Friday, February 27, 2015

Bicycle Craft Brewery: Velocipede IPA

IPA has really become a style associated with craft beer.  There are a lot of different sub types of IPA, from Rye IPA, to wheat IPA, to dark IPA, however one constant is that pretty much all craft breweries make at least one of them.  Bicycle, yet another new member of the Ottawa craft brewery club makes Velocipede IPA, a beer named after the original name for a bicycle and it is indeed an IPA.

The problem with IPA is that as more and more craft breweries keep making them, they become as common and often as generic as the blonde lager that craft beer sought to replace, so I am naturally a little bit wary of any new IPA.  Regardless of any wariness, I decided to give Bicycle's Velocipede a try.  It pours a cloudy brownish blonde colour, as most IPA's do, and it carries a stronger alcohol content than your standard beer, as most IPA's do.  Everything was shaping up to be a generic IPA, which it ended up being.  It's not that Velocipede is a bad beer, it starts with a slightly sweet and malty tone and finishes with a roundhouse kick of hops to your face.  Fortunately it's more of a Steve Urkel roundhouse kick than a Chuck Norris kick so it doesn't hurt too bad, but it still upsets the balance somewhat.  The bicycle website proclaims that velocipede has floral and citrus notes, but I didn't really notice either of those things, I mostly tasted hops.  I guess I am a bit jaded about IPA, but I didn't notice anything special about this particular one. If you like IPA, then I am sure you will enjoy this one, but if you are wary about the style then don't bother. 

It's available in Growlers at their brewery and you can order it online at brewdonkey.ca.  You can also get it on tap at various pubs and restaurants in Ottawa, a list is available on their website

Alc. 6.0% IBU 70

Rating 3 Steins

What you need to know

Brewery and tap room
850 Industrial Ave, unit 12
Ottawa, ON
K1G 4K2

Website:
http://www.bicyclecraftbrewery.ca/

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

Twitter
@Bicyclebrewery

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Beyond the Pale: Pretty little Porter

Ah Porter.  The less popular cousin (and ancestor) of stout.  A lot of breweries make various different flavoured porters that can very widely in consistency and flavour.  Some are good, some not so good, but how many are real representations of "traditional" porter?  And what is "traditional" porter anyways?  It's an interesting question that can cause debate, but I'm not here to discuss the semantics of what makes porter, I am here to talk about whether or not a beer is tasty, and fortunately I have one that is.

Porter is usually a lighter version of Stout, the history of the two styles are intertwined and Stout was originally a stronger variety of Porter.  Beyond the Pale's Pretty Little Porter is indeed lighter and smoother than their "Darkness" Oatmeal Stout.  It pours a proper dark brown, not quite pitch black, but a very dark brown.  The first taste is one of smoothness, not overly watery, but properly lighter than a stout.   The beginning of the sip brings out a really nice and slightly bitter coffee flavour, as the sip progresses you get a nutty and smooth middle before it fades off.  It has a really good early and mid sip balance with a surprising amount of flavour, the only downside is that it sorta fades off into a watery finish.  The bitterness of the early sip is nicely tempered by the smooth nutty middle, and the lightness of it will appeal to those who find stouts too thick and heavy.  The only warning is that at 6.1% it is stronger in alcohol than it tastes, so if you are driving be warned that it may catch up to you.  

It's available in growlers at their brewery, as it is a seasonal I can't guarantee that they have it on draught anywhere, but Beyond the Pale have beer available in a large number of bars and restaurants throughout Eastern Ontario so you may get lucky and find it on tap.  

Alc 6.1% IBU 25

Rating: 4.5 Steins

What you need to know

Brewery Address:
5 Hamilton Ave N
Ottawa, ON
K1Y 1B4

Website: www.beyondthepale.ca 

Twitter: @BTPBrewing

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

Saturday, February 7, 2015

The Microbrew times resurrected. Side Launch Pale Ale

After a long hiatus I have decided to return to writing beer reviews on the Microbrew times.  These are exciting times for craft beer (or beer in general) lovers so I hope to be able to bring you my views on some of the newer beers you can now find in Ontario or Quebec (or Both).  My first review is going to be Side Launch Pale Ale, an interesting brew that is somewhere between an American Pale Ale and a traditional English Pale Ale.

If you have never heard of Side Launch Brewing Company, don't worry, I hadn't heard of them either until I saw some of their beers at my local LCBO.  Naturally I had to pick up a couple of cans and I was glad I did.  They style it as a pale ale, but there isn't too much pale about it in terms of colour, as it pours a neat cloudy brown-ish hue.  A first sip brings out notable hop flavour, something that caught me off guard at first, but when you start drinking it a bit more you can easily get past it.  A sip starts with a sweet, almost caramelly taste that progresses into that hoppy middle.  The hops provide a nice floral bitterness that doesn't overwhelm but is definitely noticable, it then fades off into a citrussy finish that reminds you of it's American Pale Ale roots.  It's really nicely balanced and creative style mix.  I like the contrast between the sweet entry and bitter finish, a really good first offering from the Side Launch folks.  I look forward to trying more of their offerings as their first beer was a really winner.  One side note is that it is much better poured into a glass, the sweet caramelly opening doesn't come out well when drunk straight from the can

It's available at the LCBO as well as at their brewery in Collingwood, Ontario.

Alc 5.3 % IBU: 35

Rating: 4 Steins

What you need to know

Address
200 Mountain Road, Unit 1
Collingwood, ON
 
Website
http://sidelaunchbrewing.com/

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

Twitter
@sidelaunch

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Double Trouble Fire in the rye

As the microbrew industry expands so do the different types of beer and different interpretations of beer styles.  In that vein the good folks at Double Trouble brewing company out of Guelph, Ontario have come up with a very interesting unfiltered rye pale ale called fire in the rye.  A really tasty and surprisingly bitter pale ale.  This review will also give me a chance to debut a new feature of my blog, a picture of the beer which will be cool although I won't have pics of every beer I review it will still be a great addition!

The first striking feature of fire in the rye is how cloudy it is, the pour is an interesting brown colour that is so cloudy you can't see through it when you think you should be able to.  When you take a sip you immediately get a bitter and floral hoppy taste, a product of the centennial hops they use.  This hoppy beginning really strikes you but once you get past that wall of hops it settles down into a very noticable rye malt flavour in the middle that trails off into a smooth but somewhat watery finish.  The rye and grain flavour of the malt really mixes well with the floral taste of the centennial hops but I wish it didn't finish so watery.  I truly applaud the folks at Double Trouble for the creativity in this one, it has the potential to be an excellent beer but I felt as though that watery finish let it down somewhat, it really makes it taste less balanced than it should be.  I am definitely willing to try this interesting creation again, as they perfect their recipe it will get better.



It's available across Ontario at the LCBO, Double Trouble's Hops & Robbers is available in Manitoba and BC as well so there is hope that it could find its way there soon.

Rating: 3.5 Steins

What you need to know

Website:
http://doubletroublebrewing.com/

Twitter:
@DT_brewing

Friday, April 4, 2014

The Microbrew times would like you to support the CISDEP Teespring campaign

As a proud supporter of CISDEP, Christy’s Integration, Skills, Daycare and Educational Programs, the Microbrew times would encourage everyone to take a look at their teespring campaign to raise funds.  More information can be found at the following links

http://www.teespring.com/cisdep

https://www.facebook.com/events/470147963114440/

Thanks in advance


Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Peel Pub House Red

Now, I know I tend to review fancier craft beers that have intricate flavours and tons of hops, but you aren't always craving something that complicated, and often expensive.  Watching sports and eating greasy pub food is one example of a time when you want something a little lighter and more thirst quenching. This is why on the Sunday morning of the olympic gold medal game I found myself in the peel pub in Montreal having house red and watching hockey, because Canada.

In all honesty I wasn't expecting much, especially at $3.50 per pint on a Sunday morning in a sketchy college pub.  Having low expectations meant I wasn't particularly disapointed to discover that it is pretty watery and bland.  There is enough malt in it to remind you that this is a red ale (apart from the obvious red colour), but apart from that this is really un-remarkable. I can't really talk about any flavour notes because there really aren't any but it is smooth and quenches the thirst, useful when watching hockey on a Sunday morning.  I imagine it would be good with chicken wings.

It's available on draught at the Peel Pub, on Peel St. in downtown Montreal.  At $3.50 per pint and with affordable pitchers as well the price is good for a drinkable red ale.

Rating: 2 steins

What you need to know
1196 Peel
Montreal QC
H3B 2T6

Website
http://peelpubmontreal.com/

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

Twitter
@peelpub

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Good times were had by all at the CISDEP Board game night

The Microbrew times would like to thank everyone who came to the board game night at Monopolatte and  in Ottawa last night to support CISDEP, Christy's Integration Skills, Daycare, and Education Programs.  An enthusiastic crowd turned up to play games and support CISDEP.  Christy's is taking giant leaps towards their grand opening and you were all a great help.

For more information on Christy's, please visit their website:  http://cisdep.org/