Friday, April 29, 2016

Kichesippi Dartmouth Common

Kichesippi have really been expanding their styles recently so there is usually something new to try.  In this case it is a style that is very old, but new to most beer drinkers, I'm talking about Dampfbier.  If you haven't heard of Dampfbier that's OK, it's a centuries old German style that has all but disappeared from the beer spectrum.  It's a steam beer that was once known as the beer for the common folks, hence the common in the name, although the Dartmouth part was named as such by one of the members of the Kichesippi staff who is from Dartmouth, Nova Scotia.

It pours a very deep brown, much darker than your average English brown ale and almost as black as a schwartzbier, another German style.  On the nose you get a very strong malt and caramel smell, which makes sense as they advertise it as all malt.  As you take a sip you get this extremely malty taste that is accented by some mild clove and wheat hints.  Through the middle it can be a tad thinner than the nose would suggest, but that trails off into a slight bitter hop finish.  This really isn't the beer for the hop enthusiasts, but malt fans like me will really like it.  It's smooth, malty, and slightly sweet with that slight bitter finish.  It's very nice, I'm just sad it's only a seasonal!

It's available at the Kichesippi brewery, the LCBO, and on delivery from my good friends at brewdonkey.ca (if you live in Ottawa).

Rating: 3.5 steins

Alc 5.1%

IBU 14

What you need to know

Brewery address
866 Campbell St
Ottawa, ON K2A2C5

Website
http://www.kbeer.ca/

Twitter
@kichesippibeer

Facebook
https://www.facebook.com/KichesippiBeer

Friday, April 22, 2016

Driftwood brewery Fat Tug IPA

Hops, one of the four pillars of brewing.  When brewed in concert with malt, water, and hops it can do amazing things and produce amazing beers.  Over time people have added, subtracted, made extracts, and used different varieties of hops to produce different recipes.  When the craft brew movement started, the tend was up, up, up in terms of hop content to make some incredibly hoppy and bitter beers.  As more craft brewers came on board a sort of arms race developed to produce some of the hoppiest beers imaginable.  Unfortunately these beers came to be very difficult to drink and gave craft beer a rather unfortunate reputation as being all about the uber hoppy IPA and not about making beers to appeal to a wider swath of the beer drinking population.  Fat Tug is a bit of a throwback to these wild west years of hoppiness, strong, bitter, and a very good IPA, if that's your sort of thing.

It pours a deceptively pale straw colour, not something you would necessarily associate with a beer of this strength.  On the nose you get that trademark citrus taste that IPA's are known for, but it's not overly pungent.  On the sip you get smacked right across the face with hops, make no bones about it, this beer is hoppy and strong with very strong grapefruit flavours.  As the sip progresses it actually smooths out quite nicely into an almost creamy middle with sweeter fruit such as mango notes before the hops come back for round 2 with a punch finish.   It's a very interesting and well balanced beer, but I feel as though the went a bit overboard with all the hops.  The IBU count is in the 80's, but that's a bit unnecessary.  This would be just as good, if not better a beer if it was in the 65-70 IBU range.  If you love hops then you will really like this beer as it is quite balanced, and even someone like me who isn't an IPA fan can appreciate the balance of it, I just feel as though I would appreciate it more if they toned down the hops a little.   

I honestly don't know the extend of the distribution network.  It's brewed in Victoria, BC and a bottle ended up in my fridge after a party.  Their website doesn't indicate how far across Canada it is sold, but the LCBO doesn't list it among their products.  If anyone knows more about the distribution network please let me know and I'll update this post.

Alc 7%

IBU 80+

Rating: 4 steins

What you need to know

Brewery Address
102-450 Hillside Ave
Victoria, British Columbia
V8T1Y7

Website
http://driftwoodbeer.com/

Twitter
@Driftwoodbeer

Facebook
https://www.facebook.com/driftwoodbeer/


Saturday, April 16, 2016

Covered Bridge Brewing: Seoirse the Great

Irish Red Ale is a beer type that can bring some mixed opinions.  Some find it to be an overly sweet style, while others find it to be a nice, smooth and malty ale.  Personally I am somewhere on the fence, I have had some fantastic Irish red ales as well as some really disappointing ones but I tend to be optimistic about them. They are a beer style you can give to people who think craft beer is all about uber hoppy IPA's or pumpkin spice beer to prove that there are a lot of different beers out there, Irish red is a beer that can be enjoyed by a larger segment of the drinking population.  Thanks to my good friends at brew donkey, I found myself with as growler of Covered Bridge's Irish red and a junior hockey game on the radio, time to do some sampling and writing!

It doesn't pour red, I'll throw that out there right away, it pours an extremely dark brown, almost black colour.  The nose is extremely malty and toffee-like, smells very thick and flavourful but it sorta goes downhill from there.  On the tongue you get all of the hops out of the way, a bitter intro that smooths out into a malty middle.  The toffee and coffee flavours are quite pronounced, but the consistency isn't great, pretty watery but at least it's flavourful.  From the nose I was expecting a much more full bodied beer, but it turns out to be fairly watery, which is disapointing.  To give the beer credit, it is quite smooth and easy to drink, but I found myself a bit let down by it.  The strong nose is a tease for a beer that just doesn't make it in terms of consistency.   I would still drink it again, but it's not covered bridge's finest.

It's available in growlers at their brewery and on order through brewdonkey.ca.  You may be able to find it at bars and restaurants in Ottawa, however I can't confirm that.

 Alc 6%

IBU 22

Rating: 3 steins.

What you need to know
Brewery address
119 Iber Road, Unit 6
Stittsville (Ottawa), ON
K2S1E7

Website:
http://www.coveredbridgebrewing.com/

Facebook
https://www.facebook.com/coveredbridgebrewingco/

Twitter
@CBbeer

Friday, April 1, 2016

Whiprsnapr brewing co #wreckingcrew pale ale

Thanks to my good friend Brad at Brewdonkey, I often get a chance to try some interesting beers, so when it was time to make my latest order I decided to give Whiprsnapr's beers a go, and this is the first of those I'm trying.  Whiprsnapr are yet another welcome addition to the Ottawa craft beer scene, I have tried a few of their beers at festivals before and have generally been impressed so having a chance to drink a proper glass of their beer with the opportunity to write about it is quite exciting.  Their #wreckingcrew (the hashtag is a part of the name) is part of a rotating group of beers that they claim they brew every Wednesday, so next week's #wreckingcrew (OK I know the hashtag is annoying) could be different from the one I'm drinking, which is a single malt pale ale.

It pours a cloudy straw yellow colour with a hint of orange to it.  The nose is very sweet with some decently noticable hops, the sweetness is almost maple or honey-esque in nature but with this hop addition, very interesting.  The tongue is decidedly mild, again extremely sweet with an almost fruity/honey taste to it, not overly malty but very sweet.  As the sip progresses the malt and the hops make their appearance, providing a nice, beery middle that is very refreshing. The finish of the sip is where the hops really show their strength with a very strong citrussy bitter taste, which can be explained by the summit hops they use. It's an extremely interesting and complex beer that they may or may not make again.  I hope they do as it's really tasty, well done Whiprsnapr!

It's available at their brewery, as well as on order from brewdonkey.ca.  Unfortunately I don't know if they will re-do this recipe so you may be out of luck, but if this is an indication then their other Wednesday creations have a lot of promise, my only tip is lose the hashtag in the name!

Alc. 4.7%

IBU 38

Rating: 4 Steins

What you need to know

Brewery address
14 Blexley Pl, Unit 106
Nepean, ON
K2H8X3

Website
http://whiprsnaprbrewingco.com/

Facebook
https://www.facebook.com/whiprsnaprbrewingco/?fref=ts

Twitter
@whiprsnaprbrew

Online ordering
Brewdonkey.ca

Monday, March 21, 2016

Kawartha Lakes Raspberry Wheat

My loyal readers may note that I don't review many fruit beers.  It's not that they can't be good, it's that they are not necessarily my cup of tea so I don't drink too many of them.  I much prefer a malty stout or ESB to a fruit beer, but in the name of science and a raspberry wheat being the only beer in my fridge, I am giving Kawartha's Raspberry wheat a chance.  KLB (Kawartha Lakes) have seen their distribution expand across Ontario since they were purchased by Toronto's Amsterdam brewery in 2013, and while I'm happy to see craft brewers expand, this particular brew leaves a lot to be desired.  

You don't get a heck of a lot on the nose, watery with a hint of raspberry but not much more than that.  On the tongue you don't get much either, mostly watery with a hint of raspberry, there are some strong mineral notes as well.  As the sip progresses you get more in the way of the raspberry, but you never really get much in the way of beer taste.  In a blind taste test you would only know this was beer if someone told you as it tastes more like raspberry water than beer.  I had been looking for the sweetness of a wheat beer, but any wheat or malt flavour is nowhere to be seen.  As the sip comes to an end you get a bit of an acidic bitterness, but not a hoppy bittnerness, so the overall sip profile tastes like raspberry water that's started to go off.  I guess this could be good if you don't like beer at all, but in my opinion it's disappointment in a can (to quote my lovely girlfriend who had bought a few cans).

It's available at the beer store and LCBO across Ontario as well as some bars and restaurants where Amsterdam products are served, however I would avoid it if you actually like wheat beers as there are many better options. 

Alc 4.5%  IBU 14

Rating 1 Stein  

What you need to know

Website (Amsterdam)
http://www.amsterdambeer.com/

Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/Amsterdambeer/

Twitter


Saturday, March 5, 2016

Kichesippi Natural Blonde

Kichesippi are one of Ottawa's more prominent microbreweries.  They have been around for about 5 years now with Natural Blonde being their first brew. I like a proper pale ale and I first tried Natural Blonde a while ago at the now defunct Rochester Pub and remember it being really good.  I have had it numerous times over the years but realized that I haven't gotten around to reviewing it yet, so here it is.  

It pours a nice blonde colour, typical of a proper ale or lager.  The nose has a quite noticeable hop presence to it, even coming from the bottle however the intro to the sip is a bit underwhelming.  I had been hoping for a maltier start to the sip but it falls a bit flat, however on the middle that sugary malt flavour comes to the forefront.  It's very sweet and clean through the middle, quite refreshing with an almost piney flavour to it.  This malty middle moves on to a surprisingly bitter and hoppy finish that adds an excellent level of complexity to what could have been a very simple beer.  For those who like blonde beers but don't like the overly sweet and fizzy nature of lagers this would be a good alternative.  It is a nice balance between blonde ale and pale ale.  It's nice to see breweries being successful and Kichesippi have not only had success with their beers, but with their Harvey & Vern's line of soft drinks as well, which are excellent.  Their 1855 and Wuchak Black are also excellent beers that I will review another time.

It's available at their brewery in Ottawa's west end, in six packs and tallboys at the LCBO and on draught in a variety of bars and restaurants in the Ottawa area.

Alc 4.9%

IBU 30

Rating: 3.5 Steins

What you need to know

Brewery address
866 Campbell St
Ottawa, ON K2A2C5

Website
http://www.kbeer.ca/

Twitter
@kichesippibeer

Facebook
https://www.facebook.com/KichesippiBeer


Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Hop City Lawn Chair Classic Weisse

Traditional German style weisse beers can be very hit or miss.  When done well, a good weisse can be really refreshing and sweet with lots of flavours, for mass produced examples think Hoegaarden or Blanche de Chambly, while done wrong they can taste absolutely disgusting, too heavy and malty without the sweetness of the wheat, for examples of how not to do it think Keith's White or Rickard's White (Blue Moon in the states).  Fortunately Hop City have done it right with a sweet and flavourful weisse.

On the nose you immediately get strong banana notes, but it is not overwhelmingly strong.  I may not have gotten the strong nose because I drank it straight from the can (I hate washing dishes) so if you pour it into a glass you may get stronger flavours.  On the tongue you get a delightful hit of sweetness that is the sign of a good weisse, this flows into a surprisingly sour middle that helps bring out the complex spice flavours that the side of the can advertises.  The finish is very minerally, a tad watery to be honest, but it doesn't take away from the fact that this is indeed a fine example of the weisse beer genre.

It's available throughout Ontario at the LCBO as well as on draught at a variety of pubs and restaurants in the province.  Hop City have really taken off as one of Ontario's most succesful craft breweries, they make some great beers.

Alc 5%

IBU 9

Rating; 4 Steins

What you need to know

Website
http://www.hopcity.com/

Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/HopCityBrewingCo/

Twitter
@HopCityBrewing