Norseman (Barrel Aged Eisbock) – Bush Pilot Brewing (Nickel Brook Brewing) (Nøgne Ø)

From Bush Pilot Brewing an Ontario Gypsy brewers in collaboration with Nickel Brook Brewing in Ontario and Nøgne Ø in Norway comes their “Norseman” a Eisbock aged in Armagnac Barrels and inspired by a Canadian Legend.  The beer pours a cloudy orange colour with a white head.  The aroma consists of caramel, toffee, dried fruits, sweetness, sugar and alcohol.  The flavour is of tons of fruit including dried fruits, citrus, citrus rind, tropical fruits with brown sugar, caramel, toffee, resin, bitterness, wood and alcohol.  The alcohol content comes in at 14.5%.  I am happy I found a bottle of this while in Alberta as it was phenomenal.

Commercial Description: Our second international collaboration is a truly unique journey that takes us back to 1934. A Dutch born airplane designer Robert B.C. Noorduyn, created one of the most successful bush planes of all times, the Noorduyn Norseman in Montreal in 1934. Norseman was produced from 1935 to 1959. Over 900 Norseman were built during this period and known to have been registered and/or operated in 68 countries.  Norseman has starred in several movies, including “Captains of the Clouds” with James Cagney.  With Norseman as an inspiration, we embarked to complete the crew for this mission. In addition to our old collaborator, the highly talented Ryan Morrow of Nickel Brook Brewing, we approached a well known brewer who also happens to be an experienced pilot, Kjetil Jikiun the founder of legendary Norwegian craft brewery Nøgne Ø.   Thus, an international, Canadian-Norwegian crew of Norseman got together and started brainstorming on the type of beer. Being people of the north, the Norseman crew decided that the our beer should be strong and that there should be an element of nature that surrounds us for a good part of the year… ice. Therefore, we decided to brew an eisbock.   The photo you see on the Norseman label was taken by Captain Lang, who as a young pilot on his first commercial assignment, was flying this very same plane from a base at Red Lake, Ontario. Captain Lang was kind enough to share with us his stories, as well as to grant us the privilege of using his photos. Thanks!  Given that the release date of our beer coincides with the 80th anniversary of Norseman’s design, we thought that a special “birthday” treat was in order. After some six months of research, calling and dealing with logistics, customs, and wayward wires of funds we finally acquired eight absolutely amazing Armagnac barrels aged between 19 and 23 years from the south of France.   Our Norseman is fully barrel aged and will be available in limited quantities in late  2014. In the meantime, try to learn more about the Noorduyn Norseman – it is a captivating and compelling story of talent, skill, perseverance and resourcefulness. A gem in the fabric of Canadian history.


Thor’s Hammer Barley Wine (Vintage 2011) – Central City Brewing (Aged 1 Year)

Limited Winter Release. (99 cases of 12 650ml bottles made)

Review Based on Vintage 2011 brewed in aprox December 2011 released on late November 2012 and consumed on December 1st 2012.  Central City is one of the few breweries to age their barleywine in house for a year before releasing.

From Central City Brewing (Red Racer Brewing) in Surrey BC comes “Thor’s Hammer Barley Wine (Vintage 2011)” a bottle conditioned beer that has been aged for almost a full year before release!  This beer pours a cloudy deep amber colour with a tan head.  The aroma of this brew is of sweet dark fruits such as prunes, malts, toffee, mild chocolate and hops.  The flavour shows characteristics of sweet dark fruits, cherry, strong bitter hops, brown sugar, toffee, chocolate, tons of malts and alcohol.  The beer has a smooth mouthfeel and picks up strength at the tail end.  This beer starts cold in your mouth and turns warm as it hits your throat.  This is a slow sipping and amazingly tasty beer!  I have a bottle of this vintage put away in the cellar for consumption at least a year down the road!  Thor’s Hammer has a commanding alcohol content of 11.5% which like his hammer, it should not be taken lightly!  Barley Wine’s should be aged as they reduce the alcohol flavour and increase the other flavours of the beer.  With that in mind I can not wait to try the next 2011 Vintage when I decide it is time. This beer has opened my eyes to an amazing style of beer!

Commercial Description: Made with the best ingredients, with uncompromising standards, this Barley Wine is fermented traditionally within our tanks, and then conditioned for up to a year in its bottle. Enjoyed for up to five years after brewing.

Food Pairing as per Central City: Desserts, spicy dishes, breads.

This beer was part of Mikes Craft Beer’s Barleywine Tasting.  It was highly regarded by all tasters involved.

Read about the tasting here


Dark Island Ale – Orkney Brewery

O’hare’s Beer Club October Box

From Scotland’s Orkney Brewery comes their “Dark Island” Ale.  The beer pours a dark ruby colour with a tan coloured head.  The aroma of this beer is quite nice with roasted malts, chocolate, figs, fruit and toffee on the nose.  The flavour of this beer is quite nice with coffee, chocolate, roasted malts, figs, dates, dried fruit and an aftertaste of hops bitterness.  The brew has an alcohol content on the low side at 4.6% and an IBU of 50.  This beer was very smooth and had a very pleasing flavour.

Key Ingredients
Chocolate malt, crystal malt and wheat give this beer its smooth, full-bodied, maltiness and sweetness; First Gold and Goldings hops combine with the malt flavours to deliver the winter fruits and dried fruits aspects

Food Pairing according to O’hare’s Beer Club notes are as follows: Cedar plank salmon, Pheasant stew

Click here to check out the October Box