Muy Bonita Double Brown Ale – Funky Buddha Brewery


From Oakland Park Florida’s Funky Buddha Brewery comes their “Muy Bonita Double Brown Ale” a beer with apple, cinnamon and vanilla.  The beer pours a deep brown colour with a brown head.  The aroma consists of apple, cinnamon, vanilla, toffee, coffee, chocolate and an overall sweetness.  The flavour is of cinnamon, vanilla, toffee, chocolate, coffee, apple, mild roasted malts with some bitterness and alcohol in the finish.  The beer came in at 8.5% with an IBU of 35.  This beer is desert in a bottle and well worth picking up if you find yourself in Florida or anywhere their beer is sold.  Funky Buddha Brewery is now owned by Constellation Brands.

Commercial Description:  The big sister to our Bonita Applebum Apple Pie Brown, Muy Bonita is a bigger, badder ‘bum. This double brown ale flaunts a bodacious body and a stunning combination of real cinnamon, vanilla, and apples. So thick, she’s like a hip hop song.

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Bumper Shine Winter Warmer – Torque Brewing


From Torque Brewing in Winnipeg Manitoba comes their “Bumper Shine Winter Warmer”.  The beer pours a very deep ruby red colour with a tan head.  The aroma consists of caramel, toffee, brown sugar, cinnamon and sweetness.  The flavour is of cinnamon, toffee, caramel, brown sugar, earth, butterscotch and a sweet finish.  The alcohol content comes in at 8.5% with an IBU of 45.  I like this style of beer as its got lots of flavour and the alcohol warms you up.  This is a good representation of the style.

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Winter Warmer 2016 Vintage – Garrison Brewing


From Halifax Nova Scotia’s Garrison Brewing comes their “Winter Warmer” 2016 Vintage.  The beer pours a ruby red colour colour with a beige head.  The aroma consists of cinnamon, clove, brown sugar, fruits, berry and some hops.  The flavour is of strawberry, dark fruits, cinnamon, clove, brown sugar, caramel, earth, bitterness and a dry finish.  The alcohol content comes in at 7% with an IBU of 20.  This one is not all that warming at 7% but I am quite enjoying the flavour anyways.  Its been a while since I have had a beer from Garrison Brewing and I just don’t know why its been this long.

Commercial Description: This strong dark amber beer is brewed with spices evocative of the holiday season. It’s warming character makes it a great accompaniment on cold winter nights.  Complex and inviting aromatics of strawberry jam, cinnamon, clove, brown sugar and molasses. Rich caramel avors dominate and persist through a warming nish; starts sweet with a touch of dryness followed by a snooth aftertaste of caramel and clove.

Food pairings as per brewery:  A great compliment to rich and meaty dishes.

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Rice Pudding Porter – 4 Mile Brewing Co


From 4 Mile Brewing Co in Victoria comes their “Rice Pudding Porter”.  The beer pours a deep brown colour with a brown head.  The aroma consists of chocolate, caramel, hint of coffee and some sweetness.  The flavour is of coffee, chocolate, bready and roasted malts, caramel, cinnamon, ash, earth and sweetness.  The alcohol content comes in at 6% with an IBU of 28.  Not being a fan of rice pudding I would never have picked up this beer but when it was given it as a Christmas present it was game on.  I’m happy to say that this was a very tasty and interesting porter and I plan on having it again.

Commercial Description:  Not your grandma’s rice pudding. Fragrant , delicate spices of vanilla , cinnamon & clove mingle with brown rice to beguile. Round , plump lusciousness lingers. Speed date with elk game pie or frozen cherry cheesecake right from the tin container.

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Stormy Monday Barley Wine – Bush Pilot Brewing


From Bush Pilot Brewing an Ontario Gypsy brewery (brewed out of Nickel Brook in Burlington) comes their “Stormy Monday” a Barley Wine aged in Calvados Barrels.  Unfortunately my bottle was leaking when it arrived and had lost some of its carbonation.  The beer poured a deep cloudy brown colour with a small head.  The aroma consists of caramel, toffee, dark fruits, apple, clove, spices, hint of chocolate and some brown sugars.  The flavour is of caramel, toffee, dark fruits, dried apple, orange peel, orange, cinnamon, clove, spices, brown sugar, syrup, mild coffee, bitterness, vanilla, wood and a hint of what I can only guess is Calvados.  The alcohol content comes in at 10.3% without being super boozy.  This beer was a blend of barrel aged and non barrel aged versions of this beer.  With the unfortunate leakage of the bottle the carbonation was basically lost but the flavour was still really tasty.  I am really enjoying this beer and I hope that if you get a chance to try it you let me know what you think of it with a full carbonation!

Commercial Description:  We started with a clear mission that our first beer had to be a drink that we ourselves would want to seek out and enjoy. See, we are a bit spoiled – an almost decade long background in craft beer importation blessed us with access to some very fine and unique beers. Therefore, when we decided to embark on this long and turbulent journey we knew we had to create something very different. Needless to say though, we had a few Stormy Mondays along the way… With the help of our experienced mentors and collaborators, we managed to pass through some nasty looking clouds.  Our Stormy Monday is a spiced barley wine aged in Calvados barrels. Legendary Danish craft brewer Anders Kissmeyer (of Nørrebro Bryghus fame) created the recipe and supervised the brewing/aging process. We prepared a huge cargo of spices consisting of star anise, bitter orange peel, cocoa, cinnamon, dried fruit (quince, apple, dates, raisins, figs), real vanilla beans, cardamom, juniper berries and the list goes on and on… We also used pure maple syrup from our long time supplier and friend Frank Higgins of Combermere, Ontario. It is fair to say we logged quite a few hours sourcing some of these ingredients all over the world.  The resulting beer was aged for over seven months in Calvados barrels sourced from Domaine Dupont, Normandy, France. A second, non-barrel aged batch was brewed in order to create a rather harmonious presence of oak and Calvados notes. At the end, we settled for the 60:40 blend (barrel vs. non-barrel batches).  Special thanks go to our collaborators Jon Downing, Sam Corbeil, John Romano, Ryan Morrow, Matthew Howell and everyone at Niagara College Teaching Brewery and Nickel Brook Brewery.  Hope you enjoy your bottle of Stormy Monday.

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