What I want to do with this article is delve into what the current beer industry and beer scene in Canada and the United States looks like and what some recent and not-so-recent events have done to get us here.
The simple truth is that our countries, compared to European countries, are adolescents in terms of National history but even more so when it comes to beer. The history behind beer and other alcoholic beverages in North America has a profound and pervasive effect on the beer we can easily obtain at our local liquor stores.
I want to get into the difference between macro breweries, micro breweries, and craft breweries and discuss how they simultaneously produce the same product (i.e. beer) but entirely different products. This will touch on issues of economics, greed, corporate responsibilities, and passion for beer. (more…)
January 28, 2011 | Categories: General, In-depth | Tags: Beer, bud, budweiser, canada, coors, craft, good beer, industry, macro, micro, miller, united states | Leave a comment
Date: Thursday, January 27, 2011
Brewery: Les Trois Mousqetaires
Beer: S.S. Rauchbier
Category: Classic Rauchbier
Brewed in: Canada (Brossard, QC)
Rauchbier (smoked beer) is apparently a very difficult style of beer to find in Edmonton. This was one of the few examples I could locate. It is brewed out of Quebec and is quite highly rated. I was excited to try this one.
As a quick background and side note, many people think of Rauchbier as an interesting novelty or specialty brew these days. The history behind the style of beer though is much richer. It may have been the only style of beer brewed in Germany at one point as they traditionally dried out their malts over a fire. This inevitably imparted smoky characteristics to the beer. Since other methods were developed the Rauchbier only lives on through brewers who choose to maintain the process.
On to the tasting.
It pours almost as dark as a Stout but when held to the light reveals a deep chestnut color. I poured aggressively and a thick and appealing two finger head developed in my 1 liter dimpled stein. The head endured for minutes and left some sticky and stringy lacing on the glass.
The aroma, obviously, was quite smoky. If you could liquefy the experience around a campfire this is likely what you would get. The smoke aroma reminds me specifically of smoked bacon or wood chips. Despite the strength and uniqueness of the smoke you can still easily identify the malts in the nose. The more subtle presence I can pick out is dark fruits.
The taste is very bold and flavorful. It is very rich and malty and reminds me a bit of ales brewed Belgian style. The finish is all smoke. The taste of smoked wood and smoked meat lingers satisfyingly after the swallow. You can still pick out the dark fruits along with a new touch of caramel and dark chocolate.
The beer is medium bodied with noticeable but light carbonation. It has a smooth mouthfeel and is bit thicket in the mouth that a straight lager or ale.
Some say you get accustomed to the smokiness by the end; however, I must have sipped it slow enough as I was accustomed to nothing by the end. It was very enjoyable and a pleasing first foray into rauchbier.
January 28, 2011 | Categories: 4 Pints, Beer Tasting, Classic Rauchbier, Ratings, Smoke-Flavored/Wood-Aged Beer | Tags: Beer, canada, mousqetaires, rauchbier, smoked, Tasting, trois | Leave a comment
Date: Wednesday, January 12, 2011
Category: Belgian Specialty Ale
Brewed in: Canada (Chambly, QC)
Purchased this beauty in a 750 ml bomber from Sherbrooke Liquor in Edmonton. Before I even give you the review I need to do a plug for this brewery. If you haven’t sampled the brews coming out of Unibroue – you need to do so as soon as you can. They are all quality. Check them out here.
Pours a deep cloudy ruby color with a thick two-finger near white head. Head retention was very respectable with noticeable lacing.
The nose for this brew is very sweet. I detect an earthy clove-like smell, some sweet fruitiness, some fairly potent yeast-funk, with a slightly bitter finish. This aroma is complex and inviting.
The taste of the beer is strong and very rich, in other words, it is what you expect from the nose. Flavors are malty with evident citrus notes. Hints of berries or fruitiness come through with a dry partially bitter finish.
The mouthfeel is more assertive than I was anticipating for the style. It goes down very smooth given the ABV and gives your tongue a nice tickle.
The Belgian characteristics of this beer are up front and center and come through the bountiful aroma and flavor profile. None of this comes across as over the top though.
Overall, this is an absolutely exceptional product. I am proud of Unibroue and the fact I can say this beer was brewed in Canada.
January 12, 2011 | Categories: 4 Pints, Beer Tasting, Belgian and French Ale, Belgian Specialty Ale, Ratings | Tags: Beer, belgian, canada, maudite, Tasting, unibroue | Leave a comment