Date: Thursday, February 3, 2011
Brewery: Half Pints
Beer: Stir Stick Stout
Category: American Stout
Brewed in: Canada (Winnipeg, MB)
Stir Stick Stout poured a dark and murky black – almost no light was penetrating the beer. The head was one finger thick and a nice tan color. Pretty characteristic of stouts brewed with coffee. Head retention was moderate and left lots of impressive lacing on the pint.
The aroma will tell you that this beer was brewed with coffee (if you didn’t read the label and see that it was locally roasted Ethiopian beans). Coffee is prominent in the nose but is also accompanied by bitter chocolate and roasted malts.
The first sip brings initial flavors of coffee, chocolate, and faint smoke to the tongue. The faint smoke taste dissipates quickly and allows the roasted malts and other notes to really come through. I found that the carbonation – though not ridiculous – was high enough to subtract from your ability to really taste all the nuances of the beer. A very tasty stout though.
The mouthfeel was a little thin but acceptable for the ABV. Carbonation is on the high side for a stout but not so much that it wrecks the beer, it just masks some of the characteristics they have managed to instill in the beer.
As in interesting side note, this bottle cap was wax-dipped it seems. When I popped it off little pieces of white stuff fell onto the counter and upon closer examination – were wax!
Date: Monday, January 31, 2011
Brewery: Dogfish Head
Beer: 60 Minute IPA
Category: American IPA
Brewed in: United States
60 minute IPA means that Dogfish Head hops this beer continunally for 60 minutes. They have 90 minute and 120 minute offerings as well. So this is the baby of the bunch.
The beer poured a nice amber copper color with great clarity and a beautiful 1.5 finger bubbly white head. This was not an aggressive pour (learned that the hard way with a tulip glass). Very attractive glass of beer.
The aroma from this beer is intoxicating. I took a deep initial sniff and was very pleasantly surprised by the harmonious combination of crisp citrus hops, pine, and malts. The hops and grapefruit citrus are clearly dominant but not overpowering. The pine finished out the nose and balances out the fruity aspect nicely. This is like airfreshner for beer geeks.
I took my first sip and let it wash around in my mouth and linger before eventually swallowing in an attempt to glean as much information as possible out of my first impression. To summarize – spectacular. This is a delicious beer. You get a very good dose of bitter hops but the grapefruit citrus flavors play this bitterness off very positively. Pine again is present in the finish to balance off the experience. In the finish you can start to taste a bit of the malts.
The mouthfeel is smooth, if not a little thick, and carbonation is moderate. The finish is dry and refreshing.
This beer definitely lived up to expectations and I can agree with Dogfish Head’s assessment that this is THE session beer for hop heads (i.e. IPA lovers). So far, it would be my choice. If you haven’t and had the pleasure of trying this beer – get on it!
Now remember, ratings are subjective. This one may not be 5 pints to everyone – but it is to me. I could drink copious amounts of this.
Date: Sunday, January 30, 2011
Brewery: Dogfish Head
Beer: Chicory Stout
Category: Spice, Herb, or Vegetable Beer
Brewed in: United States
I am on a bit of a Dogfish Head kick here after watching some TV and documentaries that featured the brewery. I decided I should try some of their beers and support them as they seemed like a cool group. I decided to start with a stout – familiar territory.
Chicory Stout pours a very dark brown, almost black, color. I poured aggressive and barely 1 cm of head developed. I was actually quite unimpressed by the lack of head. What did develop was an appealing tan color. I could barely comment on the length of retention because I started with so little and it was gone by the time I finished taking a picture. Carbonation seems fine though.
The aroma is of loads of dark roasted malts followed by a distinct coffee (I guess Chicory) and some more understated dark chocolate. The aroma is extremely reminiscent of Russian Imperial Stouts (RIS) but toned down a few degrees. The smells have made some big promises…
The taste is dominated by dark malts and dark chocolate flavors. The coffee completes the combination and comes closer to the finish. The coffee fades quickly and the aftertaste is again of chocolate. Hops are present but hard to detect. They provide a good balance to the sweetness in the beer.
The body is moderate and the mouthfeel is smooth. This beer is extremely easy to drink.
To be brutally honest I find the beer a little watery and weak for my liking. I think I would appreciate the flavors more if they were a bit more bold. This is almost certainly my RIS bias coming through and not necessarily the fault of the beer.
This beer offers the closest flavor profile to a RIS stout I have yet seen from a Stout with the lower ABV. This makes for a very drinkable combination and could be valuable if you are looking for a sessionable Stout.
Date: Friday, January 28, 2011
Brewery: Alley Kat
Beer: Unity Brew
Category: American Amber Ale
Brewed in: Canada (Edmonton, AB)
Unity Brew is a collaborative project between several Alberta brewers to raise money for the Kidney Foundation and various smaller local charities. Eleven of the twelve brewers in the Province were a part of this brew. The brewing took place at Alley Kat but the recipe is cooperatively written by all eleven.
Unity Brew 2010 pours a deep copper color with a thick tan head. Retention was moderate and produced a large amount of lacing.
The aroma is predominantly of caramel and lots of hops. There is also a bit of fruity notes in it – dark fruit the malts are also apparent but overpowered by the other notes. There is definitely a nutty aspect to the smell.
The taste is sweet and malty and there is something that makes me want to say “dark fruits” here but I’m not sure that is exactly what it is. There is hint of citrus and spices present. You can taste something nutty – I say hazelnuts there. Overall the taste is great but it is difficult to pinpoint which may be a result of the collaborative effort on the recipe. Tough to pigeonhole this one but easy to enjoy it.
It is medium bodied and light to medium carbonation. It has a smooth feel going down and is very easy to drink. Tastes quite fresh. I was so busy sipping it to try and isolate the flavors that it was gone in no time.