Cabalier Blue Blueberry IPA – Beau’s All Natural Brewing


From Beau’s All Natural Brewing in Vankleek Hill Ontario comes their “Cabalier Blue” Blueberry IPA. The beer pours very red with some floaties and a light reddish head. The aroma consists of Blueberries, herbal and grassy hops and some grain.  The flavour is of blueberries, mild tropical fruits, some bready malts, herbal and grassy hops with some hops bitterness in the finish.  The alcohol content comes in at 6%  with an IBU of 50.  Leave it to Beau’s All Natural Brewing to come up with a really interesting blend of flavours!

Commercial Description:  Built on the foundation of a generously hopped I.P.A., Cavalier Bleu blends the citrusy aromas of organic New Zealand hop varieties with the fruity flavours found in American Azacca and German Mandarina Bavaria hops. Topping it off is an infusion of organic blueberry juice made from wild Québec blueberries.

Food pairing as per brewery:  Venison steak with a blueberry reduction, blueberry cheesecake, beemster cheese.

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Blueberry Garden Ale – Britannia Brewing Company


From Britannia Brewing Company in the Richmond with a tasting room in Steveston Village comes their “Blueberry Garden Ale”.  The beer pours a reddish colour with a white head.  The aroma consists of mostly blueberries with a slight sweetness.  The flavour is of gain, blueberries, some yeast and mild sweetness.  The alcohol content comes in at 4.6% with an IBU of 2.  This is a good although light flavoured beer and would be a really nice summer ale.

Fest-Of-Ale Beer Judging 2016 – Penticton


For the third year in a row I was invited to be a judge for the Okanagan Fest-Of-Ale.  Like the last two years the judging took place on day 2 of the festival.  Last year we had 10 Categories to judge from but this year it was up to 14.  The categories were as follows Pilsner/Golden Lager, Pale Ale, Wheat Ale, Belgian Golden/Saison, Amber/Dark Ale, IPA, Dark IPA, Dark Lager, Belgian Strong, Stout/Porter, Blender, Sour, Ciders, Fruit Beer.  With the increase in number of beers being judged this year the organizers of the Fest-Of-Ale invested a few new judges and broke us into three groups.  Each group of judges tasted a third of the beers put in for judging.  Each group picked their top beers beer of each category.  From those they were asked to pick their top two.  These two from each group were brought together to make 6 top beers to choose Best In Show.  From this we sat and sampled each of the six and discussed what one should be the winner.  The following photos of the Judges come from Kim of DogLeg marketing.

Meet The Judges

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Joe Wiebe – Author, Chelsea – Brewtiful BC, Jeremy – Craft Beer Vancouver

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Jason Van Rassel – Daily Beer, Stephen – The Growler, Jim Martin

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Me, Brady Strachan – CBC Radio, Jan Zeschky – Beer writer with The Province

This was a blind tasting like every beer competition.  We used a very simplified score card to decide which beer we though best fit the style and tasted best.  Once again Warren Everton was the Director of Judging.  Each group of three judges tasted their samples individually then came together to discuss their personal favourites.  When we came to a consensus of our top beer in each category the group decided what their top two beers overall were.  For my group there was not a ton of deliberation as we all were fairly similar in or opinions.  When all three groups came together after a short break to taste the top 6 beers and decide what one would be chosen as the Best In Show it actually went pretty well this year.  This year there was much less animosity about what beer should be the winner.  The only real hard discussion we had was should the winning beer be very approachable or should it be our overall favourite. When it came down to it I think we ended up picking the beer that was both our favourite as well as a very approachable beer.  The juding this year started at 10am like normal but it seemed to go a bit quicker than previous years.

Once we had made all of our decisions about best beer of every category and best of show we were given the names of all of the winners we had chosen.

Best in Class, Judges’ Choice Awards:

Pilsner/Golden Lager – Bohemian Pilsner – Hearthstone Brewery, North Vancouver
Pale Ale – Persephone Pale Ale – Persephone Brewing Company, Gibsons
Wheat Ale – Smoked Hefeweizen – Steel & Oak Brewing Company, New Westminster Belgian Golden/Saison – Old Barn Saison – Fernie Brewing Company, Fernie
Amber/Dark Ale – A Wee Angry Scotch Ale – Russell Brewing, Surrey
IPA – Slingshot Session IPA – Fernie Brewing, Fernie
Dark IPA – Disruption Black IPA – Category 12 Brewing, Victoria
Dark Lager – Black Lager – Tree Brewing, Kelowna
Belgian Strong – Delirium Tremens – McClelland Imports
Stout/Porter – Dry Irish Stout – Ravens Brewing, Abbotsford
Blender – Smoke & Mirrors Imperial Smoked Ale – Coal Harbour Brewing, Vancouver
Sour – Sour Raspberry – Old Abbey Ales, Abbotsford
Ciders – Calville’s Winter – Twisted Hills Craft Cider, Cawston
Fruit Beer – Tropic Vice Tropical Fruit Ale – Dead Frog Brewing, Aldergrove

Best in Show, Judges’ Choice Award: 

Persephone Pale Ale – Persephone Brewing Company, Gibsons

After all the judging was done we had a few group shots taken by Kim of DogLeg Marketing.

After all the judging was finished we were left to our own devices with what was left of the Saturday portion of the Fest-Of-Ale.  The only thing we had to do was be at the main stage for 3pm so that we could be on the stage for the announcement of the winners.  The following photos are taken again by Kim of DogLeg Marketing.

Fest-Of-Ale Beer Judging 2015.

Fest-Of-Ale Beer Judging 2014.

Full sized photos

Kasteel Rouge – Brouwerij Van Honsebrouck


O’hare’s Beer Club December 2013 Box

From Ingelmunster Belgium’s Brouwerij Van Honsebrouck comes their “Kasteel Rouge” a style of fruit beer.  The beer pours a dark ruby red colour with a tan head.  The aroma consists of sweet cherries and candied sugar.  The flavour is of sweet/tart cherries, candied sugar and a minor bite to finish.  It almost tastes like a jolly rancher candy.  The alcohol content comes in at 8% even if it does not taste strong.  I should not have enjoyed this beer as much as I did as I do not have a sweet tooth but this was downright amazing.

Commercial Description:  Kasteel Rouge is a blend of Kasteel Donker and cherry liquor. The mix of these two excellent products creates an exceptional soft beer with references to the dark mother beer.

Food Pairing according to O’hare’s Beer Club notes are as follows: Cheesecake and Ice Cream

Click here to check out the December Box

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Cuvee Bru 2013 Druivenbier – Big Rock Brewery


Limited Edition

From Calgary Alberta’s Big Rock Brewery comes their new Limited Release the “Cuvee Bru 2013 Druivenbier” a fruit beer using grapes.  Every bottle is numbered and mine was 3258 out of 5300 made.  The beer pours a copper colour with a white head and a champagne like carbonation.  The aroma consists of yeast, grapes, citrus, grainy malts  some caramel and an overall sweetness.  The flavour is of grapes, citrus, yeast, malts, mild caramel and a sweet finish.  The alcohol content comes in at 6%.  This beer is a great marriage between an ale, wine and champagne.  This is quite tasty!

Commercial Description:  Balanced like a luminous bubble upon the delicate wire betwixt the grape and grain, Big Rock’s effervescent new experiment will book your taste buds on a glamorous cruise into exciting new waters. Legend tells of a Belgian brewer who, in one of those magical moments when luck fuses gleefully with genius, blended the gentle sweet snap of grape with the robust sensuousness of a young ale. Big Rock has captured that golden moment of eureka with its exciting new Druivenbier – Flemish for ‘grape beer’. Glistening Pinot Gris grapes have been plucked from the warm bosom of Therapy Vineyards on the Naramata Bench near Penticton, BC. These grapes were then introduced to a sophisticated blend of three of Big Rock’s finest malts. This is a true Druivenbier – rarely seen in North America, and uncompromisingly elegant to the last puckish bubble.

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