Steve’s Beer Advent Calendar Day 4 – Blonde – Abdij Van St Martin


From Brasserie de Brunehaut for Abdij Van St Martin, Brunehaut, Belgium is their Blonde.

Pouring a cloudy, vibrant orange, there are noticeable suspended particles stationary in the beer though no visible carbonation. The head is thin, white with an orange tinge.

The nose is floral and vanilla with orange blossom. A little bit of grain at the end.

The flavours are effervescent and flit by quickly on the tongue while maintaining complexity. There is a base of lager-y, Molson-like “beer” flavour with a vanilla and honey sweetness to add balance and interest. There is a mineral bitterness to counter the sweet and the finish is of bitter orange.

Commercial description:

  • Look: A golden straw colour, with a strong foam once opened then the bubbles gently rise to the top and a good head remains.
  • Nose: Sharp, lively and nervous, fermentation with a touch reminiscent of a flowery cheese.
  • In the mouth: A round, balance and full flavour. In the mouth it is floral, elegant and direct, almost feminine. A great beer that perfectly suits cheeses with a hard crust or some fine Bries and Camemberts.
  • The aftertaste has a noble bitterness.

Advertisements

Woolly Bugger Barley Wine – 2014 Limited Edition – Howe Sound Brewing, Squamish, BC


I want to start off and say that this 75 IBU, 10.5 % ABV craft beer is delicious after being aged for nearly a year and a half.

I first bought this beer back in early 2015. As a fan of Howe Sound Brewing craft beers, I knew that I had to pick it up. I’ve tried Barley Wines prior to this and do like them. I wanted to try one that Howe Sound brews.  I also have to admit that the bottle itself had one of the nicest designs I’ve ever seen. As an outdoor enthusiast in addition to being a craft beer fan, I liked the story it had to tell.

The description says that it’s “A rich, malty barley wine-style ale, with an intense depth of flavour. Named for the Woolly Bugger wetfly or streamer which is fished under the water surface. It is widely used for both freshwater and saltwater fish and is generally considered to be one of the best to have in any fly box”.

I also liked the illustration of an outdoor enthusiast fishing in an unnamed and from what I presume, a BC stream. It makes me think that this would be a perfect sipping beer to warm up with next to a campfire after a long day of fishing. So, it was something I could relate to.

As for the beer itself, I was very impressed with this English Style Barley-wine. I would say it`s very complex and well balanced. Hints of chocolate notes, hop bitterness, hop sweetness, malty and warm…. Nice aromatics. The ingredients include pale, crystal, cara, chocolate and special B malts. Hops include nugget, fuggles and golding. Ale yeast is used too. Awesome job Howe Sound Brewing. I give this nicely crafted beer 5 out of 5.

By Adam Leavitt

Year One Red Wheat Wine – The Moon Under Water Pub & Brewery


Limited Release

From The Moon Under Water Pub & Brewery out of Victoria comes their “Year One Red Wheat Wine”.  This is The Moon Under Water’s first anniversary since being taken over by the new owners and this beer was brewed in celebration.  This brew pours a cloudy Orangey/Brown colour with a white head.  The aroma consists wheat, red wine, sweet grapes and lots of birch.  The flavour is of hops up front with red wine, wheat, yeast, birch, huge malts and maybe a hint of something like licorice.  This is a very complex beer with an alcohol warming without showing up in the flavour.  The alcohol content comes in at 11.5%.  My bottle is number 327 but it does not specify how many were made.  Although not the best wheat wine that I have ever had it was still a very tasty brew and well worth the purchase!  I am still fairly new to this style of beer but I have not been let down yet.  Keep up the great work Moon Under Water and happy Anniversary!  

Commercial Description:  Brewmaster Clay has created this special brew to be shared, this strong red wheat wine was hopped throughout with Citra and then fermented dry with 3 yeast strains on yellow birch.

IMG_00001671   IMG_00001672   IMG_00001673  IMG_00001674

Gael’s Blood Potato Ale – Crannog Ales


From Sorrento in the Shuswap area, just north of the Okanagan Valley’s Crannog Ales comes the “Gael’s Blood Potato Ale”.  They grow many of the ingredients for their beer and the spent grains are fed to the animals on the farm. All of their ales are only available on tap in BC pubs and restaurants. Every ale they produce is a Certified Organic Irish style Ale.  This beer pours a clear but deep amber/copper colour with a tan head.  The aroma of this brew is of potatoes, earth, slightly smokey, very malty, caramel and floral hops.  The flavour of the beer is of potatoes up front with earth, bread, caramel and a really strong maltieness and a mild hops bitterness.  This beer has a very nice balance between hops and malts even though the malts are far more obvious.  This is one complex brew  and I can not wait to have my next pint!  The beer has an alcohol content of 5.2% and an IBU of 48.

Commercial Description:  This rich Irish red ale is made with organic potatoes for an exceptionally smooth, rich body. It is extraordinarily rich in malt flavour, with just the right amount of hop finish. It’s an immigrant ale, uniting the staple food of Ireland with plenty of new world hops. (Formerly known as “Hell’s Kitchen”.)

“Best Beer” at the Okanagan Fest-of-Ales 2005; and “Best organic Alcoholic Beverage” at the Organic Harvest Awards, 2006.

crannog ales - gael's blood potato ale  druid

3 Monts Grand Reserve Amber Beer – Brasserie de Saint-Sylvestre


20121129-194921.jpg

I really love the original 3 Monts so I was excited to try the amber style.

This really is a beautiful beer, a rich amber colour with snow white head that builds quickly and firmly. Held to the light you get wonderful yellow and brown highlights. The carbonation is very light with relatively few bubbles rising, making it very enjoyable to watch individual bubbles travel upwards.

The nose has a bit of mashed grain with floral notes and maybe a bit of fruit. All aroma notes are light and subtle.

For taste I do prefer the original 3 Monts to this one, but that is not to say I don’t like it. A very fruity start to the taste makes way for a floral finish but I would not describe this as sweet. There is a wonderful bite similar to granny smith apples or pineapples but not exactly like either, probably from the 10% alcohol content. The mouthfeel is smooth but heavy and very pleasant to roll across the tongue. The flavours are wonderfully complex, much like the original 3 Monts and there is much yet to be discovered in this beer.

I enjoy this beer a lot. The 1 liter bottle is a little too much for one session, I would recommend either sharing the bottle or adding food, possibly a Gouda cheese, to help refresh the palate. I will keep a bottle on hand for sure.