 4/10

Straight off the nose draws you in with light citrus and floral aromas. The malts are clean with a little bit of honey and  vegetal chewiness. Lots of carbonation cleanses the tongue and leaves a barely discernible spicy and citrus hop snap. That is it, very Kolsch like. Lots of people will like this beer.

Glassware: Fluted Pilsner or stange. The pictured glass is the wrong choice for this and any other beer. I was too lazy to go downstairs and get the proper glass.

Food Pairings: early dinner course options like salad or cheese and crackers. Lobster, pasta and seafoods are other good options.

Taste +3
Aftertaste 0
Alcohol Content 0 5%
Value +1
Appearance 0

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Clodhopper Dubbel (Driftwood)

I have been away for two weeks and there are so many local releases to review. Yes, I know: first world problems. So enough of my whining. The latest release by Driftwood is a locally malted dubbel abbey style ale. Local malt was produced by everyone's favourite Island maltster: Mike Doehnel. Abbey style ales were originally brewed in monasteries. "Dubbel" does not refer to double the strength of the single. Before widespread literacy, batches of beers were labeled with one, two or three crosses denoting their relative strength. Today dubbels are the dark, fruity abbey ales that hit an ABV of around 7%. When you pick up this bottle at your local CBAW store, you will most likely notice the slight premium price for an usual bomber release. I like this idea of supporting truly local products for a nominal premium; keep it up! Enough rambling commentary, how does it taste:

Clodhopper Dubbel (Driftwood) = 8/10

The nose is spot on with dark sugar and toffee aromas with no hop presence. Each sip is thick and warming, but not too much. Hints of chocolate, raisins and toast are layered upon a sherry like backbone. It had a lingering taste of salt water taffy. Hard to tell if that tongue tingling was the alcohol or hops. Either way I liked it. This one might be worth cellaring; hopefully some of that warmth might mellow out. Well done.

Glassware: chalice or goblet. The wide top helps to dissipate aroma and allows space for large head common for this style. In this case I used the Leffe abbey glass.

Taste +4
Aftertaste +1
Alcohol Content +1 7% ABV
Value +1
Appearance +1 (nice art and reasonable description of flavour)