Monday, October 25, 2010

Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout

 This week the LCBO received Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout again. You may (or may not) remember seeing this last year and because it did so well its back again. Brewed only once a year this ink-black imperial stout is the perfect winter warmer. At a whopping 10% ABV it warms in addition to being loaded with flavor.
  The chocolate flavors are front and center here - considering that this is not brewed with any actual chocolate is impressive. It also has notes of coffee in the nose and palate that conceal the taste of alcohol almost completely. Very drinkable considering its strength - in my opinion this is a world class stout that ranks right up there with Peche Mortel and Stone Russian Imperial Stout. 
  If you have the patience you should grab a few extras to age for a couple years. With its high alcohol content it will hold up for years to come. Also its only $2.55 a bottle so it doesn't break the bank either. Great value for a great beer, go out of your way for this one because its worth it.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

IPA's worth picking up

  So as you may have noticed in the last little while there have been a few really good beers available through the LCBO. But for all of the hop heads out there some IPA's have made there way to Ontario with perfect timing. Now that Dogfish Head can no longer keep up production of the 60 Minute IPA there is a huge void of hoppy beers available. Southern Tier's IPA is outstanding and available year round as are Duggans #9 and Tankhouse but thats where it ends really.

  For a limited time this is no longer the case. The Dieu Du Ciel! release brought Corne Du Diable, an off-balanced but blindingly bitter west coast IPA that has sat in my top 10 list since first trying it over a year ago. From the east coast there is Garrison Imperial IPA that has an incredible hop presence but is refreshing and drinkable despite its 7% alcohol volume. Representing the west coast is Mt. Begbie Brewing Nasty Habit IPA - this is a much more traditional IPA that still incorporates subtle traits of the west coast style. Nasty Habit may not be as bitter as the other 2 but its still exceptional.

  It's easy to see why IPA's have been the most popular style among the beer crowd. Enjoy these while they are fresh and while you can still find them!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Pumpkin Beers Are Back!

  Now that Fall is here in full effect so are the Pumpkin beers. Now even I, at first, was a little apprehensive when I initially tried one but they are fantastic and now I look forward to them every year. This year there will be 5 pumpkin beers in total available in Ontario. So far 2 are available right now - Great Lakes Pumpkin Ale and St. Ambroise Pumpkin Ale. The offering from Great Lakes is mellower on the pumpkin and spice than the St. Ambroise but would be a great introduction for anyone that has never had a pumpkin beer before. The St. Ambroise is heavy on the spice, most notably the clove, and like every year its outstanding. 

  The other 3 pumpkin beers should surface in the next ten days or so and include: Grand River Highballer Pumpkin Ale from Cambridge, Southern Tier Imperial Pumking and Brooklyn Post Road Pumpkin Ale (both Pumking and Post Road Pumpkin hail from New York). So look out for these in the coming weeks as well. 

  Anyway I hope you all had a good holiday weekend and try some pumpkin beers this fall while they are still here.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

"We're The Weakerthans, We're From Winnipeg"

 Hey, just a bit of news if anyone is a Weakerthans fan out there. On Monday, October 18 at The Royal Theater in Toronto they will be screening "We're The Weakerthans, We're From Winnipeg" for one night only. This documentary follows the Weakerthans on their cross Canada tour in support of their album Reunion Tour. The film is directed by Caelum Vatnsdal who will also be there for the screening. Also, before the film John Samson will be preforming a solo acoustic set.

  In addition to that The Weakerthans will be the supporting band for Jim Bryson the following evening at The Horseshoe Tavern. The show is free and it is also the release date for The Falcon Lake Incident, the new album from Jim Bryson & The Weakerthans.

  Hopefully some of you can make it out as this may be your only chance to see this documentary in theaters.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Muskoka Harvest Ale

 So I was excited this week to see that this has made its way to LCBO shelves. After hearing so much about it from last years run and from the release parties that took place over the last few weeks I couldn't wait to try it. For starters, this comes in the nicest bottle that I have ever seen. Its like a wine bottle with a swing top with a very understated label that is still very eye catching. They spared no expense packaging this, certainly worth the $7.95 based on looks alone.

  It pours an intense copper colour with a fluffy white head that left a thick lace on the glass right away. It smells very rich with a thick hop aroma coming through instantly. The aroma ends with a malty character that has a subtle grassy note coming through. The taste is very hop forward at first followed by a pronounced dryness. The grassy elements revealed in the nose reveals itself further on the palate while still maintaing a dry, hoppy presence. The mouthfeel is quite full but not overbearing and is amazingly refreshing for it being so dry. It drinks very, very well even though it comes in such a large bottle.

  This beer is outstanding. Everything form its packaging to how the beer itself fully embraces the season it was made for makes it nearly perfect. This might be the perfect Ontario autumn ale - everything about this makes you think of the autumn harvest. Pick this up while you can, this beer is the ultimate companion for a long fall afternoon.