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.
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.
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.
I first noticed Lazy Mutt Alberta Brown Ale at the liquor store. It had a tough looking cartoon bulldog on it, that said try me. Well, that's the last time I listen to a cartoon bulldog.
I was looking forward to my first taste of an Alberta Brown Ale. I had no clue what an Alberta Ale tasted like, so I was ready to go. Upon my first taste, I thought I tasted molasses but I knew that was wrong. By the third swallow, I tasted burnt caramel. The taste of caramel with a bitter finish. It left my mouth with a strong malty taste.
During the initial pour not much of a head formed, but what did form, stayed consistent as I drank it down. When I topped up the glass, a thick foamy head formed.
Initially, I thought Lazy Mutt was a three burp beer, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized that the average three burper was much more enjoyable than this Minhas Micro Brewery product. By the end, I didn't even want to finish the glass. I gave the rest to my German Shepherd, but he didn't want it either.
In the end, I give Lazy Mutt Alberta Brown Ale two burps.
Since my university days, I've enjoyed drinking blonde ales in the summer. They tend to be light and crisp and go great in hot weather. Canada's Knotty Blonde Ale certainly fits this bill.
It's a light tasting beer with a slight fruity flavour. I know what you're thinking - light tasting beers taste like water and usually suck. Well, that's not the case with this Knotty Blonde. It's crisp tasting with a subtle maltiness, and it isn't hoppy at all.
I drank this 650 ml bottle quickly. A bunch of these would go down very easy sitting out on the back deck. Even Carolyn really enjoyed it.
Not much of a head formed on my initial pour even though I thought I poured it aggressively. When I topped up the glass at the halfway point, I nice thick frothy head formed which was nice.
Brewed by Old Yale Brewing Company in the Chilliwack River Valley, the brewers claim to use Canada's best drinking water. I don't know about that claim, but Knotty Blonde Ale tastes pretty damn good.
It's easy to give this beer four burps. If you're looking for a fresh and crisp tasting beer to enjoy during hot patio weather, this is it.
Let me know if you like it.
I was excited to try Samuel Smith's India Ale when I pulled it out of my fridge. I really enjoy English beer and I figured this would be the case with Mr. Smiths IPA. I certanily wasn't disappointed with this beer, but it didn't grab me by the collar and make shout "outstanding".
My personal highlight of this beer was its refreshing bitterness. I really noticed it at the beginning of each mouthful but it quickly dissipates as you rest between swallows. India Ale also had the strong hop finish which is typical of IPA.
Other highlights of this beer was it's beautiful pale copper colour. and the consistent frothy film that clung to the side of the glass as I drunk it down. I like that. It helps the beer look and taste like it was poured from a tap.
Samuel Smith's Old Brewery in North Yorkshire, England has been brewing beer since the 1780's. The original well was sunk in 1785 and its water is still be used to make beer today. Kinda impressive.
I only gave this beer 3 burps. It's good, but I expected more from it. Maybe the problem is with me and not the beer. I wish I could have given it more burps, but it just didn't stand up to the English 4 burp beers I've rated.
Let me know what you think.
Nowadays, many brands describe themselves in glowing terms like "premium". That's why I was skeptical when I read "Outstanding Premium Ale" on Fuller's London Pride. I've heard it all before. However, these chaps from Chiswick, London have definitely put their money where their mouth is. I really liked this beer!
The first indicator that this was going to be a good beer was the nice foamy head that formed when poured. The head dissipated into a thin layer that remained for the length of the glass. I really found that the head kept the beer fresh tasting, like it was poured from a tap.
London Pride is a beautiful golden brown colour with a mild fruity aroma and a slight fruity taste. The finish was mild. You could barely taste the hops. It was a very smooth beer. Carolyn actually said that she liked it because it wasn't bitter.
Family owned Griffen Brewery has been making beer in London, England since the 1860's. London pride has been produced since the 1950's and is considered London's beer (at least according to the brewer).
This Outstanding Premium Ale easily got 4 big burps. It almost got five. I highly recommend you search this out and try it. You won't regret it.
************** Warning!! Don't Drink Nickel Brook Gluten Free Ale **************
The above message may be a little extreme, but I believe it needs to be put on every can of this beer. That's how much I didn't like this beer. It's just terrible.
I should have realized what I was getting myself into when I poured this pathetic excuse of a beer. It was the colour of piss, and its head resembled the foam that forms in the toilet during my morning leak. I guess I shouldn't have been surprised that it tasted like piss too.
I only drank this beer because a close friend of mine had recently gone gluten free and he wanted me to try this "great gluten free beer" he recently discovered. All I've got to say is that if this is a good gluten free beer, my friend needs to get back on the gluten!
To be fair to Nickel Brook's Gluten Free ale, I did have one positive experience. Up to this point, I had not given any beer my lowest burp rating (one burp). I was starting to think I was like Homer Simpson doing restaurant reviews. I like everything and I hate nothing. Thanks to this beer I know that's not true.
I really hated this beer. I actually poured it into the bushes instead of finishing it. Now I know what a one burp beer tastes like and this is it.
Generally speaking, I'm not much of a fan of strong beers. Usually, I find strong beer to be kind of sweet tasting, and once they get a little warm, they become terrible. That's why I was surprised to learn that Muskoka Brewery's Mad Tom IPA was a strong beer. It's pretty decent.
Mad Tom is an unfiltered India pale ale. This means that it's a little cloudy when it hits the glass. With the color of a light orangy brown, it tasted as good as it looked. Mad Tom had a decent hoppy taste that wasn't overpowering.
My guest drinker Violet gave this Canadian IPA five burps. Personally, I think she rated it to high. I thought it was only worth 3 burps. It was a good beer, but it wasn't a damn good beer. Having said that, if you want a strong beer that will hit you before you go to the bar. Give it a try. You'll be able to drink more than one.
Ontario Canada's Muskoka region is a special place. Littered with small lakes, the region is the premier cottage area for the rich and famous from Toronto. I would have thought that a craft brewer with clientele as demanding as rich Torontonians, would have brewed a better product.
I tried Muskoka Brewery's Detour IPA after reading about it online. The brewer describes it as taking a left turn from other IPA's by dry hopping as part of the method. I have no clue what this means. All I know was that I was expecting something different.
Maybe I did get something different, but I didn't think I got anything special. There was no head when poured (boo), and it had a slightly hoppy medium bodied flavour. I enjoyed the beer, but it certainly doesn't stand out. There are plenty of other IPA's I would select over this one.
I expected more from a brewer that has been making beer since 1996. Maybe it's just me, and I kept going straight instead of taking the detour. As a result, Detour IPA only gets three burps.
If you disagree let me know.
Drinking the world.
One beer at a time.