When you make a hobby of purchasing beer based solely on the fact that you've never had it before, one is bound to experience a few surprises. My purchase of 1831 Schwarzbier was such an experience.
The first surprise I experienced with this beer was during the pour. This beer was black like a Guinness when it it the glass. I didn't expect that. My experience with German beers has been limited to light or amber colored beers. I had no clue that Germany made dark beers (not that I though about it). Oh, well, I thought. In for a penny in for a pound. Let's try this bad boy.
I anticipated a stout flavor based on the deep dark colour, but it was anything but. 1831 may look like Guinness, but it doesn't taste anything like it. It was surprisingly light in flavour with a flowery aroma. I experienced bits of burn caramel and toasted malt in the finish. Overall, it kept a light feeling in my mouth from its good carbonation.
While researching this beer, I learned that Schwarzbier simple means black beer in German. So, now you know. When you see that name, expect a deep dark beer that is generally light tasting. If you are looking for a stout, this style of beer isn't for you. However, if you want something a little different, give the dark lager of 1831 a try.
I'll definitely give 1831 Schwarzbier another go. By the end of the glass, I decided that this is a 4 burp beer. I just had to get used to the dark color and light taste to fully accept it.
Let me know what you think.
I think what initially attracted me to Innis & Gunn's Lager was the can. It's funky writing caused it to stand out on the supermarket shelf. I was glad, I noticed this beer. It is a pretty decent lager.
Innis and Gunn promote themselves as craft brewers. This isn't surprising. With the surge in craft brewing the last 10 years, just about everyone has become a craft brewer. What makes Innis and Gunn different is that they really are. They don't even own their own brewery. They use two different brewers in the Edinburgh, Scotland area to make their booze. Now that's craft brewing!
The first thing I noticed when I poured this bad boy was the the deep gold, light amber colour. This was a nice looking beer. The head was decent, but it disappeared rather quickly.
Like many lagers, this one had the slightly sweet malty taste at the beginning, which changed to a slight bitterness in the finish. What was amazing about the bitterness was how quickly it dissipated. The overall finish was very smooth. At first, I thought this was just my opinion of the finish, but I learned that Innis & Gunn use naked golden oats as part of the brewing process. These oats help obtain the smooth finish. See, it's not just me. There has to be something to it.
I said to Carolyn that if I was in Scotland, I could drink this lager on a regular basis. Traditional lager taste with a slight bitterness and a very smooth finish works for me. It was easy to give this beer four burps.
Let me know what you think.
Recently, I had the opportunity to visit The Noble Pig Brewhouse while traveling through Kamloops, British Columbia, Canada. After a long day of white knuckle driving through the Canadian Rockies I was ready for a few beers. I asked the front desk clerk at the hotel where should I go for a good local beer. He immediately said The Noble Pig was the best place in town, and he wasn't wrong.
This brewhouse/restaurant is located in downtown Kamloops and is in walking distance to many of the local hotels. It had the look and feel that you would expect from a craft brewer located deep in the Rocky mountains - wood and lots of it.
The Pig brews seven beers, and we tried 5 of them. Unfortunately, I was enjoying them to much, and forgot to write reviews after the third one. Guess I will have to return some day (damn). They make 4 types of ale, a lager, pilsner and a porter. Below are a few quick blurbs of the beers we reviewed.
Wallonian Pig Belgian Peppered Ale
I was really looking forward to trying this beer. My favourite beer of all time is a chile ale from Mexico and I hoped this would be somewhat similar. I really liked this beer. It was spicy and it had a black pepper finish that puckered my cheeks. Carolyn thought it tasted mediciney. 5% alcohol.
Honey Badger Pale Ale
This was a true English bitter style with a nice dull taste of bitterness. If you like a good bitters, you'll like this one! I really enjoyed this beer but I could only drink a couple in a row. 3% alcohol.
This had a true classic flavour of mocha porters everywhere. If you have a hankering for a porter, this one will do the trick. It tastes exactly like you would expect it should.
The food at The Noble Pig was decent but not outstanding. Both Carolyn and I have had better meals in this type of establishment, but we were there primarily for the beers. In this department it stood out. It was easy to give the beers at The Noble Pig Brewhouse four big burps. I suggest you go there if you ever visit Kamloops, British Columbia.
I gotta say, that Canada's Stanley Park Brewing properly named this beer. I was mildly intrigued by the name, but what really made me curious was the logo of Canadian yoga wear manufacturer Lululemon attached to it. A clothing manufacturer making beer? I had to try that.
Upon the first pour, I became enthusiastic about this lager. It was unfiltered, which I like, so I was ready to take on some flavour. To say the least, I was mildly disappointed on the first swallow. Instead of being an interestingly tasting lager, this beer was a little boring.
Carolyn was eager to try the Curiosity Lager because she loves the Lululemon brand. True to form, she loved this beer too. She felt it was very clean tasting and it had no aftertaste. Right up her alley.
For me, this lager was fine. I liked it, but I wouldn't actively search this out. However, if I had to split a six pack of beer with Carolyn, this would be a good beer to choose. She really liked it, and that can't be said about many beers.
After some discussion, we agreed that this was a 3 burp beer.
When you read something is unique, you may not know if the object is "good" unique or "bad" unique. In the case of Wiconsin's Bad Hare Red Ale, it's "good" unique. This is a great example of America's new found love of craft beer. Original unique taste.
This ale was unlike any beer I have previously enjoyed. It has a medium malty flavour with a touch of sweetness that isn't really there. In reality, this slight sweetness takes the edge off of the malt.
I thought that I really liked this beer. Originally, I thought this was going to be a 4 burper, but as I drank it down my views began to change. I'm not one for sweetness in beer, and this just started to get to me. By the end, I changed my mind to a solid 3 burp rating. I like it, but I didn't like it a lot.
Carolyn was in the same boat. She said her initial taste was quite enjoyable, however, with every other swallow, she liked it less and less.
Don't get me wrong. This is a different beer with a different taste and it's definitely worth trying.
Try Rhinelander Brewing Company's Bad Hare Red Ale and let me know what you think.
As soon as I saw the can of Guinness Blonde, I knew I had to try it. I love Blonde beers, and I like Guinness. I knew it had to be good, and I wasn't disappointed.
It wasn't until I got home and looked at the can that I realized that this blonde beer's full name included "American Lager". Upon closer inspection, the beer isn't even made in Ireland. True to it's name, it's made in America. Pennsylvania to be exact.
When I poured the beer, the first thing I noticed was the beautiful amber colour. I was anticipating a pale yellow like many American lagers, but this Blonde beer looked tasty. And, its looks didn't disappoint. This was one tasty beer.
It had a nice hoppy taste. Not to strong or overpowering. As Carolyn commented, she could understand why people would like this beer. It was very well rounded. It had good flavour, but not to much. I found it went really well with hot wings. It cut the heat easily and left a nice refreshing taste in my mouth.
I could drink a bunch of these while sitting on the deck on a warm day. Guinness Blonde American Lager went down easy yet it had a somewhat complex taste. Nothing to say bad about this beer. That's why I give it four burps.
Fuller's really hypes its strong beer ESB. It call itself a Champion Ale and it has won the best beer in Britain award 5 times. With that pedigree and my previous enjoyment of Fuller products, I was looking forward to trying this beer.
This first thing I noticed was the nice pale brown colour as I filled the glass. A thick head formed without any problem. In fact, I had to watch my pour so the head wouldn't get out of control. I thought, maybe I made too large of a head, but it quickly settled down and formed a nice film on the side of the glass as I drank it down.
ESB has a nice bitter Ale flavour, which reminded me of an India Pale Ale. That's what Carolyn didn't like about this beer. The strong bitter finish. I on the other hand quite enjoyed the bitterness.
Is this a Champion Ale as the Fuller marketing department suggests? I would have to say no. I was surprised that it was voted the best beer in Britain five times. I've had many English beers better than this one. Having said that, if you enjoy a full flavoured Ale with a nice bitter finish, then I suggest you give Fuller's ESB a try.
I give this Ale three burps. There are better ales out there in my opinion.
Yukon Holiday met a couple of firsts for me. It was my first ever beer made in the Yukon, and it was my first ever Kölsch style beer.
Hell, I didn't even know what Kölsch style beer was until I looked it up. All I know is I've never had a beer from the Yukon before. It ends up that Kölsch style beers have a moderate bitterness, but fairly prominent hop flavour with a high effervescence but a rounded, stylish character derived from lagering. I felt better after reading this definition because to me, this beer had a very lager like taste.
Not much of a head formed when it was poured and it had a pale gold colour like many lagers. I liked it from the initial taste and the more of it I drank, the better it tasted. Could a drink a bunch of Yukon Holidays? Sure, it was alright. And that my friends is the crux of this beer. It's just alright. I will never turn one down, but I won't actively search it out again.
If you're looking for a Yukon beer to round out a list, try Yukon Holiday. Chances are you'll like but I doubt you'll love it. I give this beer three burps.
Maybe I shouldn't have been surprised that this beer was terrible. It was tossed to me by a teenager in a boat while I was paddle boarding. When I was his age, I was worried about cost per can instead of good flavour, and after drinking the Brewhouse Pilsner, clearly he was too.
Although I had never heard of this beer, I assumed it was cheap. After all, it was freely given to me by a drunk teenage boater. I figured, if he felt he could afford to give one away, it had to be cheap. I've never found the cost of this beer, but it tasted as cheap as I imagined it would. I thought, maybe it was just me, but when Carolyn tried it, she almost spit it out. She may not be much of a beer drinker, but that was an adverse reaction even for her.
Luckily, we were frying halibut that night and we needed a beer for the batter. Brewhouse Pilsner did the trick. It made a great beer batter! That's probably the best thing I can say about this Pilsner. It makes a great fish batter
Brewhouse Pilsner barely deserves one weak burp. Fish batter - yes, drinking - no.
With a name like Old Engine Oil, you knew the beer had to be dark, and this one was as black as night. What surprised me was how good it tasted.
When I poured the beer, a small fine head the color of coffee foam formed. You know, the fine light brown foam that develops and quickly disappears when an espresso is first poured? That colour! It was unlike any head I've seen before. I guess I shouldn't have been surprised that my first taste was coffee. As I drank it down, I started to taste chocolate. It reminded me of eating very bittersweet chocolate.
I loved this Porter from the first swallow. I immediately thought this could be a five burper, and as I continued through the glass, it didn't change my mind. I'm not the world's biggest porter fan, but this was one fine beer.
When I held the full glass up to a window, I couldn't see any daylight through it. Despite this black colour, it wasn't heavy at all. Carolyn even went back for a couple of more swallows (and she is normally scared to try really dark beers).
Made by Harviestoun Brewery in Hillfoots, Scotland, I figured this beer has been made for hundreds of years. I was shocked to learn that the brewery has only been in existence since 1983 and Old Motor Oil since 2000. These guys are newbies when it comes to U.K. brew masters, but they sure know what they're doing.
It was very easy to give Old Motor Oil 5 burps. I can't wait to try this breweries other products!
Drinking the world.
One beer at a time.