Friday, July 26, 2013

Prud’homme Beer Certification

I'm sooo doing this: Prud’homme Beer Certification

I read about this on The Beer Gypsy's blog and after a day or so of contemplating, I couldn't resist and enrolled. It's within walking distance of where I work, so it'll be really easy to get to on class nights.

I can't wait. :)

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Glassware Fail

There's a fairly popular beer glass that appears often on various Instagram beer pics that I've been wanting to add to my collection for some time.

A couple of weeks ago I decided to order one, along with a few other items that they had for sale on their web site: a T-shirt and two other beer glasses. $50 in merchandise in total.

After confirming with them on their Facebook page that they delivered to Canada (they even mentioned that they had recently shipped a few orders to Canada), I went ahead and filled out my order.

That came to a screeching halt when I saw what the S&H was going to be: ~$35 using USPS Priority Mail. The only shipping option.

I removed everything except one glass from the cart, making it a $7 order, reducing the S&H to ~$28.

I was stunned, but not entirely surprised since I encountered a similar scenario a long time ago with another company.

I wrote about my disappointment on their Facebook page and received the following response:
... unfortunately for international shipping we have to charge actual cost. The total given is for international priority mail, we use this shipping method to allow for tracking capability. In the future we hope to offer a lower price for international packages.
I've received trackable shipments from the U.S. before (one that same week, via DHL), and didn't pay anywhere near that much for S&H. $5 for a $30 item to be exact. I'm not saying they're overcharging, but there are certainly cheaper shipping options available and it shouldn't be too difficult to find one to offer us Canucks.

What really surprises me is that there are are Canadians out there with more money than sense. Who in their right mind would pay four times the value of an item to have it shipped?

Opa's Gose

This one was on my radar since I first heard of it: Opa's Gose by Beau's All Natural Brewing Company. My wife picked up two bottles for me last weekend. When I asked her why two, she said "In case you like it and it's hard to find."  Can't argue with that logic.


Colour: cloudy amber

Aroma: floral

Taste: malty hoppy and slightly salty

ABV:

Overall: I wasn't sure if I'd like this or not when I saw the small bag of sea salt attached to the bottle and read the label saying that salt was one of the ingredients.

In the little bag, there's a small leaflet that describes it as follows:
Opa's Gose is a tart beer with mild citrusy notes and a unique salty character. The saltiness of the style is diffused and complemented by a coriander spice 
I recall seeing people add salt to their beer to give it head wayyy back in my early drinking years and I tried it once. I like salt, but not so much in my beer.

I was pleasantly surprised. This is a tasty beer. Had I not known that there was salt in it, I'm not sure if I wouldn't have noticed. I chose not to add additional salt though. :)

Hop On Your Face

I made my second ever visit to Beyond The Pale on Sunday. I often go for bike rides on weekends, so I chose to make my Sunday ride a little more... "productive". :)

I exchanged the two 32oz growlers that I got a while ago for fresh ones or Pink Fuzz and Hop On Your Face.

Pink Fuzz revisited

There's a reason this one often sells out — it's damn tasty. I think it may have actually tasted a little sweeter, or more orange-like, than I remember from the first time. (You can read that half-assed review here.) Or, as I've said many times recently, my taste for citrusy beers is growing. I'm betting it's the latter. :)

Hop On Your Face

My first time for this one.



Colour: cloudy amber

Aroma: lemony, hoppy?

Taste: grapefruity goodness

ABV: 7.5%

Overall: I liked it. I think I might have to try it again for a second opinion though. Thankfully this is one of their regular brews.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Turtle Island Brewing wins People's Choice

Kudos to Turtle Island Brewing Co on their People's Choice Award!


I have to try that SMASH Cherry Ale. Sounds awesome. :)

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

#IPAday

Being somewhat of a newcomer to the craft beer scene, this is the first I've heard of it.



#IPAday. It's the first Thursday of every August. A quick summary from www.drinkwiththewench.com but be sure to click the image above for more info:
The goal is to make this year’s IPA Day even more viral. Getting involved is easy, the only requirements are an appreciation for great craft beer and the willingness to spread the word. On August 1, share your photos, videos, blog posts, tasting notes, recipes and thoughts on IPA with the world. Be sure to tag your posts on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, Google+ and other social media platforms with the #IPAday hashtag. Please note that this year we are using a lower case “d” in the hashtag to reduce confusion.
That's a celebration I can get into. :)

Monday, July 15, 2013

Fish Eye

I originally tried this one a week ago, but liked it so much that I bought another can last weekend. Fish Eye Kensington Brewing Company.


Colour: clear red

Aroma: grapefruit citrus

Taste: smooth lightly grapefruit

ABV: 6.5%

Overall : A tasty beer. My personal taste for bitter beers is weakening.

Beyond the Pale

A couple of weeks ago, I finally got around to paying a visit to Beyond The Pale. I picked up three bottles: Pink Fuzz, Rye Guy, and Half in the Barrel (a collab with the Clock Tower Brew Pub)

Pink Fuzz

Pink Fuzz is a popular one that they apparently sell out of frequently. 


Colour: cloudy orange

Aroma: grapefruit

Taste: surprisingly not as bitter as I expected. This seems to hit the right spot for my level of bitterness. 

ABV: 6%

Overall: really enjoyed this and will be a regular purchase for me when I make it out there. It was really busy the day we went, and I have to assume it's like that all the time. 

Rye Guy

Another one of their regular beers.


Colour: Cloudy yellow orange

Aroma: citrus

Taste: Lightly grapefruit.

ABV: 6.7%

Overall:   I found the taste to be like a cross between Pink Fuzz and Half in the Barrel.Or maybe I was half in the barrel by then. :) Either way, tasty. Yum.

Beyond the Pale Half in the Barrel

This is a collaboration with the Clock Tower Brew Pub. Sadly, I must have been enjoying the beers too much and forgot to take a pic of this one. :(

Colour: reddish brown

Aroma: sweet oak red wine?

Taste: slightly bitter smooth red wine hints

ABV: 6% 25 IBU

Overall: I really enjoyed this. My wife liked it as well. Easy drinking nicely balanced beer. I'd love this to be a regular brew.

Imperial IPA for Autism

Had this one a little while ago. Central City Brewing Co's Imperial IPA for Autism.


Color: amber

Aroma: grapefruit

Taste: hoppy grapefruit kinda creamy or low carbonation. It says it's 90 IBU. I think my taste buds area adapting to bitter beers.

ABV: 9%

Overall I liked it, and it's a great beer for a great cause. $5 per bottle goes to autism research.

A Wellington foursome

I've seen these four Wellington beers at the LCBO for some time and a week or two ago decided to give them a try.

Wellington Special Pale Ale


Colour: clear reddish brown

Aroma: malty

Taste: smooth lightly hoppy

ABV: 4.5%

Overall : a great easy drinking beer


Wellington Imperial Russian Stout


Colour: dark brown

Aroma: chocolate and coffee

Taste: dark chocolate coffee aftertaste

ABV: 8%

Overall: Pretty good but it seems to have a bitter aftertaste that I'm not a big fan of. I'm tempted to try this with the chocolate stout cupcake recipe.


Wellington Arkell Best Bitter

I forgot to snap a photo. :(

Colour: reddish clear

Aroma: lightly caramel sweet

ABV: 4%

Overall: a nice session beer. Very easy drinking.


Wellington County Dark Ale


Colour: dark brown coke like

Aroma: licorice chocolate

Taste: licorice coffee

ABV: 5%

Overall: good dark ale. Similar to others I've tried.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Testing the new Instagram embedded share code.



Pretty cool, but a bit large. I thought it might be easier to use this than uploading to Picasaweb. :/

Monday, July 8, 2013

National Capital Craft Beer Festival


Speaking of the National Capital Craft Beer Festival... you can find information here:

http://www.nationalcapitalbeerweek.com/

And purchase tickets here:

https://ottawafestivalstickets.ca/event/national-capital-craft-beer-week/

Steam Whistle Brewery Tour

My wife and I attended the Waterfront Festival in Toronto a couple of weeks ago, and while we were there we had to visit the Steam Whistle Brewery and take the tour.

The afternoon that we went was packed. It seems that we picked a day when there was a Blue Jays game on, and quite a few people were there to prime themselves for the game.

We had about a 10 minute wait to get inside as they kept a running headcount going. Once inside, we signed up for the tour, which was about a 30-40 minute wait. On the plus side, the tour was free because we checked in using FourSquare, which saves you about $10. Mind you, at the end of the tour we spent way more than that on two glasses, a T-shirt, bottle opener, and a 1L Growler for me. :)

So anyway, during our wait, we enjoyed a couple of free ~4oz samples of their fine beer. I then purchased to additional cups to quench my thirst. I wasn't aware that they feed you more beer during the tour.

There was live entertainment in the main bar area, to keep all the Blue Jays fans (and other tourists like us) happy.

Finally when it was our turn for the tour, we were brought upstairs to a separate bar. This is where we were told what to expect and each given a headset, and a bottle of beer from this fridge to drink during the tour.

Our guide told us a little history about the company and it sounds like one hell of a great place to work! :)

She also told us some history about the roundhouse building that they occupy, which was also very cool.

We got to see, and taste if we wanted, barley and hops. I tried the barley, which didn't taste too bad. I skipped the hops.

Panoramic shot of the bottling area
At the end of our tour, we ended up at the upstairs bar again, where we were again offered another ~4oz sample of beer.

Needless to say, my head was a little spinny after the tour so it's a good think or hotel was within walking distance of the brewery. :)

All in all a very cool, and delicious, tour that I would not hesitate to go on again. I highly recommend it.




Ottawa Brewery Market


I'm not sure how I missed hearing about this one until the last minute, but I'm glad I did. Thanks go to Beyond the Pale for their Facebook postings that alerted me. :)

My wife and I headed down to Parkdale Park a little after noon on Sunday. It's a pretty small park, but it wasn't too crowded for the duration that we were there. I can only imagine how packed it would be later in the afternoon.

Upon arriving, we were greeted at the entrance by volunteers, and two security(?) guys in dark suits. I wasn't carded, but I was asked if I was carrying I.D. on me. Seriously. I'm 48. I did notice other younger-looking people being carded. By younger, I mean in their 30s. I guess we should all be flattered. :)

Admission was FREE! That was awesome. I think all beer fests should be free admission. :)

After having a blue wristband put on us, one of the volunteers gave us a quick rundown of what's what and where's where. That was very helpful, rather than just letting us wander around figuring things out on our own.

We waited in the beer & food ticket line for about 10-15 minutes to buy our $20 souvenir mason jar mugs, which included 2 beer tickets each, and we also purchased 2 additional "collaboration beer" tickets for $4 each (for a half cup of beer). A full cup was $6. Proceeds from the even went to The Ottawa Riverkeeper. The wait would have been much shorter if we had been paying cash.

We managed to try 3 out of the 4 collaboration beers and enjoyed them all. I think the one we missed was a lemon wheat at the Broadhead tent (collaboration with Amsterdam). My wife's favourite was the Cranberry Saison. I was pretty tasty and very non-beer like. I liked the Golden Devil. I also enjoyed Broadhead's own "Longshot".

In total, we tried 7 beers:

  • Belle Hop Porter - Beyond the Pale & Gastro
  • Golden Devil - Beyond the Pale & Indie Alehouse
  • White Fog - Cassel Brewery
  • Cranberry Saison - Cassel Brewery & Great Lakes
  • Longshot - Broadhead Brewing
  • Golden Rail - Cassel Brewery
  • The Darkness - Beyond the Pale
For lunch, we bought a ticket for a Hintonburger "organic" burger. Pretty tasty but a little pricey. I think it was the same price as a beer.

All in all a pretty good afternoon. Thankfully my wife didn't have more than a sip of each beer, so she could be DD. There was no way I was able to drive after that. :)

Now I'm really looking forward to the National Capital Beer Fest in August!

(P.S. Just before we left, a group of young people arrived on site with boxes of T-shirts. They were promoting the upcoming movie Red 2.  They were free, but only had medium in black and large in red. My wife and I got one each anyway, despite the fact that a large is unlikely to fit me. Unless I quit drinking beer, I suppose. Bah. Like that'll ever happen)

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Seigneuriale

I picked this one up at an LCBO in Toronto while we were there for the Waterfront Festival: Seigneuriale by Unibroue.


Colour: cloudy orange brown

Aroma: banana malty

Taste: lightly bitter citrus

Overall: Loved it. Another win by Unibroue. Although without being able to compare it side by side with la fin du Monde or Maudite I'm not sure how different it is and I loved both of those.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Shawinigan Handshake

Shawinigan Handshake by Le Trou du Diable. My first from them too, I believe.


Colour: cloudy peach

Aroma: hoppy banana

Taste: banana spruce hoppy

ABV: 6.5%

Overall: Surprisingly good. A hoppy Weissbier. Grapefruity bananas. Loved it.