Sunday, May 26, 2013

Amber Ale

This is the other Flying Monkeys 6-pack I picked up: Amber Ale.



Colour: Clear, dark amber. A really nice colour.

Aroma: I'm not sure. Spicy? Burned caramel?

Taste: Lightly citrus, a little malty sweet.

ABV: 5%

Overall.. a little shocking for a Flying Monkeys beer. I've only tried.. hmm.. two others, I think, and this was much milder than the others. My wife enjoyed it, if that says anything. :) I could easily drink a few of these. If you're not into the hoppy beers, this one may be worth considering.

NetherWorld

I'm skipping some of my overdue reviews for this one.

When I dropped off all the empties at the The Beer Store on Saturday, the guy who worked there asked me if I was going to be picking anything up today. I honestly wasn't planning on it. He said he noticed a lot of my empties were craft brews and was trying to think of anything new that they might have. I said I'd take a look around.

On one of the shelves, they have a few Flying Monkeys brews. I noticed this one still in its shipping box, with none unpacked: NetherWorld. So, opened the box and took a 6-pack out. I grabbed a 6 of another one too, that I'll write about later.



Colour: Dark hazy brown. Stout-like.

Aroma: Grapefruity, piney, with a touch of sweet something.

Taste: Hoppy grapefruit, but a hint of something else there. Probably the same something from the aroma. :)

ABV: 6%

Overall... for a hoppy beer, I enjoyed it. I was never sure of what the appeal was with hoppy, grapefruity beers but I think the secret is to keep drinking them, even if you're not too keen on them and they'll grow on you.

That's kinda like what beer was like when I first tried it in my youth. It's somewhat of an acquired taste. :)

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Black Creek Pale Ale

It's been a while since the last review. You'd almost think there was a beer shortage.

No beer shortage, but I have been slacking on the reviews a little. I'll be posting a few from the last couple of weeks over the days few days. They may be a little more brief than I would have liked though because I'm going off some very brief notes from the time.

I'll start with... Black Creek Pale Ale.


Colour: dark amber

Aroma: biscuit and very light grapefruit

Taste: grapefruity citrus

ABV: 5%

Overall. Another decent IPA.

Returns for Leukemia Bottle Drive 2013

I'm a bit late in posting this, but it's better late than never.

If you live in Ontario and happen to have beer/liquor empties kicking around, today would be a great day to bring them to The Beer Store and donate them to the Returns for Leukemia Bottle Drive!

That's what I did this morning. :)


The bin on the right is full of mostly single large bottles, and the bags contain roughly 70 crushed cans. I should have counted, or asked them for a total but it didn't cross my mind at the time.

Friday, May 17, 2013

How to open a beer

Thanks to Sheltered Girl Meets World for sharing the link. :)


Nearing 2000

I'm finally caught up on some reviews I had drafted. I would have posted them sooner, but I had to get the photos off my phone and inserted into the blog.

I noticed moments ago that the blog is nearing 2000 visits. It probably would have hit that by now had I not changed the name. Traffic came to a halt for a couple of days, and it's slowly picking up.

Spark House Red Ale

I've seen the 6-pack of this at the LCBO for weeks. It sits on a shelf that we walk by on our way to the register to pay. This must have fallen off the shelf into our cart. :)

Lake of Bays Brewing Company Spark House Red Ale.


Colour: A nice reddish amber

Aroma: malty caramel sweetness

Taste: light caramel malt... mm...

ABV: 5%

Overall... a win in my books. I've bought it a second time since I first tasted it and will for sure again.

Crosswind Pale ale

The second six I picked up for the game. I liked their Spark House so figured I'd try this: Lake of Bays Brewing Crosswind.



Colour: medium gold

Aroma: very light grapefruit. Had a difficult smelling anything at first. 

Taste: lightly grapefruity with a light bitterness

ABV: 5%

Overall... I'm not a big fan of bitter beers but this seems to find just the right bitterness for my taste. I could drink a few of these easily.

Don Valley Bench

Another from the new Mill Street Sampler Pack: Don Valley Bench.


Colour: cloudy orange

Aroma: very light caramel wheaty

Taste: Equally light tasting caramel taste. Clean finish. 

ABV: 4.8%

Overall: Definitely one of the lighter tasting wheat beers I've tried. If you're new to wheat beers, maybe this one is a good start.

Curious Parrot

One of the beers from the latest Mill Street Sample pack that I picked up a couple of weeks ago: Curious Parrot.


Colour: clear amber

Aroma: lightly grapefruity 

Taste: Surprisingly less grapefruity than it smells

ABV: 5%

Overall... not bad. If you're not usually into grapefruity beers this may be one for you to try. I drank it a while ago, so I can't remember how it got that much head... whether I poured it too fast, or if it was just naturally heady. :)

West Coast Pale Ale

I finally found some of the other beers by Church-Key Brewing on Friday. I had to visit a different LCBO. I was like a kid in a candy store.

First up is their West Coast Pale Ale.



Colour: Clear medium amber

Aroma: At first, I did't pick up much aside from the usual hoppy, grapefruity aroma. But when I had a sip, it hit me: pine.

Taste: Bitter, but not overpowering, grapefruit and pine, with a bitterness that lingers for quite some time. It's fairly smooth too, with light carbonation.

ABV: 5%

Overall... a decent beer for hops lovers. I don't think I could drink this as a session beer though. The lingering bitterness doesn't sit well with me. Now, if you were to pair this with food, that might work well.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Iron Spike

Another Railway City Brewing Company beverage: Iron Spike.



Colour: Slightly cloudy, amber

Aroma: Very interesting. My wife says it smells like plain potato chips. I'm not sure what it smells like. I don't think I've smelled a blonde like this (*ahem*.. keep it clean!) ;) Maybe floral. Biscuit? I'm puzzled.

Taste: Again, puzzling. I haven't tasted a blonde like this either (HEY! I said keep it clean...) ;) I'm going with biscuit with a bit of bitterness.

ABV: 4.3%

Overall... I'd definitely drink this again. For me, it's unique. I like that. And it has a story on the can! Sorta...

THE IRON SPIKE
DECLARATION
A BEER BREWED
FOR THE PEOPLE
BY TRUE BEER ENTHUSIASTS,
PEOPLE LIKE YOU WHO
HAVE HAD ENOUGH
OF CONVENTIONAL BEER, TO YOU
WE SAY NO MORE.
TO YOU, WE SAY
WELCOME TO OUR FAMILY
OF CRAFT ALES METICULOUSLY BREWED
WITH THE BEER DRINKER IN MIND
TO YOU, WE SAY, CHEERS.
AND OF COURSE DRINK RESPONSIBLY.

Have I mentioned I like stories on beers?

I love you, Railway City Brewing. :)

Dead Elephant

An anniversary gift from my wife, along with a few other brews: Dead Elephant by Railway City Brewing Company from St. Thomas, Ontario.



Colour: Clear golden amber

Aroma: Slight grapefruitiness

Taste: Bitter grapefruit, but I think more bitter than grapefruit compared to other similar IPAs

ABV: 6.5%

Overall... it's an IPA, and one that I would buy again. I'm really warming up to IPAs over time. :)

I thought the name was rather unusual. Not surprising for many beers. :) On the can, it is written:

Here's to Jumbo,
world's largest elephant,
friend and prized attraction of
P.T. Barnum's traveling circus.
It was 1885 here in St. Thomas
where he met his early demise
in a tragic railway accident
that'll be forever remembered in
the annals of beer and Canadian
history. In his honour we've
crafted this full bodied ale.
Life Life Large. He'd have
wanted it that way. And for
you to drink responsibly.

Stories that come with beer make me like them more. :)

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Big Rig Gold at the LCBO!

According to Big Rig Kitchen and Brewery's Facebook page, Big Rig Gold is now available in over 20 LCBOs. I checked the inventory at LCBO.com and found none, but it is listed in their system. Hopefully it'll be at my local LCBO.


Robson Street Hefeweizen

Picked up a six pack of Granville Island Brewing Robson Street Hefeweizen for a Sens/Habs game.



It was the first time I've seen it. 

Colour: light cloudy amber

Aroma: light sweet orange

Taste: again lightly sweet orange with a hint of hops bitterness

ABV: 5%

Overall... a keeper. I really enjoy wheat beers. I particularly like that it seems a little less sweet that some. I'd definitely buy this again. 

Summer Mingler

I picked up the Granville Island Brewing Summer Mingler that I mentioned previously. I was a little disappointed to find that two of the flavours in the 12 pack were also in the Winter Mingler that I bought last week: Island Lager and English Bay Pale Ale. So here are the two new ones in this case.

Brockton IPA



Colour: light amber

Aroma: light citrus grapefruit

Taste: grapefruity hoppy. But light. Like a Mad Tom IPA light. :)

ABV: 6%

Overall... nice, crisp, refreshing. If you find Mad Tom IPA a little too strong tasting, this might be a good alternative. It says "strong beer" on the label. Now I'm confused. Doesn't taste like any other "strong beers" I've tried. :)

Cypress Honey Lager



Colour: Light amber

Aroma: Lighty honey. A little grassy I think. 

Taste: Mildly honey. Very nice and clean. Easy drinking. 

Overall: I could drink a few of these without getting tired of them. Thev honey taste is light enough that you don't get sick of it. :)

Chaman

My wife found this 4-pack at the LCBO last weekend. It claims to contain rare, once-a-year brews: Dieu du Ciel, Chaman.



Colour: Slightly cloudy amber

Aroma: Lightly grapefruity. Easy to detect though.

Taste: Grapefruity bitterness, but surprisingly smooth too. Not a lot of carbonation.

ABV: 9%. Yeh... the good stuff is always lethal.

Overall... liked it a lot. For a bitter, grapefruity beer, it's tasty. I almost wish it wasn't 9% though because I could easily consume a few of these.

Innis & Gunn Giveaway


One of my favourite beer brands, Innis & Gunn, is celebrating the launch of their new website and giving away some cool prizes!
"1st place will walk away with all our merch, plus two unique prizes: a one-of-a-kind hand carved Innis & Gunn caskhead and an equally beautiful, hand carved Innis & Gunn mini keg.
We're also giving away a set of merchandise prizes to one lucky 2nd prize winner, while ten 3rd place winners will take away a pair of red Innis & Gunn t-shirts each."
Check it out on their Facebook page by clicking here or see below.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Monday, May 6, 2013

Beergasm.ca

Beergasm: The shudder you get when having your first sip of beer. you may also get one with your second sip of beer, otherwise known as a multiple beergasm.
Beergasm: When the foam, or "head", of a beer shoots at you upon opening it.

And so, we have a new name for the beer blog and my half-assed beer reviews.

Links to posts within the blog are likely broken until I can edit them to fix the domain name. Aside from that, I think I've managed to get everything else working. If you find anything broken, feel free to email me at scott@beergasm.ca or post in a comment.

Updated: I decided to forgo this name, and changed it later to Bay 5 Brewing.

Name change

Heads up.. things might break here and there on the blog for the next little while as its name and domain name changes. Once it's done the old domain, churchkey.ca, will still forward here until the web crawlers pick up the new domain name in the search engines.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Winter Mingler

(Note: I started writing this one last week, but just got around to finishing it. Keeping notes for every beer I try is sometimes distracting from actually enjoying the beer, so I wrote these as I worked my way through the case.) ;)

While we were at the beer store last Friday, I spied a 12 pack of Granville Island Brewing's Winter Mingler. It consists of four of their beers. They also had a Summer Mingler but since winter is over, I opted for it since it'll soon be gone. I'll pick up the Summer Mingler at some point I'm sure.

Let me begin by saying this mix did not disappoint. I really enjoyed all four flavours and my wife did as well. She can be tough to win over, so congrats Granville Island Brewing. :)

Lions Winter Ale



 Colour: clear reddish brown.

Aroma: This review is written as I drink a second one. I didn't notice this the first time, but it was my wife who noted it moments ago. Chocolate. A dark chocolate aroma. Can't believe I didn't notice it the first time.

Taste: Chocolate. Dark chocolate. Slightly bitter aftertaste.

ABV: 5.5%

Overall very tasty. I'm still stunned that we didn't pick up on the chocolate the first time we had one the day before.

Kitsilano Maple Cream Ale




Colour: Dark amber.

Aroma: Light maple.

Taste: Maple, but not overpowering. Creamy. It's not the weakest maple tasting beer I've tried, but I think it falls a little behind the stronger maple tasting beers. That could be a good thing if you plan on having a few.

ABV: 5:0%

Overall, pretty good. I'd buy it again.


Island Lager



Colour: clear golden

Aroma: lightly hoppy, lightly sweet

Taste: again, lightly hoppy and lightly sweet

ABV: 5%

Overall a decent beer. Nice, crisp and clean tasting. Easy drinking. This is what some may call a "session beer(*)".


English Bay Pale Ale


Colour: clear copper

Aroma: light caramel aroma

Taste: light carbonation, light caramel, light hops, very light bitter finish

ABV: 5%

Overall... it's not a strong beer by any means, but is quite drinkable. I've read some pretty harsh reviews for it that I don't personally feel are warranted, but everyone is entitled to their own opinion.

(*) Session Beer: "Any beer that contains no higher than 5 percent ABV, featuring a balance between malt and hop characters (ingredients) and, typically, a clean finish - a combination of which creates a beer with high drinkability. The purpose of a session beer is to allow a beer drinker to have multiple beers, within a reasonable time period or session, without overwhelming the senses or reaching inappropriate levels of intoxication." Source: http://beeradvocate.com/articles/653

Banana Bread

One of my co-workers at work surprised me with this one afternoon: Well's Banana Bread Beer. She said she was at the LCBO, saw this, and thought of me.


Colour: Light amber

Aroma: Banana and caramel perhaps.

Taste: Banana. Duh. I didn't find it overpowering though, which is good. Banana flavoured anything can easily go overboard with flavour.

ABV: 5.2%

Overall... it was better than I expected it would be, but I don't know what occasions I could drink this at, aside from a one-time try like this, so it's unlikely that I'd buy this again. Unless there's a recipe that calls for beer... hmmm....

Dogstalker April Bock

Found at the LCBO: Dogstalker April Bock from Grand River Brewing.



Colour: clear reddish amber

Aroma: lightly sweet fruity and something else that I can't identify.

Taste: lightly sweet. Dryish finish.

ABV: 6.0%

Overall... I really enjoyed this. Not overly sweet like some Bocks I've tried making it easy to consume a few. :) Unfortunately, I only picked up one. :\

Honey Brown Lager

One from last weekend... Sleeman Honey Brown Lager



Another one of my wife's picks.

Colour: clear copper

Aroma: light scent of honey

Taste: I detected a light sweetness but I wouldn't haven't guess honey if it didn't have it in the name. My wife said it as honey, for sure. It was definitely a nice crisp and clean taste. My wife really liked it too.

ABV: 5.2%

A nice beer. I remember trying a honey brown years ago when they were popular and wasn't impressed. But that could also have been my poor taste in beers at the time. :)

Boxer Ice

As we were waiting in line to pay at the beer store last weekend, my wife was still browsing and picked this up: Boxer Ice by Minah's Craft Brewery.



It's a big-ass can. 710ml. 1 pint.

Colour: Clear golden

Aroma: Something lightly sweet. Not sure what it is.

Taste: Again, something lightly sweet. Malty perhaps. I don't know if it was just my taste buds, but it seemed to taste sweeter over time. I'm not so sure I like that.

Overall: No a bad beer, but I don't think I'd buy it again. The odd sweetness bothered me.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Chimay Blue now available in Ontario

I've always wondered why I couldn't find the Chimay Blue at the LCBO, while the White and Premiere are there.

According to this article in the Toronto Star, Chimay Blue will now be available.
Starting last week, however, Chimay’s flagship, a rich, potent brew known either as Blue or Blue Cap (after its label and bottle cap colour) or Grande Reserve, has made it onto the shelves as a permanent listing. Beer aficionados in this province should celebrate the long-overdue end of what had been a puzzling omission. Chimay Blue is one of the world’s great beers.
I did a quick inventory check and found it at the LCBO near my work.  Sadly, the one I usually buy from closer to home does not have any. (yet?)

I think my wife is going to stop at pick up a couple on her way to pick me up before heading home.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

2013 Ontario Brewing Award Winners


Here's the complete list of awards for the 2013 Ontario Brewing Awards. The italicized ones are those that I've tried, and probably written about here. Once I find the time, I'll link them to my words of wisdom. :)

It looks like I've got a shopping list of new brews to find and try!

North American Light Lager
Gold: Cold Stonewall Light
Silver: Laker Light
Bronze: Stonehammer Light

North American Lager
Gold: Amsterdam Natural Blonde
Silver: Muskoka Craft Lager
Bronze: GLB Golden Horseshoe

European Style Lager (Pilsner)
Gold: Big Rig Champion Pilsner
Silver: King Pilsner
Bronze: Steam Whistle Pilsner

Amber Lager
Gold: Nickel Brook Marzenbier
Silver: Cool Millenium Buzz
Bronze: Hop City Barking Squirrel

Dark Lager
Gold: King Dark
Silver: Big Rig Schwarzbier
Bronze: Waterloo Dark

Bock
Gold: Amsterdam Springbock
Silver: Camerons Deviator
Bronze: Creemore Urbock

Honey/Maple Beer
Gold: Mill St Spring Thaw
Silver: Mill St Royal York Stinger
Bronze: Stonehammer Maple Red

German Style Wheat Beer
Gold: Muskoka Summer Weiss
Silver: Beer Academy Hefeweizen
Bronze: Denisons Weissbier

Belgian Style Wheat Beer
Gold: Labatt Shocktop
Silver: Mill St Belgian Witbier
Bronze: Black Oak Saison

Cream Ale
Gold: Clocktower West Brew
Silver: Camerons Cream Ale
Bronze: Big Rig Gold

British Pale Ale
Gold: Muskoka Cream Ale
Silver: Black Oak Pale Ale
Bronze: Grand River Plowman's Ale

North American Pale Ale
Gold: Nickel Brook Naughty Neighbour
Silver: Spearhead Hawaiian Pale
Bronze: GLB Crazy Canuck

British India Pale Ale
Gold: Mill St IPA
Silver: Clocktower Wisharts ESB
Bronze: Grand River Curmudgeon

North American India Pale Ale
Gold: Nickelbrook Headstock
Silver: Flying Monkeys Smashbomb
Bronze: Muskoka Mad Tom

Amber Ale (including red)
Gold: Niagara's Butler's Bitter
Silver: Clocktower Red
Bronze: Camerons Auburn Ale

Dark Ale
Gold: Magnotta True North Copper
Silver: Get Well Fuggle It
Bronze: Stonehammer Dark Ale

Porter 
Gold: GLB Harry Porter
Silver: Get Well Porter
Bronze: Bellwoods Lost Porter

Stout
Gold: Railway City Black Coal
Silver: Sawdust City Skinny Dipping
Bronze: Spearhead Belgian Stout

Imperial Stout
Gold: Muskoka Winter Beard
Silver: GLB Bourbon Aged Russian Imperial Stout
Bronze: Amsterdam Tempest

Fruit Beer
Gold: Mill St Frambozen
Silver: Amsterdam KLB Raspberry Wheat
Bronze: Clocktower Raspberry Wheat

Flavoured Beer
Gold: Black Oak Double Chocolate Cherry Stout
Silver: Sawdust City Skinny Dipping with Friends
Bronze: Sawdust City Red Rocket

Strong Beer
Gold: Mill St Barley Wine
Silver: Mill St Ambre de la Chaudiere
Bronze: Wellington Iron Duke

Gluten Free
Gold: Nickel Brook Gluten Free
Silver: Snowman Top Hat
Bronze: Snowman Who's That Brown Ale

Barrel Aged
Gold: Amsterdam Order & Chaos
Silver: GLB 25th Anniversary Bourbon Aged
Bronze: Camerons VSPA

Homebrew IPA
Gold: Geoff Conway
Silver: Neal Fuller
Bronze: Steven Mills

Congrats to all!

Source: http://www.ontariobrewingawards.com/2013-winners.html