journal of a self proclaimed beer connoisseur

General

Chatoe Rogue

When I reviewed Chatoe Rogue Dirtoir Black Lager recently, I completely forgot to talk about what Chatoe Rogue is and how it relates to Rogue.

Chatoe Rogue is a line of Rogue beers that have been produced using ingredients that Rogue has grown themselves. That means the grains and hops were grown on the farm(s) owned by Rogue.

They label these beers with “GYO” for Grow Your Own which is a movement supporting that very idea.

It all started sometime within the past few years when there was a hop shortage in the market. The brewery was basically ashamed at the thought of telling their brew master, John Maier, to cut back on his hop habit. So, in response, they started growing their own.

The hops were so successful that they expanded into barley.

From the one beer I have had I can say it sure seems to be working!

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Opinions: Pourhouse Bier Bistro

Pourhouse Bier Bistro

I don’t plan on making this a blog about reviewing pubs or other watering holes but I can’t shake the feeling that I need to air my thoughts on this place. Maybe someone along the way will read it, learn some things, and make some improvements to a pub or restaurant somewhere out there. Maybe even the Pourhouse itself?

Background: On Saturday we went out for a friends birthday and chose to go to the Pourhouse Bier Bistro (www.thepourhouse.ca) on Whyte Ave in Edmonton. We arrived to a moderately busy place with I would guess about 10-20% of the tables available.

It is important to note that this bistro is obviously trying to establish itself as a first-class location for beer connoisseurs in Edmonton. For that, I commend the Pourhose and wish it the best. BUT…this subjects an establishment to a whole new set of standards and expectations from these specialty customers.

On to the nitty gritty.

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In-depth: Trappist and Abbey Beers

The title may have lured you to this post; however, allow me to immediately explain the difference between the two types of beer and eject Abbey Beers from the remainder of the discussion.

Abbey beers use traditional recipes for brewing beer and may or may not be associated with an actual Abbey. In Belgium there are some marketing devices in place to help one determine if the beer is actually from an Abbey. The ones that aren’t typical brew the beer of a past abbey under license as the abbey may have ceased brewing sometime in the past.

The types of beer I am interested in discussing are Trappist beers. There are three strict conditions to be considered a Trappist beer:

  • the beer must be brewed within a Trappist Abbey;
  • the brewing must occur under the supervision and responsibility of Cistercian monks; and
  • the majority of the revenue must be dedicated to charitable work.

This, to me, is a very intriguing list. Pair that with the fact that any beer geek can tell you that authentic Trappist beer are consistently some of the absolute best brews attainable…anywhere, and you have a very interesting conversation.

Take another read through that list and answer me something: how many other beer producers you know have any rules even remotely similar to this? All three of these points are going to have a pervasive effect on the beer brewed.

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Periodic Table of Beers


Beer Glassware 2.0

Alright, I have finally found a store in Edmonton that will sell me various beer glassware at reasonable prices. And I mean very reasonable. They are called Russell Foods.

http://www.russellfoods.ca – check their site out.

If they have a location in your city or you are from Edmonton you should pay them a visit. They had a very classy showroom with all glasses on display. I was able to just grab the floor model, bring it to a salesperson, and wait. Then they priced out each glass.

I was able to buy approximately 30 glasses for about $90. Your standard pub glass is $1.25!

To compare, building this order on that Pub Glasses website would have cost about $200 to ship to Canada.

It feels good to finally have found a retailer to fill this need. The only thing I found very odd was that they did not have a respectable wheat beer glass! Very puzzling…


Beer Glassware

So I have been on somewhat of a quest to track down a store where I can buy specific beer glassware. If you have done your research (or you are from Belgium) you already know that the vessel from which you drink your beer has an effect on the whole experience. Besides merely aesthetic uses there are more tangible benefits derived when you drink your beer from the correct glassware.

Apparently there are not a lot of individuals in Edmonton to justify even one such retailer existing here. The only store I can find is a restaurant supply store. They do sell the glassware that I am looking for but only in large quantities (i.e. 3 dozen). I would tell you who this retailer is but that would only be marketing for them and I don’t believe they deserve any free marketing from me considering they can’t sell me what I want.

These people do though: www.pubglasses.com

At Pub Glasses I was able to find most if not all the glasses that I was looking for. You should go to the site and check it out. They even have a bit of information regarding what beer to drink from each class. I have found better resources for this:

The true benefit of the glassware is disputed. Personally, I just think it adds another element of diversity and appeal to acquire the “correct” glassware for each beer or beer style and use them. This will also give some variety to the pictures I take for the site!

As a caveat about the Pub Glasses site, I noticed in my order that they were charging quite a bit for shipping to Canada. I played around a bit with my order and I discovered that two types of glasses (the napoli and dimpled mugs) seemed to be driving the shipping charges. When I dropped these two items from my order there was zero cost for shipping. I tried both these glasses on individual orders and the site adds quite steep shipping charges.

So in summary, play around with your order if you have shipping charges – you may be able to get out of them! If you live in the US you are lucky anyway – flat rate shipping for you.

Update: They emailed me with the shipping charges for my order which were $90. So I cancelled my whole order. If you live in the US it is still a good deal!


Alley Kat – Vanilla Coffee Porter

Date: Wednesday, January 5, 2011
Brewery: Alley Kat
Beer: Vanilla Coffee Porter
Category: Robust Porter
ABV: estimated 5.50% (they didn’t tell us!)
Brewed in: Canada

So I made it to Cask Night with my brother-in-law and two friends. It was a great time! The beer offered was indeed from Alley Kat. It was a unique variant of their seasonal coffee porter. Strangely enough – it was extremely similar to the Mill St Coffee Porter I reviewed on the site a few days ago.

I took a picture with my crappy phone as I didn’t think to bring an actual camera. Oh well. As you can see we got our fair share. I had 3 pints.

The main difference from the usual coffee porter was the use of premium coffee beans supplied by a local coffee shop – Java Jive. The beans were of higher quality than usual and were vanilla beans.

The beer has very similar tasting notes with a very strong coffee flavor and hints of vanilla. It was an awesome beer and I am happy I had the chance to try it before it was gone in less than an hour.

Rating:



Next Act – Cask Night – Jan 4th, 2011

There is a “Cask Night” tonight at a place called Next Act. Details:

8224 – 104th Street (aka just off Whyte and Gateway)
Edmonton, AB
Starts at 6:00 PM and goes until the beer runs out.
Brewery supplying the beer: Alley Kat

This is going to be my first time attending the Cask Night at Next Act but will almost certainly not be the last. I plan to get out an enjoy more of the events in the local beer and pub scene this year. The key is getting in touch with good sources.

These are the type of events that are intentionally not marketed. It is considered a sort of reward for regulars. If that is you – we’ll see you there! I’ll post an update with my after event opinions

 


Prost!

If you enjoy beer then we have something in common. I don’t know how you found this site, but you did.

In essence, this site is going to serve as a “beer journal” for me. I plan on writing about anything I feel like that relates to beer. This may include reviews on beers I drink, pictures of beer, information on my home brewing efforts, articles on beer, or links to beer information. Who knows?

For Christmas I received a book called A Beer a Day: 366 Beers to Get You Through the Year.

This is a seriously awesome gift for me. I now have something to look forward to every day of the year – even in a leap year!

I already know I won’t be able to obtain every beer in the book due to the limited selection available in the fine city of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. I do plan on acquiring every beer I can and drinking it on the intended day. I’ll hopefully remember to photograph the beer and make a post on the general tasting notes and impression.

I’ll likely do something similar for all the other beers I drink along the way.


Beer Tracking

In 2009 my wife and I spent 7 weeks in Europe spanning August and September. This was so painfully close to Oktoberfest that they were already setting the tents up. Unfortunately, that was as close as we got – besides getting “ein krug” of beer from each of the six approved brewers everywhere we went in Munich.

During our time in Europe I took as many opportunities as I could (while balancing “other” priorities) to sample any and all beers I could find. In a feat of prophetic genius I accurately predicted that I would forget about all these beers if I didn’t have pictures. I endeavored to snap a picture of each new beer. I was not 100% successful but I did get some.

I now have decided that tracking every beer I ever drink should be a priority in my life. Last night this culminated in one of the nerdiest things I have ever done (there have been many). I built a Beer Tracking database in MS Access from scratch.

I have a Management Information Systems Minor which required me to take a couple of courses on databases in University. This is the first time it has proved useful.

So thanks to this nerdgasm I can now add information on Beers, Breweries, Beer Styles and Countries to my database and link them all together. I built it so the flag for the source country of the beer and the beer itself appear as a picture. The fun part is going to be going back through my pictures in Europe and identifying the beers to add to my log.

I haven’t decided if I will go back and add all the beers I can remember. Or if I will only add the ones I drink going forward. Chances are I will add beers I don’t anticipate having the chance to drink again.

I can only imagine anyone reading this is laughing at my expense and making fun of me (I know my wife did). You want to know the funny thing about teasing me about building this? If you are another beer lover reading this…you probably want a blank copy.