Fortunello Farmhouse Ale – Four Winds Brewing


From Four Winds Brewing in Delta comes their “Fortunello Farmhouse Ale” a beer aged in a Foeder for 6 months.  The beer pours a orange brown colour with a beige head.  The aroma consists of orange peel, anise, herbal, sweetness wood and a floral finish.  the flavour is of orange peel, kumquats, herbal, anise, candi sugar, generic fruit, wood, spices, mild bitterness, mild brett and some malts.  The alcohol content comes in at 8.3% with an IBU of 15.  This beer is one of the more unusual releases from Four Winds Brewing and may be challenging to some but is quite enjoyable.

Commercial Description:  This herbaceous farmhouse ale was brewed with dark Belgian candi sugar and bay laurel, then aged over kumquats and bitter orange peel in an oak foeder for six months. Delicate aromas of citrus and annise precede notes of dark pit fruit, settling into a mild Brett funk.

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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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Storm 18 Year Old Lambic (Cellared 1+ more years) – Storm Brewing


From Storm Brewing in Vancouver comes their “Storm 18 Year Old Lambic” a beer released originally in 1997.  James found more bottles he had lost and released them on Feb 2015.  I aged the bottle until November 2016 when I waited for the right time to open it.  So this beer is now 19 Years old.  The beer pours a very cloudy deep orange with basically no head.  The aroma consists of lemon, stone fruits, tartness, vinegar and just more fruit notes.  The flavour is very puckering tart up front almost like biting into a lemon with cherries, maybe currents, berries, vinegar with lots of woody notes.  There is some definite sweetness but it is by far overtaken by the tartness.  The alcohol content comes in at 7%.  While this beer has become exceedingly tart and has a big vinegar component it tastes amazing and I am happy that I was able to pick up a bottle when I did.

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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.

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¡Órale! Tequila Gose – Parallel 49 Brewing


From East Vancouver’s Parallel 49 Brewing comes their latest beer in their “¡Órale! Tequila Gose” their 4th Anniversary beer aged in Tequila barrels for 9 months.  The beer pours a yellow colour with a white head.  The aroma consists of big tequila notes up front with wood, citrus and a tartness.  The flavour is of tequila, citrus, lime, wood, tartness, salt and a sweet finish.  The alcohol content comes in at 4.5% with an IBU of 6.  This one lived up to the line of Anniversary beers that Parallel 49 Brewing has released as it was very interesting and full of flavour.  Cheers to an amazing 4 years Parallel 49!

Commercial Description:  Building upon the traditional Gose beer from Germany, a sour and salty low-alcohol ale, this beer was then aged in Tequila barrels for 9 months. This gives a flavour profile similar to a tequila shot with agave flavour from the barrels, salt like the rim of a glass and sour like the lime that frequently accompanies tequila.

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