Monday, July 11, 2011

Barley Days Oak Aged Series

  This past weekend I was in Prince Edward County with my girlfriend for her cousins wedding, which was quite nice, and to take in some of the attractions the area has to offer.  One of the attractions being the Barley Days Brewery, located within walking distance of where we were staying. I took a little trip over to see what they had to offer there and to just check it out in general. When I got there they had three beers they had been aging in oak barrels for the last 2 to 3 months, they were the Wind And Sail Dark Ale, Harvest Gold Pale Ale and Loyalist Lager. I have tried all three versions without oak and they have varied from mediocre to quite good so I am curious to see how these taste with the added oak.  Kayla and I also went to a restaurant that brews their own beer in house called Lake On The Mountain, I had the IPA and it was very nice and pleasantly hoppy. I would have tried a couple more of their offerings but we were both tired from horseback riding and were a little pressed for time. The county was a great place to relax and take it slow while enjoying some great scenery and some great beverages, if you can bear the 2.5 hour drive from Toronto it is well worth the trip.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Samuel Adams Latitude 48

  Today a buddy of mine brought me all 6 versions of Samuel Adams Latitude 48 IPA.  Sold as a 12 pack, this set contains 2 of each version of Latitude 48.  The original Latitude 48 IPA is an American IPA brewed with five hop varieties composed of Hallertau Mittelfrueh Noble Hops, East Kent Goldings, Ahtanum, Simcoe and Zeus.  The other 5 versions are brewed using only one hop variety each as a way to showcase what the individual hop contributes to the beer as a whole.  It's a fun experiment and a great way to get familiar with individual hop varieties.  As someone who loves IPA, I am really looking forward to these, even if just to see if the original is better than the sum of its parts.   

Monday, July 4, 2011

Cigar City/Mikkeller Nielsbohrium

  Just wanted to post a quick blurb about one of the most recent brews I have tried that absolutely "wowed" me.  Florida's Cigar City is quickly becoming a top contender in the U.S. craft beer scene and Denmark's Mikkeller has been leading the way for a couple years as one of Europe's most cutting edge, boundary pushing breweries that have collaborated with just about every major craft brewery worth mentioning.  Earlier this year these brewers collaborated on Nielsbohrium, an American Imperial Stout brewed with raisin and cinnamon then aged in rum barrels.  Coming in at 10% ABV, this jet black stout delivers on every level.  Pouring a deep black with a ruby-tan head, this beer has an incredible nose that will make you forget that this was made to actually drink and not just to smell.  Once I did take a sip it did not disappoint at all and it was full of roasted malts, dark fruit, cinnamon, a slightly sweet sugary presence and nice notes of oak, vanilla and rum.  Incredibly complex and enjoyable, this is truly a masterpiece in its own regard.  With such a small amount bottled I will no doubt never see this one again, but I sure am glad that I did get to try it.  Thanks to Jason for bringing this one to the last group tasting.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Great Lakes One Off's

 This past Monday, following a trip to Ikea, I persuaded my girlfriend, Kayla, to make a quick stop at Great Lakes Brewery since we were so close anyway.  I wasn't looking for anything specific, just wanted to see if they had any Project X bottles for sale and maybe say hi to my buddy, Rob, who is a sales rep there.  Project X is a monthly series from Great Lakes where they hand bottle a small batch of a beer they only brew every so often - some especially rare batches are even limited to only the one release.  So I walked into the retail store and saw that there were indeed some Project X for sale, but instead of the usual one or two this time there were six.  So while waiting for Rob to come down I decided to get some shopping done and started bringing bottles two at a time to the counter.  The line up was quite stellar I must say and included Miami Weisse, Black Jacques Shellack  Belgian Brown, Great Lakes/Black Oak Etobichoker Double Belgian IPA, Lackey's Flask Citra, No Chance With Miranda Saison and Double Devil's Pale Ale 999.

 The Miami Weisse is an american wheat beer that's quite hoppy and packs a citrus punch.  Lackey's Flask Citra is a bottled version of a beer they make called Lackey's Cask that is an american pale ale, although this bottled version is made with citra hops unlike its cask conditioned original.  Double Devil's Pale Ale 999 is their amped up version of Devil's Pale Ale 666 that can be found in cans at the LCBO and I have to say that I am dying to try this, it taunts me every time I open the fridge - I am holding out on trying this one and the Lackey's Flask for an upcoming tasting group.  I am currently enjoying Etobichoker as I write this and it is a solid brew overall.  Made with fellow Etobicoke brewery Black Oak, it is a very spicy and well balanced Belgian style pale ale that bursts with lovely bitter hop in the finish.  As for the others, I will probably give them a shot this weekend to satisfy my curiosity.

  Thanks to Rob Hern for throwing in a freebie and taking time out of his day to visit for a few minutes and my girlfriend Kayla for helping to carry one of the two large boxes to the car and letting them take up tons of room in the fridge/rest of the apartment.  Great Lakes is located at 30 Queen Elizabeth Blvd and you should check it out sometime - tell them Pino sent you......and they will be confused.